Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Chaos of Now by Erin Jade Lange, 352 Pages

First of all, thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the Advanced Copy of The Chaos of Now by Erin Jade Lange in exchange for an honest review! This book is set to be released around the beginning of October 2018.

After much deliberation, I decided to give this book 3/5 stars. I had a difficult time staying interested with this book, but I'm glad I read it because it focuses around important topics such as bullying and mental illness. The age recommendation I saw was 14+, but I'm not sure that I would recommend this book to patron's that are that young in my library, as some of the book is very graphic. I debated on giving The Chaos of Now 4 stars, but the ending knocked it down to 3 for me, I wish the author would have given me a little more!

Eli Bennett is a Sophomore at Haver High. He doesn't consider himself popular, or anything really- he's just Eli. He's getting through school by putting in minimal effort and spends most of his time in front of his computer. Eli is a teen hacker, and very good at it. He's frustrated, along with many other people in his school, when new laws are put in effect after his classmate, Jordan Bishop, commits suicide after relentless online bullying. Eli is approached by two classmates, Seth and Mouse, who also spend their time coding and hacking. They ask Eli to join their team in a coding competition, and he quickly accepts so they can get to work. Eli soon realizes that winning the competition isn't the only thing Seth and Mouse are after. The two boys had been friends with Jordan prior to him committing suicide, and their ultimate goal is to expose and humiliate anyone who contributed to his death. Things start off seemingly innocent, but quickly spiral out of control. Lives are changed forever and Eli realizes he may be in over his head.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins 448 pages

I have never read a book by Ellen Hopkins before. I found this one interesting. The story is told in verse and narrative. The narrative follows six teens living in Tuscon, Arizona. Each teen has a different idea on gun control and immigration. In the span of a week, all of their lives are changed. Someone will shot a gun and someone will be shot. Who will it be?

See, the absolute truth is people do kill people. A gun just makes it easier. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

#MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil 352 pages

I can’t believe that I finished this book in only two days. I’m actually surprised I finished it at all. The description of this book intrigued me but when I started reading, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it. It’s intense, suspenseful, and gruesome at times. I just couldn’t stop! I would recommend to teens who are not afraid of horror movies. Warning: this is not for the faint of heart!

Dee Guerrera wakes up in a dimly lit warehouse wearing a ballgown. She has been transferred to Alcatraz 2.0, a prison island where convicted felons are hunted and killed live on the Postman app.  Dee's only goal is to stay alive long enough to clear her name. She was accused of killing her step-sister. Dee teams up with other teens on the island, where they are deemed the Death Row Breakfast Club. Will they be able to clear Dee's name or will the Postman's executioners get to them first?  

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage, 320 Pages

First and foremost- I was graciously granted an advanced copy of Baby Teeth by Netgalley and the publisher.

This book was honestly terrifying. I don't scare easily in terms of books, but this one really got to me. I felt the need to look over my shoulder the entire time I read this. I can't imagine being in the position of not trusting your own child, and being afraid of her. I will definitely recommend this to anyone who is a horror fan like myself.

Suzette and Hanna have an explosive relationship. Suzette, the mother, is terrified of her daughter, Hanna. Hanna has never spoken a word, but finds other ways to terrorize her mom on a daily basis. The minute her dad gets home, Hanna morphs into a sweet angel, incapable of doing the terrible things her mother claims she does. As Hanna's outbursts become worse, Suzette begins to realize something is seriously wrong with her daughter, and it could be life-threatening for her.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas, 384 Pages

First and foremost- I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

I LOVED this book. I’ve been on a YA binge lately, and Kara’s books do not disappoint. The Cheerleaders is intriguing from the beginning, and doesn’t leave you waiting for the hair-raising, thrilling moments. The ending had me on the edge of my seat, and was entirely not what I expected. This is definitely another YA novel I’ll be recommending to anyone and everyone. 

After multiple horrible tragedies that took place 5 years ago, the cheerleading squad no longer exists. Still searching for clues, and not entirely believing the story of what took place that night, Monica Rayburn finds her dead sister’s phone in her stepfather’s desk. Jen’s phone contains starting information, including the phone number of the person Jen spoke to right before she killed herself. Unable to turn to her family, who basically refuses to speak about any of the deaths, especially Jen’s... Monica is forced to dig deep into the past on her own, and what she discovers is equally horrifying and life-changing.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, 342 pages

"Before We Were Yours" has been on my to-be-read list for quite a while and I am so happy that I finally got to it.  This is a fictionalized account of a family of seven children who were victims of the Tennessee Children's Home Society.  The society was real and was supposed to be a wonderful system of orphanages for children, when in fact, it was a horrible place that stole children and sold them for profit.

This is one of those books that I occasionally had to put down because I just needed a break from the heartbreak.  It was also one of those books I struggled to put down because it was such a well-written and compelling story and I wanted to know what happened next.

This one definitely puts the reader through the ringer but it is so worth it.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman, 432 pages

Swedish author Fredrik Backman is one of my favorite authors.  He tends to write sweet tales about eccentric characters who find love and validation through friends.  That is not this book.

Beartown is a dying town deep in a forest and they have one point of pride - the hockey club and its various teams.  Something bad happens to someone and the aftermath threatens to destroy the club and the town.

Yowza, this was brutal and powerful.  Racism, rape, bullying and peer pressure are all explored.  I loved this in a whole different way from my normal awe of Fredrik Backman.   There is now a follow-up to this book, "Us Against You."  Ohh, can't wait!

Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, 219 pages

2018 is the 200th anniversary of the publication of the classic book Frankenstein and it is on the PBS "Great American Reads" list.  I figured it was a great time to read this classic book for the first time.

Many people, including some of the librarians I work with, love Frankenstein and their encouragement helped me finish it.  I mostly wanted to thump Victor Frankenstein on the noggin throughout the book and tell him any problems that arose in his life were indeed his fault because he panicked and couldn't love what he created.

Didn't enjoy it, but glad I read it.


Saturday, July 28, 2018

Noir : a novel by Christopher Moore 339 pages

Thank you, Chris, for finally writing another book!  I know I shouldn't get frustrated, but when you go too long without publishing, I get edgy.  I need my fix! 

One thing I love about Moore's works are that they (especially the last 5 or so) are so wildly different subjects, but still deliciously his writing.  He writes paragraphs you want to chew for a while.  This was a foray into post WWII San Francisco, with night clubs, sassy dames, racial issues, and - oh, yeah - a government cover-up of the existence of aliens.  If you love 30s and 40s-style noir and really appreciate a well-turned phrase, don't pass this one up! 

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake 310 pages

I am so happy that there are several books coming out for middle graders that offer realistic looks at what it is like to be LGBTQ.  This is one of the best books yet that I've read.  It was sensitive, and didn't ever have a heavy hand.  It literally just followed a young girl as she tried to sort out why and how she was different.  More than anything it allows young people to understand two things: 1) it's okay to be different and 2) it's okay to not have all the answers.  This story was filled with warmth and characters that you really won't be able to help but love and want the best for them.  I highly recommend it to everyone 8 years+  without reservation. 

#NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line by David and Lauren Hogg, 165 Pages

I saw this in a magazine of upcoming releases and knew that it would be a difficult one to read, but decided to attempt it. #NeverAgain is written by David and Lauren Hogg, siblings who survived the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The writing isn't fantastic, but I think that is to be expected when it was written by two teenagers who are dealing with unimaginable amounts of grief. The book hits on the tragedy that unfolded MSD, and also talks about the #NeverAgain movement that began after. I found it interesting to read it from their point of view, because it showed that not everything you see in the media is true.

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens, 415 Pages

This book was intense. There is a lot of domestic violence, which is extremely difficult to read about. Besides the difficult topics, I found this to be a really good read. I changed my mind quite a few times on what I thought was going to happen, and still was shocked by the ending!

Over a decade ago, Lindsey is forced to flee in the middle of the night from her husband, Andrew. As the night goes on, Andrew is sent to jail, giving Lindsey the chance to start over with her young daughter, Sophie. But, upon Andrew's release from jail, Lindsey's life is once again in jeopardy, as she is sure that her ex-husband has tracked her down. Multiple things begin happening, including her home being broken into, and her new boyfriend being assaulted. Lindsey is almost positive that Andrew is behind all of this, while he claims that he has changed.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas, 329 pages

I'm currently waiting for a new release to come out written by Kara Thomas, so I thought I would check out this one and see if I like her writing. I used to really love YA books, and am slowly getting back to reading them. This book was compared to the TV show Pretty Little Liars, which was a huge guilty pleasure for me when it was on, so I knew I would love it.

Kacey is forced to move in with her father and his new family, which includes a step-mother, step-brother, and a younger half-sister. Everything about her life is new- new house, new family, new school and new friends. Bailey and Jade are her best friends and everything seems perfect, until they start distancing themselves from her. When they attend the biggest party of the year without her, Kacey is stuck at home wondering what she did to cause the distance between them. Unforunately, before she can get any answers, Bailey goes missing. Everyone turns to Kacey for the answers to their questions, and she realizes she didn't know her best friends as well as she thought she did.

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay, 288 pages

Tremblay is another one of my favorite authors. I recommend him to anyone who loves a good horror novel. I've been anxiously waiting for this release and it didn't disappoint. This book was truly horrifying.

Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are spending time at their remote cabin. They are miles away from any sort of civilization or cell service, and enjoying the uninterrupted family time. Wen is 7 years old and enjoys exploring outside. While catching grasshoppers in their front yard, a stranger suddenly appears at the end of the driveway. He introduces himself as Leonard, and quickly gains Wen's trust and interest. Everything changes when Leonard looks at her and says, "None of what's going to happen is your fault." Wen notices 3 more strangers quickly approaching, and runs inside to warn her dad's, but not before Leonard tells her that he and the strangers need her family's help saving the world.

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris, 336 pages

B. A. Paris has quickly became one of my favorite authors. She is a master of the thriller genre, and I read through her books so quickly. They're all SO good! This new release is no different. While I didn't love it as much as I loved her other books, this was still a great thriller. I was on edge through the entire book and the ending was so wild!

Finn and Layla are young, and crazy in love. Driving home from a vacation in France, they stop at a rest stop. Upon returning to the car, Finn realizes that Layla has seemingly vanished. Ten years later, he is doing his best to move on and start over. Finn is engaged to Layla's sister, Ellen and they live a relatively quiet life, until something from both of their pasts shows up on their doorstep and changes everything.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, 487 pages

"Lilac Girls" is a World War II novel inspired by real people and events.  It tells the story of three women: New Yorker Caroline Ferriday (real person); polish teenager Kasia Kusmerick who was sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp (inspired by a real person); and Dr. Herta Oberheuser (also a real person) who conducted medical experiments on the women of Ravensbruck. 

There are an endless number of stories still to be told about the atrocities, trials, and triumphs related to World War II.  This is a beautiful and sometimes heart wrenching novel that gets the word out about a few more of those stories.

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager, 384 Pages

This is a new release that I have been SO, SO anxiously waiting to read. I absolutely loved Sager's debut novel, Final Girls, and so I had very high expectations for this follow-up. Luckily, it lived up to said expectations! It was a little slow getting into it, but once I got to the ending, I couldn't put it down.

Fifteen years ago, 13-year-old Emma Davis is away at Camp Nightingale for the first time. She is shown the ropes by 3 older campers- Vivian, Allison and Natalie. Everything changes when Emma wakes up to the girls sneaking out of their cabin in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, this is the last anyone will ever see of the girls. Now, Emma is a successful artist, based in NYC, and gets all of her inspiration from that night at camp. When her exhibit is visited by the camp's former owner, Franny. During the visit, Franny offers Emma something she just can't resist- a chance to return to Camp Nightingale. Franny sees it as a chance to restore the camp's reputation, but Emma sees it as her chance to finally figure out what happened that night. Immediately upon returning, Emma realizes that something isn't right at Camp Nightingale. Between the sinister clues left behind by Vivian, the security camera that seems to only record her cabin, and the lies that quickly come to the surface from basically everyone around her, Emma realizes she's on her own in figuring out what happened fifteen years ago, and seemingly can trust no one.

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham, 224 Pages

This has been on my To-Read list for a long time. I loved Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore in the show Gilmore Girls, and feel so nostalgic when I watch it because I grew up watching it. Lauren talks a lot about the show and her feelings during it also during the revival, so this is a good read for anyone who loves the show. (Graham was also on Parenthood, I haven't seen that one! She does talk about her time on that show as well.) This was a feel-good read, and a nice break from my usual thriller novels.

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman 460 pages

If you loved Pullman's His Dark Materials series, as I did, you absolutely must read this new series!  It was like putting on your favorite, comfy pajamas jumping back into the rich alternate reality of Lyra's Oxford.  Of course, this is a prequel to the other series, so Lyra is just a baby.  The main character is Malcolm, an industrious boy who helps his parents at their inn, does odd jobs for the nuns nearby and jack-of-all-trades tasks up and down the river.  His trusty canoe, La Belle Sauvage, affords him the luxury of accomplishing this in quick fashion.  Strange folk and rumors are moving through his parents' inn and Malcolm gets absorbed in a dangerous mission to protect the mysterious baby that is being sheltered at the nuns' priory.  

This was an absorbing, beautifully written story and I can't wait for the next one in this series! 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Special Ones by Em Bailey, 319 Pages

This book caught my eye because I have a weird interest in cults, and it seemed like a short read, so I picked it up and finished it in less than 24 hours because I couldn't put it down! It's just the right amount of creepy, and the last few chapters were very suspenseful.

Four teenagers have been kidnapped, and are now being held in a farmhouse. They are referred to as The Special Ones by "him"- someone they've never actually seen, but controls their every move and thought. Their lives are broadcast via the internet for a group of followers, and any slip ups in the characters they're forced to be results in a "renewal". Esther realizes that she's not who "him" says she is, but is in survival mode knowing her only chance of escaping is continuing in her role.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah) by Ann Hood, 256 Pages

I've been looking forward to reading this one for months, and it was finally released earlier this week! This is classified as juvenile fiction, but I think anyone would enjoy it- especially a Beatles lover, like me! I grew up loving The Beatles, and can remember the first time my dad played a Beatles album for me, and this book really captures that feeling and put it into words.

Twelve-year-old Trudy Mixer is a Beatles fanatic. She starts up the first Beatles Fan Club of Rhode Island, and everyone quickly joins, catapulting Trudy to the top of the social ladder. Unfortunately, the club fizzles out and even her best friend, Michelle, leaves the club to join the Cheerleading Club. Things start to perk up when Trudy realizes that The Beatles are coming to Boston, and her dad buys 4 tickets for her, her mom, her dad and her now ex-friend, Michelle to attend. Things once again start to go downhill when Michelle turns down the offer to go, Trudy's dad is forced to leave for a business trip overseas days before the concert, and Trudy's mom breaks her leg, leaving her bed-ridden. Trudy is devastated, thinking she'll have to miss the concert, until she creates a plan to not only go to the concert with the remaining (and extremely unpopular) members of the club, but they're going to meet the one and only Paul McCartney.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, 259 pages

I was recommended this book by my cousin and a librarian friend I have from Kansas City. They both went on and on about how beautiful the writing is in the novel and once I read it, I completely understood what they meant. Not only is Gaiman's writing beautiful, it's haunting at the same time. I've already recommended this to two of our regular patron's and I'm anxious waiting for them to return it and tell me what they think!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Silent Speaker by Rex Stout 271 pages

This is one of the best Nero Wolfe mysteries.  It is full of intrigue, and an awful lot of flirtation.  If you love excellent dialogue and mysteries that keep you guessing, you won't be disappointed.  When a powerful government official scheduled to speak to a group of millionaires turns up dead, the business world clamors for a solution and Nero Wolfe takes the case.  There’s really not a lot more to tell…Archie is irresistibly charming, as always.  Wolfe gets sick of having too many clients and warring agencies constantly crashing his office calm.  Another fantastic Nero Wolfe mystery read by Michael Prichard!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Misery by Stephen King, 433 pages

This was actually my first book I've ever read by King. I've always found his stuff to be very intimidating, mostly due to his writing style and also the length of his novels. A lot of people recommended Misery to me, so I finally gave it a try. It was borderline to gory for me, but I also found myself on the edge of my seat for a lot of it, especially the ending!

Paul Sheldon is a best-selling author and recently woke up utterly disoriented after a car accident. He is being tended to by his number one fan, Annie Wilkes. After finishing his most recent novel and realizing that he killed of the main, beloved character, Annie quickly switches from Paul's carer to his captor. She is willing to go to grisly lengths to force Paul to write the next book in the series, and bring back the character that she can't live without.

If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin, 384 pages

This was an interesting read for me. I originally picked it up about a month ago, and only got through a few chapters before I decided to give up on it. I was on hold for the e-book and it became available on one of my "I HAVE NOTHING TO READ!!!" days, and I recently bought a new Kindle Paperwhite that I've been itching to use, so I decided to give it another try. This time, I was able to finish the book and actually enjoy it! I talked to one of our regular patron's at my branch and she had the same experience, where she attempted to read it, gave up and read something different, and then was able to complete it and enjoy it the second go-around.

Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent, 320 Pages

This book was kind of slow for me, but I was hooked from the very first line. It picked up as the story went on, and I couldn't put it down once I got to the last few chapters!
"My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it."
Lydia Fitzsimons has it all. But, "all" includes a major secret that is causing things to quickly unravel around her after her son, Laurence, finds out about it. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Fallen by David Baldacci, 432 pages

This is book #4 in Baldacci's Amos Decker series.  In this outing Amos and his friend and co-worker, Alex, are supposed to be on vacation.  They go to Barronville, PA to visit Alex's sister and her family.

Unfortunately, the vacation turns into a working vacation because people keep dying.  This is a typical Baldacci story, and frankly I enjoy a typical Baldacci story.  There is action, suspense, a quick pace and the bad guy typically gets his in the end.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell, 277 pages

Oh, this is a well written, but sad, story.  Esme Lennox is a high strung young woman from a good family who does not conform easily to her parents wishes.  It is sometime in the early 1930's in Scotland and "difficult" women can be locked away in a mental institution for really no reason at all, with no prospect of release.

The story involves three women: Esme, her older sister Kitty, and Iris, the granddaughter of Kitty.  Sixty-one years after Esme is locked away and forgotten by her family her grandniece, Iris, learns of her existence.  The story of what really happened all those years ago unfolds slowly through the voices of Esme and Kitty, who now has Alzheimer's disease.  The book has a satisfying ending but I am unsure if it is a happy ending.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Real Michael Swann by Bryan Reardon, 352 Pages

This was a fast-paced thriller, and hit a nerve with me and what we're currently dealing with in society today. This story seemed like something that could really happen, which was terrifying to me. 

Michael and Julia Swann are loving parents, who would do anything for their two boys. Julia, a stay-at-home mom, is waiting for Michael to get home from a job interview and calls him to find out when he's due to arrive home. When their call suddenly drops, and Julia is unable to reach him again, she can't help but have a bad feeling in her stomach. Trying to distract herself, she sits down to watch a baseball game with her sons, but it ends up being interrupted by breaking news- a bomb has been detonated at the subway station Michael was last at. Julia frantically begins the search for Michael, but finds out that the situation has somehow gotten even worse, and Michael is now the prime suspect of the bombing. Determined to get to the bottom of things and trusting no one, Julia goes to great lengths to not only find Michael, but to prove his innocence. 

Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen, 304 pages

The novel is set in a tight-knit, upper class neighborhood in modern day New York City.  The neighborhood has beautiful old houses and coveted parking.  The people living in the houses are all white, while the people working in the houses are not. 

From the outside it is an idyllic neighborhood.  However, when a handyman is brutally attacked, cracks begin to appear.  So much so, that a seemingly perfectly happy middle-aged couple, Nora and Charlie Nolan, might end up losing their marriage. 

Not my favorite Anna Quindlen book, perhaps because it is very much a love story to New York City, a place I've only visited a few times.  However, any Anna Quindlen book is worth reading, in my opinion.

I Found You by Lisa Jewell, 342 page

Fabulous summer read that is set mostly on the coast of England, in the little coastal town of Ridinghouse Bay.

A man is seen sitting for a day on a rainy beach in Ridinghouse Bay and it turns out he has no idea who he is.  Meanwhile, in London, a young newlywed is frantic because her husband is missing . . .

Sound like a great set up to a fast paced mystery adventure?  Yep, it is.  Enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris, 336 Pages

THIS. BOOK. WAS. SO. GOOD!!!!! This is definitely a contender for my favorite book of the year. I couldn't put it down and was honestly sad that I finished it so quickly!

The Angel's are seemingly the perfect couple. Jack, a successful lawyer, and Grace, the doting housewife, seem to have it all- a perfect house used for lavish dinner parties, lots of money, and true love. But digging deeper, there's something "off" about them. Grace is never anywhere without Jack, doesn't answer the phone, and is constantly cancelling plans at the last minute that don't involve Jack. In this case, Grace's fairy tale lifestyle really is too good to be true. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman, 320 Pages

While I found some of the information in this book interesting, I honestly found a lot of it appalling. I understand that the contestants sign up for the show, and "know what they're in for", I don't believe that they sign up with the intention of being publicly humiliated and manipulated by the producers and overall production company. Many interviews from past and current employees of both The Bachelor and Bachelorette franchise painted the production company in such a horrible light, and openly talked horribly about the "cast". Most of the book discusses how producers often manipulate cast members into drinking and then corner them for a one-on-one "in the moment" interview to get what they need for ratings. Like I said, I know that these are consenting adults, and maybe I'm naive for watching the show and thinking the behind-the-scenes wasn't that bad. I'm not a huge fan of The Bachelor or Bachelorette, and I'm especially not now. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Don't Trust Me by Joss Stirling, 400 Pages

I didn't love this book. It had the potential to be fantastic, but the author wrote such an unlikeable character (in my opinion) that I struggled to finish it. I will say, I didn't see the ending coming, which helped with my overall opinion of the book, but this is not one that I would recommend to patrons. The main character suffers from ADHD, and I don't feel like they painted her or her mental illness in a good light. 

Jessica and Michael return from an unfortunately bad vacation with their relationship on the verge of crumbling. Jessica returns to work only to no trace of the company, as if it never existed. This doesn't help her situation with Michael, who didn't believe her job was real in the first place, instead chalking it up to another one of her fantasies he swears she comes up with. To make matters worse, their apartment is ransacked, and the only thing's stolen are items that belong to Michael's late-wife, Emma. All signs point to Jessica, and he quickly places the blame on her. But, things quickly take a turn for the worse when Jessica finds a dead body, and things begin to unravel around her. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell, 356 Pages

This was another fast-paced thriller that I enjoyed. I did find it pretty predictable in some aspects, but it didn't ruin the book for me. 

Ten years ago, Laurel Mack's life was turning upside down when her 15 year old daughter, Ellie, went missing. Laurel's life has basically been at a standstill since, never giving up hope that Ellie will some day come home. Her marriage imploded due to the stress of losing their daughter, and Laurel has been alone ever since, until she meets Floyd in a cafe. They are soon inseparable and taking major steps in their relationship, which includes meeting Floyd's daughter Poppy, who is shockingly similar to Laurel's missing daughter at that age. Now Laurel is forced to face the past again, and unanswered questions she long ago buried are back at the surface. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Hardcore Twenty-four by Janet Evanovich, 320 page

I think I've read everything Janet Evanovich has published since the first Stephanie Plum book "One for the Money."

We're now on book 24 in the series and not much has changed in Stephanie's life.  Since about book eight, I typically read and then complain that it wasn't that good.  Guess what?  I liked this one.

The same formula and all the regular zany characters are here but I enjoyed this one more than most.  Thanks Janet.

Artemis by Andy Weir, 305 pages

I am a huge fan of Andy Weir's first book, "The Martian" and was excited to get the chance to listen to his second book, "Artemis."

Artemis is the name of a colony on the moon.  It's a great place to visit but can be an uncomfortable place to live if you are not a gazillionaire and main character Jazz Bashara is doing pretty much anything she can to make some serious cash.  And that gets her in serious trouble.

I enjoyed this sci-fi action romp adventure, but had to mostly ignore lots of technical information that literally went in one ear and out the other.  I ultimately liked this book, but had to make myself stick with it at first knowing I'd get to parts I could comprehend and enjoy.

Mairzy Doats by Glory Fagan, 206 pages

"Mairzy Doats" is a semi-autobiographical fiction book written by local author and librarian Glory Fagan.  It begins from the perspective of a character who has been dead for 20 years but is still around.  She is reflecting back on her life and a good bit of it was spent in St. Joseph.  I got a little thrill every time a St. Joseph location was mentioned and I knew exactly where it was or is.

This is a really delightful read.  I was a little worried about it, because I had no idea how to pronounce the title.  Don't worry, fair reader.  Even before the story starts we learn the title is from a novelty song written in the 40s and to pronounce it "mares eat oats."  Ahh, that allowed me to sit back and enjoy the story about Dazy who lived life fully and with love.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Listen to your heart by Kasie West, 329 pages

I have adored this author ever since I received one of her books in a book box last year. Lucky for me she tends to publish 2 books a year. This particular book is a cute, quick, summer read. I may have snorted at one point in this book. It has some hilarious scenes. I applaud the author for not going with the stereotypical story line that she could have with this book but instead does an interesting spin on it. It's hard to describe without giving spoilers. This is definitely the teen equivalent of a beach read. With a lake setting it made me wish I lived on the lake. 

The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George, 692 pages

Elizabeth George gives us another enigmatic title and fabulous story to go along with it in the 20th installment of her Inspector Lynley series set in England.

Does the title refer to Sergeant Barbara Havers, whose job is on the line?  Could it be her boss, Isabelle Ardery, who continues to struggle with addiction?  Or is it one of the many women in the seemingly quiet little historic town of Ludlow where Havers and Ardery are sent to follow-up on the apparent suicide of a church man while in police custody?

Read or listen to this great mystery and then lets talk.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy, 336 Pages

This was a very fast paced, suspenseful read. I found a lot of the main characters extremely irritating, but it was a great read and I didn't see the ending coming at all, which is always a plus! This also was a good read for me, because there were a lot of stigmas that society puts on new mothers, such as shaming them for formula feeding as opposed to breastfeeding, the lack of maternity leave in the US, etc. 

The May Mothers are a group of mom's who all gave birth in the month of May. They meet a couple times a week to discuss the anxiety, fears, and happiness that come with being a new mom, all in the refuge of women who completely understand. One of the mom's suggests they meet at a bar on July 4th, insisting on a much needed, baby-free night for all the mother's. Things are going great, until they discover that one of the babies has gone missing from his crib. Everyone's lives are flipped upside down, especially the oddly-reserved Winnie, who's son Midas was the one who was taken. Secrets are revealed and a few of the mother's are forced to deal with things they had hoped would stay hidden in the past, all in hopes that Baby Midas will be found safe. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, 346 pages

This was a fast paced, twisty thriller, that I really enjoyed! I've tried to type up a brief recap multiple times, but there are so many twists and turns in this book that I'm worried I'm going to give away something I shouldn't. All I will say is, anything you assume you have figured out is probably wrong. READ THIS BOOK! 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch, 320 pages

I always enjoy armchair traveling...especially to a country that I can't wait to re-visit (it's probably changed a little since I was there 14 years ago). I also have a soft spot for Ireland because I'm 18.5% Irish. Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt's destination wedding (wish I had a relative that would get married in a foreign country and pay for my travels). She's also trying to get over a broken heart. The boy behind her broken heart caused a riff between her and her favorite brother, Ian. They're supposed to go Italy to visit Addie's best friend who recently moved there but her brother makes his own plans. Addie can't let her brother out of her sight (due to a punishment given by her mother) so she's forced to tag along on her brother's secret road trip across Ireland while trying to convince her mom they're both in Italy. Besides the amazing descriptions of the Irish countryside and road trip antics you keep reading because Addie and her brother both hint at there's more to her break up than she's admitted.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Witch Doesn't Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace, 208 pages

I was anxious to read this because I really enjoyed Lovelace's other book, "The Princess Saves Herself in This One". I didn't love this one as much as that one, unfortunately. I didn't find the poetry in this collection as relateable to my personal life, but still found it beautiful, nonetheless! I definitely recommend anyone who is new to poetry to pick up something by Amanda Lovelace.

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh, 400 Pages

I really enjoyed this book. I attempted to read something by Mackintosh a while back, and only got a few chapters in before I gave up due to boredom. I was nervous that this would be a similar situation, but I couldn't put this one down!

It has been one year since Anna's mother and father both committed suicide. She was completely blindsided, which has made coping with the incident even harder. Now attempting to move on with her life, Anna has a new baby and a seemingly perfect relationship with the baby's father. Her world is once again rocked, when a note arrives at her home, making her question the circumstances surrounding her parent's deaths. What she doesn't realize is, trying to get to the bottom of this puzzle is going to put everyone around her, including herself, in danger. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie 295 pages

This is a great story to hand to a kid who likes mysteries, especially with some spookiness, and 'new kid' books.  Tessa has had to move from sunny Florida to very grey Chicago.  She wants to be happy for her parents, whose talents garnered them awesome new opportunities, but she's having trouble adjusting to a new environment, trying to make friends, and - oh, yeah - she's pretty sure her new house is haunted.  This is a fun little mystery with just enough spooky for a young audience. 

Where There's a Will: a Nero Wolfe Mystery by Rex Stout 258 pages

I love revisiting these books.  This one is not just an intriguing mystery, but a fun character study, too.
When strong, influential sisters, April, May and June call on Wolfe, he prepares himself for the worst.  After all, he does not play well with women.  Their main complaint is that their bother's will is bizarre.  He left his sisters a piece of fruit each, an oddly small amount to his wife and a whopping $700,000 to his mistress.  Something sure doesn't seem right in all of it.  The sisters don't care about money, they all have plenty of their own.  However, there were some legacies that were promised and it seems unlikely that their brother would have completely ignored them.  This was a tricky one that even got Wolfe not only out of his chair, but out of the house!  Read by Michael Prichard, it was a treat as always.

Over My Dead Body by Rex Stout 293 pages

When a Balkan beauty gets in trouble over some missing diamonds, to whom can she turn but the world-famous Nero Wolfe?  Especially since she claims to be Wolfe's long lost daughter!  The stakes are suddenly raised when a student at this woman's fencing school ends up dead after a 'pointed' lesson.  As Wolfe and his sidekick, Archie, thrust and parry into a tangle of documents, identities and international intrigue, another student body turns up, expertly skewered through the heart.  Is Wolfe's long lost daughter the black sheep of the family, a hot-blooded mistress of murder? This is gumshoe detective fun at its best and well worth listening to again.
Another fantastic Nero Wolfe mystery read by Michael Prichard, but I've yet to meet one I didn't love!

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara, 352 Pages

I. Loved. This. Book. I will loudly and proudly admit that I am not fond of non-fiction. I love a good, juicy biography, but overall, I struggle with the genre. This book had so much buzz around it, and I read about it in a Library Journal at work, so I thought I would give it a try. This book sucked me in from page one and was one of those "Do Not Read After Dark" kind of books. Michelle McNamara was an extremely talented and intelligent woman, who devoted most of her life trying to figure out the details of these horrific crimes. I'm extremely saddened that she passed away before she was able to complete the book and see the impact it had on the investigation. I've been recommending this one to everyone I know, and will continue to do so for the unforeseeable future.

Some Buried Caesar by Rex Stout 274 pages

It is a well established fact that Nero Wolfe seldom leaves his house, and almost never for work.  So when a murder occurs while he and Archie Goodwin are visiting a fair, he's aggravated, to say the least.  If he wants to get back home to his favorite chair, he'll just have to solve the murder.  As always, the characters of Nero and Archie are vivid and fun.  This installment of the series is also the introduction of Lily Rowen, who gives Archie an opportunity to show just how witty he can be.  I listened to this read by Michael Prichard, who captures Archie's voice to perfection.