16. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Horror

Mile 81 by Stephen King, read by Brian, on 07/16/2014

mile 81Mile 81 is a short book by Stephen King. Mile 81 is a broken down abandoned rest stop on the Maine Turnpike.  A perfect place for teenagers to hangout that’s until a Malibu Wagon knocks down the barricade and rolls in making the abandoned stop not so abandoned.  Get too close to the open door of the car and it will be the last thing you will do but maybe scream.

15. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Sisters (Smile #2) by Raina Telgemeier , read by Angie, on 07/14/2014

I had no idea there was going to be a sequel to Smile. I love everything Raina Telgemeier writes and Sisters was no different. Sisters tells the story of Raina and her sister Amara’s rocky relationship. Before Amara is born, Raina can’t wait to have a sister. Once she arrives it is another story however. They are completely different and don’t really get along. They fight and squabble and are interested in different things. Things come to a head when the family takes a cross country car trip. As the oldest of three girls I could completely relate to Raina and Amara. You always love your sisters but you don’t always like them (especially during those tween/teen years). I thought the fights were pretty typical as was the instances where they were allies. Another winner from Telgemeier. 

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. It had mostly black and white illustrations so I can’t wait to see what it looks like in full color.

The Triple Nickles were the first black paratroopers in the American military. During WWII many Blacks joined the military; unfortunately, they were mostly relegated to labor positions and not allowed to fight for their country. This gradually changed as an all-Black tank unit and infantry units were established. Soon Blacks were being trained as pilots at Tuskegee. It wasn’t until 1944 that the Triple Nickles were established. They trained throughout the end of the war always ready to be called up to fight. However, military brass wasn’t quite as ready to integrate as the president was. The Triple Nickles never saw combat during WWII. While the white soldiers were fighting and dying they were sent to the Northwest to be the some of the first smokejumpers. It wasn’t until they were integrated into another paratrooper unit that these brave men would see combat. 

This is an important story to tell. It is amazing to me how we treated people in all walks of life just because the color of their skin was different from our own. This racism is still there today even if it might not always be targeted at Blacks. It took a lot of perseverance and courage on the part of these Black soldiers to break through the racial intolerance of the military leaders. They should be applauded.

15. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, NonFiction · Tags:

Nightmares in the Sky: Gargoyles and Grotesques by Stephen King and f-stop Fitzgerald, read by Brian, on 07/10/2014

nightThis book, Nightmares in the Sky, is a fascinating look at the gargoyles looking over us every day keeping the evil out of our buildings.  It’s amazing their beauty and mystique.

 

14. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Brian, Fiction, Horror

Riding the Bullet by Stephen King, read by Brian, on 07/13/2014

ridingRiding the Bullet was originally an audio book and a short one at that.  It was eventually expanded into a full length novella.  The premise of the story is a college student’s mother is dying and he must hitchhike to her hospital.  Along the way he takes a ride with young talkative man who just happens to be dead.  They have a long discussion about the Silver Bullet, the best roller coaster ever made.  The hitchhiker chickened out when he was a kid.  The driver,  gave the young man a choice, either he could live or his mother could live…a real life silver bullet.

 

14. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Unforgivable by Laura Griffin, read by Melody, on 07/14/2014

TRACING KILLERS IS MIA VOSS’S BUSINESS. AND HER WORK JUST GOT PERSONAL. 

At first, Mia Voss thinks it’s just bad luck when her already lousy day ends with a carjacking, but what seems like a random incident is followed by another sinister episode. A DNA expert, Mia has made it her mission to put away vicious criminals. Suddenly, she’s become the target of one. And the only way to protect the people she loves most is to deliberately destroy her reputation and risk letting a killer walk free. 

Once, Mia trusted Detective Ric Santos, but that was before Ric let his turbulent past ruin his chances with Mia, the sexiest, most intriguing woman he’s ever met. But he can tell when she’s lying and when she’s scared. The key to catching a sadistic madman lies within a long-buried cold case that has haunted Mia for years. Only she can uncover the truth, but first, Ric will have to get her to entrust him with her secrets . . . and her life.

14. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Steam-punk, Teen Books

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger, read by Angie, on 07/13/2014

Sophronia is being sent to finishing school. Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality to be exact. Sophronia would rather be figuring out how things work than learning how to curtsey, but her mother has other ideas. Her mother would be appalled at what she is actually learning at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s. Not only does Sophronia learn how to curtsey and act appropriately in social situations she also learns how to poison someone and the fine art of gathering intelligence. Her other skills come in handy when she and her friends must figure out what has happened to a communications prototype that is wanted by a lot of nefarious characters. 

I like this Victorian steampunk world a lot. I have read Souless, the first in Carriger’s adult series, but didn’t really remember it a lot. This series is set in that same world. The school is a giant balloon that floats across the moors. There are vampire and werewolf teachers. And there are flying skypirates who attack the school. I found the whole thing fun and ridiculous and really enjoyable. There is just enough steampunk, just enough historical fiction, just enough zaniness to make this a really fun read. 

14. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull, read by Angie, on 07/12/2014

Sky Raiders is the first in a new series by Brandon Mull. Cole and his friends visit a spooky haunted house on Halloween and are kidnapped by people from another world. Cole follows the kidnappers to the Outskirts where he too is caught. They are all slaves off to be sold to whoever wants them. Cole is bought by the Sky Raiders, a group that raids the floating castles for whatever treasure they might hold. Cole befriends Mira and they develop a plan to escape. Mira is more than she seems and needs to leave Skyhold before the Grand Shaper finds her. Cole, Mira, Jace and Twitch make their escape but are pursued by hundreds of soldiers. They make their way across this strange country to fight the Carnag and make Mira whole again.

This was a fun book. I thought Cole was a really interesting character full of loyalty for his friends and a daring risk-taker and hero. I can see how this series will be shaped with each book dealing with each of the princesses and each of the five kingdoms. This is a fascinating world Mull has created full of magic and mystery and intrigue. I think the series will be one kids will really enjoy. It is fast-paced, filled with interesting kids and a fabulous adventure.

14. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Boundaries: How the Mason-Dixon Line Settled a Family Feud and Divided a Nation by Sally M. Walker, read by Angie, on 07/13/2014

Sure everyone has heard of the Mason Dixon line. A lot of people may know that it was used to divide the country into slave and nonslave states. Few people might know that it all started because of a boundary dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland. I had some vague knowledge about the Mason Dixon line before reading this book, but I really had no idea about its true origins. Mason and Dixon were hired to survey the true boundaries between Pennsylvania and Maryland because no one really knew what they were. It took them years to do the survey, but the border lines are still those used today. 

Obviously the information in this book was really interesting and I am a big fan of Sally Walker; however, I felt the execution of this book fell short. The first big issue is the side bars. Children’s nonfiction always has sidebar information which is usually little tidbits about different aspects of the subject discussed. I love them and wholeheartedly think they should be in children’s nonfiction. They generally add a depth to the information that was missing. However, the sidebars in this book are terrible. Instead of being nicely separated by a box or off in the margins they are just big block paragraphs in italics. To make things even worse they are always placed in the middle of text; sometimes in the middle of a paragraph that splits between pages. It was horribly distracting and a terrible way to set up a book. 

The second issue was how technical this book got which made it boring! I really enjoy history and this was a story I wasn’t aware of. The bits about William Penn and George Calvert and why they founded their colonies was interesting. The story of Mason and Dixon was interesting. The long paragraphs about how you measure by the stars and what the instruments did was boring. It got so technical that my eyes glazed over. I found myself skimming long paragraphs of technical crap until the story picked up again. If I can’t take it then I am sure the intended audience of kids won’t be able to either. 

I had high hopes for this book and was soundly disappointed. Thankfully I did learn something from it.

14. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Hard evidence by Pamela Clare, read by Kim, on 07/13/2014

After the murder of a teenage girl, a mysterious man in a black leather jacket was seen lurking near the crime scene. Investigative reporter Tessa Novak has him in her sights as the culprit…

 That man was Julian Darcangelo, an undercover FBI agent working with the Denver police. He’s closing in on the trail of a human trafficker and killer. Tessa’s accusations could blow his cover, and he wants her off the investigation.

But just as Tessa has made Julian a target of interest, she is now a target of the killer. And as they are forced to trust each other, their physical attraction escalates as intensely as the threat from a ruthless murderer who wants to see both of them dead…

14. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

To the brink by Cindy Gerard, read by Kim, on 07/12/2014

Working on highly sensitive diplomatic affairs, Darcy Prescott is a natural target for terrorist kidnappers. But when she’s mysteriously plucked off a street in Manila one sultry night, Darcy’s disappearance isn’t what it seems.

The moment Special Forces soldier Ethan Garrett laid eyes on Darcy, he knew she was the woman he would marry–and he did. But when their marriage fell apart, Ethan never really recovered. Now a highly paid bodyguard, Ethan quickly slips back into combat mode when he learns of Darcy’s disappearance and calls in old favors to assemble a rogue rescue team.

Tracking Darcy all the way to the jungles of the Philippines, Ethan knows every move he makes could mean the difference between life and death. His love for Darcy burns stronger than ever. But when he learns the true reason for her abduction, it may be too late to save her–or himself.

14. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Striking distance by Pamela Clare, read by Kim, on 07/12/2014

Her past is a secret—even to her.
Discovering it will be the most dangerous move of her life.

TV reporter Laura Nilsson, known as the “Baghdad Babe,” spent eighteen months in an Al Qaeda compound after being kidnapped live on the air. Two years later, she’s still wondering why.

No rescue mission in Javier Corbray’s fourteen years as a Navy SEAL affected him the way Laura’s rescue did. No woman has stirred his protective instincts the way she has. And he wants her more than he’s ever wanted anyone.

As Laura and Javier’s passion ignites, so does Laura’s need to discover the mystery of her past. Especially when she learns that her abduction was not random—and that she’s still a target for a killer with an impenetrable motive. Now Javier will have to rely on his skills to keep the woman he loves from being struck down before she dares uncover the truth.

14. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Thread of fear by Laura Griffin, read by Melody, on 07/12/2014

Forensic artist Fiona Glass is the best in the business — which is precisely why she’s quitting. Her skill at mining victims’ memories to re-create the faces of sadistic criminals has left her haunted and wary, and only Jack Bowman’s dogged persistence convinces her to help him. The rugged police chief is hunting a serial killer who’s targeting teenage girls. But what seems like a simple assignment is fraught with complications, including a searing attraction to Jack that’s tempting Fiona to let her guard down in potentially dangerous ways.

Jack never intended for Fiona to become so deeply involved in the case — or in his life. But every instinct tells him she’s his best hope for finding a psychopath who’s lurking in plain sight, growing more ruthless with each passing day. And now that Fiona is right in the killer’s crosshairs, the only way to keep her safe is to unravel a small town’s darkest secrets, one terrifying thread at a time.

12. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, NonFiction

Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure by Don Kladstrup, Petie Kladstrup, read by Angie, on 07/10/2014

I, like many people, have a fascination for the horrible things the Nazis did in Europe during WWII. I am especially fascinated by their large-scale looting operations. I knew about the looting of art throughout Europe but had no idea just how far their pillaging went. This book looks at how the wine makers of France were subject to just as much Nazi attention as the art collections of Europe. Millions of bottles of wine were sent to Germany. The vignerons and négociants throughout France had to either sacrifice their wine to the Germans or find ways to hide it and fool the Nazis. Many buried their wines behind false walls in their caves or truly buried it under gardens and ponds. Others hid the good stuff in plain site by mislabeling it and labeling the crap as the good stuff. This book was full of fascinating information about the wine industry in France both before and during the war and the major players on both the French and German sides of the struggle. I admit to getting a bit lost in all the French names, but didn’t let that detract from my enjoyment of the story. I think my favorite part came at the end when the French and American armies were liberating France. The French Army made sure to send the Americans through secondary vineyards so that the prime ones would not be destroyed. The French Army went slow and carefully forward making sure to preserve their heritage whereas the American army simply went through the vines. I thought it said a lot about a culture that prized wine so much it was sent to the soldiers on the front and the lack of it and its destruction helped bring the French Resistance to power. Very powerful story that I would recommend to any history lovers out there.

12. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Teen Books

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, read by Angie, on 07/11/2014

Ari is a young man filled with anger and silence. He comes from a family with a father scarred by war, a mother devastated by a son’s actions and a brother who has disappeared from their lives since he went to prison. Ari has no friends and is melancholy. His only desires are for a truck and a dog. He likes to run and workout, both solitary activities. It all changes when he meets Dante. Dante is vibrant and chatty. He likes to draw and read poetry. He asks hard questions and truly wants to know the answers. Ari and Dante become best friends. Dante brings Ari out of his shell and gets him to talk and makes him realize it is ok for boys to cry. They are there for each other even when Dante moves to Chicago for a year. Their friendship holds up even when Dante confesses he would rather kiss boys than girls and would really like to kiss Ari. Ari cares so much for Dante that he saves his life and goes after a boy who hurt Dante. However, Ari is still conflicted and angry even if he doesn’t know what he is angry about. 

I thought this story was wonderful. I loved the friendship of Ari and Dante and the fact that Dante being gay really had no affect on it. Ari accepts Dante for who he is and who he loves. They are friends no matter what. I also loved the parents in this book, which is something I don’t often say. I thought both Ari and Dante’s parents were some of the best. The relationships were realistic and touching. I also really enjoyed the dialogue of this book. It is snappy and relevant and reminded me of the dialogue on some of my favorite tv shows. This is a great story about acceptance, both of others and yourself. It is a love story, a story about families, a story about self-awareness and a story about growing up into who you are meant to be. 

12. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Teen Books

Going Over by Beth Kephart, read by Angie, on 07/11/2014

Ada and Stefan are young and in love. Unfortunately they are separated by the Berlin Wall. It is 1981 and there are still many years before the wall will fall. Ada, in the west, works at a daycare during the day and graffitis during the night. She lives with Omi (grandmother) and Mutti (mother) in a squatters flat close to the wall. She urges Stefan to make his escape when she sees him every 3 months. Stefan lives with his grandmother in the east. His mother escaped to the west and hasn’t been seen. His grandfather tried to escape and was killed. Stefan is cautious despite his love for Ada.

I have mixed feelings about this book. It is unique, which I enjoyed. I don’t believe I have ever read a teen book about Berlin during the time of the wall. I thought Ada really represented my image of a young German Punk with her cans of paint and bright hair. Stefan seemed to be her exact opposite but also somewhat of a stereotypical reserved German. I liked their love story even if I didn’t always buy its authenticity. I also liked the secondary storyline of the Turkish women and children brought into West Germany as second-class workers. I thought it helped flesh out Ada’s character and make her become more fully realized. Stefan felt a little flat to me because of the lack of more story on his part. I also liked/disliked the writing style. I liked the sparse prose but I thought it left holes in the story. I wanted more information on who these characters were, especially the secondary ones, and what their motivations were. I felt like the story lacked the details that would have made it great. 

10. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Brian, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Short Stories

Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman, read by Brian, on 07/10/2014

neilNeil Gaiman is a wonderful writer who can write any genre.  Smoke and Mirrors is a collection of his short stories.  The stories range from science fiction to horror to normal life.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good read.

 

09. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

One wrong step by Laura Griffin, read by Melody, on 07/08/2014

SHE NEVER PLANNED TO GET INVOLVED WITH HER EX AGAIN, ESPECIALLY NOT IN HIS MURDER….

But that’s just what happens when Celie Wells has an encounter with her former husband, and he turns up dead an hour later. Now, after working hard to distance herself from his crooked ways and shady connections, she finds she’s smack dab in the middle of his murder investigation. And it isn’t just the police who have their eye on her, but an enraged drug lord who is seeking payback. The only person who seems to be on her side is old acquaintance John McAllister. But the sexy reporter has a nose for news, as well as a reputation as a playboy. Is he helping Celie out because he wants a story…or a one-night stand? She knows John’s interest is potentially hazardous to her heart. But not accepting his help could put her life at even greater risk — and she can’t afford one wrong step.

09. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Unlawful Contact by Pamela Clare, read by Kim, on 07/08/2014

Taken hostage by a convicted murderer while reporting at a prison, Sophie Alton has no idea that the man holding the gun to her head is the bad boy who was her first love in high school. Condemned to life without parole, Marc Hunter finds himself with no choice but to break out of prison after his younger sister disappears with her baby.

Though he regrets what he has to put Sophie through, he can’t let anything get in the way of his stopping the corrupt officials who are set on destroying what’s left of his family. But being near Sophie rekindles memories for both of them. As the passion between them heats up, so does the conspiracy to put both of them in their graves.

09. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Breakable by Tammara Webber, read by Jessica, on 07/08/2014

He was lost and alone. Then he found her.
And the future seemed more fragile than ever.


As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise — until tragedy tore his family apart and made him doubt everything he ever believed.

All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy…

As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat.