Spring Break Book Haul

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This spring, a good friend and I decided that we were sick of our never-ending winter and that we deserved a tropical vacation! We booked a trip to Daytona Beach, Florida, where we planned to read on the plane, read by the pool, and read by the beach. In preparation for the trip, I purchased three books. I thought I would finish two books on my trip—and, at the very least one—but I was a bit ambitious apparently. I didn’t even finish one book! We had really quick layovers, so we didn’t end up reading in the airport, and I spent a lot of time people watching at the beach instead (cute kids, couples who didn’t seem like they would have ended up together, and women in bikinis who maybe shouldn’t have been in bikinis!). I bought The King’s Deception as a paperback so I could read on the beach. I got the furthest in this book—making it to page 260 by the end of our trip. I purchased Cress and Children of Liberty for my Kindle Fire, thinking I would use it on the plane and in the hotel. I got through a few chapters of Cress, but didn’t even touch the other novel. Here’s a little more about my vacation book haul:

  1. The King’s Deception by Steve Berry

Steve Berry is one of my favorite authors and I’ve talked about his books in other posts. This 2013 thriller intertwined with an historical conspiracy doesn’t disappoint. In this novel, Cotton Malone and his teenage son are headed to Europe—but, of course, nothing ever goes smoothly in Malone’s world. He stumbles into a CIA operation and diplomatic showdown involving a mystery about the true identity of Queen Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch. The situation is dangerous, and with his son involved as well, Malone has to stay a step ahead to uncover the truth of the King’s Deception. Read an excerpt of the novel here.

  1. Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series, following Cinder and Scarlet. The novel brings back all our favorite characters from the previous books (Cinder, Captain Thorne, Scarlet, Wolf, Iko, and Emperor Kai), while introducing us to some new ones. Cress has been trapped in a satellite since her childhood by a Lunar thaumaturge. With nowhere to go and no one to talk to, Cress spends her day surfing netscreens, hacking computers, and spying on Earth. Her orders are to track down Cinder, but Cress has second thoughts about this. Meanwhile, Cinder and her fellow fugitives are trying to figure out how to overthrow the evil Queen Levana and her plans to invade Earth. Their attempt goes horribly wrong and the wedding between Queen Levana and Emperor Kai is less than two weeks away. Can Cinder and Cress figure out how to save Earth in time? If you haven’t read Cinder or Scarlet, be sure to check them out. Read excerpts of the novels here.

  1. Children of Liberty by Paullina Simons

Paullina Simons blew me away with the Bronze Horseman trilogy (I should really talk about the trilogy in a future post), so I was excited to read another book by this author. Simons brings us a prequel novel which tells the story of Alexander’s parents. Gina journeys from Italy to Boston to find a better life. There, she meets Harry Barrington, and thus begins their story of love and heartache. This novel is followed up by Bellagrand, a continuation of their saga.

What type of books do you like to read on the beach or on vacation?

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Entry #19 – Favorite Author:

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Entry #19 – Favorite author:  What author do you gravitate towards in the bookstore or library?  Which author can you not get enough books from?  Or maybe they’ve only written one book, but it changed your life.

Growing up, my very favorite author would have to be Caroline B. Cooney.  This past summer, I decided to send a piece of fan-mail to this author who was an important part of my life.  I don’t know if she actually read my letter or not, but I thought it was important to express my thanks for her novels.  Check out a bit of the letter I sent:

I picked up The Face on the Milk Carton in middle school and became a Caroline B. Cooney fan for life.  “Cooney” was the first bookshelf I always checked at the library or bookstore, and I voraciously read your body of work.  I realize now how lucky I was to have parents who valued reading and were able to fund my book habit.  I have read at least 40 of your titles and personally own 30 of the books.  I remember ordering some of the trickier to find titles on e-bay when I was in college.  I also have The Face on the Milk Carton starring Kellie Martin and Edward Herrmann recorded on VHS!

Besides The Face on the Milk Carton series, some of my favorite books are The Time Travelers Quartet, Driver’s Ed, and The Terrorist. I enjoy your books because of the slightly-unusual character names, the fast-paced and suspenseful action, and the relatable main characters.  I’ve never seen my own face on a milk carton, stolen a stop sign, handled smallpox scabs, or traveled back in time, but for some reason, I believe what the characters are doing and feel for them.  I cheer them on when they make good choices and groan when they do the wrong thing.  Your books provided the adventure I needed in my life.

Even though I am now twenty-seven years old, I still enjoy picking up your books.  In fact, I just read Three Black Swans and Code Orange this summer.  It has taken me fifteen years to send this piece of fan-mail, but I wanted to let you know how much I admire you as an author.  I will continue to recommend your books to my friends and students.

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As an adult, I still gravitate towards Young Adult Literature, so I admire authors like Ally Condie, Kristin Cashore, Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins, Carrie Jones, and Marissa Meyer.  When it comes to more “grown up” books, I’m a fan of authors Steve Berry, Katherine Neville, Paullina Simons, and Gillian Flynn.  The biggest bummer is finding an author I really like, and then discovering that the author has only written one book!

Who are your favorite authors?

Entry #10 – Current Read:

currentreadEntry #10 – Current read:  Speaks for itself—what are you reading right now?

A week ago, I started reading Steve Berry’s 2012 novel The Columbus Affair.  I’ve been a fan of Berry’s for several years, so I was excited to start reading this novel.  I’ve already read ten other books by Berry, including The Amber Room, The Romanov Prophecy, The Third Secret, The Templar Legacy, The Alexandria Link, The Venetian Betrayal, The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Paris Vendetta, The Emperor’s Tomb, and The Jefferson Key.  Berry writes fast-paced thrillers that tie in to history—for example, discovering the hidden library of Alexandria, finding the descendants of Alexei and Anastasia, or uncovering the reason why China’s First Emperor is guarded by an army of terra-cotta warriors.

I became a fan of Steve Berry after my aunt gave me The Eight, written by Katherine Neville.  In the book, a computer expert and chess aficionado travels to Algeria to recover pieces of an old chess set.  The story jumps between different times throughout history when the chess set, once owned by Charlemagne, is pursued by people who believe the chess set can lead to incredible powers.  I was immediately hooked by the history, the mystery, the danger, and uncovering the truth about the chess set.  My aunt had told me this was one of her favorite books of all time, and I could completely see why.  I set out to find more books written by Katherine Neville and was disappointed to find out that she hadn’t written many other books.  At the time, Neville only had A Calculated Risk and The Magic Circle published, along with The Eight.  I read her books and was left wondering—what now?!  Where else can I get my historical-thriller fix?!  Luckily, I found out that Steve Berry was another author that excelled at this type of writing.  Berry quickly became a favorite author.

If you’re a fan of history, action-packed thrillers, conspiracy theories, Dan Brown, or Disney’s National Treasure films, I highly recommend any of Steve Berry’s books.  You won’t be disappointed.

Here is Amazon’s blurb on The Columbus Affair

A family’s secret, a ruthless fanatic, and a covert arm of the American  government—all are linked by a single puzzling possibility:

What if everything we know about the discovery of America was a lie? What if that lie was designed to hide the secret of why Columbus sailed in 1492? And what if that 500-year-old secret could violently reshape the modern political world?

Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist Tom Sagan has written hard-hitting articles from hot spots around the world. But when one of his stories from the Middle East is exposed as a fraud, his professional reputation crashes and burns. Now he lives in virtual exile—haunted by bad decisions and a shocking truth he can never prove:  that his downfall was a deliberate act of sabotage by an unknown enemy. But before Sagan can end his torment with the squeeze of a trigger, fate intervenes in the form of an enigmatic stranger.  This stranger forces Sagan to act—and his actions attract the attention of the Magellan Billet, a top-secret corps of the United States Justice Department that deals with America’s most sensitive investigations. Sagan suddenly finds himself caught in an international incident, the repercussions of which will shudder not only Washington, D.C., but also Jerusalem. Coaxed into a deadly cat-and-mouse game, unsure who’s friend and who’s foe, Sagan is forced to Vienna, Prague, then finally into the Blue Mountains of Jamaica—where his survival hinges on his rewriting everything we know about Christopher Columbus.