Thursday, June 30, 2011

Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy

Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy
266 pages

This is a powerful story set in modern day Afghanistan, about a young woman with a cleft lip. It is unheard of here to go without medical treatment, but in Afghanistan, there are few doctors, and one must travel far to get treatment. This novel is based on some of the author's actual events while stationed with the Army. It is saddening, yet filled with so much hope. It would be very hard to read this, and not have the girl, Zulaikha, change your life forever.

Geek Fantasy Novel by E. Archer

Geek Fantasy Novel by E. Archer
320 pages

This book made me feel super stupid. Hard to read, kept getting confused. I feel like the storyline was great, but maybe written for a much older crowd.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
458 pages

I've been rereading this trilogy and blogging it on Facebook. It's been great fun. God, I love these books endlessly.

The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice

The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
560 pages

I'm rereading this series because I haven't read it since I was like fifteen or something. I have mixed feelings about it. But it's fun to lose myself in the decadence of it.

Saturday by Ian McEwan

Saturday by Ian McEwan
289 pages

This book was very, very British. So British that I was often surprised by how much I related to the protagonist--who is as different from me as he is from his daughter. But it was interesting to examine how often his abstract thoughts coincided with ones that I've had from time to time, and how often his observations carried a ring of truth for me. The book could have been horribly dull, but instead it was fascinating.

The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve

The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve
288 pages

This story took me a little while to get into, but by the end I was totally hooked. The big reveal was satisfying and terrible, and proved a worthy climax to some of the boring bits I had to slog through. I mostly enjoyed the diary of Maren--I found Jean to be inarticulate, although emotionally interesting.

Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys by Francesca Lia Block

Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys by Francesca Lia Block
128 pages

There are not enough words in the world to describe my adoration for Block's books. I need to devour far more of them.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (Books 8-11)

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Books 8-11
1,216 pages

Still rereading the series, although I'm beginning to notice my preference for the earlier books rather than the later ones. The earlier books seem at once more series and yet also more whimsical. The later books, while they are fascinating in their slow unraveling of VFD and the intricate web of relationships between the characters, seem to lack some of the charm of the earlier books. Count Olaf especially begins to lose his novelty and menace.

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce
400 pages

This book was utterly, utterly fabulous. Rich in folkloric tradition, this is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin that is romantic, horrible, compassionate, and beautiful. I loved every page.

High Tide by Jude Deveraux

340 pages
6 hours

From "Book Page":

In this fast-paced escapade, Jude Deveraux delivers adventure and romance as mysterious and sultry as the Everglades themselves.

She also throws in her own brand of humor.

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

383 pages
4 hours

This novel was well-written and the themes made me think of Virginia Woolf's "A Room of Her Own."  Donnelly's other three books are now on my To Read list.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

390 pages
3 hours 45 minutes

I read the final book more slowly this time.  When I read it the first time, it was just such a rush to get to the end and find out what happened.  This time, I savored the writing and understood more fully what was happening in each scene.  Good stuff!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L'Engle

332 pages
2 hours 30 minutes

You have to be persistent to get through this one but it pays off.  Kind of disappointed that they made a movie -- I may have to watch it just to see how much they messed it up.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

480 pages
7 hours

Collins is just so good at writing distopian worlds.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

384 pages
5 hours 30 minutes

Another book worth re-reading.

Shakespeare's Counselor by Charlaine Harris

243 pages
2 hours

The last book in the series (so far) has a nice wrap-up feel but I still want another one!

Shakespeare's Trollop by Charlaine Harris

194 pages
1 hour 45 minutes

I believe that Harris' Lily Bard series is even better than the Sookie Stackhouse.  Wish she hadn't abandoned it for Sookie.

Shakespeare's Champion by Charlaine Harris

224 pages
2 hours

An enjoyable re-read.

Darkest Fear by Harlan Coben

285 pages
5 hours

When Myron Bolitar's college sweetheart contacts him regarding her ill son, a whole new can of worms is opened.

Hold Tight by Harlan Coben

321 pages
5 1/2 hours

When their teenaged son begins acting secretive, Tia and Michael have a program installed on his computer so that they can monitor his activities. He suddenly disappears and they are at a loss as to what to do next. Once again, Coben does not disappoint.

River Lady by Jude Deveraux

348 pages
6 1/2 hours

The last book in Deveraux's James River Trilogy. Leah (one of the poor white trash Simmons') has a little too much to drink and is attracted to well-born Wesley. He does the proper thing and marries her but believes that he loves another.

Lost Lady by Jude Deveraux

310 pages
5 hours

Second in the James River Trilogy. After overhearing her guardian and fiance discussing her fortune and what a burden she is except for her money, Regan runs away with only the clothes on her back. Found by an American visiting in England, she is taken to America to Virginia to become his bride.

Counterfeit Lady by Jude Deveraux

375 pages
5 1/2 hours

First in Deveraux's James River Trilogy. Nicole was kidnapped by mistake and taken across the ocean to become the bride of a stranger in 18th century Virginia.

About Face by Fern Michaels

359 pages
6 1/2 hours

Casey Edwards has no recollection of her past when she is found wandering along a road in Georgia. Her neighbors will not look at her, there is a near fatal hit and run but Casey only becomes more and more determined to remember.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Elyon by Ted Dekker 285pp.


Elyon's lakes have turned blood red. Is it a curse . . . or the cure?
Shaeda has one blue eye and one purple eye. No one fully knows her story, but her mere gaze eats away at the core of one's being. In his quest for power, Johnis now finds himself in her intoxicating grip.
Assumed identities, a magic amulet, the fearsome Shataiki bats, and a troubling alliance with the Dark Priest all converge against the three remaining chosen.
Only Elyon knows what will happen when the forces of ultimate good and evil clash in their final battle. Dive deep with them in this epic conclusion to the Lost Novels--if you dare!
"Dekker ratchets up the suspense, delivering a full-force clash between good and evil. A tornado of action and stratagem . . . will leave you knowing for certain you are not in Kansas anymore." (for Infidel)

Lunatic by Ted Dekker 301 pp.


Fight the Horde . . . or die with love.
Separated by time and space, our heroes finally return home. But five years have passed and they find a nightmarishly changed world.
The despised Horde are now in control. The healing lakes of Elyon are now blood red. And mighty Thomas Hunter and his Forest Guard have disappeared.
Take a stand with the chosen but be wary, for not all is as it seems. Now the chosen themselves are questioning their very sanity. For the only way to win may be to lose. The only way to live may be to die. And the only one to lead may be a lunatic.

Chaos by Ted Dekker 253 pp.


A final quest and an ultimate betrayal.
Deep in the mountains of Romania stands a fortress, and deep within that fortress lies a chamber. In that chamber, ruling the dead for over two thousand years, lives one Shataiki bat straight from the bowels of the Black Forest. He seeks the final Books of History with which he will destroy the world.
But there are four who stand in the way.
The chosen are trapped in a new world of high technology and weapons of mass destruction. In the midst of chaos, they must find the last book before the Dark One can in this final test to save the world.

Renegade by Ted Dekker 278 pp.

One of the chosen has gone renegade.
Turning his back on all that he once believed, Billos enters the forbidden book and lands in a reality that is as foreign to him as water is to oil. A place called Paradise, Colorado, where he discovers he has strange new powers given to him courtesy of a mysterious figure known as Marsuvees Black.
The chosen four have survived the desert, escaped the Black Forest, battled the Horde, and added a spirited refugee to their number. But nothing has prepared them for the showdown that Billos, the renegade, will lure them into.

Infidel by Ted Dekker 272pp


From Chosen to Traitor?
After being stretched to their limits, the four heroic young Forest Guard recruits—Johnis, Silvie, Billos, and Darsal—are pulled into deeper danger on their mission to secure the seven lost Books of History.
Celebrated as a hero, Johnis's world is shattered when he learns that his mother may not be dead as presumed but could be living as a slave to the Horde. Throwing caution to the wind, he rushes to her rescue.
But this is precisely what the Horde has planned. Now he will face a choice between Silvie, whom he is quickly falling for, and his sworn duty to protect the Forest Dwellers. How can he save those he loves without betraying his own people?
In the end, one will be revealed as the Infidel. And nothing will be the same for the remaining Chosen.

Chosen by Ted Dekker 260pp


The land of the Forest Dwellers has been decimated by the Horde under the watchful eye of the vilest of all creatures, Teeleh. Thomas Hunter, supreme commander of the Forest Guard, is forced to lower the recruitment age of his army from 18 to 16. From among thousands, four new recruits are chosen to lead--and perhaps die--for the greater good.
The chosen four are sent on a quest to prove their character, but their mission takes a dramatic turn when they are intercepted, sworn to secrecy, and redirected to a different endgame. Now they must find the seven lost Books of History. Books that have power over the past, present, and future. Books whose words are alive. Books sought by the Dark One that control not only the destiny of their world . . . but that of ours as well.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tales of the MADMAN Underground by John Bar

Tales of the MADMAN Underground by John Barnes
532 pages

At first I would hate this book. The plot was slow to pull me in, and there was so much language! But, truth be told, I started it on the weekend, didn't want to go the library for a new book, and I had nothing better to I stuck with it. So glad I did!

Karl, in the 1970's, is bound and determined that he will not have a single teacher write him a slip for the therapy group, dubbed by its own members as the Madman Underground, for the rest of his school year. He has been going to school therapy for years, and for once, he would really like to be 'normal'. But he quickly realized that the friends he made in that group are the only ones who truly have his back in the crazy insane world that got them all where they are....and you really can't turn your back on friends like that.

Like I said...beware of the very strong language, and some disturbing scenes. I would definitely not recommend this one for younger readers.

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell

Cover Image

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell
346 pages

This book had me laughing out loud! The sarcastic humor of the characters brought this fantasy tale down to earth. Emmy's parents literally changed overnight. After they received a huge inheritance from a distant relative, they dumped the bookstore they had worked so hard on, moved into a fancy mansion, quit all family activities and started jet setting all over the world....leaving Emmy ignored, lonely, and trying so hard to win back the love of her parents. And until the day she hears the class rat actually speaking to her, she never believes that there may be more going on than she would ever think possible!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Will Save You by Matt de la Peña

I Will Save You by Matt de la Peña
310 pages

Kidd is knows without doubt that even though his life is going pretty well right now, with people to help and support him, that he definitely will mess everything up. The rich girl seems to be into him, and he is truly in love with her. Maria and Red both know he will go far, and Red even helps him get an internship at a zoo so he can work with the animals he loves. But, he will mess it all up. Devon is there to remind him of that. Devon has a death wish, and literally pulls Kidd down with him.

From Booklist

After running away from a group home, 17-year-old Kidd Ellison sets up camp at a beach, where he is put to work by Mr. Red, an aging surfer who runs a maintenance shop. Hardworking and handsome, if somewhat slow, Kidd begins to make friends with some of the camp’s teens, especially Olivia, a blond beauty who wears a ski cap that covers part of her face regardless of the weather. Then Devon, Kidd’s former best friend and nemesis, finds Kidd and threatens to destroy the peaceful life that he has fallen into. De la Peña has crafted a taut psychological novel that will both frustrate and fascinate readers. Narrated by Kidd, it moves from the immediate past and a possible murder to the present, then to the far past, constantly offering clues to the mysteries of Kidd’s sad and violent life. The intriguing, well-developed characters introduce themes of class and gender friction, creating a puzzling and sobering yet strangely hopeful book that will stay with readers. Grades 8-11. --Frances Bradburn

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Way of Women by Lauraine Snelling

6 hours
372 pages

From the back cover of the book:

After a local mountain becomes a deadly and imminent threat, three strikingly different women become linked in a desperate mission.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
249 pages

I have become addicted to reading Newbery winning books, and this one was a fun read. It took the award in 1959 with a plot set in 1687 in the Colony of Connecticut. Kit takes off on her own to live with her aunt and uncle after her grandfather passes away. She is headstrong with her own opinions, so...of course she must be a witch. These amaze me for the fact that if I had lived, they would most definitely had tried to sink me, or burned me at the stake many times over. Thank goodness we live in the times that we do! Kit befriends a cast out Quaker woman, who also must be a witch. There is sickness and death, romance, good old evil biblical playacting, everything a good book must have!

The True Story of Mary Bryant: The Escape from Botany Bay

Escape From Botany BayThe True Story of Mary Bryant: The Escape from Botany Bay
by Gerald and Loretta Hausman
220 pages

(from jacket cover)
The year is 1786. The place: Cornwall, England. Nineteen-year-old May is sentenced to hang for the crime of stealing a lady's bonnet. Then, at the last moment, her sentence is commuted, and Mary is placed aboard a prison ship bound for Botany Bay in New Holland (present day Australia). Chained below deck in crowded, hot, and filthy conditions, Mary and her fellow prisoners fight for survival on a journey of several thousand miles. A marine named Watkin Tench helps Mary, giving her food and clothing-at a price. But Mary's resolve grows stronger with each challenge thrown her way, and she manages to survive and nurture her own and other prisoners' hope for freedom. From her marriage to Will Bryant in the harsh conditions of the New Holland settlement at Botany Bay, to the birth of her two children, to her family's daring escape from Botany Bay, Mary is a heroine for any century.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Relic Master, Book One The Dark City by Catherine Fisher

Relic Master, Book One The Dark City by Catherine Fisher
376 pages

I absolutely loved Fisher's Incarceron, as well as the sequel, Sapphique. I was so super excited to see this series coming to the library. Found the first few pages very daunting, however. The details were tedious to the point my head was spinning. But within a few chapters I was commpletely drawn into the story of the relic master and his apprentice. We are talking supernatural powers, ancient relics filled with magic, a totalitarian Watch searching to imprison all Relic Keepers, and an even older race of furry Sekoi, who may be able to assist the Keeper's in bringing back the light.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dexter is Delicious by Jeff Lindsay

350 pages
5 hours

And my fascination with this bizarro world continues.  I feel like a sicko!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf

Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf
200 pages

In the 1940's resistant fighters parachuted into Czechoslovakia to assassinate Heydrich, Hitler's favorite officer. Although it did not go as planned, Heydrich did eventually die from his wounds. Hitler was so angry at this act of defiance, he obliterated the town of Ludice, where he thought he had found ties to the assassination. The town was innocent, but they paid the price. Men and boys were shot, women sent to work camps, designated as political prisoners. Girls who fit the Aryan profile were kidnapped, trained to be perfect German women, and adopted to high ranking German families. Very few of the children were found after the war had ended. Some were so young when taken from their families, that they did not remember their previous lives. This is a fictional retelling of these true events in history. It is truly heartbreaking to watch Milada torn from her family, go through 'Germanization', find the love in the German household where she was placed, only to be ripped away from her adopted family at the wars end. It is a stunning reminder that so many German's, especially the youth, were also victims.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Southern Lights by Danielle Steel

The lovely Alexa Hamilton, lawyer in the District Attorney's office is handed a case of a lifetime.

Serial killer Luke Quentin, is suspected of murdering several young girls, (choking them while he raped them). The number grows daily as reports come in from all over the United States.

Alexa's daughter receives a couple of threatening letters but Luke Quentin is in jail, so what is happening??

The Reckoning by Beverly Lewis

221 pages
5 hours

Katie is now 22 years old, living in a mansion in New York, her birth mother died and left everything to her only child.

She is doing volunteer work at a Hospice and has become very attached to one special young child.

More and more Katie (now Katherine) thinks about her former life as a member of the PLAIN community.

The Confession by Beverly Lewis

242 pages
3 1/2 hours

After the Amish community, upon orders from the Bishop, shun Katie for her refusal to marry the bishop, she abandons the Amish community and moves in with Mennonite relatives.

When Katie learns that she was adopted by her Amish parents, she begins a quest to contact her birth mother in New York.

THE SHUNNING by Beverly Lewis

226 pages
4 3/4 hours

In the small Amish community of Hickory Hollow, Pennsylvania, young Katie Lapp is torn between sorrow for her perceived transgressions and the feeling the she just does not belong in the Plain community.

When the Bishop announces that he has chosen Katie to be his wife and mother to his chlidren from his deceased wife, the entire PLAIN community is much more excited than 20 year old Katie.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy

Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
227 pages

A quarter of a million Jews were housed in Lodz ghetto in Poland. Only 800 survived. Of those 800, 12 of them were children. Only 12 children lived. This is the powerful story of one of those twelve.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5-9–In thoughtful, vividly descriptive, almost poetic prose, Roy retells the true story of her Aunt Syvia's experiences in the Lodz Ghetto during the Nazi occupation of Poland. The slightly fictionalized story, re-created from her aunt's taped narrative, is related by Syvia herself as a series of titled vignettes that cover the period from fall, 1939, when she is four years old, until January 1945–each one recounting a particular detail-filled memory in the child's life (a happy-colored yellow star sewn on her favorite orange coat; a hole in the cemetery where she hides overnight with her Papa). The book is divided into five chronological sections–each with a short factual introduction to the period covered. An appended author's note tells what happened to Syvia's family after the war. A time line of World War II, beginning with the German invasion of Poland, is also included. This gripping and very readable narrative, filled with the astute observations of a young child, brings to life the Jewish ghetto experience in a unique and memorable way. This book is a standout in the genre of Holocaust literature.–Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

251 pages
In 1793 an epidemic of yellow fever hit Philadelphia, wiping out 10% of the entire population. This is an amazingly accurate historic fictional account of the pain and suffering that touched literally thousands of lives. Review

On the heels of her acclaimed contemporary teen novel Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson surprises her fans with a riveting and well-researched historical fiction. Fever 1793 is based on an actual epidemic of yellow fever in Philadelphia that wiped out 5,000 people--or 10 percent of the city's population--in three months. At the close of the 18th century, Philadelphia was the bustling capital of the United States, with Washington and Jefferson in residence. During the hot mosquito-infested summer of 1793, the dreaded yellow fever spread like wildfire, killing people overnight. Like specters from the Middle Ages, gravediggers drew carts through the streets crying "Bring out your dead!" The rich fled to the country, abandoning the city to looters, forsaken corpses, and frightened survivors.
In the foreground of this story is 16-year-old Mattie Cook, whose mother and grandfather own a popular coffee house on High Street. Mattie's comfortable and interesting life is shattered by the epidemic, as her mother is felled and the girl and her grandfather must flee for their lives. Later, after much hardship and terror, they return to the deserted town to find their former cook, a freed slave, working with the African Free Society, an actual group who undertook to visit and assist the sick and saved many lives. As first frost arrives and the epidemic ends, Mattie's sufferings have changed her from a willful child to a strong, capable young woman able to manage her family's business on her own. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

The Lost Children by Carolyn Cohagan

The Lost Children by Carolyn Cohagan
313 pages

Extraordinarily fun fantasy! Josephine falls into a time warp that carries her to the far world of Gulm, where all of the children have been given to the master. With the help of orphans Ida and Fargus, can this quiet little girl save the day?

From Booklist

Twelve-year-old Josephine, ignored by her father and scorned by classmates, is lonely until she meets Fargus, who appears (and disappears) from her garden shed. Josephine follows, and is magically transported to the Higgins Institute where Fargus and Ida are orphans. Threatened by beasts (the Brothers) who are controlled by a villain (the Master), the trio escapes, setting in motion a far-flung adventure. Cohagan’s first novel is a time-slip fantasy set in a world in which childhood is threatened yet infinitely prolonged in order to satisfy the Brothers’ hunger and the Master’s desire for total domination. The main characters are well developed, particularly the spunky and plain-spoken Ida, the laconic but loyal Fargus, and Josephine, whose journey uncovers hidden strengths and helps her to understand her enigmatic father. Although the story is wrapped up a little too neatly, Fargus’ secret will especially intrigue. Share with fans of Mary Downing Hahn’s Time for Andrew (1994) for another look at solving family problems through time travel. Grades 4-6. --Kay Weisman

The Third Man Factor by John Geiger

297 pages
5 hours

From book description:

"The Third Man Factor is the extraordinary account of how people at the very edge of death often sense an unseen presence beside them who encourages them to make one final effort to survive."

My thoughts:

Geiger takes a look at all possible causes of this phenomenon and allows the reader to make their own decision about the source of the Third Man Factor.  I enjoyed this book.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Madapple by Christina Meldrum

Madapple by Christina Meldrum
404 pages

Never thought I would get through this book. It is heavy in science, botony, religion, incest, drug on for me for ages. Now, if you can wade through that, you would love this had a very promising story line.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Aslaug lives in isolation; the flowers and plants that her mother, Maren, uses to make their lives possible are more real to her than the outside world. Then Maren dies, and Aslaug makes her way to the nearby Maine town, where she finds her aunt Sara and teenage cousins Susanne and Rune. Aslaug hopes they will have a clue to her father’s identity; she learns, as readers already have, that Maren proclaimed Aslaug a virgin birth. Aunt Sara, a charismatic preacher, wants none of this. But Susanne, enthralled with the writings of esoteric religionists and pagans, believes this is a possibility, while Rune is just enthralled with Aslaug herself. Then Aslaug finds herself pregnant, and divine intervention is once more a possibility. Plot summary does little justice to this haunting book, which is as much mysticism as it is story. Meldrum plunges deeply into the nature of reality. She uses language in a particularly arresting way, with the leaves and petals of the plants that are so much a part of Aslaug’s life shimmering over the pages. If all this wasn’t satisfaction enough, Meldrum, a litigator, mixes faith and science with a solid mystery, told in the transcripts of a trial in which Aslaug is the defendant. There is much to ponder in this enthralling achievement from a debut author. Grades 9-12. --Ilene Cooper

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Healing Water by Joyce Hostetter

Healing Water by Joyce Hostetter
212 pages

Inspirational novel about a Hawaiian leprosy colony. Father Damien was a Belgium priest who volunteered  in the leprosy colony in 1873, and quickly decided this was his life's work, and asked if he could stay here to help the people. This story was built upon actual letters that went between family members and the inhabitants of the island. Very moving outcasts thrown aside, left to battle to survive in a lawless community, bodies failing, still have the strength to turn towards God.

Dexter By Design by Jeff Lindsay

285 pages
2 hours 23 minutes

Still can't quite understand the reason I read this series.  I'm reasonably shocked at the gruesome details but still enjoy reading about how Dexter gets in hot water and out of it.  The cliff-hanger at the end of this one makes me want to run for the next title.