Hispanic Heritage Month

Posted on: September 16th, 2014 by ckopacek

Check out a book written by a Hispanic author to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Aristotle and Sante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

by Benjamin Saenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship-the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.




by Walter Myers

Into the summer heat of New York’s Spanish Harlem strides Carmen, a chica who is as hot as the sizzling city streets. When she first meets José, she falls for him hard. He’s not like the gansta types she knows– tipo duros who are tough, who think they are players. But José has a quick temper, and he likes to get his own way. And nobody gets in Carmen’s way.nbsp; When Escamillo rolls into town, everyone takes notice of the Latino Jay-Z–a quadruple-threat singer/rapper/producer/businessman. But he only notices one person–Carmen. And Carmen has given up on José–he’s not going to get her out of her tough neighborhood, el barrio , and into the action. Escamillo will. But José won’t let that happen.

Chain Reaction

Chain Reaction

by Simone Elkeles

Luis Fuentes has always been sheltered from the gang violence that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. But that hasn’t stopped him from other thrill-seeking behavior–like scaling a mountain in the Rockies or dreaming of a future as an astronaut. Nikki Cruz lives her life by three rules–boys lie to get their way, don’t trust a boy who says “I love you,” and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Then she meets Luis at his brother Alex’s wedding, and suddenly she’s tempted to break all her rules. Getting Nikki to take a chance on a south sider is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by Chuy Soto, the new head of the Latino Blood. When Chuy reveals a disturbing secret about Luis’s family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he’s ever believed to be true. Will his feelings for Nikki be enough to stop Luis from entering a dark and violent world?

Fifteen Candles

Fifteen Candles: Amigas Series

by Veronica Chambers

Summer has arrived in Miami and that means quinceanera season. With an internship at the mayor’s office, Alicia isn’t giving much thought to anything but work. But after meeting Sarita, a new girl in town, on the first day of the job, Alicia ends up volunteering to help organize Sarita’s quince. She also volunteers her friends. Soon Alicia is drowning in preparation and turning into a quincezilla–and it isn’t even her party! But there is just so much to do–there are shoes to be bought, dances to choreograph, and then there is Gaz. He is being flirtier than usual with Alicia and she’s not sure what to do. It seems like Alicia is dangerously close to losing her friends…and her mind! Will she learn to trust her amigas and rock the party?

Jumped In

Jumped In

by Patrick Flores-Scott

Sam has the rules of slackerhood down: Don’t be late to class. Don’t ever look the teacher in the eye. Develop your blank stare. Since his mom left, he has become an expert in the art of slacking, especially since no one at his new school gets his intense passion for the music of the Pacific Northwest—Nirvana, Hole, Sleater-Kinney. Then his English teacher begins a slam poetry unit and Sam gets paired up with the daunting, scarred, clearly-a-gang-member Luis, who happens to sit next to him in every one of his classes. Slacking is no longer an option—Luis will destroy him.



The Living

by Matt De La Pena

Shy took the summer job to make some money. In a few months on a luxury cruise liner, he’ll rake in the tips and be able to help his mom and sister out with the bills. And how bad can it be? Bikinis, free food, maybe even a girl or two–every cruise has different passengers, after all. But everything changes when the Big One hits. Shy’s only weeks out at sea when an earthquake more massive than ever before recorded hits California, and his life is forever changed. The earthquake is only the first disaster. Suddenly it’s a fight to survive for those left living.




by Dawn Metcalf

As reality slips and time stands still, Consuela finds herself thrust into the world of the Flow. Removed from all she loves into this shifting world overlapping our own, Consuela quickly discovers she has the power to step out of her earthly skin and cloak herself in new ones-skins made from the world around her, crafted from water, fire, air. She is joined by other teens with extraordinary abilities, bound together to safeguard a world they can affect, but where they no longer belong. When murder threatens to undo the Flow, the Watcher charges Consuela and elusive, attractive V to stop the killer. But the psychopath who threatens her new world may also hold the only key to Consuela’s way home.



by Sandra Wallace

Felix “Red” O’Sullivan’s world is crumbling around him: the mine that employs most of town is on the brink of closing, threatening to shutter the entire town and his high school with it. But Red’s got his own burdens to bear: his older brother, Bobby, died in the war, and he’s been struggling to follow in his footsteps ever since. That means assuming Bobby’s old position as quarterback and leading the last-ever Muckers team to the championship. But the only way for the hardscrabble Muckers to win State is to go undefeated and tackle their biggest rival, Phoenix United, which would be something of a miracle.


Revolution of Evelyn Serrano

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano

by Sonia Manzano

One of America’s most influential Hispanics — ‘Maria’ on Sesame Street — presents a powerful novel set in New York’s El Barrio in 1969 There are two secrets Evelyn Serrano is keeping from her Mami and Papo? her true feelings about growing up in her Spanish Harlem neighborhood, and her attitude about Abuela, her sassy grandmother who’s come from Puerto Rico to live with them. Then, like an urgent ticking clock, events erupt that change everything. The Young Lords, a Puerto Rican activist group, dump garbage in the street and set it on fire, igniting a powerful protest. When Abuela steps in to take charge, Evelyn is thrust into the action. Tempers flare, loyalties are tested. Through it all, Evelyn learns important truths about her Latino heritage and the history makers who shaped a nation. Infused with actual news accounts from the time period, Sonia Manzano has crafted a gripping work of fiction based on her own life growing up during a fiery, unforgettable time in America, when young Latinos took control of their destinies.

Summer of the Mariposas

Summer of the Mariposas

by Guadalupe McCall

When Odilia and her four sisters find a dead body in the swimming hole, they embark on a hero’s journey to return the dead man to his family in Mexico. But returning home to Texas turns into an odyssey that would rival Homer’s original tale. With the supernatural aid of ghostly La Llorona via a magical earring, Odilia and her little sisters travel a road of tribulation to their long-lost grandmother’s house. Along the way, they must outsmart a witch and her Evil Trinity: a wily warlock, a coven of vicious half-human barn owls, and a bloodthirsty livestock-hunting chupacabras . Can these fantastic trials prepare Odilia and her sisters for what happens when they face their final test, returning home to the real world, where goddesses and ghosts can no longer help them?


Pick a Decade

Posted on: August 30th, 2014 by ckopacek

Pick your favorite decade of music and listen to the top hits.

Americas Top Ten The 1950s

America’s Top Ten Through the Years: The Fifties

Contents: Splish splash / Bobby Darin — At the hop / Danny & the Juniors — 16 candles / Crests — Rockin’ robin / Bobby Day — Wake up little Susie / Everly Brothers — Rock around the clock / Bill Haley & His Comets — Earth angel / Penguins — That’ll be the day / Buddy Holly & the Crickets — Little darlin’ / Diamonds — Blueberry Hill / Fats Domino — Long tall Sally / Little Richard — Yakety yak / Coasters — Donna / Ritchie Valens — Tequila / Champs — Do you wanna dance / Bobby Freeman — Great pretender / Platters — Blue suede shoes / Carl Perkins — Why do fools fall in love / Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers — Tears on my pillow / Little Anthony & the Imperials — Great balls of fire / Jerry Lee Lewis.

Americas Top Ten The 1960s

America’s Top Ten Through the Years: The Sixties

Contents: Baby love / Supremes — I’m a believer / Monkeys — Letter / Box Tops — Groovin / Rascals — Dancing in the street / Martha & the Vandellas — For your love / Yardbirds — Happy together / Turtles — Monday, Monday / Mamas & the Papas — My boyfriend’s back / Angels — Shotgun / Jr. Walker & the Allstars — Gloria / Shadows of Knight — Summer in the city / Lovin’ Spoonful — Bus stop / Hollies — (Sittin on) the dock of the bay / Otis Redding — I get around / Beach Boys — Soul man / Sam & Dave — Respect / Aretha Franklin — I got you babe / Sonny & Cher — Wanderer / Dion — Wild thing / Troggs.

Americas Top Ten The 1970s

America’s Top Ten Through the Years: The Seventies

Contents: American woman / Guess Who — Rich girl / Daryl Hall & John Oates — You’re so vain / Carly Simon — Maggie May / Rod Stewart — Feels like the first time / Foreigner — Show me the way / Peter Frampton — That’s the way (I like it) / KC & the Sunshine Band — Tell me something good / Rufus — Dream Weaver / Gary Wright — Don’t stop / Fleetwood Mac — Why can’t we be friends / WAR — My eyes adored you / Frankie Valli — Joy to the world / Three Dog Night — She’s a lady / Tom Jones — Diamond girl / Seals & Crofts — Cat’s in the cradle / Harry Chapin — What a fool believes / Doobie Brothers — A horse with no name / America — Without you / Nilsson — Could be I’m falling in love / Spinners.

Americas Top Ten The 1980s

America’s Top Ten Through the Years: The Eighties

Contents: Back on the chain gang / Pretenders — Hungry like the wolf / Duran Duran — Hold me now / Thompson Twins — Call me / Blondie — Heaven / Bryan Adams — Living years / Mike + the Mechanics — Need you tonight / INXS — Come on Eileen / Dexys Midnight Runners — Love song / Cure — Electric Avenue / Eddy Grant — He’s so shy / Pointer Sisters — At this moment / Billy Vera & the Beaters — All out of love / Air Supply — Shout / Tears for Fears — She drives me crazy / Fine Young Canibals — Another one bites the dust / Queen — Swee dreams (are mad of this) / Eurythmics — Love shack / B-52′s — Rock this town / Stray Cats — If you don’t know me by now / Simply Red.

Americas Top Ten The 1990s

America’s Top Ten Through the Years: The Nineties

Contents: Baby baby / Amy Grant — Black velvet / Alannah Myles — Gonna make you sweat / C & C Music Factory — Free your mind / En Vogue — More than words / Extreme — I touch mself / Divinyls — The sign / Ace of Base — The promise of a new day / Paul Abdul — Mmm mmm mmm mmm / Crash Test Dummies — Release me / Wilson Phillips — Summertime / D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince — Bump ‘n’ grind / R. Kelly — Crazy / Seal — End of the road / Boyz II Men — To be with you / Mr. Big — Roll to me / Del Amitri — Where have all the cowboys gone? / Paula Cole — Love will lead you back / Taylor Dayne — One more try / Timmy -T- — I’d do anything for love / Meat Loaf.

Billboard Pop Memories 1920s

Billboard Pop Memories: 1920s

Contents: Valencia / Paul Whiteman & his orchestra — My blue heaven / Gene Austin — Sonny boy / Al Jolson — Charmaine! / Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians — The prisoner’s song / Vernon Dalhart — Whispering / Paul Whiteman & His Ambassador Orchestra — April Showers / Al Jolson — Swingin’ down the lane / Isham Jones Orchestra — Ramona / Gene Austin — Dardanella / Selvin’s Novelty Orchestra.


Billboard Pop Memories 1930s

Billboard Pop Memories: 1930s

Contents: Begin the beguine (Art Shaw & his orchestra) — Deep purple ( Larry Clinton & his orchestra) — Sing, sing, sing (with a swing) (Benny Goodman & his orchestra) — Pennies from heaven (Bing Crosby) — Stein song (University of Maine) (Rudy Vallee and his Connecticut Yankees) — Boo-hoo ( Guy Lombardo & his Royal Canadians) — Night and day ( Leo Reisman & his orchestra) — Mood indigo (Duke Ellington & his Cotton Club Orchestra) — Over the rainbow (Judy Garland) — Moonlight serenade (Glenn Miller & his orchestra).

Billboard Pop Memories 1940-44

Billboard Pop Memories: 1940-44

Contents: I’ve heard that song before (Harry James & his orchestra) — Frenesi (Artie Shaw & his orchestra) — Paper doll (Mills Brothers) — Swinging on a star (Bing Crosby) — I’ll never smile again (Tommy Dorsey & his orchestra) — Amapola (Jimmy Dorsey & his orchestra) — You’ll never know (Dick Haymes & the Song Spinners) — Don’t fence me in (Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters) — In the mood (Glenn Miller & his orchestra) — Star dust (Artie Shaw & his orchestra).

Billboard Pop Memories 1945-49

Billboard Pop Memories: 1945-49

Contents: Riders in the sky (A cowboy legend) / Vaughn Monroe & his orchestra — Mañana (is soon enough for me) / Peggy Lee with Dave Barbour & The Brazilians — Heartaches / Ted Weems & his orchestra, whistling by Elmo Tanner — The old lamp-lighter / Swing & Sway with Sammy Kaye — My dreams are getting better all the time / Les Brown & his orchestra, vocal chorus by Doris Day — The Gypsy / Ink Spots — Buttons and bows / Dinah Shore & Her Happy Valley Boys — Rumors are flying / Frankie Carle & his orchestra, vocal chorus by Marjorie Hughes — Cruising down the river / Russ Morgan & his orchestra, vocal by The Skylarks — Sentimental journey / Les Brown & his orchestra, vocal chorus by Doris Day

Billboard Pop Memories 1950-54

Billboard Pop Memories: 1950-54

Contents: Rags to riches (Tony Bennett) — The Tennessee waltz (Patti Page) — Where is your heart (the song from Moulin Rouge) (Percy Faith & his orchestra) — How high the moon (Les Paul & Mary Ford) — You belong to me (Jo Stafford) — Cry (Johnnie Ray & the Four Lads) — Wheel of fortune (Kay Starr) — Oh! My Pa-Pa (Eddie Fisher) — Come on-a my house (Rosemary Clooney) — Goodnight Irene (Gordon Jenkins & his orchestra & the Weavers).

Billboard Pop Memories 1955-59

Billboard Pop Memories: 1955-59

Contents: Memories are made of this (Dean Martin) — The wayward wind (Gogi Grant) — Unchained melody (Les Baxter) — Love letters in the sand (Pat Boone) — It’s all in the game (Tommy Edwards) — Love is a many-splendored thing (Four Aces) — Cherry pink and apple blossom white (Perez “Prez” Prado & his orchestra) — Sleep walk (Santo & Johnny) — Sincerely (the McGuire Sisters) — Moonglow & theme from “Picnic” (Morris Stoloff).



Happy Birthday Stephen King

Posted on: August 30th, 2014 by ckopacek

Celebrate Stephen King’s September birthday by listening to one of his books.



by Stephen King

On November 22, 1963, three shots changed the world. What if it never happened? Jake Epping is a 35-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane–and insanely impossible–mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

Black House

Black House

by Stephen King

In this sequel to “The Talisman”, retired homicide detective Jack Sawyer is drawn back to a parallel universe called the Territories, where he must find the soul-strength to enter a terrifying house at the end of a deserted track of forest, there to encounter the obscene and ferocious evils sheltered within it.

Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep

by Stephen King

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless– mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the ‘steam’ that children with the ‘shining’ produce when they are slowly tortured to death. Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant ‘shining’ power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes ‘Doctor Sleep.’ Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival.

Eyes of the Dragon

The Eyes of the Dragon

by Stephen King

In the kingdom of Delain, a young prince must struggle against powerful forces to gain his rightful inheritance.




by Stephen King

During their college years, Andrew and Vicky McGee participated in a series of experiments. As a result, they developed telepathic powers, allowing them to influence those around him. But when their daughter Charlie started to display terrible pyrokinetic abilities, a ruthless government agency attempted to kidnap her, resulting in Vicky’s death. Now on the run, Andrew must shield his daughter from John Rainbird, a Cherokee assassin hired to capture them.

In the Tall Grass

In the Tall Grass

by Stephen King

A sister and brother who pull off to the side of the road after hearing a young boy crying for help from beyond the tall grass. Within minutes they are disoriented, in deeper than seems possible, and they have lost one another.



by Stephen King

They were just kids when the first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown, but none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them back to Derry to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name.



by Stephen King

Set in a small town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

Long Walk

The Long Walk

by Stephen King

In the near future, a young boy has been one of 100 selected to take the Long Walk–a deadly contest of endurance and determination, in which each step can literally be your last. Follow the contestants’ tortured footsteps as they struggle with each other, and themselves, to survive the race.

Mile 81

Mile 81

by Stephen King

Young Pete Simmons just wanted to have some fun and explore when he stumbled onto the old abandoned rest stop at Mile 81 on the Maine turnpike. Instead, he discovers a scene of bloodshed and carnage. A car has pulled into the boarded-up service station, a run-down, muddy station wagon without any plates; and without a driver. As the car claims the lives of one would-be good Samaritan after another, Pete decides that it’s up to him to stop the evil car before he becomes its next victim.


The Stand

by Stephen King

A monumentally devastating plague leaves only a few survivors who, while experiencing dreams of a battle between good and evil, move toward an actual confrontation as they migrate to Boulder, Colorado.



Posted on: August 28th, 2014 by ckopacek

Looking for some action? Try a movie about the old west.



It’s 1878 and Jake Kincaid has just been released from prison for a crime he didn’t commit. His heart is seeking vengeance on those responsible for landing him in jail, but he’s also very interested in finding the gold he was accused of stealing. In his quest, he finds himself in the small town of Fairplay, California where Kincaid learns that love is far more powerful than hate and that redemption is more precious than gold.



High Noon

High Noon

A retired marshal’s wedding is interrupted when he learns a killer he had sent to jail will return to town on the noon train to seek revenge. The townspeople refuse to help him, so he is forced to take up his badge and guns again, alienating his new bride, a Quaker who is opposed to violence.



How the West Was Won

How the West Was Won

Follows three generations of one family and their struggles in the West.




Once Upon a Texas Train

Once Upon a Texas Train

Captain Hayes of the mighty law enforcement squad named the Texas Rangers reached the pinnacle of his career when he captured the notorious John Henry, an outlaw cowboy, and put him behind bars. Twenty years later, upon his release, Henry is older but unrepentant.



Once Upon a Time in the West

Once Upon a Time in the West

A man preparing to welcome his new wife to his home is killed, along with his entire family.






A drifter and retired gunfighter assists a homestead family terrorized by an aging cattleman and his hired gun.




She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

The story of a U.S. Calvary captain’s last days in service on the western frontier in 1876.




The Outlaw Josey Wales

The Outlaw Josey Wales

A peaceful farmer turns Confederate renegade to avenge the deaths of his wife and child at the hands of bandits-turned-Union sympathizers.






Two retired, down-on-their luck outlaws pick up their guns one last time to collect a bounty offered by the vengeful prostitutes of the remote Wyoming town of Big Whiskey.




Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch

Outlaws on the U.S.-Mexican border face the march of progress, the Mexican army and a gang of bounty hunters led by a former member as they plan to rob a U.S. Army train.











Best Debuts of 2014 (so far)

Posted on: August 5th, 2014 by ckopacek

From the editors of BookPage here are some of the most notable first novels of the year (so far)!



by Edan Lepucki

The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they’ve left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. But the tentative existence they’ve built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she’s pregnant. Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own.

Elizabeth is Missing

Elizabeth is Missing

by Emma Healey

In a heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging, an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared. Convinced Elizabeth is missing and in terrible danger, Maud’s search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences. As this singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud’s rapidly dissolving present, the clues she discovers seem to lead to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.


Land of Love and Drowning

Land of Love and Drowning

by Tiphanie Yanique

In the early 1900s, the Virgin Islands are transferred from Danish to American rule, and an important ship sinks into the Caribbean Sea. Orphaned by the shipwreck are two sisters and their half brother, now faced with an uncertain identity and future. Each of them is unusually beautiful, and each is in possession of a particular magic that will either sink or save them. Chronicling three generations of an island family from 1916 to the 1970s, Land of Love and Drowning is a novel of love and magic, set against the emergence of Saint Thomas into the modern world.


Last Days of California

The Last Days of California

by Mary Miller

Fifteen-year-old Jess is on a road trip to the end of the world. Her evangelical father has packed up the family and left their Montgomery, Alabama, home behind to drive west in anticipation of the rapture, hoping to save as many souls as possible before the imminent Second Coming. With her long-suffering mother and her rebellious sister Elise, Jess hands out tracts to nonbelievers at every rest stop, Waffle House, and gas station along the way. Through sticky diners and in crowded motel pools, beneath bleached bedspreads and in the backseat of the family car, Jess and Elise whisper and squabble their way across the country. But as doomsday approaches, Jess can’t seem to work up any real fear about the apocalypse when her sister’s secret pregnancy and their increasingly frayed parents loom so much larger.


The Quick

by Lauren Owen

James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Alarmed, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine London that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural city populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Doctor Knife.” But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of the exclusive, secretive Aegolius Club, whose predatory members include the most ambitious, and most bloodthirsty, men in England.


Remember Me Like This

Remember Me Like This

by Bret Anthony Johnston

Four years have passed since Justin Campbell’s disappearance, a tragedy that rocked the small town of Southport, Texas. Did he run away? Was he kidnapped? Did he drown in the bay? As the Campbells search for answers, they struggle to hold what’s left of their family together. Then, one afternoon, the impossible happens. The police call to report that Justin has been found only miles away, in the neighboring town, and, most important, he appears to be fine. Though the reunion is a miracle, Justin’s homecoming exposes the deep rifts that have diminished his family, the wounds they all carry that may never fully heal.


Shotgun Lovesongs

Shotgun Lovesongs

by Nickolas Butler

“Hank, Leland, Kip and Ronny were all born and raised in the same Wisconsin town–Little Wing–and are now coming into their own (or not) as husbands and fathers. One of them never left, still farming the family’s land that’s been tilled for generations. Others did leave, went farther afield to make good, with varying degrees of success; as a rock star, commodities trader, rodeo stud. And seamlessly woven into their patchwork is Beth, whose presence among them–both then and now–fuels the kind of passion one comes to expect of lovesongs and rivalries. Now all four are home, in hopes of finding what could be real purchase in the world.

Weight of Blood

The Weight of Blood

by Laura McHugh

The town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains. Folks there still whisper about Lucy Dane’s mother, a bewitching stranger who appeared long enough to marry Carl Dane and then vanished when Lucy was just a child. Now on the brink of adulthood, Lucy experiences another loss when her friend Cheri disappears and is then found murdered. Lucy is haunted by the two lost girls–the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t save–and sets out with the help of a local boy, Daniel, to uncover the mystery behind Cheri’s death.


Widows Guide to Sex and Dating

The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating

by Carol Radziwill

Claire Byrne is a quirky and glamorous 34-year-old Manhattanite and the wife of a famous, slightly older man. Her husband, Charlie, is a renowned sexologist and writer. Equal parts Alfred Kinsey and Warren Beatty, Charlie is pompous yet charming, supportive yet unfaithful; he’s a firm believer that sex and love can’t coexist for long, and he does little to hide his affairs. Claire’s life with Charlie is an always interesting if not deeply devoted one, until Charlie is struck dead one day on the sidewalk by a falling sculpture. Once a promising young writer, Claire had buried her ambitions to make room for Charlie’s. After his death, she must reinvent herself.




2014-15 Iowa High School Award Books

Posted on: April 27th, 2014 by ckopacek

Need a book to read? Try one of these award winners.



by Mike Mullin

After the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano destroys his city and its surroundings, fifteen-year-old Alex must journey from Cedar Falls, Iowa, to Illinois to find his parents and sister, trying to survive in a transformed landscape and a new society in which all the old rules of living have vanished.


Big Crunch

The Big Crunch

by Pete Hautman

June is starting at her sixth school in four years when she meets Wes, who has just broken up with a girlfriend, and although they do not share an instant or intense connection, attraction turns to love and they wonder where it will lead.





by Lauren Oliver

Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.



Eleanor and Park

Eleanor & Park

by Rainbow Rowell

“Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits–smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try”– Provided by publisher.





by Eliot Schrefer

Sophie is not happy to be back in the Congo for the summer, but when she rescues an abused baby bonobo she becomes more involved in her mother’s sanctuary–and when fighting breaks out and the sanctuary is attacked, it is up to Sophie to rescue the apes and somehow survive in the jungle.



Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy

by Robin LaFevers

In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Brittany, seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts–and a violent destiny.



Lincolns Last Days

Lincoln’s Last Days

by Bill O’Reilly

Describes the events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the hunt to track down John Wilkes Booth and his accomplices.



No Easy Day

No Easy Day

by Mark Owen

For the first time anywhere, the first-person account of the planning and execution of the Bin Laden raid from a Navy Seal who confronted the terrorist mastermind and witnessed his final moments.



Raven Boys

The Raven Boys

by Maggie Stiefvater

Though she is from a family of clairvoyants, Blue Sargent’s only gift seems to be that she makes other people’s talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the expensive Aglionby Academy, she discovers that he has talents of his own–and that together their talents are a dangerous mix.




2014 Children’s Choice Award Winners

Posted on: April 27th, 2014 by ckopacek

Check out one of these award winning titles.

Athlete vs Mathlete

Athlete vs. Mathlete

by W. C. Mack

When their two worlds collide in seventh grade, fraternal twins and opposites Owen and Russell find themselves in direct competition at school, on the court, and at home.



Eight Keys

Eight Keys

by Suzanne LaFleur

When twelve-year-old Elise, orphaned since age three, becomes disheartened by middle school, with its bullies, changing relationships, and higher expectations, keys to long-locked rooms and messages from her late father help her cope.



Fast and the Furriest

The Fast and the Furriest

by Andy Behrens

The overweight and unathletic son of a famous former football star discovers that his equally fat and lazy dog is unexpectedly–and obsessively–interested in competing in dog agility contests.



Ghost of Graylock

The Ghost of Graylock

by Dan Poblocki

Staying with their aunts over the summer, Neil Cady, his sister Bree, and their new friends Wesley and Eric, set out to explore Graylock Hall, an abandoned psychiatric hospital which is supposed to be haunted by the ghost of Nurse Janet.





by Eric A Kimmel

When a Muslim American boy named Omar finally convinces his family that he should have a pet snake, it escapes and Omar learns why his mother is so scared of them.



Hold Fast

Hold Fast

by Blue Balliett

On a cold winter day in Chicago, Early’s father disappeared, and now she, her mother and her brother have been forced to flee their apartment and join the ranks of the homeless–and it is up to Early to hold her family together and solve the mystery surrounding her father.



Inside Out and Back Again

Inside Out and Back Again

by Thanhha Lai

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.



Liar and Spy

Liar and Spy

by Rebecca Stead

Seventh-grader Georges adjusts to moving from a house to an apartment, his father’s efforts to start a new business, his mother’s extra shifts as a nurse, being picked on at school, and Safer, a boy who wants his help spying on another resident of their building.



Little Dog Lost

Little Dog, Lost

by Marion Dane Bauer

A boy, a dog, and an old man are lonely before the boy plans a rally, the dog looks for a boy, and all the townspeople run to the old man’s aid when lightning strikes his home and something miraculous happens.



Ninth Ward

Ninth Ward

by Jewell Parker Rhodes

In New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, twelve-year-old Lanesha, who can see spirits, and her adopted grandmother have no choice but to stay and weather the storm as Hurricane Katrina bears down upon them.





by Sarah Weeks

After the death of Polly Portman, whose award-winning pies put the town of Ipswitch, Pennsylvania, on the map in the 1950s, her devoted niece Alice and Alice’s friend Charlie investigate who is going to extremes to find Aunt Polly’s secret pie crust recipe. Includes fourteen pie recipes.



PS Brothers

The PS Brothers

by Maribeth Boelts

Sixth-graders Russell and Shawn, poor and picked on, work together scooping dog droppings to earn money for a Rottweiler puppy to protect them from bullies, but when they learn the puppies’ owner is running an illegal dog-fighting ring, they are torn about how to respond.


Saving Zasha

Saving Zasha

by Randi Barrow

In 1945 Russia, those who own German shepherds are considered traitors, but thirteen-year-old Mikhail and his family are determined to keep the dog a dying man brought them, while his classmate Katia strives to learn his secret.



Summer of the Gypsy Moths

Summer of the Gypsy Moths

by Sara Pennypacker

A foster child named Angel and twelve-year-old Stella, who are living with Stella’s great-aunt Louise at the Linger Longer Cottage Colony on Cape Cod, secretly assume responsibility for the vacation rentals when Louise unexpectedly dies and the girls are afraid of being returned to the foster care system.





by Andrew Clements

When his older brother gets in serious trouble, sixth-grader Clay decides to change his own mischief-making ways, but he cannot seem to shake his reputation as a troublemaker.




The Underdogs

by Mike Lupica

Small but fast twelve-year-old Will Tyler, an avid football player in the down-and-out town of Forbes, Pennsylvania, takes matters into his own hands to try and finance the city’s football team, giving the whole community hope in the process.



Waiting for the Magic

Waiting For the Magic

by Patricia MacLachlan

When Papa goes away for a little while, his family tries to cope with the separation by adopting four dogs and a cat.



Year of the Book

The Year of the Book

by Andrea Cheng

Follows a young Chinese American girl, as she navigates relationships with family, friends, and her fourth-grade classroom, and finds a true best friend.




Laugh It Up

Posted on: April 9th, 2014 by ckopacek

Need a stress reliever? Try some laughter with one of these audiobooks.

Aged and Confused

Aged and Confused

by Bill Engvall

Contents: Aged and confused -= School bus kid — Clubbing at 50 —  Game night —  Bad turbulence —  Shark frenzy — Zip line —  Birthday suit — Pick my nose — Getting recognized — Colonoscopy

Andy and his grandmother

Andy and His Grandmother

by Andy Kaufman

Contents: Andy is making a record — Andy and his grandmother — Andy’s land live — Andy loves his tape recorder — Slice of life — Andy goes to the movies — Kick in the pants — Andy can talk to animals — I’m not capable of having a relationship — Hookers — Andy and his grandmother go for a drive — Sleep comedy — [HONK!] vs. [DOG] A — – [HONK!] vs. [DOG] B — Andy goes for a taxi ride — Andy’s English friend Paul — I want those tapes.

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby: Far from Finished

by Bill Cosby

Contents: The girrrlfriend ; The wife ; The room my wife gave me ; She’s not your friend ; My code name ; GPS — Chocolate chip cookies ; You’re not rich ; I didn’t ask to be born ; Bernadette (bonus track) ; Otis (bonus track).

Its not me its you

It’s Not Me, It’s You

by George Lopez

Contents: Latinos work — Talking sh*t — Racist grandmother — Raising our kids — Trick or treating — Almost swimming — Baby proofing — Ethnic shopping — Intervention — Drunk wedding — I don’t snore! — Latino vote  – White house visit

Laughter Therapy

Laughter Therapy

by Peter Sagal

Looking for an alternative to the seriously reliable, soothing yet informative sound of NPR? Try NPR! Prepare to be surprised by this collection of unbelievable news, bloopers, and interviews with some of the funniest personalities on the planet. The time honored tradition of hoax stories that NPR airs every April 1st brings exploding maple trees in Maine, talking dogs in Ohio, farm raised whales in Illinois, and bubbling cheese springs in Wisconsin. National Public Radio presents encounters with funny personalities and memorable, unbelievable April Fool’s Day “news” segments from various NPR radio programs..

Mike and Mikes

Mike and Mike’s Rules for Sports and Life

by Mike Greenberg

The ESPN comedy team presents an offbeat list of sports rules to live by, in a treasury of provocative ideas and proclamations culled from their top-rated morning show.

My Weakness is Strong

My Weakness is Strong

by Patton Oswalt

Contents: Text — Birth — Fat — Treadmill — Whisky and Weed and L.S.D. — The Sad Boy — The Oswalt Family Crest — Rats — Orgy — Lofty Thoughts — First — Obama…and Time Travel…and Coolness…and the Last Racist — Demons — Sky Cake — Grocery Robots — Airplane — The Magician.

Old Jews Telling Jokes

O ld Jews Telling Jokes

by Sam Hoffman

Contents: disc 1 (59:27): Introduction — The Jewish mother — Who are the Jews? — Coming to America — Moving to the suburbs. disc 2 (55:25): The Rabbi — Food — Husband and wives — Sex.disc 3 (63:50): Oral sex — Illness and doctors — Getting old — Death — A joke about jokes.

Sh*t My Dad Says

Sh*t My Dad Says

by Justin Halpern

Tuesdays with Morrie meets F My Life in this hilarious coming-of-age book about a son’s relationship with his foul-mouthed father by the 29-year-old comedy writer who created the massively popular Twitter feed of the same name.

Tales From the Dad Side

Tales From The Dad Side

by Steve Doocy

Contents: Birth: dad on arrival — School: don’t eat the paste — Duty: young men in uniform — Trouble: fatherhood is hard, get a helmet — Legacy: should I follow, Tom or Dianne Sawyer? — Jobs: I was a teenage bread pirate — Dexterous dad: my father is Martha Stewart — Rivalry: never lick a steak knife — Sports: the coach bag — Work: take mom’s spy to work day — Male call: things only dad can teach a boy — My father: Jim Dandy –Humor: the joker gene — Independence: driving Miss Doocy — Sex: the birds, the bees & the rubber what? — Worry: don’t fall off the volcano — Booze: from tang to Tangueray — Role reversal: the parent trapped — Letting go: I can’t cut the cord — College: can we pay with bonus miles? — Pride: dad, stop pushing me around! — Emotion: daddy’s mascara is running — Landmarks: innings and outings of life — Road trip: what happens in Dublin, stays in Dublin — Loose ends: goodnight moon — The list: what every father must teach his child — Thank yous and shout outs.


Time to Think Gardening

Posted on: March 23rd, 2014 by ckopacek

It’s time to start planning your garden.

All New Square Foot Gardening

All New Square Foot Gardening

by Mel Bartholomew

Rapidly increasing in popularity, square foot gardening is the most practical, foolproof way to grow a home garden.  Now, with the publication of All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition, the essential guide to his unique step-by-step method has become even better. Mel developed his techniques back in the early 1980s and has been teaching them throughout the world ever since. In the process, he has made improvements and refinements and continually adapted his practices to keep pace with modern times. In this new volume, Bartholomew furthers his discussion on one of the most popular gardening trends today: vertical gardening. He also explains how you can make gardening fun for kids by teaching them the square foot method. Finally, an expanded section on pest control helps you protect your precious produce.

Beautiful Edible Garden

The Beautiful Edible Garden

by Leslie Bennett

We’ve all seen the vegetable garden overflowing with corn, tomatoes, and zucchini that looks good for a short time, but then quickly turns straggly and unattractive. If you want to grow food but you don’t want your yard to look like a farm, what can you do? The Beautiful Edible Garden shares how to not only grow organic fruits and vegetables, but also make your garden a place of year-round beauty that is appealing, enjoyable, and fits your personal style.

Derek Fells Grow This

Derek Fell’s Grow This

by Derek Fell

Derek Fell has grown hundreds of varieties and annually visits gardens and test plots across America, so he’s qualified to guide gardeners to the best of the best—more than 600 vegetable, flower, herb, and lawn grass all-stars. He offers honest feedback about plant performance, even when it contradicts favorable public opinion or a grower’s claims. Seed racks may be filled with ‘Kentucky Wonder’ snap beans, but he dismisses that variety as too fibrous and needy and instead recommends ‘Blue Lake’ beans for tenderness and high yields. Fell’s firsthand experience means the difference between choosing plant winners and losers.

New Sunset Western Garden Book

The New Sunset Western Garden Book

by Kathleen Norris Brenzel

As surely as gardens change with the seasons, gardening is ever changing. New plants, techniques, materials, and lifestyles are constantly broadening the choices you have and reshaping the way you garden in the West. In response to this natural evolution, the editors of Sunset -the West’s most trusted source of gardening information for more than 80 years-have completely redesigned and updated The Western Garden Book. This edition includes a fresh new look, thousands of color photographs, fresh illustrations, and an easy-to-follow format. Written by experts for gardeners in the West, this book is an indispensable reference for beginning and expert gardeners alike.

Speedy Vegetable Garden

The Speedy Vegetable Garden

by Mark Diacono

Typically, vegetable gardening is about the long view: peas sown in spring aren’t harvested until summer, and tomatoes started indoors in February can’t be eaten until July. But it’s not true for all plants. Some things can be planted and eaten in weeks, days, even hours. The Speedy Vegetable Garden highlights more than 50 quick crops, with complete information on how to sow, grow, and harvest each plant, and sumptuous photography that provides inspiration and a visual guide for when to harvest.

Straw Bale Gardens

Straw Bale Gardens

by Joel Karsten

Joel Karsten’s step-by-step guide offers all the information you need to make your own straw bale garden today. In this lushly photographed volume, Karsten shares all of the secrets he has developed over years of teaching eager students the miracle of straw bale gardening. You’ll learn how to locate and choose straw bales, then how to condition and plant them for the earliest possible start. You’ll master Karsten’s methods for combating plant pests and maximizing space by applying the principles of vertical gardening to his straw bales. Whether it’s seedlings or seeds, veggies or flowers, there is practically no limit to the plant varieties that will prosper in a straw bale garden—and with Karsten’s breakthrough gardening guide, you can do it all yourself.

Touch a Butterfly

Touch a Butterfly

by April Pulley Sayre

Gardening with children is a pleasure in itself, but when you learn to include wildlife in your plans, gardening becomes an even more joyful family experience. Creating a garden that invites wildlife opens up a wider world of nature for investigation, inspiration, and delight. Begin to see your yard from an animal’s perspective; discover plants that attract colorful birds and bugs; embrace sensory experiences that native plants and creatures bring; and understand how your yard fits into the surrounding landscape. Along the way you will discover simple ways you can actively support wildlife in your immediate environment, no matter where you live.

Trellises Planters and Raised Beds

Trellises, Planters & Raised Beds

 by Cool Springs Press

A step-by-step guide that gives any gardener all the information needed to make garden furnishings that are both simple and beautiful. This book includes 50 complete plans for trellises, raised beds, planters, window boxes, and just about any imaginable project you can make to train and display plants in your garden and around your home.

Your Midwest Garden

Your Midwest Garden

 by Jan Riggenbach

Annuals and perennials, shrubs and vines, fruits and vegetables, wildflowers, bulbs, and herbs: As readable as it is useful, this book reviews the familiar, reconsiders old favorites, and introduces dozens of surprising and seldom-grown plants ideal for Midwest gardens and landscapes. Illustrated with color photos from the author’s garden, it provides tips on plant placement and care, starting seeds and making compost, matching specimens and sites, combating insects and diseases, simplifying garden chores, designing for winter beauty, and myriad other ways of enriching and enjoying your Midwest garden.



Books to be Made into Movies

Posted on: January 29th, 2014 by ckopacek

Read the book before the movie hits theaters in 2014.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

by Thomas Hardy

When the beautiful and spirited Bathsheba Everdene inherits her own farm, she attracts three very different suitors: the seemingly commonplace, man-of-the-soil Gabriel Oak, the dashing young soldier, Francis Troy, and the respectable, middle-aged Farmer Boldwood. Her choice, and the tragedy it provokes, lie at the centre of Hardy’s ambivalent story.


The Giver

The Giver

by Lois Lowry

Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.



Gone Girl

Gone Girl

by Gillian Flynn

On the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick’s wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren’t his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?


Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book

by Neil Gaiman

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.



In the Heart of the Sea

In the Heart of the Sea : the tragedy of the whaleship Essex

by Nathaniel Philbrick

In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with twenty crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than ninety days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival.


Maze Runner

The Maze Runner

by James Dashner

Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.



A Most Wanted Man

A Most Wanted Man : a novel

by John Le Carré

A half-starved young Russian man claiming to be a devout Muslim, an idealistic young German civil rights lawyer, and a sixty-year-old scion of a failing British bank based in Hamburg form an unlikely alliance as the rival spies of Germany, England and America scent a sure kill in the “War on Terror,” and converge upon the innocents.



Serena : a novel

by Ron Rash

The year is 1929, and newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton travel from Boston to the North Carolina mountains where they plan to create a timber empire. When Serena learns that she will never bear a child, she sets out to murder the son George fathered without her. When Serena suspects George is protecting his illegitimate family, the Pembertons’ intense, passionate marriage starts to unravel as the story moves toward its shocking reckoning.


This is Where I leave You

This is Where I Leave You

by Jonathan Tropper

Siblings who spend more time quarreling than together reluctantly agree to their dying father’s request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together in the same house. Like a family.




Wild : from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail

by Cheryl Strayed

A powerful, blazingly honest, inspiring memoir: the story of a 1,100 mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe–and built her back up again.