13. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Katy, Mystery

Crooked Numbers by Tim O'Mara, 306 pages, read by Katy, on 02/12/2015

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When  one of Raymond Donne’s former students is found stabbed to death under the Williamsburg Bridge, Ray draws on his past as a cop to find the truth in Tim O’Mara’s second New York mystery.

Raymond Donne’s former student Douglas Lee had everything going for him thanks to a scholarship to an exclusive private school in Manhattan, but all of that falls apart when his body is found below the Williamsburg Bridge with a dozen knife wounds in it. That kind of violence would normally get some serious attention from the police and media except when it’s accompanied by signs that it could be gang related. When that’s the case, the story dies and the police are happy to settle for the straightforward explanation. Dougie’s mom isn’t having any of that and asks Ray, who had been a cop before an accident cut his career short, to look into it, unofficially. He does what he can, asking questions, doling out information to the press, and filling in some holes in the investigation, but he doesn’t get far before one of Dougie’s private school friends is killed and another is put in the hospital.

What kind of trouble could a couple of sheltered kids get into that would end like that? And what does is have to do with Dougie’s death? None of it adds up, but there’s no way Ray can just wait around for something to happen.

From www.goodreads.com.

Tim’O Mara is awesome! Can’t wait to read his third book.

12. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, Informational Book, NonFiction

Sneaker Century: A History of Athletic Shoes by Amber J. Keyser, 64 pages, read by Angie, on 02/12/2015

The history of sneakers is an interesting one. It is kind of hard to believe that they have only been around a bit over 100 years since they are a constant part of our lives now. Sneaker Century takes the reader through the history of sneakers from the very first ones in the 1800s to modern celebrity-designed ones today. I found the history fascinating. I know almost nothing about sneaker brands other than their names so this was definitely an education for me. I learned that two brothers started a shoe company in pre-WWII Germany and outfitted some of the Olympic runners. After WWII they fought and broke up the company into Adidas and Puma. I also learned that Keds are one of the oldest sneaker brands. The history of Nike and Reebok are also covered. The one thing I wish the book had more of is pictures. It mentions specific shoes or styles of shoes but doesn’t show what those shoes looks like. I think it would have been stronger with more pictures of actual sneakers.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.

12. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Informational Book, NonFiction

Running Dry: The Global Water Crisis by Stuart A. Kallen, 64 pages, read by Angie, on 02/12/2015

Running Dry is a very interesting look at the water problems facing the world. The book details the importance of water to the human population, where it comes from and how it is used. Then it deals with the issues facing us in regards to water: pollution, over-use, increasing demand, and climate change. There is a lot of good information in this highly readable book. I found the parts about how much water farms and industry are using especially interesting and was shocked by the attitudes of bottled water companies who do not think clean water is a human right but a commodity with a price. I also thought it was interesting how different countries are dealing with the water shortages they are facing. This is an excellent resource for students and those interested in the issue.

I received this book from Netgalley.

12. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Steam-punk

Return of the Dapper Men by Jim McCann, Janet K. Lee (Illustrations), 128 pages, read by Angie, on 02/11/2015

Time has stopped in Anorev. Everyone is either a robot or a child; there are no adults. There is no night or bedtime or chores or anything one would expect. Then 312 Dapper Men descend from the sky. They are here to set things right and to restart time. One of the Dapper Men enlists the help of a boy named Ayden and a robot girl named Zoe. They need to do something with the robot angel in the harbor in order to make things they way they should be. I actually wanted more from this story than I got. There isn’t a lot of explanation as to why time stopped, what happened to the adults, who the Dapper Men are, etc. The story itself is pretty sparse. The artwork is gorgeous however. It brings life to the story where the words do not. This is an interesting steampunk fairy tale fantasy but just needed a bit more.

12. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books

The Story of Owen by E.K. Johnston, 312 pages, read by Angie, on 02/11/2015

Owen Thorskard comes from a long line of dragon slayers dating back to the Vikings. His aunt Lottie is one of the most famous dragon slayers of modern times. After Lottie is hurt battling a dragon the family moves to the rural Canadian town of Trondheim, which is thrilled to get its very own family of dragon slayers. Owen’s father, Aodhan, takes on the duties of protecting the area while Lottie and her wife Hannah train Owen. Siobhan McQuaid meets Owen his first day of school when they are both late for English. She is a musician and is soon asked to become Owen’s bard. Turns out dragon slayers used to always have a bard to tell the tales of their heroics. But modern dragon slayers are all corporate or military and the charm of the profession is no more. Lottie and Aodhan want to bring back the traditional role of dragon slayers and they want to start with Owen. Siobhan and Owen train together and Siobhan learns more than how to fight. Turns out the dragons are moving into the area in larger and larger numbers and the fear is a new hatching ground has been established. They have to find a way to stop the dragons before their area becomes just another Michigan.

I loved this book! I had never heard of it until it became one of the sixteen contenders for School Library Journal’s Battle of the Books. I am so glad I was introduced to it. It is such a fun story. It is an alternative history where dragons do exist and they feed on carbon. So as the world became more and more industrialized more and more dragons appeared. I loved all the little details we learned about the world like the fact that Michigan had to be abandoned because the auto industry drew so much dragon attention it was overrun or like the fact that Queen Victoria was the only non-dragon slayer to be inducted into the Order of St. George for moving a hatching ground and enabling travel between England and Scotland. There were lots of little things like that that made the story even more charming. But the true star of this book was Siobhan. She narrates The Story of Owen in such a charming and humorous way. Through her we learn more about the world, the history of dragons, music and dragon slaying. I also really loved that there were no romantic feelings between Owen and Siobhan. They are friends and partners and that is it. It made for a nice change of pace to other teen books. I am definitely putting this series on my to-read list.

12. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown's War Against Slavery by Albert Marrin, 256 pages, read by Angie, on 02/11/2015

John Brown is an interesting historical figure. Was he a terrorist, a patriot, a martyr? Albert Marrin explores these ideas in this book. He details the life of John Brown, how he came to feel so strongly against slavery and why he began his campaign to free the slaves and dissolve the union. Brown is a fascinating character who had very strong political and religious beliefs in regards to slavery. He had no qualms about committing violence in the name of what he felt was right and just and he also sacrificed the lives of some of his children in the process. Marrin does a great job on John Brown and his life. What he also does is pad this book with a lot of information that makes it less readable. There are several chapters on the history of slavery and several more chapters on the history of the Civil War. Neither are necessary in detailing Brown’s life. In fact, the chapters on Brown really only take up about half the book. I think this is going to turn kids off a bit. I know I skimmed/barely read a lot of the extra chapters because it was all stuff I knew or I didn’t think pertained to the story I was trying to read. I think this book would have been better if it had just focused on John Brown and left the rest to other books.

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

Closer than you think by Karen Rose, 544 pages, read by Melody, on 02/11/2015

Psychologist Faith Corcoran is desperate to escape the stalker who’s made her life a nightmare for the past year—desperate enough to run to the one place that has been her nightmare far longer. Both boon and bane, her recent inheritance of her grandmother’s old house in Cincinnati offers sanctuary in which she can start her life anew, but requires that she face the dark memories that still resonate to this day.

But she has no idea how close to home her fears still are.

Two college girls have gone missing in the area, and FBI Special Agent Deacon Novak is called to work on the case. When his inquiry unexpectedly leads him to Faith, he finds a beautiful and brave woman he can’t help but fall for. Soon they’ll discover that this seemingly simple investigation is anything but. Reaching back decades into Faith’s own past, it will shatter everything she believes to be true and will give terrifying new meaning toflesh and blood.

Description from Goodreads.com

12. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim K, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Scream for me by Karen Rose, 448 pages, read by Kim K, on 02/11/2015

For her exciting debut in hardcover, New York Times bestselling author Karen Rose delivers a heart-stopping suspense novel that picks up where DIE FOR ME left off, with a detective determined to track down a brutal murderer.

Special Agent Daniel Vartanian has sworn to find the perpetrator of multiple killings that mimic a 13-year-old murder linked to a collection of photographs that belonged to his brother, Simon, the ruthless serial killer who met his demise in DIE FOR ME. Daniel is certain that someone even more depraved than his brother committed these crimes, and he’s determined to bring the current murderer to justice and solve the mysterious crime from years ago.

With only a handful of images as a lead, Daniel’s search will lead him back through the dark past of his own family, and into the realm of a mind more sinister than he could ever imagine. But his quest will also draw him to Alex Fallon, a beautiful nurse whose troubled past reflects his own. As Daniel becomes attached to Alex, he discovers that she is also the object of the obsessed murderer. Soon, he will not only be racing to discover the identity of this macabre criminal, but also to save the life of the woman he has begun to love.

Description from Goodreads.com

12. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Drama, Jessica, Romance

Dirty Red by Tarryn Fisher, 276 pages, read by Jessica, on 02/12/2015

81EWtzckbeL._SL1500_Leah Smith finally has everything she has ever wanted. Except she doesn’t. Her marriage feels more like a loan than a lifelong commitment, and the image she has worked so hard to build is fraying before her eyes. With a new role and a past full of secrets, Leah must decide how far she is willing to go to keep what she has stolen.

12. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Award Winner, Children's Books, Dystopia, Eric, Fantasy, Fiction

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann, 390 pages, read by Eric, on 02/07/2015

In the walled, dystopian city-state of Quill, each year brings the Purge, when children turning thirteen are sorted into two groups. The Wanteds are allowed to stay in Quill, and continue training at the university. The Unwanteds, those displaying any sort of artistic creativity, are taken from Quill to the Lake of Boiling Oil, as a death sentence for their transgressions. When Alex Stowe is taken with other Unwanteds to their fate, they instead discover their salvation- the Lake of Boiling Oil is a front for Artime, a magic refuge and school, where the artistic talents of the Unwanteds become spells capable of amazing things, including the inevitable defense of Artime when the High Priest Justine of Quill discovers the ruse.

At first, the similarities to Harry Potter were distracting, and I found some of the magical artistic powers and creatures to be a bit silly. As the story progressed, though, I was drawn in a little more with each chapter. By the end, I was enjoying it all, and wanting to continue to the next book. I just needed to keep the intended audience in mind, and let fantasy be wild. This Mark Twain Award winner is a great beginning for a creative series.

12. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Steam-punk, Tammy, Teen Books

Curtsies and Conspiracies (Finishing School #2) by Gail Carriger, 310 pages, read by Tammy, on 02/11/2015

curtsies The second book in the Finishing School series. Our young heroine, Sophronia has now been attending Mademoiselle Geraldines Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality for six months and her first major reviews are coming up. Will she pass the normal reviews of social skills of a high class Victorian lady to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s satisfaction? How will she do with the reviews of the real lessons of the school – being a spy? Sophronia enjoys sneaking around the school, a floating dirigible with multiple levels and ships connected together, at night to visit the ship’s boiler room as well as eavesdrop on the teachers’ quarters. Who among her friends can she trust? What about the teachers? Who is the schools secret patron? Someone high up in the queen’s inner circle, a vampire, a werewolf or other business interests?

12. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Cats, Humor, Tammy · Tags: , , ,

The Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations from Grumpy Cat by Grumpy Cat, 112 pages, read by Tammy, on 02/10/2015

grumpy cat Grumpy Cat lends her grumpiness to every situation… even rainbows. Her she presents her de-motivational guide to life, love and friendship. With new photos of her famous Grumpy face and a couple of her in normal cute cat poses (Shhh! don’t tell Grumpy Cat). For anyone with an inner grouch, dark humor or sarcastic streak.

If you are a Grumpy Cat fan you may also want to check out the library’s copy of the Christmas movie, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever on DVD. The movie is actually a little sweeter than I expected but still had some grumpy moments as well as holiday cuteness.

11. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Lisa, Mystery

Death of a Gossip by M.C. Beaton, 179 pages, read by Lisa, on 02/09/2015

Scottish highland village cop Hamish Macbeth must find which target was provoked enough to strangle and drown nasty fat widowed tabloid reporter Jane Winters, who revealed many others’ guilty secrets. Much is from the viewpoint of a naive secretary seduced by a blue-blood playboy. Icy blond beauty, aristocratic Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, lends a hand.

Description from Goodreads.com.

11. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Lisa, NonFiction

Skin Rules: Trade Secrets From a Top New York Dermatologist by Debra Jaliman, 208 pages, read by Lisa, on 02/04/2015

Skin Rules is a concise and practical instruction manual from a renowned Fifth Avenue dermatologist on how to attain beautiful skin, a taut and sculpted body, and a much younger appearance. Actors, models, and newscasters go to Dr. Jaliman for her cutting-edge technology and the latest in skin care, as well as for her reputation for being the “last stop” doctor, the one who fixes what others can’t.

Skin Rules has something for everyone, no matter where they live or how much money they have to spend. This small, invaluable guide supplies the same advice Dr. Jaliman gives to her celebrity patients, from lasers to remove sun damage and turn back the clock to suggestions for simple products and  habits anyone can adopt for a small outlay of time and money.

In Skin Rules readers will learn:
• about the one ingredient that should NEVER be in sunscreens, but often is
• how to use inexpensive Aquaphor to heal wounds and prevent scarring
• which drugstore products really work for acne and wrinkles

Description from Goodreads.com.

11. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Drama, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher, 278 pages, read by Jessica, on 02/10/2015

81fNp4iqbUL._SL1500_Olivia Kaspen has just discovered that her ex -boyfriend, Caleb Drake, has lost his memory. With an already lousy reputation for taking advantage of situations, Olivia must decide how far she is willing to go to get Caleb back. Wrestling to keep her true identity and their sordid past under wraps, Olivia’s greatest obstacle is Caleb’s wicked, new girlfriend; Leah Smith. It is a race to the finish as these two vipers engage in a vicious tug of war to possess a man who no longer remembers them. But, soon enough Olivia must face the consequences of her lies, and in the process discover that sometimes love falls short of redemption

10. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, Informational Book, NonFiction, Teen Books

Patient Zero: Solving the Mysteries of Deadly Epidemics by Marilee Peters, 166 pages, read by Angie, on 02/10/2015

Patient Zero is a look at epidemics of the past and how doctors and scientists found what or who was causing them. The epidemics covered were the plague, cholera, yellow fever, typhoid, Spanish flu, ebola and AIDS. Each chapter focused on the “patient zero” who was the first to get the disease and start spreading it. It is a pretty interesting read with lots of good historical information. However, it is not a book for research. The diseases are covered pretty thoroughly but in a more surface way than would be needed for reports or assignments. I think kids who are interested in this type of thing will really enjoy this more for pleasure reading.

My one gripe with the book is actually the illustrations. There are clip art type pictures throughout the book instead of actual photos or historical data. I thought the pictures didn’t fit with the text and actually distracted me from the seriousness of what I was reading.

I received this book from Netgalley.

10. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh, 352 pages, read by Angie, on 02/09/2015

GiGi (Galileo Galilei) and her big sister DiDi (Delta Dawn) have moved from South Carolina to Long Island after DiDi won a million dollars. Their mom died when GiGi was a baby and DiDi has been taking care of her. She doesn’t want GiGi to be like her, never finishing school and a hairdresser, so she pushes GiGi to do well in school and has enrolled her in a prestigious prep school. GiGi decides this is the perfect time to reinvent herself so she changes her name to Leia and decides to make friends. She starts out by tripping over cute boy Trip and immediately becomes part of the popular crowd. She also becomes enemies with mean girl Mace. The only thing GiGi and DiDi have from their momma is a recipe book full of very unhealthy recipes. They know she was also Delta Dawn and a hairdresser and that she loved Revlon’s Cherries in the Snow lipstick. This is the story of GiGi’s new life in Long Island, how she discovered who she really is, and how she came to find out what really happened in her past.

This book is full of recipes which might interest some young readers; however, I found I just skipped them whenever they popped up. I would never make any of them so I wasn’t really interested in finding out what was in a twinkie pie. I did like GiGi’s story even if she wasn’t always the most likeable character. Mace is portrayed as the mean girl, but she actually turns out to be fairly nice. GiGi however is horrible to both her sister and Mace throughout the story. The revelations about GiGi’s past aren’t that surprising, but I think kids will find them interesting. This is a book that is going to appeal more to girls than to boys.

I received this book from Netgalley.

10. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

If I Stay by Gayle Forman, 201 pages, read by Sarah, on 02/09/2015

Mia is out for a family drive and her whole life changes in an instant.  Her stresses about life choices, music vs boyfriend, are all put on hold as she has to make the most important decision of her life.  Will she stay or will she go on to be with her family?  This was a memoir of sorts as Mia flashes back to memories and re-lives her life so far.

This dark tale emphasizes how important family is to your back story and how music can infuse your life and influence it like nothing else can.  This was another one I was wishing I had the cd to while I was reading!

10. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff, 281 pages, read by Sarah, on 02/09/2015

Sam’s best friend, Hayden, commits suicide after a fight at a party.  He leaves a playlist of music for Sam to listen to and a note that says the playlist will explain everything.  Sam is hurt, confused, guilty, and wondering what he missed that night that could have changed the way things turned out.  A friend of Hayden’s, who Sam doesn’t know anything about, shows up and starts to shed some light on that last night’s events.

This was a sad mystery of sorts as I tried to figure out who was behind the “paying back” of the bullies that let this escalate so drastically.  It needed to come with a cd of the music referenced to help me understand it even better.  I was tempted to go to i-tunes more than once!  It was a good book.

09. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Tammy · Tags: , , , , ,

Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth, 259 pages, read by Tammy, on 02/01/2015

miss dreamsville A group of social misfits join together to form a book club at their small town library. Set in the south in a small town in Florida during the sixties the group is made up of a divorcee, an old maid, a gay man, a Northerner, a young black woman, an ex-con and the librarian with secrets of her own. The way these quite different individuals become friends and end up affecting each other’s lives is a lovely tale.