Friday, May 29, 2015

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson 384 pages 2015-2016 Gateway Nominee (YA novel)

 This one was a tough one for me to get through, but then I am not an adolescent male.  If you love dystopian/sci-fi, if you love video games, if you love good vs evil, you will love this book.  I would recommend it to every gamer you know.  
David lives in Newcago.  The "Epics" have taken over the world.  These are super human beings with super powers.  Steelheart runs Newcago and, as his name might suggest, he turns everything to steel.  Steelheart killed David's father 10 years ago, but each Epic has a weakness, and somehow David's father was able to wound Steelheart.  David has spent the last 10 years studying Epics, their powers, and their weaknesses.  Now, he is hooking up with the Reckoners, a group of rebels who specialize in killing Epics.  But while David has gained a wealth of knowledge over the years, he still has a lot to learn.  Not one of my favorite YA novels, but as I said, I am sure there is an audience for this read. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Liar by Nora Roberts 501 pages

Nora Roberts is at it again- Southern Style! Shelby is a young singer from a small town in the Tennessee hills.  She is wooed off her feet my a smooth talking city slicker, Richard, who marries her, takes her on fabulous trips around the world, buys her wonderful jewelry and clothes, and then begins mentally and verbally abusing her.  She misses her family, but Richard always has some important social event she must attend, rather than visiting Tennessee.  The one good thing about her life is Callie, their 3-year-old daughter that Richard shows little interest in.  Then one day, Richard is on a trip when he is declared dead, washed out to sea after his boat is capsized.  Life as Shelby knows it, caves in about her.  Not only has she lost her husband, but her whole life with him turns out to be a lie, right down to the fact that they were never legally married.  Shelby takes Callie home to the hills of Tennessee, home to her family, her parents, her grandparents, the strong women of the south, and a Yankee with a smokin' hot bod and sexy green eyes that light up around Callie and Shelby.  But although Shelby thinks Richard left her only insurmountable debt, trouble follows her home.  Good thing those Southern women are tough...and know how to shoot!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gathering Prey by John Sandford 407 pages

Lucas Davenport has his hands full in this one!  Good thing he has his daughter Letty to help him out!  

Letty befriends a young couple, Skye and Henry, in San Francisco. They are travelers, a subculture, not homeless, not street people, just people who travel from one place to another, nothing to tether them.  Nothing and no one to protect them from evil...and evil lurks.  Letty gets a phone call from Skye.  Henry is missing.  She fears the worst.  She fears that he has fallen prey to a sect of travelers with Pilate as there leader, a man Skye calls the devil.  Think Manson family.  Lucas and Skye set off to try to help Skye, following the travelers from one Juggalo gathering to the next, from Minnesota, to Wisconsin, to Michigan, until a shoot-out that may put Lucas' job on the line.  He is pretty fed up with all the political shenanigans anyway.  What does the future hold for Lucas Davenport? Oh, and by the way, there is such a thing as a Juggalo Gathering!  Too wild for me though.  You will have to read to find out.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

eleanor & park by rainbow rowell (YA novel) 2015-2016 Gateway nominee

The jury is still out on this one.  I am not sure how I feel about it.  It definitely does not rank as one of my favorites.  I struggled to get through it and about gave up on it but it does have a good morale to the story.  Eleanor is a misfit.  She has bright red hair, freckles, and dresses like a hobo.  She cannot help it.  She has a dysfunctional family (and that is putting it kindly).  Her step-father is a creep, there is no door on the bathroom.  She shares a room with 3 other siblings, the list goes on and on.  She is bullied at school and made fun of because of her looks. Then she sits next to Park on the bus.  Slowly their friendship grows and becomes a romance.  Park is a bit of a misfit too, only because he is 1/2 Korean in a white-bread world.  But the bullies leave him alone.  He knows taekwondo and they are a bit in awe of him.   Anyway, this is a book of beauty is in the eye of the beholder and love conquers all.  Can't wait to discuss it with the teens to get their take on it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Fall Of The House Of Forbes by Stewart Pinkerton, 270 pages

“The Fall Of The House Of Forbes” is written by Stewart Pinkerton, who was a writer and editor for Forbes for over twenty years. From Pinkerton’s point of view, the reader gets an inside look at the empire that B. C. Forbes built from the ground up.
The story begins with the death of Malcolm Forbes who inherited the Forbes Company from his father, B.C. Forbes.  With Malcolm’s death, the longevity of the empire becomes vulnerable; due to Malcolm’s extravagant lifestyle, four sons (Kip, Tim, Steve, Bob) all fighting for their share of power, and the world of journalism being reinvented by the internet.
I couldn't help but think the story reminded me of the fictional story, “The Great Gatsby”. The author actually mentions this himself in the book. If you are interested in how the publication world is changing, finance and journalism stories, or just how the other half live and lose, then you might enjoy this book. I found the Forbes story very interesting.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Memory Man by David Baldacci 403 pages

Amos Decker was a professional football player for one play of one game.  Then, he was hit so hard that it rattled his brain.  He was never the same...and he would never forget ANYTHING ever again, no matter how much he wanted to. He goes on to become a policeman, then a detective, wanting to help others.  Until one night, he comes home to find his wife and daughter murdered, those images forever imprinted on his brain.  He loses his house, leaves his job, and ends up on the street.  Until one day, over a year later, a man walks into the police station and confesses to the murders.  At the same time, a shooter is on a rampage at the high school.  Decker is called in to use his amazing skills to help solve these cases, but can he endure the memories and the burdens that go along with it.  Especially since someone is targeting him...Are these murders all about him?

Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown 272 pages (YA novel) 2015-2016 Gateway Nominee

This book should be required reading for every High School freshman.  Ashleigh is your typical high school girl.  She runs track, tries to keep out of trouble, has a close knit group of friends, and a boyfriend. It is August and boyfriend Kaleb is getting ready to head off to college.  Ashleigh is at a friend's pool party.  She is exhausted from running, has not eaten much and has had a couple of drinks when someone talks her into sexting Kaleb a nude picture of herself so he will not forget her when he goes off to college.  NOT a wise decision!!  Sure enough, a few months later they have a nasty break-up and the picture that was intended for his eyes only goes viral.  Ashleigh is suddenly the town slut.  Her father, who is the school superintendent, could lose his job, Kaleb may have to register as a sex offender for distributing porn and Ashleigh is sentenced to 60 hours of community service. Not to mention the loss of pride, reputation and trust.  While doing her community service, she makes friends with a "loner" Mack, the one person in town who when he received the text of her picture, did not look.  Mack offers a fresh chance at friendship.  Just what Ashleigh needs to weather this storm.  I especially liked the Author's comments at the end of the book.  She reflects on the fact that for people "of a certain age", this was something we never had to deal with.  It wasn't even possible.  There are a lot more chances for teens to make tragic, senseless decisions that can follow them the rest of their lives. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner, 400 Pages

Oh boy, I love Lisa Gardner's books.  This is the 3rd book featuring private investigator Tessa Leone.  It may be billed as a Tessa Leone book, but it more prominently  features her now-boyfriend New Hampshire Sheriff Department Sergeant Wyatt Foster.  Besides working hard on a case he is also struggling to get Tessa's 9-year old daughter Sophie to warm up to him.

One thing I like so much about Lisa Gardner's books is that while she writes many different series, featuring different characters, those characters often pop up in her other books.  Boston Detective D.D. Warren has a cameo here.

Okay, on to the story.  Nicky Frank crashes her car in a deep ravine.  She is desperate to get help for Vero so crawls to the top of the hill through rain and mud and flags down a motorist.  But who is Nicky and who is Vero?  That's what Wyatt works to unravel after he is called to the scene.  This is a top notch thriller.

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty, 356 pages

Liane Moriarty is an Australian author who I heard described once as an edgy Maeve Binchy.  "Three Wishes" was her first novel and it was a chick lit treat.

The story begins with a birthday dinner at a crowded restaurant for Australian triplets Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle, who are turning 33.  We don't know which is which at this point, but one of the triplets is pregnant and another sister throws a fork at her that sticks out of her pregnant belly.  Oops.

The story goes back in time to tell us how they got to that point.  Thankfully, the story also goes beyond to tell us how everything works out.  I loved trying to figure out who was going to end up pregnant because that was not obvious until about 2/3 of the way through the book.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Raft by S. A Bodeen (A YA novel) A Truman Award Nominee 2014-2015

15-year-old Robie is not your typical teen.  She lives on Midway Atoll in the Hawaiian Islands with her parents and other Marine biologist researchers.  She is the only kid.  There are no malls, no movie theaters and phone reception is sketchy.  Occasionally she gets to visit her Aunt in Honolulu.  It is on a trip back from such a visit on a supply plane to the island that disaster strikes.  The plane loses power and goes down in the Pacific.  Robie, the only survivor,  is set adrift on a raft in shark invested waters. She drifts for days with no food and no fresh water, except when it rains.  She finally lands on an uninhabited island.  This is a story of survival and the difficult decisions Robie has to make in order to survive.

Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline 432 pages

Lisa Scottoline at her best!  This might be my favorite novel by her.  A psychological thriller that you will not want to put down.

Dr. Eric Parrish is a successful psychiatrist and chief of his unit at Havemeyer Hospital.  But he is having a really bad year.  His wife is divorcing him, selling their house out from under him, she already has another man in her life.  Dr. Eric is struggling to stay connected to his 7-year-old daughter with whom he has a really close relationship.  Then he gets pulled into the life of Max.  Max is troubled teenage boy who suffers from OCD, and is living with his grandmother who is dying.  Dr. Eric takes on Max as a private patient.  Max confesses to him that he has a huge crush on a girl he tutors in Math.  Max thinks about Renee all the time.  Sometimes he follows her home because he does not trust her driving.  Sometimes his thoughts take on a dark tone and he pictures himself strangling her.  Then, Renee is found dead, strangled in a park near her home.  An intern doing her rotations on Dr. Eric's ward files a sexual harassment suit against him.  His life is spiraling out of control!  But who is pulling the strings? Don't skip to the will ruin the surprise!