Good Books and the Random Movie

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28 June 2012

Kiss the Morning Star

Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole is a road trip novel about two young women reconnecting after a tough year. They have just graduated from high school and each have their own reasons for the trip.

Kat wanted to take a road trip across the US like Jack Kerouac in her favorite book, Dharma Bums. Anna agrees to go because since her mother died in a fire, she and her father have been sort of numb and she needs to snap of it. Kat is also hoping that the change of scene will bring her friend back to her.

Hoole's novel is not simply about two friends driving and camping. It is about dealing with loss, regaining a friendship that has suffered, and exploring feelings that have been hidden under the surface. This is a great summer read.

Hoole, Elissa. (2012). Kiss the Morning Star. New York: Marshall Cavendish Publishing.

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22 June 2012

Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity #1)

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is an amazing book. It is the story of two young women during World War II -  one captured spy and one pilot.

This is the type of novel you want to tell everyone to read, but you can't really explain too much of what it is about without giving too much away.

Read it, you will be sucked in and captured until long after you have reread it. If there was a list of mandatory titles all humans should read, I would nominate this book - both as a look at the destruction of war on humanity and as a beautiful example of friendship.

The woman whose code name is Verity has been captured by the Gestapo in occupied France in October of 1943. She makes a deal to tell them everything she knows of the British plans and defense if she can only have her clothes back. But to understand how and why she came to France, she starts her narrative with her best friend Maddie in 1938 - when Maddie decided she had to learn to fly airplanes.

What follows is the story of two very different young women and how they are entangled in the war effort, how their paths intersected and what to lengths they will go in order to try and protect each other. Really, just read it! Buy it and read it. Or go to the library and check it out and read it. But if the library doesn't have it available at this moment, buy it.

Wein, Elizabeth. (2012). Code Name Verity. New York: Hyperion.

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18 June 2012

The Innocent (Will Robie #1)

The Innocent by David Baldacci is high energy thrill ride about a US sanctioned assassin.

Will Robie undertakes the missions that the US needs to carry out but cannot be seen as executing. If caught, it will look like he was working on his own and no US agency will claim him.

Though he does not always know the reason people are picked to be eliminated, but is sure that the people pose a treat to the US. Then he gets an assignment that is unusual - the target is a US citizen. And when he gets there, she is the mother of two children who are sleeping in her room.

When Robie does not pull the trigger, a chain of events is set in motion. Plus, on during his escape route he encounters a fourteen year old girl who looks to need his help. Now Robie must keep her safe while trying to find out who is after them both.

Baldacci has created another thriller that will keep readers on edge. The action is heart-stopping and the characters will make you hope there is a sequel. Great read!

Baldacci, David. (2012). The Innocent. New York: Grand Central Publishing.

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10 June 2012

The Rope (Anna Pigeon #17)

The Rope by Nevada Barr is the 17th book in the Anna Pigeon series, but a great place to start as it is the story of Anna's first summer as a National Park Service employee. Loyal fans will finally hear the story of how Anna ended up on her way to becoming a park ranger who solves mysteries all over the country.

Anna took a job with the Park Service to get away from memories that were haunting her in New York. She ended up in Dangling Rope, part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area at Lake Powell. It was about as far as she could get from her job as stage manager in an off-Broadway theater.

Then she finds herself in the bottom of a solution hole - a place carved out of the stone by water - shaped like a jar. She does not remember how she got there or who may have done it. Unfortunately, that someone also packed up her clothes and cleaned out her room, so the other Park employees think she quit and went back to New York.

Barr has created a thrilling back story to a character already well loved and given us the example that Anna copied to become a resilient, unstoppable Park Ranger. This first adventure is a great place to pick up the series if you have not read Barr. You will become addicted to the beauty of the various National Parks, the tenacity of a small spitfire of a Ranger, and the adrenaline that fills the pages.

Barr, Nevada. (2012). The Rope. New York: Minotar Books.

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06 June 2012


Remarkable by Lizzie K. Foley is the story of a remarkable town full of remarkable people. Everyone in town is remarkable in some way...except Jane.

Jane is the daughter of Angelina Mona Linda Doe, the famous architect, and Anderson Brigby Bright Doe III, the famous novelist. Her parents had a grand name picked out for her but when she was born she was ordinary and they named her Jane. Jane is the only student who goes to public school in Remarkable. The other kids all have some remarkable skill or talent that got them into the School for Remarkable Children.

Jane's school year will be anything but ordinary. The Grimlet twins are plotting to get kicked out of Remarkable school so that they can join her in public school. A famous pirate captain, Captain Rojo Herring, has just come to town and appears to be hiding from the three filthy pirates who are looking for him. And having so many pirates in town leads Jane's teacher to throw out the regular curriculum for fifth grade and teach her three students to be good pirates.

Foley has written a humorous story of a quirky town filled with quite an array of characters. This is a must read for anyone looking for a light book - or fifth graders who need to do a book report.

Foley, Lizzie K. (2012). Remarkable. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.

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04 June 2012

Bitterblue (Seven Kingdoms #3)

Bitterblue is the third book in the Seven Kingdoms series by Kristin Cashore - a great fantasy series that we hope will continue on for many, many books. In the Kingdoms when people are born with an extreme skill it is called a grace and the person a graceling.

Bitterblue is the queen of Monsea. She became the queen when her horrible father was killed ten years ago. Unfortunately, the kingdom is still recovering from King Leck's reign. Leck was a graceling who had the gift of mind control - and he used it to abuse everyone around him while telling their minds that they liked it.

Bitterblue relies on her advisers to tell her how things are going outside of the castle. But she is beginning to feel like she needs to see her city for herself (other than her annual tour of the nicest parts). When she disguises herself and sneaks out of the caste, she is not completely surprised that the city is not as wonderful as she has been told. Many of the buildings are falling down and many of the people cannot read.

What follows is the story of a queen beginning to claim the power of her office and try to help her people - but, of course, it is not as simple as all of that. Someone is killing those in the city who are trying to improve things and Bitterblue is not sure who she can trust. When her friends Katsa and Po - who are on a secret council to overthrow bad kings - come to visit she may have a chance to change things.

Though no review could accurately capture the magical writing of Kristin Cashore, please know that you need to read this series. She is one of the best writers around today and deserves awards and accolades left and right! I will be rereading the series immediately.

Cashore, Kristin. (2012). Bitterblue. New York: Dial Books.

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01 June 2012

37 Things I Love

37 Things I Love by Kekla Magoon is a story of loss and friendship.

Ellis is fifteen. She lives with her mother and goes to high school. Her father has been in a coma for two years and, as a result, she and her mother are in a sort of holding pattern - sad and depressed and cannot talk to each other or fully take in what it going on around them.

Ellis's best friend is Abby. They have been friends for years. But lately Ellis is noticing that Abby does not really listen to her. The friendship feels one-sided and Ellis needs someone to talk to. Her mother is talking about pulling the plug on her father's life support.

After walking away from their usual lunch table to get away from Abby, Ellis notices Cara sitting outside. Ellis is not sure what happened - she and Abby and Cara used to all be best friends. When she sits down next to Cara, she feels listened to for the first time in a long time.

37 Things I Love feels like a light read but is filled with deep emotion, the good and bad of friendship, loss and first love. As the story unfolds, readers will be drawn to certain characters and read faster to see what happens to them.

Magoon, Kekla. (2012). 37 Things I Love. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

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