Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Scam by Janet Evanovich with Lee Goldberg

Summary: "Nicolas Fox is a charming con man and master thief on the run. Kate O'Hare is the FBI agent who is hot on his trail. At least that's what everyone thinks. In reality, Fox and O'Hare are secretly working together to bring down super-criminals the law can't touch. Criminals like brutal casino magnate Evan Trace."

The Scam is the 4th book in the Fox and O'Hare series, and it lived up to expectations! It almost seemed too short because it moved so quickly that it was over too fast! I love the Nick and Kate dynamic more and more. However, The Scam ends on a cliffhanger, which was quite frustrating! Can't wait to find out what happens next!

286 pages

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, by Tony Wagner

How do we foster innovation, curiosity, and problem solving skills in our children?  In order to grow the U.S. economy, different approaches are needed to develop a generation of innovators.  To investigate how to develop these skills, Wagner identified and interviewed a variety of young people who exhibit the skills of innovators. He uses their stories to identify common themes in their backgrounds; specifically a penchant for play, which develops into pursuing a passion, and is applied with purpose. He then compares what helped these young people to develop into innovators with the typical family and academic background.  In particular, he describes how our current educational system drives the creativity out of students in favor of teaching to the test.  His interviews with the parents of these young people is particularly interesting, as the parents all realized that their children did best when they were allowed to unleash their curiosity, but they often did not do very well in school.  There are many thought-provoking concepts here, particularly for parents, educators, and librarians.  251 pages.

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Summary: "Violet, a poor girl from the outer city, finds forbidden romance and uncovers brutal secrets when, after three years of training, she is purchased by a royal family as a surrogate mother for royal children." 

The Jewel is the first book in this series (not sure how many there will be) by Amy Ewing. The second book, The White Rose, came out on October 6, 2015. The Jewel ends with a ridiculous cliff-hanger, so definitely have both books to read at the same time! 

I enjoyed the beginning of the book a lot; it's like a combination of The Hunger Games and The Selection, and Violet proves to be a powerful and worthy heroine. The love interest leaves something to be desired, however, as he doesn't feel natural or organic to the story told up to his appearance. However, I can't wait to get my hands on the next book! 

358 pages

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Moonlight Mile by Dennie LeHane

A gritty mystery featuring a husband and wife team of private investigators, Kenzie and Gennaro.  This is the sixth in a series by Lehane. The team is asked to search for Amanda McCready, a sixteen year old who has gone missing.  The twist is that Amanda had been kidnapped at age four, found by the investigators, and returned to her neglectful mother.  They take up the new search at the request of Amanda's aunt, who had kidnapped Amanda at age four to remove her from her mother's negative influence.  The search leads them into the underworld of Boston, peopled with identity thieves, meth dealers, crime bosses and the Russian mafia.  Plenty of plot twists, including a second disappearance of one of Amanda's friends, keep the plot moving to its violent conclusion.  368 pages

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Substitute by Denise Grover Swank

Summary: "Megan Vandemeer meant to tell her parents about her broken engagement, but a month and a half later she finds herself boarding a plane home to her wedding. Having stretched avoidance to its limits, it's time to come clean--a terrifying prospect since her mother is sure to blame her rather than her cheating, emotionally frigid ex. A couple of drinks and two Dramamine later, Megan finds herself spilling her sob story to the tall, dark, and handsome stranger in the seat next to her. With only one week left to save his business, Josh McMillan boards a plane to Kansas City in a last-ditch effort, leaving the details to chance. An unexpected answer is delivered in the form of the beautiful brunette beside him."

The Substitute is the first book in The Wedding Pact series, and I initially picked it up after seeing that it takes place in Kansas City, MO! Overall, I enjoyed the book, but the pacing was a bit weird. It had a ton of detail packed into the beginning of the book, but then sped through the juicy stuff at the end. I liked the characters, and I'm excited to read the next two books which focus on Megan's friends, Libby and Blair. The three girls made a pact about their weddings when they were younger, hence the name of the series. 

364 pages

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Espressologist by Kristina Springer

Summary: "While working part-time as a barista in a Chicago coffee bar, high school senior Jane dabbles in matchmaking after observing the coffee preferences of her customers."

I have a special place in my heart for baristas and coffee, so I jumped at the chance to read this little book about finding true love in a coffee shop. It's short, sweet and simple. 

184 pages

Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk

(Posted for Paul Mathews)

Penny will save all women from being controlled by billionaire C. Linus Maxwell.  She imparts the knowledge that family is important and love is paramount.  Very explicit book.

Audio:  7 hrs. 45 min.
Print:  224 pages

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

"Dance With Me" by Heidi Cullinan

This is a very good book with two quite different, fleshed out characters driving a unique story about physical and emotional pain and how dance can help relieve both.  Ed Maurer severely injured his neck in a football game a year ago and still suffers from its lingering effects.  He has a desk job that he hates but volunteers at a community center in St. Paul, MN, teaching teens weightlifting.  Not only can he never play football again, but his neck pain is beginning to take a toll on his mental health.  Laurence (Laurie) Parker also volunteers at the center but is the complete opposite of Ed.  He was a professional dancer until a traumatic event five years ago robbed him of his confidence, his career, and his dance partner/boyfriend.  Laurie never wants to perform in public again, but his socialite mother keeps pushing him to do it.  Instead, he teaches classes to kids and adults.  There's a lot that happens in this story, but it's basically about Laurie teaching Ed to dance and take better care of himself, and Ed teaching Laurie to trust again.  I fell a little bit for both of these wonderful characters.  282 pages (Kindle edition).

"Heating His Blood" by Zach Morgan

This novella follows the classic "Dracula" with Jay Harper (Jonathan Harker), a real estate agent, traveling to a remote mansion to try to make a deal with Vukomir Korolenko (Vlad Dracul).  Most of the story proceeded quite slowly until Vukomir makes his move to relieve Jay of his blood; that's where it takes a hard left turn from the tale it is based upon and lands with an interesting ending.  79 pages (Kindle edition).

Saturday, October 31, 2015

"Fish in a Barrel" by Grace Tower

The subtitle of this disturbing book is "A True Story of Sexual Abuse in Therapy" and is the first person account of a woman under the power of an abusive therapist for 3 1/2 years.  In October of 1992, the author's adopted sons began biofeedback sessions with a therapist named Rick because they were having behavior and psychological problems.  Three months later, she herself began psychotherapy with Rick, and soon they were in his office up to seven times a week.  Already dealing with low self esteem and the need for approval, Rick manipulated Grace and her boys in many unethical and disturbing ways all the while draining her of money.  His abuse of Grace eventually became sexual.

About half of the book covers her and the boys' experiences as Rick's patients - how he first won them over to gain their trust, then betrayed that trust and abused them.  The second half covers Grace's realization of the harm he's done and her decisions to file criminal charges and sue him in civil court.  The book is quite riveting and allows the reader to see how a smart woman could be so easily manipulated in so many ways.  The best part was seeing Grace evolve from a sad, depressed, almost hopeless person into standing up for herself and her boys against their abuser.  This book is in our collection here.  278 pages.

"When It's Right" by Aria Grace

This soap opera-esque story centers on Alex and Shane, who meet when Alex takes his injured dog to his vet.  Shane is the technician and he and Alex are drawn to each other, but Shane is deeply closeted because of his bigoted parents.  Luckily, he lives with his aunt (Alex's vet) and uncle in a different state.  Alex is out and befriends Shane, showing him what his life could be like if he came out.  Just as things are going well between them, Shane has to return to his hometown for someone named "Jacob."  He refuses to tell Alex what has happened and who Jacob is, and when Shane doesn't return when he says he will, Alex becomes frantic.  What will he do and who is Jacob?

As with the other stories that I have read by this author, it was enjoyable and well-paced.  I really liked the ending and especially Alex's dog.  152 pages (Kindle edition).

"Shot Through the Heart" by CJ Bishop

Although this is the first book in the Cowboy Gangster series, it is built off of a different series, which I have not read.  I figured as much while I was reading it since so many other characters who were not in the story were mentioned and played integral parts.  This book focused on Axel Anders a 22-year-old man who's suffering from PTSD after being gang raped by his brother and three other evil men.  Clint Maddox, the "cowboy gangster," feels very protective of Axel after meeting him through Axel's (good) stepbrother, Angel.  Clint is a cold-hearted enforcer for the Sanitini family and is surprised by these feelings.  The book basically deals with both men tentatively growing closer with lots of flashbacks to awful events in their lives.  It was quite a roller coaster ride.  And there was a cute puppy.  295 pages (Kindle edition).