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28 February 2014

All He Ever Dreamed (Kowalski #6)

All He Ever Dreamed by Shannon Stacey is the sixth book in her Kowalski family romance series.

Josh Kowalski is one of five siblings who own the Northern Star Lodge in Whitford, Maine. He is the one who runs the lodge and feels like the others left for lives they chose while he got stuck at home. He wants his chance to travel and figure out what to do with his life. But it took him years to tell his brothers how he felt - until a broken leg brought them home to help out. Now the lodge has been fixed up and if they turn a profit they will either hire a manager or consider selling the lodge.

Katie Davis have known Josh all of her life. They grew up together, her mother helping raise Josh and his siblings after their mother died. And she has been in love with him forever, but he thinks of her as a friend. If something doesn't change soon, Josh may move away and never know who she feels.

Stacey has created an extended family readers would love to join. The overlap of characters lets readers check on their favorites in future books. This is a fun romance series.

Stacey, Shannon. (2013). All He Ever Dreamed. New York: HQN.

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26 February 2014

All He Ever Desired (Kowalski #5)

All He Ever Desired by Shannon Stacey is the fifth book in her Kowalski family series of romance novels.

Ryan Kowalski has not been home much since he left Whitford, Maine for college years ago. After he graduated and accepted a job in a building company in Boston, he asked Lauren Carpenter to go with him - to take her son and run away from her husband to be with him. Lauren said no. Not only had Ryan never told her that he had been in love with her since he was a kid, but he waited until she was married to his best friend to ask.

Now, fifteen years later, Ryan will be spending an extended period of time in Whitford to help fix up the family's lodge. But if he times it right, he will rarely run into Lauren in town. Then he finds someone has been vandalizing the lodge and catches him in the act. A sixteen year old boy who has done almost a thousand dollars in damage - and is Lauren's son.

Stacey's series about the Kowalski family is filled with great characters readers will want to become friends with while reading about them. Since they are all related, past characters show up in other books and fans get to check in with them.

Stacey, Shannon. (2012). All He Ever Desired. New York: HQN.

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23 February 2014

Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3)

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi is the third book in her Shatter Me series about a dystopian US ruled by the Reestablishment.

Juliette Ferrars has powers, but she has always thought of them as a curse. Her skin has an extreme defense mechanism and hurts anyone who touches her. In her sixteen years she has only met two people who were immune. Mortal enemies who are on opposite sides of the fight - Warner who is the head of Sector 45 and the son of the Supreme Commander of the Reestablishment, and Adam who went AWOL to join the Omega Point and fight to overtake the Reestablishment.

At the end of the last book, Juliette didn't know when her friends were, other than Warner. She came face to face with the Supreme and did not win the fight. Now those left in fighting form must regroup and decide how to take down the sadistic leader with a massive army at his back.

Mafi has written a great dystopian trilogy with all of the elements readers seek. Next time you want a fast-paced ride, pick up this series.

Mafi, Tahereh. (2014). Ignite Me. New York: Harper.

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19 February 2014

The Burning Sky (Elemental #1)

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas is the first book in the Elemental series, a fantasy series set in both 1883 England and a magical Realm next door.

Iolanthe Seaborne has been hiding all of her life. He guardian has moved her from school to school where hopes to hide her from the Bane and his Inquisitor. As an elemental mage she may be targets for her powers. But Iolanthe doesn't think she is in too much danger. Until the day she needs to fix a spell that has been ruined.

When she calls lightning from the sky everything changes. Prince Titus has been waiting for an elemental mage to call lightning as seen by his mother's prophecy. He has already set up a place to hid the mage - whom he was convinced was going to be a boy.

Thomas has written a great fantasy novel to begin this series. The characters and magic feel real and readers will want to follow them for many adventures to come. Even the very first page captures the imagination:

"This is the story of a girl who fooled a thousand boys, a boy who fooled an entire country, a partnership that would change the fate of realms, and a power to challenge the greatest tyrant the world have ever know. Expect magic."

Thomas, Sherry. (2013). The Burning Sky. New York: Balzer and Bray.

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11 February 2014

All He Ever Needed (Kowalski #4)

All He Ever Needed by Shannon Stacey is the fourth book in her Kowalski family series.

Mitch Kowalski has been called back to the the lodge he grew up in. The Northern Star Lodge has been in the family for generations. Now Mitch's youngest brother runs it. Mitch is going home to help out while his brother recovers from a broken leg.

Paige Sullivan has lived in town for two years. She bought the diner and fixed it up. Now she feels like she is home for the first time in her life. When Mitch walks in she knows who he is from both his resemblance to his brother and the stories told about him all over town. Mitch is a playboy who seems to leave a wake of women in his path. But, surprisingly, all of the women still think fondly of him.

Paige has no desire to become involved with anyone, especially Mitch. She is not going to give up her new home to follow a man around the country the way her mother has always done. But her heart and her head may have different ideas about whether or not to let Mitch into her heart.

Stacey's Kowalski family series is full of great stories with lovable characters. A great choice for a romance.

Stacey, Shannon. (2012). All He Ever Needed. New York: HQN.

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06 February 2014

Yours to Keep (Kowalski #3)

Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey is the third book in her Kowalski family series.

Emma Shaw's grandmother is coming to visit from Florida. Unfortunately, Emma made up a boyfriend to keep her grandmother from worrying about her. She lives in the big house she grew up in, and her grandmother is concerned that it is too big for one person. Emma loves the house. Now she has just a couple of days to produce said boyfriend and convince her grandmother it is a real relationship.

Sean Kowalski is the make-believe boyfriend. He just doesn't know it yet. He just got out of the army and has arrived at his cousin's bar to stay in the apartment upstairs until he decides what to do next. Then someone knocks on his door. A beautiful woman introduces herself as Emma, a friend of his sister in-law, and asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend to put her grandmother at ease.

Stacey has come up with a fun premise to introduce her two main characters. Romance and awkwardness follow as Sean and Emma pretend to be a couple while trying to keep their hands off each other.

Stacey, Shannon. (2011). Yours to Keep. New York: HQN.

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05 February 2014

Going Rogue (AKA #2)

Going Rogue by Robin Benway is the second book in her Also Know As series about a young safe-cracker.

Maggie has been in New York for almost a year - trying to live a normal teen life while taking a break from the high stakes espionage her family participates in to keep the world safe. She is spending time with her boyfriend Jesse and her best friend Roux.

But when the Collective, the group her parents have worked for all of Maggie's life, accuses her parents of stealing evidence, Maggie has to do what she can to clear their names. It seems there is a power play for the lead of the Collective, and the front-runner is not a good guy. He has been forcing out those who will not follow him.

Maggie has to find ten gold coins to prove him wrong - ten golden eagle coins. Only the most valuable coins ever printed. Oh, and study for her SATs.

Benway's series is a fun, action packed read. Great read-alike for Ally Carter's Heist Society. Fans and residents of NYC will appreciate her accurate descriptions of much loved local hang outs.

Benway, Robin. (2013). Going Rogue. New York: Walker Books.

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04 February 2014

Undeniably Yours (Kowalski Family #2)

Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey is the second book in her Kowalski family series of contemporary romance novels.

Kevin Kowalski owns a sports bar - Jasper's. And one night when he sees a customer getting too drunk and being impolite with his apparent date, Kevin cuts him off. Of course, the drunk guy gets offended, takes a swing at Kevin and ends up elbowing Beth Hansen in the face. Worse, the drunk jerk, who she was handling fine, was her boss and now she is out of a job.

Kevin can't get Beth out of his head. He only spoke to her once. And she did not thank him for losing her a job. Now, one month later, he sees her at his brother Joe's wedding. But after a lovely night, she does not leave her phone number and Kevin is afraid he will never see her again.Until Beth shows up at Jasper's to tell Kevin she is pregnant.

While they agree that is would be bad to date, since neither will know if it is only because they are going to be co-parents, Beth and Kevin try to become friends - while fighting an attraction that lead to the pregnancy in the first place.

Stacey has created a large lovable family in the Kowalski clan. Her characters will draw readers in and make them part of the family.

Stacey, Shannon. (2010). Undeniably Yours. New York: HQN.

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03 February 2014


Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson is the story of two princesses, the God King, a lesser god who doesn't like his job, and a man trying to prevent a war.

Hallandren is ruled by a council of gods, the Returned. These are men and women who died but came back to share their wisdom, eventually dying again in order to use their Breath to help someone else. The Returned are lesser gods who serve under the God King. The society is built around the use of Breath, or BioChromatic magic. Everyone is born with one Breath, but if you gain more you can use it to accomplish things. The more you have the more clearly you see the world. For example, with the first heightening comes perfect pitch and with the second comes perfect sight - being able to distinguish colors in a similar way as perfect pitch is to sound.

The kingdom next door to Hallandren, Idris, used to be part of one nation. The rightful heir to the thrown left Hallandren and has a treaty with them to keep the peace. The treaty states that the king of Idris must present a princess to marry the God King. King Dedelin has trained his eldest daughter, Vivenna, her whole life for the role. But when the time comes, he sends his youngest, Siri. Either one who would experience total culture shock at the differences between the two kingdoms.

 Sanderson's Warbreaker is considered must-read fantasy. It is epic and BioChromatic magic is as unique and interesting as any form of magic yet written. Though the book is six hundred pages, I want a sequel!

Sanderson, Brandon. (2009). Warbreaker. New York: Tor.

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01 February 2014

Turn Up the Heat (Jackson Hole)

Turn Up the Heat by Lori Foster, Christie Ridgeway and Victoria Dahl is sizzling.

"Strong Enough to Love" by Victoria Dahl is part of her Jackson Hole series. Eve Hill is a photographer. Fans of the series will recognize her as Grace's boss. She has lived in Jackson for two years and finally gets her own story.

Eve has just about giving up finding the right guy. She is barley even interested in looking anymore. It seems that no one compares to the one who got away. But coming home from a friend's birthday party, she see him standing in front of her photography studio.

Brian has been gone for two years. He was completely in love with Eve, but could not be with her. He had to make sure his marriage was over so he could start with a clean slate. Now he is back in town and hoping she has not fallen in love with someone else.

Dahl is a masterful story teller who appeals to fans of many genres. Her characters are real and capture readers attention even before she adds the attraction between them. I would read anything by her.

Foster, Lori. (2013). Turn Up the Heat. New York: HQN.

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