Thursday, June 23, 2016

Lemon Meringue Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke 352 pages

One of Hannah Swenson’s gentlemen callers, Norman Rhodes, informs Hannah that is he going to build their dream house; a house that they built to win a contest. Hannah’s other gentlemen caller, Mike Kingston, gets a little worried that Norman might propose, but Hannah is not sure what to say if he does.

When Hannah, Norman, and Hannah’s mother, Delores, go to Norman’s new house, Delores discovers the former owner in a partial grave in the basement. Hannah tries to stay out of the way of the police, but she just can’t help stepping in. Along the way, Hannah enlists her sisters Andrea and Michelle in helping her. While trying to save another potential victim, Hannah puts herself in danger and the killer has her in their sight.  

This was read by Suzanne Toren.

Blueberry Muffin Murder by Joanne Fluke 328 pages

The citizens of Lake Eden are preparing for the Winter Carnival. Hannah Swenson, owner and baker of The Cookie Jar, is busy preparing her cookies for the festivities. Connie Mac, a famous baker, is in charge of creating the Winter Carnival cake. When her delivery van with the cake gets put in a ditch, Connie Mac takes over Hannah’s bakery to recreate her cake.

When Connie Mac turns up dead in Hannah’s kitchen, Hannah gets on the case. Since her kitchen is now a crime scene, Hannah moves to Lake Eden’s Inn to create her cookies that she is asked to do in replacement of Connie Mac’s cake. While at the Inn, Hannah has access to question Connie Mac’s people. The only person missing is Janie, Connie Mac’s assistant. Hannah wants to solve this mystery so she can have her kitchen back and to clear Janie’s name.

This was read by Suzanne Toren.

Death Without Company by Craig Johnson 288 pages

Walter Longmire, sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, has been called in on another case at the Durant Home for Assisted Living. Mari Baroja has been found dead, but it does not look like foul play. To appease the former sheriff, Walt decides to investigate a little.

Walt’s investigation leads him to a secret relationship, an abusive relationship between Mari and her husband, and a motive of money. Walt gets some help from his best friend Henry Standing Bear, Deputy Victoria Moretti, and newcomer Santiago Saizarbitoria. All Walt needs to do, is to stay alive.

This was read by George Guidall.

Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina by Rodman Philbrick 192 pages

Zane Dupree, a twelve-year-old boy, is meeting his great-grandmother, Miss Trissy, for the first time; traveling from New Hampshire to New Orleans. Zane’s world changes when the threats of Hurricane Katrina hit. As Zane and his great-grandmother are heading out of New Orleans, Zane’s dog, Bandy, jumps out of the car, which leads Zane to follow him.

Zane and Bandy are sent to the attic, when the water starts to rise in the house. To escape, the two move out to the roof, where they meet Mr. Tru and Malvina traveling in a canoe. The four travelers search out for dry land while trying to stay alive.

This was read by Jerry Dixon and is a nominee for the Mark Twain Award.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Ollie's Odyssey by William Joyce, 294 Pages

Ollie's Odyssey is the story of 6 year old Billy & his favorite toy Ollie and their huge "a-venture."  Ollie is Billy's constant companion.  They've been together since the day Billy was born and his mom made Ollie for him.  They do everything together, go everywhere together, they are totally inseparable.  Until the day, the Creeps take Ollie to Zozo's lair and Billy sets out to find him! 

This was an incredible first chapter book to read aloud with my 6 year old daughter.  She too has a favorite toy and we made many comparisons between Ollie & Henry.  We both loved the story very much and some nights it was hard to stop at just 1 or 2 chapters.

Prior to this, I had never read any other William Joyce books, but he has quickly become a favorite in our house and we'll be reading more as soon as we get our hands on them! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs 352 pages

Twelve-year-old Dashiell Gibson is one of the first humans to live on the moon. His parents are scientists working at Moon Base Alpha. You would think living on the moon would be great with tons to do, but you would be mistaken. Dash is bored out of his mind. Kids are not allowed to travel outside of the moon base and there is little for them to do inside.

When Dr. Hotlz turns up dead, nobody believes Dash when he tells them that Dr. Holtz was murdered. Dash enlists the help of Kira, a new girl to the base, in order to find clues that prove that Dr. Hotlz’s death was no accident. Can Dash and Kira solve the mystery before the rocket goes back to earth, possibly taking the killer with it? 

This was read by Gibson Frazier and is a nominee for the Mark Twain Award.

Screaming at the Ump by Audrey Vernick 250 pages

Twelve-year-old Casey Snowden comes from a family of umpires and he knows everything there is to being an umpire. His dad and grandfather own and run Behind the Plate, the third best umpire school. Casey, however, does not want to be an umpire; he wants to be a reporter.

When Casey learns the identity of a student, he decides to write an article that he hopes will get published in the school paper. The only problem, sixth-graders do not get published. Casey learns some valued lessons about what it means to be a writer.

This was a preliminary nominee for the Mark Twain Award.

Mothman's Curse by Christine Hayes 310 pages

Don't let the fact that this book has a cartoonish cover fool you.  This had some pretty unsettling stuff in it, but was still really accessible for young readers.  I wouldn't recommend it for readers under about 10 years old, but kids who like to be creeped out will love this.  It took the legend of Mothman from the Point Pleasant, West Virginia disaster and made a whole new story about it.  The story follows Josie and her brothers, Fox and Mason, who live in Athens, Ohio.  Their father owns an auction house and they get the estate of John Goodrich.  This is significant, as he is one of the few survivors of a major mudslide that destroyed a nearby city.  He and his wife had tried desperately to warn their neighbors, but were chalked up to being nutty.  After the disaster, which also took his wife's life, Mr. Goodrich became something of a hermit.  Now, he's dead and Josie and her family have all of his items to auction off, just waiting in their barn.  Strange things begin happening.  A camera with no film spits out pictures that all feature a very sad man.  Voices come through radios that aren't plugged in.  It just gets worse after Josie discovers a piece of jewelry, a moth pin, and puts it on.  Can she stop a curse before hundreds of people die...possibly herself among them?  I think this is a pretty solid story and I really liked the characters.  It really makes me want to investigate the history of Mothman myself!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, 256 pages

This is a book club book this year for two of the library's book clubs.  The book was written in 1937 and is a classic in African-American and Women's Literature.  In 2005, Time named it as one of the 100 best English-language novels.

It's a difficult story to read, or in my case, listen to because of how people treat each other.  It is set in Georgia and Florida in, I believe the early 1920s.  The exact timing is never shared, but I believe it is before the Depression.  There is total separation of whites and blacks, except of course, in some working relationships.

It is the story of a beautiful, mixed race woman Janie Crawford, who marries three times.  She grows from a quiet girl who does as she is told to a strong and confident woman by the end of the story.  It is beautifully written, but some of the dialog is difficult to understand because it is written in the vernacular of the time and location of the story.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman, 294 pages

This is Tony Hillerman's 1st book in his long-running Leaphorn & Chee series.  I got mixed up and listened to book 2 before this one.  However, reading them out of order didn't ruin anything.

Hillerman originally published this book in 1970, but it did not seem dated.  Set in the four-corners area of the American Southwest, the series follows Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police and his cases.  In this outing a depressed university professor gets mixed up with a Navajo Witch during a summer research trip.

I don't know if our hot weather made me more in the mood for this or not, but I really enjoyed the story and am looking forward to getting book 3 started in a few weeks.