28. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Noelle · Tags: , ,

Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, 373 pages, read by Noelle, on 05/16/2014

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.


24. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Eric, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal · Tags: ,

How to Catch a Bogle by Catherine Jinks, 313 pages, read by Eric, on 03/23/2014

Ten-year-old Birdie works as an apprentice for Alfred, surrogate father and bogler, in the poor, tough streets and houses of Victorian London. A boglers job is to kill the various dark monsters infesting London, and snatching up their favorite snacks, children. Birdie is the bait for the team’s salt-circle traps, and is vital to luring out the bogles. She’s proud of her work, even though it is very dangerous, and doesn’t pay well. When Miss Eames, an upper-class lady fascinated with the science of monsters, convinces Alfred to allow her to observe their work, they soon find themselves faced with monsters of both the bogle and human kind.

This is an excellent start to a new trilogy, and right up my darkened alley. The bogles are nasty, the dingy Victorian setting is ominous, and the Alfred-Birdie monster hunting team is great. The human murder mystery at the center of it all is creepy, satisfying, and makes me wish for the next book. Recommended.

15. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Noelle · Tags: , ,

People of the Book: a Novel by Geraldine Brooks, 372 pages, read by Noelle, on 03/03/2014

Inspired by a true story, People of the Book is a novel of sweeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity by an acclaimed and beloved author. Called “a tour de force”by the San Francisco Chronicle, this ambitious, electrifying work traces the harrowing journey of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a beautifully illuminated Hebrew manuscript created in fifteenth-century S pain. When it falls to Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, to conserve this priceless work, the series of tiny artifacts she discovers in its ancient binding-an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair-only begin to unlock its deep mysteries and unexpectedly plunges Hanna into the intrigues of fine art forgers and ultra-nationalist fanatics.




22. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Drama, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Eva moves the furniture by Margot Livesey, 240 pages, read by Kira, on 05/21/2013

jacket-eva-moves-the-furniture If you liked the book “A Certain Slant of LIght” you will like Eva Moves the Furniture.  It has the same eevavocative feel to me, slightly haunting.

Growing up,Eva has 2 companions a girl her age, and a grown woman, eva moves furnthat no one else can see.  Her Mom died right after she is born, and she experiences a certain degree of loneliness, and is less than successful forming friendships at school.  The companions meddle in her life, sometimes to Eva’s delight, sometimes to her disappointment.

It is Never clear whether the ghosts are real, or a figment of Eva’s imagination, because the ghosts don’t always behave well.  It could be that Eva blames her bad behavior on these ghosts, which are nothing more than a figment of her imagination.  But I lean to the other possibility, that they really are present.  But you can see where either narrative makes sense.

29. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Kim B, NonFiction · Tags:

Worth Fighting For: Love, Loss, and Moving Forward by Lisa Niemi, 323 pages, read by Kim B, on 04/27/2013

This is the story of Patrick Swayze’s struggle with pancreatic cancer. It is a very moving story by his wife of thirty-four years, Lisa Niemi. I promise that this book will make you laugh AND cry.

03. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal · Tags:

Ever After by Kim Harrison, 435 pages, read by Leslie, on 03/30/2013

Ever After (The Hollows, #11)

When Rachel sets off a chain of events that could lead to the end of the world – demonic and human–she must use her gifts to save those closest to her while preventing an apocalypse.

This is the closest that Rachel has come to being killed off, so far.  In this latest installment of The Hollows series, it’s a little more fast-paced in the action department. It’s also the closest that Rachel and Trent have come to finally admitting they might be right for each other.  Although I hated that 2 characters met their end in this book, I’m sure it will add something to the next one.

03. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal · Tags: ,

A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison, 438 pages, read by Leslie, on 03/18/2013

A Perfect Blood (The Hollows, #10)

When she discovers that a would-be creator is determined to make his (or her) own demons and needs her blood, former witch-turned-day-walking-demon Rachel Morgan, a bounty hunter, faces her toughest adversary yet –humanity.

Kim Harrison spins a perfect story of a world, post-tomatoes!  I love her Hollows series and I am not looking forward to the day when she finishes tying all the threads together.  Rachel goes from being a rather inept witch to finding out she is really a demon and along the way, makes a family of the most unfamily like assortment, from witches, vampires (both dead and alive), elves, fairies, pixies, demons and any other mythical creature you can think of.  I love the way she has Jenks use Tinkerbell (of Disney fame) to color his cursing.  Rachel comes one step closer to being comfortable in her demon skin in this book.

03. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Mystery, Teen Books · Tags:

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, 372 pages, read by Leslie, on 03/02/2013

The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)

Rory, of Boueuxlieu, Louisiana, is spending a year at a London boarding school when she witnesses a murder by a Jack the Ripper copycat and becomes involved with the very unusual investigation.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, with it’s take on Jack the Ripper.  For a while, it seems as though the ghost of Ripper is actually back and as the story goes on, it becomes clear it is a ghost, albeit a copycat.  The characters are all real-seeming and entertaining as they try to cope with the mysterious murders.  I thought the way the author came up with to explain who could see the ghosts and who couldn’t was very inventive.  And throughout the book you find yourself hoping that none of the minor characters find themselves as the next murder victims.  The main characters are almost always safe, as they are needed for the sequel!

03. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Claudia, Fiction · Tags:

Traveling Mercies: Some thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott, 272 pages, read by Claudia, on 03/21/2013

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

This is not your typical book on faith.  Anne Lamott shares the stories of her spiritual awakening and transformation in a refreshingly candid and endearing.  Her writing style always strikes me as poetic and funny. Lamott offers an honest look into her life, her search for meaning, her encounters with God, and her struggle with destructive addictions.  With a sense of humor and a dose of irreverence  Lamott reflects on her deepest fears, her painful losses, and her overwhelming desire for meaning and love in her life. Her tales are told with poignant insights and real pain as she offers wit, grace and hope for living life to the fullest and beyond. Traveling Mercies offers every woman and man, in search of meaning and spirituality, a traveling companion.

02. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Madeline, Mystery · Tags:

The Golden Egg by Donna Leon, 276 pages, read by Madeline, on 03/30/2013

At the request of his wife, Commissario Brunetti looks into the death of deaf, mentally disabled man who worked at their dry-cleaners and uncovers a mystery when the man left no official records and his mother is reluctant to speak to him.

02. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Madeline, Thriller/Suspense · Tags:

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes, 400 pages, read by Madeline, on 03/21/2013

When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can’t believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee’s dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. … Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape. Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine–now Cathy–is trying to build a new life in a new city. … Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life. Until the day the phone rings.

02. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Madeline, NonFiction · Tags:

The Truth About Style by Stacy London, 215 pages, read by Madeline, on 03/17/2013

The author, the style savant cohost of TLC’s What Not to Wear examines the universal obstacles all women, including herself, put in their way. With her unique talent for seeing past disastrous wardrobes to the core emotional issues that caused these sartorial crises, she has transformed not only the looks but also the lives of hundreds of guests who have appeared on What Not to Wear. Now for the first time in print, she not only shares the principles of how to dress well, and why you should, but also examines the reasons why so many women don’t. She moves beyond the often intimidating seasonal trends of fashion, which so often leave women feeling inadequate and judgmental about their own bodies, to the more valuable and enduring concept of style: a way to dress that enhances and celebrates who they really are. And she turns that expert X-ray insight on herself. Like the women she’s transformed, she has plenty of emotional baggage. At eleven, she suffered from severe psoriasis that left her with permanent physical and mental scars. During college, she became anorexic on a misguided quest for perfection. By the time she joined the staff at Vogue, her weight had doubled from binge eating. Although self-esteem and self-consciousness nearly sabotaged a promising career, she learned the hard way that we wear our insecurities every day. It wasn’t until she found the self-confidence to develop a strong personal style that she finally became comfortable in her skin. In this book she shares her own often painful history and her philosophy of the healing power of personal style, illustrating it with a series of detailed “start-overs” with eight real women, demonstrating how personal style helps them overcome the emotional obstacles we all face. For anyone who has ever despaired of finding the right clothes, or even taking an objective assessment in a full-length mirror, this book is a guide to finding the expression of your truest self.

02. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Madeline, Thriller/Suspense · Tags:

Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman, 307 pages, read by Madeline, on 03/14/2013

Keeping secrets, telling lies, they require the same skill. Both become a habit, almost an addiction, that’s hard to break even with the people closest to you, out of the business. For example, they say never trust a woman who tells you her age; if she can’t keep that secret, she can’t keep yours. I’m fifty-nine.” Brigid Quinn’s experiences in hunting sexual predators for the FBI have left her with memories she wishes she didn’t have and lethal skills she hopes never to need again. Having been pushed into early retirement by events she thinks she’s put firmly behind her, Brigid keeps telling herself she is settling down nicely in Tucson with a wonderful new husband, Carlo, and their dogs. But the past intervenes when a man named Floyd Lynch confesses to the worst unsolved case of Brigid’s career–the disappearance and presumed murder of her young protégée, Jessica. Floyd knows things about that terrible night that were never made public, and offers to lead the cops to Jessica’s body in return for a plea bargain. It should finally be the end of a dark chapter in Brigid’s life. Except…the new FBI agent on the case, Laura Coleman, thinks the confession is fake, and Brigid finds she cannot walk away from violence and retribution after all, no matter what the cost. With a fiercely original and compelling voice, Becky Masterman’s Rage Against the Dying marks the heart-stopping debut of a brilliant new thriller writer.

02. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Joyce, Teen Books · Tags: ,

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, 344 pages, read by Joyce, on 03/22/2013

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously-and at great risk-documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

01. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Helen, Historical Fiction · Tags:

The Boleyn King by Laura Anderson, 368 pages, read by Helen, on 03/30/2013

Just seventeen years old, Henry IX, known as William, is a king bound by the restraints of the regency yet anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics sowing the seeds of rebellion at home, William trusts only three people: his older sister Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by William’s mother, Anne Boleyn.

Against a tide of secrets, betrayal, and murder, William finds himself fighting for the very soul of his kingdom. Then, when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession looms over a new generation of Tudors. One among them will pay the price for a king’s desire, as a shocking twist of fate changes England’s fortunes forever.

01. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Tracy, Westerns · Tags:

Changing Trains by Cynthia Haseloff, 291 pages, read by Tracy, on 03/30/2013

I found another Western with a female main character. Mari Mashay is a lady gambler who is taking a train from Texas to St. Louis Missouri. She has decided to give up gambling but her past has caught up with her. The train is The Prairie Queen and she is riding in the luxury car. A former beau and several interesting characters also are on board. I enjoyed this story since Mari is also the daughter of a doctor and uses her medical skills to help others. She wants to be independent in a time when women were expected to be married or worked in a saloon.

31. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Paranormal, Romance · Tags: , ,

Bloodspell by Amalie Howard, 294 pages, read by Angie, on 03/31/2013

On her 17th birthday Victoria receives a music box and an amulet that belonged to her grandmother. In the music box is a journal of her ancestor Brigid. Brigid was a witch and her blood contained powerful magic, magic which has been passed down to Tori. With the magic comes a familiar, Leto the cat, who helps teach her magic. Tori is drawn to a mysterious boy she sees on her high school campus. Christian is cultured and beautiful and surrounded by mystery. Turns out he is a vampire. Tori and Christian soon find themselves falling into forbidden love. But there love cannot be. There is an ancient prophecy about La Sang Noir, which seems to be about Tori and her magic blood. Christian’s twin brother Lucian discovers Tori’s existence and wants her magic and her blood.

This is so obviously a Twilight ripoff. Innocent girl with a vampire lusting after her. Her blood smells so sweet it is hard to resist. At least Tori has powers and isn’t the limp dishrag Bella was. But there is still the love you/can’t have/must have you/can’t live without back and forth between Tori and Christian that gets old really quickly. There is also a lot shoved into this book. It is like Howard took everything paranormal she could think of and threw it into the book. We have witches, warlocks, vampires, werewolves, fairies, seerers, a prophecy, a vampire council, and a magic talking cat. Seriously, I don’t think she left anything out except zombies. Not all of these things are fully explored or necessary. I think the story would have been better off with a tighter plot and less extra stuff. Not that it isn’t entertaining. There is a lot of action and adventure. They travel from New York to Paris and back. The magic is fun and exciting, although I think Tori became proficient way faster than possible. At times it seemed like she just always knew how to do the spells. Of course there is a love triangle which turns deadly (how could there not be). Overall, not a bad read but definitely not original or new.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.com.

30. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Ladies in Waiting by Laura L. Sullivan, 336 pages, read by Angie, on 03/30/2013

Eliza is the daughter of a rich merchant with dreams of bending the king’s ear. She dreams of being a playwright. Zabby grew up in Barbados with her scientific father and dreams of making discoveries. Beth is the daughter of impoverished nobility; raised at court by a crazy mother she dreams of a man she knew as a child. These three Elizabeths become ladies in waiting for Queen Catherine in the Court of Charles II. Together they learn the way of the court, they fall in love and they await their futures.

This was an interesting historical book. I like that the book was focused on the ladies, but I also enjoyed the court politics and the machinations of the court players. All three of the ladies were interesting and different. They all have dreams to strive for, but not all of them come to fruition. I like that not everyone gets a happy ending and we don’t know how they all turn out. After all, life is not a fairy tale.

If you were wondering what it would be like to open a used book store, this book is for you. Wendy and her husband Jack found a house for sale in Big Stone Gap Virginia and they both thought it was perfect for a used book store. A lot of the townspeople thought they were crazy but it turned out to be a good location. With big chain book stores and on line retailers as competition they found that a used book store is still in demand. I agree.

29. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, NonFiction, Tracy · Tags:

Killer Stuff and Tons of Money: Seeking History and Hidden Gems in Flea-Market America by Maureen Stanton, 326 pages, read by Tracy, on 03/10/2013

If you spend a lot of time at flea markets and antique malls this book might interest you. Maureen followed an expert on antiques and how to make money buying and reselling. You also learn a lot about
the people who are hooked and those who go to auctions. It’s a hobby for me but a life style for many. Every object has a use and a history. It may not mean a lot to you but it did to the previous owner. A lot of people are experts in certain areas like china or tools. Before you head out to a swap meet read this book and it might help your buying skills.