Good Books and the Random Movie

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Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States

30 January 2016

Seneca Falls

Seneca Falls by Jesse Thoma is a story of healing and finding love.

Seneca King goes to Sophia College, an Ivy League women's school in New England. She is on scholarship and works three jobs. She has a reputation around campus and at the local lesbian bar - she is aloof and gorgeous. She never goes home with the same woman.

Her roommate, Britt, knows her a little better than everyone else, but still not well. Britt is her fifth roommate and only friend until she meets Kate. Kate Smith is the new athletic trainer. And she offers Seneca a job - one job to replace the three. Seneca jumps at the chance.

Seneca also meets Dylan. Dylan is a senior who spent her last year studying abroad. When she returned she felt disconnected from her old friends. She wants someone who knows more about the world outside of campus.

Seneca's past is a block that could get in the way of her relationship with Dylan. She hasn't told anyone at school what happened to her. Only Kate knows that Seneca's limp is from a gunshot wound.

Thoma has written a great story of redemption and healing. Her characters are real and compelling. This is the third book of hers I have read recently and I have thoroughly enjoyed each one.

Thoma, Jesse. (2015). Seneca Falls. Valley Falls, NY: Bold Strokes Books.

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29 January 2016


Femme by Mette Bach is a coming of age story.

Sofie is a bad student. She sometimes thinks she should try harder but is easily convinced by her boyfriend to blow off studying to hang out.

Then her English teacher decided everyone was going to work in pairs. Now her work will affect the grade of another student - a really good student.

Clea is a good student, athlete and the president of the Gay-Straight-Alliance at school. . She has plans to get a scholarship to college and get out of Vancouver.

As Sofie gets to know Clea she begins to try harder. She is starting to think she is smarter than she gave herself credit for in the past.

When Sofie joins Clea for a weekend road trip to check out colleges in Portland, Oregon, her feelings begin to change.

Bach has written a sweet HiLo lesbian novel. (HiLo- High interest, Low reading level)

Bach, Mette. (2015). Femme. Toronto: James Lorimer & Co.

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28 January 2016

Destroyer Angel (Anna Pigeon #18)

Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr is the eighteenth book in the Anna Pigeon series. Anna is a park ranger in the US national parks. She has been assigned all over the place during her career (each book takes place in a different park).

Anna is joining friends camping in the North Woods of the Iron Range in Minnesota. Heath is a paraplegic and former rock climber who is testing equipment that will help make her time outdoors more enjoyable and give her more freedom of movement. Heath's daughter, Elizabeth is with her. Leah, the designer of an outdoor wheelchair and a canoe for paras is joined by her daughter Katie.

On their second night in the woods, Anna goes for a solo canoe float down the river. While she is away four men surround the camp. They are there to kidnap Leah and Katie. Some fast thinking prevents them from killing Heath and Elizabeth. Soon the four women are tied up and being marched out.

Anna hears them before she stumbles upon them and then uses her knowledge of the outdoors to track them, waiting for an opportunity to help.

Barr is a master storyteller. Her character, Anna Pigeon, is the person you want on your side in any situation - she could rival Jack Reacher in her usefulness. These books are awesome. If you have not yet started the Anna Pigeon books, you can start at book one: Track the Cat or at The Rope, a flashback to her first case as a ranger. Either way - read this series!

Barr, Nevada. (2014). Destroyer Angel. New York: St. Martin's Press.

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23 January 2016

Murder in the Mystery Suite (Book Retreat Mysteries #1)

Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams is the first book in her Book Retreat Mysteries which take place at a hotel for people who love books.

Storyton Hall in Storyton, Virginia is a book lover's paradise. Jane Stewart runs the hotel in a manor house her ancestor moved from England and had rebuilt in the country. The inn has a huge library and employs a librarian among the large staff. But maintaining a huge property is expensive and if Jane doesn't increase the number of guests she will never catch up with repairs.

That is why Jane has created the Murder and Mayhem Week - a retreat with a scavenger hunt and mystery themed games and activities - with a first edition book by a popular mystery author as the prize.

Murder in the Mystery Suite is a great book for people who love to read mysteries and are well read. There are numerous references to popular mystery authors and storytellers. The town and inn are filled with quirky characters who would fit in well in Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls.

Adams, Ellery. (2014). Murder in the Mystery Suite. New York: Berkeley Prime Crime.

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21 January 2016

Desert Dark

Desert Dark by Sonja Stone is about a school that trains teens to work in the field of black ops for the CIA.

Nadia Riley is having a terrible time at the beginning of her junior year. Her best friend hooked up with her boyfriend. And her math teacher accused her of cheating - until she does another test in front of him. Now she is short on friends and just wants to disappear. But be careful what you wish for...

A man shows up at her house with an opportunity. There is a hidden test within the PSAT - sixty questions that test the way you think. The average student gets one or two right. Students who get recruited to the Desert Mountain Academy - a government funded private school - usually get about 20. Nadia Riley got them all right.

Nadia is assigned to a team that is already at school. She has some catching up to do. She will have to fit in with three different students to form a team that can work together and protect each other during the survival tests. Her team is Libby (her roommate), Damon and Alan with a team leader, Jack.

Along with trying to catch up and fit in, Nadia will be caught up in the rumor of a double agent at the school. The whole reason Nadia got to join the school is because the girl she is replacing was killed.

Stone's debut novel is a fast-paced, thrilling story filled with espionage, martial arts and puzzles. This is a great read!

Stone, Sonja. (2016). Desert Dark. New York: Holiday House.

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20 January 2016

The Chase (Holt Lasher #1)

The Chase by Jesse J Thoma is the first book in the Holt Lasher series. Holt is a skip tracer who is known around the Providence, Rhode Island area as someone not to mess with.

Holt is chasing a kid she has caught before. Peanut is always in trouble for misdemeanor crimes and never seems to make it to court. Even though Holt always catches him, he is running.

After a chase through two neighborhoods and over too many tall fences, Holt catches him in someone's backyard - just in time for Peanut to tackle her into the pool - saving her from the shotgun blast that just came over the fence.

Isabelle Rochat, a CPA, is upset that someone chased a criminal into her backyard and brought danger into her life. But Holt is convinced that the shot was meant for Isabelle.

Holt assigns her crew to watch Isabelle until she can convince her she is in danger and can help get her out.

Thoma has created a kickass super hero in Holt Lasher. Her books are fast reads that will pull reader in and not let go.

Thoma, Jesse. (2013). The Chase. Valley Falls, NY: Bold Strokes Books.

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16 January 2016

On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington #1)

On Basilisk Station by David Weber is the first book in the Honor Harrington series -  a military science fiction series featuring a tough ship's captain in the Manticore navy.

Honor has been given a new ship with her promotion. While she is getting used to her crew - and they to her - they will participate in war games to check the readiness of the fleet. Honor's ship, the HMS Fearless, has been retrofitted with the latest weapon (at the cost of many other useful weapons).

After the first round of games, when she and her crew surprised the enemy and won, the Fearless has been blasted every time. In response, the higher up who had the weapon installed, has assigned Honor and her new crew to the least desirable post in Manticoran space - Basilisk Station.

Basilisk Station is one of the newer parts of Manitcoran space. Manticore is against colonization - even though Basilisk is a valuable portal that saves months of travel time there is political opposition to being there. The post has many detailed rules about what is to be supervised, but historically not much has been done.

When Honor arrives, she finds out that the commander in charge of the station is her least favorite person in all of space. And he has a grudge against her. In order to set her up for failure, he puts her in charge while he takes his ship home for repairs. But anyone who knows Honor knows she will find a way to complete her assignment.

Weber has created a great science fiction series peopled with humans who have evolved with the colonization of different planets. This is a brilliant start to a political, military science fiction series. (Since it is not new you may have trouble finding it in your library. You can buy used copies at

Weber, David. (1993). On Basilisk Station. New York: Baen Books.

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06 January 2016

Pedal to the Metal (Holt Lasher #2)

Pedal to the Metal by Jesse Thoma is the second book in her Holt Lasher series. Lasher has a bounty hunter agency and a reputation in Providence, Rhode Island for getting the job done.

Max Winter has worked for Holt for a while but has never in the field. Max is a computer expert and usually does her work from the office, but Holt is moving her to the field for their next case.

Car thefts have skyrocketed in Providence and Holt has been asked to investigate. The police have found no evidence about who is behind the increase. In order to gain an inside edge, Whitney Williams - who goes by Dubs - will be released early from prison to assist. Dubs is one of the best car thieves on the East coast.

While Dubs is helping out she is still a flight risk, with Holt on the line, so she will be handcuffed to Max for the duration of the case or unless she proves trustworthy.

Thoma's has written a high adrenaline suspense novel and created a kick ass character in Holt Lasher.

Thoma, Jesse. (2015). Pedal to the Metal. Valley Falls, NY: Bold Strokes Books.

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04 January 2016

The Art of Being Normal

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson is the story of two students who

David Piper is an outsider. He has two good friends and not many others. The popular kids have picked on him for years. His parents think he is gay and keep hinting that it is okay. But he is not gay. He was born into the wrong body. He is a girl trapped inside a boy.

Leo Denton is new to Eden Park School. He transferred from the rough school in town. Rumor has it that he got kicked out for cutting off the finger of a teacher. But the truth is that he transferred for a chance to have a better life and a shot at university.

David wants Leo to join him and his friends Zoe and Felix for lunch, but Leo is convinced that it is better to be invisible and not have any friends. He wants to keep his secrets to his self. But David is persistent and so is a beautiful girl that Leo has trouble ignoring.

Williamson has written a sensitive and compelling novel about a transgender teen and the struggle to get others to see you as you see yourself.

Available in May 2016 in the US.

Williamson, Lisa. (2016). The Art of Being Normal. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux.

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