Good Books and the Random Movie

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30 November 2014

No One Needs to Know

No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace is love triangle with a twist.

Zoey is on scholarship to a private girls school in Tacoma, Washington. She was hoping to use the school as a way to change her life - allow her to go to college and make life better for her little sister. But the first week of school freshman year, she made a mistake at a party. Now, three years later, her reputation is still in ruins. She has few friends and she is biding her time to graduation - when she will work full-time to help get her sister out of their neighborhood school.

Olivia is one of the most popular girls in school. She has been best friends with her twin brother their whole life. But he has been pulling away lately. They go to different schools and he doesn't want to spend their eighteenth birthday together.

Zoey and Olivia are put together in history class to work on a project. They have never been friends and have ideas about each other. Reluctantly, they plan a paper they will write. Then, coincidentally, Zoey meets Olivia's brother Liam.

Grace has written a story of friendship, family, first love and getting to know people beyond the image they project to strangers. Great, fast read.

Grace, Amanda. (2014). No One Needs to Know. MN: Flux.

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28 November 2014

Wild Rover No More (Bloody Jack #12)

Wild Rover No More: Being the Last Recorded Account of the Life and Times of Jacky Faber by L.A. Meyer is the twelfth book in his Bloody Jack series - featuring a main character who readers gladly follow from disaster to adventure.

Jacky is now a free adult. She is nineteen and based in Boston but still spend much of her time on one of her sailing ships. When returning from the south, Jacky brings a diplomatic pouch - as required by law when asked. But this is not an official pouch, but a forgery that contains evidence to frame Jacky for traitorous acts.

When Jacky finds out about the plot against her, she flees Boston to hide until her friends can clear her name. She will play a governess to a monster of a child, and as fans have been waiting for, she will join the circus.

Meyer has written a wonderful character who gets herself into and out of trouble with the grace of a ballerina. Mary Jacky Faber is a delight to follow through an exciting time in history. Start the series at the beginning with Blood Jack.

Meyer, L.A. (2014). Wild Rover No More. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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23 November 2014

Looking for Trouble (Girls Night Out #2)

Looking for Trouble by Victoria Dahl is the fourth book in her Jackson Hole, Wyoming series and the second book in the Girls Night Out.

Sophie has lived in Jackson Hole her entire life. She is a librarian and has a group of friends who get together every week for dinner. There is a firefighter who works next door to the library who is always asking her out. But Sophie is waiting for someone - someone who sees past her quiet, conservative clothing to the person she truly is underneath.

Alex Bishop is back in town after sixteen years. He left the second he graduated from high school has not looked back. His childhood was overshadowed by the disappearance of his father. His mother repeatedly pulled Alex and his brother Shane out of school to follow rumors of where their father went.

Now Alex is back for a memorial service for his father, but the first night he is in town he runs into a beautiful woman who he would like to see again. While Sophie knows who Alex is - the family resemblance is strong between the brothers - Alex doesn't know that Sophie is the daughter of the woman his father left with.

Dahl is a master storyteller. Her characters are wonderfully flawed. Her stories are steamy and always have laugh-out-loud moments. Victoria Dahl is the place to start if you have never read a romance novel.

Dahl, Victoria. (2014). Looking for Trouble. New York: HQN.

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20 November 2014

Show of Force

Show of Force by AJ Quinn is the story an a Navy pilot and a foreign correspondent who fall in love.

Tate McKenna is a US journalist living in Bahrain. She is currently covering the Secretary of State's tour of the Middle East.

Commander Evan Kane, US Navy pilot of the F-18A is stationed on the USS Nimitz currently in the Middle East. She will be attending a US Embassy event scheduled for the Secretary of State's visit.

When Tate sees Evan across the room she is instantly intrigued. When she sees her ask the Secretary of State to dance and they waltz like dance instructors, she is amazed. What woman would have chutzpah to ask the highest ranking woman in the US to dance - and in a region not known for its gay rights.

It isn't until she is completely hooked that Tate finds out that Evan is the Secretary's daughter. And while it could make her job uncomfortable, she has to take a chance.

Quinn has written a suspense novel with military action, two great characters, a homicidal terrorist in a fast-paced read that fans will devour.

Quinn, A.J. (2013). Show of Force. New York: Bold Strokes Books.

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18 November 2014

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson is the story of one young woman making a difference.

Princess Elisa of Orovalle is being married today on her sixteenth birthday. She will be marrying the king of the neighboring land of Joya D'Arena - a man she has never met.

Once married they will travel to his land. Elisa will be accompanied by the two people she trust most in her life - her nurse and her maid. She will move to a land where she knows no one else.

There is something about Princess Elisa that makes her a target in her own country and by moving she may be safer. She has been blessed with possession of the godstone - a jewel that appeared in her belly on her naming day. Once every fourth generation one person is chosen to become a hero or accomplish a great feat. Elisa cannot imagine what she will do to complete hers.

Carson has written an enjoyable novel with an unlikely hero who is forged by her journey into the savior for her people.

Carson, Rae (2011). The Girl of Fire and Thorns. New York: Greenwillow Books.

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17 November 2014

Rebel Spring (Falling Kingdoms #2)

Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes is the second book in her Falling Kingdoms fantasy series.

The three kingdoms of the land of Mytica have been united by King Giaus through trickery and war. Now to cement his rule, he has promise a marriage between his son Magnus and Princess Cleo of the conquered Auranos.

The two conquered lands are not settled. While many of the upper classes of Auranos have let themselves be brought in my Giaus's smooth words and promised, the citizens of Paelsia have been forced into labor camps to build a road linking Auranos, Paelsia and Limeros and continuing into the Forbidden Mountains. The road is not merely a path, but a way to connect the dying land to they mythical land of the Watchers - to regain magic that has been lost for a thousand years.

Four young people will determine the fate of humanity and even that of the Watchers. Princess Cleo vows to regain her father's kingdom and help the people. Jonas Agallon, leader of the rebels, will try to free his people from slavery and avenge his brother. Prince Magnus will attempt to seize power from his father with a lost artifact that will give him power. And Princess Lucia, Magnus's sister, is the sorceress who has been prophesized for generations. 

Rhodes has created a great YA fantasy series with espionage, war, politics, and magic.

Rhodes, Morgan. (2013). Rebel Spring. New York: Razorbill.

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13 November 2014

Secret Lies

Secret Lies by Amy Dunne is the story of a new friendship that changes the lives of both young women.

Jenny O'Connor is popular. She and her three best friends are known for their rude comments toward other students. But the truth is that she is never the one saying rude things and she doesn't really like two of her three friends. She doesn't feel like she can be herself around them.

Nicola Jackson does not really have any friends. Her life consists of high school and trying to avoid her mother's boyfriend. Since she was twelve, he has been beating her and threatening to kill her.

After a particularly rough morning Nicola is fleeing her home when she literally runs into Jenny. She knows who Jenny is but doesn't believe that Jenny knows who she is - but Jenny has noticed her before. Jenny offers to take Nicola home and clean up her hand that was hurt when they crashed to the ground.

Nicola is suspicious, but Jenny seems to genuinely want to help. After spending the day together, Jenny convinces Nic to spend the night - and when she accidentally walks in on Nic changing into her pajamas and sees the scars on her back, she makes up a lie to convince her parents to allow Nic to move in for a while.

Dunne has written a steamy teen romance novel with an underlying story of overcoming abuse. Both of her characters have secrets that they have never felt comfortable talking about and together they begin to heal. This is a great YA lesbian novel.

Dunne, Amy. (2013). Secret Lies. New York: Bold Strokes Books.

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11 November 2014

Odyssey (Priscilla Hutchins #5)

Odyssey by Jack McDevitt is the fifth book in his science fiction series featuring Priscilla Hutchins.

Humans have been exploring outer space for decades. Life has been found on a handful of planets - but no other technologically advanced race has been seen. UFO sightings of the 1960s have been replaced by the idea of moonriders - aliens or ships that are out there but the government is not admitting it.

More moonriders have been spotted over the last few months than any other time - to the point where the Academy has scheduled a flight to leave monitors where they were seen. A team of four will be sent on a one month flight to place monitors in a few locations to hopefully capture proof of technology from another race.

The Academy is in the midst of political termoil after an asteroid narrowly misses Earth. While it is not the prevue of the Academy to watch for them (Congress cut funding to the program that was tasked with watching) they are bearing the brunt of the political upheaval. The combination of the asteroid and a flight to search for moonriders may leave the Academy open for attack by its enemies - unless the moonriders prove to be real.

McDevitt's wonderful series continues with this novel. His characters are great, his world building impeccable, and his weaving of many stories and personalities makes for great reading.

McDevitt, Jack. (2006). Odyssey. New York: Ace Books.

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05 November 2014

Conservative Affairs

Conservative Affairs by Riley Scott is the story about a speech writer for the Mayor of Oklahoma City.

Jo Carson is the mayor's speech writer. And her current assignment is to write a speech supporting traditional marriage and the defense of marriage act. While the mayor ran on a platform of fixing corruption, but as a southern republican, she is expected to take a stand against gay marriage. Jo respects Mayor Stratton, but as a closeted lesbian, doesn't love all aspects of her job.

When a staff member hears that the mayor's husband was caught leading a woman-not-his-wife into a hotel, Jo is the one who volunteers to tell Stratton. While their marriage has not been good for years, Madeline Stratton is shocked to hear the news. In an effort to provide for the mayor's well-being, Jo whisks the mayor away from the office. With the media circling, Jo takes her to her own apartment to hide out and regroup.

When Madeline discovers that Jo is likely a lesbian, her reaction is not what Jo expects. Scott has written a fast moving political novel with two hot main characters who feel an attraction they cannot control and placed them in the middle of one of the most controversial civil rights battle going on today.

Scott, Riley. (2014). Conservative Affairs. Tallahassee: Bella Books.

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04 November 2014


Timeless by Rachel Spangler is the story of Stevie Geller going back to her hometown to accept an award that will change her life.

Stevie Geller is a successful novelist and playwright. She lives in New York and has since she left high school and headed to NYU. She hasn't looked back in ten years.

When her manager tells her that she is getting an award from an arts committee in the town where she grew up, Darlington, Illinois, she tells him she is not going to the ceremony. Stevie likes to write from the comfort of her loft and does not feel the need to mingle with her readers. If there is a cause she feels strongly about, she writes a check. She is an author not a gay-rights activist. After some arguing, Stevie agrees to go to Darlington, but only for 34 hours.

At dinner with her hosts, and her manager, Stevie sees her high school English and theater teacher, Jody, the woman who made Stevie admit to herself that she is lesbian. And who still takes her breath away.

Then at the award assembly, in front of the entire student body, Stevie's anxiety about public speaking and being noticed kicks in. She has no idea what has happened, but when she wakes up it appears to be 2002 again. And she has to go to school - with all of the knowledge of a 28 year-old. Stevie must confront a few things in her life before she will be sent back to the present day - but first she has to figure out what they are - while trying to ignore her strong feelings for her teacher.

Spangler has written a enjoyable book that allows her character to change the course of her life. The story is sweet and the premise horrifying - then again, having the knowledge and maturity of a twenty-eight year old could make high school less painful, right?

Spangler, Rachel. (2014). Timeless. New York: Bold Strokes.

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03 November 2014

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1)

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes is the first book in her fantasy series of the same name.

The three lands of Auranos, Paelsia and Limeros used to be one land back when elemental magic was free in the world. Now the three kingdoms have little to do with each other. Limeros in the north is frozen for all but a couple of months a year. Paelsia is becoming a desert where little will grow. Auranos in the south is the most prosperous.

Four young people from the three lands will determine the future. Princess Cleiona Bellos of Auranos is about to begin a journey through enemy territory in search of a magic legend. Jonas is enraged at the death of his brother at the hands of a royal from the south and will fight to the death to avenge him. Lucia discovers she is adopted as strange things begin to happen around her. And Prince Magnus of Limeros will be changed forever when he reveals his heart to the one he loves.

Rhodes has created a great fantasy series. This first installment will entice readers to follow the four characters through the misery and hope of love, loss, espionage, and war.

Rhodes, Morgan. (2012). Falling Kingdoms. New York:Razor Bill.

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