Friday, August 29, 2014

Destroyer Angel: An Anna Pigeon Novel by Navada Barr

  • Series: Anna Pigeon (Book 19)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition first Printing edition (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312614586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312614584
  • Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat

  • SUMMARY: From Booklist "When her friend Heath (Hard Truth, 2005), a paraplegic, agrees to road test a wheelchair poised to revolutionize the sports-gear market, park-ranger Anna Pigeon guides Heath; her daughter, Elizabeth; the chair’s designer, Leah; and Leah’s daughter on a trek in Minnesota’s Iron Mountains. It’s all fresh air and fireside chats until four armed men suddenly appear and abduct the hikers. Anna returns from a canoe jaunt to discover her friends held at gunpoint and stays hidden so that she can track them, seizing every opportunity to help her friends. Meanwhile, Heath struggles to survive the off-trail hike and protect the girls. With no cellular reception, Anna’s cunning strikes are the only hope for rescue, and she ferociously, sometimes savagely, harnesses the rules of the wild to even the odds."

    MY THOUGHTS: It should have been called a "Heath Novel".  Anna seemed to be the "secondary character" to the storyline line.  The story seemed to drag on to me. I wondered if Miss Barr is planning on coming up with a new series, poor Anna, seems to have lost her way.  As always Barabara Rosenblat does a superb job narrating the book.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    North of Normal

    NORTH OF NORMAL by Cea Sunrise Person
    Copyright 2014
    340 pages
    ISBN  978-0062289865

    In the late 1960's, Cea Sunrise Person's family left a comfortable existence in California to
    escape civilization and live off the land in the Canadian wilderness. 

    Living out her grandparents' dream with her teenage mother, Michelle, Cea knew little of the
    world beyond the forest.  When Cea was five, her mother took her on the road with a new boyfriend.
    As the three of them set upon a series of ill-fated adventures, Cea began to question both her highly unusual world and the hedonistic woman at the center of it, her mother.  Finally, in her early teens, Cea realized she would have to make a choice as drastic as the one her grandparents had once made in order to save herself.

    While a successful international modeling career offered her a way out of the wilderness, Person discovered that this new world was in its own way overwhelming and full of challenges.  But, she persevered and supported herself from age thirteen to thirty-one as an international model working primarily in Europe.  She now lives in Vancouver and is a happily married mother of three.

    "Breaking All the Rules" By: Cynthia Sax Review

    Breaking All the Rules
    By: Cynthia Sax

    Nathan Lawford, Blaine Technologies' chief financial officer, is known as the Iceman. He conducts his personal and business affairs without emotion, never allowing himself to become involved with anyone. When Nate sees something or someone he wants, he negotiates, paying a simple, set monetary price. Now he wants Camille, the company's green-haired intern. Camille Joplin Trent never expected to be paid to pleasure the man of her dreams. She can't quite figure out why this is a bad thing. Nate is intelligent, handsome, sophisticated, everything she's ever wanted in a lover and never thought she could have. Their contract is for a month, thirty lust-filled days of making every sexual fantasy they've ever had come true. At the end of this month, the rules state their relationship will end. Of course, Camille has never been good at following rules.

    My Thoughts
         Camille is almost the anti-corporate executive. With bright green hair, a devil may care attitude, a hacker/hippie mentality, and multiple piercings, Camille is used to being the outsider. Yet every time she sees Nate Lawford, she can’t help but think there may be something more in his eyes than contempt. Meeting everyday in the elevator, they seem to stalk one another, as a lion would a gazelle.
        Nate proposes a unique idea to Camille after a steamy completely his for a month. Camille is at first intrigued by the idea but once within Nate’s home and in his possession, they find out just how well they fit with one another. Nate’s entire life has been measured and metered, devoid of emotion and parental love. With Camille, he is encouraged to be emotional and isn’t bothered at all by her unconventional choices in both wardrobe and hair color.
         I loved this story so stinkin’ much. Oye. I knew I was going to love Camille when she first appeared in Flashes of Me. She’s such a flower child rebel, she’s so adorable and fun loving. Nate, I honestly didn’t like. He seemed so cold and just unapproachable. However, he is totally redeemed when you meet his wildly crazy parents and see how he treats Camille when he’s finally allowed to just be himself.
        Wonderfully sexy and witty, Breaking All the Rules, is a sweet, sensual story that finally tells the story of our favorite green haired hacker Camille and the cold but perhaps misunderstood Nate. Camille has to fight her inhibitions and self consciousness while Nate is forced out of his unemotional shell. I thoroughly enjoyed both the eroticism of the story while also telling a highly involved character driven story. Easily read as a stand alone book, if you haven’t read sort of the precurser, check out Flashes of Me also!

    Book Details
    Publisher: Avon Red Impulse
    Date of Publication: March 4, 2014
    ISBN: 978-0062328212
    # of Pages: 100
    Source: Edelweiss- for Review

    Originally Published at The Brunette Librarian's Blog

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

    "Flashes of Me" By: Cynthia Sax Review

    Flashes of Me
    By: Cynthia Sax

    Henley, the head of cyber security at Blaine Technologies, is a man no one crosses. He watches employees constantly, using his network of cameras, and enforces his rules by any means possible. Rumors of his violent past, along with his scarred hands and huge size, have resulted in his being feared by everyone … almost everyone.Katalina, the new intern, worries about the revelation of her most painful secret much more than she fears her sexy boss's wrath. She sees the loneliness in his dark eyes, feels the gentleness in his marred fingers, tastes the need in his kisses … and she knows he watches her. His silly rules about not stripping for the cameras and no sex at the office are destined to be broken.Kat likes to be watched. Henley can't look away. Will this beauty be able to tame her beastly boss?

    My Thoughts
      When Katalina begins a new job at Blaine Technologies, she is immediately transfixed by a huge, gentle giant who just happens to be the head of security. He’s handsome, intelligent, and utterly bewitched her from the first minutes of their meeting. Attempting to provoke him into approaching her, Kataline realizes he can see everything she does. So Kat proceeds to entice Henley, the head of Cyber Security, as much as possible, leading to a delightful back and forth.
       So I was a bit back and forth on this book. It gets very naughty pretty quickly, but once I got over the first two or three chapters, I was engrossed in the characters. Henley is such an enigma and I honestly could have read about him for a whole other book. Raw and emotional, Sax does a pretty darn good job of writing how these two completely opposite characters look at their lives in completely different ways...which in turn, make the book a quick read and an even better ending.

    Note: I totally read this series out of order so I completely condone reading this book even if you haven’t read the previous installments.

    Book Details
    Publisher: Avon Red Impulse
    Date of Publication: February 18, 2014
    # of Pages: 208
    ISBN: 9780062328182
    Source: Personal Purchase

    Originally Published at The Brunette Librarian's Blog

    Monday, August 25, 2014

    The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Café                                                                                                                                                                            – July 1, 2014

    The Read...

    A high-powered Manhattan attorney finds love, purpose, and the promise of a simpler life in her grandmother's hometown.

    Ellen Branford is going to fulfill her grandmother's dying wish--to find the hometown boy she once loved, and give him her last letter. Ellen leaves Manhattan and her Kennedy-esque fiance for Beacon, Maine. What should be a one-day trip is quickly complicated when she almost drowns in the chilly bay and is saved by a local carpenter. The rescue turns Ellen into something of a local celebrity, which may or may not help her unravel the past her grandmother labored to keep hidden. As she learns about her grandmother and herself, it becomes clear that a 24-hour visit to Beacon may never be enough. THE IRRESISTIBLE BLUEBERRY BAKESHOP & CAFE is a warm and delicious debut about the power of a simpler life.

    My take on "The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Café by Mary Simses

    I really enjoyed this book.  It was a quick read.  It was thrilling, funny and heart warming.  I sat with a cup of tea and wished for something with blueberries.  It will make you wish for simpler times and a simpler life, family, community and the love of your life to share it. 

    Saturday, August 23, 2014

    the perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

    Paperback213 pages
    Published February 1999 by MTV Books and Pocket Books (first published 1999)

    Set in the early 1990s, this story follows Charlie, the book's "wallflower", through his freshman year of high school.
    Perks begins with an emotionally sensitive, and socially awkward, 15-year-old boy named Charlie writing letters to an unknown recipient about his first year at high school, while grappling with traumatic experiences from his past.

    I loved this book!  It reminded me of a sort of modern version of Catcher in the Rye.  Great coming of age story.  I feel YA readers as well as adults, should find this book easy to relate to, as we've all had moments in our lives when we've felt like an outsider, or different, especially in our youth.

    I found myself wondering who Charlie's letters were intended for.  Were they written to Charlie himself, as some sort of therapy for the events he'd experienced prior?  Were they to his deceased Aunt, whose significance I can't discuss without giving an important piece of the story away.  Was the recipient not so symbolic, but literally a classmate or peer of Charlie's?  Or, were WE the person Charlie was writing to?  Was this a way for the author to build intimacy between us and the main character?

    The other reason I found myself so into this book, were all of the memorable quotes.  So many of them stayed with me long after I finished the story.  I'll end my review with a few of my favorites.   :) 
    “We accept the love we think we deserve.” 

    “I was looking at the photographs and I started thinking that there was a time when these weren't memories.” 

    "and in that moment, I swear we were infinite."

    “But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from we can still choose where we go from there."

    “I love Twinkies, and the reason I am saying that is because we are all supposed to think of reasons to live.” 

    “I would die for you. But I won’t live for you.”

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

    *Confessions of a Wild Child*

    Confessions of a Wild Child
    By: Jackie Collins

    Who is Lucky Saint? She's a fifteen-year-old wild child who discovered her mother's murdered body floating in the family swimming pool when she was only five years old. Daughter of the notorious Gino, who's kept her protected from life ever since, cloistered in their Bel Air mansion. But now she's ready to discover the world: boys, sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. And no one can tell her otherwise. In Confessions of a Wild Child, Lucky navigates her teen years- through first romances, family dramas, and adventures from Greek islands to Vegas penthouses-as Gino Santangelo, a powerful Vegas hotel owner with a dubious past, struggles to control his willful and stubborn daughter. Meanwhile Dario, Lucky's gay teenage brother, is too scared to reveal his sexual preference to his father. Lucky strikes out on her own path- a path that will lead her to become the powerful and charismatic woman she was destined to be. Good-bye, Daddy Gino...hello, freedom!

    My thoughts:
    I absolutely loved this book!! It has so much action, adventure, romance, ect, but it keeps you on your toes. It is truly a book about a girl who knows what she wants and knows the limits on the important things in life. She is rebellious but she is also smart and very mature. I can't wait to read the rest of the Lucky novels!!

    Book Details 
    Publisher: Chances, Inc
    # of pages: 294
    Date of publication: February 4, 2014

    "Heroes Are My Weakness" By: Susan Elizabeth Phillips Review

    Heroes Are My Weakness
    By: Susan Elizabeth Phillips

    The dead of winter. An isolated island off the coast of Maine. A man. A woman. A sinister house looming over the sea ... He's a reclusive writer whose macabre imagination creates chilling horror novels. She's a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids' puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill with laughs. But she's not laughing now. When she was a teenager, he terrified her. Now they're trapped together on a snowy island off the coast of Maine. Is he the villain she remembers or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes. It's going to be a long, hot winter.

    My Thoughts
          Antoinette, “Annie” to her friends, is at the end of her rope, ending up on a solitary road in the middle of a blizzard on an island she only knew as a child. Her mother has died, leaving behind a small cabin filled with bad memories but quickly becomes the only refuge Annie has. When she returns to her former childhood home, she is assaulted by the memories of her mother and the presence of her former crush, Theo Harp, only creates a more tense situation.
         Theo has overcome a very sinister childhood to become an accomplished horror author. He lives a truly solitary life and is still dealing with the death of his twin sister and the suicide of his wife. Unused to any disruptions in his lonely existence, he is disturbed by Annie’s return to her childhood home that coincidentally is just down the hill from his very own mansion. Theo and Annie come together in an explosion of murderous intentions, revealed secrets, a little laughter and a whole lotta love.
        From the very beginning, you can tell this isn’t your usual Susan Elizabeth Phillips book. There is a very dark tone even in the first few pages that isn’t readily apparent in Phillips’ other novels. While it was very different for me, and at times I couldn’t believe my “go to” author was the actual author of what I was reading, the book worked for me.
          There is a lot going on in this one, so bear with me a moment. Crazy siblings, homicidal wives, mistaken identities, greed, lies, crucial family dynamics, hidden fortunes, unknown fathers, and a whole lot more make up Heroes Are My Weakness. Theo and Annie’s relationship takes a backseat sometimes, but it builds slowly and surely. Not as sexy as some of her other books, I found myself enjoying the mysteries as they unfolded and was satisfied with the outcome of the story.    
         A different tone from other Phillips books, Heroes Are My Weakness takes on a whole new world where no one is safe from the machinations of others. Theo and Annie have led fairly disastrous lives but through no fault of their own, but lets face it, without their pasts they wouldn’t have ended up together. Different than her own novels, but no less special, Seppie fans will find her newest one no less intriguing than her famed Stars series.

    Book Details
    Publisher: William Morrow
    # of Pages: 384
    Date of Publication: August 26, 2014
    ISBN: 9780062106117
    Source: Edelweiss - For Review
    Location: Maine

    Originally Published at The Brunette Librarian's Blog

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    "Rusty Nailed" By: Alice Clayton Review

    Rusty Nailed
    By: Alice Clayton

    In this sequel to Wallbanger, the second book in the Cocktail series, fan favorites Caroline and Simon negotiate the rollercoaster of their new relationship while house-sitting in San Francisco.
    Playing house was never so much fun—or so confusing. With her boss on her honeymoon, Caroline’s working crazy long hours to keep the interior design company running—especially since she’s also the lead designer for the renovation of a gorgeous old hotel on Sausalito. So with her hotshot photographer boyfriend gallivanting all over the world for his job, she and Simon are heavy-duty into “absence makes the heart grow fonder” mode. Neither has any complaints about the great reunion sex, though! Then Simon decides he’s tired of so much travelling, and he’s suddenly home more. A lot more. And wanting Caroline home more, too. Though their friends’ romantic lives provide plenty of welcome distraction, eventually Caroline and Simon have to sort their relationship out. Neither wants “out of sight, out of mind,” but can they create their own happy mid-ground cliché? 
    USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton delivers another delicious, frothy cocktail of a book, shaking up her characters, stirring in laugh-out-loud humor, and serving sizzling romance straight up.
    My Thoughts
         A fantastic follow up to Wallbanger, Caroline and Simon are living their happily ever after in Rusty Nailed. This is the story of what happens after finding your soulmate. They love one another desperately, but finding room in life for each other proves to be a bit more difficult than either anticipated.
          I adored Caroline and Simon in Wallbanger, so I was thrilled when I heard the sequel was coming out. Totally going to name drop, but I was lucky enough to meet Alice Clayton in May at a Chicago book signing. Trust me, I tried to get some hints at what was to come, and she was a steel trap. Fantastically nutty and a girl you’d totally want to have a martini with, let me assure you.
         Simon and Caroline are going through growing pains in the months following the end of Wallbanger. Simon slowly becomes disenchanted with his life as a world traveler and wants to spend more time with Caroline. After traveling for years, he’s content to be at home. Caroline begins to question if he’s truly content or if more things are really happening under his tough exterior.
         I would strongly recommend reading Wallbanger before picking up Rusty Nailed. Irreverently hilarious and ultra sexy, Rusty Nailed is utterly wonderful. Alice Clayton has another hit on her hand!

    Book Details
    Publisher: Gallery Books
    # of Pages: 388
    ISBN: 9781476766669
    Date of Publication: June 24, 2014
    Location: San Francisco, California
    Source: Personal Purchase

    Originally Published at The Brunette Librarian's Blog

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

    "Finding Me" By: Michelle Knight Review

    Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings
    Finding Me
    By: Michelle Knight

    Michelle was a young single mother when she was kidnapped by a local school bus driver named Ariel Castro. For more than a decade afterward, she endured unimaginable torture at the hand of her abductor. In 2003 Amanda Berry joined her in captivity, followed by Gina DeJesus in 2004. Their escape on May 6, 2013, made headlines around the world. Barely out of her own tumultuous childhood,
    Michelle was estranged from her family and fighting for custody of her young son when she disappeared. Local police believed she had run away, so they removed her from the missing persons lists fifteen months after she vanished. Castro tormented her with these facts, reminding her that no one was looking for her, that the outside world had forgotten her. But Michelle would not be broken. In
    Finding Me, Michelle will reveal the heartbreaking details of her story, including the thoughts and prayers that helped her find courage to endure her unimaginable circumstances and now build a life worth living. By sharing both her past and her efforts to create a future, Michelle becomes a voice for the voiceless and a powerful symbol of hope for the thousands of children and young adults who go missing every year.

    My Thoughts
        I was astonished by the news reports when Michelle Knight was liberated from captivity in Cleveland. I had looked forward to hearing Michelle’s story and when I saw that she had a book coming out, I immediately made sure my library purchased the book. Reading this account through Michelle’s words was horrific, heartbreaking,  awe inspiring, and ultimately a story of survival when dealing with monsters.
         Michelle Knight was taken and held hostage by Ariel Castro for over a decade. Blockaded in a house in Cleveland, Michelle was held with two others and suffered unimaginable abuse at the hands of her captor. Sexual, mental and physical abuse was a daily occurrence.
         I felt as if the book was written in a conversational style that really worked for me. While horrific, I could feel Michelle’s spirit. While graphic in places, the book wasn’t nearly as graphic as I’m sure it could have been. In the end, Michelle seems to have accepted that bad things happen but isn’t about to let it shape her future life. Trying to better herself, Michelle is going to school, meeting new people and isn’t going to let her past effect who she is going to become.
        Not for the weak of heart, Finding Me is an amazing story of survival. A fast read, Michelle’s story touched my heart in a way that I can’t really explain. Painful to read, Michelle is now a story of hope.

    Book Details
    Publisher: Weinstein Books
    # of Pages: 252
    ISBN: 9781602862562
    Date of Publication: May 6, 2014
    Location: Cleveland, Ohio
    Source: Library Checkout

    Originally Published at The Brunette Librarian's Blog

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    Safekeeping by Karen Hesse

    Karen Hesse

    Radley Parker-Hughes has been volunteering in an orphanage in Haiti after the recent earthquake, but she returns home to a country in the grip of an even more chaotic situation. The American Political Party has assumed power, the president has been assassinated, and martial law prevails. Soldiers with guns at the airport, travel paper requirements-is this really the New Hampshire she left just a few months ago? And where are her parents, who are usually so prompt picking her up at the airport? Radley decides to get home any way she can, even though she will have to cross states lines, strictly forbidden by the new government. When she arrives, her parents are nowhere to be found, but the police are. She decides to leave, hiding in the woods at night, making her way to Canada, assuming that's where her parents went. One day she encounters an obviously ill young woman who is also trying to escape. The two form an uneasy alliance and, along with Celia's dog, Jerry Lee, they slip across the border. An abandoned shack becomes home, and through the kindness of strangers, they survive and become close. Once the chaos in the U.S. subsides, Radley makes her way back home, only to find that things will never be the same. A journey back to Canada can't soothe her pain, but a return to Haiti does. And so her story comes full circle. The prose is exquisite, almost poetic. The simple beauty of the narrative and lovely black-and-white photographs actually intensify the sense of confusion and disorder, giving readers a chilling feeling of reality. They see, through the use of flashbacks interspersed in the story line, how Radley grows from a confused, scared teen into a confident young woman, able to handle her own life. A masterfully written powerhouse of a book.-Diana Pierce - School Library Journal

    My Thoughts
    This young adult title is a wonderful story of teens and discovering the importance of being aware of the your surroundings, learning to be self-reliant, and living in a time when you have nothing.   The bigger story for me was how important it is to read, listen/read to reliable news sources, take part in government by voting, and use you good judgment involving politics.  To me the book was a very good civic's lesson  and would be great reading for teens about to enter the world of adulthood.

    Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

    Winter Garden
    Kristin Hannah

    •  448 pages
    • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
    • 20011

    The Whitson family is rocked by the sudden death of patriarch Evan, a warm, loving man who doted on his two adult daughters, Meredith and Nina, and his reserved Russian wife, Anya. Meredith, who runs the family business, and Nina, a photojournalist whose job takes her to war zones around the world, have never been able to connect with their cold, forbidding mother. When Anya begins to act strangely, Meredith thinks she belongs in a nursing home, but Nina decides to try to fulfill her father’s dying wish and get her mother to tell her and Meredith the elaborate fairy tales she used to share with them. Anya is initially reluctant, but once she begins, Nina realizes these tales are actually the story of Anya’s life in Stalinist Leningrad. Meredith and Nina decide to attempt to uncover the truth about their mother’s tragic past in the hope of understanding her, and themselves. Though the novel starts off fairly maudlin, it evolves into a gripping read, although it’s a tearjerker. Hannah’s previous books, including Firefly Lane (2008) and True Colors (2009), are tailor-made for book clubs, and her audience should find plenty to discuss in this equally enthralling entry. --Kristine Huntley  - Booklist

    My thoughts- The really enjoy Kristin Hannah's stories and Winter Garden is very good.  The story is two stories within the story.  We listen to the fairy tale that Meredith and Nina's mother tells and we discover the truth behind the tale.  Meredith and Nina all of their lives believe that their mother does not love them but when they hear the ending of the  fairy tale - they know why their mother has seem so far away from them.