Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Monday, November 30, 2015

"Crash & Burn" by Abigail Roux

The is the ninth and final book in the "Cut & Run" series, and it finds FBI Special Agent in Charge Zane Garrett overseeing the Baltimore office while his fiance, former FBI Special Agent Ty Grady, rehabs the old building they bought into a book store.  But all hell breaks loose when Ty's best friend and fellow member of Marine Force Recon team Sidewinder shows up at their house injured and on the run.  This leads to Zane, Ty, one of their former enemies, and the rest of the Sidewinder team trying to dodge the Vega cartel and others who want them all dead.

I'm sad to see the end of this series, but Roux gives the boys an action packed send off in style.  Ty's entire family and part of Zane's make appearances, with Ty's grandpa making a memorable show of taking on the bad guys in West Virginia.  Zane and Ty's chemistry is still at full throttle with no signs of the hate part of their love/hate relationship that characterized so many of the books.  Roux has done an excellent job of wrapping up the series; I will really miss these awesome, original, and action packed stories with two of my favorite fictional characters who finally get their happy ending.  352 pages (Kindle edition).

"Widdershins" by Jordan L. Hawk

Percival Endicott Whyborne is a young philologist who speaks 13 languages (but reads more) and studies ancient texts at the Ladysmith Museum in Widdershins, MA, during the end of the 19th century.  He tries to keep to himself as he is shy and feels homely and clumsy, but when his skills are required to help an ex-Pinkerton detective with a murder investigation, he must leave his office and his comfort zone to do so.  However, this turns into a much bigger and more dangerous case involving a cult stretching back centuries.  Griffin Flaherty, the detective, must convince Whyborne to overcome his many fears to help him defeat the evil sorcerer and the monsters he has created.  Whyborne's best (and only) friend is fellow scholar Dr. Christine Putnam, a strong and likable woman who helps the men with their investigation at crucial times.

This is an exciting, original, and imaginative story with adventure, romance, action, and more.  Both Whyborne and Griffin have interesting back stories that are pertinent to the story and make them richer characters.  The descriptions of the monsters that the cult creates are effective but not overly gross or disgusting.  I really enjoyed the story and hope to read more in the "Whyborne & Griffin" series.  There is also a kitty.  226 (Kindle edition).

"My Bleeding Heart" by Melissa Graves

Vampires are real in this first book in the "Mi Corazon Sagrante" series.  Kyle is one of them.  He is nineteen but was turned involuntarily at sixteen.  After accidentally killing someone, he runs to an unnamed city where he meets Brian Preston.  Brian works at a government clinic that feeds and monitors vampires while also studying to be a doctor who specializes in vampire medicine.  They are smitten with each other but know that they will face obstacles, not only because they are gay but because Brian is human.  

This is a good story with an interesting premise, but the oddest part is that it is told in the present tense, which threw me a bit.  It ends with a build up to the next book in the series.  172 pages (Kindle edition).

"That Eighteenth Summer" by Raine O'Tierney

This is the story of Oliver Hannigan, who has just graduated from high school and plans to join the military like his older brother, Benjam, did five years earlier.  However, word comes that spring that Benjam has been killed on duty oversees; this changes Oliver's life in many ways.  His parents both go a little crazy, and his mom begs him not to follow in his brother's footsteps.  And the arrival of Benjam's best friend from the Army adds to Oliver's complications.

This was a well written coming-of-age story, which takes part in Oklahoma and Missouri.  Oliver is forced to grow up quickly after the death of his only sibling, and the author makes him credible and sympathetic.  174 pages (Kindle edition).

The Purity of Vengeance: A Department Q Novel, By Jussi Adler-Olsen

Image result for the purity of vengeance

In this Department Q novel, Detective Carl Mørck is presented the case of a brothel owner, Rita, who went missing in the 1980s.  His assistants, Assad and Rose uncover evidence that several people went missing during the same weekend, which arouses Carl's interest in the case. Like peeling an onion, the uncover layer upon layer of evidence, and the case brings them closer and closer to Curt Wad, who was once a young surgeon involved in a movement to sterilize young women, and who is now leader of a political movement calling for racial purity.  It is an intriguing case that nearly costs Assad and Carl their own lives.
528 pages, translated from Danish

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).