08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Fiction, Teen Books

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld, 599 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/06/2014

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

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

Under the wire by Cindy Gerard, 352 pages, read by Kim, on 11/07/2014

Because of Her, He Lost Everything.

Manny Ortega is a man without a country, and he has one woman to thank for it. She was his first and only true love, and when she left, she took more than his heart – she took his life as he knew it. Hardened and honed sharp as a knife by years as a special forces soldier and police detective, Manny is ready for a fresh start at his friend Ethan Garrett’s security firm. But the past isn’t ready to let him go…

To Keep Her Safe…

Lily Campora never imagined what would happen to Manny after she walked away from him that night in the sultry Nicaraguan heat–or how he’d hated her for it every day since. Seventeen years later, Lily knows everything, and she must put her fear of Manny’s rage aside to beg for his help. His forgiveness may be too much to hope for…

He’ll Do Anything.

Thrust into action on a mission that will transport them to a country rife with political turmoil and civil unrest, Manny and Lily must find a way to work together. And now, amidst the dangerous beauty of a landscape reminiscent of Manny’s homeland, passion will ignite once more…

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Jungle of Bones by Ben Mikaelsen, 224 pages, read by Angie, on 11/06/2014

Dylan steals a car and ruins a farmer’s field because he is mad at his mother. He is also mad that his father went to Darfur and was killed. His mom packs him off with his uncle Todd for the summer. Todd is an ex-marine and doesn’t take any of Dylan’s crap. He is taking Dylan on a trip to Papua New Guinea (PNG) for the summer. They are going to be looking for a WWII bomber that was shot down in the jungle. Todd’s father and Dylan’s grandfather was the only survivor. Dylan bucks authority at every turn even when it is in his best interests like taking malaria pills or learning how to survive in the jungle. Once they get to PNG, Dylan still keeps blaming others and being stupid. He compounds his stupidity by getting separated from the group and getting lost in the jungle. He does everything wrong and almost ends up losing a leg. Yet he still doesn’t take responsibility for his actions. It is not until he is on his way home that he grows up a little bit.

I thought this book was interesting. I really enjoyed the WWII story and the search for the plane. Unfortunately that is interrupted by Dylan’s trip into stupidity. He is one of the least likable characters I have read in a long time. Even at the end I didn’t really believe his transformation because he was just so unlikable throughout the book. I was actually wishing he lost his leg at one point. I think some kids will enjoy this story of survival and growing up, but I fear some may be completely turned off by how horrible Dylan is.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Poetry

Another Day as Emily by Eileen Spinelli, 240 pages, read by Angie, on 11/07/2014

Suzy’s little brother becomes a hero when he calls 911 for a neighbor. Suddenly Suzy is second fiddle in the family and Parker is getting all the attention. Suzy’s and her best friend Alison are taking part in Tween Time at the library during the summer and learning about the 1800s. Suzy is also friends with Gilbert, a young man who does odd jobs around the neighborhood. Gilbert is accused of stealing from one of the neighbors, but Suzy is sure he didn’t do it. When Suzy learns about Emily Dickinson at the library she decides that maybe it is time to give up being Suzy and start being Emily. She wears white dresses and becomes a recluse. However, being a recluse is hard work and Emily misses some of the things she did as Suzy.

I enjoy novels in verse and this one was fairly well done. I liked the family dynamic of Suzy’s family, but I felt like most parents would not have put up with the recluse nonsense. I did think it was pretty realistic how Parker got more attention than Suzy and she got jealous. That is something a lot of kids have to work through. I am not sure how familiar kids today would be with Emily Dickinson and her poetry.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction

Seven Wild Sisters: A Modern Fairy Tale by Charles de Lint, Charles Vess (Illustrator), 272 pages, read by Angie, on 11/07/2014

Sarah Jane is the middle child of seven red-haired sisters. She has become friends with Aunt Lillian who lives in the mountains above her family’s farm. Aunt Lillian tells Sarah Jane stories about the Apple Tree Man and the King of the Cats and the fairies. Sarah Jane is drawn to Aunt Lillian’s simpler way of life. One day when she is collecting ‘sang (ginseng) she discovers a sangman badly injured. Not wanting to get involved in a fairy conflict but not wanting to let the little man die. She brings the man back to Lillian’s but doesn’t realize the chain of events she has started. She has interfered in a war between the bee fairies and the sang fairies. Soon all six of her sisters has been pulled in and Sarah Jane must figure out how to return the injured sangman and save her sisters.

This is the first Charles de Lint book I have read, but I have heard a lot of good things about his books. I enjoyed Sarah Jane’s story a lot and thought she was very well thought out. However, I kept getting her sisters confused and was never as sure about them as I was about Sarah Jane. I also wished there was more to the fairy story. I know this is a companion to The Cats of Tanglewood Forest which tells Lillian’s story and I kind of wish I had read that one first. I think it would have filled in some of the details I was missing in this one.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Charlie Bumpers vs. the Squeaking Skull by Bill Harley, 160 pages, read by Angie, on 11/07/2014

It is Halloween and Charlie is determined to have an epic holiday. He doesn’t want to take his younger sister trick-or-treating like he does every year. He wants to go to his friend Alex’s house in a wealthy neighborhood. he thinks big houses equals big candy. He also wants to have an epic costume but his mom is really busy. Charlie enlists the help of his art teacher to make his bat costume. Now the only thing he has to worry about is the fact that Alex plans to show scary movies at his house. Charlie doesn’t like scary movies at all. His brother Matt helps him out by de-scarifying him and telling him scary stories. This is another hit for the Charlie Bumpers series. I think Bill Harley does a great job of writing about things that all kids worry about and making the stories relatable.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction

Life of Zarf: The Trouble with Weasels by Rob Harrell, 288 pages, read by Angie, on 11/07/2014

Zarf is just your average troll. He is trying to survive middle school and everything that goes along with it. Zarf lives in a fairy tale world where Goldilocks is his favorite lunch lady, ogres are near the top of the social ladder and the biggest bully of all is Prince Roquefort. Zarf’s friends are Kevin Littlepig and Chester the Jester. Kevin is afraid of everything and Chester’s jokes all fall flat. Zarf has trouble controlling his troll blood anger and it really gets him in trouble one day when he is tormented by Roquefort. When good King Cheznott goes missing while hunting the terrible snuffweasels things go from bad to worse. Cheznott is a benevolent king who supported troll rights, but his son is entirely different. Roquefort is a bully and his first act is to imprison Zarf and deny rights to trolls. Zarf breaks out of the dungeon with the help of his friends and Goldilocks and frees John Knoble the Knight as well. Together they head off to rescue the king and restore order to the kingdom of Cotswin.

This was a fun take on the world of fairy tales. I love how everything you love about fairy tales was incorporated along with a lot of humor and zaniness. Zarf is a great character that will surely appeal to a lot of readers. The book has a lot of illustrations and popout texts that make it a dynamic read. This is a good book for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and those types of books.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction · Tags:

Cat In The City by Julie Salamon, 208 pages, read by Angie, on 11/07/2014

Pretty Boy is a stray cat who is found by a group of dogs and adopted by a Dee who runs a salon. Pretty Boy and the dogs have lots of adventures in New York City and he learns what family is. This is a nice story that is not really fantasy even though the animals talk to each other. It is more like a sneak peak into what animals might be thinking and communicating to others. I loved that Pretty Boy developed a love of music and helped the little boy do the same. A great animal story that I am sure kids will enjoy.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome by Bill Harley, 155 pages, read by Angie, on 11/07/2014

Charlie is back in his second adventure. This time his class is putting on a play. Charlie really wants to be the evil sorcerer, but Mrs. Burke assigns him the part of the nice gnome. The nice gnome actually has a lot of lines, but he is nice and that is not what Charlie wants. He tries a lot of different things to get out of the part from trading parts, changing the lines to be more funny and doing a horrible job during rehearsals. Nothing works and Mrs. Burke just becomes disappointed in Charlie. Charlie has to resign himself to being the nice gnome. At home he is rebelling against walking his dog even though that is his assigned job. He doesn’t think it is fair that he is the only one who has to walk the dog. Charlie is dealing with things a lot of kids have to deal with: school issues, chores, wanting to be cool. I think this is a really good series for younger readers. There is a lot about Charlie to like and identify with. He is not a bad kid he just doesn’t always make the best decisions.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Drama, Dystopia, Fiction, Kristy, Romance, Teen Books, Women's Fiction (chick lit)

The One by Kiera Cass, 323 pages, read by Kristy, on 11/08/2014

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I’m not sure why I went ahead and read The One since I thoroughly disliked The Elite. It was a bad choice. The One is basically a repeat of books one and two of this series. America is still unsure about her relationship with the prince, the castle is still constantly attacked by rebels, and character development is still awkward and stilted. This series was such a bore/snore/waste of my time!

07. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Informational Book, NonFiction · Tags:

Making the Most of the Cloud by Robin Hastings, 95 pages, read by Brian, on 11/06/2014

cloudWhen mention “The Cloud”, many people will give you a blank stare and look up to the sky.  MS. Hastings has brought to cover an easy to understand book about the cloud and how to use it effectively in a library setting.

 

06. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction

Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen, 272 pages, read by Angie, on 11/06/2014

Arianne and her family live on a horse farm in the 1960s. Arianne’s rock star father abandoned them after her little brother Robbie was born. Robbie is a thalidomide baby with physical disabilities. One night the family goes out to the field to watch the Pleiades and Arianne witnesses a white light jumping in among the horses. Then their old pony Agora becomes pregnant and gives birth to a centaur. The little pony boy, who they name Kai after Chiron, becomes the focus of the family, the stable manager Martha and the vet Dr. Herks. They all pull together to keep Kai safe and away from prying eyes even if it means they lose some of their riders and boarders. Kai is a typical centaur with a horse body and a boy torso and head. He becomes one of the family as he grows at an astonishing rate. Of course no secret this big can stay a secret forever. It is up to the family to figure out how to keep control of the story and to keep Kai safe.

This was an interesting mix of historical fiction and fantasy. I thought it was really smart to set the story in the past because there is no way they would have been been able to keep the secret in the world of today’s technology. I thought it was a great story about a family and the unconditional love they felt for each other. I don’t think I have ever read a children’s book with a thalidomide baby character so this was also a nice piece of history that kids are probably not familiar with. However, I will admit that I was a bit bored by the story. There was nothing wrong with it, but it just seemed very slow story with a lot of repetition.

06. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Collide by Gail McHugh, 395 pages, read by Nikki, on 10/18/2014

A missed first encounter…

Colliding with a second chance…

On the heels of graduating college and trying to cope with her mother’s death, Emily Cooper moves to New York City for a fresh start.

While harboring secrets of his own, Dillon Parker takes care of Emily through her grief. Knowing he can’t live without her by his side, he’s sweet, thoughtful, and everything Emily has ever wanted in a man.

Until she meets Gavin Blake—a rich and notorious playboy who is dangerously sexy and charming as hell. Emily tries to deny the instant connection she feels, but Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome is not inclined to let go so easily. Recovering from his own painful past, Gavin will stop at nothing to win Emily over.

This unexpected encounter compels Emily to question her decisions, forcing her to make a choice that will destroy friendships, shatter hearts, and forever change her life.

06. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Black Lies by Alessandra Torre, 290 pages, read by Nikki, on 10/30/2014

Brant:
Became a tech billionaire by his twentieth birthday. Has been in a relationship with me for 3 years.
Has proposed 4 times. Been rejected 4 times.

Lee:
Cuts grass when he’s not banging housewives. Good with his hands, his mouth, and his cock. Has been pursued relentlessly by me for almost 2 years, whether he knows it or not.

Go ahead. Judge me. You have no idea what my love entails.

If you think you’ve heard this story before, trust me – you haven’t.

06. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Tempting Tatum by Kaylee Ryan, 263 pages, read by Nikki, on 10/10/2014

What do you do when your whole life crashes and burns? How do you get through the flames?

Tatum Thompson is living the dream. Her life is perfect; with a loving boyfriend, loving parents and a soon to be college graduate how can life get better? Life is good until it isn’t. When tragedy strikes Tatum runs to Josh only to find him in a compromising position with someone else. Turning away from the only life she knew, Tatum is forced to alter her life plan.

Blaise Richards is a tattoo artist who moonlights as a volunteer fire fighter. Lies and deception leave his broken heart closed until the beautiful green eyed girl casts her spell over him. She’s making him feel things he’s never felt. Making him want things he thought he would never want.

Tatum wants Mr. just for tonight.

Blaise wants Tatum to be his forever.

Can Mr. Just for tonight convince Tatum that she’s the one? How long can Tatum resist Blaise’s determination to make her his?

06. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Kristy, Romance, Teen Books, Women's Fiction (chick lit)

The Elite by Kiera Cass, 336 pages, read by Kristy, on 11/05/2014

16248068While the Selection was fun and fluffy and romantic, The Elite was just annoying. America is one of the few Selected left, and she is trying to figure out whether she would be a good princess. She goes back and forth about this and about her love for both Prince Maxon and Aspen roughly a billion times. If one doesn’t give her attention, she gets huffy and falls into the arms of the other. She is wishy washy about pretty much everything. The plot was slow and boring, and nothing really happened except a few of the Selected got booted. Her rotten attitude in this novel made me very much dislike America.

05. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm, 208 pages, read by Angie, on 11/04/2014

One day Ellie’s mom brings a teenager home. She claims this young Melvin is actually grandpa Melvin. He has found the fountain of youth, which turns out to be a jellyfish. Of course he experimented on himself and reversed the aging process. Only problem is that his lab has been bought out and they are pushing Melvin out; of course there is also the fact that he looks 15 instead of 75 like he is supposed to. So Melvin moves in with Ellie and her mom and starts going to school with her. Melvin and the mom do not get along. Melvin doesn’t respect the fact that Ellie’s mom has chosen a career in drama instead of following in his footsteps with science. Melvin also doesn’t fit in at school since he still acts, dresses and talks like a 75 year old man with no respect for anyone else. Ellie however kind of likes having her grandpa around. She has found that middle school is a whole new world compared to elementary school. Her best friend has moved on to the world of volleyball and Ellie doesn’t find it easy to make friends. Soon Melvin has pulled Raj (scary goth kid who is actually pretty nice) into their circle and concocted plans to break into his lab and steal his jellyfish. Ellie is also finding that she fits in with the science world of Melvin a lot more than she does with the drama/theater world of her parents.

I thought Ellie was fantastic as a character. She is trying to find her way in the world and trying to figure out who she is just like everyone else. She doesn’t feel like she fits in with her family or her friends anymore and has to find where she does fit. I liked the fact that the complete misfit Melvin actually teaches her more about being herself. Melvin doesn’t care if he fits in; he just does what he wants when he wants to. Ellie develops an appreciation for science and a better relationship with her grandpa through this process. I really like well done coming of age stories and this one is excellent.

05. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Complete Nothing by Kieran Scott, 310 pages, read by Sarah, on 11/03/2014

  What happens when a goddess is banished to earth by Zeus?  Does she still have her powers?  Or will she be on her own to complete her tasks at hand?  True (Eros) was banished to earth and has to match 3 couples before she can be restored to the heavens.  This wouldn’t be so bad, except, the love of her life has been sent down, too.  And Orion has no recollection of who she is.  This fantasy book was pretty good.  I enjoyed the references to the different gods and goddesses and how they could effect True’s mission.

05. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, Children's Books, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech, 176 pages, read by Kira, on 11/02/2014

love_that_dog 977108e4e010f1d5b4be4dcc31a63c02 creechI love Sharon Creech’s work (Walk Two Moons is my fav).  So when I saw she had a book about CATS, I had to read it.  Apparently, this book is a sequel to Love that Dog.  In this book, the protagonist Jack is still mourning the loss of his dog and Not ready for a new pet, and is still in Miss Stretchberry’s  poetry class.  Miss Stretchberry is a wonderful teacher, I really wish I’d had such a good literature teacher poetry or what-not or any sort.  She makes the poetry come alive, even for me in this short book.   I guess I will have to take an online  class on poetry.  She explains what makes the poetry work, and she is very encouraging of Jack.   Eventually, when the black kitten disappears he realizes he does like the cat.

05. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Scarlet Pimpernel. by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, 306 pages, read by Kira, on 10/31/2014

scarlet-pimpernel-cover - Copy n87614 - CopyThe Scarlet Pimpernel is the original Zorro, a foppish aristocrat, who in reality rescues French scarlet_pimpernel_600 - Copyindex - Copyscarlet-pimpernel-drawing - Copyaristocrats from the guillotine and excesses of the French Revolution (seen here at its worst).  After the excesses, the story moves into how the Scarlet Pimpernel has pulled of some quite daring rescues, tweaking the noses of the brutal French guards.  Then it moves into the love story/romance between Marguarite and her husband.  I dislike how far in debt, Margaurite is to her husband, and how high/large his forgiveness needs to be, to reconcile the couple.  Then back to more adventure.  Though really the quick thing to do, would be to incapacitate Chauvelin.  It is an old book and the treatment of women shows the misogynistic flaws of the time.  The “smartest” woman in Europe, remains clueless about her husband’s masquerades throughout (my husband noted this). Fun, but could use some updating.