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29 April 2011

Gone Tomorrow (Jack Reacher #13)

Gone Tomorrow is the 13th book in Lee Child's Jack Reacher series about an ex-military cop who keeps finding situations where his detective skills come in handy.

Reacher is in New York when he notices a woman acting suspicious on the subway. From a previous training he automatically runs through the 10-point list for a suicide bombers - and she meet all of the requirements. It doesn't make since as it is the middle of the night and there are only a few people on the train, but that is what the facts tell him.

But Susan Mark, the subway passenger he is looking at on the 6 train, is only one piece of the puzzle.

Child takes Reacher through the streets of Manhattan, followed not only by the police, FBI, and an unnamed federal agency, but by the soldiers of a far away country. This Reacher thriller will take readers on a crazy ride that will keep them up late into the night to find out what happens next.

Child, Lee. (2009). Gone Tomorrow. New York: Dell Books.

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26 April 2011

Barracuda 945 (Arnold Morgan #6)

Barracuda 945 by Patrick Robinson is the sixth book in his Arnold Morgan series.

Major RayKerman is a well-thought of SAS Major in charge of the special forces unit sent to Israel to assists the Israeli IDF. They are there as observers and advisers.

During a systematic inspection of a neighborhood thought to harbor anti-Israeli terrorists, tensions run high when a few people begin to shoot at the soldiers. When Major Kerman witnesses the killing of two young children, his instincts kick in to protect their mother.

Now Kerman finds himself on the run. Though his past has been buried, and the British think he is missing in action, the US military analysts - namely Vice Admiral Arnold Morgan and his close advisors - think he may have defected. They have turned up evidence that Ray Kerman was born Ravi Rashood. He was born in Iran and may have returned to his roots.

What follows is a high energy, well-planned attempt by the now General Rashood, to help Hamas get rid of Israel. While there is little proof that Kerman/Rashood is behind the latest incidents in Israel, never before have raids by Hamas been carried out with special forces planning. And never before have the plans been on so grand a scale...

Robinson knows how to write military thrillers. His characters are smart, capable, and compelling. However, I have to comment on the other part of his books. I am not sure if Robinson (and a few other military thriller writers) do not realize the range of readers their book have or not, but the sidetracking of the story in order to verbally bash Democrats and liberals as stupid, anti-military people is shortsighted (not to mention that the president in the book who is Republican, has to be told what to do because he is not a military strategist). I love reading military thrillers - and I am not a political conservative. I like the stories, the weapons, the gadgets. But people are multi-faceted. To make the assumption that all readers are one type of person and do not vary is ridiculous. I now find myself wanting to know what happens in the next book, but wondering if I have to skip the sections when the author tells me that I am stupid because I am not a Republican...

Robinson, Patrick. (2003). Barracuda 945. New York: HarperCollins.

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22 April 2011

The Overlord Protocol (HIVE #2)

The Overlord Protocol by Mark Walden is the second book in the H.I.V.E. series - The Higher Institute of Villainous Education, a school for the villains of the future.

Otto and his friends have basically gotten used to the fact that they are trapped at the HIVE. They are on an island somewhere with no contact to the outside world.

But when his best friend, Wing, is informed that his father has died, they are granted a two-day pass to go to the funeral. Although tempted to make the trip into his escape, Otto has promised Wing that he would return to the school. Just in case, the headmaster is sending his top ninja assassin to watch over them.

When they get to the safe house in Tokyo they are attacked. It seems that the funeral was a trap. The ruthless super villain Cypher and his army of almost unstoppable ninjas have other plans for Otto, Wing and the HIVE.

Walden has created a great adventure series with HIVE. The characters are smart and clever, the plots race along at breakneck speed, and readers will want to have the next book on hand for continuous reading. (FYI - only the first 3 books are available in the US, but two more come out this year.)

Walden, Mark. (2007). The Overlord Protocol. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks.

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21 April 2011

Nothing to Lose (Jack Reacher #12)

Nothing to Lose is the 12th Jack Reacher book by Lee Child.

Reacher's plan is to head to San Diego. He found himself in upper Maine and thought it would be interesting to work his way diagonally across the US. When he stops in Hope, Colorado and sees that the next town is called Despair he figures it is worth seeing just to say he had been there.

But when he enters the town of Despair he is not welcome. The people in the restaurant will not acknowledge him. A few minutes later four large men arrive to show him out. Reacher's philosophy is that he will not mess with you unless you mess with him - and then there are no rules.

Soon he is in the Despair jail. Next he is deposited on the border between Despair and Hope. A Hope police officer gives him a ride back into her town.

But now Reacher's plans to get to San Diego are on hold. He does not like being told what to do so he is on his way back to Despair to see what is wrong with the town.

Child has created a great character in Jack Reacher. He is tough, fair (in his way), and someone you would want in your corner in any fight.

Child, Lee. (2008). Nothing to Lose. New York: Dell Books.

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19 April 2011

The Call (Magnificent 12 #1)

The Call by Michael Grant is the first book in the Magnificent 12 series.

David "Mack" MacAvoy is twelve. He is not what anyone would think of as a hero. In fact, he is scared of many things.

Then one day it is revealed to him that he is one of the Magnifica - whatever that means. It is all very cryptic in Mack's opinion.

A golem is sent to replace him so it does not appear that he is missing as he goes off to find the other 11 Magnifica and stop an ancient evil that is about to be let loose on the world.

Grant has created written a great beginning to the series. The Call is adventurous, fast-paced and hilarious. I laughed out loud many times while reading this book. Book two is due out in the fall of 2011.

Grant, Michael. (2010). The Call. New York: Katherine Tegen Books.

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18 April 2011

Clementine (Clockwork Century #2)

Clementine is Cherie Priest's second Clockwork Century novel - books that take place in an alternate, steampunk history of the Civil War period.

Maria Isabella Boyd is a Confederate spy. Or at least she was - now she is too famous to be a spy. So the South has fired her. With nowhere else to go, she is hired on at the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Chicago. Her first assignment in to make sure a delivery makes it to Louisville, Kentucky.

Croggon Beauregard Hainey is an escaped slave who has made a life for himself as a dirigible captain out of Seattle. He stole his ship, Free Crow, fair and square from the army. Now someone has stolen the Free Crow from Hainey, renamed it Clementine as is using it to transport something important to Louisville.

Hainey is determined to get his ship back. Boyd is determined to do well at her new job and possibly capture a notorious escaped slave in the process.

Priest has created a great alternate history for her books. Her characters are compelling and engaging. Her plots are fun and exciting. And her vision of steampunk is accessible and includes some amazing machinery.

Priest, Cherie. (2010). Clementine. Burton, MI: Subterranean Press.

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16 April 2011

Voices of Dragons

Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn is a great story that includes international politics, friendship, adventure, dragons and more.

Kay Wyatt lives in northern Montana in the town of Silver River. The town is famous for the treaty signed there - bringing peace between the US and the country to the north, Dragon.

Sure everyone thought that dragons were mythological creatures or maybe they were real but extinct. But during World War II the atom bomb shook the Earth enough to bring them back to the surface. They had been living underground for generations.

When they first returned, there was war and misunderstanding between humans and dragons. Eventually lands were carved out to create a nation for the dragons. Kay has lived on the edge of the border with Dragon her whole life. Her mother is in charge of border control in the area. But Kay is also an adventurer. And since no one has seen a dragon up close in years, she decided to go rock climbing near the border.

Her climb is great, but when she is returning to her jeep, she stops at the river -the physical border between the two nations - to soak her sore hands. That is when she falls in the water. A dragon pulls her out. She is shocked to hear that he can speak English.

Thus begins the friendship between Kay and Artegal. But when the political and military climate starts to change, their friendship will be put to the test.

Voices of Dragons is Carrie Vaughn's YA debut. It is an instantly engaging read that will pull readers along to the very end. Her characters are real and compelling. Her story of a cold war between nations will feel familiar to any readers over 40 but will not be missed by those too young to remember our own Cold War history. A must-read for fans of politics, rock climbing, dragons, and more.

Vaughn, Carrie. (2010). Voices of Dragons. New York: Harper Teen.

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15 April 2011

H.I.V.E (HIVE #1)

H.I.V.E. The Higher Institute of Villainous Education by Mark Walden is an exciting beginning to a great series.

Otto Malpense is a thirteen year-old orphan living in an orphanage in England. He was dropped off at the orphanage as a baby so it is the only home he has ever known. Now the Prime Minister's new policy is threatening to close his home.

Luckily Otto is a very smart orphan. He concocts a plan to keep his home open. But the next thing he knows he is coming out of unconsciousness inside of a helicopter over the ocean. He has been "recruited" to be a student at HIVE - where they train the next world's future criminal masterminds.

Walden has created a fascinating school with classes that no regular high school would ever offer. This series promises to be fun and entertaining for readers from age 12 and up.

Walden, Mark. (2006). H.I.V.E. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks.

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14 April 2011

Bad Luck and Trouble (Jack Reacher #11)

Bad Luck and Trouble is the eleventh book in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child.

Reacher is in Portland, Oregon when he checks his bank account and finds too much money. Someone has deposited 1,030 dollars into his account.

Reacher was the head of a special investigations unit in the Army - made up of eight MPs. One of them, Frances Neagly, has sent a ten-thirty code - urgent assistance required.

Now Reacher is using some of that $1030 to fly to Los Angeles to meet Neagly. One of their old team has been killed. Neagly has been trying to contact the rest to bring them together to find out why.

This new element of bringing Reacher's old friends into the story will be a treat for fans. Child's series a great place for mystery and suspense fans to lose themselves.

Child, Lee. (2007). Bad Luck and Trouble. New York: Dell Books.

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12 April 2011

Small Saul

Small Saul by Ashley Spires is the story of a small and unusual pirate.

Saul loved the sea. He had loved the sea ever since he was a child. When he got old enough he applied to join the Navy, but he was not tall enough.

That was when he enrolled in Pirate College - pirates are not as picky as the Navy. He excelled at sing sea shanties, but not at sword work.

His first ship was The Rusty Squid. Though he was not what the other pirates though a pirate should be, Saul makes the ship his home.

Spires has written and illustrated the book beautifully. It is a tale of following your dreams and making the most of you situation.

Spires, Ashley. (2011). Small Saul. Toronto, Ontario: Kids Can Press.

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11 April 2011

A Lesson in Secrets (Maisie Dobbs #8)

A Lesson in Secrets is the eighth book in Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series.

It is now 1932 and Maisie's career is taking a turn - she will be asked to work for Special Branch in an investigation. Maisie will go undercover as a lecturer at a private college in Cambridge.

Shortly after she arrives at the college, her assignment takes another turn - the founder and president of the college is murdered. Though it is not part of Maisie's job, she does what she can to find out the circumstance surrounding the death.

Winspear's books are a delight to read. Maisie is a brilliant character in an interesting time in history. Start with the first book and read them all! Or listen to the unabridged audiobook versions read by Kim Hicks.

Winspear, Jacqueline. (2011). A Lesson in Secrets. New York: HarperCollins.

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07 April 2011


Steel by Carrie Vaughn is a brilliant pirate novel.

Jill is sixteen. She lives in Texas. And she loves fencing. She is probably good enough to try out for the next Olympics. But when she loses a match - striking a fraction of a second later than her opponent - she starts to think that she may not be as good as she thought.

A few days after the match, Jill and her family leave for a vacation in the Bahamas. Because she is still focused on her loss, she elects to walk along the beach while her mom and siblings swim. That is when she finds the corroded tip of a sword.

Others might think of the piece of medal as junk, but Jill knows it is from the type of sword that her fencing foil is based on. So she keeps it. Later when her family is on a boat tour of the islands, Jill is knocked overboard.

When she surfaces she is no longer off of the coast of the Bahamas in 2011. She is in the same place, but about three hundred years earlier.

There begins Jill's pirate adventure. While she wants to get back to her own home, she will need to join the pirate crew and do what she can to survive. Vaughn has written a swashbuckling pirate adventure that will be a huge success among readers.

Vaughn, Carrie. (2011). Steel. New York: Harper Teen.

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06 April 2011

The Hard Way (Jack Reacher #10)

The Hard Way is the tenth book in Lee Child's Jack Reacher series about an ex-Army cop who always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Or possible it is the wrong place at the wrong time. Reacher is back in New York.

While he enjoys wandering the empty countryside of the US, New York City is one of his favorite destinations. And though he rarely spends more than one night in the same place, he decides that the cafe on Sixth between Bleeker and Houston has coffee that is worth another visit.

When a man who is obviously an ex-special forces soldier comes into the cafe and the waiter points to him, Reacher is pulled into a kidnapping investigation. The wife of a wealthy soldiers-for-hire company has been kidnapped. She and her daughter were taken sometime after they left for Bloomingdales. Reacher, at the cafe, was witness to the ransom money being picked up.

Now, for the mother and daughter, as well as a large payout, Reacher will use his skills of detection and do what he can to find them before it is too late. This may be my favorite Jack Reacher book to date.

Child, Lee. (2006). The Hard Way. New York: Dell Books.

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03 April 2011

The Informationist

The Informationist by Taylor Stevens has been compared to Steig Larssen's character in Girl with a Dragon Tattoo.

Vanessa "Michael" Munroe is an information specialist. She can blend into any group and find out information that will help businesses move into new territories.

When a man in Texas hires her to find his daughter, who disappeared in Africa, she takes the job even though it is outside of her usual search for information. Emily Burbank was on vacation, traveling around Africa, when her family stopped getting progress reports. Her family has been looking for her for four years.

Munroe finds herself back in the land in which she was born - and has to deal with the memories and demons of her past.

Steven's book is a thrill ride through a fascinating and dangerous landscape. Her main character is kick ass woman whom you would not want to meet in a dark alley. Readers will be pacing until the next volume in the series comes out.

Stevens, Taylor. (2011). The Informationist. New York: Crown Publishers.

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