05. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Mystery

Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas, 330 pages, read by Brian, on 02/05/2015

veronicaIn the newest Veronica Mars novel, Veronica is investigating the brutal beating of a call girl.  Very good novel.

 

05. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Fairest by Marissa Meyer , 222 pages, read by Angie, on 02/04/2015

Fairest is Queen Levana’s story and what a story it is. While this doesn’t really change my opinion of the evil queen it does explain a bit about how she got to where she is. Basically Luna royalty is messed up. Levana and her sister Channery aren’t even sad when their parents are murdered. Channery becomes queen and just wants to sleep with every guy she is attracted to, doesn’t care about politics and loves tormenting her little sister. The torment began very early when Channery forced Levana into a fire that horribly disfigured her. This caused Levana to become really good at glamour so no one can see what she really looks like. Levana becomes obsessed with one of the royal guards and tricks him into sleeping with her and then marrying her basically by taking on the glamour of his dead wife. Levana is a pretty twisted character and does a lot of things that make you doubt her sanity. But crazy is often exciting to read about. This doesn’t really give a lot of info about the other books in the series but we do get glimpse of Cinder and Winter’s beginnings and of course how Levana became fixated on Earth.

05. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber, 196 pages, read by Brian, on 02/05/2015

vampireRaven, a 16 year old girl, who lives in Dullsville, maybe the most boring place on earth.  Until a new family moves into a creepy old mansion.  The family never comes out of the mansion and creepy butler does all the shopping.  Raven is a dedicated goth and the fact the people of the town jokingly calls this new family vampires, peaks her interest even more.  After seeing the son, Alexander, out a night, she instantly falls in love.  Raven, really wants a vampire kiss and will do anything to find out if this is a family of vamps.

 

05. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz., 273 pages, read by Kira, on 02/03/2015

Witches-of-East-End-Poster-witches-of-east-end-35808568-1200-1600 woee1  thA mother and her two grown daughters seem to live ordinary lives in the town of North Hampton.  However, they are immortal witches banned  centuries ago from using their magic.  Daughter Freya – the wildchild and local bartender – is able to create magic potions that can help.  Frey has found the love of her life, Bran, a little bit nerdy and nervous, but calm, philanthropic millionaire.  Then his brother, hunky bad-boy Killian, shows up and Freya and Killian have a tryst during her engagement party to Bran.   She swears it was a mistake, but can she stay away from Killian.  Her sister Ingrid serves as the towns librarian, but the major wants to develop the land upon which the library sits.  Will Ingrid be able to save her library?  Mother Joanne has other dilemmas to deal with.  Slowly each one begins using their magic for small things and nothing bad happens.  But evil is lurking around the corner.  Will they find it in time to save the world? or at least to save themselves from being sent to prison for practicing witchcraft?  89202450_oWill the council find out about their using their magic?

You think you’re reading a modern-day tale of witches, then you realize, no you’re in the Norse mythology saga.  It seems that more Norse mythology is making its way into current fiction (Runemarks American Gods) .  Its interesting to see Baldur’s narrative again (Giants of the Frost).  This is a fast paced, book, that I couldn’t wait to read more of.

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie

Homeland by R.A. Salvatore, 343 pages, read by Leslie, on 01/25/2015

In exotic Menzoberranzan, the vast city of the drow is home to Icewind Dale prince Drizzt Do’Urden, who grows to maturity in the vile world of his dark elf kin. Possessing honor beyond the scope of his unprincipled society, can he live in world that rejects integrity?

As the first in a trilogy, the book was a very long read, but the story didn’t really drag on and on.  Drizzt is born into a matriarchal society where the women worship Lolth, the Spider Queen.  To get ahead in society, houses plot against each other, the women become priestesses to Lolth and the men are considered drow and unimportant.  Drizzt is born to be sacrificed to Lolth to gain favor for their house and is saved only because the second son murders the first son just as he is born.  He is raised and trained to become a weapons master and becomes one of the best in Menzoberranzan.  Although he doesn’t become aware of it until he is grown, his father is the current weapons master and trains him to be better than he is.  His father also imparts to him a sense of right and wrong, something that doesn’t happen in their world.  When his father sacrifices himself to Lolth to save Drizzt, Drizzt sets off to live alone in the Underworld in order to escape living in a society he hates.

I really did enjoy reading this book, but unless you are a fan of fantasy and the Forgotten Realms books, it may not be for you.

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Dystopia, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Deadman Wonderland by Jinsei Kataoka, 224 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/13/2015

After the failure of their last attempt at getting a data chip out of Deadman Wonderland, Scar Chain regroups and tries again.  Ganta decides to try training and Shiro remains…well, Shiro.  DMW remains one of the darker and more intriguing manga series I’ve come across in recent memory.

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Mystery

Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer, 150 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/06/2015

This is actually a difficult one to write a review of. I enjoyed reading it, but I’m not 100% certain I caught all the nuances. We’ve got multiple time periods, a trio of femme fatales the all kind of look alike, perpetually drunk private investigators, old Hollywood, a whip-smart heroine and her angry-crazy daughter. It begins in the ’30’s and ends up a decade later during WWII. It’s a very involved story and any synopsis I could provide would do a disservice. In fact, there were many points where I wasn’t sure what was even happening. The vibe is distinctly noir and the tale is plenty engaging. I have never read anything by Feiffer before, so I was unfamiliar with his extremely sketchy style of drawing. For me, it was difficult to discern which character was which and what exactly was happening in many of the scenes. Thus, I can’t say that this graphic novel worked all that well for me, though I still enjoyed reading it.

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Graphic Novel

Fables: The Deluxe Edition, Vol. 9 by Bill Willingham, 368 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/04/2015

This is clearly a pivotal point for the characters in Fables. It’s the battle we’ve all been waiting for: the Fables versus the Adversary. It’s every bit as epic as you’d imagine.

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Teen Books

We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt, 208 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/04/2015

Nell and Layla have always been close. They were born scarcely over 9 months apart and were so intertwined as kids that Nell called herself “Nellalya”. Now they’re in high school, Layla a junior and Nell a freshman. Their relationship is starting to strain as Layla becomes more secretive and begins pulling away from Nell. Nell still looks up to her sister and eventually discovers that reason for Layla’s recent behavior. Layla is involved in a romantic relationship with her art teacher. Rumors have been circulating about the relationship, but since the teacher is young and handsome, it’s not the first time such rumors have gone around. This may, however, be the first time the rumors were actually true. Nell is torn between wanting to tell someone about this relationship and keeping her sister’s secret. What’s a good sister to do?
While the plot mostly centers on Nell’s obsession with her sister, We Are the Goldens is really more about Nell coming of age. Nell is learning some very serious lessons while she’s trying to figure out what’s going on with her sister. Prior to high school, Nell’s identity is tied to her sisters and it is only when she realizes her sister’s judgement is skewed that Nell begins to learn who she is as a person. Nell makes some terrible choices too, but she at least learns from them and uses them to inform her decision-making process when Layla’s secrets appear to be getting out of control. Overall, a good read for fans of realistic fiction and family drama. The short length and brisk pacing means this can be read in a single afternoon.

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction

Saga, Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan, 144 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/02/2015

The best comic book series of this decade continues as Alana and Marco seek out their mutual literary hero while still on the run from mercenaries.

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kristy, Paranormal, Romance, Teen Books

The Young Elites by Marie Lu, 355 pages, read by Kristy, on 01/29/2015

TheYoungElites.jpgAfter the blood fever, an often deadly sickness, spreads through the land, many infected died a painful death. The ones who don’t die are left with peculiar markings. Some of the survivors develop magical powers, including the protagonist of the novel, Adelina Amouteru.  When Adelina escapes from her cruel father, she finds herself in the midst of the Young Elites, a group of magical youth who seek to take the throne.

The Young Elites is a dark, sexy young adult novel that never has a dull moment. I loved watching Adelina develop her dark powers and her relationship with Enzo (the leader of the young elites).

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Informational Book, Kristy, NonFiction, Self Help · Tags:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō, 213 pages, read by Kristy, on 01/20/2015

22318578In an attempt to de-clutter my home for the new year, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Though there were some tips that I found unnecessary (fold you socks like a sushi roll!), I did take to heart a handful of Marie Kondo’s tricks. She advises that people clean by category (first clothes, then paperwork, then miscellaneous, etc) which is actually easier than room by room. She also advises to only keeping items that spark joy in you. Her process has led to me getting rid of about 1/3 of my possessions, and my house feels much more peaceful. It’s definitely worth a read if you wish to organize your closets and your life in general.

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Poetry, Teen Books

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann, 114 pages, read by Angie, on 02/03/2015

Poetry is not something I pick up and read very often. I don’t have anything against poetry I just like prose more. I am always glad to be introduced to interesting poetry however. I heard about Poisoned Apples through School Library Journal’s Battle of the Books and decided to give it a try. I am glad I did. The poems are a mix of contemporary and fairy tale themes. They deal with the things women have had to deal with forever: sex, body image, a male-dominated world, etc. They speak of things that are not always spoken about. These are not happy, light poems but dark and disturbing at times. They are beautiful in both their message and their words.

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Lisa, Mystery

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley, 392 pages, read by Lisa, on 01/31/2015

Hard on the heels of the return of her mother’s body from the frozen reaches of the Himalayas, Flavia, for her indiscretions, is banished from her home at Buckshaw and shipped across the ocean to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Toronto, her mother’s alma mater, there to be inducted into a mysterious organization known as the Nide.

No sooner does she arrive, however, than a body comes crashing down out of the chimney and into her room, setting off a series of investigations into mysterious disappearances of girls from the school.

Description from Goodreads.com.

03. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Night of Thunder by Stephen Hunter, 287 pages, read by Tracy, on 01/30/2015

Talk about a ride!

Woe unto he who crosses Bob Lee Swagger, especially when his daughter’s life is at stake. Forced off the road and into a crash that leaves her in a coma, clinging to life, reporter Nikki Swagger had begun to peel back the onion of a Southernfried conspiracy bubbling with all the angst, resentment, and dysfunction that Dixie gangsters can muster. An ancient, violent crime clan, a possibly corrupt law enforcement structure, gunmen of all stripes and shapes, and deranged evangelicals rear their ugly heads and will live to rue the day they targeted the wrong man’s daughter. It’s what you call your big-time bad career move. All of it is set against the backdrop of excitement and insanity that only a weeklong NASCAR event can bring to the backwoods of a town as seemingly sleepy as Bristol, Tennessee.

A master at the top of his game, Hunter provides a host of thrilling new reasons to read as fast as we can. When Swagger picks up peeling where his daughter left off, and his swift sword of justice is let loose, we find a true American hero in his most stunning action to date. And — in the form of Brother Richard, a self-decreed “Sinnerman” out of the old fire-and-brimstone tradition — Hunter offers up his most diabolical, engaging villain yet. A triumph of story, character, and style, Night of Thunder is Stephen Hunter at his very best.

03. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

The Wheel of Darkness by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, 528 pages, read by Tracy, on 01/20/2015

For 1000 years the monks have kept guard of their monastery in the Himalayas – now their sanctum has been violated, its secret carried off. After a millennium of hiding from the world, the guardians of the treasure will have to turn to an outsider for help. Luckily, Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast agrees to investigate.

03. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Deception Point by Dan Brown, 556 pages, read by Tracy, on 01/10/2015

When a new NASA satellite spots evidence of an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory…a victory that has profound implications for U.S. space policy and the impending presidential election. With the Oval Office in the balance, the President dispatches White House Intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton to the Milne Ice Shelf to verify the authenticity of the find. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic academic Michael Tolland, Rachel uncovers the unthinkable: evidence of scientific trickery — a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy.

But before Rachel can contact the President, she and Michael are attacked by a deadly team of assassins controlled by a mysterious power broker who will stop at nothing to hide the truth. Fleeing for their lives in an environment as desolate as it is lethal, their only hope for survival is to find out who is behind this masterful ploy. The truth, they will learn, is the most shocking deception of all.

In Deception Point, bestselling author Dan Brown transports readers from the ultrasecret National Reconnaissance Office to the towering ice shelves of the Arctic Circle, and back again to the hallways of power inside the West Wing. Heralded for masterfully intermingling science, history, and politics in his critically acclaimed, blockbuster thrillers Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code, Brown has crafted a novel in which nothing is as it seems — and behind every corner is a stunning surprise. Deception Point is pulse-pounding fiction at its best.

Description from Goodreads.com.

03. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Tracy

Delicious by Ruth Reichl, 400 pages, read by Tracy, on 01/01/2015

Billie Breslin has traveled far from her California home to take a job at Delicious, the most iconic food magazine in New York and, thus, the world. When the publication is summarily shut down, the colorful staff, who have become an extended family for Billie, must pick up their lives and move on. Not Billie, though. She is offered a new job: staying behind in the magazine’s deserted downtown mansion offices to uphold the “Delicious Guarantee”-a public relations hotline for complaints and recipe inquiries-until further notice. What she doesn’t know is that this boring, lonely job will be the portal to a life-changing discovery.

Delicious! carries the reader to the colorful world of downtown New York restaurateurs and artisanal purveyors, and from the lively food shop in Little Italy where Billie works on weekends to a hidden room in the magazine’s library where she discovers the letters of Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, who wrote to the legendary chef James Beard during World War II. Lulu’s letters lead Billie to a deeper understanding of history (and the history of food), but most important, Lulu’s courage in the face of loss inspires Billie to come to terms with her own issues-the panic attacks that occur every time she even thinks about cooking, the truth about the big sister she adored, and her ability to open her heart to love.

Description from Goodreads.com.

03. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Kristy, NonFiction · Tags:

Haunted Air: Anonymous Halloween photographs from c. 1875–1955 by Ossian Brown, 216 pages, read by Kristy, on 01/14/2015

9462270Haunted Air is a book that displays a wide array of old Halloween photos from the late 1800’s to mid 1900’s. These photos are both creepy and entertaining! It’s fascinating to see how children (and impoverished adults) dressed up for Halloween all those years ago.

Down Size: 12 Truths for Turning Pants-Splitting Frustration into Pants-Fitting SuccessWritten by Ted Spiker, author of several health books, Down Size is a book about the “twelve truths about successful weight loss.” I did find some of these truths to be useful, but Ted’s constant self deprecating humor left me feeling uncomfortable. Down Size seemed geared more toward overweight men with a competitive streak. Since I am not a man and I’m not into competitive physical activities, I didn’t glean as much valuable information from this book as I had hoped.