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.
Sophronia survived her first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality (Etiquette & Espionage you can read my review here), getting away with stealing a device, Sophronia is prepared to knuckle down to her studies. In Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger those studies include poisons, the proper way to curtsy and proper protocol for dealing with supernatural members of society all while traveling in a floating dirigible.
With an unexpected trip to London and several boys from the neighboring school for evil genius, Sophronia should be busy. But as usual, something clandestine is going on the school and it is up to Sophronia to figure out what it is before the long-term implications for society and the paranormal society take a turn for the worse.
Curtsies takes up where Ettiquette leaves off but where Ettiquette is a fun lighthearted humorous adventure story, Curtsies takes on a more serious note by the end of the novel with Sophronia growing as a spy and about living with the consequences of her actions. Just because she can achieve something without getting caught, should she?! Sophronia has grown, now 15, and I think Carriger has done a fabulous job having her age appropriately, getting more interested in boys and more adult but with enough light-hearted youthfulness to keep the reader quickly turning pages. Gail Carriger’s humor, interesting and, at times, ridiculous characters make her series (both the Finishing School and The Parasol Protectorate) a must read for me. I love how Sophronia jumps from level to level outside in the dirigible in her bustle and dress. I highly recommend this series and am eagerly looking forward to the next book in the Finishing School series.
While you could start the series with Curtsies & Conspiracies (Gail gives a little explanation about prior events) I honestly think you need to read Etiquette & Espionage first to really understand what is going on and the history of all the main characters.
You can read an excerpt here.
There is a really fun website at Finishing School where you can apply to attend.
Finishing School Reading Order:
Title: Curtsies & Conspiracies
Author: Gail Carriger
Format: Paperback, eBook
Page Nos.: 313
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Available for purchase: Amazon
**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.
I was reading Hunk for the Holiday by Katie Lane, in it the main character has hired an escort to be her date to a family party but, through some miscommunication, ends up with someone else who she doesn’t realize isn’t an escort until after they have fallen in love. Part of the way this mistake happened is because she left her cell phone in the office over a holiday weekend, so she didn’t have way for people to get in touch with her. This got me thinking about miscommunication in the age of technology. A large part of the conflict and trials that characters go through in novels is because of miscommunication, either someone says something that is interpreted by the other character incorrectly or one of the characters has to be out of range of communication. Twenty years ago this wasn’t as big of a problem, the character would leave the office or their home and immediately be out of communication range. But we live in a day of smart phones, internet cafes and free wifi everywhere, you can ask just about any stranger on the street to borrow their cellphone. So how does an author of a contemporary genre believably effect this miscommunciation?
I think some of it has to do with the location of the setting of the story, if the story takes place in rural Nebraska and a serial killer is after the main character but cell reception is spotty at best, believable. But if the killer is chasing after someone on the streets of NY, not so believable, why wouldn’t the character just call the police?! Granted, you can always pull the “forgot to charge my cellphone” gimmick but you can only believable get away with that once, maybe twice in the story before it becomes so ridiculous that it is irritating. What really got me thinking about this topic was the main character in Hunk for the Holiday is a control freak, all the characters talk about her in charge attitude, she admits to being in control and yet she willingly left her cellphone at the office for two whole days. I am connected to my cellphone, if I leave to run to the grocery store without it I feel like I have left a limb at home, so I struggled about with this one fact in the story. Would someone who is a control freak willingly leave their cellphone some place else without doing something to go get it?
But then again, in some ways it becomes easier for miscommunication to occur in the age of cell phones. For example, if a cell phone is lost or broken and the main character goes home where killer is waiting, with no home phone (because many people only have cell phones, no home phones at all) then the main character is much more vulnerable without any convoluted explanations as to why the phone line isn’t working.
So what do you think? Is this something that can make or break a believeable story or is it such a minor detail that it doesn’t really matter?
Special agent John Puller is one of the best the Army CID has. In The Forgotten by David Baldacci, Agent Puller is called into action again after receiving a rather cryptic letter from his Aunt. Agent Puller heads to Florida to look into the problem only to find that his Aunt has been killed before he can get there. Now this case is personal, and the police don’t seem to think it is anything but accidental. What Puller uncovers is a much more sinister plot that could cost him and those around him their lives!
The Forgotten was fantastic! I have read or listened to many other books written by David Baldacci. I have yet to be disappointed. My biggest problem (and it really isn’t a problem at all) is this is the first book with this main character that I have read, and numerous times in The Forgotten a mission to West Virginia and the circumstances surrounding that investigation were mentioned. I unfortunately have no idea what actually happened in that book, but it wasn’t really pertinent to this book, hence not really a problem. The Forgotten really kept me guessing almost all the way through as to what was going to happen next, and who was behind what. One twist was so well hidden I didn’t even suspect it until it reared up and practically slapped me. After getting far enough in the book I realize that I should have made the connection like Agent Puller, but David Baldacci did such a fantastic job with the subtle things that nothing was suspected until the very end. It was a masterpiece of twists and turns with a whole bunch of suspense thrown in. I really had a hard time putting the book down and the only reason I did was because I needed to study for finals.
If you can’t tell by now I really enjoyed this book. I have also listened to the Camel Club series also written by David Baldacci, and was thoroughly impressed. I really can’t recommend a book by David Baldacci enough. This one had some mild language and a non-descriptive sex scene in it. I would recommend The Forgotten to almost any avid reader from the teens and up in age. Pick any book by David Baldacci and you won’t be disappointed.
You can read an excerpt here.
John Puller Reading Order:
Title: The Forgotten
Author: David Baldacci
Format: Paperback, Hardbound, eBook
Page Nos.: 424
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: November 2012
Available for purchase: Amazon
**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.