Good Books and the Random Movie

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26 February 2017

Vanished (Nick Heller #1)

Vanished by Joseph Finder is the first book in his Nick Heller series. Heller is a private intelligence operative working for a private firm in Washington, DC.

Roger and Lauren Heller are attacked on their way back to the car after eating at a restaurant. Lauren is hospitalized with a head injury. Roger is missing. Nick is contacted by his nephew, Gabe, while he is on a job about a missing cargo shipment.

Nick and his brother, Roger, have not gotten along since they became adults, but Nick would do anything to help his family. He will use all of his skills to find out where Roger is or what happened to him.

Finder is a master of the suspense/thriller novel. All of his book are fast, engaging reads. Nick Heller is a great character with a unique set of skills in a popular genre.

Finder, Joseph. (2009). Vanished. New York: St. Martin's Press.

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22 February 2017

The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #1)

The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman is the second book in her Lady Helen series of alternate history / fantasy set in the early 1800s England.

Lady Helen Wrexhall was introduced to the Dark Days Club at the time she was introduced to society. Expecting parties and potential suitors, instead she got creatures that look human but feed off of those around them.

Now Helen is in training to fight these creatures, to keep a balance. She is in Brighton with her members of the club, the Hammonds. Lord Carlston is helping to train her.

Unfortunately, Lord Carlston is fighting something within himself. And to make matters worse, the man Helen turned down for marriage has followed them to the shore.

Goodman has created a great fantasy series set within the confines of British society at its height.

Goodman, Alison (2017). The Dark Days Pact. New York: Viking.

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14 February 2017

South of Sunshine

South of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf is the story of first love.

Senior Kaycee McCoy is tired of attempting to date boys. She has no interest in them. She just needs to stay hidden until the end of the school year. Then she will start breaking free of Sunshine, Tennessee.

But her plan begins to fall apart as soon as she sees the new student. Bren Dawson, from Boston, has lived all over the place. Even in Africa. She is tall and beautiful and stands out because of her skin. Her mother is Cuban.

Kaycee tries to avoid Bren. But then she wonders if she will be too obvious by not being her friend. Van and Sarabeth, Kaycee's best friends since childhood start to notice her strange behavior. Van, who is not closeted, but is not shouting to the small conservative town that he is gay wants Kaycee to admit to him her feelings. Sarabeth is acting strange and trying to force a new boyfriend on Kaycee.

Elmendorf has written a beautiful coming out story with a brave and wonderful ending.

Elmendorf, Dana. (2016). South of Sunshine. Illinois: Albert Whitman & Co.

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11 February 2017

Archetype (Archetype #1)

Archetype by M.D. Waters is a dystopian tale on the order of the Handmaid's Tale.

Emma wakes up with no memory. Her husband, Declan, is a patient and powerful man who helps nurse her back to health. She is staying in a clinic which seems more like a lab where she has tests everyday.

There is a voice in her head that warns her not to talk about the dreams and memories that begin to surface. Memories of a camp / school where girls are trained to be mothers. And dreams of a beach with a man who is not her husband.

Waters has created a creepy futuristic novel about a woman with no memory who has to rely on instincts about who to trust. The feel of reading this book invokes a confusion and tension - and a need to find out the truth!

Waters, M.D. (2013). Archetype. New York: Plume.

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05 February 2017

Front Lines (Soldier Girl #1)

Front Lines by Michael Grant is the story of what it would have been like if US women could have been drafted during World War II - focusing on three young women who sign up.

The court case Becker v. Minneapolis Draft Board in 1940 ruled that the Selective Training and Service Act (the military draft) unfairly singles out males, and extends the draft to all United States citizens 18 year of age or older.

Rio Richlin of Gedwell Fall, California, just heard that her sister died in the Pacific when her Navy ship was sunk by the Japanese. When her best friend Jenou announces that she is joining the Army. Rio decides to join with her.

Frangie Marr of Tulsa, Oklahoma, wants to be a doctor. She doesn't know any black women doctors, but it is her dream. She is going to sign up for the Army and try to become a medic. The stipend will help her family's income since her father's injury.

Rainy Schulterman of New York City wants to join the Army to kill Nazis. Her relatives in Europe have been silent since Germany invaded. Her brother, who is her best friend, is a Marine being assigned to the Pacific. Rainy will be assigned to Army intelligence.

Grant has written a great historical novel that is also a what-if. The book explores the sexism and racism at the time with three great main characters. Front Lines is the first book in a series. Buy a copy today! Book two is already out.

Grant, Michael. (2016). Front Lines. New York: Katherine Tegen Books.

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03 February 2017

Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet

Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet by HP Wood is a look at Coney Island at the turn of the 20th century.

Zeph works at the museum known as Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet. It is a collection of strange and bazaar artifacts. Zeph enjoys the days when no customers come to see the exhibits. He is content to sit at the counter and read.

As one of the Unusuals, Zeph doesn't feel the need to interact with Dozens. They have not proven to be overly kind people, especially to Zeph, who lost his legs and is now seen as one of the many freaks who hang around Coney Island.

Kitty Hayward has adopted a bench on Coney Island as her current home. She and her mother just arrived on a steamer ship from abroad. She left her mother at the hotel to go for a walk and when she returned was treated like she did not belong in the hotel. The bell boy acted like she was lying about staying there. Now Kitty doesn't know what to do. She knows no one in America.

As Kitty meets the Unusuals, a few of them vow to help her find her mother. But on top of dealing with a missing mother, they ship they can in on has been quarantined and people are starting to get sick. It is not unlikely that politicians will use this as an excuse to try to close Coney Island.

Wood has taken an American landmark and created a story of the wonderful, colorful people who may have live there 100 plus years ago. This is a book for anyone who loves New York. Read it!

Wood, H.P. (2016). Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet. ?:Sourcebooks Landmark.

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