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22 April 2010

Kill Zone (Sniper #1)

Kill Zone by Jack Coughlin with Donald A. Davis is the first book a series about a U.S. Marine sniper.

Kyle Swanson is one of the top snipers in any of the branches of the U.S. military. Recalled from a working vacation where he is testing a new sniper rifle, he is sent with a group of Recon Force Marines to rescue a General who has been kidnapped.

Before the rescue mission even hits the ground there are problems. Swanson ends up being the only man alive after a helicopter crash. With no immediate way out of the desert he decides to go after the general himself.

Going against a group he thinks are terrorists, he is surprised to see someone with white skin. Could the people who kidnapped the general be mercenaries? And hired by whom?

Combining political intrigue and corruption with nail-biting military action, Coughlin and Davis have created a series that reader will follow wherever it leads.

Coughlin, Jack and Donald A. Davis. (2007). Kill Zone: A Sniper Novel. New York: St. Martin's Press.

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20 April 2010

A Gentleman's Honor (Bastion Club #2)

A Gentleman's Honor by Stephanie Laurens is the second book in the Bastion Club series.

In the year 1816, Alicia Carrington, her sister Adriana, and her three younger brothers move to London for the season to find Adriana a suitable husband. Alicia, being a widow, will play the role as chaperone - hoping that as a widow she will be left out of the matchmaking schemes.

When Anthony Blake, Viscount of Torrington, sees Alicia he does not care that she is a widow. She is the woman for him and nothing, including social rules, will keep him from winning her heart.

Laurens has created a fun series of historical romances set in the haut ton of early London. Each bachelor in the series tries to keep the hooks of mothers, aunts and sisters out of their decision-making process.

Laurens, Stephanie. (2003). A Gentleman's Honor. New York: Avon Books.

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17 April 2010

H.M.S. Unseen (Arnold Morgan #3)

H.M.S. Unseen by Patrick Robinson is his third book featuring Arnold Morgan, former Navy Admiral now U.S. National Security Advisor.

Eilat One is Iraq's top assassin. He has created such havoc for the United States in the name of Islam that he should be a national hero in Iran. At the beginning of the book he is presented with his country's highest award. And that same night, two other assassins are sent to kill him.

When the Concorde disappears mid-Atlantic, air traffic control reports it but the wreckage is in 3-miles deep ocean. Before the black box can be found another supersonic plane joins it.

Admiral Morgan fears that the assassin who attacked a U.S. Battle Carrier Group may not be as dead as Mossad said he was. The evidence of such intricate planning and daring can only be one man. Unfortunately, before Morgan can find any proof, another plane is shot down - this one carrying some of the top U.S. officials.

Robinson creates a story with twists and turns that can be addicting to readers. His descriptions of military and political story lines is fascinating. His characterization is great and his suspense does not let readers off the hook until the final page.

Robinson, Patrick. (1999). H.M.S. Unseen. New York: HarperCollins Publishing.

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13 April 2010

The Lady Chosen (Bastion Club #1)

The Lady Chosen by Stephanie Laurens is the first book in the Bastion Club series following the prequel to the series.
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Tristan Wemyss is the new Earl of Trentham. Due to his inheritance of the title, one which he never expected, he has left the army where he was a spy working in France and returned to England. Due to battles like Waterloo, many soldiers and spies are finding themselves with new titles.
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A few of the newly retired who worked under the same spy master have decided to create a club, called the Bastion Club. The purpose of the club is to help them deal with society - specifically the ton - who would have them married to eligible young women before they knew what hit them.
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Trentham is part of the club but he has a different situation: if he does not marry within one year of his inheritance, he will keep both homes and the responsibility to take care of 14 older family members, but all of his money will be donated to charity.
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Enter the neighbor to the newly created club, Lenora Carling. When Trentham hears of attempted burglaries and threats against her, he vows to protect her from the unknown threat.
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Laurens's Bastion Club novels are fun reads set in the early 1800s England. They each feature aspects of a Regency Romance, but with characters who do not necessarily follow the typical of society's upper elements.
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Laurens, Stephanie. (2003). The Lady Chosen. New York: Avon Books.

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09 April 2010

Kingston by Starlight

Kingston by Starlight by Christopher John Farley is a fictionalized account of the famous Irish pirate Anne Bonny and her shipmates Calico Jack and Read.

Anne Bonny, one of the most famous female pirates, joined a privateer ship disguised as a man named Bonn. She sailed under Captain Jack Rackman, known as Calico Jack. Their ship was infamous in the waters around Jamaica.

Beautifully written, Farley creates a story where gender is fluid, mystery and adventure reign, and Bonn's life unfolds as a heroic man and a passionate woman intent to live life to the fullest in spite of the societal norms of the day. Kingston by Starlight is an excellent pirate story as well as a tender account of the path of one's heart.

This book reminds me some of the writing of Anne-Marie MacDonnald and the stories of Ellen Kushner.

Farley, Christopher John. (2005). Kingston by Starlight. New York: Three Rivers Press.

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05 April 2010

Boneshaker (Clockwork Century #1)

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest is a steampunk, zombie thriller that will delight readers of horror and science fiction.

Set in a slightly altered 1880 Seattle, Boneshaker follows the story of a mother and son who have been greatly effected by recent events. Sixteen years ago, inventor Levi Blue created a tunnel boring machine called the bone-shaking drill engine. It not only dug tunnels effectively, it collapsed most of downtown Seattle. And it opened a hole in the earth that released a blight that killed everyone who inhaled it - only to turn most of them into rotters who now plague the city.

Immediately a wall was built to keep the heavy gas in the downtown area. All who could escape to the outskirts did. But there are still people who live in the walled area.

Briar Wilkes, who dropped her married last name of Blue for safety, never told her son much about his father. Now that Zeke is 15, he has a plan to go to the old city and find something that can clear his father's name - or at least tell him more about the man.

Once Briar finds Zeke gone, she tracks him to the old city where they both have to face rotters, poisonous blight gas, gang-like territories, and a mad inventor who has taken over the city like a crime lord. Briar must find Zeke before their gas masks give out; and then, find a way out of the city.

Priest has created a believable world that feels both historic and futuristic, a true steampunk adventure. Though I am not a huge fan of zombies, this book was well worth the time. Priest is currently working on a book set in the same time period called Clementine. Boneshaker has been nominated for both the Nebula and the Hugo Awards.

Priest, Cherie. (2010). Boneshaker. New York: Tom Doherty Associates.

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04 April 2010

The Pirate's Son

The Pirate's Son by Geraldine McCaughrean is a pirate story that is every pirate fan's dream and nightmare.

Nathan Gull spends most of his time in class day dreaming about pirates. He has the books about them memorized. But when his father dies and he is kicked out of school for not being able to afford the tuition, Nathan hesitates to accept the offer of a classmate - the son of a famous pirate - to accompany him to his home in Madagascar.

Soon, Nathan and his sister Maud find themselves living in a small village in Madagascar. Tamo, the pirate's son, knows the language and customs from his childhood; Maud is learning quickly; and Nathan is having trouble being away from his Christian society.

When a notorious pirate lands at the village and plans to build his fortress, the three youngsters must pretend to be rival pirates to keep the village from being plundered.

McCaughrean is known for her intense novels like The White Darkness. She can capture the feeling of any location and make you want to either move there or run screaming from the place.

McCaughrean, Geraldine. (1996). The Pirate's Son. New York: Scholastic Press.

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01 April 2010

Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is one of the original adventure books. Written in 1719 it still holds its own with high sea adventure tales of today.

Crusoe, being told by his father that the best life to have is one of the lower of the upper class, cannot content himself with sitting idly by in a life in the country. He must make an effort to explore the world.

On his first trip aboard a ship, a storm hits and the ship is sunk. But does he take this as a hint that maybe a seafaring life is not for him? Nope. He sets sail again. In his further voyages he is captured as a slave, escapes, buys land but realizes he is living the life his father suggested, sails again and is marooned on an island for 28 (!) years.

Defoe writes in a matter of fact way that makes the story both remarkable and commonplace. And somehow he makes Crusoe's life on a tropical island sound like the perfect life (if only a new box of books would appear every few months).

Defoe, Daniel. (2003). Robinson Crusoe. New York: Barnes and Noble Classics.

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