12. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Drama, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Burying Water by K.A. Tucker, 369 pages, read by Jessica, on 11/11/2014

51vFQIlO5RLLeft for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him?

Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried.

The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.

10. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Fiction, Tammy · Tags: , , ,

Dog Days of Arthur Cane by T. Ernesto Bethancourt , 160 pages, read by Tammy, on 11/03/2014

dog days Arthur is a not a bad guy, but he’s not the most considerate or thoughtful person either. He makes fun of a transfer student’s heritage and religious beliefs including the power of voodoo. Next morning, Arthur wakes up to find himself transformed into a dog. And not a nice pure bred dog his own well to do family would like but a mangy looking mutt. Through his new viewpoint of the world as a dog, Arthur learns about friendship, compassion, kindness and consideration for others. Follow Arthur on his life changing adventure. You may treat others better afterwards whether they be man or beast.

09. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction

Painting the Rainbow by Amy Gordon, Richard Tuschman (Illustrations), 169 pages, read by Angie, on 11/09/2014

The Greenwood family spends every summer at their lake house in New Hampshire. Ivy and Holly are cousins and good friends. The summer of 1965 when they are 13 doesn’t seem like other summers. For one thing, Ivy’s parents are fighting all the time and she is afraid they are going to get divorced. Her dad is also constantly fighting with her older brother Randy. Holly’s parents are teaching in California for the summer and weren’t able to join the family. Ivy and Holly are also not getting along as well as they have in the past. They seem to be growing apart and gravitating towards different things. Holly and Ivy start uncovering clues in the mystery of Uncle Jesse and a young Japanese student named Kiyoshi Mori. No one in the family wants to talk about how Jesse died during the war or even about him at all. The girls uncover clues through letters and diaries they find in the lake house.

I enjoyed this story, but found the act of reading the book a bit challenging. Maybe I am just so used to reading middle grade novels with 12 point text (generally), but the fact that this book is printed in 9 point font surprised me. I actually felt like I was reading something that might have been printed in the 1960s. I think that feature is going to turn some kids off who are used to bigger text even when the book is bigger. The story itself was interesting and I really wanted to find out the mystery of Uncle Jesse (I kept getting Full House flashes every time I read that!) and Kiyo. I liked how the girls discovered more and more about Jesse as the story progressed. There is such a big cast of auxiliary characters that I did have trouble keeping them straight. It didn’t help that all the Greenwood siblings had J names (John, Jim, Jake, Jesse and Jenny). I really appreciated the family tree in the front of the book to keep everyone straight. Reading this book actually made me want to find out more about the Japanese Internment Camps and the plight of the Japanese-Americans during WWII.

09. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

The Only Thing Worse Than Witches by Lauren Magaziner, 272 pages, read by Angie, on 11/08/2014

Rupert Campbell lives in one of the only towns with witches and he is fascinated by them. Unfortunately, his mom doesn’t want him to have anything to do with witches. Rupert has the most horrible, sadistic teacher in the world Mrs. Frabbleknacker who gleefully tortures her students on a daily basis. The first time we meet Rupert he is knee deep in the town dump looking for a paperclip Mrs. Frabbleknacker hid. Rupert answers an add in the paper for a witch’s apprentice and meets Witchling Two. Witchling Two needs help passing her magic exams. She has a lot of trouble with her spells. Seems like every spell she says comes out as the rhyme of what she meant. Witchling Two is absolutely hilarious. She has very bizarre ideas about humans. She thinks they cry when they are happy and is always mixing up sayings. She also loves lollipops and is terrified of bunnies. She and Rupert set up her lair in his basement because she is not supposed to associate with humans and will get in trouble if the witch council finds out.

I absolutely adored Witchling Two and her fumbling ways. Her ability to mix up the simplest things was truly remarkable. I liked that Rupert was the sensible one of the group always trying to get Witchling to study and practice for her exams. I also really loved Mrs. Frabbleknacker and how truly evil she was. She is one of the best villains I have read in a long while. Her classes were ingenious and torturous and hilarious. I think this is a book kids are going to really enjoy. It is equal parts mystery, fantasy and humor which is a wonderful mix.

09. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Mystery

Once Upon a Midnight Eerie: The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe, Book Two by Gordon McAlpine, Sam Zuppardi (Illustrations), 192 pages, read by Angie, on 11/08/2014

Edgar and Allen Poe are back in their second adventure. This time they are in a movie about Edgar Allen Poe in New Orleans. They meet another set of twins Em and Milly Dickinson who are descendants of Emily Dickinson and also starring in the movie. Together the twins meet a couple of ghosts who can’t pass on because they have unfinished business. The kids help them with their quest to expose their murderer. Edgar and Allen don’t know it but they are also under surveillance by Professor Perry’s daughter who wants to stop her father’s plans, but not by helping Edgar and Allen. This second adventure is a bit better than the first actually. It isn’t quite as implausible or ridiculous. It is an interesting mystery series. Not sure how much it will appeal to kids, but it does have a certain kind of charm.

09. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Fallen by Leslie Tentler , 290 pages, read by Melody, on 11/08/2014

Amid a sultry Atlanta summer, someone is targeting police…

The investigation becomes personal for APD Detective Ryan Winter when a colleague and friend is shot dead, the second victim in just weeks. But even as he finds himself being drawn into the tense hunt for a serial cop killer, he is forced to re-examine his own shattering personal tragedy.

An ER physician at Atlanta’s busy Mercy Hospital, Dr. Lydia Costa is no stranger to suffering. Still, the recent police slayings reopen barely healed wounds—and bring her face-to-face with her ex-husband, Ryan Winter.

As the body count rises and paranoia tightens its grip on the police force, Lydia and Ryan are pulled together by circumstances and fate…causing old passions to reignite despite their painful shared past. But as Ryan moves closer to discovering the killer’s identity, someone is watching, placing both him and Lydia in mortal danger.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books

Circle of Stones by Catherine Fisher, 304 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/27/2014

Three interwoven, spine-tingling historical thrillers from the New York Times bestselling author of Incarceron.

Suspense, mysticism, and history encircle three separate but related narratives in this fantasy novel. Today, Sulis, a teenage girl with a mysterious past, arrives in Bath with a new identity, trailed by the person she’s trying to outrun.  In 1740, Zac is apprenticed to an architect obsessed with Druidic mysteries, but has his own secret—and destructive—agenda.  In ancient England, a druid king discovers the healing waters of a magical spring, where he founds a great city, and the heart of Fisher’s story. Through each voice, the mysteries are revealed, linking Sulis, Zac, and the king through the circles of time.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator), 320 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/19/2014

Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It’s a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

In This One Summer two stellar creators redefine the teen graphic novel. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind Skim, have collaborated on this gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about a girl on the cusp of her teen age—a story of renewal and revelation.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Fiction, Teen Books

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu, 208 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/18/2014

Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party.

But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?

It’s true. Ask ANYBODY.

Rumor has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It’s written all over the bathroom stall at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumors start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students—the girl who has the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door—tell all they know.

But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there’s only one person to ask: Alice herself.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Fables: The Deluxe Edition, Vol. 8 by Bill Willingham, 232 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/17/2014

Flycatcher is drawn into the spotlight as he discovers the startling truth about his own past as the Frog Prince. At the same time, he learns that the Adversary plans to destroy his foes once and for all. How can the meek Flycatcher stop this deadly foe?

This deluxe edition collects Fables issues #60-63, 65-69

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Courtney, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud, 440 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/14/2014

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again .

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Fiction, Teen Books

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, 371 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/11/2014

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Horror, Teen Books · Tags:

The Infects by Sean Beaudoin, 384 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/04/2014

A feast for the brain, this gory and genuinely hilarious take on zombie culture simultaneously skewers, pays tribute to, and elevates the horror genre.

Seventeen-year-old Nero is stuck in the wilderness with a bunch of other juvenile delinquents on an “Inward Trek.” As if that weren’t bad enough, his counselors have turned into flesh-eating maniacs overnight and are now chowing down on his fellow miscreants. As in any classic monster flick worth its salted popcorn, plentiful carnage sends survivors rabbiting into the woods while the mindless horde of “infects” shambles, moans, and drools behind. Of course, these kids have seen zombie movies. They generate “Zombie Rules” almost as quickly as cheeky remarks, but attitude alone can’t keep the biters back.

Serving up a cast of irreverent, slightly twisted characters, an unexpected villain, and an ending you won’t see coming, here is a savvy tale that that’s a delight to read—whether you’re a rabid zombie fan or freshly bitten—and an incisive commentary on the evil that lurks within each of us.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Transmetropolitan, Vol. 10: One More Time by Warren Ellis, 144 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/02/2014

The final volume in the saga of outlaw journalist Spider Jerusalem written by comics superstar Warren Ellis.

At last, it’s the final showdown between Spider and the absolutely corrupt President of the United States in this new printing of the finale to the classic dystopian saga from Vertigo.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Fiction, Teen Books

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld, 599 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/06/2014

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

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

Under the wire by Cindy Gerard, 352 pages, read by Kim, on 11/07/2014

Because of Her, He Lost Everything.

Manny Ortega is a man without a country, and he has one woman to thank for it. She was his first and only true love, and when she left, she took more than his heart – she took his life as he knew it. Hardened and honed sharp as a knife by years as a special forces soldier and police detective, Manny is ready for a fresh start at his friend Ethan Garrett’s security firm. But the past isn’t ready to let him go…

To Keep Her Safe…

Lily Campora never imagined what would happen to Manny after she walked away from him that night in the sultry Nicaraguan heat–or how he’d hated her for it every day since. Seventeen years later, Lily knows everything, and she must put her fear of Manny’s rage aside to beg for his help. His forgiveness may be too much to hope for…

He’ll Do Anything.

Thrust into action on a mission that will transport them to a country rife with political turmoil and civil unrest, Manny and Lily must find a way to work together. And now, amidst the dangerous beauty of a landscape reminiscent of Manny’s homeland, passion will ignite once more…

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Jungle of Bones by Ben Mikaelsen, 224 pages, read by Angie, on 11/06/2014

Dylan steals a car and ruins a farmer’s field because he is mad at his mother. He is also mad that his father went to Darfur and was killed. His mom packs him off with his uncle Todd for the summer. Todd is an ex-marine and doesn’t take any of Dylan’s crap. He is taking Dylan on a trip to Papua New Guinea (PNG) for the summer. They are going to be looking for a WWII bomber that was shot down in the jungle. Todd’s father and Dylan’s grandfather was the only survivor. Dylan bucks authority at every turn even when it is in his best interests like taking malaria pills or learning how to survive in the jungle. Once they get to PNG, Dylan still keeps blaming others and being stupid. He compounds his stupidity by getting separated from the group and getting lost in the jungle. He does everything wrong and almost ends up losing a leg. Yet he still doesn’t take responsibility for his actions. It is not until he is on his way home that he grows up a little bit.

I thought this book was interesting. I really enjoyed the WWII story and the search for the plane. Unfortunately that is interrupted by Dylan’s trip into stupidity. He is one of the least likable characters I have read in a long time. Even at the end I didn’t really believe his transformation because he was just so unlikable throughout the book. I was actually wishing he lost his leg at one point. I think some kids will enjoy this story of survival and growing up, but I fear some may be completely turned off by how horrible Dylan is.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Poetry

Another Day as Emily by Eileen Spinelli, 240 pages, read by Angie, on 11/07/2014

Suzy’s little brother becomes a hero when he calls 911 for a neighbor. Suddenly Suzy is second fiddle in the family and Parker is getting all the attention. Suzy’s and her best friend Alison are taking part in Tween Time at the library during the summer and learning about the 1800s. Suzy is also friends with Gilbert, a young man who does odd jobs around the neighborhood. Gilbert is accused of stealing from one of the neighbors, but Suzy is sure he didn’t do it. When Suzy learns about Emily Dickinson at the library she decides that maybe it is time to give up being Suzy and start being Emily. She wears white dresses and becomes a recluse. However, being a recluse is hard work and Emily misses some of the things she did as Suzy.

I enjoy novels in verse and this one was fairly well done. I liked the family dynamic of Suzy’s family, but I felt like most parents would not have put up with the recluse nonsense. I did think it was pretty realistic how Parker got more attention than Suzy and she got jealous. That is something a lot of kids have to work through. I am not sure how familiar kids today would be with Emily Dickinson and her poetry.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction

Seven Wild Sisters: A Modern Fairy Tale by Charles de Lint, Charles Vess (Illustrator), 272 pages, read by Angie, on 11/07/2014

Sarah Jane is the middle child of seven red-haired sisters. She has become friends with Aunt Lillian who lives in the mountains above her family’s farm. Aunt Lillian tells Sarah Jane stories about the Apple Tree Man and the King of the Cats and the fairies. Sarah Jane is drawn to Aunt Lillian’s simpler way of life. One day when she is collecting ‘sang (ginseng) she discovers a sangman badly injured. Not wanting to get involved in a fairy conflict but not wanting to let the little man die. She brings the man back to Lillian’s but doesn’t realize the chain of events she has started. She has interfered in a war between the bee fairies and the sang fairies. Soon all six of her sisters has been pulled in and Sarah Jane must figure out how to return the injured sangman and save her sisters.

This is the first Charles de Lint book I have read, but I have heard a lot of good things about his books. I enjoyed Sarah Jane’s story a lot and thought she was very well thought out. However, I kept getting her sisters confused and was never as sure about them as I was about Sarah Jane. I also wished there was more to the fairy story. I know this is a companion to The Cats of Tanglewood Forest which tells Lillian’s story and I kind of wish I had read that one first. I think it would have filled in some of the details I was missing in this one.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Charlie Bumpers vs. the Squeaking Skull by Bill Harley, 160 pages, read by Angie, on 11/07/2014

It is Halloween and Charlie is determined to have an epic holiday. He doesn’t want to take his younger sister trick-or-treating like he does every year. He wants to go to his friend Alex’s house in a wealthy neighborhood. he thinks big houses equals big candy. He also wants to have an epic costume but his mom is really busy. Charlie enlists the help of his art teacher to make his bat costume. Now the only thing he has to worry about is the fact that Alex plans to show scary movies at his house. Charlie doesn’t like scary movies at all. His brother Matt helps him out by de-scarifying him and telling him scary stories. This is another hit for the Charlie Bumpers series. I think Bill Harley does a great job of writing about things that all kids worry about and making the stories relatable.