Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Boys in the Boat:Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

Most of us are familiar with the story of Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics, held in Nazi Germany. Not so with the U. S. Rowing team, who took gold in the 8-oar crew race. The boys in the boat were from the University of Washington, not one of the elite East Coast crews. They were farmers and loggers, boys who were mostly poor and poorer. They are still sometimes referred to as the greatest crew in U. S. history.

This history reads like a novel. It tells the story of Joe Rantz, who sat in the 3rd seat in the rowing shell. His mother died when he was three, and he was abandoned by his father at two different times in his life; once when he was but 10 years old, and again for good when he was 15, left to make his own way in the world with no family, no home, no money.

There were no scholarships in rowing when he entered the University of Washington in 1933, but securing a place on crew would give him the opportunity for a job that would help him keep himself in school.

The other part of the book is the many catastrophic events rocking the country during the 1930's, and the rise of the Nazi party and Adolph Hitler in Germany. The Great Depression was in full throttle; the Dust Bowl was devastating agriculture, and cataclysmic weather events were coming fast and furiously. Against this backdrop, the story of nine young men overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to defeat the German and Italian teams that had all the resources they needed to become the best rowers in the world is inspiring and awe-inspiring.

417 pages

Monday, September 15, 2014

Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb

(Posted for Paul Mathews)

Eve Dallas’s husband buys a building because it has good bones; don’t tear it down, just rebuild it.  This building revealed the death of twelve young girls and is a challenge to solve.  Detective Peabody is a lovely person and makes reading these more enjoyable.

Audio:  12 hrs. 20 min.
Print:  384 pages

Friday, September 12, 2014

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. It is hard to fully describe what goes on in Scarlet without providing spoilers for Cinder, but here it goes. Scarlet is based on the fairy tale "Little Red Riding Hood." Scarlet and her grandmother own a farm in a small southern town in France. Scarlet's grandmother has been missing for over two weeks. She finds a man to help her find her grandmother who goes by Wolf, a very accurate name. The book goes between what is going on with Scarlet, Cinder, and Kai. Unlike the book Cinder, the book Scarlet does not include as many predictable events. There are still portions of the book that remind one of Little Red Riding Hood, but it is not quite as forced as Cinder. Of course we have a guy named Wolf and Scarlet has a red hoodie and red hair, but once you overlook that, the rest is not as fairy tale-like. It is a very good second book that makes you want to start the third one right away!
I read this book as an audio book.
Narrator: Mare Trevathan
Time: 10 hours, 11 minutes
ISBN: 9780312642969
Pages (Per ISBN connected with the book used to create audio book): 454

The Lunar Chronicles:
Prequel-Fairest (Coming January 2015)
#4-Winter (Coming November 2015)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer puts an amazing and unique spin on the tale of Cinderella in her new book Cinder. Cinder is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles. Cinder is a teenage cyborg who lives in New Beijing. She works as a mechanic, which is the only source of income for her step-mother and two sisters. Her best friend is an android named Echo. Unlike the traditional Cinderella story, Cinder's youngest step-sister is very fond of Cinder. As a bit of background for the setting, it is in a future Earth that had a terrible World War III, Beijing was demolished and therefore, New Beijing was created. There is a group of people called Lunars that live on the moon, and their current queen has been threatening to start war with earth of the prince of the Asian Commonwealth, Prince Kai, will not marry her. There is also a very dangerous plague that has been spreading across the Earth called letumosis. This plague cannot be spread to Lunars. There are certain points in the book that are predictable and others that are surprising. One can definitely tell that Marissa did research on this book to provide well detailed information.
I read this book as an audio book.
Narrator: Mare Trevathan
Time: 9 hours, 20 minutes
ISBN: 9780312641894
Pages (Connected to ISBN of book used to create audio book): 390

Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore

Summary: "The Garde, broken and divided, discover that the Mogadorians have commenced their ultimate invasion plans and will stop at nothing to thwart it."

Book Five in the I am Number Four, aka the Lorien Legacies, series. This book is so very exciting and adventurous, and ultimately left me wanting more, as always. By this point, I've gotten very attached to the members of the Garde and their friends; I can't wait to see what happens next.

It's going to be a long, anxious wait until August of next year. 

Make sure to check out the other books in this series (highly recommend): 

I am Number Four 
The Power of Six 
The Rise of Nine 
The Fall of Five 
The Revenge of Seven

371 pages

Thursday, September 4, 2014

"Duke of Midnight" by Elizabeth Hoyt

Book six in the Maiden Lane series features Maximus Batten, Duke of Wakefield, and Artemis Greaves, lady's companion to her rich and vapid cousin.  Maximus' parents were killed in front of him when he was 14 in the dangerous London neighborhood of St. Giles, and he's been searching for their killer for the past 19 years.  Artemis knows the duke from the many social events to which she must accompany her cousin, and when they go to his house party she tries to stay in the background as lady's companions must do.  However, when Artemis discovers a huge secret kept by Maximus, she attempts to blackmail him into rescuing her twin brother, Apollo, from the infamous Bedlam hospital for the insane.  Will the duke risk his life and reputation to rescue a crazed murderer or will he let Artemis expose his secret to everyone?  Of course, the Harlequin Ghost of St. Giles is also in the mix.

This was another great entry in the series with a strong and confident heroine turning the tables on a powerful and influential aristocrat.  Maximus was difficult to like; he's cold and severe to most of the people in his life, just the opposite of Artemis.  She risks everything to save her brother, whom she believes is innocent of the charges against him.  The descriptions of Apollo in Bedlam were disturbing, especially since they are based on the real Bedlam (Bethlem Royal Hospital) in London.  Hoyt is again at the top of her game with her characters, dialog, and action.  Now I have to wait another month for the next book in the series.  381 pages.

Here are the links to my reviews of the other books in the Maiden Lane series:
Book 5:  "Lord of Darkness"
Book 4:  "Thief of Shadows"
Book 3:  "Scandalous Desires"
Book 2:  "Notorious Pleasures"
Book 1:  "Wicked Intentions"

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb

I don't think I'll be going out on a limb to say that most fans of this series are not reading it for the mystery! But what keeps me coming back for more is the great ensemble cast of characters.  There's detective Eve Dallas and her handsome, debonair husband Roarke.  Then there's Dallas's partner Peabody and her main squeeze McNabb, Dallas's best friend Mavis and her designer husband Leonardo, and psychologist Charlotte Mira and her irresistibly sweet husband Dennis. In this installment of the series, Dallas must discover who murdered twelve young girls and hid their bodies in an abandoned building fifteen years ago.  Dallas takes time out during the investigation to savor her "family".  Longtime readers of the series will appreciate how far she's come! 384 pages.

Leaving everything most loved : a novel by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs has reached a crossroads.  Her lover James Compton is moving to Canada to help test prototype war planes, her assistant Billy Beale is ready to start a new life with his family, and Maisie can't decide if she wants to continue her detective business, start teaching, or travel. Before she can make a decision, she's asked to investigate the murder of an Indian nanny.  The nanny had left her family behind in India to come to England to earn enough money to start a school for young girls. In the course of the investigation Maisie becomes intrigued by Indian culture.  Was the nanny murdered for betraying her family's values? What will Maisie decide to do?  I can't wait to read what happens next! 339 pages.

Star Wars: Outbound Flight by Timothy Zahn

I wish Timothy Zahn would write the screenplay for the next Star Wars movie!  He develops his characters and  uses technology to advance the story line not replace it.  Outbound Flight is the story of a mission to colonize the unknown regions at the edge of galaxy.  The mission is the brainchild of Jedi Master Jorus C'Baoth, whose arrogance and impatience do not endear him to the civilians on Outbound Flight.  He plans to use the mission to recruit and train a new generation of Jedi, by force if necessary. But even Master C'Baoth is not aware that the mission is doomed.  Agents of the Sith Lord Darth Sidious are waiting to destroy Outbound Flight before it crosses into unknown territory.  Will they succeed?  Or will their plot be foiled by the Chiss Commander Thrawn?  I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the early adventures of Thrawn, the smuggler Jorg Car'das, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and a very young Annakin Skywalker. 420 pages.

Death at the Chateau Bremont by M.L. Longworth

A Verlaque & Bonnet Mystery, in a fairly cozy style.  The most interesting part is the setting in the Aix-en-Provence region in the south of France.  Antoine Verlaque is the local investigative judge, and Marine Bonnet his ex-lover who is also a lawyer.  When a young count dies suspiciously by falling (or being pushed) out of a window of his Chateau, Verlaque is called on to investigate.  The case becomes more interesting when his brother is killed a few weeks later and some possible ties to the Russian mob are uncovered.  Verlaque is a lover of good food, wine, women and cigars, so the reader is treated to a lot of the local culture.  311 pages.

Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear

Is the murder of an innocent justified in the cause of the greater good?  Maisie Dobbs confronts this question head on when she investigates the murder of one of her own.  Three friends and fellow costermongers of Maisie's dad are not convinced that Eddie Pettit's death was an accident.  They ask Maisie to investigate his death at the paper factory where he worked.   Eddie's employer is a powerful British publisher heavily invested in preparing for the next war with Germany.  Was Eddie murdered to keep war preparations secret? 335 pages.

The god of the hive : a novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes by Laurie R. King

The God of the Hive picks up where The Language of Bees abruptly left off.  Mary Russell and Sherlock are on the run.  Mary has Sherlock's little granddaughter in tow and is trying to fly back to London in one piece. Sherlock has abducted a doctor to care for his severely wounded son while they attempt a boat crossing to Holland. Both believe they are being followed by the cult leader responsible for the ritualistic murder of Sherlock's daughter-in-law and others. What they have yet to discover is that the cult leader was only a pawn in a Secret Services power struggle.  King introduces the unforgettable character of Robin Goodfellow-shell shocked veteran, childlike woodsman, and implacable protector of the helpless.  An amazing adventure read! 354 pages.