Good Books and the Random Movie

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29 November 2010

The Athena Project (Athena Project #1)

The Athena Project by Brad Thor is the first book in a spin off series from his Scot Harvath series.

The Athena group is a part of Delta Force - the main difference between the typical Delta Force team and Athena is that Athena is make up entirely of women. Instead of recruiting women from the armed forces, the creators of Athena looked to extreme sports to find women in top physical shape who could be turned into elite fighting teams.

The Athena group in this made up of Gretchen Casey, Julie Ericsson, Megan Rhodes and Alex Cooper. And this team is sent into situations where male soldiers would be too obvious.

In their first book, the group has to find its way into the home of a known arms dealer, kidnap him and get away form his full team of bodyguards. But that is only the beginning.

The women of the Athena Project are just a tough as Thor's previous character Scot Harvath. In fact, as part of the same overall terrorist fighting agency, they will be working together from time to time.

Fans of military fiction, full adrenaline novels, espionage, and international political intrigue will love this new series - and impatiently await the next installment.

Thor, Brad. (2010). The Athena Project. New York: Atria Books.

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27 November 2010

Body Language

Body Language by Suzanne Brockmann is the story of long-time friends who fall in love. Actually, they have been in love with each other for years, but they are about ready to admit it.

Clint McCade is a photographer and camera-man. He travels the world working on projects. Cassandra "Sandy" Kirk owns a production company that makes films. Her current contract is to film a man running for office to make commericals for his campaign.

When Sandy's phone rings at three in the morning she knows it is McCade. He is probably halfway around the world in another time zone. But he says he is on the corner
calling from a payphone. He has just ridden his motorcycle all night from LA to Phoenix, AZ to see her.

He came to tell her that he is in love with her, but when she says she thinks she finally met someone, Clint decides that a good friend would help her out and not try to distract her.

Brockmann is now known for her romantic suspense novels. While Body Language is just a straight up romance, her ability to bring characters to life draws readers into the lives of those characters.

Brockmann, Suzanne. (1998). Body Language. New York: Bantam.

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24 November 2010

Killer View (Walt Fleming #2)

Killer View is the second book in Ridley Pearson's Walt Fleming series about a sheriff in the Sun Valley area of Idaho.

When a phone call is placed to 911 sending a search team up the mountain to find a missing skier, one of the searchers is found dead at the bottom of a drop off. Walt is convinced that the death was no accident and evidence backs him up.

When the man was killed he was wearing his brother's coat - Mark Aker is the local vet. His brother, also a vet, borrowed his coat for the search. Then a young woman is abducted - and he works for Mark Aker at his veterinary clinic. By the time Walt sees the connections to Mark, Mark himself has been kidnapped.

Combining mystery, politics, outdoor adventure and more, Pearson's Walt Fleming books are a great read for lovers of the outdoors and/or mysteries. Readers will have a vested interest in what happens next in the life of Walt Fleming.

Pearson, Ridley. (2008). Killer View. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

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22 November 2010

In the Name of God

Paula Jolin's In the Name of God is a look at one young woman's struggle to find her a way to make a difference in her world.

Nadia lives in Damascus, Syria. She lives with her mother and one brother and is striving to be a good Muslim. The world around her is a combination of Islam, religious and secular law, the imposition of Western ideals, and a government with secret police who limit the speech of its citizens.

As Nadia watches her friends and extended family members try to balance the laws of Islam with the need to go where there are jobs. More and more people are becoming less religious in the name of making a living - or just being influenced by the lax way of life they see others enjoying.

Nadia becomes more devout in reaction to her family. She has one cousin, Fowzi, who may be striking back at the problem. But when he speaks up at a picnic, someone turns him into the secret police. When he is arrested, Nadia goes from being a devout Muslim to crossing the line into Islamic fundamentalism.

With a friend of Fowzi's, Nadia begins to plot about what she can do to strike back at the corruption - to make people rethink their behavior. When hints are dropped about a suicide bombing she does not turn away. But will she go along with the plan? Do the people "helping" her even have the same goals in mind as what Nadia thinks her final statement to be?

Jolin has written a well-researched, well thought out book that makes extreme decisions almost understandable in certain situations. She will make readers think about how easy it is to be pushed over the line when you already believe something strongly. Her book is a must read for anyone living in our world today - and a perfect book for a book club, as it will spark much discussion.

Jolin, Paula. (2007). In the Name of God. New York: Square Fish.

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17 November 2010

First Daughter: Extereme American Makeover (Sameera Righton #1)

First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover by Mitali Perkins is a look at politics through the eyes of a young woman whose father is running for President of the United States.

Sameera Righton, Sparrow to her friends, has been in politics her whole life. Her father was a diplomat when he and her mother adopted Sameera from Pakistan. But now that Mr. Righton is campaigning to be the President, a whole team will descend and make over Sameera - going so far as to create the persona "Sammy."

Sameera will battle to keep true to herself during the campaign. She has her own blog that her group of friends read - as opposed to the official SammySez blog that the campaign produces. As an adopted daughter she has a different perspective. And as a Pakistani girl in the world of Republican politics, she has a very different perspective.

Perkins has written a great account of politics and race in America. Sameera is a compelling character with a strong voice. First Daughter is a novel that is an interesting read that could begin many discussions - especially when compared to our country's current political swing. The sequel is called First Daughter: White House Rules.

Perkins, Mitali. (2007). First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover. New York: Speak.

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10 November 2010

Girl, Stolen

Girl, Stolen by April Henry is a story of accidental kidnapping.

How do you accidentally kidnap someone? When Griffin saw the keys left in the new Cadillac Escalade he thought it was his lucky day.

For Cheyenne Wilder it feels like one of the unluckiest days of her life. She was waiting in the back of the car while her stepmother went into the drug store to pick up antibiotics. Cheyenne begged her to leave the keys so she could stay warm.

When Griffin found out that Cheyenne was in the car he figured he was in big trouble. She looked right at him. He would now have to take her home. The good luck that was going to get his dad to admit that he was finally a man just turned into a major mistake that was sure to make his dad very angry. But Cheyenne didn't see Griffin because she is blind.

Still, instead of dropping her on the side of the road to be rescued, Griffin panics and takes her home. When his dad finds out that Cheyenne's dad is the president of Nike, he decides to ransom her back. But Griffin is starting to think that he is her only chance at survival. Will his dad let her go and describe what she has overheard - leading the police back to them - or will he just kill her and bury her in the woods?

Henry has written another knuckle-biting young adult novel. Don't be surprised if you are holding your breath while to read this book long into the night.

Henry, April. (2010). Girl, Stolen. New York: Christy Ottaviano Books.

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09 November 2010

Wildfire Run

Wildfire Run by Dee Garretson is a high adrenaline adventure.

Luke is the son of the President of the United States. Everywhere he goes he is followed by his own team of Secret Service agents.

While at the presidential retreat at Camp David, there is a major earthquake. The president is getting ready to fly to the epicenter. Luke and his friend Theo convince Luke's dad to let them stay at Camp David.

What they don't know is that a forest fire has started not far from Camp David. Soon the entire Camp is being evacuated. But during the evacuation there is an accident and Luke, Theo and Callie (the daughter of the chef) are trapped inside of the electric fence. The controls to the fence have been damaged and the fire is moving ever closer.

Garretson's book is an action-packed adventure where three kids have to save themselves against impossible odds.

Garretson, Dee. (2010). Wildfire Run. New York: Harper.

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08 November 2010

The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen

The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen by Mitali Perkins is the story of two cultures - in one young woman.

Sunita, known as Sunni by her friends, was born and raised in California. Her family is Indian, both of her parents were born in India, but she thinks of herself as an American.

When her mother takes a year off from teaching and starts wearing sarees because Sunita's grandparents are coming to stay with them, Sunita becomes confused and embarrassed. She wishes she was either Indian in India or American in California.

As Sunita struggles to balance the halves of her life, she comes to find beauty in both Indian and American culture.

Perkins has written a tween novel that most readers will be able to relate to - being a young teen and being embarrassed by family traditions that are different from those of your friends. Sunita Sen is a peak at the beauty in every culture and finding your balance between the disparate parts of self.

Perkins, Mitali. (1993). The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

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04 November 2010

Heist Society (Heist Socetey #1)

Heist Society by Ally Carter is a great art heist book.

Katarina Bishop comes from a long line of art and jewel thieves. Kat's greatest con to date is getting accepted to a great boarding school. She is determined to leave the family business behind and get an education. But when someone steals the Headmaster's car and put it in the fountain with water shooting out of its headlights, Kat finds herself being framed for it.

When her oldest friend, W.W. Hale picks her up at school, she is not overly surprised. Hale is there to tell her that her father just stole five priceless paintings from a very dangerous man.

Her father has a solid alibi - he was pulling off a job in another country when they were stolen - but the man will give Kat two weeks to return his paintings. The only thing she can do is to find out who really took them, re-steal them, and return them.

Carter has written a fast-paced, fun, heist story with talented and endearing characters. Fans of all types of books will enjoy this race around Europe and the planning behind the ultimate heist.

Carter, Ally. (2010). Heist Society. New York: Hyperion.

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02 November 2010

Killer Weekend (Walt Fleming #1)

Killer Weekend is the first book in Ridley Pearson's Walt Fleming series. Walt is the sheriff of Blaine County, Idaho - the area around the Sun Valley ski resort.

Eight years ago, as a rookie, Walt saved the life of Elizabeth Shaler. Her family has had property in Sun Valley for generations, but her home is in New York City. She is the current Attorney General of New York and back in Sun Valley to announce her bid for President of the United States.

Though she brings a team of FBI and Secret Service with her to Sun Valley, Walt is the local officer and will be included in any protection detail. When credible threats on Shaler's life are discovered, Walt will do everything in his power to save her life once again. But the hired hit man he is going up against is a professional.

Combining a great Sheriff, politics, too many different law enforcement agencies, big egos, and a suspenseful plot, Pearson is a master storyteller.

Pearson, Ridley. (2007). Killer Weekend. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

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