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27 July 2014

Starbreak (Starglass #2)

Starbreak by Phoebe North is the second book in her Starglass series about a ship that left Earth almost 500 years ago headed for a likely-inhabitable planet called Zehava.

Now that the ship, the Asherah, has reached Zehava and is orbiting, small vessels have been sent to the planet's surface to make sure the atmosphere is favorable for humans. But the first shuttle has not come back. The Council that leads the ship has not told the (almost 1000 citizens) about the missing ship. They will send others, but in the mean time a rebel faction is trying to wrest control on board. Some are tired of living under the strict rules of the Council and the hierarchy in place.

Terra is a botanist. She has joined the rebels faction but really just wants to get to the planet. She has seen things that have put her life in danger. She must escape. She convinces a shuttle pilot she knows to leave for the surface. She is joined by a small group of people who just happen to be in the right place at the right time.

The reason Terra needs to get to the surface of Zehava is a person she has been dreaming about - Zehava is not an empty planet waiting for the humans to arrive. It is populated by two species of thinking creatures who live in overcrowded cities. And Terra has been dreaming about Vadix.

North has created a hostile planet where, if the humans can convince their hosts to allow them to stay, life only works if the species work together. This Jewish science fiction series is a look at how different groups of humans get along and expands it to a planet where cooperation is the only way to survive. This series will leave readers thinking for a long time after they are done with the books.

North, Phoebe. (2014). Starbreak. New York: Simon and Schuster.

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25 July 2014

365 Days (365 #1)

365 Days by K.E. Payne is a story in journal form.

Clementine Atkins, Clem or Clemmie to her friends, keeps a diary. Each year starts on January 1 and follows the calendar to the end of the year. Clem is sixteen. She lives in England and attends high school. Her best friend is Alice.

Clem's diary this year will be a little different. It will focus a lot on relationships. Her first date with Ben, a boy who she guesses she likes, her crush on J who doesn't know she exists, and the new girl at school Hannah Harrison.

Payne has created a character with whom readers will identify. Clem is trying to figure out where she fits in the world and how to navigate the very new relationships in her life. Though in a diary format the story is dynamic and humorous, plus sweet and serious.

Payne, K.E. (2011). 365 Days. Valley Falls, NY: Bold Strokes Publishers.

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22 July 2014

The Body in the Woods (Point Last Seen #1)

The Body in the Wood by April Henry is the first mystery in her Point Last Seen series about three teens in a Search and Rescue team in Portland, Oregon.

When a man goes missing in the giant Forest Park, texts go out to the SAR - Portland County Search and Rescue - to form a group to find him. Trainees Alexis, Nick, and Ruby are excused from high school to help. Due to a mistake they are assigned to the same search group - usually new members are broken up with more seasoned searchers.

Alexis joined SAR to bulk up her college applications. She needs a scholarship to be able to attend and hiking sounded like a good way to do it. She has become friends with one of the other new searchers, Ruby, but usually keeps people at bay so they do not find out too much about her.

Nick joined SAR because he wants to be a hero like his dad. His father was killed in Iraq but saved others in the act and though Nick doesn't remember him, he wants to emulate him. He takes search and rescue seriously and as a first step in becoming the man he wants to be.

Ruby loves the outdoors. And SAR is the first time she feels like she fits in. Other kids her age don't like the stuff she likes and she is socially awkward. Just as she thought she was becoming best friends with Alexis, she started to pull away.

Now all three of them are searching together. They are assigned a part of the park where the missing man is not likely to be so they are treating the search much like a training. But when Alexis notices someone in the bushes, everything changes. She has found a young woman, likely around her age, who appears to be dead.

Henry has created three likable but flawed characters who have joined an exciting team. Along with the search and rescue, the three will do what they can to find out who killed the woman in the woods - even if the police think they have the murderer. Great start to an exciting new YA series.

Henry, April. (2014). The Body in the Woods. New York: Christy Ottaviano Books.

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17 July 2014

The Target (Will Robie #3)

The Target by David Baldacci is the third book in his Will Robie series about a CIA agent and assassin.

Will Robie is arguably the best agent in the CIA, so is Jessica Reel. They are the two agents who are sent into impossible situations and have a change of coming home. But the assignment they are about to be sent on may be a suicide mission.

When the President of the United States receives intel that one of the most anti-US world leaders is in a vulnerable position, he must decided whether to act illegally and change the world landscape for the better. But if the mission fails, he will likely be impeached.

As they prepare for their assignment, elements from Reel's past surface to put them in more danger. A man on death row will plot a murder from his hospital bed. And fans will catch up with Julie Getty and super agent Vance.

Baldacci is a master storyteller. Will Robie is a commendable character with a terrible job. Great series.

Baldacci, David. (2014). The Target. New York: Grand Central Publishing.

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14 July 2014

Power Play

Power Play by Joseph Finder is a about a corporate retreat gone wrong.

Jake Landry works for Hammond Aerospace. He is well under the executive level but when his boss is suddenly sent to India to secure a large contract for their new jet, Jake is told he is coming on the executive retreat - in five hours. He is an expert on the new plane and will be there to answer any questions.

The Hammond Aerospace retreat is an annual event held at the King Chinook Lodge on the coast of British Columbia, Canada. The lodge is isolated on and only accessible by boat or sea plane.

During dinner on the first night at the lodge, just as the team building leader is describing the physical activities scheduled for the next day, a gunshot is heard and men with guns storm the room.

The executive team of Hammond is being held hostage until they transfer a large amount of money to an offshore account. Now Jake, the one who wasn't even supposed to be there, is the only chance they have of getting out alive.

Finder is a great suspense writer. His books are fast and exciting and will keep you up late.

Finder, Joseph. (2007). Power Play. New York: St. Martin's Paperbacks.

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13 July 2014

The Promise (Thunder Point #5)

The Promise by Robyn Carr is the fifth book in her Thunder Point series of romances set in a small Oregon coastal town.

Peyton Lacoumette is between jobs. She is a Physician's Assistant who just left Portland is trying to decide where to take her career next. When she sees an add for a PA in a small coastal town, she goes exploring. Thunder Point seems like a sweet town and she applies to work there until she figures out what to do next.

Dr. Scott Grant is the town doctor. He and his office manager, Devon, run the only medical office. He has been considering adding a PA to help with the extra work. Peyton's resume is far better than anyone he expected to interview. She could almost name her price, but she agrees to a three month stay.

Carr has created a small town full of great characters and fans will enjoy seeing others lives continue behind the main couple of the current novel. Thunder Point is a lovely series.

Carr, Robyn, (2014). The Promise. New York: Mira.

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10 July 2014

Thief's Magic (Millennium's Rule #1)

Thief's Magic by Trudi Canavan is the first book in her Millennium's Rule fantasy series.

Tyen Ironsmelter is a student of archeology and sorcery at the Academy. He is on an expedition when he finds a tomb he has been researching. Students often pay their way at the Academy by bringing back artifacts found on digs. Tyen is somewhat disappointed when the only thing he finds is a book. Until he opens it. The book was once a woman named Vella - a powerful sorcerer in her time who was turned into the book against her will. She stores all of the knowledge of everyone who has ever held her.

Tyen knows he has to turn the book over but wants to make sure Vella is not put in a storage vault or destroyed for her outdated magical knowledge - there has been an industrial revolution of sorts since she was put in a tomb. But if Tyen is caught with Vella he will be branded a thief and kicked out of the Academy.

Rielle Lazuli lives in a land ruled by priests. They believe that magic comes from the Angels. Anyone other than a priest using magic is immediately arrested for stealing from the Angels. Because using magic causes a stain in the air visible to those who are magical, the tainted are usually caught quickly. Rielle has been able to see stain her whole life. As this means she has magic potential her aunt tells her to keep it secret. They don't know what the priest do to those who can see it.

Canavan is a brilliant fantasy writer. This new series takes place in a different world from her other books - a world that feels fully formed. Her characters are compelling and readers will root for them in their adventures and travails. Pick this book up today for a great read.

Canavan, Trudi, (2014). Thief's Magic. New York: Orbit.


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03 July 2014

Lexicon

Lexicon by Max Barry is about persuasion.

Emily Ruff is an orphan living in on the streets of San Fransisco. She makes money by playing three-card Monty. She is whip smart. She is playing her card game when she is found by someone who thinks she has potential. She is given a test to get into school. He promises her that she will be given an entrance exam and if she doesn't pass she will be flown home with a monetary thank  you. Though she thinks it sounds too good to be true, she takes the offer.

Wil Parke was grabbed when he got out of an airplane. He does not understand what is happening. His girlfriend is waiting to pick him up and two men are claiming to be saving his live. One of them, Eliot, is trying to convince him that his girlfriend is one of the bad guys.

In a story that revolves around the mining town of Broken Hill, Australia, where an incident has left all of the town's residents dead, Emily and Wil are lead to a final event that reveals how far people can be persuaded and controlled.

Barry has created a story of mystery and adventure that explores how companies persuade consumers and group of people who have taken persuasion to the extreme.

Barry, Max. (2013). Lexicon. New York: Penguin Press.

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