Good Books and the Random Movie

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28 September 2011

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling is the third book in the Harry Potter series.

Harry is about to begin his third year at Hogwarts, but for now he is still stuck with the Dursleys - his non-magical relatives. They do not want him to do anything related to magic - including his summer homework. When they lie to a visiting relative about Harry being in a school for criminal teens, he cannot take it anymore.

Harry runs away from the Dursleys. He catches a ride on the night bus and spends the rest of his summer in Diagon Alley. At the same time, all over the magical and muggle news is a story of a prison break. Sirius Black has escaped from prison and is so dangerous that the Ministry of Magic has placed guards around Hogwarts.

A re-reading of Rowling's series will point out clues along the way that finally lead to the outcome of the series - proving just how brilliantly the Harry Potter story was crafted. Read it again!

Rowling, J.K. (1999). Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic Press.

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27 September 2011

Savor the Danger (Edge of Honor #3)

Savor the Danger by Lori Foster is the third book in her Edge of Honor series.

Jackson Savor is a mercenary who goes after human traffickers. He works with Dare and Trace trying to stop the kidnapping and trade of people because of something in his past.

Alani Rivers is the sister of Trace. She has known Jackson for a while now, but since her kidnapping and recovery she has not been looking for romantic companionship.

Then Jackson wakes up with Alani in his bed. He has no memory of how they got there. In fact, it looks like he was drugged. Now, when Alani finally gave in to her feeling, Jackson doesn't remember any of the things they talked about that led to them getting together.

Alani and Jackson may both be in danger. Foster has written up a fast-paced thriller with a steamy romance. Fans of Suzanne Brockmann would love this author.

Foster, Lori. (2011). Savor the Danger. New York: HQN.

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25 September 2011

Wonderstruck

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick is his second book in the style of combining story with storyboards. His first book in this style, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, won both the Newbery Award and the Caldecot Medal - the highest honors in children's literature for both story and illustrations. However, don't let the fact that this book is marketed for children prevent you from reading it. It is amazing.

Wonderstruck is the story of two people. One, Rose, lives in New Jersey in 1927. Her story is told in the illustrations. She can see the New York skyline from her house and creates wonderful miniatures of the buildings she can see outside.

In the text part is the story of Ben. Ben lives in Gunflint, Minnesota in 1977. He is a boy whose mother has just died. He is living with this aunt, uncle and cousin. They live next door to the cabin he and his mom lived in.

The stories of Rose and Ben overlap in interesting ways. Without giving away any spoilers, they both run away from home at a young age and find themselves in New York City - at the Museum of Natural History.

Selznick has created a brilliant narrative and a story that will delight readers of all ages. Selznick has been known as a great illustrator for years. But now that he is writing and illustrating his own books, readers should watch for anything he publishes! Wonderstruck is my new favorite book!

Selznick, Brian. (2011). Wonderstruck. New York: Scholastic Press.

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24 September 2011

The Hostage (Stratton #1)

The Hostage by Duncan Falconer is his first book featuring Stratton - a British SBS (like our Navy SEALs) undercover officer who is stationed in Northern Ireland fighting the IRA.

When an undercover operation goes wrong and an SBS agent is captured, SBS pulls out all of the stops to get him back. Stratton, who has never lost an agent on his watch, will do whatever he can to recover the agent before he can be transported across the border.

The battles in Northern Ireland between the British and various configurations of the Irish Republican Army have been ongoing since the 1800s. But now, the IRA may have a mole in British Intelligence who is helping plan their next moves.

At the same time, US Navy SEAL Hank Monroe has been assigned to SBS for a cross-training / good relations tour of duty. His wife is not happy about moving the family to England. She has been taught by her family in Boston to hate the British because of their occupation of Ireland.

When Monroe joins Stratton on a job that goes wrong it could lead to an international incident. Between the many players and sides trying to recover Monroe it could be all out war.

Falconer has created an engaging political/military thriller that will keep readers fascinated. There are currently seven book in the Stratton series. They will appeal to fans of Jack Higgins' Sean Dillon series or anyone interested in the Ireland-England situation.

Falconer, Duncan. (2003). The Hostage. New York: Time Warner Paperbacks.

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16 September 2011

Crazy for Love

Crazy for Love is a cross between a beach romance and being stalked by the paparazzi.

Chloe Turner is escaping to Virginia Island with her best friend Jenn. She needs to get away do to a scandal. Her fiance didn't just leave her at the alter - he faked his own death. Now the media has decided that Chloe must be the world's biggest bridezilla for him to leave that way.

So Chloe and Jenn jump on the ferry and hope to escape unnoticed. The last time Jenn was at the island it not only had no cell phone service, but there wasn't even a television in sight.

When brothers Max and Elliot Sullivan arrive at the cabin next door, Chloe and Jenn are both given a chance to forget their daily lives and have fun.

Max is pleased to have found a normal woman to spend time with after his last girlfriend who was a celebrity and hounded by paparazzi.

Dahl has written a fun, endearing romance novel that is the perfect beach read.

Dahl, Victoria. (2010). Crazy for Love. New York: Harlequin. 

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13 September 2011

Across the Great Barrier (Frontier Magic #2)

Across the Great Barrier by Patricia C. Wrede is the second book in her Frontier Magic series - an historical fiction series where the people who settled the Wild West used magic.

After helping to save the settlements west of the Great Barrier last summer, Eff has been invited to go back west to help a professor with a study of the wildlife. Little is known about life outside the Great Barrier - a wall of magic that surrounds the settled part of the United States and keeps magical creatures out.

With the help of a guide who is a circuit magician, Eff and Professor Torgeson will study the plants and animals that have re-inhabited the lands destroyed by magical mirror bugs last summer. No one travels without a guide due to the dangers of the west.

Wrede has created an alternative history of the United States which combines elements of westerns and fantasy to tell a story of courage and exploration. Though this second book reads a bit like the middle book in a trilogy, Eff's story is advanced as readers learn more about her world. Look for book three, The Far West, sometime in the future.

Wrede, Patrica. (2011). Across the Great Barrier. New York: Scholastic.

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12 September 2011

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series and covers Harry's second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a summer of being back with the Dursleys, Harry is ready for school to begin. But before he can return he is visited by a small creature who begs him not to go back to Hogwarts. This creature has been stealling all of Harry's mail and making Harry feel as if his friends had forgotten him.

Once his is back at school, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are back together studying magic. But strange happenings begin to occur. And soon the school is not as safe as it once was.

Rowling brilliantly continues Harry's time at Hogwarts with more advance writing along with the more advanced magic Harry and his friends are learning. The Chamber of Secrets is dark for a kids' book, but will delight readers of all ages. If you are a fan of the movies - read the books. They really are quite good.

Rowling, J.K. (1998). Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic.

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10 September 2011

Captain Hannah Pritchard (Hannah Pritchard #3)

Captain Hannah Pritchard: The Hunt for Pirate Gold by Bonnie Pryor is the third book in her Hannah Pritchard historical fiction series.

After running away and joining a crew to fight the British - and to avenge her family - and after being captured and imprison by the British then escaping - Hannah and her friends are back at sea.

Hannah, disguised as Jack, is the cook on a ship commissioned to fight for the new United States. If they can lose the bad ship following them they will go after the treasure they buried in the last book. But they will still have to dodge pirates and British Navy ships.

Pryor has written a trilogy that will bring early American history to life for young readers.

Pryor, Bonnie. (2011). Captain Hannah Pritchard. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers.

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09 September 2011

Talk Me Down (Tumble Creek #1)

Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl is about a woman with a secret.

Molly Jenkins had been living in Denver when she inherited a house in the mountain town she grew up in. So after ten years of not even visiting, she is moving home.

It is really good timing as her ex-boyfriend has basically become a stalker. He has even befriended any new guy she goes on a date with to try to control her life.

Some space will be good. She can work - though no one (not her parents or brother or friends) knows what she does for money. She is a bestselling erotic fiction writer under a pseudonym. And the source of her original story still lives in town - he is now the police chief.

Dahl has written a great romance with a thriller twist. She is a great choice for a quick read at the beach or when you are stuck at home in the rain or snow.

Dahl, Victoria. (2009). Talk Me Down. New York: Harlequin.

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06 September 2011

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Fire and Ice #5)

A Dance with Dragons is the fifth book in George RR Martin's series A Song of Fire and Ice. This volume takes place at the same time as the fourth book, A Feast for Crows, until the last quarter of the book when time catches up and the story lines from both books merge once again.

The fighting and politics of a new king for Westeros continues on both sides of the world. King Stannis travelled to the North all the way to the Wall to fight against the wildings who were trying to breach the kingdom. He then continues his campaign by striving for Winterfell - where one of the northern lords claims be holding a wedding between Arya Stark and his base-born son.

In Valyria, Queen Danerys - the rightful heir to the throne stolen by King Robert - has freed the slaves of the city of Meereen. Her three dragons are growing and her companions are eager to leave for Westeros to claim her seat. The armies of the other cities she has set free have other ideas about allowing her to live peacefully in Meereen.

Tyrion Lannister, on the run from Westeros after killing his father, is making his way to Meereen to join Danerys in her quest for the throne. His family has betrayed him and he would like nothing more than to see them pay. But the gods have other ideas about his journey.

Martin is a brilliant fantasy writer whose series is as intricate as it is long. His characters are believable and readers either love or hate them with all of their human faults. He also has no problem killing main characters who are loved by all. If you have not begun to read this series, I highly recommend it - though you may want to wait for the last two books so you can read it straight through!

Martin, George RR. (2011). A Dance with Dragons. New York: Bantam Books.

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