10. April 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Drama, Fiction, Humor, Mariah, Romance

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, 295 pages, read by Mariah , on 04/04/2015

Don Tillman is a scientist who is socially inept. He does not pick up on social queues and does not hear irony. He is extremely intelligent, though, and moves fairly comfortably through life because he can judge reactions, if not facial expressions, and plan his behavior accordingly. He works at a university and keeps a very specific schedule down to what he eats each night of the week and at what time. He has exactly two friends. His life moves on day by day. Several dating disasters had convinced him that marriage would never be in his future. However, when helping with some research, it suddenly occured to him that a questionnaire, utilized appropriately, might help him find a wife. After an exciting start to the Wife Project, he meets Rosie. She does not fit any of his criteria, but his friend Gene convinces Don to ask her on a date as a “wild card.” After a wonderful evening, Don says goodbye to Rosie feeling that he has enjoyed himself, but not planning on seeing her again because she is unsuitable as a prospective wife. A conversation they had, sticks with Don, though, and he offers to help Rosie search for her father. This becomes the Father Project. Spending time with Rosie becomes one of Don’s favorite activities as the research throws them together and throws off his schedule. Neither Rosie, nor Don, find what they thought they were looking for, but they do find a happy ending.

This is, by far, my favorite book read this year. Don narrates the book, so the reader sees what he is thinking and feeling along the way. When he fails to grasp the implied meanings of important questions, you groan for him. When he bounces back with well thought out plans and decisions, you cheer for him. Written with humor and charm, this will definitely stay at the top of my “feel good’ book list.

10. April 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Jake Understood by Penelope Ward, 281 pages, read by Jessica, on 04/09/2015

91gvnfV2yRL._SL1500_A different side to the story: Jake’s side.

“We’re getting a new roommate,” they said.

I thought nothing of it…until she walked in the door. Her hand trembled in mine as she looked at me with fearful eyes. My entire world spun on its axis.

Nina…

It was a mismatch made in heaven: innocent girl from the boonies moves in with tattooed, pierced, badboy engineer.

I came up with a bet, a plan to tutor her in math and coach her through her phobias. What I wasn’t betting on was becoming addicted to her.

But I was living a double life on weekends, and once she found out about it, she’d be gone.

I had to protect myself and that meant one thing: I couldn’t fall in love.

10. April 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie

Tesla's Attic by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman, 256 pages, read by Leslie, on 03/30/2015

17197651 Tesla’s Attic is the first book in a brilliantly imagined and hilariously written trilogy that combines science, magic, intrigue, and just plain weirdness, about four kids who are caught up in a dangerous plan concocted by the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla.

Nick, his younger brother, and his father move into a house inherited from an eccentric aunt, after their house burns down.  After moving in, Nick decides he wants the attic for his room and holds a garage sale to get rid of all the things his aunt had stored in there.  After noticing how weirdly people were acting at the sale, he discovers that maybe he shouldn’t have sold items he learns were invented by the famous Nikola Tesla.  He enlists the help of his friends to track down the items and get them back while avoiding the mysterious group calling themselves the Accelerati, who are also after the Tesla items.  This is a book that both boys and girls will find enjoyable and fun to read.

10. April 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Obsession in Death by J.D. Robb, 404 pages, read by Leslie, on 03/28/2015

22571696 .Eve Dallas has solved a lot of high-profile murders for the NYPSD and gotten a lot of media. She – with her billionaire husband – is getting accustomed to being an object of attention, of gossip, of speculation.  But now Eve has become the object of one person’s obsession. Someone who finds her extraordinary, and thinks about her every hour of every day. With a murderer reading meaning into her every move, handling this case will be a delicate – and dangerous – psychological dance.

I love the Death series by Robb, futuristic setting in a familiar place and knowing Robb will keep us guessing until the end, with just a bit of romance thrown in.  I really like the way her characters have grown, yet stayed the same, it makes them more loveable.  Each book she writes shows us a deeper look into why Eve Dallas does what she does and I’ve yet to read one of the series where I felt the plot was not living up to potential.  A great whodunit series.

10. April 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

The Job by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, 289 pages, read by Leslie, on 03/19/2015

21530229 Charming con man Nicolas Fox and dedicated FBI agent Kate O’Hare secretly take down world’s most-wanted and untouchable felons, next job Violante, the brutal leader of a global drug-smuggling empire. The FBI doesn’t know what he looks like, where he is, or how to find him, but Nick knows his tastes in gourmet chocolate.

From Nashville to Lisbon back alleys, from Istanbul rooftops to Thames, they chase clues to lookalike thefts. Pitted against a psychopathic bodyguard Reyna holding Kate hostage and a Portuguese enforcer getting advice from an ancestor’s pickled head, they again call driver Willie for ship, actor Boyd for one-eyed Captain Bridger, special effects carpenter Tom, her father Jake – retired Special Forces, and his talent – machete-wielding Somali pirate Billy Dee. This could be their biggest job – if they survive.

I love pretty much anything Janet Evanovich writes!  While this series doesn’t have the amount of humor I find in her Stephanie Plum series, there are funny moments and the characters have one of those relationships where neither really admits the attraction they have for each other.  While you know they will always pull off whatever they have in motion to catch bigger fish, it’s nice to read a fun book where you know the characters aren’t going to be killed off and you can enjoy their interactions.  If only real life went off as smoothly as their cons against the bad guys go.

10. April 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry, 351 pages, read by Leslie, on 03/14/2015

18885674 There’s a murderer on the loose—but that doesn’t stop the girls of St. Etheldreda’s from attempting to hide the death of their headmistress in this rollicking farce.

The girls attending the boarding school, Prickwillow Place, suddenly find their dreary lives fraught with murder, suspicion, and romance, as they try to determine who murdered their headmistress and her brother.  All throughout the book, the girls are identified by descriptions added to their names, so we don’t forget their shortcomings, which also turn into strengths.  Each twist and turn have the girls on edge and wondering which will come first, solving the murders, being murdered themselves, or having to return to the homes they dread.  Great read for girls.

10. April 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie

The Book of Storms by Ruth Hatfield, 357 pages, read by Leslie, on 03/05/2015

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Eleven-year-old Danny’s parents are storm chasers – which sounds fun and exciting, and it is, so long as you aren’t the son who has to wait behind at home. And one night, after a particularly fierce storm, Danny’s parents don’t come back. Stranger still, the old sycamore tree in Danny’s yard seems to have been struck by lightning, and when he picks up a fragment of wood from the tree’s heart, he finds he can hear voices … including that of next door’s rather uppity cat, Mitzy. The stick is a taro, a shard of lightning that bestows upon its bearer unnerving powers, including the ability to talk with plants and animals – and it is very valuable.

While this book might be entertaining to any kids who read it, I found it rather tiresome. It didn’t grab me and make me want to read it cover to cover in one night, which is the kind of book I tend to gravitate to.  The characters seemed rather dull, the text seemed to move along a path that, while it had a plot line, didn’t really make much sense.  An okay read, but not great.

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

Fire and ice by Julie Garwood, 320 pages, read by Melody, on 04/08/2015

Fresh from her incredible smash-hit historical romance Shadow Music, New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood returns to contemporary romantic suspense with this wonderfully sexy, exhilarating blockbuster. Filled with sizzling passion and breathless adventure, Fire and Ice features a feisty heroine whom Garwood’s devoted readers already know and love from her hugely popular novel Murder List.

Sophie Rose, a tough and determined newspaper reporter, is the daughter of Bobby Rose, a suave, charming, and handsome gentleman who also happens to be a notorious big-time thief sought by every law-enforcement agency in the country. When the major Chicago daily where she works insists she write an exposé about her roguish father, Sophie refuses, quits her job, and goes to work at a small newspaper. Far from her one-time high-powered crime beat, she now covers local personalities such as the quirky winner of several area 5K runs whose trademark is goofy red socks.

Those red socks with Sophie’s business card neatly tucked inside are practically all that’s found after runner William Harrington is killed near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, seemingly the victim of a brutal death by polar bear. The Alaska cops want to know why Harrington carried Sophie’s card. With an unerring nose for a good story, she heads north. What Sophie doesn’t realize is that on her journey from Chicago to Prudhoe Bay, danger follows in her wake. After one attempt on her life, she’s been assigned brash but sexy Jack MacAlister as a bodyguard by the cautious FBI. Amid great peril and deadly intrigue in the unforgiving Alaskan terrain, she and Jack form an uneasy alliance sparked with sensual attraction. But they will soon be fighting more than their growing passion for each other. Powerful forces will stop at nothing to prevent the exposure of the sinister conspiracy Sophie and Jack are about to uncover.

–from Goodreads.com.

08. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Madeline, Memoirs, NonFiction

Bettyville by George Hodgman, 279 pages, read by Madeline, on 03/25/2015

When George Hodgman leaves Manhattan for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, he finds himself—an unlikely caretaker and near-lethal cook—in a head-on collision with his aging mother, Betty, a woman of wit and will. Will George lure her into assisted living? When hell freezes over. He can’t bring himself to force her from the home both treasure—the place where his father’s voice lingers, the scene of shared jokes, skirmishes, and, behind the dusty antiques, a rarely acknowledged conflict: Betty, who speaks her mind but cannot quite reveal her heart, has never really accepted the fact that her son is gay.

As these two unforgettable characters try to bring their different worlds together, Hodgman reveals the challenges of Betty’s life and his own struggle for self-respect, moving readers from their small town—crumbling but still colorful—to the star-studded corridors of Vanity Fair. Evocative of The End of Your Life Book Club and The Tender Bar, Hodgman’s New York Times bestselling debut is both an indelible portrait of a family and an exquisitely told tale of a prodigal son’s return.

–from Goodreads.com.

08. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Madeline, NonFiction

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, 336 pages, read by Madeline, on 03/20/2015

A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay.

Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to becool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.”

In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.

Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.

–from Goodreads.com.

08. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Madeline, Mystery

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, 297 pages, read by Madeline, on 03/15/2015

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins this debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart.

–from Goodreads.com.

Us

08. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Madeline

Us by David Nicholls, 400 pages, read by Madeline, on 03/10/2015

‘I was looking forward to us growing old together. Me and you, growing old and dying together.’

‘Douglas, who in their right mind would look forward to that?’

Douglas Petersen understands his wife’s need to ‘rediscover herself’ now that their son is leaving home.

He just thought they’d be doing their rediscovering together.

So when Connie announces that she will be leaving, too, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again.

The hotels are booked, the tickets bought, the itinerary planned and printed.

What could possibly go wrong?

–from Goodreads.com.

08. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Madeline, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense

Invisible City by Julia Dahl, 304 pages, read by Madeline, on 03/01/2015

Just months after Rebekah Roberts was born, her mother, an Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn, abandoned her Christian boyfriend and newborn baby to return to her religion. Neither Rebekah nor her father have heard from her since. Now a recent college graduate, Rebekah has moved to New York City to follow her dream of becoming a big-city reporter. But she’s also drawn to the idea of being closer to her mother, who might still be living in the Hasidic community in Brooklyn.

Then Rebekah is called to cover the story of a murdered Hasidic woman. Rebekah’s shocked to learn that, because of the NYPD’s habit of kowtowing to the powerful ultra-Orthodox community, not only will the woman be buried without an autopsy, her killer may get away with murder. Rebekah can’t let the story end there. But getting to the truth won’t be easy—even as she immerses herself in the cloistered world where her mother grew up, it’s clear that she’s not welcome, and everyone she meets has a secret to keep from an outsider.

In her riveting debut Invisible City, journalist Julia Dahl introduces a compelling new character in search of the truth about a murder and an understanding of her own heritage.

–from Goodreads.com.

07. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Drama, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Where Sea Meets Sky by Karina Halle, 384 pages, read by Jessica, on 04/07/2015

81YrmXk94jL._SL1500_Joshua Miles has spent his early twenties spinning his wheels. Working dead-end jobs and living at home has left him exhausted and uninspired, with little energy to pursue his passion for graphic art. Until he meets Gemma Henare, a vivacious out-of-towner from New Zealand. What begins as a one-night stand soon becomes a turning point for Josh. He can’t get Gemma out of his head, even after she has left for home, and finds himself throwing caution to the wind for the first time in his life.

It’s not long before Josh is headed to New Zealand with only a backpack, some cash, and Gemma’s name to go on. But when he finally tracks her down, he finds his adventure is only just beginning. Equally infatuated, Gemma leads him on a whirlwind tour across the beautiful country, opening Josh up to life, lust, love, and all the messy heartache in between. Because, when love drags you somewhere, it might never let go—even when you know you have to say goodbye.

07. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim K, Romance

Fall with me by Jennifer L. Armentrout, 384 pages, read by Kim K, on 04/07/2015

Jennifer L. Armentrout, New York Times bestselling author of the Wait for You series, delivers a new novel of first love, second chances, and scorching chemistry between an artistic bartender and the tough, sexy cop who’s determined to win her Roxy’s loved Reece Anders since she was fifteen, so when the straitlaced cop finally surrendered to a steamy encounter years later, Roxy hoped he’d fall for her, too. He didn’t. Or that’s what she’s always believed. But then Reece storms back into her life when the man who injured her childhood friend is out of prison and wanting to make amends—something Roxy cannot do.

The last thing she wants is to go there with Reece again, but he’s determined to prove to her that he’s exactly what she needs. Especially when a sick creep starts messing with her. But what’s more dangerous to Roxy—a psycho after her or the past that refuses to let go and allow her to open up her heart again?

–From Goodreads.com.

07. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Judy, Thriller/Suspense

Close Enough to Kill by Beverly Barton, 447 pages, read by Judy, on 04/06/2015

He’s their secret admirer, wooing them with phone calls, love letters, and special gifts.  From a distance, he admires them.     Desires them.  Despises them. And when he gets close enough, he kills them all.

Adams County, Alabama, is a small, friendly place where everyone knows each other – but not well enough, it seems, because Sheriff Bernie Granger has a serial killer on her hands, a total psycho who first romances, then stalks, kidnaps, and kills his victims.    It’s Bernie’s first big case, a chance for her to prove herself to her new partner, Memphis police detective, Jim Norton, but it won’t be easy.  This killer is uncannily smart.  It’s as if he knows what Bernie is thinking.   And his next move is more than shocking – it’s chillingly personal.

A terrifying game is underway.   A desperate hunt has begun.   Bernie is determined to stop a twisted serial killer at all costs.   But is she getting nearer to catching him – or being drawn ever deeper into his deadly web?

 

Comments:    I could not put this book down.    Keeps you in suspense all through the book.

07. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Kira, Poetry · Tags:

Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow, 312 pages, read by Kira, on 04/05/2015

sharp teeth smed51 images (1)Sharp Teeth is a book about 3 different weredog packs that come into conflict.  It is also the story of Anthony, a dogcatcher, newly in love with one of the unbeknownst to him weredog; and of Peabody a police officer looking into the weird tings happening at the pound.  It is brutal, and has some violent scenes – if you dislike extended torture, just quit reading when Ruiz comes into the picture.

Despite the violence, I really liked the book.  It was 
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well written, with little clues about what sharp-teeth-300x264was going to happen next, sprinkled throughout. This is Not my usual fare.

06. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Carousel Sun by Sharon Lee., 336 pages, read by Kira, on 03/31/2015

3TvEJHOindex   In this 3rd book of the series, Kate is figuring out her relationship with Borgan.  While the townfolk are attempting to persuade the distant owners to expand to  longer season with the local amusement park, the owners are considering selling the property to have condos built on the ocean-side property.  Plus one of the creatures that escaped imprisonment from the magical carousel (in the last book), is looking for her own piece of property to call hers. The middle of the book hits a slow spot, but picks up speed again.  I really hope Ms Lee continues to write in this series.pismo-beach (1)SeaDragondenverzoo.022OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAjantzen_beach_carousel_gray_serpent_2006carousel_nightmare_by_shadowcorvus-d5bqrfh

06. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard, 272 pages, read by Angie, on 04/02/2015

Jory’s family is always on the lookout for signs. Signs can be anything and anywhere after all. Jory’s stepfather Caleb is always talking about signs and being ready. Jory’s mother believes in Caleb because he saved her from her previous life. Part of Caleb’s plan is to make sure they have as little contact with other people as possible and that the kids know they can’t trust officials or what others say. Jory has been homeschooled his whole life until this year. Caleb thinks sending Jory to school will help keep them off the radar. Jory’s mom still homeschools Kit, who came to live with them a few years ago when they found her in the pumpkin patch, and baby Ansel. Caleb finally reveals that the plan to save the family is to dig a bunker in the canyon behind the house. So every night the entire family digs and digs and digs. Because he is getting so little sleep Jory’s school work starts to suffer and he starts to question Caleb’s plans.

I am not sure what to think of this book. I really enjoyed the premise, but really disliked the ending of the book. I am kind of fascinated by survivalists and doomsday preppers. Part of me wants to be prepared too, but the other part of me thinks they are all crazy like Caleb. This is a book about family, but it is also about a family with a lot of mental illness issues. Caleb is clearly suffering from some type of PTSD from his days as a soldier. Jory’s mom doesn’t want to leave the house and suffers from migraines. Kit doesn’t speak and we have no idea what happened that led her to the pumpkin patch. Jory seems fairly normal but he is dealing with a lot. So that part was a fascinating look at a dysfunctional family. I think I would have been all for this book, but the ending soured it for me. It is just too abrupt and offers no conclusion for our characters. We don’t know what happens to any of them and we don’t find out anything about Kit’s backstory. I wanted more when I finished reading and wasn’t satisfied with the crumbs I received.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.

06. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, 374 pages, read by Angie, on 04/05/2015

When a man turns up dead in the cucumbers Flavia De Luce is on the case. Flavia is the youngest daughter of the de Luce family of Buckshaw. She is fascinated with poisons and determined to find out all she can about the dead man. Her quest leads her to her father’s boyhood and a mysterious suicide at his school. It also has her delving into the world of rare stamps and the study of philately. Flavia and her trusty bike Gertrude travel around the area collecting clues and putting the story together.

This was a wonderfully quirky British mystery and a delight to listen to. I loved plucky Flavia and her eccentric family. Even though she is only eleven, she is smarter than many of those around her. I particularly enjoyed how the book unfolded; the mystery was not at all obvious and the reader learned what was going on as Flavia did. I can’t wait for her next adventure.