05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

A Song to Die For by Mike Blakely, 352 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/23/2014

A Song to Die For — a rousing tale mixing love, music, and mystery from Spur Award–winning author Mike Blakely.
It’s 1975 and guitarist and singer/songwriter Creed Mason hopes to ride the new wave of Texas-style, Austin-based country music all the way back to the big time. A one-hit wonder whose Nashville career was cut short by a trip to Vietnam, Creed is desperate to get back into the business.  His break arrives when a country legend, Luster Burnett, comes out of a fifteen-year retirement for one last album and tour in order to pay off a huge debt to the I.R.S. As Luster’s new guitarist and band manager, Creed jumps at the chance of a lifetime.

Rosa Martini, a beautiful young mob princess from Las Vegas, is found dead just outside of Austin. Texas Ranger Captain Hooley Johnson looks into the case, only to find a second young woman murdered—a friend of Rosa’s. To complicate things, Rosa’s adoptive brother, mob hit man Franco Martini, is spotted nosing around Austin in the wake of the murders.

Soon it appears to Johnson, and to Creed, that the mob-related murders and the band are somehow connected.  When the band wins an unexpected booking at the biggest casino in Vegas, Creed begins to wonder what kind of contract his band is being set up for—a major-label recording deal, or a mob hit? (description from Goodreads.com)

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Short Stories, Tracy, Westerns

Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories by Craig Johnson, 183 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/18/2014

Ten years ago, Craig Johnson wrote his first short story, the Hillerman Award–winning “Old Indian Trick.” This was one of the earliest appearances of the sheriff who would go on to star in Johnson’s bestselling, award-winning novels and the A&E hit series Longmire. Each Christmas Eve thereafter, fans rejoiced when Johnson sent out a new short story featuring an episode in Walt’s life that doesn’t appear in the novels; over the years, many have asked why they can’t buy the stories in book form.

Wait for Signs collects those beloved stories—and one entirely new story, “Petunia, Bandit Queen of the Bighorns”—for the very first time in a single volume, regular trade hardcover. With glimpses of Walt’s past from the incident in “Ministerial Aide,” when the sheriff is mistaken for a deity, to the hilarious “Messenger,” where the majority of the action takes place in a Port-A-Potty, Wait for Signs is a necessary addition to any Longmire fan’s shelf and a wonderful way to introduce new readers to the fictional world of Absaroka County, Wyoming. (description from Goodreads.com)

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tracy

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis, 240 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/12/2014

The Pevensie siblings travel back to Narnia to help a prince denied his rightful throne as he gathers an army in a desperate attempt to rid his land of a false king. But in the end, it is a battle of honor between two men alone that will decide the fate of an entire world. (description from Goodreads.com)

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tracy

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis, 224 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/09/2014

On a desperate journey, two runaways meet and join forces. Though they are only looking to escape their harsh and narrow lives, they soon find themselves at the center of a terrible battle. It is a battle that will decide their fate and the fate of Narnia itself. (description from Goodreads.com)

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tracy

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, 206 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/05/2014

They open a door and enter a world

NARNIA…the land beyond the wardrobe, the secret country known only to Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy…the place where the adventure begins.

Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first, no one believes her when she tells of her adventures in the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund and then Peter and Susan discover the Magic and meet Aslan, the Great Lion, for themselves. In the blink of an eye, their lives are changed forever. (description from Goodreads.com)

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tracy

The Magicians Nephew by C.S. Lewis, 221 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/02/2014

When Digory and Polly are tricked by Digory’s peculiar Uncle Andrew into becoming part of an experiment, they set off on the adventure of a lifetime. What happens to the children when they touch Uncle Andrew’s magic rings is far beyond anything even the old magician could have imagined.

Hurtled into the Wood between the Worlds, the children soon find that they can enter many worlds through the mysterious pools there. In one world they encounter the evil Queen Jadis, who wreaks havoc in the streets of London when she is accidentally brought back with them. When they finally manage to pull her out of London, unintentionally taking along Uncle Andrew and a coachman with his horse, they find themselves in what will come to be known as the land of Narnia. (description from Goodreads.com)

01. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

Cookie Dough or Die by Virginia Lowell, 295 pages, read by Tracy, on 11/28/2014

Olivia Greyson is the proud owner of The Gingerbread House—a quaint shop that specializes in all things cookie—and her best friend, Maddie, is her sidekick, baking up scrumptious treats for their cookie-themed parties. But now they must take a break from baking and turn their attention to recreating a recipe for murder…

No one is more shocked than Olivia when prominent business owner Clarisse Chamberlain is found dead. It was Clarisse who encouraged Olivia to open The Gingerbread House—and she was one of her best customers. The sheriff is ready to call the case a suicide, but Olivia’s convinced there’s a murder to solve.

Then word spreads that Clarisse left Olivia a large sum of money, along with a collection of valuable, antique cookie cutters. Suddenly, Olivia is the prime suspect, with some fingers pointing to Maddie when the local postman falls ill after sampling one of their cookies. If the cookie-loving duo doesn’t find the real killer, their reputation—and quite possibly their lives—will be battered for good…

01. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Informational Book, NonFiction, Tracy · Tags:

Tricks and Games to teach your dog by Sophie Collins, Suellen Dainty, 192 pages, read by Tracy, on 11/20/2014

Who doesn’t want to spend more time playing?! Tricks and Games to Teach Your Dog is the how-to book for dog owners looking to improve their “fun factor” in their dogs’ eyes. Author Sophie Collins, assisted by Suellen Dainty, promise that any owner of a dog—no matter what age, breed, activity level, size or personality—can transform his pooch into an accomplished performer in brief daily five-minute training sessions. In all, the book offers 80 tricks and games, from the tried-and-true rainy-day tricks like “roll over” and “play dead” to out-of-the-box surprises like “lion tamer” and the “commando crawl.” Fully illustrated with color photographs and drawings, Tricks and Games to Teach Your Dog serves as a game plan for busy owners who wish to spend more quality time with their dogs, engaging them in educational games to improve their obedience skills while deepening the dogs’ bonds with their owners. Readers can teach their dogs helpful household tasks, such as the “laundry service,” “fetch my keys” and “answer the door,” as well as games that expand their repertory of manners, such as “say please,” “learning a ‘stop’ signal,” and “dinner time.” The authors emphasize the importance of safety in teaching tricks and games and caution owners to only work with safe objects when teaching fetching or finding games. The book is filled with practical training tips that owners can use throughout their dogs’ lives. Once an owner is confident and aware of his own technique, he will be better prepared to give the dog specific direction and not confuse the dog by giving false cues or misusing body language, tone of voice or hand signals. The level of difficulty in the lessons range from the simplest (“high five” and “stand ten”) to more challenging tricks like “shut the door,” “push the ball” and “freeze.” The unmistakable focus of the book is fun and activity, and no dog (or owner) ever wants to lead a dull, boring existence. To that end, the authors discuss some great fun outings to bring an owner’s play sessions with his dog to an all-time high: camping, volleyball, biking and hiking for starters. And for really adventurous overachievers, the authors provide a brief introduction to the ever-popular obstacle-course sport known as dog agility.

01. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy · Tags:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, 560 pages, read by Tracy, on 11/15/2014

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

01. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Horror, Tracy

Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin, 334 pages, read by Tracy, on 11/10/2014

When struggling riverboat captain Abner Marsh receives an offer of partnership from a wealthy aristocrat, he suspects something’s amiss. But when he meets the hauntingly pale, steely-eyed Joshua York, he is certain. For York doesn’t care that the icy winter of 1857 has wiped out all but one of Marsh’s dilapidated fleet. Nor does he care that he won’t earn back his investment in a decade. York has his own reasons for wanting to traverse the powerful Mississippi. And they are to be none of Marsh’s concern—no matter how bizarre, arbitrary, or capricious his actions may prove.

Marsh meant to turn down York’s offer. It was too full of secrets that spelled danger. But the promise of both gold and a grand new boat that could make history crushed his resolve—coupled with the terrible force of York’s mesmerizing gaze. Not until the maiden voyage of his new sidewheeler Fevre Dream would Marsh realize he had joined a mission both more sinister, and perhaps more noble, than his most fantastic nightmare…and mankind’s most impossible dream.
Here is the spellbinding tale of a vampire’s quest to unite his race with humanity, of a garrulous riverman’s dream of immortality, and of the undying legends of the steamboat era and a majestic, ancient river.

01. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy · Tags:

Dick Francis's Damage by Felix Francis, 400 pages, read by Tracy, on 11/01/2014

Felix Francis is back with another edge-of-your-seat thriller, in the classic Dick Francis tradition.

Undercover investigator Jeff Hinkley is assigned by the British Horseracing Authority to look into the activities of a suspicious racehorse trainer, but as he’s tailing his quarry through the Cheltenham Racing Festival, the last thing he expects to witness is a gruesome murder. Could it have something to do with the reason the trainer was banned in the first place—the administration of illegal drugs to his horses?

Then many more horses test positive for prohibited stimulants, and someone starts making demands, threatening to completely destroy the integrity of the racing industry. In order to limit the damage to the sport, it’s critical that Jeff find the perpetrator . . . but he’ll soon learn he’s up against someone who will stop at nothing to prevail.

29. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Tracy

Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley, 295 pages, read by Tracy, on 10/29/2014

Tormented by horrific nightmares since the death of her baby five years before, literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw agrees to accompany an author to Wales, where she encounters an eccentric young widow desperately afraid for her own infant’s safety and a reclusive playwright who could be her only salvation

29. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Tracy

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris, 305 pages, read by Tracy, on 10/26/2014

FIRST IN A NEW TRILOGY

From Charlaine Harris, the bestselling author who created Sookie Stackhouse and her world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, comes a darker locale—populated by more strangers than friends. But then, that’s how the locals prefer it…

Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town.

There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).

Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth…

29. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Personal by Lee Child, 392 pages, read by Tracy, on 10/23/2014

Jack Reacher walks alone. Once a go-to hard man in the US military police, now he’s a drifter of no fixed abode. But the army tracks him down. Because someone has taken a long-range shot at the French president.

Only one man could have done it. And Reacher is the one man who can find him.

This new heartstopping, nailbiting book in Lee Child’s number-one bestselling series takes Reacher across the Atlantic to Paris – and then to London. The stakes have never been higher – because this time, it’s personal.

29. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, Fiction, Humor, Tracy

Downton Tabby by Chris Kelly , 80 pages, read by Tracy, on 10/16/2014

Welcome to Downton Tabby

Here, the aristocrats of the animal kingdom dwell in stately splendor, sleeping, grooming, sleeping some more, and being fed by their downstairs cats, unaware that their way of life; providing work for others; is about to be swept away by the tides of history . . . and runaway cars.

The fur will fly.

This humorous parody provides essential information for preserving their Golden Age, including How to Keep a Secret at Downton Tabby, How to Argue with Lord Grimalkin About His Most Deeply Held Beliefs, and some Uninvited but Necessary Words from the Dowager.

29. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Memoirs, NonFiction, Tracy

An Open Book: Coming of Age in the Heartland by Michael Dirda, 335 pages, read by Tracy, on 10/09/2014

The acclaimed literary journalist Michael Dirda recreates his boyhood in rust-belt Ohio. The result is an affectionate homage to small-town America, as well as a paean to what could be called the last great age of reading.

29. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Tracy · Tags:

The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan, 352 pages, read by Tracy, on 10/02/2014

Revelation “Reve” Dyer grew up with her grandmother’s family stories, stretching back centuries to Reve’s ancestors, who founded the town of Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts. Their history is steeped in secrets, for few outsiders know that an ancient magic runs in the Dyer women’s blood, and that Reve is a magician whose powers are all too real.

Reve and her husband are world-famous Las Vegas illusionists. They have three lovely young daughters, a beautiful home, and what seems like a charmed life. But Reve’s world is shattered when an intruder alters her trick pistol and she accidentally shoots and kills her beloved husband onstage.

Fearing for her daughters’ lives, Reve flees with them to the place she has always felt safest—an antiquated farmhouse in the forest of Hawley Five Corners, where the magic of her ancestors reigns, and her oldest friend—and first love—is the town’s chief of police. Here, in the forest, with its undeniable air of enchantment, Reve hopes she and her girls will be protected.

Delving into the past for answers, Reve is drawn deeper into her family’s legends. What she discovers is The Hawley Book of the Dead, an ancient leather-bound journal holding mysterious mythic power. As she pieces together the truth behind the book, Reve will have to shield herself and her daughters against an uncertain, increasingly dangerous fate. For soon it becomes clear that the stranger who upended Reve’s life in Las Vegas has followed her to Hawley—and that she has something he desperately wants.

Brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic, The Hawley Book of the Dead is a brilliantly imagined debut novel from a riveting new voice.

03. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tracy

The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket, 221 pages, read by Tracy, on 09/26/2014

Dear Reader,

If you are looking for a story about cheerful youngsters spending a jolly time at boarding school, look elsewhere. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent and resourceful children, and you might expect that they would do very well at school. Don’t. For the Baudelaires, school turns out to be another miserable episode in their unlucky lives.

Truth be told, within the chapters that make up this dreadful story, the children will face snapping crabs, strict punishments, dripping fungus, comprehensive exams, violin recitals, S.O.R.E., and the metric system.

It is my solemn duty to stay up all night researching and writing the history of these three hapless youngsters, but you may be more comfortable getting a good night’s sleep. In that case, you should probably choose some other book.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

03. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tracy

The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket, 194 pages, read by Tracy, on 09/23/2014

Dear Reader,

I hope, for your sake, that you have not chosen to read this book because you are in the mood for a pleasant experience. If this is the case, I advise you to put this book down instantaneously, because of all the books describing the unhappy lives of the Baudelaire orphans, THE MISERABLE MILL might be the unhappiest yet. Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire are sent to Paltryville to work in a lumbermill, and they find disaster and misfortune lurking behind every log.

The pages of this book, I’m sorry to inform you, contain such unpleasantries as a giant pincher machine, a bad casserole, a man with a cloud of smoke where his head should be, a hypnotist, a terrible accident resulting in injury, and coupons.

I have promised to write down the entire history of these three poor children, but you haven’t, so if you prefer stories that are more heartwarming, please feel free to make another selection.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

03. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tracy

The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket, 214 pages, read by Tracy, on 09/22/2014

Dear Reader,

If you have not read anything about the Baudelaire orphans, then before you read even one more sentence, you should know this: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are kindhearted and quick-witted, but their lives, I am sorry to say, are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched, and this one may be the worst of them all.If you haven’t got the stomach for a story that includes a hurricane, a signalling device, hungry leeches, cold cucumber soup, a horrible villain, and a doll named Pretty Penny, then this book will probably fill you with despair.I will continue to record these tragic tales, for that is what I do. You, however, should decide for yourself whether you can possibly endure this miserable story.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket