Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Summary: "Yelena, about to be executed, is offered the job of food taster to the Commander of Ixia, but politics and magic keep threatening her life."

Yelena is quite a heroine! She is smart, determined and a fighter. She reminds me a little bit of Katniss Everdeen, in that she fights every day to stay alive. She is the definition of resilient.

I truly enjoyed this book, and its ability to provide depth while moving the story along quickly was very refreshing. I would definitely recommend!

361 pages

Monday, May 11, 2015

"Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" by Malcolm Gladwell

This bestseller discusses the way we make snap judgments and the consequences of doing so when they are wrong.  The most interesting parts were examples of these, both good and bad.  The author uses the term "thin-slicing" to describe the process of filtering out the variables that don't matter and depending on the ones that do when making a quick decision.  Overall, it was a pretty interesting book although some of it felt like padding.  The author read the CD version that I listened to, which was good because he had a pleasant, mid-range speaking voice.

Audio:  7 hrs. 43 minutes
Print:  296 pages

Friday, May 8, 2015

"A Restored Man" by Jaime Reese

This is the third book in the Men of Halfway House series and focuses on Cole Renzo, who has spent the last two years in prison for car theft.  He moves to Halfway House to finish his sentence but must find and keep a job.  He gets a position at a car restoration shop owned by Ty Calloway, brother of Aiden Calloway, a Miami detective who is trying to keep Cole in line.  Cole notices that the two brothers are very different and have a fractured relationship due to an accident in the family a couple of years ago that physically and emotionally damaged Ty.  But Cole's non-stop mouth and overconfidence help Ty come out of his shell, much to the brothers' surprise.  However, someone from Ty's past is trying to blackmail him and force him out of business.  Can Cole and Aiden help him defeat his blackmailer and find happiness again?

This is the best book of the series (so far) with two main characters whose personalities are very different but complement each other.  Ty and Cole have both suffered personal losses and have families that love them but don't always know how to show it.  There were well written secondary characters, especially Cole's siblings and Ty's main mechanic, who added layers to the story.  It was also great to see Julian and Matt, who run Halfway House.  I can't wait to read the next in the series.  362 pages.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

"Watching Elijah Fall" by Amy Spector

Jacob Pierce is having a hard time moving past the break-up with his long time boyfriend.  He's depressed and not sure how to be happy again.  His friends talk him into taking a photography class where he finds himself drawn to the instructor, Elijah Fall.  But Elijah has his own heartache weighing him down.  This was a gentle novella with good secondary characters and two very likable leads.  67 pages (Kindle edition).

"The Best Man" by L.A. Witt

Jon Beatty is trying his best to deal with being asked to be the best man at a wedding - his ex-boyfriend's wedding to a woman.  He reluctantly agrees even though he still has feelings for Craig, and the fiancee seems to hate him.  Then he meets Liam Sable, and Jon thinks his life may be getting back on track until someone starts to stalk him and cause him harm.  I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I liked this story and the writing.  I was surprised by the suspense angle to it since I thought it was going to be a regular romance, but it added nicely to the story.  251 pages (Kindle edition).

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

In 17th century Boston, a Puritan colony, Hester Prynne gives birth to a daughter, Pearl. Her husband had sent her ahead to America, but never made it to Boston. She has apparently had an affair, and is sentenced to wear a scarlet “A" for adultery on her chest . She will not reveal who the child’s father is, so is put in stocks on the town square.
A young minister helps Hester keep her daughter when officials try to take her away, but he develops a mysterious illness, which is then treated by Hester’s husband.  Eventually, it comes to light that the minister is Hester’s lover, and he dies after publicly confessing.  Hester and Pearl leave Boston, and no one knows what has happened to them. Many years later, Hester returns, and when she dies is buried beside her lover.

I don't know that I like this book any better than I did when I read it in high school, but I did understand it better.  150 pages.

published 1850

"End of the Trail" by Jane Elliot

Will Connors is trying to raise cattle on a small ranch out west with his wife and small son when he rescues a badly injured man on his land.  He and his wife nurse the man back to health without knowing that he's John Anderson, an outlaw wanted for murder.  Anderson soon leaves without trouble, and Will and his family go on with their lives.  Fast forward a few years and Will is partially crippled, widowed, and living alone still trying to raise cattle.  Guess who shows up?  John Anderson.  Will he take advantage of the man who once rescued him, or has he changed his ways?  This was a gentle character study of two loners and the hard times faced in the west, which could be made easier with the right person.  140 pages (Kindle edition).

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series. It adds the story of Cress, a re-imagining of Rapunzel, to Cinder and Scarlet's continuing story. In this version, however, Cress is a young girl tucked away in a satellite in space, who has become a master hacker. Her story intersects with Scarlet, Wolf, Cinder and Thorne in the most painful of ways. I couldn't put Cress down either, and I really enjoyed reading Cress's chapters. I'm not as familiar with the Rapunzel lore, so I didn't really know what to expect from her story, other than that she would have really long hair (which she does). 

Winter, the next book in the series, comes out November 10, 2015!! I can't wait. 

522 pages

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles series. It adds the characters of Scarlet, Captain Thorne and Wolf to Cinder's story from Book 1. The chapters alternate between Cinder, Scarlet and Kai's points of view (maybe a few others; I can't remember). Scarlet lives in a small town in France with her grandmother, but her grandmother has been kidnapped. Scarlet meets Wolf, and they set out to find her grandmother in Paris. This story loosely follows the Little Red Riding Hood tale, which makes it familiar and comforting. However, the mix-up of the story keeps you guessing and the book overall fresh and exciting. I really enjoyed Scarlet... much more than Cinder. Scarlet and Wolf have great chemistry, while Thorne adds some much-needed humor to the books. 

I could hardly put this book down, and as soon as I finished it, I was on the hunt for Book 3!

454 pages

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits

In 1939, a five-year-old named Josef hides under a table and watches as his family is murdered in Transylvania by the Romanian Iron Guard. The family's maid takes him back to the farm where she grew up and pretends he is her son. Five years later, Josef rescues a five-year-old girl named Mila whose parents are murdered while running toward a rabbi they think will save them.

Josef helps Mila find Zalman Stern, a Satmar Jew. Satmars are a very conservative Jewish sect. After the war, Zalman arranges for Josef to be sent to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to become a Satmar scholar. When Mila is 18, Zalman arranges for her to marry Josef and go to America with him.

Josef and Mila have a very loving relationship, within the confines of their faith, which dictates everything they do, sexually and otherwise, in their marriage. Mila has been taught that her purpose in life is to be a dutiful wife, and be fruitful and multiply. But the years go by, and she doesn't conceive. She is tested, but for Josef to be tested he will have to commit a sin. Mila finally takes matters into her own hands, and the result leads to ultimate tragedy.

336 pages

The Job by Janet Evanovich with Lee Goldberg

Summary: "The FBI had one demand when they secretly teamed up Special Agent Kate O'Hare with charming con man Nicolas Fox -- bring down the world's most-wanted and untouchable felons. This time it's the brutal leader of a global drug-smuggling empire. The FBI doesn't know what their target looks like, where he is, or how to find him, but Nick Fox has a few tricks up his sleeve to roust this particular Knipschildt chocolate-loving drug lord. From the streets of Nashville to the back alleys of Lisbon, from the rooftops of Istanbul to the middle of the Thames, Nick and Kate chase their mark. When they find themselves pitted against a psychopathic bodyguard and a Portuguese enforcer who gets advice from a pickled head, they decide it's time to enlist some special talent -- talent like a machete-wielding Somali pirate, a self-absorbed actor, an Oscar-winning special effects artist, and Kate's father Jake, a retired Special Forces operative. Together they could help make this Fox and O'Hare's biggest win yet... if they survive." 

The Job was a fun installment in the Fox and O'Hare series! I really enjoyed it. The big con in this novel is the discovery of a sunken Spanish treasure galleon, which is always an interesting story. Nick and Kate have great chemistry as usual. Looking forward to the next one! And the next Stephanie Plum novel, Tricky Twenty-Two, comes out November 17 - mark your calendars!!!

289 pages

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Riddle of Ramrod Ridge by William Colt MacDonald

Posted for Paul Mathews

Sharpshooter Scott and his companions are on the hunt for $30,000 in gold that disappeared in thin air.  Deacon Trunbull and his sidekicks are up to no good and after the gold, whatever it takes. 

Audio:  7 hrs. 9 min.
Print:  192 pages