16. April 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction · Tags:

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen, read by Angie, on 04/15/2014

Mickey Cray has been brought down by a frozen iguana. It has caused a concussion, headaches and double-vision. It also means he hasn’t been able to work as an animal wrangler. Bills are piling up so his wife has gone to China for a job, leaving Mickey and son Wahoo home alone. Then along comes Expedition Survivor and Derek Badger. He is a reality tv survivalist who believes his own hype and wants to film an Everglades episode; he is also a big fake. Mickey and Wahoo hire on to the show and start saving Derek from one animal after another. He is almost drowned by an alligator, bitten on the nose by a snapping turtle, bitten several times by a snake and attacked by a bat he is trying to eat. Mickey and Wahoo are joined on their expedition by Tuna, a girl in Wahoo’s class whose father hits her and who needs a safe place to hide out. The Expedition Survivor shoot is filled with chaos, mainly because of its star. Things get even worse when Tuna’s dad shows up and kidnaps Mickey.

This was a fun book. Carl Hiaasen obviously knows his animal info and is passionate about it. I thought he did a great job of passing along information about wildlife conservation and the plight of animals without shoving it down our throats. I liked how it was just a part of the story. I really enjoyed Mickey Cray, he is a fabulous character and one that was fun to read. His relationship with his son Wahoo was also really good. I liked how they were more partners than father and son, but Wahoo wasn’t the caretaker. I thought Derek Badger was hilarious and just how a reality tv star would be. Of course everything is fake and the star is a diva. The only part I didn’t think worked quite as well as Tuna’s dad. I thought his motivations were unclear and a little over the top. Other than that I really enjoyed it. The audiobook was great!

16. April 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance

Dark torment by Karen Robards, read by Melody, on 04/12/2014

“I’ve a feeling you’ll soon rue this day…”

These were the fateful words Sarah Markham’s father uttered after she threw herself between the convict lashed to the ship’s mast and the captain’s whip.

Transported to Australia for crimes against the Crown, Dominic Gallagher had been labeled a troublemaker. No humor lightened his handsome face; everything about him looked dark, deliberate, and dangerous. But independent, feisty Sarah couldn’t bear to see any man flogged to death. Instead she insisted her father buy this young Irish rebel and bring him back to their ranch.

Soon a forbidden passion began to blossom between the indentured man and his mistress in this lush, primitive land. A twist of fate swept them together amid betrayal and intrigue as a man faced risking everything for freedom and a woman faced risking everything for love.

16. April 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Crashed by K. Bromberg, read by Jessica, on 04/14/2014

When life crashes down around us, how hard are we willing to fight for the one thing we can’t live without, each other?

Life is full of moments.
Big moments.
Little moments.
And none of them are inconsequential.
Every single moment prepares you for that one instance that defines your life. You must overcome all your fears, confront the demons that chase you, and cleanse the poison that clings to your soul or you risk the chance of losing everything.

Mine started the minute Rylee fell out of that damn storage closet. She made me feel. Made me whole when all I thought I could ever be was incomplete. Became the lifeline I never knew I needed. Hell yes, she’s worth the fight…but how do you fight for someone you know you don’t deserve?

Love is full of ups and downs.
Heart stopping highs.
Soul shattering lows.
And none of them are insignificant.
Love is a racecourse of unexpected twists and turns that must be negotiated. You have to break down walls, learn to trust, and heal from your past in order to win. But sometimes it’s the expected that’s the hardest to hold on to.

Colton has healed and completed me, stolen my heart, and made me realize our love’s not predictable nor perfect—it’s bent. And bent’s okay.But when outside factors put our relationship to the test, what lengths will I have to go to prove to him that he’s worth the fight?

Whoever said love is patient and love is kind, never met the two of us. We know our love is worth it—have acknowledged that we were meant to be—but when our pasts crash into our future, will the repercussions make us stronger or break us apart?

16. April 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance

Dark of the Moon by Karen Robards, read by Melody, on 04/15/2014

Caitlyn was an orphaned beauty with no future — until the rugged outlaw nobleman rescued her from the streets. And now they ride together in the shadows of the night — on the run from corrupt minions of the law — emboldened by the exhilarating heat of the chase…and by a love as wild and free as the wind on the moors. Caitlyn has vowed she will never forsake Connor, her brave champion, her sensuous lover. But to save Connor, she must now betray him. Yet the proud lady can never betray the passion that joins their hearts…and draws Connor into harm’s way to rescue his cherished love once more.

14. April 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Fiction, Judy, Thriller/Suspense

The Poet by Michael Connelly, read by Judy, on 04/14/2014

Jack McEvoy specializes in death.   As a crime reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, he has seen every kind of murder.  But his professional bravado doesn’t lessen the brutal shock of learning that his only brother is dead, a suicide.

Jack’s brother was a homicide detective and he had been depressed about a recent murder case, a hideously grisly one, that he’d been unable to solve.   McEvoy decides that the best way to exorcise his grief is by writing a feature on police suicides.     But when he begins his research, he quickly arrives at a stunning revelation.  Following his leads, protecting his sources, muscling his way inside a federal investigation, Jack grabs hold of what is clearly the story of a lifetime.   He also knows that in taking on the story, he’s making himself the most visible target for a murderer who has eluded the greatest investigators alive.

12. April 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Apocolyptic, Classics, Dystopia, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Rachel, Science Fiction, Teen Books

1984 by George Orwell, read by Rachel, on 04/12/2014

Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell’s narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.

Spirit AnimalsThe Secret Power of Spirit Animals gives some information on not only learning which animal is the reader’s totem, but also what characteristics those with that totem possess.  Part I is about connecting with a spirit animal and exploring to find out which animal is the reader’s totem.  It also describes topics such as familiars and techniques for working with spirit animals.  In Part II, 200 spirit creatures are described more in depth.  The information given includes characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, how to use the creature’s power, and symbolic meanings of seeing that creature either in a dream or the real world.  Part II makes up the bulk of the book.  As a reader, I myself was hoping to see more information in Part I.  Though some history and mythology is touched on from around the world, it would be nice if the author had gone more in depth with the human-animal connection through time.  Regardless, this is a nice book for those of us who are just curious about the subject matter and want a taste of what spirit animals are all about.  Part II reads much like a dictionary and would be better used as a resource than as something read from beginning to end, but it is still interesting if the reader decides to dive in and read it from cover to cover.  There is a lot of information crammed into each entry and some of the entries made me want to research those animals more thoroughly.  A good book for basic information, but wish it included some resources for further discovery.

10. April 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Humor, NonFiction

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris, read by Angie, on 04/10/2014

This is my first David Sedaris book and I am glad I listened to the audiobook. Sedaris reads the book himself and his unique voice really brings the stories to life. For the most part they are all tales from his childhood, young adulthood or current life. I especially enjoyed his first colonoscopy (hilarious) and his stolen passport. While not all the stories are laugh-out-loud funny, they are humorous and extremely satirical. I also enjoyed his essays at the end of the book where he takes on conservatives on social issues. The story of the woman who wants to march on Washington with the Tea Party was especially funny. This is a witty and humorous collection that I am sure fans of David Sedaris can appreciate.

10. April 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction

The Grimm Conclusion by Adam Gidwitz, read by Angie, on 04/09/2014

This is the story of Jorinda and Joringel, twins who were born to a dead father and an absent mother. They move throughout the fairy tales as the lead characters. And these are not your Disney fairy tales, these are the ghastly, repellent, and sinister Grimm tales. These tales will give you nightmares and make you sleep with the light on. Both children die repeatedly throughout the book and in gruesome ways. There is death and destruction and mutilation and monsters. Good doesn’t always triumph in the end. Some facts I learned: Cinderella or Ashputtle actually means toilet cleaner! The people who fell asleep with Sleeping Beauty aged as they slept. Satan lives with his grandma in Hell. I really found these gruesome stories just as awesome as the narrator said they would be and I am sure kids will really enjoy that aspect of it. The one negative I have is actually about the narrator. For the most part the interjections are funny and don’t take away from the story. However, there is a section of the book where Jorinda and Joringel meet the narrator in Brooklyn and he reads the other two books in this series to them. I thought that section really broke up the story and wasn’t necessary. The rest is awesome…especially Hell. I might have to go back and read the others in this series.

09. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kristy, Paranormal, Teen Books

The Diviners by Libba Bray, read by Kristy, on 03/09/2014

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

09. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Award Winner, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kristy

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, read by Kristy, on 03/15/2014

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family . . .

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

09. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kristy, Teen Books

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, read by Kristy, on 03/16/2014

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

09. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Kristy, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, read by Kristy, on 03/22/2014

Incarceron — a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology — a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber — chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison — a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device — a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn’s escape is born .

09. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Award Winner, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kristy, Poetry

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, read by Kristy, on 03/31/2014

When Billie Jo is just fourteen she must endure heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring.

Written in free verse, this award-winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma’s staggering dust storms, and the environmental–and emotional–turmoil they leave in their path. An unforgettable tribute to hope and inner strength.

09. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance

Desire in the sun by Karen Robards, read by Melody, on 04/08/2014

Joss San Pietro was raised a gentleman but was cruelly betrayed. Held captive and enslaved, the proud man’s fate now rests in the gentle hands of an extraordinary lady—Lilah Remy, a beautiful pampered daughter of privilege. For a strange destiny has cast them together on tempestuous seas, and shipwrecked and alone they must courageously face desperate trials and dangerous truths—and a bold, forbidden love that can only blossom in paradise.

09. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Marsha, NonFiction

Real Life Journals by Gwen Diehm, read by Marsha, on 04/09/2014

JournalsThis is a great book for learning more about the craft of bookbinding.  There is a lot of terrific material in here for beginners with thorough instructions for each step, as well as lists of materials and where to find those materials.  Diehm even includes a couple of websites to check out in case the readers’ local craft stores do not carry bookbinding materials.  The book is a wonderful resource and has a pamphlet for creating your own “bookbinding adventure,” which allows the reader to answer a series of questions and, depending on the answer, flip through to the appropriate binding for the project the reader has in mind.  Diehm even walks the reader through this process using nine examples of real journal-keepers as they made decisions about what kind of book they wanted for their journal.  Diehm followed up with each reader to find out what they liked about their journal and what they would improve for next time. The final chapter of this book contains background information about journals, including famous journal-keepers such as da Vinci.  I highly recommend this text to anyone looking into creating their own journals.  I am even planning to add this volume to my own personal craft library.

09. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Snap by Ellie Rollins, read by Angie, on 04/08/2014

Danya loves her pony Sancho. She takes him with her everywhere and he is her best friend. When she finds out her parents have sold Sancho she is determined to save him. Danya and her cousin Pia run away with Sancho to Florida. They are determined to find Danya’s grandmother Angie, Danya’s favorite author and who she has never met. They are on a hero’s quest like in Angie’s books. There are certain tasks they must complete in order to complete the quest. The three of them travel from Kentucky to Florida with the help of those they meet along the way. They wrestle alligators, join the circus, stow away on a cruise ship and spend the night in Graceland.

I thought this was a fun book, completely unbelievable, but fun. Somehow the girls get a pony to hide in a truck, ride in a motorcycle sidecar and stay in a cruise ship cabin. There is never any mention of the horse doing his business (which I am sure would be terribly messy wherever they were). There are times the group is recognized and chased by police or concerned citizens, but they always manage to outwit them and make their escape. I liked Danya and Pia and Sancho, but I couldn’t quite buy their story or stop questioning how they were able to do what they were doing.

09. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Cal Ripken, Jr.'s All-Stars Wild Pitch by Cal Ripken Jr., Kevin Cowherd, read by Angie, on 04/08/2014

Last summer Robbie Hammond hit a kid in the head during a baseball game. Ever since then his pitching has been terrible. He can throw a huge fastball in practice, but anytime there is someone batting he just throws fouls and clunkers. His team is on a losing streak and Robbie’s pitching isn’t helping. Then he meets Ben, a kid who lost an arm but still has a great throw. With Ben and his friend Marty’s help, Robbie starts to deal with his phobia of hitting another kid.

This is a typical celebrity written book. It isn’t horrible, but it isn’t really good either. Ripken is writing what he knows in baseball, but the story doesn’t have a lot of depth. It is a little too after school special for my tastes. Very predictable story and not the best writing. Ripken should stick with what he knows…playing baseball…instead of writing about it.

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

Fueled by K. Bromberg, read by Jessica, on 04/07/2014

What happens when the one person you never expected suddenly happens to be the one you’ll fight the hardest to keep?

Colton stole my heart. He wasn’t supposed to, and I sure as hell didn’t want him to, but he crashed into my life, ignited feelings within me that I thought had died forever, and fueled a passion that I never knew could exist.

Rylee fell out of that damn storage closet and into my life. Now I don’t think I’ll ever be the same. She’s seen glimpses of the darkness within me, and yet she’s still here. Still fighting for me. She is without a doubt the saint, and I am most definitely the sinner.

How is it the one thing neither of us wanted—neither of us anticipated that fateful night—has us fighting so hard to keep?

He steals my breath, stops my heart, and brings me back to life again all in a split second of time. But how can I love a man who won’t let me in? Who continually pushes me away to prevent me from seeing the damaged secrets in his past? My heart has fallen, but patience and forgiveness can only go so far.

How can I desire a woman who unnerves me, defies me, and forces me to see that in the deep, black abyss of my soul there’s someone worthy of her love? A place and person I swore I’d never be again. Her selfless heart and sexy body deserve so much more than I’ll ever be capable of giving her. I know I can’t be what she needs, so why can’t I just let her go?

We are driven by need and fueled with desire, but is that enough for us to crash into love?

07. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Divergent by Veronica Roth, read by Courtney, on 03/02/2014

Finally, a novel that lives up to its hype. I’d been hearing tons about this book and just got ahold of it last week. And then finished it in less than two days. Blazing fast narrative and a great protagonist make for a wonderful, um, diversion from everyday life.
This is definitely a dystopia, but there’s clearly much more to it than is presented in this book. Beatrice is born into the Abnegation faction where members are more or less ascetic. When citizens turn 16, however, they must make a decision to either stay with their faction or join a new one. Beatrice finds that she cannot choose her old faction; she doesn’t feel the selflessness required to fit in and thrive in the community. Her test results are inconclusive which makes deciding even tougher. Thing is, she’s not really able to be categorized as easily as the rest of the population and that makes her dangerous. She winds up joining the Dauntless faction, one that thrives on danger and bravery. She’s already ruled out the other choices of Erudite (the clever ones), Candor (where honesty is the best quality) and Amity (the nice, friendly, peaceful folks). Joining Dauntless isn’t as easy as it sounds though and even is Beatrice does make it through initiation, will she be able to keep herself safe from those who would be threatened by her divergence?
Ends on a cliff-hanger. I expect the world to become more fleshed out as the series develops. Good stuff.