Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Sunday, April 19, 2015

"A Hunted Man" by Jaime Reese

This is the second book in the Men of Halfway House series, and I didn't like it as much as the first, "A Better Man".  Cam is just out of prison for serving 10 years for manslaughter and has moved into Halfway House to adjust to life on the outside.  He's only 27, so he has no real skills or formal work experience.  Luckily, Matt, who runs Halfway House, gets him a job at a mom and pop coffee shop where Cam meets Hunter Donovan, Assistant State Attorney and regular customer.  Soon, Hunter is trying to clear Cam's name when he realizes that a drug cartel and dirty judge railroaded him into prison for what was clearly self-defense.  Then dangerous men start following Cam around, showing up at his work and even breaking into Halfway House and Hunter's home to get to him.  Action and suspense dominate the second half of the book, but I would have rather had it focus on Cam's adjustment to the real world and dealing with his PTSD after his abuse in prison.  Still, there were great supporting characters, especially Hunter's dad, and we got to see some of Matt and Julian from the first book.  I'll be reading book three soon.  378 pages.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Three Novellas and One Book by Lee Child

Posted for Paul Mathews

"Deep Down" -  44 pages (Kindle edition)

"Second Son" - 40 pages (Kindle edition)

"High Heat" - 73 pages (Kindle edition)

 "Jack Reacher's Rules" -  160 pages (hardback)

Three early novels of Jack and his brother being raised in the military.  In his early years he learned life rules early.

Audio:  7 hrs. 11 minutes total

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

OCD, the Dude and Me by Lauren Vaughn

Danielle tells her story through the English papers, notes, e-mails and other correspondence. She writes with a very true and clear voice, which is quite refreshing. The way she sees and describes the world around her is striking, like "His girlfriend looked just like Juno, except she wasn't pregnant. Well, truthfully, I couldn't really know that. Maybe she was and that's why they were kissing the way I saw. I am sure making a baby together can inspire that kind of kissing." 

Danielle struggles with OCD and the repercussions of a traumatic incident in the 8th grade. She hates herself; for her weight and for her own very existence, as she feels guilty for living while others are not. I really enjoyed this book, and I love the way Danielle describes the inner-workings of her mind and the intimidating world around her.

My favorite quote of the entire book (an e-mail from Aunt Joyce to Danielle), which made me cry: 

"...then you wouldn't be with us at all. That is not an option any of us can accept. And so, it is you, your existence, your presence in my life that has helped to heal this situation for me. You mean so much to me, and now you know even more why. You are the child we are meant to have. Yours is the life that is meant to be here."  

234 pages

Saturday, April 4, 2015

"Bound by Flames" by Jeaniene Frost

This is the third book in the Night Prince series and is full of action and outrageous paranormal happenings, just like Frost's other books.  Unfortunately, I had no emotional investment in these characters.  Leila Dalton was turned into a vampire in the last book by her new husband, Vlad Tepesh Dracul (no, not Dracula) after being killed.  Now she has vampire powers in addition to her ability to hold and control electricity.  She can also read a person's worst sin just by touching them.  Vlad is different from other vampires; he can create and control flames with his hands.  When Leila is kidnapped by Vlad's oldest and worst enemy and is tortured on camera, it nearly drives Vlad mad, and he is set on revenge after she escapes.  I don't remember much from the other two books, but this one had very little emotion in it, just one dangerous scenario after another.  342 pages.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Palindrome by Stuart Woods

Posted for Paul Mathews

Liz Barwick finds a second life on Georgia's Cumberland Island with all of its mysteries. Love-Death-Hurricane.

Audio:  9 hrs. 36 min.
Print:  432 pages

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste NG

16-year-old Lydia Lee is dead. Her body is found in a lake near her small Ohio town. Her dad, a Chinese American college professor, her mother, her brother and sister, are sure someone killed her. The police believe it is a suicide.

As the story unfolds, there are multiple layers of family dynamics and small-town 1960's American values as pertains to those 'different' from the norm of white, middle class homogenous citizens.

This is a profoundly moving study of the way families evolve, and the communication, or lack thereof, that leads to sometimes tragic outcomes.

298 pages

Anne of Avonlea by Maud Montgomery

This is the second installment of the 'Anne of Green Gables' series, published in 1909. In this book, Anne's Uncle Matthew dies, leaving Marilla alone on the farm. If Anne goes to college as planned, having won a scholarship, Marilla will have to sell the farm. Anne decides to delay college, and teach at the Avonlea school.

Marilla and Anne take in twins Davy (a rambunctious, mischievous little boy) and Dora (a quiet, rather dull little girl). This is quite an adventure , with Davy getting into all sorts of scrapes on a daily basis. A Mr. Harrison, who owns an obscene parrot, buys the farm next door, and he and Anne do not get along.

In short, the idyllic life Anne lives on Prince Edward Island continues. This books follows Anne from ages 16-18, when their neighbor Mrs. Lynd's husband dies, and she moves in with Marilla, thus allowing Anne to attend college at last.

198 pages
copyright 1909.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

World Gone By by Dennis Lehane

I was not familiar with this author, but picked up the ARC at ALA MidWinter.  This is the third in a trilogy about Joe Coughlin and the gangster families in the Tampa, Florida area.  The story drips with gritty realism and southern atmosphere.  Lehane does an excellent job of combining plot and character study into a gripping story.  While there is no shortage of violence, Lehane portrays the family and personal concerns of his characters, and their considerations of the moral dilemmas of the gangster life.  I will be looking for his other books.  308 pages.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Yet another teen novel about a dystopic future society.  This has an interesting premise - a world divided into a lower class of red-blooded normal humans, and a superior class of silver-blooded humans with a variety of supernatural abilities.  Mare Barrow, a young red-blooded teen, does what she can to help her family survive (she's a pickpocket), but she and her sister take a risk to help a friend who is about to be conscripted into military service and likely death.  In a plot twist, Mare lands a job as a servant in the palace of the Silvers, where it is discovered that she also has a supernatural ability - she can produce and direct lightning.  Of course there's an underground group plotting to overthrow the Silver regime, and of course Mare becomes involved in the terror group and in a romance with both of the king's sons.  There are many plot twists, quite a few of them strain belief.  This is one of only a few books in which I grew to like the heroine less and less as the book progressed - she seemed to become more na├»ve as the story worked to its climax.  This would have been more interesting if it had broken out of its formula a bit more.  383 pages.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Once a Ranger by Dusty Richards

Posted for Paul Mathews

Former Texas Ranger with a good crew and a very loving wife. This man can keep a secret. He goes long and far to catch the bad guys. There is a Friday night dance and a second gang of outlaws later in this book. 

Audio:  8 hrs. 30 min.
Print:  272 pages

The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina

I didn’t think it was possible, but I’ve found another female mystery author I like as well as Louise Penny, Tana French, and Elizabeth George. And I liked this book so well I went right back to the library and picked out another of her books to read immediately. That’s something I never do!  This is the second in a series featuring the tough, female Detective Inspector Alex Morrow.
Here’s a blurb from the publisher: “The case involves a seemingly random attack on a family in a quiet suburb of Glasgow, Scotland. Three armed men slipped from a van into a house, demanding a man who is not, and has never been, inside the front door. In the confusion that ensues, one family member is shot and another kidnapped, the assailants demanding an impossible ransom. Is this an amateur crime gone horribly wrong, or something much more unexpected?”

Mina writes using excellent character development that “blurs the lines between the villains and the good guys as she explores their life trajectories.” If you enjoy hard-boiled detective mysteries featuring strong, but imperfect female protagonists, you’ll want to get to know Alex Morrow. 432 pages.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

"Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa" by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Illustrated by Brian Pinkney

What a cool and beautiful book!  Ella's story is told by Scat Cat Monroe in rhymes and rhythms, from her childhood dream of being a dancer to her work with Dizzy Gillespie at Carnegie Hall in 1947.  The illustrations are flowing and colorful, with Ella and her various collaborators and bands flying high and dancing with energy.  Scat Cat is in almost every scene, explaining the magic of the music and Ella's contribution to jazz.  Highly recommended.  32 pages.