Good Books and the Random Movie

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Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States

26 November 2012

When She Woke

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan is a masterpiece of a dystopian novel that is soon to be considered a classic.

Hannah Elizabeth Payne has been convicted of murder. She will spend 30 days in a mirrored room while all of America watches. These 30 days will be her chance to try to get used to the fact that her skin has been died bright red - like a stop sign. She is sentenced to 16 years as a red for the crime of abortion.

In a future where the separation of church and state has blurred, using a virus to color people's skin according to their crime (yellow for misdemeanors, blue for child molester, and red for murder) and allowing them to live in society is seen as a deterrent. Only the most violent of criminals are locked up. But a life as a Chrome makes you a target for the righteous who feel a need to take action based on their interpretation of what God would want.

When She Woke has been called a dystopian Scarlet Letter. Jordan has created a thought-provoking thriller that will keep readers thinking about the many political, social and religious topics she weaves into the story. Amazing book!

Jordan, Hillary. (2011). When She Woke. New York: Workman Books.

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23 November 2012

Almost Home

Almost Home by Joan Bauer is the story of finding family.

Sugar Mae Cole uses the wisdom she learned from her grandfather to get through any difficult situations in her life. And she needs the advice from the autobiography he wrote when they lose their house and her mother decides to move them to Chicago for a job interview. When things don't work out, her mother gives up and is taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Sugar and her dog Shush enter the foster care system. She knows no one and doesn't know what to do. Luckily, after a false start, Sugar is placed with a wonderful couple to help to remind her of the hope there is in life.

Bauer has the skill to write children's books with difficult subjects without overwhelming young readers. Her stories are realistic, difficult, and ultimately hopeful and are an important addition to the cannon of young readers.

Bauer, Joan. (2012). Almost Home. NY: Viking.

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21 November 2012

The Little Prince

The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery is still a masterpiece. The latest English translation is by Richard Howard and contains the original drawings.

In one of the most wonderful stories of all time, The Little Prince tells the story of a pilot who crashed into the desert. As he is trying to fix his airplane before he runs out of food or water, the pilot is interupted by a small prince who asks him to draw him a picture of a sheep.

What follows is a fable about what is important in life - something that kids have naturally and most people lose by the time they become adults. It is good to be reminded to use our imaginations.

De Saint-Exupery, Antoine. (1943). The Little Prince. New York: Harcourt.

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19 November 2012

Run the Risk (Love Undercover #1)

Run the Risk by Lori Foster is the first book in her new series - Love Undercover.

Logan Riske is undercover as Logan Stark. He is tracking the sister of a witness to the murder of a police commissioner. If he can find the brother he can finally take down a dirty club owner who has a knack for getting away with crime after crime.

Sue Meeks is really Pepper Yates. She is in hiding. The only person she has contact with is her brother - but he only calls her and at random times. She knows that he is trying to keep her safe but she is going a bit stir crazy. And her neighbor, Logan, won't leave her alone. Her instincts say he is a good guy, but she cannot take the chance that she is wrong.

Foster's new series features good guys who will stop at nothing to bring criminals to justice. Fans will not be disappointed in this new series.

Foster, Lori. (2012). Run the Risk. New York: HQN.

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14 November 2012

Hope Was Here

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer is a story of family, politics, corruption, friendship and finding one's self.

Hope Yancy lives with her aunt Addie in Brooklyn, but they are about to leave the city she loves for a small town in Wisconsin. The diner where Addie was a cook went under when the owner ran away with all of the money. Now they are on to a new adventure.

Like most sixteen year-olds, Hope does not want to move. She felt comfortable in Brooklyn with her friends. They have moved before and she is almost sure it will work out, but it is not an easy move. When they arrive in Mulhoney, WI at the Welcome Stairs diner - named after the Quaker idea of welcoming people from where ever they come - she is not hopeful. But when she meets the owner, G.T. Stoop, she begins to change her mind.

G.T. is a fixture in Mulhoney. He serves great food, always listens, and helps out when anyone in town needs a hand. He is also fighting Leukemia. So everyone in town is surprised when he announces that he will be running for mayor - using what is left in his life to fight the corruption in town.

With a platform of honesty, G.T. is joined by Hope and many of the other teens in town who begin to realize why it is important to participate in the community of which you are a part. Hope Was Here is a story of coming of age that will appeal to anyone who has ever felt hopeless in the face of government. Bauer has the ability to fit many topics into a book while not overwhelming readers - her stories will stay in your memory for a long time.

Bauer, Joan. (2000). Hope Was Here. New York: G.P.Putnam's Sons.

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13 November 2012

Rules of the Road

Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer is a road trip novel with a message.

Jenna Boller works at Gladstone Shoe store in Chicago. She is sixteen and though she does not always feel like she fits in at school, she is a great shoe salesperson. She knows the products and can read people to make sure she finds them the right shoes.

When Madeline Gladstone, President of the company, asks her to drive her to work. When she does so successfully, Mrs. Gladstone hires Jenna to drive her from Chicago to Dallas, stopping at her stores along the way.

Mrs. Gladstone is headed to Texas to retire and hand the company to her son. But her son has different ideas about business that did she and her husband. They set out to provide a quality product at a fair price. Her son is focused on making money in spite of what quality shortcuts are necessary along the way.

Filled with wisdom, human and philosophy, Bauer's novel looks at our changing world. She highlights what may be wrong with our current society and points out that we can choose to retain quality if we wish. Great book.

Bauer, Joan. (1998). Rules of the Road. New York: Speak.

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11 November 2012


Seraphina by Rachel Hartman is a brilliant fantasy about a world where dragons and humans live together.

Humans and dragons have lived in peace for almost 40 years - since the treaty between the Queen and the Ardmagar. And with the anniversary approaching, the royal city is getting ready for the Ardmagar's visit. While dragons (in human form) are always within the city, his visit is something special.

Seraphina, as Music Assistant to the court, has her work cut out for her organizing the musical entertainment while maintaining a low profile. She has a secret that could threaten her position at court and her blooming friendships with Princess Glisselda and Prince Lucian. Seraphina is half dragon. Her father fell in love with a woman who never told him she was a dragon - he found out when Seraphina was born.

Hartman has created a beautiful story that is both classic fantasy and something new. Her characters are unique and compelling. Her plot familiar and yet intriguing. This is dragon fantasy equal to Anne McCaffrey or Tamora Pierce. Amazing book - and hopefully only the first in a series that features Seraphina.

Hartman, Rachel. (2012). Seraphina. New York: Random House.

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06 November 2012

Rogue (Robin Monarch #1)

Rogue by Mark Sullivan is the first book in his Robin Monarch series. Monarch is a CIA thief who walked away in the middle of a mission.

Monarch was raised by unorthodox parents and spent some time of the streets of Bueno Aires after they died. That childhood and time in the US Special Forces trained him to be the ultimate thief.

Now he is spending time with the wealthy - and occasionally liberating some of their expensive jewelry. But then he saves someone's life he is brought back to the job he walked away from.

Monarch, with the help of his team, will go after technology that could change the state of warfare - technology that, in the wrong hands, could change the balance of power forever. 

Sullivan has created a super-soldier, spy, thief with a conscience - a hero for readers of Jack Reacher books and the like. Check it out today.

Sullivan, Mark. (2012). Rogue. New York: St. Martin's Minotaur.

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