The Magician: Secrets of the Immortal Nicolas Flamel by Michael Scott

Read: September 18 - September 26
Format: Paperback 464 pages
Source: Borrowed from a young friend
Subject: magic, Paris, Alcatraz
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI
Category: The Kids have it - Young adult and children's books
Genre: Young Adult
Stars: ★★★★

This is the second installment of the adventures of Josh and Sophie Newman who are the prophesied twins who are to save the Earth from the Dark Elders who are basically a group of evil immortals trying to take over the world and enslave mankind.

Sophie in the first book was awakened to her powers and immediately fled with her brother, Nicholas Flamel, and a vampire Warrior guardian Scathach where this book starts in Paris. Flamel with his wife, Perenelle, lived in Paris centuries before but modern day Paris is quite different leading to difficulties for the quartet that are fleeing from the evil Machiavelli and Dr. Dee. Perenelle is already being held captive on Alcatraz and they must save her before Flamel and she age beyond the immortal elixir's magic.

In Paris, Flamel meets up with Comte deSaint-Germain, an immortal alchemist of his past and he with his wife, Joan of Arc, teach Sophie the powers of Fire Magic. As the adventures progress and Josh learns of his powers, the battle between good and evil rages. Will the twins learn enough in time to save the world and their friends?

What a fun series, and my young friend and I will definitely have fun discussing these adventures. Definitely a series for family entertainment.


The Taste of Innocence by Stephanie Laurens

Read: September 17 - September 24
Format: Paperback 436 pages
Source: My Library
Subject: Love, Marriage, investments, land deals
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Category: Love and Marriage: a lifetime commitment
Genre: Romance
Stars: ★★★

Stephanie Laurens has been writing the Cynster novels since 1998 and in this book we find a new connection as well as seeing old friends. In this installment , Charles, Earl of Meredith decides that it is time to marry and choses Sarah Conningham the daughter of a neighbor. They have known each other since childhood, but when he returns to his ancestral home and applies for Sarah's hand, he is startled when she states that she wants a marriage of passion and excitement and that she will give him 2 weeks to show that he can give her that before she will respond to his proposal.

What Charles learns is that Sarah is not just a passionate woman but kind-hearted and gentle of spirit devoting her time and efforts to the local orphanage. Sarah learns that her long ago infatuation with Charles may have been more and together they embark on a life of secrets to be revealed and love to be cherished. Sarah's orphanage plays a vital role in the story as well as identifying Charles' character and eccentricities.

Cynsters never fail in entertaining.


Delicious and Suspicious by Riley Adams

Read: September 6 - September 17
Format: Paperback 269 pages
Source: My shelves
Subject: Southern BBQ, blackmail, murder,
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Category: Blind dates: Will I like them? - New series
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Stars: ★★★

Lulu Taylor produces the best BBQ at Aunt Pat's Restaurant in Memphis according to most of the customers so the Cooking Channel is checking her out to see if it's true. Rebecca Adrian is sent to Memphis to find the best BBQ but has little time for tasting when she is found dead in her hotel room - poisoned.

So while Lulu tries to clear the name of her family restaurant, she is also bombarded with problems from her friends the Graces (they visit Graceland every week) and some elderly gentlemen who make Aunt Pat's their second home.

The mystery wasn't that difficult to solve but my main issue with this book is that there were entirely too many characters so that at times I was confused as to who went with who. But still I enjoyed the southern "flavor" of the book and will look for the next in the series.

Cut the cast list and beef up the mystery (No pun intended.) Sometimes the start of a new series is hampered by the introduction of all the characters and this could have been the case in this one.


The Husband Trap by Tracy Anne Warren

Read: September 11 - September 14
Format: Paperback 358 pages
Source: My shelves
Subject: Arranged Marriage, deceptions, secrets
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Category: Love and Marriage: a lifetime commitment
Genre: Romance
Stars: ★★★½

Jeannette Rose and Janette Violet are identical twins - both are extremely beautiful but Jeannette is vivacious and entertaining and Violet is quiet and studious. When Adrian Winter, Duke of Raeburn chooses his bride, he selects Jeannette because of her outgoing personality. But Jeannette decides at the last minute she can't marry the duke ad persuades her sister to take her place at the altar.

The ensuing charade is worthy of Shakespeare (well maybe not that good but definitely entertaining).


The Riesling Retribution by Ellen Crosby

Read: September 7 - September 11
Format: Hardback 259 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Civil Reenactment, cold cases, wine
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, SYLL
Category: Going steady: Should we keep seeing each other? Ongoing series
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Stars: ★★★½

Lucie has trouble in abundance at Montgomery Vineyards with the animosity between Quinn and Chance, her brother's impending divorce, credit card thefts and items disappearing, so what more could happen…how about a tornado that rips through the vineyard uncovering a thirty-year old skeleton which turns out to be an enemy of her father all at the same time as she is supposed to be hosting a Civil War re-enactment?

This mystery was fun and funny and sad and serious altogether. I love most of the characters - some I could do without but overall, a definite plus to the series.


Edward's Eyes by Patricia MacLachlan

Read: September 10
Format: Audio Playaway equivalent 116 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: family, organ donation
Category: Something Borrowed/Something Blue - from the library, sad or blue Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, SYLL
Stars: ★★★

Two brothers, Jake and Edward, are close - Jake was handed Edward as a baby and in essence made his little brother's guide in life. Early in Edward's life, Jake helped in the potty training ritual by teaching him a love of reading and baseball. As Edward grew up, baseball was their bond.


Then when family news was related of the impending addition of another child, Edward knew immediately it was a girl, named her and was made her guide at birth. However, on one fateful day, Edward went into town on his bicycle and was killed. His parents decided to donate his organs including his eyes. Jake's recovery from the tragedy was completed by the relationship with the recipient - a young baseball player.

Thanks to countrylife for recommending this book.

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Read: September 2 - September 9
Format: Audiobook 12 CDs equivalent 516 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Alternate world, mythology of Egypt
Category: The Kids have it - Young adult and children's books
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, AUDIO, SYLL
Stars: ★★★½

The Kane Chronicles, of which this is the first installment, tells of Carter Kane and his sister Sadie and their special abilities and destinies. Carter lives with his father, Julius, an Egyptologist. Due to his father's occupation, they travel constantly spending only 1 day, twice a year with Sadie, Carter's sister, who lives with their grandparents in London. On the visitation, Julius takes Carter and Sadie to the British Museum for a private showing, and there they see a transformation that totally floors them. Julius is involved in a battle with a magical being, engulfed in a golden sarcophagus and disappears. Carter and Sadie have to flee London and are taken into the care of their Uncle Amos and several Egyptian gods.

The adventures that follow are fun and entertaining. This new series by Riordan has all the entertaining factors as the Percy Jackson series and the Heroes of Olympus series but I think that it would be more fun if the gods that were introduced were more well-known. Egyptian mythology is not that widely recognized, so more background of the gods would be helpful. But a good start for this new series.

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Read: September 5 - September 8
Format: Nookbook 312 pages
Source: Barnes & Noble
Subject: slavery, cruelty, separation,
Category: The Engagement: this is getting serious
Genre: Historical fiction
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Stars: ★★★

This book, written by a Northern woman, has been read by thousands and reviewed by many. Whether I can add any incite from this book, is hard to believe but here are my thoughts. The men say one thing and do another, i.e. slavery is bad but I'll still own slaves. The majority of the women in this story are the moral backbone of the families that they are members of. There is a strong Christian theme throughout from the slaveholders and the slaves.

There also appears to be a great deal of symbolism in the book - Eliza's leap to freedom, Uncle Tom's Cabin, South as cruelty and North as freedom, Eliza's escape versus Uncle Tom's sale into deeper oppression.

The Christian population of the North, this book ignited a flare against the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and slavery in general.


Mr. Lincoln's forts : a guide to the Civil War defenses of Washington by Benjamin Franklin Cooling

Read: September 5 - September 7
Format: Hardback 234 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: defenses of the Federal Capital
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, SYLL
Category: The Engagement: this is getting serious
Stars: ★★★

This book documents the 68 forts and 93 unarmed batteries that surrounded the city of Washington during the Civil War. The details include maps, drawings, anecdotes concerning the construction, and directions to find the locations since many have "no visible remains" today.

An excellent volume for a Civil War buff and as a nearby resident I was easily able to visualize the locations by the directions supplied.


A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George

Read: August 19 - September 4
Format: Nookbook 547 pages
Source: Barnes & Noble
Subject: unrequited love, incest, abandonment
Category: Blind dates: Will I like them? - New series ER
Genre: Police Procedural Mystery
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Stars: ★★★★

Roberta Teys is found sitting in the barn over the headless body of her father and she freely admits "I did it. I'm not sorry.” But the residents of the small village cannot believe that Roberta could possibly do such a thing and so Scotland Yard is brought in to determine if Roberta really is the murderer.

As the story unfolds the reader is taken through the village seeing Roberta as a pathetic unloved creature. Her mother abandoned the family when she was very small and her beloved older sister ran away leaving her on the farm with her overly zealous father. Her only escape appeared to be in books and time spent with her dog Whiskers and a small child in the village. However, the evidence appears to point to Roberta as the murderer because the dog's blood is all over the clothes that she was wearing and since the dog's body is beneath Farmer Teys' body, he had to be killed before her father.

The deeper that Inspector Lynley and DS Havers dig to find out the true nature of the events, the deeper the reader is drawn into the lives of not only the villagers but Havers and Lynley as well. This book is the beginning of the Inspector Lynley series. I had watched several of the episodes that were shown on PBS and decided that I wanted to get more of the background of the characters so I'm starting at the beginning, but I got more than I bargained for.

The beginning of the book seemed a bit disjointed to me, jumping around from one character and place to another, but in the end it all came together like a flash of lightning to explain how all the characters were impacted by the events that led to the murder. Definitely have to continue with the books - the characterizations are tremendous as well as the plot twists for the reader. I admit to being completely stunned by the ending.


Journal of a Civil War Nurse by Georgiann Baldino

Read: August 30 - August 30
Format: Nook equivalent of 15 pages
Source: B&N
Subject: Civil War nursing - Gettysburg
Category: The Engagement: this is getting serious
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI
Stars: ★★½

This was a short story telling of the difficulties related to nursing after the Battle of Gettysburg. It was informative but I felt that it should have been a bit longer.


Leading Questions in Bridge by Sally Brock

#81 [Leading Questions in Bridge]
Read: July 14 - August 30
Format: Paperback 198 pages
Source: Bridge Website
Subject: advice for defense to bridge
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Category: Something New - books acquired in 2011
Genre: reference
Stars: ★★★

This is not the typical book with a plot,characters, etc. Basically, it is a help guide for those bridge players that want to improve their defense. I found the format and descriptins extremely helpful and look forward to implementing the tips and tricks that were illustrated into my game.


Murder Most Persuasive by Linda O. Johnston

Read: August 28 - August 30
Format: Paperback 293 pages
Source:LibraryThing ER Program for review
Subject: inheritance, embezzlement, second chances
Category: Blind dates: Will I like them? - New series ER
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Stars: ★★★½

Elizabeth Parker is staying with her pregnant sister while work is being done on her apartment and her boyfriend is out of town. Sisters can rub each other the wrong way so when Elizabeth has a chance to escape to visit with her cousin who just lost her father, she grabs it and gets involved in mishaps that weave around her cousin's family and a missing former fiancé.

This book is the third in a series but my first exposure to the characters and author. They were amusing and entertaining so think I will have to locate the first two and catch up.