Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

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.

"Where Nerves End" by L.A. Witt

Michael Whitman is an acupuncturist in Tucker Springs, CO, where he's helping his ex-wife raise their asthmatic son, but money is tight due to the high cost of living.  Jason Davis is the owner of a nightclub that's barely scraping by, a house that's too big, and a bum shoulder that keeps him up at night in excruciating pain.  When a mutual friend suggests that he see Michael for treatment, Jason reluctantly goes and finds relief.  He also talks Michael into moving in with him to help with the huge mortgage he was left with when his boyfriend moved out.  As the two become friends, Jason's attraction to the straight Michael puts him in emotional agony.  Can they find a way to continue to be friends and roommates without driving Jason crazy?

This was a pretty good story told from Jason's point of view.  Witt described his unrelenting pain so well that the reader can't help but feel for the guy.  His emotional distress was also difficult to read; how much could this man take?  I won't mention more in order not to give away a major spoiler, but I'll just say that I enjoyed the book and wouldn't mind a sequel.  170 pages.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mistress by James Patterson

Posted for Paul Mathews

President Francis is being blackmailed by the Russians but he doesn’t know this.  Independent, small newspaper owner is accused of murder.  He finds out the facts behind it all.  At the end he finds out why his father murdered his mother.

Audio:  10 hrs. 7 min.
Print:  448 pages

Sisters in Sanity by Gayle Forman

Summary: "When a family trip to the Grand Canyon turns out to be a trick to take her to a remote, all-girl, residential treatment center for unstable teenagers, sixteen-year-old Brit, devastated by her father's duplicity, comes to realize that only through inner strength and the help of other inmates who become her friends can she endure the harsh conditions of the prison-like institution and plan a way to escape."

I really enjoyed this book - it's short and sweet. The friendship and sisterhood of Brit and the girls she meets at Red Rock is quite refreshing. 

290 pages

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Heist by Janet Evanovich with Lee Goldberg

Summary: "Just when it seems that international crook Nicolas Fox has been captured for good, he pulls off his greatest con of all: he convinces the FBI to offer him a job, working side by side with Special Agent Kate O'Hare. Problem is, teaming up to stop a corrupt investment banker who's hiding on a private island in Indonesia is going to test O'Hare's patience and Fox's skill -- if the two don't kill each other first."

I read the prequel to this series in the back of one of the Stephanie Plum books, and I was intrigued. Unfortunately, The Heist does not live  up to the magic and entertainment that Stephanie Plum is. Kate O'Hare is not as fun as Stephanie, and Nick Fox is no Morelli or Ranger. However, it was good enough and I'll probably continue to read the rest of the series. 

304 pages

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich

Summary: "Trenton, New Jersey's favorite used car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he's out on bail and has missed his date in court--and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in. Leads are quickly turning into dead ends, and all too frequently into dead bodies. Even Joe Morelli, the city's hottest cop, is struggling to find a clue to the suspected killer's whereabouts. To top things off, Ranger--resident security expert and Stephanie's greatest temptation--has been the target of an assassination plot. He's dodged the bullet this time, but if Ranger wants to survive the next attempt on his life, he'll have to enlist Stephanie's help. Death threats, highly trained assassins, highly untrained assassins and Stark Street being overrun with a pack of feral Chihuahuas are all in a day's work for Stephanie Plum."

I am heartbroken that I've finished this series....I really hope there will be more! I miss Stephanie, Lula, Morelli and the rest of the gang so much!

341 pages