Good Books and the Random Movie

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29 June 2010

I Am Number Four

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore is the first book in a series about a group of nine children from the planet Lorien. They were sent to Earth along with adult keepers as a hope for the future. Unfortunately, the Mogadorians who destroyed Lorien followed them to Earth to kill them.

The nine can only be killed in number order due to a set of protections they carry. Number three was just killed. Number Four, current name Daniel Jones, and his keeper Henri are about to move once again. In Four's fifteen years, they have moved and changed identities 21 times.

This book has some elements that give it great potential as a science fiction series. However, the story falls short of its potential by lacking a well defined picture of life on Lorien. It is a bit too similar to life on Earth to be believable. The result is a light read that would entertain during vacation but will not necessarily hold readers' interest through the series.

Though the book will not be published until September of this year, a movie deal has already been signed. It will likely be a huge teen success.

Lore, Pittacus. (2010). I Am Number Four. New York: Harper.

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25 June 2010

Sapphique (Incarceron #2)

Sapphique is the second Incarceron novel by Catherine Fisher. Incarceron is a prison where - years ago - those in power exiled all criminals. Once the prison was sealed no one could leave again.

Except legend has it that one man did Escape. His name was Sapphique. He traveled all of the wings of the prison and challenge Incarceron (the artificial intelligence that oversees the prison) to a battle of wits for his freedom.

All in the prison know of Sapphique and all are looking to Escape. Recently someone did Escape. Finn is now Outside in the realm. Some believe he is the prince whose death was staged when he was younger. Now he must get his memory back and save not only the realm but those trapped inside of Incarceron.

Fisher has created a dark and fascinating world that mixes advanced technology with the protocols of the middle ages. This series is a must read for any fantasy readers.

Sapphique will be available in December 2010.

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

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22 June 2010

First Light

First Light by Rebecca Stead is a great book that entertains while sneaking in important information about climate change / global warming.

Peter's father is a glaciologist and has gotten a grant to go to Greenland and study how global warming is affecting the ice cap. Peter and his mother, along with a graduate student, will be going as well.

Thea lives in Greenland, though she does not know it by that name. She lives within the glacier Peter's father is going to study. Her people carved tunnels and homes out of the ice generations ago when they were being hunted by others.

While Peter explore the top the glacier, Thea wonders if there is a way out of her world - not to escape but to expand the current city. They will come together by chance and learn about the other's life in this beautifully written, well crafted plot.

Stead has a way with words that will appeal to readers of all ages. Her book is packed with science that enhances the story and teaches readers more about our world. Her characters are thoughtful and true to their age group. She makes readers remember being twelve and knowing that anything in the world is possible.

Stead, Rebecca. (2007). First Light. New York: Wendy Lamb Books.

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21 June 2010

Instinct (Chess Team #2)

Instinct is the second book in the Chess Team series by Jeremy Robinson - featuring an elite Delta team that uses chess pieces for call signs.

Someone has weaponized a strain of the Brugada syndrome - usually a genetic disease - that can kill without warning by stopping the heart. When the President of the US is struck by the disease - and brought back to life by the secret service men who were with him at the time - research begins to see how he was infected.

Now the Chess team is off to the Annamite Mountains in Vietnam. There mission is to guard Dr. Sara Fogg, a CDC disease detective, so that she can find antibodies in some local survivor and a vaccine can be created. In order to keep the team alive - or rather to bring them back if they die - each member is fitted with a cardiac defibrillator implant.

When they get to the jungle it is not so easy to find the village and collect blood samples. The Vietnamese Death Volunteers, land mines from the Vietnam-US war, and an ancient evil will prevent them from succeeding on their mission.

Robinson's Chess Team books are so fast-paced and attention-grabbing that readers may which to consume a huge meal before beginning one of his books - as they will not want to stop reading until the last page is finished. Fans of authors James Rollins, Matthew Reilly, Jeff Long, and Linclon Child will love this book.

Robinson, Jeremy. (2010). Instinct. New York: St. Martin's Press.

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18 June 2010

Mothstorm (Larklight #3)

Mothstorm is the final book in the Larklight trilogy by Philip Reeve, illustrated by David Wyatt.

After an already crazy year involving space pirates, time travel, giant spiders, Moogs, and even more, the Mumby family is ready to relax and enjoy a nice, calm Christmas with friends. But just after Jack Havock and his gang arrive at Larklight, a British warship also docks.

Something strange is going on near Georgium Sidus (only those without manners call it Uranus). Those in authority thought that Mrs. Mumby may know what the strangeness means.

So the Mumbys are off to the far reaches of the British space to see Georgium Sidus. When their ship arrives it is attacked by giant moths. And once again a space battle that will decide the future of the universe is underway!

Reeve has more imagination than should fit into one head. He is quite brilliant. Any readers who like to laugh must read this series. It is a must have for every library collection. Do not let the fact that this series was published for children make you think it is any less intelligent than adult science fiction - it is just as intelligent and much more quirky.

Reeve, Philip. (2008). Mothstorm. New York: Bloomsbury.

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16 June 2010

The Body at the Tower (The Agency #2)

The Body at the Tower is the second book the Agency series by Y.S. Lee.

In this second book, Mary Quinn is a full fledged member of the Agency. The Agency consists of under cover detectives whom are often overlooked in the field. The Agency only employs women. And in London in the 1800s women were usually ignored and always considered less intelligent than men.

This new assignment has a twist. Mary will not be going in as a maid or a lady's companion, she will be undercover as a twelve year old boy. She will be working on a building site - the construction of the Tower of London.

She has been hired to discover the circumstances surrounding the death of one of the brick layers at the site. As she knows little of the building trade she feels at a loss - until a familiar engineer is hired to do an inspection of the site to determine if the death was due to preventable job safety issues.

But the engineer, James Easton, will surely know her identity the moment he sees her. How will she explain her presence on site without compromising the Agency - because no one outside of the Agency realizes that it is made up entirely of women.

Lee has created a compelling mystery series set in a rich time period in London's history. Her characters and plot will keep readers hooked for as long as she continues the series. The Body at the Tower will be published in August 2010.

Lee, Y.S. (2010). The Body at the Tower. New York: Candlewick Press.

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15 June 2010

Museum of Thieves (Museum Keepers #1)

Museum of Thieves is the first book in Lian Tanner's The Keepers series.

In the city of Jewel a tight reign is kept on the citizens of the city. Children are literally chained to their parents or a Blessed Guardian until they reach the age of Separation. Until that time they are never alone and they do not make any decisions for themselves.

Now Goldie Roth is about to reach her Separation. The age has been lowered because the threats the city used to face have lessened - there is no more plague, famine, or pestilence; no children have drowned or had any fatal accidents in a long time; even the instance of child stealers is virtually nonexistent.

But as Goldie is about to be cut free of the ceremonial ribbon that has replaced her usual chain, a scare causes the leaders to rethink her early Separation. All of the children who were about to be freed must wait until it is deemed safe again. Goldie cannot wait.

As Goldie has never been the model child, she sees her opportunity to pick the pocket of the man guarding her. She can cut herself free and run away! Her escape sets off a chain of events long in the planning - events that may threaten the city like no others have for hundreds of years.

In the mean time, Goldie hides in the city's museum - a building she has never noticed before. But this is not regular museum - it is alive and can only be accessed by a thief. For only a thief can understand the shifting rooms. The museum shifts according to its sense of security - the more it feels threatened the more it changes. When the Blessed Guardians invade the building to find Goldie the museum becomes quite agitated.

Tanner's first book in the series is brilliant. She is an author with rare wisdom and perspective who brings feelings we all face to the forefront. Some of her passages tell universal truths in simple and hard-hitting language but are woven into a fascinating story and only enhance the reader's interest.

Museum of Thieves will be published on September 28th of this year (being a librarian has its perks!). Reserve a copy as soon as your local public library has it!

Tanner, Lian (2010). Museum of Thieves. New York: Delacourte Press.

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13 June 2010

To Distraction (Bastion Club #5)

To Distraction by Stephanie Laurens is the fifth book in her Bastion Club series set in the early 1800s in London's upper levels of society.

The Bastion Club was formed by a group of men who worked as spies in the war against Napoleon. When they returned to London the young women flocked to them and they felt trapped by beautiful women who had no apparent depth. In response the club was formed to pool information on how to avoid the crush while looking for wives.

In this fifth book, Deverell, Viscount Paignton, has lost all hope to find a suitable woman to wed when his favorite aunt tells him of a woman he should meet. He travels to a four-day party in the country to meet Phoebe Malleson.

Phoebe has no intention of spending time with Deverell. She is not interested in marriage and has much more important things to focus on. She secretly runs a group that rescues female servants who are in danger of being molested by the men who employ them.

As Phoebe and Deverell spend time together - he did not head the hints she sent about not being interested in marriage - Phoebe is concerned that her secret will be discovered. All of the women she is helping could be put into jeopardy - not to mention her reputation ruined - if Deverell finds out.

Laurens, Stephanie. (2006). To Distraction. New York: Avon Books.

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08 June 2010

A Spy in the House (The Agency #1)

A Spy in the House is the first book in the Agecny series by Y.S. Lee. The series is also known as the Mary Quinn Mysteries.

At the age of twelve, Mary Lang was sentenced to hang for being a thief. Instead of being taken to the gallows, she is rendered unconscious and taken to a school. Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls is a place for girls who could not normally afford an education. It is also a place to train female investigators.

When Mary turns seventeen she joins the Agency. Her first assignment is a simple one. She is the secondary agent on the case, and as such, only needs to observe the household while playing the part of a lady's companion.

Mary is more ambitious than that. She takes it upon herself to use her previous skills as a thief and find more information. Her snooping gets her caught by someone else who is investigating the family.

Together Mary and James will find every secret the family keeps - or die trying.

Lee has created a great series that shows readers London in the 1850s. She has found a way to show the roles of women at the time while creating a way for her characters to break out of those proscribed roles. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Lee, Y.S. (2010). A Spy in the House. New York: Candlewick Press.

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07 June 2010

Rapunzel's Revenge

Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale, illustrated by Nathan Hale, is a reworking of the Rapunzel fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm.

Instead of being rescued by a prince like in the original story. In Hale's version, Rapunzel is raised by Mother Gothel. She lives in an enchanted garden that is tended by Gothel's growth magic.

One day she realizes what is on the other side of the wall that encloses the garden. What she finds shocks her. People have been forced into slavery to support Mother Gothel.

When Rapunzel tells Gothel that she wants to leave she is locked in a tower tree where she will stay until she learns to like her life. The tree is infected with the growth magic that makes Rapunzel's hair grow to absurd lengths.

Rapunzel uses her hair to escape the tree and find her way to the slave mines to find her real mother. She must fight her way across the old west to reach her destination and will need the help of a new friend to make it.

Hale, Shannon and Dean. (2008). Rapunzel's Revenge. New York: Bloomsbury.

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06 June 2010

Pulse (Chess Team #1)

Pulse is the first book in the Chess Team series by Jeremy Robinson.

The Chess Team is a special forces team with the call signs of chess pieces. They are sent all over the world when stealth and force are needed.

King's friend, archaeologist Dr. George Pierce, calls and asks for King's help and King uses his vacation time to fly to Peru and lend a hand. But he arrives at the dig just in time to see the ancient artifact before a highly armed team comes in and steals it - trapping King inside of a cave in the process.

Soon the whole chess team is on the hunt of a rogue genetics company that has plans to extract DNA from the artifact to create immortality.

Fans of James Rollins and Lincoln Child will love this series. Robinson combines Greek mythology, science, military, and action to thrill readers.

Robinson, Jeremy. (2009). Pulse. New York: St. Martin's Press.

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02 June 2010

Clean Kill (Sniper #3)

Clean Kill by Jack Coughlin with Donald A. Davis is the third book in their Sniper series about USMC Gunnery Sergeant Kyle Swanson.

Swanson is now a member of the super secret team Trident. They work directly for the President of the United States. Trident goes into anywhere there are terrorists who may be planning to attack the US.

In Scotland, Sir Geoffrey Cornwell has helped to negotiate a peace agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia. As the signing party begins it is attacked by two surface to surface missiles destroying the castle, killing many and wounding Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

Swanson is flow to the UK to check on his long-time friend Sir Jeff and his wife Lady Patricia. He and Captain Sybelle Summers arrive at the hospital just in time for the second wave of the attack started at the castle.

Someone is trying to destabilize Saudi Arabia's royal family. Trident will be invited by Prince Abdullah to come to Saudi Arabia and help with the situation.

Coughlin, a retired USMC Gunnery Sergeant himself, knows how to tell a nail-biting thriller with more action than should fit between the pages of a single book.

Coughlin, Jack. (2010). Clean Kill. New York: St. Martin's Press.

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01 June 2010

U.S.S. Seawolf (Arnold Morgan #4)

U.S.S. Seawolf is the fourth book in the Arnold Morgan series by Patrick Robinson.

China has a new nuclear submarine. It will be leaving its dry dock in the Yellow Sea and making it way through the shallows to East China Sea for trials - including its first time underwater because it was build in water too shallow for submersion.

The United States Navy must get a look at the sub to determine if China now has the capacity to launch a nuclear warhead from Chinese waters to the west coast of the US. Captain Judd Crocker and his crew on the USS Seawolf - the new US sub that is the latest in stealth technology - will be tasked with measuring the new Chinese submarine.

Orders are to follow and record the size of the submarine without being detected in Chinese waters. When the Seawolf is not only detected, but captured by the Chinese, the possibility of ever seeing her crew again are not likely. Plus, in the hands of the Chinese, the Seawolf will advance the Chinese Navy about 30 years in technology.

Admiral Arnold Morgan, the National Security Advisor to the President of the United States, must find a way to rescue 100 US Navy personnel and somehow render the Seawolf useless or China will be well on her way to controlling the Pacific.

Robinson has created a series that any military or adventure readers will love. It is packed with technical information, suspense, political intrigue, and Navy SEALS. What more could you ask for in a book?

Robinson, Patrick. (2000). USS Seawolf. New York: HarperCollins.

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