Good Books and the Random Movie

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29 April 2013

Too Hot to Handle (Jackson Hole #2)

Too Hot to Handle by Victoria Dahl is the second book in her series that takes place in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Since she visited her best friend Grace, Merry Kade has been trying to move to Jackson Hole. She finally found a job that allowed her to move - she is the curator of a ghost town. Or it will be a ghost town museum after some clean up and restoration to make it safe. But the committee that will run the town is tied up in court because the man whose will created the foundation for Providence ghost town is in probate.

Shane Harcourt grew up in Jackson. He is a carpenter who is shocked when his new neighbor asks him to do some work in Providence - the town that has plagued his family for generations. His grandfather's creation of the trust for Providence was out of spite because Shane would not change his last name back to Bishop. Now Shane has inherited land, but with the taxes that go along with it, he will have to sell if he cannot claim some of the two million left to Providence.

Merry has no idea that the man she is trying to hire is the very man who is holding up the funds for her to do her job. She thinks of him as the handsome cowboy next door. And Shane figures if he can help her out a little, he might learn about the other side in his court battle.

Dahl is a masterful storyteller. Her books are fun and sexy with real character who can make you laugh and cry. Read all of her books!

Dahl, Victoria. (2013). Too Hot to Handle. New York: HQN,

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26 April 2013

Cold Magic (Spiritwalker trilogy #1)

Cold Magic by Kate Elliott is the first book in her Spiritwalker trilogy.

Catherine Hassi Barahal has been raised by her aunt and uncle since the age of six when her parents were killed in a flood. Though she has few memories of her parents, she has the journals her father wrote as he traveled the world.

Before Cat and her family can get ready to visit an air ship that has just arrived in their city of Adurnam, a man shows up at their house. Not just any man, but a cold mage. And he is there to fulfill a contract between the Four Moons House and the house of the Hassi Barahal - a contract sealed by magic. He asks who is the eldest daughter. Cat is older than her cousin Bee by a few weeks.

The next thing Catherine knows, she is being married to the mage without even knowing his name. She is told to pack a small trunk and prepare to travel to her new home.Cat will be thrust into a new world of magic and politics where she will be used as a pawn by a powerful house.

Elliott has created a world that is a mix of our own history and her creation. It gives the world more weight that Elliot's world is build upon such a strong foundation. This first book in the trilogy will leave readers craving more and, I am sure, reading all of her other books after this trilogy.

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21 April 2013


Wildthorn by Jane Eagland is an historical fiction novel about a girl who read too much - as it lead to her being locked in a mental institution.

Louisa Cosgrove wants to be a doctor. But in Victorian England girls did not become doctors. Wisdom of the time said that girls who read too much would become mad. They would reject their place as mothers and wives and possible even develop the idea that they were men. Louisa's father supports her. He is a doctor and the person giving her books to study.

Louisa thinks she has convinced her father to let her attend the London School of Medicine for Women. When her father becomes ill, she will have to convince her brother Tom to let her attend. And Tom does not think women can or should become doctors.

The next thing she knows, Louisa is being sent to live with the Woodvilles - a wealthy family looking for a companion for their daughter. But when the carriage arrives at a large imposing building, it is not a family home but an asylum for women. And the paperwork says she is Lucy Childs who has suffered a breakdown.Louisa is not sure how she ended up at the Wildthorn asylum, but she must find a way out - or at the very least a way to survive.

Eagland has written a rich historical fiction novel with a lovable character and a twisted plot. Readers will not see how Louisa can get out of her situation, but root for her with every page until they discover the key. Great novel.

Eagland, Jane. (2009). Wildthorn. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

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17 April 2013

Sailing in a Spoonful of Water

Sailing in a Spoonful of Water by Joe Coomer is the story of one man's journey upon a twenty-eight foot wooden motorsailer (boat with both sails and motor) named Yonder.

Coomer captures the freedom and fear of sailing when he buys a boat to use during summers in Maine. He grew up on a lake in Texas, his childhood experiences creating in him a longing for the sea. At the same time, the seriousness of being responsible for the welfare of all aboard, from navigation to properly setting an anchor, give him nights of sleeplessness as he learns his boat.

Sailing in a Spoonful of Water will thrill readers who dream of buying a boat and sailing away.

Coomer, Joe. (1997). Sailing in a Spoonful of Water. New York: Picador.

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12 April 2013

The Sky Always Hears Me

The Sky Always Hears Me: And the Hills Don't Mind by Kirstin Cronn-Mills is the story of Morgan - a high school junior who lives in Central Nowhere.

Morgan is biding her time until she can graduate and use college as a vehicle to get her out of the small town she live in in central Nebraska. Her dream is to write the Great American Novel and it order to do that she feels she will need to live somewhere else.

In the mean time, Morgan is dating a jock. She feels it brings her status up since on her own she is a boring bookworm. But Derek has nice muscles and he likes her so when he asked, she said yes. Now they have been dating for a while. But Derek is not the only one in town who likes Morgan.

Tessa, Morgan's neighbor, kissed her. Morgan is not sure how she feels about the kiss, but she did kiss Tessa back. She will have to take some time to think about things - which she expresses best in fortune-cookie style statements. Luckily, she can always talk to her grandmother.

Cronn-Mills gives readers a look at small town America and the different people who live there. Her main character is quirky and likable and readers will root for her as she carves her path to freedom.

Cronn-Mills, Kirstin. (2009). The Sky Always Hears Me. Woodbury, MN: Flux.

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10 April 2013

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2)

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers is the second book in the His Fair Assassin series that takes place in 1489 in Brittany at a time when the rule of Brittany is inherited by a thirteen year old girl and both France and her nobles plot to take over control of the country.

Mortain is the god of Death. Those who serve in his convent are not nuns but assassins. They are trained in the art of killing and to see the signs of those marked for death. And in this time of unrest, they are the perfect spies within the royalty and nobility.

Sybella has been assigned to infiltrate the house of D'Albret - the same house she escaped when she joined the convent. Her father, who rules through cruelty, drove from her the will to live. Now she will have to find her way back inside to help the Duchess retain control of Brittany. The only reason she agreed to such an assignment is the promise from the Abbess that she will be the one to kill D'Albret.

When a message comes that she is to rescue a knight loyal to the Duchess, her plans to kill D'Albret are put on hold... especially when her rescue goes awry.

LaFevers' series is great historical fiction with a hint of magic/fantasy or religious fervor that presents as such. The books will pull readers in right away and keep them enthralled until the last page, only coming up for air to check her blog for the publishing date of the next book!

LaFevers, Robin. (2013). Dark Triumph. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

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08 April 2013

Rise (Eve #3)

Rise by Anna Carey is the final book in her Eve trilogy - about a post apocalyptic United States called the New America run by a king and his army from the City of Sand (Las Vegas).

Eve grew up in a school ever since her mother died from the plague. She was taught that when she graduated she would learn a trade and be sent to the capital city to help in the recovery of America. She could choose her career and she would have a great apartment and a job. But in reality everyone who graduates from the school goes across the water, not to further her education, but to become an incubator for the upper class families in the city who can no longer have children due surviving the plague. However, Eve is the exception. Her father is the king. And he wants her in the city to marry and give him an heir.

Now Eve feels she has little left to lose. She is willing to do almost anything to see her father overthrown and the rebels put in place - with an elected government like in the old United States. But can she go through with the order from the rebel leader to kill her father?

The Eve trilogy is a great dystopian series. It has all of the fascination and horror of one possible future - with the appeal of the Handmaid's Tale or When She Woke or The Road, but with more hope of a potentially better outcome for the masses because the is more than one person fighting the system. 

Carey, Anna. (2013). Rise. New York: Harper.

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05 April 2013

The Rising (Darkness Rising #3)

The Rising by Kelley Armstrong is the final book in her Darkness Rising trilogy. Maya and her friends grew up on an island off of British Columbia in a small company town. What they did not know was that the company was not creating pharmaceuticals but supernatural creature - and that they are those creatures.

Maya, a skin-walker who is able to shift into a cougar, and her friends are on the run from both the company that created them and the new company they have been sold to. They have already been through a lot just to escape the island to Vancouver. Now they are down to one option - the phone number of someone who is supposed to be a friend - but it could just as easily be a trap.

Armstrong has created a fast-paced, suspenseful series featuring teens with supernatural abilities. Her characters are dynamic and compelling and the plot moves at lightning speed. This is a great series for fans of fantasy who are sick of vampire books!

Armstrong, Kelley. (2013). The Rising. New York: Harper.

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03 April 2013

Leaving Everything Most Loved (Maisie Dobbs #10)

Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear is the tenth book in her Maisie Dobbs series about a private detective and psychologist in early 1900s London. The Maisie Dobbs series is wonderful and all mystery and historical fiction readers will love it.

Usha Pramal left India with the British family she worked for as a governess. But a couple of months ago, someone murdered her. Scotland Yard made little progress in the case guessing it may have been racially motivated. When Usha's brother came to London a mutual friend recommended Maisie to look into the matter.

It seems that Usha Pramal was no longer living with the family that brought her to England. She was living in a hostel with other Indian women who had come over as nannies. It appeared she was trying to earn enough wage cleaning homes to pay her way back to India. But there is always more to a story and Maisie's quest for the truth will lead her many places and possibly create a wanderlust that makes her want to travel to India herself.

Winspear does an amazing job of combining a great mystery and a historically accurate time frame. In 1934 there were already those in England keeping an eye on Germany and preparing to do their part to protect their country if the hints of Hitler's plan were accurate. These and other elements allow the Maisie Dobbs novels to suck readers in and capture them completely. Read this series!

Winspear, Jacqueline. (2013). Leaving Everything Most Loved. New York: Harper.

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