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

The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket, 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, 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, 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

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

The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket, read by Tracy, on 09/21/2014

As Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire travel along Lousy Lane toward their new home, they fear the worst. It’s true that Violet Baudelaire has escaped some close calls before. For a fourteen-year-old, she has an extraordinary talent for inventing things. And her brother, Klaus, is also well equipped for emergencies. He has read a great deal and possesses just the sort of knowledge that can get them out of a tight spot. Their younger sister, Sunny, is also helpful in a jam. Though she is only an infant, she has four very sharp teeth, and she likes to bite things. Still, even though the Baudelaires have great talent among them, they can’t help but worry about what sort of guardian their strange Uncle Montgomery Montgomery will be. After all, these siblings are extremely unlucky and they had best be on their guard. Certainly, they will need all of their abilities if they should find themselves faced with a dreadful series of unfortunate events.

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

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket, read by Tracy, on 09/20/2014

It’s a good thing that Violet Baudelaire has a real knack for inventing things. When misery comes to call, the right invention at the right time can mean everything. It’s also fortunate that her brother, Klaus, has read lots of books and knows many important things, like how to tell an alligator from a crocodile and who killed Julius Caesar. When everything that can possibly go wrong does, a small fact can be vital. It’s lucky, too, that Sunny Baudelaire, the youngest sibling, likes to bite things. Even though she is an infant, and scarcely larger than a boot, she has four very big and sharp teeth. When trouble comes along, sharp teeth can save the day. But most of all, it is good fortune that Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are as sturdy and resilient as they are, for ahead of these three children lies a seemingly infinite series of unfortunate events.

29. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square by William Sutton, read by Tracy, on 09/25/2014

Murder. Vice. Pollution. Delays on the Tube. Some things never change…

London 1859-62. A time of great exhibitions, foreign conquests and underground trains. But the era of Victorian marvels is also the time of the Great Stink. With cholera and depravity never far from the headlines, it’s not only the sewers that smell bad.
Novice detective, Campbell Lawless, stumbles onto the trail of Berwick Skelton, an elusive revolutionary, seemingly determined to bring London to its knees through a series of devilish acts of terrorism.

But cast into a lethal, intoxicating world of music hall hoofers, industrial sabotage and royal scandal, will Lawless survive long enough to capture this underworld nemesis, before he unleashes his final vengeance on a society he wants wiped from the face of the Earth?

Lawless & The Devil of Euston Square
 is the first of a series of historical thrillers by William Sutton set during the mid-nineteenth century, featuring Metropolitan policeman, Campbell Lawless, aka the Watchman, on his rise through the ranks and his initiation as a spy.

Before Holmes, there was Lawless…

Before Campbell Lawless, the London streets weren’t safe to walk.

29. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, NonFiction, Tracy

1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die by Tom Moon, read by Tracy, on 09/11/2014

The musical adventure of a lifetime. The most exciting book on music in years. A book of treasure, a book of discovery, a book to open your ears to new worlds of pleasure. Doing for music what Patricia Schultz—author of the phenomenal 1,000 Places to See Before You Die—does for travel, Tom Moon recommends 1,000 recordings guaranteed to give listeners the joy, the mystery, the revelation, the sheer fun of great music.

This is a book both broad and deep, drawing from the diverse worlds of classical, jazz, rock, pop, blues, country, folk, musicals, hip-hop, world, opera, soundtracks, and more. It’s arranged alphabetically by artist to create the kind of unexpected juxtapositions that break down genre bias and broaden listeners’ horizons— it makes every listener a seeker, actively pursuing new artists and new sounds, and reconfirming the greatness of the classics. Flanking J. S. Bach and his six entries, for example, are the little-known R&B singer Baby Huey and the ’80s Rastafarian hard-core punk band Bad Brains. Farther down the list: The Band, Samuel Barber, Cecelia Bartoli, Count Basie, and Afropop star Waldemer Bastos.

Each entry is passionately written, with expert listening notes, fascinating anecdotes, and the occasional perfect quote—”Your collection could be filled with nothing but music from Ray Charles,” said Tom Waits, “and you’d have a completely balanced diet.” Every entry identifies key tracks, additional works by the artist, and where to go next. And in the back, indexes and playlists for different moods and occasions.

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

The Lost Island by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, read by Tracy, on 09/04/2014

Gideon Crew–brilliant scientist, master thief–is living on borrowed time. When his mysterious employer, Eli Glinn, gives him an eyebrow-raising mission, he has no reason to refuse. Gideon’s task: steal a page from the priceless Book of Kells, now on display in New York City and protected by unbreakable security.

Accomplishing the impossible, Gideon steals the parchment–only to learn that hidden beneath the gorgeously illuminated image is a treasure map dating back to the time of the ancient Greeks. As they ponder the strange map, they realize that the treasure it leads to is no ordinary fortune. It is something far more precious: an amazing discovery that could perhaps even save Gideon’s life.

Together with his new partner, Amy, Gideon follows a trail of cryptic clues to an unknown island in a remote corner of the Caribbean Sea. There, off the hostile and desolate Mosquito Coast, the pair realize the extraordinary treasure they are hunting conceals an even greater shock-a revelation so profound that it may benefit the entire human race . . . if Gideon and Amy can survive.

25. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Mystery, Steam-punk, Tracy · Tags:

Grandville Bête Noire by Bryan Talbot, read by Tracy, on 08/24/2014

The baffling murder of a famed Parisian artist in his locked and guarded studio takes the tenacious Detective Inspector LeBrock of Scotland Yard and his faithful adjunct, Detective Sargent Ratzi, into the cut-throat Grandville art scene to track the mysterious assassin. As the body count mounts and events spiral out of control, the investigation points to Toad Hall, where a cabal of industrialists and fat cats plot the overthrow of the French State . . . by use of steam-driven automaton soldiers A Victorian anthropomorphic thriller, Grandville Bete Noire signals the welcome return of master storyteller and graphic-novel pioneer Bryan Talbot to his Eisner and Hugo award nominated steampunk detective series.

25. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Mystery, Steam-punk, Tracy · Tags:

Grandville Mon Amour by Bryan Talbot, read by Tracy, on 08/23/2014

Convicted psychotic killer and extremist fanatic Edward “Mad Dog” Mastock violently escapes the guillotine’s blade in the Tower of London to once again terrorize the Socialist Republic of Britain. But dogging Mastock’s bloody footsteps is his longtime adversary and nemesis, Detective Inspector Archie LeBrock, at odds with Scotland Yard and intent on bringing Mastock’s horrific murder spree to an end, once and for all. Aided by his friend and colleague Detective Roderick Ratzi, LeBrock follows the trail of carnage to Paris, otherwise known as Grandville, the largest city in a world dominated by the French Empire that is the prime target of Mastock’s sadistic terrorism. Can LeBrock capture the Mad Dog before he can mete out his final vengeance, or will LeBrock’s own quest for redemption be dragged to ground by the demons of his past?

25. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Mystery, Steam-punk, Tracy · Tags:

Grandville by Bryan Talbot, read by Tracy, on 08/22/2014

Two hundred years ago, Britain lost the Napoleonic War and fell under the thumb of French domination. Gaining independence after decades of civil disobedience and anarchist bombings, the Socialist Republic of Britain is now a small, unimportant backwater connected by a railway bridge, steam-powered dirigible, and mutual suspicion to France. When a British diplomat’s murder is made to look like suicide, ferocious Detective Inspector LeBrock of Scotland Yard stalks a ruthless murder squad through the heart of a Belle Epoque Paris, the center of the greatest empire in a world of steam-driven hansom cabs, automatons, and flying machines. LeBrock’s relentless quest can lead only to death, truth… or war.

25. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Short Stories, Tracy

Small Plates by Katherine Hall Page, read by Tracy, on 08/15/2014

Agatha Award winner Katherine Hall Page presents a book of short stories featuring her famed heroine Faith Fairchild.

For years, Katherine Hall Page has delighted readers with her Faith Fairchild series, each book like a delicious, satisfying meal. Now, Page has whipped up a tasty collection of appetizing bites.

In “The Body in the Dunes,” Faith’s vacation offers more excitement than she and her husband bargained for when a terrified woman knocks on their hotel room door looking to hide from her husband. A case hits close to home in “The Proof is Always in the Pudding,” when Faith investigates a generations-old superstition that has been passed down in her husband’s family. Faith and her sister, Hope, counsel a bride-to-be suffering a number of alarming “accidents” before the big day in “Across the Pond.” In “Sliced,” Faith switches from contestant to detective when a killer reality television cooking competition turns deadly.

Small Plates also includes some irresistible standalone treats, including the Agatha Award–winning “The Would-Be Widower,” about a husband who longs to be rid of his wife, and “Hiding Places” in which a young wife’s new husband may not be all that he appears.

These stories and more will entice Faith Fairchild fans and new readers alike. Filled with the charm, wit, and the appeal of her beloved novels,Small Plates is a feast for every lover of traditional mysteries.

25. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

The Christie Curse by Victoria Abbott, read by Tracy, on 08/08/2014

In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared—making headlines across the world—only to show up eleven days later at a spa under an assumed name. During those eleven days, did she have time to write a play?

Jordan Kelly needs a new job and a new place to live. She’s back in Harrison Falls, New York, living with her not so law-abiding uncles, in debt thanks to a credit card–stealing ex and pending grad school loans.

Enter the perfect job, a research position that includes room and board, which will allow her to spend her days hunting down rare mysteries for an avid book collector. There’s just one problem: her employer, Vera Van Alst—the most hated citizen of Harrison Falls. 

Jordan’s first assignment is to track down a rumored Agatha Christie play. It seems easy enough, but Jordan soon finds out that her predecessor was killed while looking for it, and there is still someone out there willing to murder to keep the play out of Vera’s hands. Jordan’s new job is good…but is it worth her life? 

25. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Tracy

Ancient Highway by Bret Lott, read by Tracy, on 08/01/2014

From the bestselling author of Jewel and The Difference Between Women and Men comes a haunting novel of home, family, and the pursuit of lost dreams. Ancient Highway brilliantly weaves together the hopes and regrets of three characters from three generations as they reconcile who they are and who they might have been.

In 1925, a fourteen-year-old boy leaves his family’s farm and hops a boxcar in a dusty Texas field, heading for Hollywood and a life in the “flickers.”
In 1947, a ten-year-old girl aches for a real home with a real family in a wide-open space, far from the crowded Los Angeles streets where her handsome cowboy father chases stardom and her mother holds a secret.
In 1980, a young man just out of the Navy visits his elderly yet colorful grandparents in Los Angeles, eager to uncover his family’s silent history.

For the Holmeses, a longing for something else–another place, a second chance–seems to run in the family DNA. From Earl’s journey west toward Hollywood glory, to his daughter Joan’s wish for a normal existence away from the bright lights, to his grandson Brad’s yearning for truth, this deep-rooted desire sustains them, no matter how much the goal eludes them. But ultimately, in each generation, a family crisis forces a turning away from the horizon and the acceptance of a reality that is by turns harsh and healing.

Inspired by stories of his own family, Bret Lott beautifully renders the lives of ordinary people with extraordinary faith in a mesmerizing and finely wrought tale of love and letting go.

04. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, Tracy

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon, read by Tracy, on 07/30/2014

With her now-classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon introduced two unforgettable characters — Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser—delighting readers with a story of adventure and love that spanned two centuries. Now Gabaldon returns to that extraordinary time and place in this vivid, powerful follow-up to Outlander….

For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones … about a love that transcends the boundaries of time … and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his….

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart … in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising … and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves.

04. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

Beneath the Bleeding by Val McDermid, read by Tracy, on 07/21/2014

The residents of Bradfield are devastated when their star midfielder dies, the victim of a bizarre, seemingly motiveless murder. 

In a hospital, recovering from injuries, criminal profiler and psychologist Dr. Tony Hill struggles to make sense of the fragments of information he can gather in order to help his ally, Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan, bring a killer to justice. Then an explosion rips through a soccer stadium, leaving dozens dead and many more injured, and Jordan finds herself pushed to the margins of the investigation by the intelligence services. 

Despite the dark places in their relationship, Tony and Carol remain the best hope for uncovering the truth about an ever-increasing series of unspeakable crimes. Are they terrorist attacks, a personal vendetta . . . or something even more sinister?

04. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

Vertigo 42 by Martha Grimes, read by Tracy, on 07/14/2014

In her latest Richard Jury mystery, Martha Grimes delivers the newest addition to the bestselling series The Washington Post calls literate, lyrical, funny, funky, discursive, bizarre. The inimitable Scotland Yard Superintendent returns, now with a tip of the derby to Alfred Hitchcock’sVertigo.

Richard Jury is meeting Tom Williamson at Vertigo 42, a bar on the forty-second floor of an office building in London’s financial district. Despite inconclusive evidence, Tom is convinced his wife, Tess, was murdered seventeen years ago. The inspector in charge of the case was sure Tess’s death was accidental, a direct result of vertigo, but the official police inquiry is still an open verdict and Jury agrees to re-examine the case.

Jury learns that a nine-year-old girl fell to her death five years before Tess at the same country house in Devon where Tess died. The girl had been a guest at a party Tess was giving for six children. Jury seeks out the five surviving party guests, who are now adults, hoping they can shed light on this bizarre coincidence.

Meanwhile, an elegantly dressed woman falls to her death from the tower of a cottage near the pub where Jury and his cronies are dining one night. Then the dead woman’s estranged husband is killed as well. Four deaths, two in the past, two that occur on the pages of this intricate, compelling novel, keep Richard Jury and his sidekick Sergeant Wiggins running from their homes in Islington to the countryside in Devon and to London as they try to figure out if the deaths were accidental or not. And, if they are connected.

Witty, well-written, with literary references from Thomas Hardy to Yeats, Vertigo 42 is a pitch perfect, page-turning novel from a mystery writer at the top of her game.

04. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

Dick Francis's Refusal by Felix Francis, read by Tracy, on 07/07/2014

Six years ago, investigator Sid Halley retired for good. He’d been harassed, beaten, shot, even lost a hand to his investigating business, and enough was enough. For the sake of his wife and new daughter he gave up that life of danger and uncertainty, and he thought nothing would ever lure him back into the game.

He thought wrong. Sir Richard Stewart, chairman of the racing authority, begs Sid to investigate a series of dodgy races. Sid adamantly refuses, but the following day, Sir Richard is found dead under suspicious circumstances. And then a man with an Irish accent contacts Sid, telling him to deliver a whitewashed report about the suspected race-fixing . . . or else.

At first Sid ignores these warnings, knowing that once he submits to this criminal bully, he will forever be under his control. But as the intimidation tactics escalate—and Sid’s own family comes under threat—Sid realizes he must meet his enemy head-on . . . or he might pay the ultimate price for his refusal.

04. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tracy

Good Dog by Graham Chaffee, read by Tracy, on 07/01/2014

Good Dog marks the welcome return of alternative cartoonist Graham Chaffee, who, after his successful 2003 collection of short stories, The Most Important Thing and other Stories, took a detour to devote himself to the art of tattooing, before charging back with his new, beautifully conceived graphic novel. Ivan, who is plagued by terrible nightmares about chickens and rabbits, is a good dog–if only someone would notice. Readers accompany the stray as he navigates dog society, weathers pack politics, and surveys canine-human interactions. Good Dog’s story and pen-and-ink art are deceptively simple, but Chaffee uses the approachability of the subject matter as a device to explore topics such as independence, security, assimilation, loyalty, and violence. Preteen-and-up dog fanciers, especially, will warm to the well-meaning Ivan and his exploits with a motley assortment of Scotties, Bulldogs, and mutts. Chaffee combines illustrative gravitas with cartooning verve and creates a richly textured, dog’s-eye view of the world. The story is a rousing Jack Londonesque adventure as well as a moral parable.

07. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

The Limehouse Text by Will Thomas, read by Tracy, on 06/30/2014

In The Limehouse Text, Barker and Llewelyn discover a pawn ticket among the effects of Barker’s late assistant, leading them to London’s Chinese district, Limehouse. There they retrieve an innocent-looking book that proves to be a rare and secret text stolen from a Nanking monastery, containing lethal martial arts techniques forbidden to the West. With the political situation between the British Empire and Imperial China already unstable, the duo must not only track down a killer intent upon gaining the secret knowledge but also safeguard the text from a snarl of suspects with conflicting interests. 

Prowling through an underworld of opium dens, back-room blood sports, and sailors’ penny hangs while avoiding the wrath of the district’s powerful warlord, Mr. K’ing, Barker and Llewelyn take readers on a perilous tour through the mean streets of turn-of-the-century London.