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

Monday, March 16, 2015

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich

Summary: "New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum knows better than to mess with family. But when powerful mobster Salvatore "Uncle Sunny" Sunucchi goes on the lam in Trenton, it's up to Stephanie to find him. Uncle Sunny is charged with murder for running over a guy (twice), and nobody wants to turn him in--not his poker buddies, not his bimbo girlfriend, not his two right-hand men, Shorty and Moe. Even Trenton's hottest cop, Joe Morelli, has skin in the game, because "just Stephanie's luck" the godfather is his actual godfather. And while Morelli understands that the law is the law, his old-world grandmother, Bella, is doing everything she can to throw Stephanie off the trail."

I love any book that involves Morelli's crazy Italian family, especially Grandma Bella! Also, Stephanie attempts to play bingo (disaster) and Lula attempts to take care of a giraffe named Kevin! 

307 pages

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich

Summary: "After a slow summer of chasing low-level skips for her cousin Vinnie's bail bonds agency, Stephanie Plum finally lands an assignment that could put her checkbook back in the black. Geoffrey Cubbin, facing trial for embezzling millions from Trenton's premier assisted-living facility, has mysteriously vanished from the hospital after an emergency appendectomy. Now it's on Stephanie to track down the con man. The problem is, Cubbin has disappeared without a trace, a witness, or his money-hungry wife. Rumors are stirring that he must have had help with the daring escape, or that maybe he never made it out of his room alive. Since the hospital staff's lips seem to be tighter than the security, and it is hard for Stephanie to blend in to assisted living, Stephanie's Grandma Mazur goes in undercover. But when a second felon goes missing from the same hospital, Plum is forced into working side by side with Trenton's hottest cop, Joe Morelli, in order to crack the case. Solving the case is harder than she imagined and to make sure the rent is paid she takes on a second job, protecting her mentor Ranger from a deadly special forces adversary."

Grandma Mazur is on her A-game in this book!

312 pages

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich

Summary: "Stephanie Plum finds herself in trouble when her seatmate on her Hawaii to Newark flight winds up dead and a motley collection of thugs, as well as the FBI, search for a photo the man was reportedly carrying--a photo that only Stephanie has seen."

Stephanie gets herself into HUGE trouble in this book...both in her professional and her love life. Things between Stephanie, Morelli and Ranger have never been more complicated.

305 pages

Friday, March 13, 2015

"Chasing Smoke" by K.A. Mitchell

Trey Eriksson and Daniel Gardner grew up together in Easton, PA.  Their fathers even fought in Vietnam together.  So when Trey's father was convicted of killing his mother in a botched murder/suicide during Trey's senior year of high school, he moved in with Danny's family and the young men became even closer.  But Trey couldn't deal with those feelings and joined the Army right after graduation leaving Danny hurt and confused.  Fifteen years later, Danny is an agent for Homeland Security in DC, and Trey is back in Easton working as a cop.  He's always believed that someone else murdered his mother and set up his father, who died in prison.  Now Danny is back in town for Christmas and to help his mother close on her recently sold house.  When someone breaks into the house but takes no valuables, Trey is assigned the case and old feelings flair up.  But when Danny discovers that Trey is still trying to find his mother's murderer and clear his father's name, he takes it upon himself to help whether or not Trey wants it.

This was an excellent story with just enough suspense and mystery but not too much to take away from the main theme - unrequited love.  Trey and Danny are very hard-headed men who struggle to deal with their feelings, both past and present.  They are loners and don't always work well together; Danny tends to joke and Trey gets defensive whenever they feel vulnerable. The author did a great job conveying their angst and longing; I would love to see a sequel!  259 pages.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Summary: ""Sparks fly when American good girl Allyson encounters laid-back Dutch actor Willem, so she follows him on a whirlwind trip to Paris, upending her life in just one day and prompting a year of self-discovery and the search for true love."

This book is kinda good and kinda bad. I really enjoyed some parts of it: Allyson's travel and her journey of self-discovery. However, there's a part of the book where she goes into a Bella Swan-like depression over a boy...and it's just terrible. She's also self-centered and ungrateful to her parents, which is really frustrating. However, she eventually gets her act together, and turns her life around. 

369 pages

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Aqualicious by Victoria Kann

Posted for Andrea Dennis

This is an adorable book.  My older girls absolutely loved it.  Then again what little girl doesn’t love mermaids and beaches with sand castles.  This one is from the Pinkalicious series!  Great pictures and cute story.  40 pages.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Posted for Andrea Dennis

#2 on the 100 books to read before you die. This was a fantastic book. I can’t believe I had never read this one before either. I love that the story is told from Scout’s point of view. Great read!  324 pages.

Jefferson City 150: 150 Years of Jefferson City Through the Eyes of the News Tribune and Its Readers by News Tribune Staff, et al.

Posted for Paul Mathews

Jefferson city ensured its future as the state capital, when a statewide vote held in 1896 defeated a measure to move the capital to Sedalia. The Millbottom was littered with bars until 1920 and now only Paddy Malone’s remains. Being on the river Jefferson has a few floods. A prison riot occurred on Sept. 22, 1954. Jefferson City  and country lives on past Jan.1, 2000 (Y2K).  144 pages.

Available in our catalog here.