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30 September 2010

The Sublime and Spirited Journey of Original Sin

The Sublime and Spirited Voyage of Original Sin by Colette Moody is a lesbian pirate adventure!

Celia Pierce is the daughter of a Tailor and a fine seamstress herself. She is engaged to the town doctor - though she does not think he is a catch other than his status as a doctor.

One evening when she is visiting the doctor - delivering his new outfit for their engagement party - pirates break into his office. While he hides and she claims he is out of town seeing a patient, the pirates decide that a seamstress will do for their purposes.

Celia is kidnapped and taken to the ship Original Sin to tend to the wounded, because their doctor was killed in the recent battle. But being kidnapped by pirates is not as bad as she first thought.

With the captain injured his daughter Gayle Malvern has taken over the ship. She have lived on Original Sin since she was twelve. The crew all respect her and will follow her while her father recovers.

Though Gayle promises to take Celia back to her family in the Spanish colony in Florida, they must make some stops along the way...

Moody has told a great story. It is, perhaps, not a literary masterpiece, but is a swashbuckling tale of piracy on the high seas and worth a read. The Sublime and Spirited Journey of Original Sin won the Lambda Award for Lesbian Romance in 2010.

Moody, Colette. (2009). The Sublime and Spirited Journey of Original Sin. Valley Falls, NY: Bold Strokes Books.

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23 September 2010

I, Q: The White House (IQ #2)

I,Q: The White House by Roland Smith is the second book in his IQ series - featuring new siblings Quest (Q) and Angela.

On tour with their parents, the famous musicians, Angela and Q are supposed to be having a safe road trip learning about the history of the US. They are turning in school assignments as they go.

In the first book they were recruited by a team of spies who are trying to keep them safe while attempting to take down the most well trained ghost cell ever to infiltrate the US.

When their parents are invited to play the White House, Q and Angela think they will be safe from the terrorists. But the cell has even placed people inside of the White House staff. Now Angela and Q and their friends will have to keep the President and his children safe as well.

Smith has created a great group of characters in this fast-paced suspense series filled with facts about American history. Each book will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment.

Smith, Roland. (2010). I,Q: The White House. Ann Arbor, MI: Sleeping Bear Press.

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22 September 2010

The Hope Chest

The Hope Chest by Karen Schwabach tells the story of the final vote that passed the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, giving women the right to vote.

Violet Mayhew lives in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania with her parents. She misses her older sister Chloe and has not heard from her since she left three years ago - until today. When looking in her mother's desk for a postage stamp, Violet found a stack of letters from Chloe.

After reading the letters and deciding that it was unfair of her parents for keeping them from her, Violet runs away to New York to find her sister.

What follows is an adventure across the country - New York to Washington, DC to Tennessee. Violet meets interesting people, learns about politics and racism, and plays a part in getting women the right to vote.

Schwabach is a great author of historical fiction featuring young characters. She explains difficult concepts in our past with ease and excitement. I would recommend any of her books.

Schwabach, Karen. (2008). The Hope Chest. New York: Random House.

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21 September 2010

Mayday

In the style of a John J Nance novel, Nelson DeMille and Thomas Block joined forces to write Mayday. Originally published in 1979, an updated version was released in 1998.

Trans-United flight 52 from San Fransisco to Tokyo is in a Concorde-like plane, a Straton 979. Capable of flying at 930 miles per hour, or Mach 1.8, the supersonic jet flies higher in the sky than the average passenger plane. In fact, other than the space shuttle, the only other planes that fly at 62,000 feet are military jets and spy planes.

Today flight 52 left the gate 30 minutes late due to a maintenance issue.

At the same time, aboard the USS Nimitz, the Navy is conducting a secret test of a new missile. The missile will be shot at a drone to test its ability to find a target 500 miles away. This test will be done high in the atmosphere where few other things can fly.

When the missile hits flight 52, the jet loses cabin pressure. Anything not tied down is pulled out the hole in the fuselage by the pressure differential. Oxygen masks drop from the ceiling but are useless because they require pressure to work.

After a highly intense few pages, only a few people on flight 52 are conscious. None of them are part of the team that was flying the plane. But one man is a weekend pilot - of planes that could practically fit into the Straton 979's cargo area.

Do not read this book right before you fly! DeMille and Block packed more adrenaline into this book than some readers can handle. But adventure readers will be sucked into this book like a flying projectile.

DeMille, Nelson and Thomas Block. (1998). Mayday. New York: Warner Brothers.

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17 September 2010

Hawken's Heart (Tall, Dark & Dangerous #6)

Hawkin's Heart by Suzanne Brockmann is the sixth book in the Tall, Dark & Dangerous series.

William "Crash" Hawken is a Navy SEAL. He is assigned to black ops - super secret missions - under Admiral Jack Robinson. Along with working for Jack, he is like a son to him and his wife Daisy, who took over raising him when his mother died.

Now Crash is being framed for killing Admiral Robinson. In a shoot out that only two people survived, all of the forensics point to Crash being the shooter. He has to find a way to escape from jail or the courthouse and find the man responsible for the assassination.

The only person Crash feels like he can trust is Nell Burns. Nell was Daisy's personal assistant until her death one year ago. Nell and Crash are in love with each other but his stubbornness is keeping them apart. Now he will need her help to stay alive, clear his name, and find the real killer.

Brockmann is the queen of romantic suspense. She is great at developing characters and making them interesting because of / in spite of their flaws. She is a must read author for any romance or suspense fans.

Brockmann, Suzanne. (2005). Hawken's Heart. New York: Mira Books.

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Harvard's Education (Tall, Dark & Dangerous #5)

Harvard's Education by Suzanne Brockmann is the fifth book in her Tall, Dark & Dangerous series.

FInCOM (the series version of FBI) and SEAL Team Alpha are teaming up for a training exercise. The plan is to form a joint team that can go into hostage situations.

Out of the four FInCOM agents assigned to the training, only one has any chance of getting out of a combat situation alive. But that agent is not given an equal test by Senior Chief "Harvard" Becker because that agent is a woman.

Though thinking himself chivalrous he is actually being a chauvinist - a condition he will have to get over if the team has any hope of working. And soon the team will be in a place where mistakes will mean the death of team members.

The Tall, Dark and Dangerous series was Brockmann's first series featuring Navy SEALs. Though the books are not as sophisticated as the later Troubleshooters series, readers of romantic suspense will enjoy them.

Brockmann, Suzanne. (1998). Harvard's Edcuation. New York: Mira Books.

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15 September 2010

Meg: Hell's Aquarium (Meg #4)

Meg: Hell's Aquarium by Steve Alten is the fourth book in his Meg series.

The Carcharodon megalodon, a prehistoric shark was discovered by a scientific expedition to the Mariana Trench, the deepest trench in the Pacific Ocean. A Meg was captured and brought to an aquarium in Monterrey, California. Now, more than twenty years later, the aquarium has 6 Megs! The adult female gave birth to a litter of 5.

As the aquarium does not have the space to house 6 giant sharks, Jonas Taylor has decided to sell a couple of the pups to other aquariums. With the deal to sell two pups to a new aquarium in Dubai, Jonas's son David will travel to the United Arab Emirates to oversee the settling of the young Megs.

David will also train submarine pilots to guide the two-person deep water subs that the Dubai aquarium's owner will send back to the area around the Mariana Trench - in an attempt to find other surviving prehistoric beasts to fill his 12 tanks.

Though David has promise his father that he will remain in Dubai, he finds himself lured to the under water expedition. What follows is a story of long extinct creatures in an environment man was never meant to enter.

Alten's series makes the movie Jaws feel like a cartoon. Fans of Shark Week will love these books!

Alten, Steve. (2009). Meg: Hell's Aquarium. New York: Tor.

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10 September 2010

Peak: A Novel

Peak by Roland Smith is an adventure novel in the extreme.

When Peak Marcello is arrested for climbing the Woolworth building in NYC, he is given the choice of juvenile detention until he turns 18 (just over three years) or leaving New York. He chooses to leave. The judge releases Peak to his father, Josh Wood, a famous mountain climber.

When they leave New York, Peak thinks they are on their way to Chaing Mai, Thailand. But Josh has other ideas. He sets everything up before he tells Peak that they are one their way to Mount Everest - the highest mountain on the planet.

If Peak makes it to the top of Everest, he will be the youngest person ever to summit.

Smith is a great YA storyteller. His books are exciting, fast reads that will appeal to many readers.

Smith, Roland. (2007). Peak. New York: Harcourt, Inc.

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09 September 2010

Shooting the Moon

Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell is a look at war from another angle.

Jaime and her big brother TJ worship their father, a US Army Colonel. The family is stationed in Texas, where each afternoon Jaime and TJ wage major battles with their little green Army men. They live and breathe the Army.

When TJ gets out of high school he enlists in the Army, following his father's footsteps, and volunteers to go to Vietnam with the Medical Corp. His father is not happy about his decision. The Colonel wants TJ to attend medical school first.

When Jaime receives a roll of film from TJ, she is disappointed that it is not a letter. A soldier at the rec center teaches her to develop the film. Every couple of weeks a new roll of film arrives and Jaime starts to get a more realistic picture of war.

Told on a level that can be appreciated by children and adults alike, Dowell has captured the wonder and horror of the war in Vietnam. This is an important book that would be great for young readers in today's world.

Dowell, Frances O'Roark. (2008). Shooting the Moon. New York: Atheneum Books.

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07 September 2010

The Shark Mutiny (Arnold Morgan #5)

The Shark Mutiny by Patrick Robinson is the fifth book featuring Admiral Arnold Morgan, now the National Security Advisor.

After 500 years of sticking close to home, the Chinese Navy is trying to establish themselves in the greater oceans. To this end they hatch a plot to stop all oil traffic in the Straight of Hormuz so that their partnership with Iran is the only available oil on the market - at a much inflated price. In order to accomplish this task, they lay a mine field through out the straight.

In the process of clearing the straight to allow the world's oil market to flow, NSA Arnold Morgan fells that he is missing something. The Chinese did not gain much by blockading the straight. Could it be that the response of the US - to send most of the Navy to one part of the world - was just a decoy?

Morgan and his brilliance, with the help of the Navy SEALs will try fight back and keep China's Navy in the waters immediately surrounding China.

Robinson is a great Navy storyteller. He has the details down, adding layers of believable US politics and layers of international politics. His book are some of the best military suspense on the market.

Robinson, Patrick. (2001). The Shark Mutiny. New York: HarperCollins.

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01 September 2010

Dragonsblood (Dragonriders of Pern)

Dragonsblood by Todd McCaffrey is a continuation of the Dragonriders of Pern started by Anne McCaffrey. This is the first novel written about Pern by someone other than Anne McCaffrey.

When the Red Star gets to close to the planet Pern, the skies of Pern rain Thread - an organism that will destroy the planet if allowed to burrow into the soil or plants. In order to combat Thread, the first human settlers of Pern altered the genetic code of fire-lizards to create a creature like the dragons of Earth lore. The dragons can breathe fire and destroy the Thread while it is still in the sky.

All of society developed on the need for dragons. Dragonriders live with the dragons in Weyrs, others live in Holds that supply food and goods to the Weyrs. The Dragons, in turn, protect the planet from Thread.

Told in two times, the current dragonriders are concerned that some dragons are getting sick. As they search through the records they find no evidence of dragons ever getting sick. They have lost the technology and ability to create cures. And all dragons are needed as Thread will begin its latest fall soon.

450 years in the past, the last geneticist, Wind Blossom, is trying to figure out a way to leave the knowledge to treat dragons if they ever get sick. Because without dragons, Pern will become barren and uninhabitable. They must find a way to hide the information for safe keeping but have it ready to be used in the future.

The ability that makes this happen is that dragons and fire-lizards can go between places in the blink of an eye and they can also go back in time. When a fire-lizard appears and falls out of the sky, Wind Blossom will use the last of the antibiotics to heal him. Then she will begin the process of saving the future of Pern.

Todd has done a great job carrying on the stories of Pern. He has captured the same feel as the Pern books by Anne McCaffrey. Fans of the original books will be thrilled to see the series continue.

McCaffrey, Todd. (2005). Dragonsblood. New York: Del Rey Books.

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