Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Director's Cut by Janice Thompson (Book Review)

Title: The Director's Cut (Backstage Pass #3)
Author: Janice Thompson
Publisher: Revell Books


About the book: Tia Morales is used to calling the shots. She's the director of the popular sitcom Stars Collide, and her life on set is calculated and orderly. Well, most of the time. But her life outside the studio is another matter. If only she could get her family to behave as well as her stars do When she starts butting heads with handsome camera operator Jason Harris, it's enough to send a girl over the edge. Will she ever learn to let go and take life--and love--as it comes? 


Full of the humor and crazy family dynamics Janice Thompson fans have come to love, this colorful story gives readers an inside look at Hollywood and a healthy dose of romance.

Available June  2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

My Thoughts: I had the opportunity to read the second book in this series last fall (Hello Hollywood!) so wanted to learn what happened with some of the other characters that we met then.  This time we get to take a step into Tia's shoes.  As the director of Stars Collide they are some big shoes to fill!  Between her job, "flipping" her house, and her ongoing family drama she is under a lot of stress. She is beginning to feel some attraction to her head camerman, but as their relationship has previously only been to antagonize each other, she is not sure what she is feeling.

This was a lighthearted romance that moved along quickly and was fun to read.  I really liked Tia and enjoyed the family drama that she was going through (helps to put one's life in perspective at times). This book helps to see when it is important to be in charge and when you need to let go and let God be in charge. 

I haven't had the chance to read the first book in the series, Stars Collide, and may still go back and read it to be able to fill in any missing parts.  I did like that she added a little extra info at the end of the book to tell you what the characters did after the book ended - that was kind of fun!

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my unbiased review.~

You can connect with the author at her blog Janice Hanna Thompson where she has been blogging with true stories about her career as a director.

The Director's Cut
Publisher/Publication Date: Revell Books, June 2012
ISBN: 9780800733476
296 pages




Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand (Review and Giveaway)

Title: Summerland
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company


About the Book: A perfect summer's night ends in a deadly crash -- and four lives are changed forever.


On a warm June evening, a local tradition continues: the students of Nantucket High gather for a bonfire on the beach.  But the celebration ends in tragedy after a horrible car crash leaves the driver, Penny Alistair, dead, and her twin brother, Hobby, in a coma.  Penny's boyfriend, Jake, and her friend Demeter are unhurt but haunted by the events of that night, and by the questions that linger about what happened in the car -- and in the dunes before Penny took the wheel.


For Zoe, the twins' mother, the unthinkable awaits: life without her daughter, and an agonizing recovery for the son who had been a star athlete with infinite prospects.  Free-spirited Zoe has been as much friend as mother to her children, but now she has to face devastating truths about them, and about her own role in all that happened.


As summer unfolds, Zoe and the other parents ask whether their efforts to protect their children from life's realities have only left them more vulnerable.  The key to understanding the accident lies in what Penny learned that evening on the beach -- but will it also destroy the survivors' fragile peace?




My thoughts: This was only my second Elin Hilderbrand book and I enjoyed it even more than the first one.  Her characters are very human and easy to relate to.  The story is told by revolving around all of those involved - Hobby and his mom,  Zoe; Demeter and her parents, Al and Lynne; Jake and his parents, Jordan and Ava.  Each of their lives is touched by this tragedy and the surviving three kids each spend part of the summer wondering what set Penny off on her crash course that night, and dealing with the guilt because they each think they know what it was. Somehow they all have to learn to start living again.


For Hobby, he first must recover physically and that is a long road.  He is also more worried about his mom's acceptance of Penny's death than his own.  Jake is hauled off to Australia by his parents and while there watches his parents reverse roles.  To him it is just more of the same though and all he wants is to get back home to Nantucket.  Demeter never really felt accepted by any of them and starts to drown her loneliness and guilt more and more in the bottle. Little do they know that their parents have secrets, too.  


I would really recommend you add this book to your summer reading list!  And to help you out with that - please sign up for the giveaway below!  This giveaway is open to U.S./Canada only and will end on July 11 at midnight. 


Summerland
Publisher/Publication Date: Little, Brown and Company, June 26, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-316-09983-7
385 pages




a Rafflecopter giveaway


~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Hachette in exchange for my review.~

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Fit First to Second Grade (Book Review)

Title: Summer Fit First to Second Grade: Prepare First Graders Mentally, Physically and Socially for Second Grade
Author: Kelly Terrill
Publisher: Summer Fit Learning


About the Book:  Summer Fit is a new summer workbook series designed to keep children academically and physically engaged between grade levels.  Summer Fit uses an active and values-based approach to summer learning.


Research shows that the more children play outside the classroom, the better children perform inside the classroom.  Written by some of today's most energetic and engaged educators, Summer Fit creates an active learning environment using physical and academic exercises.  Grade-appropriate activities focus on reading, writing, language arts and math, while incorporating physical fitness exercises on a daily basis.  To reinforce and teach core-values, Summer Fit includes values-based activities highlighting some of the world's most inspiring leaders and humanitarians such as Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Terry Fox and Mahatma Gandhi.


Each Summer Fit workbook includes a 10-week motivational calendar to help you create a routine, give children choices and reward both academic and physical accomplishments.


Summer Fit includes:

  • Daily activities and exercises for a 10-week program.
  • Weekly values-based activities that inspire children and teach core values.
  • FREE downloads to provide extra challenge in reading, writing, and math.
  • Bicycle maintenance and safety activities by Mike and The Bike.
  • Reading and mathematics activities based on national standards.
  • On-line videos to show children how to properly perform fitness exercises.
  • Activities and exercises that progress in difficulty so children are not overwhelmed.




My thoughts: This is a great book to keep your kids involved in learning in the summer. I chose to review the First to Second Grade as that is the age of my son right now.  The daily assignments are pretty quick to finish and are spot on as to grade level. There is a variety so he doesn't get bored.  I like the incentive charts also as that lets him earn some fun rewards.  (In his case this might be an evening at the pool or a movie with his sister - but it can also be as easy as a sundae with his choice of toppings.)  The daily work starts out with some physical stuff too -- like Hula Hoop, Jump Rope or Ankle Touches.  You are also given a website were you can go above and beyond the daily stuff for something a little more challenging.

If you are looking for something to keep your kids engaged this summer, they have workbooks that cover Preschool-Kindergarten up through 4th-5th grade. I highly recommend this series.  The toughest challenge I have had is getting mine to sit down long enough!





~ I received a complimentary copy of Summer Fit from Media Guests in exchange for my review.~

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading? (June 25, 2012)



What are you reading on Mondays is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey - You can hook up with the Mr. Linky there with your own post - but be sure and let me know what you are reading too! 




Currently reading this week: 

Upcoming books:
Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkampf
After the Fog by Kathleen Shoop










Bathroom Book:


Books reviewed last week: 





Books read and needing to be reviewed:
Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris
Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog by Lisa Scottoline




Until next week ----  Ready - Set - Read!


Mailbox Monday (June 25, 2012)





 Mailbox Monday will be hosted in June by Marie at Burton Book Review.
I received lots of ebooks this week and a few physical copies.  My bookshelves appreciated this!




Love is Murder
edited by Sandra Brown


Go on vacation with Allison Brennan's Lucy Kincaid, where she saves a man from drowning, only to discover he is in far greater danger on land. Meet Roxanne St. Claire's "bullet catcher"--bodyguard Donovan Rush--who may have met his match in the sexually charged "Diamond Drop." Debut author William Simon shows us what happens when the granddaughter of the president of the United States is kidnapped. And Lee Child's pitch-perfect "I Heard a Romantic Story" puts a whole new spin on Love Is Murder.

Bodyguards, vigilantes, stalkers, serial killers, women (and men ) in jeopardy, cops, thieves, P.I.s, killers--these all-new stories will keep you thrilled and chilled late into the night.








 

Gone Missing
by Linda Castillo

Rumspringa is the time when Amish teens are allowed to experience life without rules, but everything changes when a child goes missing
 
In the newest chilling thriller from New York Times bestselling author Linda Castillo, Chief of police Kate Burkholder is called upon to assist when an Amish teenager disapears without a trace.
A missing child is a nightmare to all parents, and never more so than in the Amish community, where family ties are strong. So when a body turns up and another young girl goes missing, fear spreads through the community like a contagion. Kate and state agent, John Tomasetti, delve into the lives of the missing teens and discover links to cold cases that may go back years. But will Kate piece together all the parts of this sinsiter puzzle before it's too late? Or will she find herself locked in a fight to the death with a merciless killer.


 


Beach Season
by Lisa Jackson, Cathy Lamb, Holly Chamberlin, Rosalind Noonan

The Brass Ring (Lisa Jackson)
It's a beautiful June day, perfect for a wedding -- until Shawna learns that her fiance, Parker, has been involved in a car crash.  Though his injuries heal, his memories of her are gone.  Yet Shawna won't stop reaching to reclaim the love they once shared. . .

June's Lace (Cathy Lamb)
June MacKenzie is done -- with her high-pressure legal career, her cheating soon-to-be-ex, and the stress of city living.  In her studio on the Oregon coast, she creates beautiful lace wedding dresses, with no intention of ever wearing one again herself.  then songwriter Reece rents the house next door and sets out to change her mind. . .

Second Chance Sweethearts (Holly Chamberlin)
Thea Foss is putting a bad marriage behind her in the pretty vacation town of Ogunquit, Maine.  What's past is past. . . Until her first love wanders into the local diner, reminding Thea of the person she once was, and the life it's not too late to claim. . .

Carolina Summer (Rosalind Noonan)
Jane Doyle needs to get out of New York -- the farther the better.  She's headed toward Florida, but thanks to a storm along North Carolina's Outer Banks, she finds herself stranded in a beautiful, remote town that soon feels a lot like home.  And thanks to the local sheriff, she finds herself staying longer than she planned -- and feeling less lost at sea than ever. . .




From Fame to Shame
by Veronica Blade

Despite the danger of tabloid drama if their identity swap is discovered, Maddie has to save her sister's butt. When Jackie’s ex-boyfriend shows up with a rekindled spark for “Jackie,” his deep gray eyes and sweet kisses make Maddie's heart thumpety thump. But dating the guy who dumped her sister is a no-no. Too bad Dallas isn’t used to girls saying no. What will happen when he discovers Maddie’s deception?



 

Secret of the Wolf
By Cynthia Garner

Warriors of the Rift

Once a generation, the rift between the paranormal world and the human world opens, allowing supernatural entities to cross. Vampire, demon, or shapeshifter, they can save the world-or send it spiraling into chaos.

As a werewolf liaison to the Council of Preternaturals, Tori Joseph is used to straddling the world between humans and immortals. She plays by the rules and always delivers justice, no matter the cost. But after a string of increasingly brutal attacks results in humans turning into werewolves, Tori doesn't reveal her horrifying suspicion: Someone very close to her might be responsible.

Investigating the paranormal violence, no-nonsense detective Dante MacMillan believes Tori is hiding something. His search for the truth draws him into greater danger as he gets closer to the dark realm of the immortals-and to the sexy werewolf who stirs his primal lust. Now with evil closing in around them, Dante must convince Tori to trust him . . . before her deadly secret destroys them both.

 

Tangled Ties to a Manatee
by Kalen Cap

A pregnant manatee is rare at any zoo, and a first for the Grove City Zoo in Ohio. Ankh is a delight to zoo patrons, a concern to its staff, and the unintentional victim of two con men. She has no idea how many human relationships, problems, and dreams tangle around her. 

Jerry is a young developmentally disabled man who happily follows Ankh's pregnancy on the zoo's webcam. He has a shy crush on Janelle, a pretty college student who volunteers for his group home’s outings to the zoo. 

Jerry's Aunt Vera also loves nature and runs an environmental retreat center. But all is not well, with Vera or the center. The center needs money and is under investigation as a cult. 

Amid their college studies, Janelle and her friend Cecily try to help. Instead, Janelle re-awakens an old obsession in Vera when an innocent tarot reading hints at how the center might be saved. 

Two bumbling con men are attempting to sabotage the region’s electrical grid as part of a lucrative scheme. But Jerry accidentally gets in their way and becomes their captive. 

When the con men surprisingly succeed in bringing the grid down, it spells danger for Ankh, her unborn pup, and the many people tied to them both. With investigations of their own, Cecily and Janelle try to untangle it all to find Jerry, save a manatee’s life, and rescue Vera from herself. 

Tangled Ties to a Manatee is a humorous crime thriller with environmental themes. The novel is revealed through multiple points of view and centers around college-aged characters.






Forgive Me, Alex
by Lane Diamond

Tony Hooper stands in shadow across the street, one amongst many in the crowd of curiosity-hounds gathered to watch a monster's release. Seventeen years after Mitchell Norton, "the devil," terrorized Algonquin, Illinois on a spree of kidnapping, torture and murder, the authorities release the butcher from psychiatric prison.

Tony longs to charge across the street to destroy Norton—no remorse—as if stepping on a cockroach. Only sheer force of will prevents his doing so.

"The devil" walks the world again. What shall Tony do about it? Aye, what indeed.

After all, this is what Tony does. It's who he is. "The devil" himself long ago made Tony into this hunter of monsters. What a sweet twist of fate this is, that he may still, finally, administer justice.

Will FBI Special Agent Linda Monroe stop him? She owes him her life, so how can she possibly put an end to his?

Tony Hooper and Mitchell Norton battle for supremacy, with law enforcement always a step away, in this story of justice and vengeance, evil and redemption, fear and courage, love and loss.




The Secret Life of Copernicus H. Stringfellow
by Lorin Barber

Copernicus H. Stringfellow, a.k.a. Nick, is not your run-of-the-mill genius. His mind is so powerful it can stop a speeding automobile or stem internal bleeding. As Nick goes about quietly doing good, he discovers that his powers are greatly enhanced by the nutrients present in Twinkies. Follow Nick on his amazing adventures in this humorous and exciting action-packed book for all ages.



 

Dangerous Past
by A.F. Ebbers

Airline Captain Frank Braden is being stalked by unknown assailants who must arrange his death to look like a suicide or an accident before a specific deadline.


 

You, Fascinating You
by Germaine Shames

In the final weeks of 1938, in the shadow of Kristallnacht and imminent war, a heartsick Italian maestro wrote a love song called “Tu Solamente Tu.” 

Its lyrics lamented his forced separation from his wife, the Hungarian ballerina Margit Wolf, in the wake of Mussolini’s edict banishing foreign Jews from Italy. The song, first recorded by Vittorio de Sica in 1939, catapulted to the top of the Hit Parade and earned its composer the moniker “the Italian Cole Porter.” The German version, “Du Immer Wieder Du,” would be performed by Zarah Leander, the foremost film star of the German Reich, and its English counterpart, “You, Fascinating You,” by the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band. 
Twenty-two years would pass before the maestro and his ballerina again met face-to-face.

You, Fascinating You begins as a backstage romance and ends as an epic triumph of the human spirit.




The Secret of Ravelston
by Sergio Silveira


Jane Freemont is British young lady with a very big problem.  She is modern girl...but she lives in early 19th Century.  Jane has a critical, inquiring mind that is always ready to state her honest opinions--no matter whom she may inconvenience.  This causes the young gentlemen to run away for her--for men surely can welcome women's criticism so much more than they do.  But that's our loss.

Jane's older brother, and only living relative, has sent her to live far away in the north, where he believes her critical and inquiring mind will no longer create problems for him.  But as Jane arrives in beautiful Ravelston, she becomes determined to discover the fate of another, yet much less privileged, young woman who has mysteriously vanished. In Ravelston no one seems to care about what happened to Mary Hale, who was seen as unimportant because she was poor. But Jane will risk everything, even her future, to find out the truth. 

And Jane will discover that powerful love, when not accepted in oneself, is one of the cruelest things there is.
 
The novel is also very funny. There is much satire of the affluent, aristocratic class, who live an idle life in unimaginable luxury, all at the cruel expense of countless persons who they do not see as real, and who live in poverty.  That's the autobiographical part of the novel, having grown up in an "old," land-owning family in which having "proper manners" was considered as being more important than having true kindness.  Therefore, much of my life is in the novel.



What books came home to you this week?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Spectral by Shannon Duffy (Book Review)




Title: Spectral
Author: Shannon Duffy
Publisher: Tribute Books


About the book: Convinced she’s a part of the witness protection program, sixteen-year-old Jewel Rose is shuffled around the globe with her family like a pack of traveling gypsies. After arriving at lucky home twenty-seven, she stumbles upon a mysterious boy with magical powers claiming to be her guardian . . . and warning of imminent danger. Despite the obvious sparks between them, Jewel discovers a relationship is forbidden, and the more she learns about dark, brooding Roman, she begins to question who she can even believe — the family who raised her, or the supposed sworn protector who claims they’ve been lying to her all along.



As she struggles to uncover who her family has really been running from, she is forced to hide her birthmark that reveals who she is. With new realities surfacing, unexplained powers appearing, and two tempting boys vying for her heart, Jewel battles to learn who she can trust in an ever growing sea of lies, hoping she’ll make it through her seventeenth birthday alive.



My thoughts: I found this a fun book to read.  It has the teenage angst, first romances, rival teenage girls, and magic!  I immediately felt sorry for Jewel as she had to move and change schools every single year - can you imagine?  She also felt a real love for her younger brother so that endeared her to me as well.  

With the latest move, her family ends up in Pomona Park, Florida - a very small town with a very small high school.  But it doesn't matter how big or little, there were still cliques, and while she does make her first real friend - the "popular" girl seems to be set on making her life miserable!  But this is just a blip on her radar as she begins to discover secrets that her family has been hiding.

To make things even more complicated, as she begins the journey to discovering who she really is and why her family has been on the run, Roman and Chase seem to be battling for her affection.  Never having been kissed, now she has two really cute guys lining up to kiss her!

Seriously though, as she nears her seventeenth birthday, she is not sure if she can even trust her own family.  She is hoping she just survives!

I did enjoy this book, as I like the YA Paranormal genre.  I am hoping that this one might be the beginning of a series, as there were some loose ends that didn't quite get wrapped up and I would love to know what happens to them!

~I received a complimentary ebook copy of Spectral from Tribute Books in exchange for my unbiased review.~

About the author: Shannon Duffy writes young adult and middle grade fiction. She grew up on the beautiful east coast of Canada and now lives in Ontario, Canada. She is the mom of one boy, Gabriel, her angel. She loves writing, reading, working out, soccer, and the sport of champions-shopping.. Her upcoming middle grade fantasy novel, GABRIEL STONE AND THE DIVINITY OF VALTA is scheduled for a January 2013 release.






You can find Shannon at the following places:

For more information about the book - please visit any (or all!) of the following:


Spectral web site:http://spectralwitch.blogspot.com/
  
Spectral 
Twitter hashtag:
#Spectral

Spectral GoodReads page:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13319632-spectral
 





Spectral
Publishing/Publication Date: April 2012
ISBN: 9780983741879
242 pages

Monday, June 18, 2012

So Far Away by Meg Mitchell Moore (Book Review)

Title: So Far Away
Author: Meg Mitchell Moore
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books (Little, Brown and Company)


About the book: Thirteen-year-old Natalie Gallagher is trying to escape: from her parents' ugly divorce, and from the vicious cyber-bullying of her former best friend. She discovers a dusty old diary in her family's basement and is inspired to unlock its secrets.

Kathleen Lynch, an archivist at the Massachusetts State Archives, has her own painful secrets: she's a widow estranged from her only daughter. Natalie's research brings her to Kathleen, who in Natalie sees traces of the daughter she has lost.

What could the life of an Irish immigrant domestic servant from the 1920s teach them both? In the pages of the diary, they will learn that their fears and frustrations are timeless.

So Far Away is an affecting story of mothers and daughters and how solace can be found in the most unlikely places.

My thoughts:   This book didn't really grab me in the beginning.  I remembered that when I read her debut book, The Arrivals, that I felt the same way about the beginning, but eventually really enjoyed it, so I decided to stick with So Far Away.  I am not sure when the change happened, but I suddenly found that I could not put the book down.  I had to see what happened both in the present and the past.

There was a couple of stories going on here - Kathleen and her "lost" daughter; Neil and Adam and their baby adoption saga; Natalie and her relationship with her parents and friends; and Bridget, the Irish immigrant from the 1920's.  It was almost like the author happened upon this group of people and took a snapshot of a few months of their lives.  

What I mean by this is that it could be your next door neighbor's story, or the lady in the supermarket, or maybe even yours.  You don't get a nice neat ending at the end of the story either, but just the closing of the curtains on their lives.  It is with the understanding that life will go on, with more experiences and changes, and that this was just one moment out of life. 

I don't know which story I found more compelling - Natalie and her efforts to deal (or ignore) the cyber bullying that she found herself to be the center of, or Bridget and her tragic past.  It would be very cool to stumble upon an old diary and realize that you were the keeper of some secrets from the past, and that you might be the only one still alive who knew what those were.  I did like the way that the author was able to tie the two seemingly unrelated storylines together - but you will have to read the book to see how she does that!

I will continue to read books my Meg Mitchell Moore, but I have to remember that she draws me in slowly and not to give up on her books!  This is another book that I would recommend for book clubs - there is a lot of discussion material here about the proper ways to mother, how much influence we have or should have in our children's lives, cyberbullying, and even gay couples wanting to be parents. 

About the author: Meg Mitchell Moore is the author of The Arrivals and the forthcoming So Far Away. She worked for several years as a journalist. Her work has been published in Yankee, Continental, Women’s Health, Advertising Age and many other business and consumer magazines. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and their three children.


You can find her on her website - Meg Mitchell Moore, on Facebook, or on Twitter

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Book Sparks in exchange for my unbiased review.~

Publisher/Publication Date:Reagan Arthur Books, May 2012
ISBN: 978-0-316-09769-7
336 pages

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading? (June 18, 2012)



What are you reading on Mondays is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey - You can hook up with the Mr. Linky there with your own post - but be sure and let me know what you are reading too! 




Currently reading this week: 





Books I need to finish:  (I decided to add a new category for those books that seem to languish from week to week!)  I seem to keep starting books and not finishing them. . .   I need to get out of this trend!
Blood Orchids by Toby Neal



Upcoming books:
Summerland by Elin Hildebrand
The Director's Cut by Janice Thompson






Bathroom Book:




Books read and needing to be reviewed:
Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris
So Far Away by Meg Mitchell Moore
Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog by Lisa Scottoline




Until next week ----  Ready - Set - Read!


Mailbox Monday (June 18, 2012)





 Mailbox Monday will be hosted in June by Marie at Burton Book Review.  It is good to be back!  I took an unplanned hiatus the last two weeks - which started with our trip to Vegas.  Turns out that in Vegas they don't want you to spend time in your rooms, so wireless internet is NOT free!  So my computer made the trip with me, but did not get used at all.  My husband liked that alot.  This week's mailbox will cover the last two weeks because of that - I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours!



Books for review:



The Conviction
by Robert Dugoni


Attorney David Sloane is desperate to get through to his troubled teen-aged son, Jake.  Still reeling from his mother's brutal murder, the sixteen-year-old is spiraling out of control and Sloane has barely been able to keep him out of jail, much less steer him onto a less destructive path.  Haunted by his own sense of loss, Sloane must find a way to reconnect with his son and overcome the grief that feeds Jake's stubborn silences and alcohol-fueled outbursts.  So when his old friend, detective Tom Molia, suggests taking their sons on a guys-only camping trip, Sloane gratefully seizes the opportunity to spend quality time with Jake while keeping him out of harm's way. 


What Sloane imagines as the perfect getaway turns into a father's nightmare when Jake vandalizes a small town general store with Molia's young son, T.J., as an unwitting accomplice.  Early the next morning, before Sloane and Molia even realize they are missing, the boys are summarily tried, convicted, and sentenced to six months in the Fresh Start juvenile detention facility, a boot camp in California's Gold Country wilderness.


As Sloane fights the conviction, he soon finds that county judge Earl Boykin bends the law to his will with an authority that seems to go unquestioned -- both inside and outside the confines of his courtroom.  Meanwhile, Jake and T.J. face a grueling physical and psychological ordeal and learn the hard way that Fresh Start has a very different purpose than rehabilitating troubled youths.


For the first time, Sloane feels utterly paralyzed by the judicial system, and several near misses with vindictive local law enforcement leave him terrified for Jake, whose own fear is palpable during infrequent, clipped phone calls.  With their legal options exhausted, Sloane and Molia will do anything to save their sons, even mount a daring rescue operation that could win the boys their freedom -- or cost all of them their lives. 




Summerland
by Elin Hilderbrand


A perfect summer's night ends in a deadly crash -- and four lives are changed forever.

On a warm June evening, a local tradition continues:  the students of Nantucket High gather for a bonfire on the beach.  But the celebration ends in tragedy after a horrible car crash leaves the driver, Penny Alistair, dead and her twin brother, Hobby, in a coma.  Penny's boyfriend, Jake, and her friend Demeter are unhurt but haunted by the events of that night, and by the questions that linger about what happened in the car -- and in the dunes before Penny took the wheel.

For Zoe, the twins' mother, the unthinkable awaits:  life without her daughter, and an agonizing recovery for the son who had been a star athlete with infinite prospects.  Free-spirited Zoe has been as much friend as mother to her children, but now she has to face devastating truths about them, and about her own role in all that happened.

As summer unfolds, Zoe and the other parents ask whether their efforts to protect their children from life's realities have only left them more vulnerable.  The key to understanding the accident lies in what Penny learned that evening on the beach -- but will it also destroy the survivors' fragile peace? 



 
Blood Line
by James Rollins

Galilee, 1025.  Infiltrating an ancient citadel, a Templar knight uncovers a holy treasure long hidden within the fortress's labyrinth:  the Bachal Isu -- the staff of Jesus Christ -- a priceless icon that holds a mysterious and terrifying power that promises to change human kind forever.

A millennium later, Somali pirates hijack a yacht off the coast of the Horn of Africa, kidnapping a young pregnant American woman.  Commander Gray Pierce is enlisted for the covert rescue mission into the African jungle -- for the woman is no rich tourist; she's Amanda Gant-Bennett, the daughter of the U.S. president.

Suspicious that the kidnapping masks a far more nefarious plot, Gray must confront a shadowy cabal, one who has been manipulating events throughout history. .. and now challenges the current presidency.

For this sensitive mission, SIGMA is aided by a pair of special operatives with unique talents:  former Army Ranger Captain Tucker Wayne and his military war dog, Kane.  But what should be a straightforward rescue turns into a fiery ambush and a deadly act of betrayal as Gray and his team discover that the hostage is a pawn in a shattering act of terrorism with dark repercussions.  And the danger is only beginning. . .

Halfway around the world, a firebombing at a fertility clinic in South Carolina exposes a centuries-old conspiracy to manipulate our genetic code.  With time against them, SIGMA must race to save an innocent unborn baby, one who holds the key to a mystery and whose very existence raises questions about the nature of humanity, asking: 
Could you live forever?
Would you live forever? 



 
The Skeleton Box
Bryan Gruley

Mysterious break-ins plague the small town of Starvation Lake.  While elderly residents enjoy their weekly bingo night at St. Valentine's Catholic Church, someone is slipping into their homes to rifle through financial and personal files.  Oddly, the intruder takes nothing -- yet the "Bingo Night Burglaries" leave an entire town uneasy.

Worry turns into panic when a break-in escalates to murder.  Suddenly, Gus Carpenter, editor of the Pine County Pilot, is forced to investigate the most difficult story of his life.  Not only is the victim his ex-girlfriend Darlene's mother, but Phyllis Bontrager's body was found in the home of Bea Carpenter -- Gus's own mother.  Suffering from worsening dementia, Bea remembers little of the break-in, and the only clue from Phyllis's final desperate phone call is one unintelligible word: 'Nye-less'. 

With the help of Luke Whistler, a former Detroit Free Press reporter who came north looking for slower days and some old-fashioned newspaper work, Gus sets out to uncover the truth behind Mrs. B's death.  Yet Whistler may have his own agenda, and the secrets Gus is determined to unearth -- involving a lock-box his mother has guarded for years and the long-ago disappearance of a nun -- could forever change his perceptions of Starvation Lake, his own family, and the value of the truth.  Are some secrets better left buried? 




15 Seconds
by Andrew Gross

Henry Steadman didn't know what was about to hit him when he pulled up to a red light.  A successful Florida plastic surgeon, he is in town to deliver a keynote address at a conference when suddenly his life becomes an unrelenting chase to stay alive. 

The situation escalates when he is stopped by the police for a minor traffic violation and pulled from his vehicle, handcuffed and told he is under arrest.  Several other police cars arrive and the questioning turns scary, but just as Henry is released and about to move on, a blue sedan pulls up and the officer is suddenly killed.  As the car speeds away, there is only one suspect left behind - Henry.  In that moment, his idyllic life becomes a free fall into hell as he becomes the target of a police manhunt, as well as being pursued by a cunning unnamed perpetrator bent on some kind of vengeance.

When Henry turns to a close friend for help, and he, too, ends up dead, Henry realizes he's being elaborately framed.  But in a chilling twist, the stakes grow even darker, and he is unable to go the police to clear his name, without bringing on dire and deadly consequences.

With breakneck pacing and nonstop action, 15 Seconds shows what can happen when even the best life is turned upside down in an instant.  It is also the story of an innocent man, framed for murder, who has to save the person he loves the most, all while being drawn closer and closer to an inevitable face-to-face stand-off with a man determined to destroy his life. 


Books won:


 

Whisper Cape
by Regan Walsh

Whisper Cape is a town of secrets and Addison MacKenna soon becomes tangled in a web of them.

Fighting to shake off one of those devastating early morning nightmares.  Addison finds it even harder to escape from the vision of a man lying on the side of the road -- a man she may have just killed.  When she frantically tries to locate him, he seemingly disappears, just the beginning of strange occurrences in her life.  She also cannot ignore the weird sensations in her own body.  Suddenly, the impossible seems possible, but is that a blessing or a curse?

The only one who can protect Addison and teach her how to overpower the murderous monster who is determined to destroy her, is the same man who makes Addie's heart race and her blood heat with passion.  The same man she'd left for dead.

Cael Sheridan may be arrogant and mysterious but he's also undeniably gorgeous.  A member of a secret society, he is sworn to protect the woman he believes to be the daughter of his recently murdered mentor.  In the process, he finds it impossible to resist her magnetic sensuality, complicating his efforts to shield and guide her.  Fate has brought them together, but will it make them stronger or destroy them both in end?

Garage sale finds:

 
Angels at Christmas
by Debbie Macomber


Every Christmas, three lovable angels visit Earth.  Once a year, Shirley, Goodness and Mercy are allowed to intervene (or, more accurately, interfere!) in human affairs.  Despite their frequent misadventures and the chaos they often cause, things always seem to turn out right. . .

This Christmas, join Those Christmas Angels as they respond to Anne Fletcher's prayer request.  She wants her son, Roy, to meet a special woman -- and the angels contrive to throw Julie Wilcott in his path (literally!). 

Watch as the heaven-sent messengers reunite a divorced couple, bring peace of mind to an elderly man and grant a little boy's fondest wish.  Because there's always joy Where Angels Go.

Shirley, Goodness and Mercy offer you laughter and Christmas cheer in these two heartwarming stories!



Twice Kissed
by Lisa Jackson

Marquise Walker has vanished without a trace.  There are few clues and much speculation on her sudden disappearance.  But the truth is more terrifying than anyone can even imagine. . .

Maggie McCrae would do anything to find her identical twin sister -- even if it means stepping into her unfamiliar shoes.  Walking through Marquise's wild, uninhibited life is a revelation for Maggie, proof that she knew very little about her twin's darker side and her connection to the only man Maggie ever loved, Thane Walker.  Now he's the man she shouldn't trust, a man who could be her best hope. . . or a cold-blooded killer. . . .

The deeper Maggie digs, the more she is drawn into the web of her own past. . . to a twisted family legacy of desperate deceit, betrayal, and revenge. . . each secret bringing her closer to a final, shocking truth -- and to the identity of a killer who's closer than she thinks. . .






What books came home to you this week?

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