03. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Madeline, Mystery

The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid, 384 pages, read by Madeline, on 02/04/2015

Internationally best-selling crime writer Val McDermid is one of the most dependable professionals in the mystery and thriller business, whose acutely suspenseful, seamlessly plotted novels have riveted millions of readers worldwide. In her latest, The Skeleton Road, she delivers a gripping standalone novel about a cold case that links back to the Balkan Wars of the 1990s.

In the center of historic Edinburgh, builders are preparing to convert a disused Victorian Gothic building into luxury flats. They are understandably surprised to find skeletal remains hidden in a high pinnacle that hasn’t been touched by maintenance for years. But who do the bones belong to, and how did they get there? Could the eccentric British pastime of free climbing the outside of buildings play a role? Enter cold case detective Karen Pirie, who gets to work trying to establish the corpse’s identity. And when it turns out the bones may be from as far away as former Yugoslavia, Karen will need to dig deeper than she ever imagined into the tragic history of the Balkans: to war crimes and their consequences, and ultimately to the notion of what justice is and who serves it.

The Skeleton Road is an edge-of-your-seat, unforgettable read from one of our finest crime writers.

From Goodreads.com.

03. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Lisa

The Croc Ate My Homework by Stephan Pastis, 221 pages, read by Lisa, on 03/02/2015

The Pearls Before Swine crew is back in their second collection of cartoons for the middle-grade crowd!

Always witty and clever, and sometimes irreverent, Pearls Before Swine‘s sarcastic take on life appeals to fans of all ages. In this second collection of cartoons specially chosen for young readers, the troupe of characters is back to entertain with dark humor and off-the-wall puns. Know-it-all Rat is always at the center of the action, accompanied by slow-witted Pig who is innocently oblivious to most of Rat’s jabs. Rounded out with high-browed Goat, the mild and vulnerable Zebra, and the hilariously inept Crocs, the cast is ready to provide hours of reading fun.

Description from Goodreads.com.

03. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Children's Books, Graphic Novel, Lisa

El Deafo by Cece Bell, 233 pages, read by Lisa, on 03/01/2015

Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school–in the hallway…in the teacher’s lounge…in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different… and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?

This funny perceptive graphic novel memoir about growing up hearing impaired is also an unforgettable book about growing up, and all the super and super embarrassing moments along the way.

Description from Goodreads.com.

03. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Kristy, Romance, Teen Books

Perfected by Kate Birch, 304 pages, read by Kristy, on 02/28/2015

PerfectedAs soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury.

Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, but she doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows…and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.

But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving…and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death.

For fans of Kiera Cass’ Selection series and Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden series, Perfected is a chilling look at what it means to be human, and a stunning celebration of the power of love to set us free, wrapped in a glamorous—and dangerous—bow

 

-Goodreads

02. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

The Treatment by Suzanne Young, 344 pages, read by Sarah, on 02/27/2015

  This is the sequel to “The Program” and it is just as exciting and fast paced as the first.  Sloan and James are on the run trying to figure out who can be trusted and who can help them take down the program.  Both of them are still missing a lot of their memories, so this is very challenging.  The treatment is a little pill that can bring back all of your memories after you have been in the program, but they only have one dose.   Who will take it?  Or will it be lost forever?  Will it really solve any problems?  Can anyone be trusted besides each other????  Good book.  I recommend it so long as it’s paired with the first one.

02. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody K, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Body of evidence by Rachel Grant, 291 pages, read by Melody, on 03/01/2015

And she thought facing a firing squad was bad…

When archaeologist Mara Garrett traveled to North Korea to retrieve the remains of GIs lost in combat, she never imagined she’d be arrested, convicted of spying, and sentenced to death. Her only hope is Curt Dominick, the powerful, ambitious, and infuriatingly sexy US attorney prosecuting her uncle, a former vice president of the United States.

What starts off as a rescue mission quickly morphs into a race across the Pacific. Someone is after Mara, and they’ll risk everything to stop her from reaching Washington DC. With betrayal around every corner, Curt and Mara have little reason to trust each other and every reason to deny the sparks between them that blaze hotter than the Hawaiian sun. Still, desire clashes with loyalty when they discover a conspiracy that threatens not only their lives but the national security of the United States.

Description from Goodreads.com.

02. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim K, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

River road by Jayne Ann Krentz, 336 pages, read by Kim, on 03/01/2015

It’s been thirteen years since Lucy Sheridan was in Summer River. The last time she visited her aunt Sara there, as a teenager, she’d been sent home suddenly after being dragged out of a wild party—by the guy she had a crush on, just to make it more embarrassing. Obviously Mason Fletcher—only a few years older but somehow a lot more of a grown-up—was the overprotective type who thought he had to come to her rescue.

Now, returning after her aunt’s fatal car accident, Lucy is learning there was more to the story than she realized at the time. Mason had saved her from a very nasty crime that night—and soon afterward, Tristan, the cold-blooded rich kid who’d targeted her, disappeared mysteriously, his body never found.

A lot has changed in thirteen years. Lucy now works for a private investigation firm as a forensic genealogist, while Mason has quit the police force to run a successful security firm with his brother—though he still knows his way around a wrench when he fills in at his uncle’s local hardware store. Even Summer River has changed, from a sleepy farm town into a trendy upscale spot in California’s wine country. But Mason is still a protector at heart, a serious (and seriously attractive) man. And when he and Lucy make a shocking discovery inside Sara’s house, and some of Tristan’s old friends start acting suspicious, Mason’s quietly fierce instincts kick into gear. He saved Lucy once, and he’ll save her again. But this time, she insists on playing a role in her own rescue.

Description from Goodreads.com.

02. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody K, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Grave danger by Rachel Grant, 288 pages, read by Melody, on 02/28/2015

She’s being stalked…

After struggling to recover from a career-crippling mistake, archaeologist Libby Maitland has landed the project of her dreams—a data recovery excavation in a picturesque, historic sawmill town. Tasked with digging up secrets of the town’s founding family, Libby soon learns that nothing in Coho, Washington, is as idyllic as it seems.

She’s barely settled into her new home when suspicious events make her believe she’s being stalked…

Or maybe she’s losing her mind.

Coho Police Chief Mark Colby can’t decide if Libby is crazy or if she has her own twisted agenda, but the deeper he delves into her past, the more intrigued he becomes. Even as he and Libby grow closer, he can’t quite let his initial suspicion go.

When Libby’s life is threatened, they must work together to determine if the truth about her stalker is buried in her past, or if the answers can be found in the layers of the excavation.

Description from Goodreads.com.

02. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim K, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood, 520 pages, read by Kim K, on 02/28/2015

In the still shadows of the confessional, a madman tauntingly reveals his plan for a murder he is going to commit, pulling Father Thomas Madden into a twisted game by disclosing his next intended victim: Tom’s sister, Laurant. In a frantic race to protect her, Tom calls upon his best friend, elite FBI agent Nick Buchanan, to track the predator who is closing in on Laurant. Now, as an electrifying attraction grows between Laurant and Nick, so does the danger — and one false move will cost both of them everything that matters.

Let New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood take you on a thrilling excursion into the soaring heights — and the darkest impulses — of the human heart.

Description from Goodreads.com.

02. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King, 307 pages, read by Angie, on 02/28/2015

Glory O’Brien has just graduated from high school and doesn’t really see a future for herself. She and her dad have been stuck ever since her mom DArla committed suicide when Glory was 4 years old. The only thing Glory has is her photography, which Darla also had. She starts learning more about her mom after taking over the dark room in the basement. She finds her mom’s album entitled “Why People Take Pictures” filled with disturbing images and starts answering her mom in her own album.

Glory lives across the road from her best friend Ellie. Only she is not sure she wants Ellie to be her best friend anymore. Ellie lives on a commune run by her mother Jasmine Blue and totally takes advantage of Glory. The girls find a petrified bat and decide to drink it when it turns to dust. The bat gives the girls the ability to see the past and future when they look in someone’s eyes. They see people’s ancestors doing all kinds of things and they see people’s descendants in the future. Glory’s visions of the future all revolve around war. There is going to be a second civil war in America. This time it will not be slavery that divides the country but women’s rights. The passage of an equal pay bill will splinter the country and some states will end up taking away the rights of women completely. This will divide the country and cause a war as women basically become fugitives or breeding machines.

I am torn about this book. I really enjoyed the contemporary story of Glory trying to figure out her life. In the beginning, she only sees herself through Darla and doesn’t believe there is a future for her. Through the visions and the people she meets she starts to see herself as a different person, as someone with a future to look forward to even if it involves war. She also helps draw her dad back into the land of the living. Finally, she comes to terms with her relationship with Ellie and the commune. It was a compelling story and one I really wanted to read. However, the visions of the future just threw me off. I found it so unbelievable that I couldn’t buy into the visions or the future they represented. It was an interesting future and made for good storytelling, but it was just too far-fetched for me.

I had never read anything by Laurie Notaro before picking up this book, but I just might have to read more. She is hilarious and the situations she finds herself in are laugh out loud funny. Highlights of the book include her feud with the local post office where she was banned for wanting too many two cent stamps, being banned from the neighborhood Christmas party because she dared to mouth the words to Jingle Bells, and the dog bark translator. Really all the chapters were hilarious so it is hard to pick favorites. Read it and I dare you not to laugh!

02. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Teen Books

The darkest part of the forest by Holly Black, 328 pages, read by Angie, on 02/17/2015

In the heart of the forest lies a glass coffin with a horned-boy in it, a faerie prince forever asleep. He never wakes no matter how many people dance on his coffin, try to kiss him, or simply stare at him in awe. As far as the people know he has always been there and will always be there.

He is not the only unusual thing in Fairfold, a town where humans coexist with the fae. Residents know what to do to protect themselves and only shake their heads when tourists go missing. However, something in the heart of the forest is growing stronger, and the protections no longer seem to be working. Hazel and Ben have grown up in Fairfold. Ben is gifted with music, but his gift comes with a curse. Hazel wants to be a knight and fight the monsters in the forest. She made a deal with the fae, but doesn’t know how or when she will have to pay it back. Hazel is in love with Ben’s best friend Jack, a changeling whose human parents decided to keep him when they got their own son back. Jack knows more about what is happening with the fae in the forest than he lets on. One day, the horned-boy awakes and the monster at the heart of the forest makes her way into town. Hazel, Ben and Jack have to find a way to stop the monster and save the town before it is too late.

This is Holly Black at her best. It is a dark fairy tale filled with lies, secrets, heroes and curses. Hazel is the star of this story, but she has the most secrets to protect. Hazel is keeping secrets from Ben about the deal she made with the Alderking; she is keeping secrets from Jack about her true feelings; and she is unknowingly keeping secrets from herself. Hazel’s secrets have to be revealed if our heroes are going to win the day.

Fans of Holly Black’s teen books like the Modern Faerie Tale series or The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, and her middle grade books Doll Bones and The Spiderwick Chronicles, will appreciate the way she is able to weave the dark elements of this story in with the more heart-warming elements. She is at her best when she is writing about strong female characters who are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves and those around them, but who are also aware enough to know when they need help.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.com.

27. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Noelle, Thriller/Suspense

Micro by MIchael Criton and Richard Preston, 429 pages, read by Noelle, on 02/23/2015

http://origin.syndetics.com/index.php?isbn=9780060873080/LC.gif&client=mirip&type=hw7Umm… this book is SILLY :)  It’s Honey I Shrunk the Kids meets Lord of the Flies meets nanotechnology.  It wasn’t particularly well written and the narrator must have had a previous stint as a sports announcer.  That being said, my hubby and I had fun to listening to this on a car trip and it kept us awake while driving.  Hurray for safe driving!  It also ignited a lot of imaginative conversations on our trip.  Also, I have a fondness for beetles and I think Michael Crichton did as well.

Three men are found dead in the locked second-floor office of a Honolulu building, with no sign of struggle except for the ultrafine, razor-sharp cuts covering their bodies. The only clue left behind is a tiny bladed robot, nearly invisible to the human eye. In the lush forests of Oahu, groundbreaking technology has ushered in a revolutionary era of biological prospecting. Trillions of microorganisms, tens of thousands of bacteria species, are being discovered; they are feeding a search for priceless drugs and applications on a scale beyond anything previously imagined. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, seven graduate students at the forefront of their fields are recruited by a pioneering microbiology start-up. Nanigen MicroTechnologies dispatches the group to a mysterious lab in Hawaii, where they are promised access to tools that will open a whole new scientific frontier. But once in the Oahu rain forest, the scientists are thrust into a hostile wilderness that reveals profound and surprising dangers at every turn. Armed only with their knowledge of the natural world, they find themselves prey to a technology of radical and unbridled power. To survive, they must harness the inherent forces of nature itself.

Scandal, love, family, and murder combine in this gripping mystery by critically acclaimed author Emily Arsenault, in which a young woman’s life is turned upside down when her brother is arrested for murder and she must prove his innocence.

The Battle siblings are used to disappointment. Seven years after starting her PhD program–one marriage, one divorce, three cats and a dog later–Theresa Battle still hasn’t finished her dissertation. Instead of a degree, she’s got a houseful of adoring pets and a dead-end copywriting job for a local candle company.

Jeff, her so-called genius older brother, doesn’t have it together, either. Creative and loyal, he’s also aimless, in both work and love. But his new girlfriend, Kim, a pretty waitress in her twenties, appears smitten. When Theresa agrees to dog-sit Kim’s puggle for a weekend, she has no idea it will be the beginning of a terrifying nightmare that will shatter her quiet academic world.

Soon Kim’s body is found in the woods, and Jeff becomes the prime suspect.

Though the evidence is overwhelming, Theresa knows that her brother is not a murderer. As she investigates Kim’s past, she uncovers a treacherous secret involving politics, murder, and scandal–and becomes entangled in a potentially dangerous romance. But the deeper she falls into this troubling case, the more it becomes clear that, in trying to save her brother’s life, she may be sacrificing her own

27. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: How To's, Informational Book, Noelle, NonFiction

Bright bazaar : embracing color for make-you-smile style by Will Taylor, photographs by Andrew Boyd, 191 pages, read by Noelle, on 02/19/2015

I love color and I love Will Taylor’s style.  Bright and beautiful!

Known for his bold and refreshing take on color, Will Taylor, the founder of Bright Bazaar, one of the world’s leading interior design blogs, shares his secrets to choosing colors that work for every room in your house. Structured around the different spaces within the home, the book breaks down the how, when, and where of using different shades and color combinations. Will’s fun and lighthearted approach shows the reader how to look around for color inspiration and how to start to incorporate colors into both the smaller and larger components of a room like walls, floors, furniture, fabrics, and accessories.Beautifully photographed inspirational examples will be accompanied by “Color Scrapbooks” which break each room down to the individual elements drawing the reader into the details that make each colorful space successful. With pearls of “Will’s Wisdom”, like top painting tips or how to add temporary color, and recipes for “Color Cocktails” in a range of palettes, Taylor’s vibrant and easy-to-follow guide to color and its ability to transform our homes and our lives offers readers the confidence they need to perfect their color choices.

content provided by Syndetics™, a Bowker service.

 

27. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

Death of a Liar by M.C. Beaton, 272 pages, read by Tracy, on 02/19/2015

Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is alarmed to receive a report from a woman in the small village of Cronish in the Scottish Highlands. She has been brutally attacked and the criminal is on the loose. But upon further investigation, Hamish discovers that she was lying about the crime. So when the same woman calls him back about an intruder, he simply marvels at her compulsion to lie. This time, though, she is telling the truth. Her body is found in her home and Hamish must sort through all of her lies to solve the crime.

Description from Goodreads.com.

27. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

The White Magic Five and Dime by Steve Hockensmith, Lisa Falco, 326 pages, read by Tracy, on 02/12/2015

Much to Alanis McLachlan’s surprise, her estranged con-woman mother has left her an inheritance: The White Magic Five & Dime, a shop in tiny Berdache, Arizona. Reluctantly traveling to Berdache to claim her new property, Alanis decides to stay and pick up her mother’s tarot business in an attempt to find out how she died.

With help from a hunky cop and her mother’s live-in teenage apprentice, Alanis begins faking her way through tarot readings in order to win the confidence of her mother’s clients. But the more she uses the tarot deck, the more Alanis begins to find real meaning in the cards … and the secrets surrounding her mother’s demise.

Description from Goodreads.com.

27. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Blue Labyrinth by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, 416 pages, read by Tracy, on 02/05/2015

Special Agent Pendergast-one of the most original, compelling characters in all of contemporary fiction-returns in Preston and Child’s new exhilarating novel Blue Labyrinth.

A long-buried family secret has come back to haunt Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast…

It begins with murder. One of Pendergast’s most implacable, most feared enemies is found on his doorstep, dead. Pendergast has no idea who is responsible for the killing, or why the body was brought to his home. The mystery has all the hallmarks of the perfect crime, save for an enigmatic clue: a piece of turquoise lodged in the stomach of the deceased.

The gem leads Pendergast to an abandoned mine on the shore of California’s Salton Sea, which in turn propels him on a journey of discovery deep into his own family’s sinister past.

But Pendergast learns there is more at work than a ghastly episode of family history: he is being stalked by a subtle killer bent on vengeance over an ancient transgression. And he soon becomes caught in a wickedly clever plot, which leaves him stricken in mind and body, and propels him toward a reckoning beyond anything he could ever have imagined…

Description from Goodreads.com.

27. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Poetry, Teen Books · Tags:

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank, 272 pages, read by Angie, on 02/27/2015

An intriguing novel-in-verse about two girls with Crohn’s Disease sharing a hospital room. Chess is new to the disease and ended up in the hospital after a party/date with her crush turned disastrous. She is not happy to have something called irritable bowel syndrome and doesn’t want to see friends or family and definitely not the crush. Shannon, on the other hand, has been living with disease for years. She is past the hiding stage and well into the angry stage. The two girls don’t seem to have anything in common, but they bond over their common enemy…Crohn’s. The girls are in beds separated by a curtain and the novel represents this with a line down the middle of the page separating their words. It is an unusual topic for a teen book but one that seems timely. I think the novel-in-verse style works really well as it gives the reader just enough information and allows the reader to be more immersed in the characters.

Siblings Zander, Kit and M.K. West have been on their own ever since their dad died while on an expedition. Their father was the famous explorer Alexander West with the Expedition Society. He was a map maker who helped map many of the New Lands when they were discovered. The New Lands opened up new resources for a world that had run out. People are no longer dependent on technology but have reverted to steam machines again. The Bureau of Newly Discovered Lands controls all the expeditions to and the wealth from the New Lands. They cleaned out the West house when the dad died and have been watching the kids. One day in the market Kit is handed a book from another explorer from his dad. He is told to keep it secret and it is a good thing because BNDL is at the house when he returns looking for it. The map is half a map to Drowned Man’s Canyon and a hidden treasure in gold. The kids head to Arizona to discover why their dad left them the map. They are helped along the way by another child of an explorer. They are followed by BNDL who wants to get their hands on the treasure. What they discover will change how they think of the world and their father.

This was a fun steampunk adventure story. I enjoyed the fact that it was all about maps and figuring out how to read them. Kit is the map expert in the group. Zander as the oldest likes to think he is the leader, but it is more Kit’s show than anything. M.K. was a delight; a tough girl who loves machines and tinkering with them. Their friend Sukey is a pilot and helps them escape the BNDL. I like the thought of undiscovered lands in our world but am not really sure how that would work. In the book it is because the Mueller Machines controlled the maps and they just didn’t show these lands, but you do wander how no one really noticed them. There is a lot of mystery about the dad and what he was really up to and whether he was part of a secret society of mapmakers. There is a lot of adventure as the kids make their way across the country pursued by BNDL and as they follow the map to the treasure. This is the beginning of a series so the ending leaves the story open for further adventures.