22. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Autobiographies, Brian, NonFiction

Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming, 294 pages, read by Brian, on 01/22/2015

alanAlan Cumming is one of those actors who is fantastic in any role he played, yet many people do not know his name.  Like so many entertainers his early life was full of pain.  His father hated him and abused Alan throughout his childhood, actually he abused everyone he knew.  His father was a womanizer and later in life this made Alan wondered if his father was really his father.  This book is touching and heart filled.

 

22. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, History, Humor, Informational Book, Tammy

Bed Manners: A Very British Guide to Boudoir Etiquette by Ralph Hopton , 151 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/15/2015

bed manners Ever wonder how to avoid offending your spouse with your evening sleeping habits? Or perhaps wonder what the challenges might be of sleeping with another person if you never have? This could be the guide book for you. Originally published in the 1930s the book addresses bedroom etiquette with a sense of humor. It is amazing how few of the basic problems have changed over the years. Husbands and wives still bicker over whose job it is to investigate noises in the middle of the night, who has to get up to get another blanket or close the window or do we even want the window open.

22. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Tammy · Tags: , , , ,

Jane Austen Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Book Covers by Margaret C. Sullivan , 223 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/14/2015

jane austen A history of Jane Austen’s novels and how they were published. Includes full-color photos of the covers of each edition and information about the printing process. It is interesting to see how cover art has changed through the years.

22. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: History, How To's, Informational Book, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags:

Downton Abbey: Rules for Household Staff by Charles Carson , 117 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/14/2015

downton Some items refer specifically to the household of the television show Downton Abbey, but most information given is historically researched. Even includes recipes and instructions for everything from cleaning silver to properly storing seasonal clothes to protect them from dust and bugs. For fans of the show as well as those looking for traditional cleaning information.

21. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim K, Romance

Stay with me by J. Lynn, Jennifer L. Armentrout, 448 pages, read by Kim K, on 01/20/2015

At 21, Calla hasn’t done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.

But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought she’d left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.

Sexy and intense, Jax is in Calla’s business from the moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn’t give them her mom.

Description from Goodreads.com

21. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody K, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Sweet revenge by Jennifer Hayden, 388 pages, read by Melody, on 01/20/2015

After a painful adolescence, Annie Kessler finds herself in an abusive marriage, that nearly takes her life. When her husband is sent to prison for good, she is finally able to start over. She finds a new job, new city – a new life. But quickly, she realizes her sense of security is false. Women around the state are being murdered at a very alarming rate. FBI Agent Shane McCann shows up on Annie’s doorstep with a startling link to her past; the murders are tied to Annie’s father, nefarious serial killer, Leon “Alligator” Graves, who has been sitting on Washington State’s death row, for the past twenty-three years. According to McCann and the FBI, Leon Graves knows who is murdering these women but he refuses to talk until his last wish is granted; he wants to see his daughter. The clincher is that Leon is scheduled to hang in ten days. Suddenly, Annie finds her life unraveling yet again. Someone begins stalking her. Terror becomes her constant companion, as she is thrust into the center of a madman’s sick and violent game, against her will. With only McCann at her back, she is forced to face the past she has spent her life running from, and the father she swore she would never lay eyes on again.

Description from Goodreads.com

21. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody K, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Hush by Karen Robards, 416 pages, read by Melody, on 01/20/2015

When Riley Cowan finds her estranged husband Jeff dead in his palatial home, she’s sure it’s no coincidence. The police rule it a suicide, but Riley thinks someone’s out for blood—specifically someone Jeff’s father ripped off in one of the biggest financial fraud cases of all time. She suspects that someone is trying to send a message to Jeff’s father: Tell me where the money is, or everyone you care about will die.

Riley’s in-laws might be billionaires, but she’s afraid that not even their dirty money can protect her from an irate investor who will stop at nothing to get his hands on his misappropriated cash. Enter Finn Bradley, Philly-based FBI agent and Riley’s love interest from way back when. Finn agrees to help Riley, and the two reignite sparks they both thought were extinguished long ago. But can they discover the killer’s identity in time, before he resurfaces—and strikes again?

Dubbed an “exceptional storyteller” by the Chicago Tribune and “one of the most popular voices in women’s fiction” by Newsweek, Karen Robards’s latest action-packed novel will keep you glued to the pages until the final, shocking conclusion.

Description from Goodreads.com

21. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Brian, NonFiction, Sports · Tags:

Open by Andre Aggasi, 388 pages, read by Brian, on 01/20/2015

andreOpen is a very sad book.  Andre talks about how he never wanted to play tennis and doesn’t really like sports.  How his father, in cruel way, pushed him to be a tennis player.  We also get to see how all those years of tennis has worn down his body.  Very good read.

 

21. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Teen Books · Tags:

Desert Tales: A Wicked Lovely Companion Novel by Melissa Marr, 245 pages, read by Brian, on 01/21/2015

desertThis a companion novel to the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr.  This novel takes place in the Mojave Desert where Rika (human and now fairy) chose to live.  Rika, didn’t really belong with the desert fey.  She basically lives in solitude.  Ritka meets a human who is kind and a romance begins, so maybe, just maybe, fey can come out of hiding from the humans.

 

21. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Katy, NonFiction · Tags:

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, 406 pages, read by Katy, on 01/20/2015

unbroken-book-cover-01On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

From www.goodreads.com

I recommend this book to everyone!

20. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: History, NonFiction, Paula

The Dog Who Could Fly by Lewis, Damien, 288 pages, read by Paula, on 01/18/2015

hw7.pl “An instant hit in the UK, this is the true account of a German shepherd who was adopted by the Royal Air Force during World War II, joined in flight missions, and survived everything from crash-landings to parachute bailouts–ultimately saving the life of his owner and dearest friend. In the winter of 1939 in the cold snow of no-man’s-land, two loners met and began an extraordinary journey that would turn them into lifelong friends. One was an orphaned puppy, abandoned by his owners as they fled Nazi forces. The other was a different kind of lost soul–a Czech airman bound for the Royal Air Force and the country that he would come to call home. Airman Robert Bozdech stumbled across the tiny German shepherd–whom he named Ant–after being shot down on a daring mission over enemy lines. Unable to desert his charge, Robert hid Ant inside his jacket as he escaped. In the months that followed the pair would save each others lives countless times as they flew together with Bomber Command. And though Ant was eventually grounded due to injury, he refused to abandon his duty, waiting patiently beside the runway for his master’s return from every sortie, and refusing food and sleep until they were reunited. By the end of the war Robert and Ant had become British war heroes, and Ant was justly awarded the Dickin Medal, the ‘Animal VC.’ With beautiful vintage black-and-white photos of Robert and Ant, The Dog Who Could Fly is a deeply moving story of loyalty in the face of adversity and the unshakable bond between a man and his best friend”

20. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Kim B, NonFiction · Tags:

Berlin: Portrait of a City Through the Centuries by Rory Maclean, 420 pages, read by Kim B, on 01/19/2015

I did not think that I would enjoy this book as much as I did. The author follows Berlin through the centuries through the eyes of the people that lived there from royalty to peasant, from the rich and famous to the poor and unknown. He includes such contemporaries as Christopher Isherwood, Marlene Dietrich, and David Bowie. I can promise that this book is not full of “dry” history, but rich with the human experience of living in this city down through history.

20. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Harley Quinn Hot in the City by Amanda Conner, 224 pages, read by Brian, on 01/15/2015

quinnIn DC Universe the New 52, Harley Quinn returns in her first novel.  In this novel, Harley has encounters with various heroes and villains.  Come see the new Harley Quinn.

 

18. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill, 384 pages, read by Angie, on 01/17/2015

Ned is the “wrong boy”; he lived when his twin brother Tam did not. His mother, Sister Witch, could not bear to lose both her boys at the same time so she sewed Tam’s soul into Ned thus saving his life but causing him difficulties. Ned is never able to speak without stuttering or read any words after the accident. The townspeople believe the wrong boy was saved and treat him badly. His father can barely look at him. Sister Witch is the keeper of magic in their village. The magic has been passed down through the generations and they are charged with helping others and keeping the magic good. The magic has a mind of its own however and takes a toll on the wielder. Aine lives with her father in the forest. They used to live by the sea but then her mother died and her father’s heart was broken. He hid them away in the forbidden forest and became the bandit king. He too has magic and the magic has warped and changed him into something Aine has difficulty recognizing. The Bandit King learns about Sister Witch’s magic and is determined to get it for himself. This sets up a series of events where Ned takes the magic into himself and gets lost in the forest. Aine and Ned team up with a wolf in order to return the magic to Sister Witch. Of course things don’t go as planned. Ned’s country is cut off from the world and governed by a strong queen. The neighboring king is a spoiled brat who wants what he doesn’t have and is determined to invade the country and harness the magic for himself. There are also nine standing stones who were once people and it is their magic free in the world. All these things collide in the conclusion of The Witch’s Boy.

Once I started reading this book I really didn’t want to put it down. I loved the world that was created by Kelly Barnhill. Ned is a fantastic character hurt by the death of his brother and struggling as the survivor. He wants to be more and taking the magic into himself allows him to grown and discover just how strong he really was. Aine is such an interesting character as well. She is hard and cold but only because the world has made her that way. Inside she wants what everyone wants family and friends to love. She struggles with the fact that her father has been corrupted by the magic and despite her love for him knows he must be stopped. This is a wonderful story and one I would highly recommend.

18. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim K, Romance

Be with me by J. Lynn, Jennifer L. Armentrout, 365 pages, read by Kim K, on 01/17/2015

Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year—she’s in love with her big brother’s best friend, but he hasn’t spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, change-your-life kiss. She got out of a terrible relationship. And now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It’s time for Plan B – college. And maybe a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real.

Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he’s not telling anyone. Especially not his best friend’s incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn’t have time for a relationship. But it doesn’t help that all he can think about kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him.

As they’re thrown together more and more, Jase and Tess can’t keep denying their feelings for each other. But a familiar danger looms and tragedy strikes. As the campus recovers, the star-crossed couple must decide what they’re willing to risk to be together, and what they’re willing to lose if they’re not…

Description from Goodreads.com

17. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody K, Romance

Forever too far by Abbi Glines, 292 pages, read by Melody, on 01/17/2015

Rush promised her forever… but promises can be broken.

Torn between his love for his family and his love for Blaire, Rush has to find a way to save one without losing the other. In the end one has to be more important. Letting go isn’t easy.

Blaire believed in her fairytale… but no one can live in a fantasy.

Her love for Rush and desire to have a family keep her believing that they can find a way for this to work. Until she has to make the right decision for her and the baby. Even if it breaks her heart.

Can they find the forever that they both want or has it all just gone… too far?

Description from Goodreads.com.

17. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Katy, Teen Books

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott, 170 pages, read by Katy, on 01/16/2015

2954411“Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared. Once upon a time, my name was not Alice. Once upon a time, I didn’t know how lucky I was. When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends: her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over. Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her. This is Alice’s story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget”–Book flap.

 

This book was disturbing. The plot kept getting worse but it was hard to put it down. If you’re in the mood for a sad, dark story this is it.

17. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Teen Books

Grimm Memories by Janna Jennings, 262 pages, read by Angie, on 01/16/2015

Andi, Quinn, Dylan and Frederick are back in the real world after their adventures in Elorium. They starting having nightmares and decide it is time to go back and try to rescue Jack. Quinn’s brother Max gets sucked along for the ride. Elorium is not how they left it though. People are disappearing and others are having nightmares as well. This just makes the gang that much more determined to find Jack and figure out what is going on. There is a lot of adventure and excitement, a couple of people almost die, and there are a few other fairytales added to the mix.

I liked this second book in the Grimm Tales series. The story seemed a bit more cohesive than the first as we didn’t have to introduce characters and their stories all over again. There is plenty of action and intrigue as the group travels across Elorium to find Jack. I enjoyed the developing relationships between the boys and girls and the fact that the girls were awesome. Andi and Quinn pretty much ruled the adventure. They showed that girls can be smart, prepared and kick-butt as well.

Thanks to Netgalley for letting me read this book!

17. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction · Tags:

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky, 250 pages, read by Angie, on 01/16/2015

Grayson Sender is a sixth grade boy who doesn’t feel like his outside matches his inside. He has always felt like he was more of a girl than a boy. He looks in the mirror and tries to make his over-sized shirts and track pants into long dresses and skirts. He doesn’t fit in at school or have any real friends. When his favorite teacher announces tryouts for the spring play, The Myth of Persephone, Grayson is determined to tryout. He doesn’t want to tryout for any of the male roles however, he tries out for the role of Persephone. This sets off a firestorm throughout his home and school. He lives with his aunt and uncle since his parents died when he was a toddler. His uncle is supportive and wants Grayson to be who he is supposed to be. His aunt however is outraged that a teacher would cast him in a female role and is scared for Grayson’s safety. Grayson finds a home with the drama kids in the play however as they accept him for who he is. Some of the boys in his class are another story as they start teasing him and calling him Gracie. The bullying climaxes with Grayson being pushed down the stairs. He is determined to go on with the play no matter what though as that is the only time he feels like himself.

I was excited to read this book as it is on a topic I haven’t read in middle grade books before. Usually you don’t start getting into LGBT issues until teen novels. Grayson’s story is a wonderful one and one I would definitely recommend. It is handled very well and is presented at the correct level for the intended readers. I am not familiar with the journey transgender tweens/teens would take to become who they are meant to be but I found Grayson’s story to be realistic. I liked the fact that he was not just magically accepted by his peers and family but did receive negative reactions. This made the story that much more realistic. I enjoyed the interactions Grayson experienced with the other kids in the play; I always knew drama kids were inclusive and this just proved me right. I also thought the plot with the teacher was handled really well. There was bound to be consequences for his actions and they seemed appropriate. This is not a book for everyone but it is a book that should be read by everyone. It is more than a book about a transgender tween; it is a a book about being yourself and accepting people for who they are.

17. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal

Secret of the Mountain Dog by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, 208 pages, read by Angie, on 01/16/2015

Jax lives at the bottom of a mountain in the Catskills. She loves exploring the mountains, but ever since her younger sister Kizzy almost drowned her mother hasn’t let her have the freedom she once enjoyed. Then one day a giant dog appears and adopts Jax. That same night she sees lights in the old building up the mountain. When she goes to explore she discovers Yeshi and Rinpoche, two Buddhist monks who are going to reopen the monastery. First they have to find a missing statue. The statue is a protector demon that was stolen from a monastery in Tibet. A mysterious man is also looking for the statue, but he doesn’t want to return it to Tibet. Jax ends up defying her mother and heading up the mountain in a storm to warn the monks about the mysterious man. Jax and Yeshi have to decipher the prophecy about the statue and find it before the man does and before he unleashes the demon.

This was a nice, quick read. The story is fast-paced with a lot of action and intrigue. I really enjoyed the fact that Yeshi and Rinpoche were Buddhist monks, that is not something you see a lot in middle grade fiction. It gave a nice introduction to the Buddhist faith and philosophy without being too much. There is a bit of a supernatural element with the demon that added a spooky element to the story as well. I liked how the friendship between Jax and Yeshi seemed to develop naturally even though it turned out Yeshi had a higher calling.