Good Books and the Random Movie

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Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States

26 May 2010

One Crazy Summer

Once Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia tells the story of three sisters going from their home in Brooklyn to Oakland, California the summer of 1968.

Cecile left the girls with their father to be raised and went off by herself to join the civil rights movement. Her youngest daughter has no memory of her mother.

Delphine, the oldest sister, is used to taking care of younger Vonetta and Fern. Which is good since, when they arrive in Oakland, it becomes apparent that Cecile has no talent for parenting. The girls are sent to a day camp for Black Panther children.


Williams-Garcia's book is a look at a pivotal time in the history of our country. At the beginning of the book, the girls consider themselves Negros, but by the end they have embraced the term Black - taking the first step to claiming the power each of them have inside.

Williams-Garcia, Rita. (2010). One Crazy Summer. New York: Amistad.

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24 May 2010

Incarceron (Incarceron #1)

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher is a haunting look at a society that created the ultimate prison.

Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, lives a world where protocols require all citizens to live in a medieval time period. Anything not of the correct period will lead to punishment. So instead of keeping up with the possible technology and science - that could likely cure any disease and create hover boards - people travel by horse-drawn carriage.

Claudia is to marry the Queen's son and become the next Queen of the entire Outside realm. She is trapped into a life where her father has gotten to decide her future.

Finn lives inside Incarceron. He has no memory of his past. He may have been born in the prison or created by the prison which recycles all things. But he has visions or memories of another place. Could he have been born Outside?

As Finn tries to find a way out of Incarceron, Claudia tries to find out more about the prison. She is still not sure where it is located. Her father spends his time between the castle estate they live in and at the court of the Queen. There are rumors that Incarceron is underground or even on another world.

Through two separate paths, Claudia and Finn will risk all to change the worlds they live in.

Catherine Fisher has created a fascinating world of history and future in this science-fiction fantasy. It is not clear if this is the first in a series, but I hope so! There are so many possibilities that could come out of this new dystopian world. This book is a great addition to awesome YA fantasy fiction with strong female protagonists like Uglies, Sabriel, or The Naming.

Fisher, Catherine. (2010). Incarceron. New York: Dial Books.

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21 May 2010

Starcross (Larklight #2)

Starcross is the second book in the Larklight series by Philip Reeve and illustrated by David Wyatt.
Firstly, Philip Reeve is as mad as Jasper Fforde! The each have more imagination than some whole cities.
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Now that Larklight is safe from the menace in the first book, Mrs. Mumbly is having some interior decorating updated. The house is so noisy that when an invitation comes to visit the hotel Starcross, the Mumbly jump at the chance.
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Starcross boasts the finest sea-bathing in the Asteroid Belt. The fact that there are no seas in the Asteroid Belt should be the first clue that something is amiss.
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The Mumblys will be faced with French spies, Yankee rebels, man-eating starfish, and sinister top hats before the book is complete.
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If you need a fun read, read the Larklight series! It is pure awesomeness.
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Reeve, Philip. (2007). Starcross. New York: Bloomsbury.

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14 May 2010

Dead Shot (Sniper #2)

Dead Shot is the second Sniper book by Jack Coughlin with Donald A. Davis.

Kyle Swanson was the the USMC's best sniper. Now that he is dead - officially buried in Arlington National Cemetery - he is free to undertake black ops assignments. He is a part of a super secret group that works directly for the president in counter terrorism.

A deadly gas explosion tests a new bio terrorism weapon that poisons everyone who gets near it. It is a gas that is heavy and will not be spread far by wind and so can be controlled in the right environments.

Kyle and his team is sent to Iraq to check out a suspected chemical weapons plant and follow the trail of the poison as well as the assassin-sniper known as Juba. Possibly the best sniper in the world - unless Kyle is the best sniper in the world. Before the book ends the two will face off in a deadly battle for survival.

Coughlin, a retired sniper himself, captures the techniques and stress of battle situations with a character that readers will follow on all of his future assignments.

Coughlin, Jack. (2009). Dead Shot. New York: St. Martin's Press.

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11 May 2010

A Fine Passion (Bastion Club #4)

A Fine Passion is the fourth book in the Bastion Club series by Stephanie Laurens.

Jack Warenfleet, Baron of Minchinbury, left London to get away from the social season, the ton, and the tricks they play to get people to marry. His in town affairs are settled and he hasn't seen his childhood home in seven years.

As he turns onto the last lane on the way home, he encounters an overturned carriage and a woman trying to calm the horses so that they do not crush the man trapped underneath it.

Soon he finds out that this same woman, Lady Clarice Altwood, has taken over his role as overseer of the community of which he is the baron.

This fourth book follows the same patterns as the previous volumes - there is a mystery which puts Lady Clarice in danger and Warenfleet feels protective and has the background to help. Laurens has created an interesting set of characters set in historical England.

Laurens, Stephanie. (2005). A Fine Passion. New York: Avon Books.

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06 May 2010

Nathan Fox: Dangerous Time (Nathan Fox #1)

Nathan Fox: Dangerous Times by L. Brittney is an adventurous historical fiction novel about a young spy.

Nathan Fox and his sister Marie live in London. They are supported by thirteen-year old Nathan's work in the theater. His fellow actor, and their good friend, Will Shakespeare, live in the same boarding house.

When Nathan is recruited by Britian's spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham he thinks his live will be full of danger and excitement. But first he must spend some time training.

Nathan's first assignment is to be in Venice. He and his partner, John Pearce, will deliver a message to one of England's allies. But his assignment will not be as easy as it sounds - before it is done he will meet a famous pirate, fight a gang, participate in a sea battle, save the life of a famous general named Othello, and more.

Brittney has created an accessible and exciting novel that introduces historical facts combined with danger and intrigue. Nathan Fox is an historical version of Alex Rider.

Brittney, L. (2007). Nathan Fox: Dangerous Times. New York: Feiwel and Friends.

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04 May 2010

Igraine the Brave

Igraine the Brave, written and illustrated by Cornelia Funke and translated into English by Anthea Bell, is the story of a young girl who wants to become a knight.

Igraine is about to turn twelve. She does not want to follow her brother and parents in the study of magic - she wants to wear armor, ride a great horse, and carry a sword.

While creating her birthday present, her parents misspeak a spell - and the result has turned them into pigs. Now is Ingraine's chance to prove her courage. She must find a giant with red hair for the correction spell.

Funke has created a lovable character in Igraine. The book is a great adventure in finding ones path.

Funke, Cornelia. (2006). Igraine the Brave. New York: Chicken House.

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03 May 2010

Larklight (Larklight #1)

Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space by Philip Reeve, and illustrated by David Wyatt, is the first book in the Larklight series.

Art and Myrtle Mumby live with their father at Larklight - a house that floats behind the moon. Their father is a scientist who studies the creatures who swim through space.

When a notice comes that a gentleman will be visiting Larklight, Myrtle is excited about having company. Few visitors come and the Mumbly's rarely leave the house. But the guest is no gentleman - he is a giant spider who has come to attack Larklight.

Fleeing in an escape pod, Art and Myrtle begin an adventure that will take them to the far reaches of the universe and bring them face to face with every type of creature imaginable.

Reeve could be compared to some the most creative science fiction writers of all time, like Jules Verne, or he could be compared to the wacky and creative thinking of Jasper Fforde. Read this book - it has adventure, history (though a bit altered), pirates, romance, and more.

Reeve, Philip. David Wyatt, Illustrator. (2006). Larklight. New York: Bloomsbury

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