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19 September 2017

A Court of Mist and Fury (Court ofThorns and Roses #2)


A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas is the second book in her Court ofThorns and Roses fantasy series. Feyre, a human, has been in the fae realm for a few months – at a time when an evil woman has enslaved most of the fae. To survive she had to make a bargain.

Feyre is tied to the Spring Court and the lord there. She got there because of the ancient treaty. She has returned because of her skills and a bargain she made with the lord of the Night Court – the court thought to be filled with vile creatures and danger to all who enter. The bargain was the only thing that saved her life, but now her debt is about to be collected.

Feyre is taken from the Spring Court in the middle of a ceremony. The debt to be collected is that she must spend one week per month with the lord of the Night Court – Rhysand. Tamlin, the lord of the Spring Court tries to stop it, but bargains are an old kind of magic with harsh consequences if you break them.

Feyre was expecting the Night Court to always be dark, as the Spring Court is always in full bloom. But that is not the case. She is taken to a beautiful palace on a hill overlooking the mountains. While she resent being there, the place gives her a chance to rest and not fell closed in – a feeling that brings back the terror of fighting for her life. The open space is calm and inviting. She is not forced to do anything but be there for the week. For one week each month of her life – if she does not find some way around it.

 Maas is a great story teller. Her books read like she knows exactly where the overall story is going. Her creation of the different Courts is well-thought out and creative. Her characters are either people you want to have your own life or would never want to meet in the dark. I love this series. As a librarian and a great promoter of the public library, I could not wait my turn. I went immediately to the local bookstore and bought the next book!

Maas, Sarah J (2016). A Court of Mist and Fury. New York: Bloomsbury.

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10 September 2017

A Court of Thorns and Roses (Court of Thorns and Roses #1)


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas is the first book is a fantasy series of the same name. Set in a world where there was a war between human and fae, a wall of magic separates the two sides. There is a treaty in place to keep humans and fae from interacting with each other.

Feyre lives with her two sisters and her father near the wall. Her father, a merchant, lost his fortune when a ship carrying his investment sank. They lost their manor and are now living in a small, rough house in the woods. Feyre has taught herself to hunt – it is the only thing keeping her family from starvation.

On a day when she must catch something for them to eat, Feyre sees a wolf about to kill the animal she has in her sights. If the wolf gets it, her family may not live past the week. While she thinks the wolf might be fae, she must risk it. She kills the wolf and her family’s meal for the week.

A couple of days later, there is a beast at the door. He says that the treaty proscribes a life for a life. Her choice is death or to come to the fae realm to take the wolf’s place. She is put on a horse and under a sleep spell. When she awakes, the beast is walking her up to an estate. And once the beast turns back to his more human for, he is a beautiful and powerful fae lord named Tamlin.

But don’t think that this is a love story with a twist. This is the first book in a great fantasy series. Maas has created a complex fae world with many kinds of dangers to a human. If you are a fan of fantasy and you have not read Maas, start now! Her other series, Throne of Glass, is equally complex and wonderful. She creates characters who will stay with you.

Maas, Sarah J. (2015). A Court of Thorns and Roses. New York: Bloomsbury.

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24 August 2017

House of Spies (Gabriel Allon #17)


House of Spies by Daniel Silva is the seventeenth book featuring Gabriel Allon, a Mossad agent who was first recruited after the terror at the Berlin Olympics. Since then he has been a top agent who wants nothing more than to be a paint restorer and spend quiet time with his family. If only the world would allow it.

Gabriel is now the head of the office. Most chiefs stay in Jerusalem and run things from a desk. But Gabriel has a personal reason to need to catch the ISIS terrorist calling himself Saladin. One of his bomb killed a friend in Paris. Gabriel will join his team in Europe to track any trace of the terror mastermind.

Christopher Keller, ex-SAS, will give the team a criminal element needed to catch a criminal. Keller has been living in Corsica working for a mafia don and has connections to the underside of Europe.

Silva is an amazing writer who grabs readers with the first paragraph. His characters are compelling, his plots sometimes a bit too close to our current reality, and his twists and turns are the work of a master planner. Anyone who likes to read needs to read a Daniel Silva book. Start at the beginning with The Kill Artist or read his stand along spy masterpiece TheUnlikely Spy.

Silva, Daniel. (2017). House of Spies. New York: Harper.

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20 August 2017

Uprooted


Uprooted by Naomi Novik is a well-crafted, brilliantly delivered fantasy story set in the times of fairy tales.

Every ten years in the valley next to the corrupted wood, a girl is picked to serve the magician who lives in the tower. Agnieszka is sure that her friend Kasia will be picked. He always chooses the pretties girl. Even the girls from the other villages couldn’t compete with Kasia. She has been training to serve the magician, known as the Dragon.

No one knows how the girl will serve the dragon. But at the end of each ten years, those girls come home and almost immediately move away. Kasia and Agnieszka have promised that they will still be best friends after they are separated for a decade.

When all the girls of the village are lined up, the dragon appears. But he does not pick Kasia. He chooses Agnieszka. And they are off to the tower before the shock can wear off. He always has to pick a girl with magic if one presents herself. Of course, Agnieszka has no idea she has magic… Nor does she know how to cook or do any other domestic things that Kasia has been trained for.

Novik has created a great story. It has all of the elements of a great fairy tale. This is a must read!

Novik, Naomi. (2015). Uprooted. New York: Del Rey.

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05 August 2017

The Sea Hawk


The Sea Hawk by Brenda Adcock is a time-traveling pirate adventure.

Dr. Julia Blanchard is a marine archeologist working on the Georgia coast. She and her team are slowing exploring and excavating the ship they are calling the Georgia Peach. She knows it is not the safest plan, but she has to get one more look at the ship. She takes her boat out and anchors to the buoy. But the shadow of another boat looms above as she is diving.

Once her friends realize she is missing, Julia is floating near the marker buoy hoping for a rescue. Unfortunately, a storm is coming in. Rescue boats will not be sent out until it passes. At which point Julia will have been blown away from the sight of the wreck.

Just when Julia is starting to give up hope, a ship come by. When she is brought on board she is sure it is some kind of reenactment. But it soon seems like she is actually back in the 1800s.

Before Julia can get comfortable on her strange rescue ship, that ship is attacked by pirates. Julia is taken captive by a female pirate named Simone Moreau on her ship Le Faucon de Mer. The very ship Julia has been excavating.

Adcock has written a great tale of romance set in two different time periods, perfect for anyone who like stories of swashbuckling female pirates.

Adcock, Brenda. (2008). The Sea Hawk. Nederland, TX: Yellow Rose Books.

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27 July 2017

Cataclysm


Cataclysm by Tim Washburn is a disaster novel about what would happen if the caldera volcano under Yellowstone exploded, creating the worst ecological disaster since the end of the dinosaurs. Told in short, tension building chapters, from many points of view (including survivor interviews) this book is a geological terror of an adventure. There are some great characters for readers to root for along the way.

If you like disaster movies, this is even better.

Washburn, Tim. (2016). Cataclysm. New York: Pinnacle Books.

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16 July 2017

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown is a coming out story - for the second time.

Joanna Gordon has made a deal with her father. He is getting married to wife number three and they are moving from Atlanta to a small town in northern Georgia. Jo has agreed to go back in the closet. She figures it is only ten months until she graduates and leaves for college.

Part of her dad's reason for asking this is that he is worried for her safety in small town, religious American south. Jo agrees with it to not make waves with the new in-laws.

Then she meets Mary Carlson. And it seems like it is going to be harder to keep her promise. All of the reasons she agreed to this awful idea seem less important that being herself.

Brown has written a sweet, complicated story of love and coming out. She has included religion and shown how it is possible to be out and faithful. The book is filled with great characters that make small town America seem less scary to us city lesbians. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit is a great read.

Brown, Jaye Robin. (2016). Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit. New York: Harper Teen.





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14 July 2017

The Power

The Power by Naomi Alderman is an amazing commentary on our times. And just what us left leaning women needed in this political climate!

Written as an historical novel, looking back five thousand years to our current day, The Power looks at what happened to shift the political and social power from men to women.

Roxy is the daughter of a London gangster. When men come to attach her mother, thinking she wouldn't be home, Roxy fights back. She has something inside of her that tells her she can hurt the men who are trying to hurt her family.

Margot is mayor. The power in her is awakened by her daughter - teen girls can trigger it in older women. But Margot keeps her power a secret. The political climate is not reacting well to girls being able to defend themselves - and occasionally attacking some guy.

Allie is an orphan who is being abused. When she feels something in her chest she fights back. And her step father reacts as if electrocuted. Then she runs.

Tunde is a witness. He is excited for young women to be able to defend themselves. In some parts of the world they will rebel against religious laws that keep them from having rights. Tunde will start traveling the globe to help document the changes and the revolution.

The Power is so good. Alderman has written a book that shows the opposite future to the one in The Handmaid's Tale where women rule the world and men are seen as the weaker sex. This is a refreshing novel that is brilliantly conceived and written. Go buy a copy today - and buy one for the women in your life.

Alderman, Naomi. (2016). The Power. UK: Penguin.



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29 June 2017

At All Costs (Honor Harrington #11)


At All Costs by David Weber is the eleventh book in his Honor Harrington series, a space opera featuring a kick ass female protagonist.

The uneasy truce in the war with Haven is on the brink being broken. Someone has been altering the documents of negotiation in route between the star nations. Both the Star Kingdom of Manticore and the Republic of Haven think it is someone from the other side.

The new government in Manticore has been cutting military budgets left and right. If war does restart, Haven will be at an advantage for the first time in the history of their animosity. But a secret production facility hidden in space will shock Manticore at how quickly Haven has closed the technology gap.

Tension within Haven mounts when it looks like it was someone from their side, especially with the new constitution that is supposed to stop the unilateral assassinations of the last government.

Honor Harrington’s life is altered in an interesting way in this book, but I don’t do spoilers! This is a great science fiction series. Read it if you like scifi at all!

Weber, David. (2005). At All Costs. New York: BAEN.

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26 May 2017

In This Grave Hour (Maisie Dobbs #13)


In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear is the thirteenth book in her Maisie Dobbs series. Maisie is an investigator and psychologist.  This may be my favorite book series.

September 3rd, 1939 England declared war against Germany. When Maisie returns home from her best friend’s house where they listened to the radio announcement from the king, a Doctor Thomas is waiting for her. Maisie knows her to be a spy. Dr. Thomas wants Maisie to investigate the death of a Belgian. England took in many Belgian refugees during WWI. Some of them stayed. But the attitude toward other cultures within England has changed since the war started. Dr. Thomas is concerned that the police are not looking in the right place, if at all. Maisie takes the case.

At the same time, operation Pied Piper is put into effect. Children in London, a city likely to be bombed by the Nazis, are being evacuated to the countryside. Maisie’s estate has gotten three children. Her father is going to get the two boys working with horses. But the small girl who doesn’t speak is a mystery. She came without any paperwork. None of the other children know where she came from.

Winspear is a brilliant writer. Her books will grab you from the first page. Plus, if you listen to the firstbook on audiobook read by Rita Barrington will put the wonderful accents in your head for the rest of the series!

Winspear, Jacqueline. (2017). In This Grave Hour. New York: Harper.

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15 May 2017

A Pirate's Heart


A Pirate’s Heart by Catherine Friend is a lesbian romance for fans of both pirates and librarians!



Librarian Emma Boyd works at a rare book library. She is overworked and has little time for a social life but she know just about everything there is to know about the pirate captain Tomasina Farris who disappeared in 1715.  So when a thief steals a map from her collection she wants to help catch the person who did it – someone who may be searching for Tommy Farris’s lost treasure.



Investigator Randi Marx does not want help from any stuffy librarian. She is a map expert in her own right and works for one of the best private investigation firms in the country. When it is suggested that she and Emma go to the other libraries where there have been map thefts, she is less than thrilled.



Friend has combined two stories – one of Tommy Farris in the height of piracy in the Caribbean – and a chase across the US and a search for a lost treasure. This is great romance story.



Friend, Catherine. (2008). A Pirate’s Heart. Valley Falls, NY: Bold Strokes Books.

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20 April 2017

War of Honor (Honor Harrington #10)


War of Honor by David Weber is the tenth book in his science fiction series featuring Honor Harrington.



The war between the star kingdom of Manticore and the star nation of Haven has reached a cease fire. The timing has possibly saved one side from outright losing the war. Treaty negotiations are going slowly – no solely due to the enormous distance between home worlds of the two governments.



In Manticore the parliamentary style government has changed parties. The new leaders have no use for the Navy. They plan to systematically take money from the Navy to bolster social programs that have suffered due to the war. They don’t have any impetus to reach a treaty with Haven because then the war funding they are syphoning off will dry up.



The new government, due to some previous personality clashes, wants Honor Harrington away from the spotlight, and unable to speak against their policies. So when they see an un-winnable situation forming, they put her in charge – sure that the “Salamander” will either make them look good or die in the process.



Weber is a great science fiction author. This series is one of the few military science fiction / space opera series with a female lead character. And Honor is an amazing protagonist!



Weber, David. (2002). War of Honor. New York: Baen.

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18 March 2017

Silver Stars (Soldier Girl #2)


Silver Stars by Michael Grant is the second book in his Soldier Girl series – an alternated history where there was not gender restriction in the draft for WWII in the United States. The story follows three American young women as they experience the horror of the War to End All Wars.



The story continues as each character has experienced battle and is just trying to get home safely. Rio Richlin, whose proficiency with a rifle has put her on the front lines, will be sent with her squadron to a new theater. Frangie Marr, who is a nurse, will continue to help people while facing the double burden of being a black woman in the US Army. Rainy Schulterman, trained in Army intelligence, will have the chance to help the war – but at the cost of being stuck behind enemy lines.



Grant has done a good job of realistically placed female soldiers into the US Army of the 1940s. This is a great young adult series.



Grant, Michael. (2017). Silver Stars. London: Electric Monkey.

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11 March 2017

Our Own Private Universe

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley.

Aki Simon is spending the summer in Mexico with her church group. Another group of teens from Maryland and one from farther south will be joining them.

What Aki wants to do this summer is test her theory about being bi. And as soon as she meets Christa from one of the other groups, she knows with whom she would like to test it. And her best friend, Lori, can see it on her face immediately.

Over a few weeks, Aki and Christa get to know each other. Aki contemplates coming out to her father. Christa is sure her parents would never understand and is worried that word might get back to them through another member of the church. Either way, they cannot deny they have feelings for each other.

Robin Talley is one of my favorite authors and she does not disappoint with this novel.

Talley, Robin. (2017). Our Own Private Universe. New York: Harlequin Teen.

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07 March 2017

Read Me Like a Book

Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler is one young woman's story of finding out who she is and who she wants to be.

Ash is a mediocre student in her last year of school. While her very future depends on her A level exams, she is not too interested in school. She thinks of teachers are old, grumpy people who don't care about teaching so much as about discipline. Which may explain why she and her best friend Cat skip class so often.

But the new English teacher seems different. Miss Murray is only a few years older than Ash. And she is making class interesting. Ash wants to spend as much time with her as possible and works hard on her classwork to get a compliment.

It takes a while for Ash to realize she has a crush on her teacher - the results of which may be hard to deal with in the near future, but will spark Ash's interest in a life after school.

Kessler has written a great coming out story set in England. The scene of Ash coming out to her parents (specifically her mother's reaction) is wonderful - and the closest to my own story I have seen in a book.

Kessler. Liz. (2016). Read Me Like A Book. Summerville, MA: Candlewick Press.

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06 March 2017

Windwitch (Witchlands #2)

Windwitch by Susan Dennard is the second book in her Witchlands series, a young adult fantasy series.

After centuries of war and then a twenty-year truce, people in the three nations are wondering what comes next. Some are making plays for power, others trying to keep the peace going.

Safi, after being promised to a terrible man as an alliance, has escaped. The ship she was on was attacked by magic fire. She only escaped because the Empress of Marstock is an ironwitch. Now she is bound to Marstock long enough to weed out traitors. Safi is a truthwitch - she can tell if anyone is telling a lie.

Iseult, Safi's best friend, is on the run and trying to catch up with Safi. She is being tracked by two different groups and the bloodwitch, Aeduan.

Aeduan can track anyone with their own unique blood scent. He knows Iseult from tracking her before, but he cannot sense her. But he will not give up until he catches up to her.

Susan Dennard has created a great fantasy series. It has great characters, political intrigue, mythical creatures, magic, pirates and Hell-Bards, all in a well thought out world. Out of the new fantasy series of the last few years, this is one of my top picks.

Dennard, Susan. (2016). Windwitch. New York: Tor Teen.

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26 February 2017

Vanished (Nick Heller #1)

Vanished by Joseph Finder is the first book in his Nick Heller series. Heller is a private intelligence operative working for a private firm in Washington, DC.

Roger and Lauren Heller are attacked on their way back to the car after eating at a restaurant. Lauren is hospitalized with a head injury. Roger is missing. Nick is contacted by his nephew, Gabe, while he is on a job about a missing cargo shipment.

Nick and his brother, Roger, have not gotten along since they became adults, but Nick would do anything to help his family. He will use all of his skills to find out where Roger is or what happened to him.

Finder is a master of the suspense/thriller novel. All of his book are fast, engaging reads. Nick Heller is a great character with a unique set of skills in a popular genre.

Finder, Joseph. (2009). Vanished. New York: St. Martin's Press.

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