The Education of Ivy Blake by Airgood

Ivy Blake’s life is not simple, not simple at all.  She has loved living with her best friend, Prairie. and her family while Ivy’s mother is in the middle of her legal troubles.  But now her mother is back and wants Ivy with her.

She wants to believe her mother has changed, but change doesn’t come easy to everyone.  Ivy finds strength through her art, a caring teacher and the very people she is trying to hide her difficult live from.

Great book for ages 9-12. A companion to Prairie Evers though it can easily be read as a stand alone.

Cover of Snow by Milchman

Nora Hamilton wakes one morning to find that her husband, Brendan, has committed suicide. Brendan left no note and gave no indication that he was contemplating taking his own life. Why would a seemingly happy police officer with unwavering affection for his wife, job, and hometown suddenly choose to end it all? Nora begins a quest of her own to find out the truth. But who can she really trust? It may not be who she thinks.

Great story line and therefore should have been a great story. However, it really wasn’t.

The author has Nora running all over the place trying to solve this mystery that the reader can solve before getting to the middle of the book. I was waiting for a twist and some kind of a surprise ending but none came. I still don’t think I completely understand the reasoning behind the suicide. Without giving too much away I’ll say that Brendan didn’t seem tied into the story enough to have made suicide an option. It’s just baffling.

Also, the author’s concentration on the fact that it was winter is way over the top. Milchman felt the need to point out the slush and the snow and the slippery roads and the flakes and the cold temperatures, etc. every chance she got. EVERY chance she got. The numerous winter descriptions were not necessary.

Predictable, boring, kind of annoying. Can’t recommend this one.

Red Queen by Aveyard

Product DetailsMare lives in a society where the color of your blood determines your status in society. Reds are commoners and Silvers are the ruling elite. The Silvers have magic abilities that help them keep control and scare the Reds into submission. That is until Mare, a common Red, displays her magic abilities in spectacular fashion.

The king and queen immediately seek to control the situation, claiming she is a lost silver princess and betroth her to their second son. They don’t realize that it’s too late to control Mare and she is the impetus the Red Guard needs for open rebellion.

This is a fast paced, easy read. The characters are well written and face intense situations that will keep you reading well into the night. A light fantasy with romance and intrigue. Great first book in the series.

Outlander

Outlander Season 1 Volume 2 has just been added to our collection. Outlander is based on the best selling series by Diana Gabaldon and stars Caitrona Balfe, Sam Heughan, and Graham McTavish (The Hobbit trilogy).

The story follows Claire Randall, a married combat nurse during WWII. Claire is somehow transported through time to 1743 Scotland where being English isn’t a good thing. She is forced to marry Jamie Frasier to save herself and falls helplessly in love with the young clansman. Claire has to deal with being in love with two men, being imprisoned by the English, avoid being burned as a witch, and so much more. As the series continues, we move to France, the Caribbean, and Colonial America.

This tale of love is based in the beautiful hills of Scotland. Anyone interested in historical fiction, Scotland, romance, or the Clans will find this series immensely enjoyable.

The Dinner by Koch

This story takes place all over the course of one meal. Two couples meet at a restaurant for dinner. Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys, cousins, are united by their accountability for a single horrific act. An act that has triggered a police investigation.

Based on that plot this book could have been great! However, it has a few issues. The first 100 pages go very quickly because the reader is waiting to find out what exactly it was the boys did. Yes, it takes that long to get to the point.

What criminal act prompted this meeting between parents? After the crime is revealed we then have to wait another 100 pages or so before the parents begin to even discuss it. In between these two climaxes the author concentrates too much on unnecessary ramblings. We get the narrator’s thoughts on everything. The attire of the staff at the restaurant, his annoyance at the waiter for using his pinky finger to point at everything, what it is about his brother that he detests, and his own personal background.

As the dinner reaches the main course, the conversation finally touches on their children. The penultimate question is, how far is each parent prepared to go to protect their family?

When you finally get to the end you will find out the answer to that question in a bit of a surprise ending. Good beginning, good ending.. unnecessary middle. The book would have been better with more editing.