There are many things that I am grateful for, too many to post all of them here. But I do want to say how grateful I am for the written word, its ability to inspire and uplift, to make laugh, but most especially its ability to take me to far off places and times, allowing me to experience the world through new eyes. I am grateful for authors who are willing to spend hours slaving away to write their story and then having the courage to take that baby (the novel) and send it out into the world so people like me dissect it, stating what we like and don’t like. I am also grateful to have an ereader to keep all the many novels in (never more so then now that I have a little one, it is SOOO much easier to read one-handed with my Kindle then to try and read a paperback novel while holding him, how did you moms do it before ereaders?). Finally, I am grateful for all of you readers of my little site, without you I wouldn’t be able to do what I do (which is to discuss all things bookish). So thank you for reading and for being patient for the last year while I dealt with life stuff and not giving up on me.
From all of us here at Novel Reaction we wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!
Here in America it is Thanksgiving week. For me this means time spent eating way too much yummy food (completely ignoring the fact that I have several pounds left to lose before I will be able to fully fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes), time spent with the family (love to see them and love to leave them after a couple of days) and time spent in the car traveling to see the family. For me, this also means some down-time where I get to tackle some of my ridiculous TBR pile (so much to read, so little time). So I thought I would share with all of you some (notice I say some and not all) of the books I am hoping to read this coming week.
In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.
Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.
Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.
They thought they had escaped. They were wrong.
After fleeing the Branch with Sam, Cas, and Nick, Anna is trying to make sense of the memories resurfacing from her old life. At the same time, she’s learning how to survive in hiding, following Sam’s rules: Don’t draw attention to yourself. Always carry a weapon. Know your surroundings. Watch your back.
THE GHOST NEXT DOOR
When destiny takes a hand…
You’ve got to hold on tight.
When single mom Elizabeth Jennings gets sent to a new town to revamp its weekly paper, she resists. Her daughter Claire is just fifteen, and has recently started high school. But Elizabeth’s boss insists, so the two pack up and move to the tiny Virginia town, which isn’t even on most maps. Their luck goes from bad to worse when they discover the house Elizabeth rented online cozies up to an abandoned house. When creepy things start occurring next door, Elizabeth’s glad to have the small-town sheriff in their corner. Nathan Thorpe is not just a stand-up guy they can trust, he’s cool to have around when things go bump in the night. Elizabeth also learns he’s good at holding her tight. And, when she’s wrapped in his arms, she becomes afraid of more than ghostly happenings. She fears she’s losing her heart.
Like most folks in Blayton, Nathan Thorpe is here for a reason. Only, he didn’t fully understand what that reason was until a stunning brunette and her daughter came to town. Nathan’s immediately drawn to Elizabeth and feels motivated to protect her and Claire, believing that means shielding them from nonsensical small-town lore. With Halloween approaching, there are rumors swirling about concerning the old Fenton place located across the street from the graveyard, and next to the newer home occupied by the Jennings. Nathan’s a calm thinker who can find a rational explanation for almost anything. Yet there are deeper mysteries in Blayton than Nathan can explain. When he learns the truth, will he still be able to hold onto the woman he loves?
Innocent Blood by James Rollins and Rebecca CantrellA vicious attack at a ranch in California thrusts archaeologist Erin Granger back into the folds of the Sanguines, an immortal order founded on the blood of Christ and tasked with protecting the world from the beasts haunting its shadows and waiting to break free into the sunlight. Following the prophetic words found in the Blood Gospel–a tome written by Christ and lost for centuries–Erin must join forces with Army Sergeant Jordan Stone and the dark mystery that is Father Rhun Korza to discover and protect a boy believed to be an angel given flesh.But an enigmatic enemy of immense power and terrifying ambition seeks the same child–not to save the world, but to hasten its destruction. For any hope of victory, Erin must discover the truth behind Christ’s early years and understand His first true miracle, an event wrapped in sin and destruction, an act that yet remains unfulfilled and holds the only hope for the world.The search for the truth will take Erin and the others across centuries and around the world, from the dusty plains of the Holy Land to the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean, from the catacombs of Rome to an iron fortress in the Mediterranean Sea, and at last to the very gates of Hell itself, where their destiny–and the fate of mankind–awaits.
To all my fellow Americans, Happy 4th of July! I love the 4th of July, the Patriotism that is shown warms my heart. This year I started thinking about books that take place during the American Revolution and I thought I would share some with you that either I have read or I plan on reading.
In this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous life-journey of John Adams, the brilliant, fiercely independent, often irascible, always honest Yankee patriot — “the colossus of independence,” as Thomas Jefferson called him — who spared nothing in his zeal for the American Revolution; who rose to become the second President of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was learned beyond all but a few and regarded by some as “out of his senses”; and whose marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the moving love stories in American history.
Like his masterly, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Truman, David McCullough’s John Adams has the sweep and vitality of a great novel. It is both a riveting portrait of an abundantly human man and a vivid evocation of his time, much of it drawn from an outstanding collection of Adams family letters and diaries. In particular, the more than one thousand surviving letters between John and Abigail Adams, nearly half of which have never been published, provide extraordinary access to their private lives and make it possible to know John Adams as no other major American of his founding era.
As he has with stunning effect in his previous books, McCullough tells the story from within — from the point of view of the amazing eighteenth century and of those who, caught up in events, had no sure way of knowing how things would turn out. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, the British spy Edward Bancroft, Madame Lafayette and Jefferson’s Paris “interest” Maria Cosway, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, the scandalmonger James Callender, Sally Hemings, John Marshall, Talleyrand, and Aaron Burr all figure in this panoramic chronicle, as does, importantly, John Quincy Adams, the adored son whom Adams would live to see become President.
Crucial to the story, as it was to history, is the relationship between Adams and Jefferson, born opposites — one a Massachusetts farmer’s son, the other a Virginia aristocrat and slaveholder, one short and stout, the other tall and spare. Adams embraced conflict; Jefferson avoided it. Adams had great humor; Jefferson, very little. But they were alike in their devotion to their country.
At first they were ardent co-revolutionaries, then fellow diplomats and close friends. With the advent of the two political parties, they became archrivals, even enemies, in the intense struggle for the presidency in 1800, perhaps the most vicious election in history. Then, amazingly, they became friends again, and ultimately, incredibly, they died on the same day — their day of days — July 4, in the year 1826.
Much about John Adams’s life will come as a surprise to many readers. His courageous voyage on the frigate Boston in the winter of 1778 and his later trek over the Pyrenees are exploits that few would have dared and that few readers will ever forget.
It is a life encompassing a huge arc — Adams lived longer than any president. The story ranges from the Boston Massacre to Philadelphia in 1776 to the Versailles of Louis XVI, from Spain to Amsterdam, from the Court of St. James’s, where Adams was the first American to stand before King George III as a representative of the new nation, to the raw, half-finished Capital by the Potomac, where Adams was the first President to occupy the White House.
This is history on a grand scale — a book about politics and war and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Above all, John Adams is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.
The portrait of the beautiful, elegant young woman on the cover of this excellent biography will stun anyone used to seeing pictures of Martha Washington as a white-haired, matronly woman. And in a richly woven tapestry of social history and biography, historian Brady re-creates the 18th-century world of wealthy Virginia planters into which the elegant Martha, née Dandridge, was born and the “joyful duet” of her marriage to America’s first president. Though born to wealth, Martha (1731–1802) was well schooled in domestic skills—from killing and plucking fowl to preserving fruits and vegetables— and the expected social graces. Just before she turned 19, Martha married Daniel Custis—whose father initially opposed the union, but Martha managed to persuade him otherwise—and moved to his large plantation, where she raised their two children until Custis’s death in 1757. Two years later, as the owner of Custis’s vast estate, she married George Washington and became the wife of a young colonel whose ambitions and military and political ingenuity catapulted him into the leadership of the colonies and later the republic. Devoted to George, Martha accompanied him on his sojourns during the Revolutionary War, and her considerable social skills were crucial in helping her husband navigate the difficult political waters of the presidency. Brady’s splendid biography offers a compelling new portrait of this passionate, committed founding mother who has unjustly been obscured by others, such as Abigail Adams. (June 27)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Publishers Weekly
Duty and career—Captain Thomas Moberly of His Majesty’s Navy prizes them above all. So why is he tempted to relinquish both for Dinah Templeton? Though Dinah seems sweet and charming, the difference in station between an East Florida belle and the son of an earl is too marked to ignore. And all other obstacles pale with the discovery that Dinah’s brother James is not what he seems….A war is brewing on the colonies’ horizon, and James has chosen his side—in opposition to the country Thomas has sworn to defend. But what of Dinah? Where does her heart truly lie—with her family, or with the man she claims to love?
I hope your day is filled with friends, fireworks and the chance to get some reading in. Here in Phoenix I will trying to stay cool in this ridiculous heat wave that we have been having. To give you an idea of how warm it has been, I went swimming in my pool this morning at 7:00 a.m. and it was already 85 degrees outside.
It is that fabulous time of year again, SUMMER, where it feels like we have permission to stop…take a breathe….and read without feeling guilty. Not that I ever feel that guilty for reading (although I probably should given the amount of time I spend reading) but it seems like it is more permissible to read without guilt during the summer time. I don’t know if it is the fact that most of us take a vacation, that everything seems to slow down or that it is just too hot to care about what we should be doing and instead do what we want. This has been on my mind for two reasons, 1) I just got back from spending a couple of days on a houseboat on Lake Powell (where I did get some reading in) and 2) it is SOOOOO hot here in Phoenix that I am refusing to go outside until it cools down a little. I didn’t get a picture of it (but I wish I would have) but at one point on the houseboat I looked up to realize that I and five of my extended family members were all reading books on ereaders.
For summer reading I have found that I like to mix it up, read some old goodies and some new possible favorites. I thought I would share with you some of the books on my summer reading list:
Frederica by Georgette Heyer
When Frederica brings her younger siblings to London determined to secure a brilliant marriage for her beautiful sister, she seeks out their distant cousin the Marquis of Alverstoke. Lovely, competent, and refreshingly straightforward, Frederica makes such a strong impression that to his own amazement, the Marquis agrees to help launch them all into society.
Lord Alverstoke cant resist wanting to help her
Normally wary of his family, which includes two overbearing sisters and innumerable favor-seekers, Lord Alverstoke does his best to keep his distance. But with his enterprising – and altogether entertaining – country cousins getting into one scrape after another right on his doorstep, before he knows it the Marquis finds himself dangerously embroiled…
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
A hidden truth.
With her rare ability to breathe fire, Jacinda is special even among the draki—the descendants of dragons who can shift between human and dragon forms. But when Jacinda’s rebelliousness forces her family to flee into the human world, she struggles to adapt, even as her draki spirit fades. The one thing that revives it is the gorgeous, elusive Will, whose family hunts her kind. Jacinda can’t resist getting closer to him, even though she knows she’s risking not only her life but the draki’s most closely guarded secret.
Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.
Roses in Moonlight by Lynn Kurland
Can’t Stop Believing by Jodi ThomasIn New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas’s small town of Harmony, Texas, “there’s always something brewing” (Fallen Angel Reviews). Now, a generations-old feud is about to come to a head—and the stakes couldn’t be higher with two hearts on the line…Cord McDowell gave up his freedom at eighteen when he went to jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Now, ten years later, he’s about to give it up again for a piece of land. Nevada Britain, his neighbor, has just made him an offer he can’t refuse: If he’ll marry her, she’ll sign over a section of property that their families have been fighting over for a hundred years. Nevada refuses to explain why, but Cord knows the bargain is in his favor. He just has one condition—she has to sleep in his bed every night for as long as their doomed marriage lasts. Nevada only wants to maintain her family’s legacy—and redeem herself for a wrong she did Cord years ago. But as she spends more time with her husband of necessity, she discovers something unexpected—a love so deep it takes her breath away.