Sunday, July 31, 2011

Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult

 434 pages
7 hours 30 minutes

Although I have only read a couple of Picoult's books, this was a disappointing mish-mash of a plot.  It was almost like Picoult was trying to hard to make the book go in the direction of several different genres and the result was a quick wrap-up with a confusing ending.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

784 pages
10 hours

I was disappointed with the last movie so re-read the book to restore my memories of how good the book is.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Home Song by LaVyrle Spencer

382 pages
6 1/2 hours

What happens to a happy family of four when suddenly confronted with the appearance of the heretofore unknown illegitimate son of the father.?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Camo Girl by Kekla Magoon

Camo Girl by Kekla Magoon
218 pages

Before there was Ella and Bailey, there was Z, Ella, and Millie. The once inseparable trio has broken up. Millie is now popular, and has the equivalent of the time it takes the school bus to get to school to talk to Ella. Ella and Z are still friends, but Ella becomes more and more aware that Z's personality is getting a little weird for even her. Z escapes into fantasies more and more, and gets to the point where he never reaches for reality. But, Z is the only friend she has, that doesn't care about her color mottled skin, the only one who doesn't call her camo face. How can she turn her back on him?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Hunt for the Seventh by Christine Morton-Shaw

The Hunt for the Seventh by Christine Morton-Shaw
273 pages

Back into my suspense/scary mode. This was pretty good...Jim, along with his sister Sal, and their father, move to Minerva Hall. Dad has taken a head gardening job to help put their lives back together after Mom passed away. Until dead kiddos start appearing to Jim, begging him to find the seventh. A long time summer solstice mystery pops up, with a Minerva heir dying tragically, a total of 6 have died, and Jim is on the hunt for the seventh. 

(from jacket cover)
A haunted mansion. Six Dead Children.
A garden of statues.
With every step he takes around the carefully manicured grounds of Minerva Hall, Jim is haunted by the ghosts of children, long dead, whom no one else can see. Urging him to "find the Seventh," the children leave him cryptic clues pointing to a devastating ancient prophecy that only he can stop from being fulfilled.
Jim befriends another boy-Einstein, who lives at the Hall. Einstein is autistic and very, very smart. If anyone can help Jim find the Seventh, perhaps he can-Einstein clearly knows more than he is saying. At the same time, the dead children seem to be leaving Jim some sort of macabre treasure trail.
If Jim deons't figure out the clues, innocent people will die. But how can Jim find the answers while the dangers of the Hall grow ever more threatening? And even if he can, the reall question is-is Jim already too late?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cutting for Stone

by Abraham Verghese

667 pages

I loved, loved this book!! It's the best book I have read since Freedom.

This is the story of Marion and Shiva Stone, twins born to a nun and a doctor. Their parents disappear from their lives on the day of their birth, and they are raised by two wonderful doctors in Ethiopia. The boys grow up within the walls of Missing Hospital during a tumultuous time in Ethiopia. The story is compelling and is intertwined with a lot of medical history. Learning about the culture in Ethiopia and in the medical community when Marion moves to the USA makes the book a fascinating read.

As I was reading Cutting for Stone, I was reminded of the emotional attachment I had to John Irving's novel A Prayer for Owen Meany. I was thrilled to find out that Verghese and Irving are friends! So if you like Irving, you will love this book. I hope a wonderful director makes this into an epic movie and wins the Oscar.


Winter's Bone

by Daniel Woodrell

224 pages

I love books that help us understand different cultures. That often means a book set in another country or in another era. But here is a book set right here in Missouri, yet the culture is so different from mine. In this Ozark culture, the code of keeping secrets is sacred.

(from a reader's review on Amazon) "It is a novel about a young girl on a journey of discovery, a discovery not just about her meth lab cooker dad, but about herself. It is picturesque novel, much like Portis's True Grit. She finds "justice" at a cost, but her determination and heart, to keep her family from homelessness makes her one of America's most down-on-her-luck, inspirational characters in contemporary lit."

This is a quick read, and the movie was released this year.


Darkside by Tom Becker

Darkside by Tom Becker
294 pages

Not a bad book...not the greatest, but I enjoyed the storyline enough to keep reading, just not enough to check out the sequel.

(from jacket cover)
Dark alleys,
Dangerous tunnels,
Creatures of the night...
There's no place like home.

Jonathan Starling's home has been attacked, his dad is in an asylum, he's running for his life, and there's nowhere to hide.

Jonathan has stumbled upon London's greatest secret. Darkside.

Incredibly dangerous and unimaginably exciting, Darkside is a place where vampires and werewolves walk the streets. It's a world of nightmares and deadly secrets, and Jonathan has to find a way out...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Quicksand by Iris Johansen

379 pages..................................6 1/4 hours

This is an Eve Duncan Forensics Thriller. Years ago, Eve's daughter vanished and Eve has been obsessed with finding her for all those years, a phone call brings back all of the horror.

High Tide by Jude Deveraux

340 pages........................5 3/4 hours

This is a fun filled Deveraux tale, New York corporate star, Fiona Burkenhaler is sent to Florida to accompany a wealthy new client on a fishing expedition.

The Confession by John Grisham

418 pages...................7 1/2 hours

Nine years afer Donte Drumm is sent to death row in Texas, Travis Boyette confesses the murder to a Lutheran minister in Topeka, KS. Another winner for Grisham.

Four to Score by Janet Evanovich

338 pages.................5 1/2 hours

The saga of Bounty Hunter, Stephanie Plum, continues in another fast paced thriller. Aided by her seventy something year old grandmother and ex hooker, Lula, Stephanie is again searching for an elusive bond skipper.


300 pages.............................6 1/2 hours

Stephanie Plum continues on her merry way as a Bounty Hunter, out of one scrape into two more. This is a fun filled and entertaining series.

TWO FOR THE DOUGH by Janet Evanovich

301 pages..................5 hours

Stephanie Plum continues employment as a Bounty Hunter, fast paced and witty tale.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

287 pages,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,4 1/2 hours

Stephanie Plum is out of work, out of money. The bills are adding up and her car is about to be repo'd. Cousin Vinnie, bail bonsman gives her a chance to make some cash as a "Bounty Hunter".

VOWS BY Lavyrle Spencer

432 pages.......................7 hours

A Spencer novel that is not in our collection, I found it while on vacation. Spencer does not disappoint.

From the back cover: Never before has she told a sory so rich in detail, so real, they will live in your heart forever.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

276 pages
4 hours

Allen knows just how to achieve the perfect blend of magic and realism.  Love her books!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Much Ado About Grubstake by Jean Ferris

Much Ado About Grubstake by Jean Ferris
265 pages

Fun quirky story that I absolutely could not get into at all. One of those 'it's not you, it's me' kind of books. I have been seriously into the dark, creepy books, so I am not sure why I even picked this one up at this time. Maybe will go back and reread when I am in a lighter mood?

(from jacket cover)
Grubstake, Colorado. Just a grubby down-on-its-luck mining town filled with grubby down-on-their-luck miners. Nobody's dug up anything but dirt, dirt, and more dirt for years. So when a big-talking city slicker offers cold hard cash for all the worthless holes in the ground, everyone's tempted to sell out.
Well, nearly everyone. Sixteen-year-old Arley Pickett isn't tempted-she's suspicious. Nothing ever exciting happens in Grubstake. So what's with city slickers flashing cash and miners snatching it up? And what about the mysterious black-clad stranger who rides into town when all the going-on start going on? No matter how much trouble she has to stir up, Arley's gonna dig up the truth if it's the last thing she ever does.
And if she's not careful, it just might be.

Sacred Scars by Kathleen Duey

A Resurrection of Magic Book Two
Sacred Scars by Kathleen Duey
554 pages


I have one major beef with both books so far. There isn't a cliff hanger! Both books have ended with just a momentary pause, like you should be able to turn the page and get the rest of the story. After the first, it was fine...I just went to the library and got the next. But after Sacred Scars, I almost want to cry...I want more, and I want it now! Does Hahp convince the others to join in the pact to kill the wizards and bring down the school? Does Sadima regain her memories, and will she be reunited with Franklin? AAAgggghhhh! So, I guess more that a beef it is just good writing...but still! #3 has no title or release date yet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey

Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey
357 pages

I finished this book at around 6:30pm last night. By 6:35 I was in my car, headed to the library to pick up the sequel.
Two stories are intertwined in this fantasy tale: Sadima, a farm girl, and Hahp, a young man sent off to a school for wizards. It is a slow building, treacherous story. You feel thier two lives touching each other on the fringes although their stories are set hundreds of years apart. There is an underlying evil and corruption. In Sadima's world, magic has been outlawed, leaving only fakes, who came in to help Sadima's mother give birth. They leave her mother dead, the infant child laying on a cold stone floor after robbing them of everything. Sadima has the magical gift of speaking to animals, which she must keep hidden. Hahp is sent off to a wizardry school, where he is starved and abused. Only one of the boys will become a wizard, if any at all. The rest slowly die off. This story was powerful enough to make me dream of it both nights I was reading it, and the third night, when I had begun Sacred Scars, I actually started sleepwalking, thinking I had to make it out of the caves.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Do You Know the Monkey Man? by Dori Hillestad Butler

Do You Know the Monkey Man? by Dori Hillestad Butler
193 pages

(from jacket cover)
For thirteen-year-old Samantha, life consists of too many unanswered questions. Why has her father not tried to contact her all these years? How could he have allowed her twin sister to drown in the old Clearwater quarry when they were only three? And how can Samantha's mother expect her to accept some man she hardly knows as her new father? Samantha already has a father out there. Somewhere.
A fateful decision sets into motion a chain of events and confrontations that will change Samantha's and her family's lives forever. As she sets out to find her father and discover what really happened the day her sister was presumed drowned, she uncovers painful secrets that threaten to destroy her family all over again.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

(from jacket cover)
Mackie Doyle is the replacement.
Mackie is not one of us. Though he lives int he small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess.
He is a replacement-left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world.
Mackie would give anything to live among us. He just wants to play bass guitar and find out more about an oddly intriguing girl named Tate.
But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the under world of Gentry, known as Mayhem.
He must face the dark creatures of the slag heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Musician's Daughter by Susanne Dunlap

322 pages
5 hours 22 minutes

Dunlap does a good job of describing the scenes in this historical fiction novel but I found the plot a bit tedious.

Friday, July 15, 2011

No and Me by Delphine de Vigan

No and Me by Delphine de Vigan
244 pages

At home, Lou is left to her own devices while her father cries hidden away in his room, and her mother lays in a catatonic stupor. She knows that she is not loved, at least not since her baby sister died. Without realizing what she is getting herself into, Lou blurts out that she is doing her project on the homeless crisis. Her teacher loves the idea, so there is no backing out. She meets No in a train depot and after interviewing her about her homeless life, an what led to it, she is moved to ask her parents to let No stay with them.
This a truly heartbreaking book. You find yourself rooting for No, hoping that she can pull herself out of the hole she is in. Then you find yourself half hating her for destroying the trust and love Lou and her family has shown her.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
312 pages

This book made me feel stoopid!
Loved the story line...Jasper Jones, the town bad boy, knocks on Charlie's bedroom window in the middle of the night. He leads him to his secret spot in the woods, to the dead body of a local girl. Jasper enlists Charlie's help in hiding the body until they can find who has done this horrific crime. Because, of course, no one will ever believe that Jasper did nothing more than find her strung up and beaten. Very suspenseful, with some great twists, but...
The book is filled with Australian vernacular...and cricket terms. Not the insect. The game. I am obviously not Australian, and I could just barely point out a cricket ball in a lineup. I got so very lost (might have been easier if we weren't pulling late nights with boy scout camp) and I will admit, it hurt just a little bit in my head. I am not sure if I could have finished it if I weren't going for the goal of reading 225 books this year.

Adventurers Wanted The Horn of Moran by M.L. Forman

Adventurers Wanted
The Horn of Moran by M.L. Forman
373 pages

I was so wildly impressed by this book that I am sure my husband got very tired of me talking about it. Alex continues on another adventure, taking off shortly after the 1st book, Slathbog's Gold. He is a wizard in training, traveling with a group of fellow adventurers. He gives great thought on every action and behavior, with the emphasis on doing what is right. He is generous with friends and relative strangers.  If you had to use one word only to describe this book it would be honor. Every little thing they do is tied into their honor, what will add to it, and what will take away from it.
Their are plenty of elves, goblins, shaman, brownies (a group of very small, giggly creatures) wizards, with lots of action to keep the reader hooked, whether the reader is a boy or a girl. Everyone will want to continue this epic adventure.
The discussion guide at the back coves bullying, controlling your emotions and temper, honor, pride, reputation, and responsibility. All this within a well written fantasy...I find not only do I enjoy the read, but I have a great deal of respect for M.L. Forman. I look forward to my children being old enough to read these books, and hope there are more to come!

Check out the awesome web site for Adventurers Wanted...there are quizzes, sample chapters of the book, and info on the author!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

LEAN, MEAN THIRTEEN by Janet Evanovich


From the dust cover:

New secrets, old flames and hidden agendas are about to send bounty hunter Stephanie Plum on her most outrageous adventure yet. Evanovich is entertaining.

PLUM LUCKY by Janet Evanovich

166 pages
2 1/2 hours

This Stephanie Plum novel is a fun and funny tale involving stolen money, lunatics and "hot" men.

There will be NO SECOND CHANCE BY Harlan Coben

338 pages
5 1/2 hours

In his own words, the title of this Coben novel is a misnomer, the story is all about second chances!

GONE FOR GOOD by Harlan Coben

341 pages
5 3/4 hours

This Coben thriller is filled with suspense as well as romance.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Drawing for June

Bobbie reminded me today that I hadn't done this yet.  A reminder: everyone who posts at least once during a month will have their name entered in the drawing for a faabulous(!) prize.

This month, the winner is (wait for it)    Bobbie!  Bobbie has won a magnetized note pad.

Watch the blog in about 4 weeks for the July drawing.

Impossible by Nancy Werlin

Impossible by Nancy Werlin
376 pages

It does not really matter if Lucy believes that her ancestors are cursed (she does) because she is sane and rational, and this will not affect her. And she has foster parents who love her, and surely that will make a huge difference.
Her mother, Miranda, abandoned her as a child, after suddenly going mentally insane. Periodically she shows back up, singing the old Simon and Garfunkel song "Scarborough Fair". It isn't until Lucy finds the journal pages her mother hid for her long, long ago, that she begins to understand...each generation is to complete three impossible tasks before the birth of her first child...or sink into a deep madness. But Lucy knows that this will not happen to her. Though her due date is drawing closer, she has it under control...until her control slowly slips away.  Loved this book!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth Bunce

392 pages
6 hours

I did not enjoy this book as much as one of our team members did.  Although I appreciate the research Bunce used to build the novel, I found it predictible and didn't enjoy the neat package with bows on it that was served up.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen

323 pages
5 hours 23 minutes

Cliche, cliche, cliche.  What a waste of my time!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sight by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

Sight by Adrienne Maria Vrettos
254 pages.

Fifteen-year-old Dylan has a big secret, that of course leads to more secrets. But it is not exactly like she can tell her school friends that she sees dead kids. She gets sudden visions of children who have been taken, and leads investigators to their bodies. Her mother is little help, her best friend grows sullen when she is not around to hang out, her best guy friend is getting deeper and deeper into trouble, and the new girl is way too into her business.

Skin by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

Skin by Adrienne Maria Vrettos
227 pages

Donnie sister has died. 1st page. She has starved herself literally to death. Then go back in time. Donnie and Karen spend a lot of time huddled on the back porch, summer and winter. They listen to their parents fight, it is so common, they keep a lunch box full of sweets always handy. Until Karen makes a friend out of the new neighbor, Amanda. Then it kind of just becomes Donnie. He tries to keep it together as everything falls apart. Trying to make friends at school, fantasizing about his eventual first kiss, parents separating, sneaking bits of protein powder into what little food his sister will eat in an effort to keep her from having to go back to the hospital.

One Last Time by John Edward

220 pages
3 hours

Fascinating stuff -- makes me think.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Everything You Want by Barbara Shoup

Everything You Want by Barbara Shoup
307 pages

There is a goose on the cover. That in itself is pretty cool. Love the cover!

Emma is off to college, feeling lonely and dejected. She professed her love to her best friend, which obviously weirded him out, and he becomes a jerk. She is pretty low on herself, and wishing she could just go home. Then, thanks to the goose, her family wins $50 million in the lottery (after taxes and taking a lump sum, it's actually $17 million, but try explaining that to anyone) and surprise! Her life is still lacking, in fact, it gets much harder.
Rough read, starting out. I am not that big into the self pity, self loathing genre. But it picks up speed, and ended very well.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

472 pages
7 hours 52 minutes

It took me a while to get into this book.  I almost quit at one point.  The middle section was the best -- interchanging between the two time periods.  But the end felt like a bit of a copout -- similar to "it was all a dream."  I enjoyed Northern Light a lot more.

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

514 pages
8 hours 34 minutes

Wow!  In my estimation, when an author writes a book like this -- reflecting the perspectives (and voices) of many people -- and pulls it off, it's an amazing feat.  David Ebershoff is a master of the historical fiction genre.

All of the Above by Shelley Pearsall

All of the Above by Shelley Pearsall
234 pages

In 2002 an urban middle school in Cleveland completed a Stage 7 tetrahedron in an attempt to break a record for Guinness Book of World Records. It consisted of 16,384 smaller tetrahedrons. This is a fictionalized account of what some of the students lives might have been like growing up in a community such as this. James in a home with a father gone due to drug problems and a brother headed the same way, Sharice in a home with a neglectful foster mother, Marcel hoping the make it out of the family's failing BBQ joint, Shandell wishing nothing more that to be calm and plain. They all came together to work on this math club project. Amazingly touching story.

June standings

I just posted the team and individual standings for June.  Fantastic job, everyone!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Milagros Girl From Away by Meg Medina

Milagros Girl From Away by Meg Medina
275 pages

Interesting book, beautifully written, and I have no idea how to explain it. Filled with magic, fantasy, pirates, manta rays, and bandits.

(from jacket cover)
Milagros de le Torre hasn't had it easy. Ever since her father left his family behind to become a pirate, she's been teased at school. Still, Milagros loves her small island-Las Brisas-in the Caribbean that can't be found on any map, and she finds comfort in those around her who recognize her special gifts. But everything changes when marauders destroy the island and, with it, most of its inhabitants. Milagros manages to escape in a rowboat where she drifts out to sea with with no direction, save for the mysterious manta rays that guide her to land. What is she to make of this strange new place, and who will watch over her now that she is all alone?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Miriam' Well by Lois Ruby

Miriam's Well by Lois Ruby
263 pages

Adam gets paired up with super religious Miriam for a poetry partner, when she falls sick at home. She gets sent home, with the instructions to pray harder, for only the Lord can take away her pain, if only she believes. But Miriam has bone cancer, and the doctors need to treat it right away in order to save her life. The church, and the family a judge steps in. And who ends up defending Miriam's family? Adams own father.

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
307 pages
(one of my 'must read a girlie book so that i can stay in touch with my girlie patrons...i hope it doesn't kill me' books)

This is the cover of the copy we have at the library. While searching for the image I found another cover.

I love this cover even more! In New Avalon, everyone has their own personal fairy, whether they believe in fairies or not. There is the 'good hair' fairy, that enables you to never have a bad hair day. The 'shopping fairy' which lets your find the best clothes at super cheap prices. The 'grip fairy' which makes it impossible to drop the ball until you are ready...which is super great for sports. But Charlie has a 'parking fairy' which gets you the best parking spots. But she is fourteen...and hates cars. So she is on a mission to ditch her fairy. How far will she go? Loved the girlie book after all! :)

Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls by Lynne Jonell

Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls by Lynne Jonell
(sequel to Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat)
358 pages

This tale starts off right where the last ended, with Emmy no longer under the spells and rat tricks of Ms. Barmy. She quickly falls into another mystery when she discovers that the faces on Ms. Barmy's cane are all girls who have gone missing. No one may ever find them. They investigated the Home for Troubled Girls, but find it is actually only a doll house in Ms. Barmy's parents home, not in fact something where girls could be spirited away. But of course Emmy knows that a certain rat can indeed shrink people. She struggles with the desire to be normal, which doesn't include rats with special powers. Can she give up her new found friends to help her old friends in Rodent City?