11. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction · Tags:

Grounded by Kate Klise, read by Angie, on 09/10/2014

Daralynn Oakland survived because she was grounded. She had gone fishing at Doc Lake without permission so her mom grounded her and she didn’t get on the plane that crashed and killed her dad, sister and brother. After the funeral, her mom starts doing hair at the funeral home and takes over the local hair salon. Her mom becomes more and more withdrawn as time goes by and everything seems to irritate her. The biggest irritant is Aunt Josie. Aunt Josie runs the Summer Sunset Retirement Home for Distinguished Gentlemen out of her home and is always taking care of old men with no family. Her new beau is Mr. Clem who has just opened the new crematorium in town. Daralynn and her mom are unhappy because Mr. Clem steals their idea for living funerals and they are afraid he will put the funeral home out of business.

This book contains an interesting case of characters. They are all eccentric and just a little bit different. The story is a bit over the top but it is fun and definitely keeps you interested. I thought the reveal about Mr. Clem was easy to spot and just a bit predictable but kids might not be able to spot it. I did like the glimpse into how people deal with grief in different ways. It would bring up several good discussion points for parents and kids to talk about. I think my favorite moment in the book was when Daralynn was talking about her brother and his love of peanut butter and tomato sandwiches. I had no idea anyone outside of my family ate such a thing! Guess it must be a Missouri thing.

10. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, NonFiction, Paula

James Dean The Biography by Val Holley, read by Paula, on 09/10/2014

On September 30, 1955, en route to a car race in Salinas, James Dean, in a Porche Spyder, crashed head-on with a Ford and died instantly; he was 24 years old. This year he will have been dead 40 years; Holley’s biography is the most definitive biography yet written, and it is quite interesting without being sensational. Holley does take off into flights of verbosity at times, but his general style is so forthcoming that his work gains in credibility, albeit slowly, as the very first chapter, “A James Dean Primer,” is too breathless, dazzling readers with his subject’s legendary achievements and controversies. But then the pace slows, and Holley begins building his portrait with fine use of the 100 or so interviews with people who have never before spoken on record. His presentation of Dean’s career in New York onstage is surprising in that for most people his image is filmic. But, like Brando, he worked well on the stage, gained notoriety, and became a member of the Actors Studio. Holley reveals that Dean’s television work was extensive and continued after he became a Hollywood star. It seemed before that James Dean came from nowhere, a total myth, who in the last 18 months of his life acted in three films–East of Eden, Rebel without a Cause, and Giant, and only East of Eden had been released when he crashed. Now it’s different; an icon has human dimensions. Bonnie Smothers

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

This year he will have been dead 59 years.  From reading this book I learned so much about the “real” James Dean, not the Hollywood version of the man.  His mother died at the age of 9 and he was sent to live with his Aunt and Uncle in Indiana.  Feelings of abandonment followed him his whole life.  There is much controversy about his sexuality, which I never knew.  From various accounts of people, he was an enigma. He changed his persona to fit the person he was with.  Giving them the version of himself he thought they wanted to see.  Extremely interesting and intriguing man.  I recommend anyone who has ever watched his films to read this book.  You will see him in a whole new light.

 

10. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fantasy, Fiction

Twilight's Dawn by Anne Bishop, read by Angie, on 09/09/2014

This is the final book in the Black Jewels series. It is a collection of novellas that wrap up all the storylines. The first story, Winsol Gifts, takes place after the events of Tangled Webs. The family is planning their first real Winsol together. It is a light story that deals mainly with the family and the relationships between the characters. Shades of Honor is about Ranier and Surreal’s recovery after the events of Tangled Webs. They head to Ebon Askavi to let Lucivar get them back into shape. Unfortunately, there is a traitor in the Eyriens that Lucivar has to take care of. Family wraps up the Queen Sylvia storyline. Then we come to The High Lord’s Daughter the final story in this series. It starts with the death of Jaenelle and moves on to the death of Saeten. Then the relationship between Daemon and Surreal takes an unexpected turn when they turn to each other for comfort. There is a baby, a marriage and a new Dreams Made Flesh. Their daughter is named Jaenelle Saetien after the two people they have loved and lost. The story spans several years as we watch Jaenelle grow up and make the kind of friends the first Jaenelle made. It ends after she gets her birthrite jewels and they discover what she is.

I like Bishop’s short stories, or really novellas. They let us know what her characters are doing between books and this one covered a little bit of that territory and then took us beyond the books and showed us the end of the Jaenelle and Daemon story. I am a bit surprised about how this series ended up not as much as I could have been. Does it completely make sense? Maybe, but it does work with the previous books. People have to move on after a death and Jaenelle and Daemon were never going to be together forever that was always plainly stated. I was surprised at some of Daemon’s actions though; he waits centuries for Jaenelle as a virgin but a couple of years after her death he jumps into bed with several different women; seemed a little out of character for him. For the most part I am fairly satisfied with the ending of this series. So if this is the end of the Black Jewels I am not too sad about it. I just hope Bishop opens one of her other series back up or starts another series that will be just as engrossing as this one has been. And if this isn’t the end of the series I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

09. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags: ,

Fat Cat by Robin Brande, read by Kira, on 09/07/2014

Overweight teen Cat takes on a high school science project where she takes up the diet and physical habits of hominins.  In the process she loses lots of weight, dates a number of guys, and tries to recover from an old emotional injury.

The books starts out well enough, but gets pedantic towards indexsthe $_72end.    images36090411 index

09. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Wild Born: Spirit Animals Bk1 by Brandon Mull, read by Kira, on 09/06/2014

In
images Spirit Animals_thumb[4] Animal_spirits_squares_black_detail AnimalSpiritCircle The beginning of the Spirit Animals series.  At the start of the adventure, 4 11-yr olds drink the special honey liquid and are able to call spirit animals.  But Not just any spirit animals appear to these 4, rather the Great 4 Fallen, who died in the old battle with the Destroyer.  Each youth is from a different country on Erdras and from a different segment in society.

 

This is a fast moving, action filled adventure.

09. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fantasy, Fiction

Shalador's Lady by Anne Bishop, read by Angie, on 09/08/2014

This is the second part of Cassidy’s story which started in The Shadow Queen. It begins right where the last book left off. Cassidy is still gaining the trust of her court and of Dena Nehele. She is teaching the Queens things they have forgotten and forging a bond with the land. The one bond she can’t seem to forge is with Theran. He still maintains that Cassie is not the Queen they need even though everyone else believes she is. When Kermilla comes to Grayhaven things get even worse. She is the Queen that took Cassie’s last court and she wants to make trouble for Cassie again. Theran falls for her and sets himself up against Cassie and the rest of the court which forces the court to leave Grayhaven and move south to the Shalador reserves. Theran believes Kermilla will rule Dena Nehele after Cassie’s contract ends but he can’t seem to get the support he needs. Might be because Cassie is sweet and wonderful and truly cares about the land and the people and Kermilla is a witch who spends all the money, shoplifts, berates the staff and anyone else she can and is extremely unlikeable. Since Theran isn’t waking up to the truth about Kermilla Cassie and her court have to figure out a way to do what is best for the people of Dena Nehele.

It takes a great writer to transition from one part of her world to another and Anne Bishop has done that beautifully in these Shalador books. I love how she has moved from focusing on the SaDiablo family to showing us what it is like in other courts and other parts of the world. Cassie’s story illustrates that not all successful courts have to be dark to be strong and powerful. Cassie is not a dark queen, yet she is a powerful queen and knows how to rule her land. Watching her story unfold was wonderful. I loved this book and the one before it. Anne Bishop really knows how to write characters and how to make them grow. I also love how she is able to weave her other characters into the storyline without making it seem forced or awkward.

08. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Jessica, Romance

One More Chance by Abbi Glines, read by Jessica, on 09/08/2014

81ynYbZNY6L._SL1500_The unforgettable story of Grant and Harlow from Take a Chance continues in this brand-new novel in the Rosemary Beach series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines.

She was it. His one. His only. Then he made the mistake of letting her go.

After fighting his way into Harlow Manning’s heart—and revealing a side of himself no one had ever seen before—Grant Carter destroyed his own heart by giving in to his greatest fears and doubts. Months later, he’s stuck in a miserable routine. Work relentlessly. Beg his best friend Rush for news about Harlow. Avoid all other friends. Leave nightly voicemails for Harlow, pleading with her to come back to Rosemary Beach. Fall asleep alone. Repeat.

Miles away, on her brother’s Texas ranch, Harlow can’t bring herself to listen to Grant’s voicemails. Though she wants to be with him, and knows he regrets letting her go, she doesn’t know if she can trust him. When he discovered the truth behind her sheltered upbringing, it shattered their relationship, but the secret she carries now has far greater consequences. Can she risk giving Grant one more chance, or will the gamble ultimately destroy her?

08. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fantasy, Fiction

The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop, read by Angie, on 09/07/2014

We finally get back to the territory of Dene Nehele that we visited in The Invisible Ring. The realm of Terrielle was devastated by the cleansing of the realms and the ladens attack on what little blood was left. Two years after the cleansing Dene Nehale is ready to start rebuilding. The only problem is that they need a Queen. Theran Grayhaven is the heir to the Grayhaven line. He has been living in the mountain camps with the rogues his entire life. Now he is back at Grayhaven and ready to start again. He decides to call in the promise made to Jared by Daemon Sadi. Theran requests a Queen to help Dene Nehele. The Queen he gets is not what he expected and he is disappointed. Cassidy is not pretty or powerful or dynamic. She is a plain girl who knows protocol and the old ways of the Blood and she is Jaenelle’s choice for Dene Nehele. Theran and Cassidy do not fit together and they butt heads at every turn. But just because Theran doesn’t think Cassidy is the Queen for him doesn’t mean she isn’t the Queen for Dene Nehele.

This is a nice change of pace novel for the Black Jewels series. The others are all about powerful people doing big things. This is about strength outside of the jewel strength. Cassie might not have a lot of power as a Queen, but she is strong in the ways that count. I appreciate the fact that there can be more ordinary people in this world. I did think some of the side stories were a little much and kept drawing the reader away from the main story. I enjoyed Daemon and Jaenelle’s bit of story but the parts with Saeten were a bit out of character and didn’t seem to fit. As always though, Anne Bishop writes a very compelling story that is hard to put down.

08. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fantasy, Fiction

Tangled Webs by Anne Bishop, read by Angie, on 09/06/2014

Jaenelle and Marian are going to make a spooky house for children as part of the harvest festival. Unfortunately, someone else is also making a spooky house, but it is not going to be fun. Surreal and Ranier get trapped in the house with a group of children. Every use of magic seals and exit and there are only so many exits. There are also demon-dead trapped in the house trying to kill them. Jaenelle, Daemon and Lucivar have to figure out who is behind the house and how to rescue Surreal and Ranier. Probably not my favorite of the Black Jewels stories mainly because it seems a little silly after all the other stories. I did like the fact that we got to see more of Surreal though. Even if it isn’t my favorite it was still a fun story.

08. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Short Stories

Dreams Made Flesh by Anne Bishop, read by Angie, on 09/06/2014

This is a collection of short stories from the world of the Black Jewels series. The first tells of how the Arachna became the weaver of dreams. The second, longer story is how Lucivar and Marian met and got married. The third short story is a Saeten story about losing his third child and how he finally broke with Hekatah. The final story takes place after the events of Queen of the Darkness and tells of Jaenelle’s recovery and her relationship with Daemon. I enjoyed all of these stories but it was really the Lucivar and Daemon ones that really worked for me. I liked the additional details we got about things that were only hinted at in other books.

08. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fantasy, Fiction

The Invisible Ring by Anne Bishop, read by Angie, on 09/06/2014

Interesting story in the Black Jewels world. Takes place many years before the trilogy. It is the story of a pleasure slave named Jared who is bought by the Gray Lady, the Queen of Dene Nehele. She is one of very few Queens standing against Dorothea and her taint of the Blood. The caravan is being pursued by Dorothea as they try to make their way across the mountains. Secrets are revealed about everyone in the group and several are not who they seem. This was a nice story that gave the reader some background on events before Jaenelle’s story. Jared and Lia are interesting characters and it was fun to see Daemon helping people.

08. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fantasy, Fiction

Queen of the Darkness by Anne Bishop, read by Angie, on 09/05/2014

Jaenelle is now Queen of the Ebon Askavi. She has come into her power and rules the shadow realm of Kaeleer. Even though she has found a way to protect the Kindred and the realm she hasn’t diminished the power of Dorothea and Hekatah. They are still determined to bring down Saeten, Daemon and Lucivar and rule all of the realms. Jaenelle has to take drastic measures to rid the realms of their taint and save those she loves.

This is the final book in the black jewels trilogy and it is a great one. Everything comes to a head in this book as all the powers that have been circling finally come together. I find this book heartbreaking and lovely. It shows the depth evil can sink to and the height honor and goodness can rise to. It also shows just how far a person has to go sometimes to save the world. Anne Bishop is a master craftsman in world-building and storytelling.

08. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fantasy, Fiction

Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop, read by Angie, on 09/05/2014

Jaenelle is recovering from the events of Daughter of the Blood but has no memory of those events. As she recovers she starts to come back into the world and reconnect with her childhood friends. Saeten finds himself the guardian of the young witch and, when her friends come to stay for the summer, an entire coven of witches and their respective escorts. Jaenelle is growing into her power and trying to figure out exactly how deep her well goes. Daemon has fallen into the Twisted Kingdom of madness because of his rescue of Jaenelle but has no memory of how he got there or why. Lucivar believes Daemon killed Jaenelle and is determined to end his life in the salt mines. And the Blood in Kaeleer are being influenced by the immigrants from Terrielle and causing the same kind of trouble. Jaenelle has to do whatever it takes to help her people survive the taint of Dorothea and Hekatah.

This book has one of my favorite scenes in it. Can’t give it away because it would spoil the ending but it gets me every time I read it. This is one of my favorite series. I love the world Anne Bishop has created. The people are dark and dangerous and the world is one of beauty and honor and evil and violence. This middle book is about growing into who you are becoming and stepping up when it is needed.

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

One Wrong Step by Laura Griffin, read by Kim, on 09/07/2014

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.

05. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Top Secret Twenty-one by Janet Evanovich, read by Leslie, on 08/31/2014

19004663  Trenton, New Jersey’s favorite used-car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he’s out on bail and has missed his date in court, and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in.

Another good book to laugh through, Janet Evanovich has done it again.  Stephanie manages to avoid marriage to either Joe or Ranger, blow up several cars and her apartment, have a run-in with a naked bail jumper and find homes for a pack of Chihuahuas.  Lulu is at her finest, as is Grandma, who is working her way through a bucket list.  Love this series.

05. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

The Darkest Path by Jeff Hirsch, read by Leslie, on 08/28/2014

17381993  A civil war rages between the Glorious Path–a militant religion based on the teachings of a former US soldier–and what’s left of the US government. Fifteen-year-old Callum Roe and his younger brother, James, were captured and forced to convert six years ago. Cal has been working in the Path’s dog kennels, and is very close to becoming one of the Path’s deadliest secret agents. Then Cal befriends a stray dog named Bear and kills a commander who wants to train him to be a vicious attack dog. This sends Cal and Bear on the run, and sets in motion a series of incredible events that will test Cal’s loyalties and end in a fierce battle that the fate of the entire country rests on.

I did like this story, of what could happen should extreme religious beliefs take over in our country.  Sometimes I felt the storyline could have delved a little deeper but overall, a very good story and moral to take heed of.  It wasn’t until the end that I even understood why the dog was such a focal point of the story.  Some of the characters seemed shallow and fairly unnecessary at times but added to the plot in their own way.  I don’t know that younger readers will understand the implications of such a story but older teens will find it a good read.

05. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal, Teen Books

Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead, read by Leslie, on 08/13/2014

8709524 In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

Book #5 in the Bloodlines series, we are once again drawn into the periphery world of vampires and their society.  Adrian, searching for his love, Sydney, bounces between despair and euphoria.  Sydney hedges all her bets on being saved by her friends, and they do not disappoint.  The two manage to find a way to stay together, but the road may not be as smooth as they hope.  Looking forward to the next installment.

05. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Sharing You by Molly McAdams, read by Nikki, on 08/30/2014

Twenty-three year old, Kamryn Cunningham has left all she’s ever known and moved to a small town where no one knows her name, who her parents are, or her social status in the horseracing world. Months after opening her own bakery and evading attempts of being set up by her new best friend, she meets Brody. Kamryn fights the instant pull between them because there’s a detail she can’t dismiss. Brody’s married.

To say that twenty-six year old, Brody Saco has had a rough marriage would be an understatement. After marrying his pregnant girlfriend, he spends the next six years in a relationship filled with hatred, manipulation and guilt involving a tragedy that happened five years earlier. When he keeps running into his sister-in-law’s best friend, Kamryn, he can’t ignore that she makes him feel more with just one look than his wife ever has; and soon he can’t continue fight his feelings for her.

When staying apart proves to be too difficult, Brody and Kamryn enter a relationship full of stolen moments and nights that end too soon while they wait for Brody to file for divorce. But the guilt that comes with their relationship may prove to be too much for Kamryn, and Brody might not be strong enough to face the tragedy from his past in order to leave his conniving wife.

05. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

The Story of Us by Lesley Jones , read by Nikki, on 08/20/2014

I love him, from the instant I set eyes on him when I was just 11 years old I have loved him and nothing will ever change that, he owns me, he owns my heart and he owns my body and no matter how many lies are told, no matter how many people conspire to keep us apart, despite the fame and the distance, we will find a way.

“Georgia Rae, when we made love you used to cry” … He waits for me to sing my bit. I try to swallow down a sob but I just end up singing through it…
“I said I love you like the stars above, I’ll love you till I die”

Carnage is an edgy coming of age love story that breaks all the rules and transcends the decades. Georgia and Sean’s story will stay with you long after you read the final word.
An emotional, smoking hot, gut wrenching read.

NOTE: This is part #1 of a 2 part story but can be read as a stand alone.

05. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau, read by Leslie, on 08/06/2014

13326831  Sixteen-year-old Malencia (Cia) Vale is chosen to participate in The Testing to attend the University; however, Cia is fearful when she figures out her friends who do not pass The Testing are disappearing.

Very similar to the Hunger Games in how the country is divided into groups, how the Testing is conducted, the potential romance between 2 of the characters.  Though there was enough difference that is was not an exact copycat version, still close enough to make it not as interesting, to me, at least.  Rather than expecting the citizens to live in poverty, education and science are encouraged.  Citizens live fairly well but cannot live outside their areas unless needed elsewhere for their knowledge, due to the environmental disaster that has ruined the land.  Where in the Hunger Games, there is only one expected winner, no one is encouraged to kill, but it isn’t discouraged and Cia finds out quickly that she can only trust certain members of her potential class.  Teens will enjoy the read.