Good Books and the Random Movie

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30 September 2012

VIva Jacquelina! (Bloody Jack #10)

Viva Jacquelina! Being the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Over the Hill and Far Away by LA Meyer is the tenth book in the Bloody Jack series - an historical adventure series featuring a spunky young woman who refused to follow society's rules about her place.

After escaping from a life sentence to the Australia colony, Jacky and her friends are on their way back to the northern hemisphere. Jacky is ready for a quiet life of sailing. However, British Intelligence has other ideas for her. She is being sent to Spain where the British are helping the Spanish rebels fight the occupying French.

Being that Jacky had already served with Napoleon, she should have some insight into the expected French attack plans. But when her general is relieved of duty and sent back to London, he tells Jacky to make her way to Madrid and spy on the French there.

Now Jacky will find herself in the home of Francisco Goya, the painter, trying to earn back some of the money stolen from her by posing as a model. But as nothing with Jacky is that straight forward, she will have adventures that range from running with the bulls to learning the flamenco to living with a gypsy caravan.

Meyer has created the most delightful character in Jacky and fans will continue to wait impatiently for the next book while occasionally rereading the whole series just to laugh out loud again at her outrageous adventures.

Meyer, LA. (2012). Viva Jacquelina! New York: Harcourt.

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24 September 2012

Dry Ice

Dry Ice by Bill Evans and Marianna Jameson is a scary thrill ride through environmental terrorism via weather manipulation.

Tess Beauchamp is a weather scientist. She is an expert on the idea of weather manipulation for economic and military gain - a concept that is just a theory, she thinks. Then she is offered a job at the TESLA (Terrestrial Energy Southern Land Array) base in Antarctica - a private instillation owned by Flint Agrobusiness.

TESLA was designed by a fellow weather scientist, Greg Simpson, based on the ideas that Nikola Tesla came up with over a century ago. Now Flint has the technology to make sure their crops around the world are successful. They have also done some work for the US military. But Flint wants to replace Simpson - so badly that they are sending a plane into the Antarctic winter - weeks after the no fly cut off.

But Simpson is not leaving willingly and has build a Trojan horse into TESLA that will set off raging storms the world over. Beauchamp and the crew will have to pull out all of the stops to prevent the weather apocalypse.

Evans and Jameson have created a scary scenario that readers will hope is not scientifically possible. Great, scary thriller.

Evan, Bill. (2011). Dry Ice. New York: Forge.

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19 September 2012

Close Enough to Touch (Jackson Hole #1)

Close Enough to Touch by Victoria Dahl is yet another great book by a master storyteller.

Grace Barrett can fit everything she owns into one old duffel bag. And she and the bag have just arrived in Jackson, Wyoming. She has a job lined up in Vancouver in a few weeks, but she could not stay in L.A. for one more day. Luckily, a great aunt she has never met has an empty apartment she can use in the mean time.

Jackson is a far cry from Los Angeles and Grace has some adjusting to do. She is used to having her guard up and needing to protect herself from the people around her. But in Jackson, the people are mostly friendly with no ulterior motives.

Cole Rawlins is Grace's new neighbor. He had lived on the ranch he plans to buy someday but lost his place in the manager's house when he shattered his leg and could not ride. Now he is doing physical therapy and praying that he will ride again one day.

Dahl has written a great romance about two people trying to find their places in the world. The characters are great, the setting beautiful, and the story steamy. Victoria Dahl is one of, if not the best, romance writer today. But I have no idea who the people on the cover might be - they are not the characters in the book...

Dahl, Victoria. (2012). Close Enough to Touch. New York: HQN.

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16 September 2012

The Other Countess (Lacey Chronicles #1)

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards is the first book in her series of historical romance. The books take place in England in the 1580s.

Lady Eleanor Rodriguez, Countess of San Jaime is the daughter of an alchemist. Her father is convinced that with just a bit more experimentation he can turn lead into gold. However, from Ellie's point of view, her father is not only obsessed, he is ruining their lives. At the age of 12, they were kicked out of the Earl of Dorset's house when the Earl died and all his son saw was the money spent on experiments.

Since then Ellie has not had a life that anyone with the title Countess is used to - but then again her title is Spanish and England and Spain are not on the best of terms. After almost four years of living by selling everything they own, including everything her mother left her, Ellie's father has found another noble who is willing to sponsor his alchemy.

When the family they are living with go to court, Ellie finds herself at Windsor preparing for the arrival of the Queen. Nobles from all over England are arriving to pay their respects and compete in the joust. And one of them is the new Earl of Windsor, William Lacey, the man who kicked her and her father out of his house four years ago.

Will is at court to find a bride. His family is slowly recovering from his father's reign, but it takes most of the remaining fortune to appear at court in the latest fashions. He must marry a woman with a large dowry to be able to take care of his family and the people who live on his lands.

Edwards captures the magic and the rigidness of the time period in this historical novel. The characters are well developed and compelling. Readers will run to the library to get the second book in the series as soon as they finish this one.

Edwards, Eve. (2010). The Other Countess. New York: Delacourte Press.

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12 September 2012

Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentlemen Bastards #2)

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch is the second book in his Gentlemen Bastards series about uniquely trained thieves.

Locke Lamora is plotting a new scheme. After fleeing the land of Camorr he has settled, for a time, on the island of Tal Verrar. He has spent the last two years working his way from level to level in the most exclusive casino on the planet - where you must be invited by the owner to move to the next floor.

But now that Locke is getting close to being in position to make his move, he and his friend are kidnapped and taken to the fortress of the Archon. The Archon, who derives his power from the threat of war and is not as popular as he was when the Priori of the city developed his temporary position to fight off pirates, has a job for Locke - and an interesting way to make sure it is carried out.

But can a man who has never been on a ship other than one seasick voyage convince a group of pirates that he is one of them or has Locke met his match in this challenge?

Lynch has created a series that combines fantasy, pirates, thieves, political intrigue, espionage, and more. It is a swashbuckling tale that will have readers tying to guess an outcome that has too many twists to accurately predict. A great read.

Lynch, Scott. (2007). Red Seas Under Red Skies. New York: Bantam.

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10 September 2012

Shiver Me Timbers!

Shiver Me Timbers! Pirate Poems and Paintings is the latest book of poetry by Douglas Florian, illustrated by Robert Neubecker.

This is a fun and hilarious collection of poems about pirates and the scurvy, rotten ways of pirates. It is definately worth a read.

Florian, Douglas. (2012). Shiver Me Timbers! NY: Simon and Schuster.

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