Saturday, November 30, 2019

119. Stay Hidden by Paul Doiron

#9 Mike Bowditch
Listened on Audible
narrated  by Henry Leyva
Unabridged audio (10:34)
2018 Minotaur
320 pgs.
Adult Murdery Mystery/Police Procedural
Finished 11/30/2019
Goodreads rating: 3.88 - 2055 ratings
My rating: 3
Setting:  Contemporary Maquoit Island, off MDI, Maine

First line/s:  "There were two hunting deaths in Maine that day. And the deer season had barely begun."

My comments: For some reason I didn't like this one as much as I have liked the others, and I really should have because it was set on an island off Mount Desert Island, and referred to Ellsworth and surrounding communities - my home - many, many times.  But somehow the way that all the residents were portrayed left me with a sour stomach.  It was an interesting mystery, but once again Mike Bowditch gets in trouble for things that seem stupid to me.  Even though Henry Leyva misprounces words - he HAS gotten a little closer to the correct pronunciation of Bangor than in previous books - he still doesn't quite have it.  I DO enjoy listening to him, though!

Goodreads synopsis:  A woman has been shot to death by a deer hunter on an island off the coast of Maine. To newly promoted Warden Investigator Mike Bowditch, the case seems open and shut. But as soon as he arrives on remote Maquoit Island he discovers mysteries piling up one on top of the other.
          The hunter now claims he didn’t fire the fatal shot and the evidence proves he’s telling the truth. Bowditch begins to suspect the secretive community might be covering up the identity of whoever killed the woman, known as Ariel Evans. The controversial author was supposedly writing a book about the island's notorious hermit. So why are there no notes in her rented cottage?
           The biggest blow comes the next day when the weekly ferry arrives and off steps the dead woman herself. Ariel Evans is alive, well, and determined to solve her own “murder” even if it upsets Mike Bowditch’s investigation and makes them both targets of an elusive killer who will do anything to conceal his crimes.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

118. The Child Finder by Renee Denfeld

#1 Naomi Cottle
Listened to audio - on Audible
narrated  by Alyssa Bresnahan
Unabridged audio (8:40)
2017, Harper
274 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished  11/23/2019
Goodreads rating: 3.97 - 30,045 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting: Contemporary Oregon woods

First line/s::  "The home was a small yellow cottage on an empty street. There was something dispirited about it, but Naomi was used to that."

My comments: Finished this in the air approaching Oakland.  Super interesting!  A woman who had been a captive and escaped as a child becomes a child finder herself, as she oh-s-slowly begins to remember bits and pieces of her past.  The story flips back and forth between Naomi (the protagonist) and Madison/the Snowgirl, who Naomi is trying to find in the present.  Fascinating story.

Goodreads synopsis:  A haunting, atmospheric, and deeply suspenseful novel from the acclaimed author of The Enchanted about an investigator who must use her unique insights to find a missing little girl.
          "Where are you, Madison Culver? Flying with the angels, a silver speck on a wing? Are you dreaming, buried under snow? Or—is it possible—you are still alive?"
          Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight-years-old now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as "the Child Finder," Naomi is their last hope.
          Naomi’s methodical search takes her deep into the icy, mysterious forest in the Pacific Northwest, and into her own fragmented past. She understands children like Madison because once upon a time, she was a lost girl, too.
          As Naomi relentlessly pursues and slowly uncovers the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce the defenses that have protected her, reminding her of a terrible loss she feels but cannot remember. If she finds Madison, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?
          Told in the alternating voices of Naomi and a deeply imaginative child, The Child Finder is a breathtaking, exquisitely rendered literary page-turner about redemption, the line between reality and memories and dreams, and the human capacity to survive.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Picture Book - Little Doctor and the Fearless Beast by Sophie Gilmore

Illustrated by the author
2019 Owlkid Books/Canada
Hardcover $17.95
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 3.93 - 180 ratings 
My rating:  4
Endpapers: Solid jungle green

1st line/s: " There once lived a child the crocodiles called Little Doctor." 

My comments:  The title should be Fearless Little Doctor and the Beast!  A brave little gril doctor gently cares for all the crocodiles in the (lush) jungle, until a huge croc comes to her and she can't discover what's wrong with him.  With great ingenuity she finally figures out how to get him to open his huge jase - and discovers the crux of the problem.  No words are used to explain the problem, only that inside the open jaws are baby crocs, all wrapped up in plastic six-pack rings.  Subtle message, love it.  Must use to talk about correct recycling of plastics, as well as beautiful illustrations!

GoodreadsCrocodiles come from far and wide to seek Little Doctor's care. She treats each one with skill and kindness--even the toughest crocs with thick skins and large, powerful jaws. Little Doctor marvels at these fearless beasts, listening to their stories, while she diagnoses and cures what ails them. But when she meets Big Mean, the largest crocodile in the land with jaws clamped tightly shut, Little Doctor can't figure out what's wrong. And she might be just a little bit afraid.
          When one creative idea lands Little Doctor right inside Big Mean's tremendous jaws, she is sure she'll be munched or crunched--until she sees that Big Mean isn't so horrible, after all. As it turns out, the crocodile is only protecting her hatchlings, all tangled in plastic, inside her mouth.
          Watercolor illustrations create a richly imagined world in this awe-inspiring story about how even little kids can be fearless, and even big, mean creatures sometimes need help.

Picture Book - Ruby's Birds by Mya Thompson

Illustrated by Claudia Davila
2019 Cornell Lab Publishing Group
HC $16.95
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.52 - 63 ratings
My rating:  3
Endpapers: white with puffy clouds

1st line/s:  "School's out.  Mom and Dad are at word.  My brother, Malik, is at soccer practice.  Grandma's at her spot near the window.  Alex keeps her company.  Things are too quiet around here."

My comments: A young girl is introduced to bird-watching in Central park by her neighbor.   There are lots of birds to search for in the illustrations, which are really fun.  The story has a really flat ending, however.  A great writing extension for 4th & 5th graders might be to write a better ending!

GoodreadsSometimes the most beautiful things in nature can go unnoticed. Meet Ruby, a seven-year-old kid with the energy of the city in which she lives--New York City. She plays the piano--LOUDLY. She romps around the apartment--LOUDLY. And she sings songs she makes up herself--LOUDLY!
          So, when her downstairs neighbor Eva takes her on a nature walk through Central Park, Ruby has to learn how to slow down, step carefully, and be quiet enough to see and hear the amazing birds that are everywhere around her.
          From author Mya Thompson and illustrator Claudia D�vila comes a delightful story of a brand-new bird watcher just spreading her wings.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

115. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

listened on Audible, borrowed from Bosler/CCLS
narrated  by Julia Whelan
Unabridged audio (9:06)
2019 Random House
289 pgs.
Adult Romance
Finished 11/17/2019
Goodreads rating: 3.91 - 38,888
My rating: 3
Setting: Contemporary small town MAINE

First line/s:  "Go now, or you'll never go, Evvie warned herself."

My comments:  What pulled me in?  Small town Maine: Camden/Wiscasset area.  The cool cover.  Decent reviews.  And what did I think?  It was an okay, fun read, the very epitome of the "romance" genre of previous years, without the graphic sex scenes.  Not my favorite genre, but enjoyable once in awhile, right? 

Goodreads synopsis:  In a small town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth "Evvie" Drake rarely leaves her house. Everyone in town, including her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and she doesn't correct them.
          In New York, Dean Tenney, former major-league pitcher and Andy's childhood friend, is struggling with a case of the "yips": he can't throw straight anymore, and he can't figure out why. An invitation from Andy to stay in Maine for a few months seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button.
          When Dean moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie's house, the two make a deal: Dean won't ask about Evvie's late husband, and Evvie won't ask about Dean's baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken—and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more.
          But before they can find out what might lie ahead, they'll have to wrestle a few demons: the bonds they've broken, the plans they've changed, and the secrets they've kept. They'll need a lot of help, but in life, as in baseball, there's always a chance—right up until the last out.

Friday, November 15, 2019

114. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Read on my iPhone/ have on Kindle
2012 Atom
374 pgs.
YA Fantasy/Dystopia
Finished 11/15/2019
Goodreads rating:  4.00 - 104,861
My rating: 3:

First line/s:  "Aria pushed herself to her knees, gritting her teeth at the piercing shriek that erupted in her ears."

My comments:  A bleak, dystopian ya novel that's pretty depressing throughout.  Book 2 will probably be interesting, though, with the build up from this one.  There's still a lot to be discovered about the way the characters learn about each other with enhanced senses.  Aria and Peregrive, the two protagonists, are pretty interesting and the story is form both of their POVs.

Goodreads synopsis:  
          Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.
          Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.
         If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.

113. The Contract by Melanie Moreland

Listened to Audio
narrated  by John Lane & Tatiana Sokolov
Unabridged audio (8:43)
2016 Enchanted Publications
298 pgs.
Adult "Romance
Finished 11/15/2019
Goodreads rating:  4.02 - 19,353 ratings
My rating: 4

First line/s:  "I bent over the table, the din of the busy restaurant fading into the background as I struggled to contain my anger."

My comments:  Again, one heck of a lot of people have read - and enjoyed - this book!  What an adorable romance.  Shoot me, I like it!  Lots of build up, a little too much sap, the requisite amount of steaminess - not over-the-top, but enough - and plenty of opportunity for eye-rolling.  Don't think I could take too many of this type of book in a row, but once in awhile, sure.  I cannot believe how my taste and genre has tilted in the recent weeks.....

Goodreads synopsis:  A tyrant by day, a playboy by night. That is the reputation that precedes Richard VanRyan. He lives life the way he wants, no concern for the opinion of others. He cares for no one, is completely unrepentant, and he has no desire to change his ways.
           Katharine Elliott works under Richard as his PA. She despises him and his questionable ethics, but endures all the garbage he sends her way, because she needs the job. Her end goal is far more important than the daily abuse and demands she tolerates from her nasty tyrant of a boss.
          Until the day, he asks her for something she never expected. A new role with a personal contract — fiancée instead of PA.
          What happens when two people who loathe each other, have to live together and act as though they are madly in love?
          That’s what happens.
          Can the power of love really change a person?
          Will they survive the contract?
          What do you do when the one person you hate the most becomes the one person you can’t live without?

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

112. Mister O by Lauren Blakely

listened to Audio
narrated  by Sebastian York
Unabridged audio (7:55)
308 pgs.
Adult "Romance"
Finished 11/12/2019
Goodreads rating: 4.08 - 17,249
My rating: 3.5
Setting: contemporary NYC

First line/s:  "Ask me my three favorite things and the answers are so easy they roll off my tongue:  hitting a homerun for my softball league, drawing a killer cartoon panel, and, oh yeah, - making a woman......."

My comments:  Boy, one heck of a lot of people have read this book and really enjoyed it - look at those Goodreads ratings! And talk about a steamy Goodreads synopsis, it's almost embarrassing to post here!   70% steamy sex - or thinking about it in detail - and 30% decent story, this was certainly entertaining.  I could've done with more story because it was a pretty decent one.  A 29-year-old cartoonist who has made it big on the small screen has a huge crush on his best friend's sister, who is a magician.  Set in New York City with great, interesting characters and an awesome narrator, I enjoyed this quite a bit.

Goodreads synopsis:  Just call me Mister O. Because YOUR pleasure is my super power.
          Making a woman feel ‘oh-god-that’s-good’ is the name of the game, and if a man can’t get the job done, he should get the hell out of the bedroom. I’m talking toe-curling, mind-blowing, sheet-grabbing ecstasy. Like I provide every time.
          I suppose that makes me a superhero of pleasure, and my mission is to always deliver.
          But then I'm thrown for a loop when a certain woman asks me to teach her everything about how to win a man. The only problem? She's my best friend's sister, but she's far too tempting to resist--especially when I learn that sweet, sexy Harper, has a dirty mind too and wants to put it to good use. What could possibly go wrong as I give the woman I've secretly wanted some no-strings-attached lessons in seduction?
          No one will know, even if we send a few dirty sexts. Okay, a few hundred. Or if the zipper on her dress gets stuck. Not on that! Or if she gives me those f*&k-me-eyes on the train in front of her whole family.
          The trouble is the more nights I spend with her in bed, the more days I want to spend with her out of bed. And for the first time ever, I'm not only thinking about how to make a woman cry out in pleasure --I'm thinking about how to keep her in my arms for a long time to come.
          Looks like the real Adventures of Mister Orgasm have only just begun....

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Picture Book - Encyclopedia of Grannies by Eric Veille

Translated by Daniel Hahn (translated from French?)
2019, Gecko Press, New Zealand
HC. $17.99
28 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.46 - 24 ratings
My rating:  3
Thick cardboard covers, thick pages with rounded corners.

1st line/s:  "The world's first encyclopedia devoted entirely to grannies."

My comments:  2/3 of the book seemed intended for the entertainment of grandmothers, if they're not easily offended.  Not actually sure who the intended audience of this book actually is....but I enjoyed most of it with a wry smile throughout....

Goodreads:  Why do grannies always tell us to speak up? Why do they have creases on their faces? Are grannies flexible? How do you cheer up a sad granny? How old are grannies, actually?
          Eric Veill� explains it all in this offbeat book for the extended family to chuckle over--no matter what kind of grandma you have, are, or would like to be. From the author of My Pictures after the Storm, which received three starred reviews and which School Library Journal proclaimed "may be the funniest book of the year."

Picture Book - Blooming Beneath the Sun

Poems by Christina Rossetti
Cut Paper Illustrated by Ashley Bryan
2019 Atheneum Books for Young Readers
HC $17.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.67
My rating:  4
Endpapers: orange with cut paper daisies (like the daisies that accompany "Where Innocent Bright-Eyed Daisies Are."

Fourteen poems by Christina Rossetti, three follow

My comments: Anything that has anything to do with Ashley Bryan makes my heart pound.  The illustrations are bold and beautiful!  And I've ALWAYS loved the simplicity of Christina Rossetti's beautiful words, although there are a few poems in this collection that I'm not overly fond of....

GoodreadsNewbery Award honoree Ashley Bryan has hand-selected a collection of celebrated English poet Christina Rossetti’s poems to illustrate with his inimitable flourish.  
          The world changes so quickly, but the joy and fun of being a child always remains. Christina Rossetti’s classic nursery rhymes have embodied the simple essence of childhood for centuries, and now award-winning illustrator Ashley Bryan brings new life to them with this wonderfully illustrated selection of Rossetti’s poetry.
          Bryan’s bright and intricate collage art perfectly complement Rossetti’s simple text, and together they create a vibrant book for both kids—and kids at heart.

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you;
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing by.

Hurt No Living Thing

Hurt No living Thing
Ladybird, not butterfly
Nor moth with dusty wing,
nor cricket chirping cheerily
Nor grasshopper so light of leap,
Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat,
Nor harmless worms that creep.

Where Innocent Bright-Eyed Daisies Are

Where innocent bright-eyed daisies are,
With blades of grass between,
Each daisy stands up like a star

Out of a sky of green.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

110. Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum

listened to Audio borrowed from Bosler Library
narrated  by Jorjeana Marie and Robbie Daymond
Unabridged audio (8:18)
2019 Delacourt
304 pgs.
YA Romance
Finished 11/9/2019
Goodreads rating: 3.97 - 3529 ratings
My rating: 3.5

First line/s: "Even back in my fairy-tale days, I never liked those inevitable opening words - once upon a time."

My comments:  I had mixed feelings about this book.  Perhaps it's because it's about 9/11 and that in itself is a difficult thing.  Some parts dragged, some parts were funny, and it was loaded with all sorts of philosophical thinking, which is definitely not my things at all.  But as we travel farther and farther from the fateful, horrible day, I'm also glad that books like this are being written.

Goodreads synopsis:  Sometimes looking to the past helps you find your future.
          Abbi Hope Goldstein is like every other teenager, with a few smallish exceptions: her famous alter ego, Baby Hope, is the subject of internet memes, she has asthma, and sometimes people spontaneously burst into tears when they recognize her. Abbi has lived almost her entire life in the shadow of the terrorist attacks of September 11. On that fateful day, she was captured in what became an iconic photograph: in the picture, Abbi (aka "Baby Hope") wears a birthday crown and grasps a red balloon; just behind her, the South Tower of the World Trade Center is collapsing.
          Now, fifteen years later, Abbi is desperate for anonymity and decides to spend the summer before her seventeenth birthday incognito as a counselor at Knights Day Camp two towns away. She's psyched for eight weeks in the company of four-year-olds, none of whom have ever heard of Baby Hope.
          Too bad Noah Stern, whose own world was irrevocably shattered on that terrible day, has a similar summer plan. Noah believes his meeting Baby Hope is fate. Abbi is sure it's a disaster. Soon, though, the two team up to ask difficult questions about the history behind the Baby Hope photo. But is either of them ready to hear the answers?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

109. Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

#2 Renne Ballard/#21 Harry Bosch
istened on Audible, borrowed from Bosler eAudio
narrated  by Christine Lakin & Titus Welliver
Unabridged audio (10:39)
2018 Little Brown
400 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery
Finished 11/7/2019
Goodreads rating: 4.20 - 31,524 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting: Contemporary LA

First line/s: "The patrol officers had left the front door open. They thought they were doing her a favor, airing the place out.  But that was a violation of crime scene protocol regarding evidence containment.  Bugs could go in and out.  Touch DNA could be disturbed by a breeze through the house.  odors were particulate.  Airing out a crime scene meant losing part of that crime scene."

My comments:  In this episode, Renee and Harry work together on a nine-year-old cold case, Renee from the inside of the police department, and Harry from the outside.  They complement each other in guts and smarts and as the book ends we discover they have decided to continue working together in this way.  I liked it.  Look forward to more.

Goodreads synopsis:  LAPD Detective Renée Ballard teams up with Harry Bosch in the new thriller from #1 NYT bestselling author Michael Connelly.
          Renée Ballard is working the night beat again, and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours only to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard kicks him out, but then checks into the case herself and it brings a deep tug of empathy and anger.
          Bosch is investigating the death of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally murdered and her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now, Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy and finally bring her killer to justice.

Hanukkah Picture Book Quickies

It's Hanukkah!
Jeanne Modesitt
Ill. Robin Spowart
GR: 3.50- 12 ratings
My rating:  2
Mouse family, some is irrelevant just to rhyme:"We all dance the horah, even Great-Grandma Laura."  Don't really like the story or the illustrations, but the addendums about the holiday, menorah, and dreidels are useful.

It's Hanukkah Time!
Latita Berry Kropf
Photographs by Tod Cohen
GR:  3.22 - 9 ratings
My rating:  4 - Perfect for Toddlers
I plan to use this for a toddler storytime (18 - 35 months)  It's simple, and photographs accentuate each idea that's presented.  (Note: Instead of latkes, they fry sufganiyot, and include a recipe in the back).

Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah
Susan L. Roth
GR: 3.63 - 43 ratings
Mice again.  Super simple: the words to a song.  Cut paper collage. Not a great read-aloud, IMO, but might accompany a recording of the song.
"Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, come light the menorah.
Let's have a party, we'll all dance the hora.
And while we are playing,
The candles are all burning low.
One for each night, they shed a sweet light.
To remind us of day long ago.
    (Repeat twice)

Hanukkah Lights, Hanukkah Nights
Leslie Kimmelman
Ill. John Himmelman
GR:  3.52 - 21 ratings
My rating:  3
Very simple story of how a family celebrates Hanukkah.  A bit misleading in that it might be interpreted that specific things are done on specific nights.  If it's made clear that there's no particular order of when to celebrate in each way, it works just fine.

One Night, One Hanukkah Night
Aidel Backman
GR:  2.00 - 1 rating
My rating:  3
Great premise, one page contemporary, the next historical - but didn't quite pull it off.  As a read-aloud with explanation it would probably be fine.  Each page has a different traditions, a menorah with the correct amount of candles, and simple explanations if needed.

Hooray for Hanukkah!
Fran Manushkin
Ill. Carolyn Croll
GR:  2.94 - 18 ratings
my rating:  2/5
Another simple way to show the eight nights of Hanukkah and share the different holiday traditions.  It's from the P-o-v of the menorah.  Old-fashioned clothing, though it's set in contemporary times - this bothered me.  And the repetition of "I am bright, but I could be brighter" became very tiring very quickly.
It's a Miracle! A Hanukkah Storybook
Stephanie Spinner
ill. Jill McElmurry
3.92 - 36 ratings
A grandmother tells a different story on every one of the eight nights of Hanukkah.  All end up being a true story about family members she not only knows, but who will attend the family meal. Within the stories she tells are Hanukkah traditions.  Although the story is longish, it's delightful.  The book ends with "The Hanukkah Legend," a glossary, and the three Hanukkah blessings.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

108. Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

listened to on Audible via CHIRP
narrated  by Todd Haberkorn and Jayme Mattler
Unabridged audio (7:16)
2018 Gallery Books
305 pgs.
Adult Romance
Finished 11/6/2019
Goodreads rating: 4.10 - 31,813 ratings
My rating:  4

First line/s:  "Before we get started there are a few things you should know about me:
     1.  I am both broke and lazy, a terrible combination.
     2.  I am perpetually awkward at parties and in an effort to relax will probably end up drinking until I'm topless.
     3.  I tend to like animals more than people.
     4.  I can always be counted on to do or say the worst possible thing in a delicate moment."

My comments:  Very cute story about a young teacher and the Korean American young man she's had a crush on for years.  The voice of the guy who read the male part was a bit disconcerting, especially when he spoke the female part.  This was my only complaint.  2.5/4 for steam, and I'll go out on a limb and give it a four overall.

Goodreads synopsis:  Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.
          Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.
          Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them...right?