Wednesday, February 25, 2015

YA Blogs from Miss Sue

Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath

The eagle Ardziv has lost his family and watches over Sosi, Shahen and Mariam as they survive the brutal Armenian genocide of 1915, which leaves them orphaned, and escape over mountains and desert through danger and starvation to make their way to an uncle in America. This novel, based on the true story of the author’s grandmother, is told in verse which keeps the brutality to a minimum and highlights the characters’ strength of spirit.


Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Sent to a Vermont therapeutic boarding school for ‘fragile’ teens, Jam is put into Special Topics in English which focuses on the author Sylvia Plath. The five students also work in journals that seem to take them into another world, the untainted past, that they call Belzhar which helps them work through their issues and heal.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

By Gabrielle Zevin

New York Times Best Seller, #1 Indie Next Pick, and #1 Library Reads Selection.

This is the story of A.J. Fikry: bookstore owner, widower, Poe enthusiast. A.J.'s life has not turned out the way he had envisioned. After his beloved wife died at an early age, his bookstore's sales dwindled and his rare Edgar Allan Poe book, Tamerlane, was stolen. 

Life was looking very bleak for A.J. until a mysterious package turned up on his doorstep changing his life forever. This coupled with a new friendship with quirky publishing sales rep, Amelia, begins a transformation in A.J.'s relationship with others and his view of the world.

I loved this book. It is so different from anything that I have read. Give it a try!

~ Paula

Monday, February 23, 2015

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands

By Chris Bohjalian
Audiobook format

This incredible story is about a teenage girl who simultaneously becomes homeless and orphaned. The circumstances that occur instantly transform her life. She is definitely a survivor but one that has made some very bad choices along the way. One can almost understand why she has made these bad choices - from her point of view they were the right thing to do.

Chris Bohjalian is a bestselling author that has written seventeen books, a number of which have been made into movies. This Book on CD is read by the author’s daughter, a fact disclosed during the interview with the author at the end of the story.

This story was a little hard to continue on reading at the beginning; the use of bad language that is typical of some teenagers was a negative for me. I’m very glad I chose to ignore the “bad language” and continue because this was an outstanding book. It challenged me to think about some real life tragedies that frankly we all should spend more time thinking about.

~ Beckie

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Unsubstantial Air

American Fliers in the First World War
by Samuel Hynes

If you enjoy non-fiction historical books you may like this one. The author has put together a story about pilots from World War I, gathering information from journals, letters, and their relatives. The attitudes and daily life activities of these men are examined, from how their perception of what war was supposed to be like, to the way pilots act and dress in contrast with infantry men. The details of what kind of conditions the pilots experienced while flying was very interesting, and not something I’d read about before, especially in World War I. If you don’t know anyone who flies a plane, this will give you a good idea about the particular attitude they possess, and if you do know pilots, this will just reaffirm what you already know about them.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

YA Books blogged by Miss Sue

Vango: Between Sky and Earth
by Timothee di Fombelle, translated from the French by Saron Arldezzone.

Vango grew up on a island off the Sicily with his caretaker but doesn’t know anything about his background, but knows he is being hunted. He discovers a secret monastery on a nearby island, nearly becomes a priest when he narrowly escapes his pursuers by making his way over the roofs of Paris, again barely escapes a ride in a dirigible, finds his way back to the island where he finally finds some answers to his past and more questions.

Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts

While undergoing a bone marrow transplant, Zac meets Mia who has a cancerous tumor in her leg. It all begins with Lady Gaga and a knock on the wall. Zac deals by turning to statistics but Mia is in denial. Her leg has to be amputated and she runs away before she has healed and ends up at Zac’s family’s farm and petting zoo. He uses his ‘one wish’ for kids with cancer to get her a top of the line new leg but tells her he is using it for a trip to Disney World and sends her letters from America until she sees through his deception.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

BHG Kitchen & Bath Renovation Guide

A Better Homes & Gardens Publication

This book is perfect for the homeowner who is ready to update their kitchen or bath. It includes how to start with budgets, assessing your needs, hiring a pro and continues on through floor plans, decorating styles, storage, different designs for different lifestyles and finally shopping. The before and after makeovers are beautifully photographed. This could be your go-to guide for that long overdue renovation!

~ Dixie

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Last Goodbye

By J.A. Jance

This is the sweetest novella, with as you would expect from the title, a very sad ending. This is the first J.A. Jance book that I have experienced and was a little caught off guard with a gentleman named B. Apparently he has been in previous books. I totally enjoyed this book on CD while I drove to work and back. If you enjoy dog stories, you will enjoy it too.

~ Beckie

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Esther: Royal Beauty

By Angela Hunt

I love reading fictional stories based on biblical people and this story of Esther doesn’t disappoint. Based on the Book of Esther, Angela Hunt writes from the point of view of Hadassah (Esther’s Jewish name) and Harbonah the king’s eunuch.

Hadassah is an orphan who has been raised by her cousin Mordecai and his wife Miriam. She is taught well by Mordecai but she dreams of a life of riches and fine things. When King Xerxes puts out a call for beautiful young women, Mordecai tries to protect her but she is forcibly taken to the palace with many others. Because her future is uncertain, Hadassah goes by the name Esther and keeps her Jewish heritage a secret. The young women are given extensive beauty treatments and instruction on royal protocol, dance and singing. One by one each girl called before the King so he can find his new queen. Esther wins the kings heart and learns just what is involved with being queen and living in luxury.

When Queen Esther learns that the King has signed into law permission for all Jews to be exterminated, she cannot stay quiet any longer. After fasting and prayer Esther risks her life to save her people.

~ Dixie

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe

The past, present, and future of a multibillion dollar franchise
By Chris Taylor

I geek Star Wars (some say too much). Even though I know quite a bit about the franchise, this book still unearthed interesting stories I’d never known. It delves into just how Star Wars has affected our culture and everyday lives, even for people who have never seen the movies. Now that we’re less than a year away from Episode VII, the stories and insights are even more fascinating, adding to the excitement of the release of the movie in December. If you too, geek Star Wars, this is one of the few you need to read this year!


Wednesday, February 4, 2015


By William Ritter

After an aborted trip to uncover dinosaur bones in the Ukraine in 1892, Abigail Rook embarks on a ship to go home in England but the ship sails to New England where she arrives nearly penniless. The only job available is assistant to investigator R.F. Jackaby who specializes in the extraordinary and supernatural. Jackaby is in search of a serial killer who he suspects to more than the ordinary villain.

~ Sue

Monday, February 2, 2015

Saint Odd

By Dean Koontz

In this conclusion to the Odd Thomas series (Book 7), Odd has returned to his hometown of Pico Mundo, California. He senses an upcoming apocalypse, but (as customary for his sixth-sense) doesn't know when or where or by whom. He is led by his sense of doom to the evil-doers who attempt to throw Odd off of their trail through false leads. He is drawn to the Carnival that has come to Pico Mundo; it hasn't returned to town since Odd was sixteen and went with his sweetheart, Stormy.

Odd maintains his quirky sense of humor and his loyalty to his friends and neighbors throughout this book as he has done throughout the series.

I don't want to spoil the ending for those of you who have followed the series, but suffice it to say that gypsy mummy's fortune given to Odd & his true love, Stormy, comes true.

I love the audiobook version of this series with David Aaron Baker as the reader. His voice is a perfect match for the whimsy of the Odd Thomas character.

~ Paula