Friday, April 24, 2015

All the Light We Cannot See

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All the Light We Cannot See

by

Anthony Doerr

Publisher: Schribner
Pages: 531

A novel to live in, learn from, and feel bereft over when the last page is turned, Doerr’s magnificently drawn story seems at once spacious and tightly composed. It rests, historically, during the occupation of France during WWII, but brief chapters told in alternating voices give the overall—and long—­narrative a swift movement through time and events. We have two main characters, each one on opposite sides in the conflagration that is destroying Europe. Marie-Louise is a sightless girl who lived with her father in Paris before the occupation; he was a master locksmith for the Museum of Natural History. When German forces necessitate abandonment of the city, Marie-Louise’s father, taking with him the museum’s greatest treasure, removes himself and his daughter and eventually arrives at his uncle’s house in the coastal city of Saint-Malo. Young German soldier Werner is sent to Saint-Malo to track Resistance activity there, and eventually, and inevitably, Marie-Louise’s and Werner’s paths cross. It is through their individual and intertwined tales that Doerr masterfully and knowledgeably re-creates the deprived civilian conditions of war-torn France and the strictly controlled lives of the military occupiers. --Brad Hooper - Booklist


My Thoughts - I loved this book.  The story is of Marie-Louise and Werner both children whose lives will be changed because of World War II.   The story of Marie-Louise is a beautiful story of the life of a girl who is courageous and amazing during World War II in France.  Marie-Louise is blind but that doesn't stop her from helping the French resistance and doing her part to help the allied invasion.  Werner, an orphan is chosen to attend a school for the elite boys of Germany and is indoctrinated in the German Nazi philosophy but does not fully accept the Nazi way - he has a mind of his own and proves this when he and Marie-Louise finally meet during the invasion of France by the allies. 

China Dolls by Lisa See

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China Dolls
by
Lisa See


Pages:  416
Publisher:  Random House


The lives of three young Chinese-American women—Grace, Helen, and Ruby—intersect in valuable and often violent ways in pre-WWII San Francisco as they shed their drab former lives to become glamorous entertainers at the city’s rising hot spot, the Forbidden City nightclub. Despite their divergent backgrounds, a mutual desire to shatter the cultural stereotypes that doom them to lives of familial subservience feeds their ambition to prosper in a world in which the definition of success changes minute by minute. Though they’ve taken a “one for all” vow of eternal loyalty, each harbors secrets that cause a pervasive atmosphere of distrust to simmer just below the surface. When Ruby is revealed to actually be of Japanese heritage and deported to an internment camp, their friendships and fortunes suffer a mortal blow, one that only deepens as the war rages on. In her impeccably researched and distinctive historical saga of desire and ambition, betrayal and revenge set amid the glitz and debauchery of burlesque entertainment on the “chop suey circuit,” (Booklist)


My Thoughts:


I enjoyed this story.   The story follows the lives of the three Oriental women as they try to make their way in the world and be successful.  This is a time when Oriental women are not expected to make anything of their selves and most are tied very closely to their Oriental traditions.  Each woman with their very different backgrounds and desires do become successful in spite of road blocks thrown in their way because of tradition, World War II, and abusive relationships.   Grace, Helen, and Ruby, an unlikely trio,  share the desire to be successful and respected as women and this is a wonderful story of their achievements.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

"Strength from Loyalty" By: Autumn Jones Lake Review

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Strength from Loyalty
By: Autumn Jones Lake

Synopsis
Struggling attorney, Hope Kendall loves her outlaw, biker boyfriend, Rochlan “Rock” North with all her heart, but the questionable activities his motorcycle club are involved in are about to threaten the legal career she’s not even sure she still wants.
Rock finally has the support of all his officers to bring Hope deeper into the inner circle of the Lost Kings MC. When his offer to have the club help her out of her legal predicament is met with hostility, he’s once again forced to question whether they are able to make their drastic differences work for the long haul.
A near death makes any squabble seem insignificant, but puts a cloud over their future. And while Rock has been working hard to give Hope the honesty she craves, one secret she’s been keeping all along, may finally drive them apart for good.

My Thoughts
Hope and Rock have been together for a few months but things have not calmed for them one bit. Rival gangs, drugs, guns, and jealousies come together to create an explosive finale in Rock and Hope’s trilogy. With the whole group still there, we go a little deeper into the MC and the deepest ever into their relationship.
     Rock and Hope are trying to find their happiness but outside forces seem to be closing in. For one of hte fisrt times, Hope is completely immersed in the MC world. She meets other MC leaders, and sees aside of the club life that isn’t what she is used to. Violence, revenge, lies and evil make an appearance, but through it all Rock and Hope stand strong.
    More than a Motorcycle club book, Autumn Jones Lake does characters so well, its mesmerizing. Who else can write three books, about the SAME two people, and still keep it fresh? Each book we have great supporting characters and I think it says a lot about her writing, that people are still clamoring for more of Rock’s story even after three books.
     One of my favorite series out there now, Rock and Hope are still fresh, fun, and in love more than ever. What I loved best with how Autumn left it was the simple fact that we don’t know what will happen next. More Rock and Hope? Wrath and Trinity? Jesse? Its a wide open field and I’m up for anything. Earth shattering sex, fabulously fun scenes, and secondary characters so good they need their own book, Autumn Jones Lake has another five star hit from me!

Book Details
Date of Publication: March 17, 2015
#of Pages: 330
Location: New York
Lost Kings MC Series
  1. Strength from Loyalty (March 2015)
  2. Tattered on My Sleeve

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"Three Kings, One Night" By: Autumn Jones Lake Review

Three Kings, One Night (Lost Kings MC 2.5)
Three Kings, One Night
By: Autumn Jones Lake

Synopsis
Three short Holiday stories set in the Lost Kings MC world. 1) Murphy and HeidiSpending Christmas Eve with his best friend's little sister will be a challenge for Murphy. Especially when a would-be boyfriend stops by and Murphy realizes there's a lot he doesn't know about Heidi these days.
2) Wrath and Trinity (note: this story takes place between Part 1 and Part 2 of Slow Burn.)When Wrath and Trinity find themselves in the clubhouse alone together on Christmas Eve, will they be able to set aside their animosity for one night?
3) Z and LillyZ has a surprise for Lilly, but will it be enough to make her break her number one rule, and let him spend the night?

My Thoughts
    Things in the Lost Kings MC just keep getting better and better! I somehow missed this holiday collection when I was reading Slow Burn and Corrupting Cinderella. I am so glad to have read Three Kings, One Night as it perfectly complements the series and just leaves you hungry for more.
    This holiday bundle has three short vignettes featuring couples from the Lost Kings MC. Rock and Hope sadly don’t make an appearance but they've already had two full length stories, so its understandable. I was most excited for Wrath and Trinity because boy do I like me some Wrath.
     Each story is a brief glimpse into their lives and possibly their own stories. I thought this was an extremely clever way to have the reader invest in the future of the series while also whetting our appetites for a bit more. Readers had never been in these characters heads before and had only briefly met them through interactions between Rock and Hope.
     Wrath and Trinity are scheduled to have their own story in 2015 and I am eagerly anticipating Z and Lilly’s addition as well. I loved the anticipation of Murphy and Heidi and am content to wait until they are both a little bit older. Autumn Jones Lake has a fantastic way of writing, creating a world that I could definitely get lost in. Sexy, fast paced, and action filled, this holiday set of novellas is the cherry to the Lost Kings cake!


Lost Kings MC Series
  1. Strength from Loyalty (March 2015)
  2. Tattered on My Sleeve

Book Details
Publisher: Author Self-published
# of Pages: 74
Date of Publication: December 22nd, 2014
Location: New York

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"Riot" By: Jamie Shaw Review

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Riot
By: Jamie Shaw

Synopsis
When Dee Dawson meets sexy mohawked guitarist Joel Gibbon, she knows it won’t be long before she has him wrapped around her finger. No guy has ever been able to resist her… but Dee’s met her match in a player like Joel.
Dee’s not the relationship type—not after seeing the pain “love” has caused her friends and family—yet she’s desperate to make Joel want her more than anyone else. He quickly becomes an obsession, and when a reckless attempt to make him jealous ends in disaster, Dee turns into the damsel in distress she never wanted to be. With her carefree world crashing down around her, the last thing she needs is Joel’s pity.
But Joel is suddenly determined to prove he cares, and no matter how hard Dee tries to push him away, he refuses to let her shut him out. Now the girl who swore she’d never say those three little words must choose between guarding her heart and losing Joel forever… or falling head-over-heels for the tattooed rock star of her dreams.

My Thoughts
     First off, I am going to be completely honest and say that you can read this book as a standalone if you absolutely must. If you can however, read Mayhem. It’s Adam and Ro’s story and absolutely adds a ton to this story. Regardless though, Jamie Shaw knocks Riot out of the park and has an anxiously awaiting reader here in Missouri.
    Dee Dawson has a huge attraction for rock and roller guitarist, Joel Gibbon. Content as a hook up for several months, she begins to want more than a casual night of no holds barred passion. Joel doesn't want or need a girlfriend and is content to leave their relationship the way it is. After a harrowing attack on Dee that leaves her traumatized, Joel realizes that his feelings for Dee run deeper than he ever imagined.
     I adore the world that Jamie has created. Filled with great main characters, extraordinary secondary characters, and really fun sexy times, Shaw writes unique stories. What I loved the most is how excellently she really writes 20-somethings. No one has everything figured out and she allows her characters to change and grow without assuming anything. Sure you know there will hopefully be a happy ending, but beyond that, her books don’t seem to follow a formula and are ultimately delightful.
     Fans of Jay Crownover will have a new author in Jamie Shaw. A great writer with wonderful characters, Shaw’s take on the rock star world is fresh and fun. Fast paced with plenty of angst and a lovely happily ever after, Shaw’s books seem to only get better as time goes on.

Book Details
Publisher: Avon Impulse
ISBN:9780062379689
Date of Publication: February 10, 2015
# of Pages: 384
Location: Virginia

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Readers' Advisory Guide to Horror, Second edition by Becky Siegel Spratford


 
184 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-1112-9
Year Published: 2012

ALAstore review:

Vampires, zombies, ghosts, and ghoulies: there are more things going bump in the night than ever. So how do you wend your way through all of them to find the ones that interest a particular reader? RA expert Spratford updates her advisory to include the latest in monsters and the macabre, including
  • Lists of recommended titles, authors, and sub-genres, all cross-referenced for quick reference
  • Tips for effectively practicing horror RA, with interview questions for gauging a reader’s interests
  • An expanded resources section, with an overview addressing the current state of horror lit, and suggestions of how to dig deeper
As both an introductory guide for librarians just dipping their toes into the brackish water of scary fiction, as well as a fount of new ideas for horror-aware reference staff, Spratford’s book is infernally appropriate.

My thoughts:   I don't often read this genre but it did offer many ideas on how to help patrons with their selections.  The author also gave suggestions of displaying horror books in displays throughout the year, along with her favorite website, books and databases for locating reading material for the horror reader. There are chapters on all the different types of horror and each offered books and author suggestions. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

"Falling Away" By: Penelope Douglas Review

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Falling Away
By: Penelope Douglas
Synopsis
Jaxon is the guy she’s supposed to avoid. K.C. is the girl he won’t let get away.... K. C. Carter has always followed the rules—until this year, when a mistake leaves her the talk of her college campus and her carefully arranged life comes crashing to a halt. Now she’s stuck in her small hometown for the summer to complete her court-ordered community service, and to make matters worse, trouble is living right next door. Jaxon Trent is the worst kind of temptation and exactly what K.C. was supposed to stay away from in high school. But he never forgot her. She was the one girl who wouldn’t give him the time of day and the only one to ever say no. Fate has brought K.C. back into his life—except what he thought was a great twist of luck turns out to be too close for comfort. As the bond between them grows, he discovers that convincing K.C. to get out from her mother’s shadow is hard, but revealing the darkest parts of his soul is nearly impossible.…

My Thoughts
      K.C. has returned home after being away at college. After a misunderstanding and a violent outburst, K.C. now has to work on some community service hours. Being in her hometown isn’t like coming home, things can and will never be the same. One thing that has changed exponentially is her former crush and nemesis, Jaxon Trent.
    A story about redemption and second chances, Jaxon and K.C. each must create a new future and leave their hurts and past  trials behind them. K.C. must reconcile a terrible childhood at the hands of her parents and premature death of her sister. Jaxon finds it difficult to understand or contemplate the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father.
     Penelope Douglas is a master storyteller and its never been more clear than in Falling Away. Taking these two deeply flawed characters and allowing them to find redemption within one another was both beautiful and well written. Full of temptation, redemption, and a happy ending, Douglas proves she can write a damn good story even when the odds are stacked against her characters.

Fall Away Series
  1. Rival
  2. Falling Away
  3. Aflame (2015)
Book Details
Publisher: Penguin
# of Pages: 429
ISBN: 9780451472441
Date of Publication: January 6, 2015
Location: Illinois

Friday, April 3, 2015

Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottloine

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Every Fifteen Minutes
by
Lisa Scottoline

St. Martins Press, 2015
448 pages

Kirkus Review

A sociopath targets a suburban Pennsylvania psychiatrist whose success is only the prelude to a series of nightmarish reversals.
It’s true that Dr. Eric Parrish doesn’t have everything. His wife, Caitlin, is divorcing him and being difficult over the joint custody they’ve arranged for their 7-year-old daughter, Hannah, and his latest private patient, 17-year-old Max Jakubowski, seems much more in need of help than his dying grandmother does. But Eric’s colleagues like and admire him—one of them, medical student Kristine Malin, is clearly in hot pursuit—and so does U.S. News and World Report, which is about to announce that the psych unit Eric heads at Havemeyer General Hospital ranks second in the nation. It all goes south with a suddenness that would be shocking outside the pages of Scottoline. Kristine files harassment charges after Eric rejects her come-on. Max phones Eric to say that his grandmother’s died and then takes a powder. Renée Bevilacqua, a girl Max tutors in math and otherwise worships from afar, gets murdered the morning after Eric follows her home, looking in vain for a lead to Max’s whereabouts. The cops haul Eric in as a person of interest, then invade his office and home looking for evidence when he demands they find Max, whom he considers a suicide risk, but won’t say any more about him. The colleagues who so recently toasted Eric lock him out. And that’s all before Max takes five teenagers hostage and announces that he’s going to kill one every 15 minutes before he blows up the King of Prussia Mall. Who can possibly be pulling so many different strings?
My Thoughts -  I thoroughly enjoyed Scottoline's last novel.  It was a page-turner from the beginning of the story to the end.   

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

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The Secrets of Midwives
by Sally Hepworth


St. Martin's Press, 2015
Pages:  320


Neva Bradley, a third generation midwife, pregnant and determined not to identify her baby's father. 
But Neva is not the only one to keep secrets, Grace and Floss, Neva's mother and grandmother each have their own stories that they are keeping secret.   

The secrets will either destroy the midwives or make them stronger and only time will tell.  Only time will tell and Neva's baby helps them all with their decisions.