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My Summer Reading List - so far

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When I was growing up, summer was a time to play outside, go swimming and make almost daily trips to the library. This summer, there seem to be a lot of books to curl up with. Here are a few from my list so far:

Martini continues with "bad to the bone" villain trilogy

TRADER OF SECRETS - Steve Martini

Defense attorney Paul Madriani is embroiled in a case as perilous as any he has ever faced, one that involves an angry killer who will stop at nothing short of vengeance, and, the other, two missing NASA scientists who are holding secrets that a government desperately wants to purchase—in blood if they must.

Madriani’s daughter narrowly evades the man known as Liquida, who has stalked her across the country. Meanwhile, in California, two men argue over millions in cash and a scheme involving government technology-for-sale that could rock the world.

Paul Madriani, his companion Joselyn Cole, and his law partner Harry Hinds begin to track Liquida and a missing scientist across the globe, and find themselves falling into a vortex of international terror. They must find the men before they can unleash a weapon of mass destruction that will set the world ablaze.

Watch for an interview with Martini in an upcoming edition of your News-Telegram.

To read my last interview with Martini, click here.

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Books by Steve Martini
Paul Madriani Series
Compelling Evidence (1992)
Prime Witness (1993)
Undue Influence (1994)
The Judge (1995)
The Attorney (1999)
The Jury (2001)
The Arraignment (2002)
Double Tap (2005)
Shadow of Power (2008)
Guardian of Lies (2009)
The Rule of Nine (2010)

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Novels
The Simeon Chamber (1988)
The List (1997)
Critical Mass (1998)

******
For more information, see www.stevemartini.com

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David Baldacci switches gears with summer release

From #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci comes a moving family drama about learning to love again after heartbreak and loss.

One Summer - David Baldacci

It's almost Christmas, but there is no joy in the house of terminally ill Jack and his family. With only a short time left to live, he spends his last days preparing to say goodbye to his devoted wife, Lizzie, and their three children. Then, unthinkably, tragedy strikes again: Lizzie is killed in a car accident. With no one able to care for them, the children are separated from each other and sent to live with family members around the country. Just when all seems lost, Jack begins to recover in a miraculous turn of events. He rises from what should have been his deathbed, determined to bring his fractured family back together. Struggling to rebuild their lives after Lizzie's death, he reunites everyone at Lizzie's childhood home on the oceanfront in South Carolina. And there, over one unforgettable summer, Jack will begin to learn to love again, and he and his children will learn how to become a family once more.

Hopefully, Baldacci will find time during his book tour to visit with me about this new venture.

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Jael McHenry: New voice on the storytelling horizon

The Kitchen Daughter is about a woman who discovers she can invoke ghosts by cooking from dead people's recipes.

Julie & Julia meets Jodi Picoult in this poignant and delectable novel with recipes, chronicling one woman’s journey of self-discovery at the stove.

After the unexpected death of her parents, shy and sheltered Ginny Selvaggio, a young woman with Asperger’s Syndrome, seeks comfort in family recipes. But the rich, peppery scent of her Nonna’s soup draws an unexpected visitor into the kitchen: the ghost of Nonna herself, dead for twenty years, who appears with a cryptic warning—before vanishing like steam from a cooling dish.

A haunted kitchen isn’t Ginny’s only challenge. Her domineering sister Amanda insists on selling their parents’ house in Philadelphia, the only home Ginny has ever known. As she packs up her parents’ belongings, Ginny finds evidence of family secrets she isn’t sure how to unravel. She knows how to turn milk into cheese and cream into butter, but she doesn’t know why her mother hid a letter in the bedroom chimney, or the identity of the woman in her father’s photographs. The more she learns, the more she realizes the keys to these riddles lie with the dead, and there’s only one way to get answers: cook from her parents’ recipes, raise their ghosts, and ask them.

Offering a fascinating glimpse into the unique mind of a woman struggling with Asperger’s and featuring evocative and mouth-watering descriptions of food, this lyrical novel is as delicious and joyful as a warm brownie.

Watch the News-Telegram for my interview with McHenry. She's the real deal.

For more information, see www.jaelmchenry.com

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Stone Barrington's back for an adventure in La-La Land in BEL-AIR DEAD

In the newest addition to the New York Times bestselling series, Stone Barrington comes face-to-face with a beautiful woman from his past. . . .

Stone Barrington receives a rather unexpected phone call from Arrington Calder, the ex-girlfriend with whom he has a son. Arrington's much older husband, the actor Vance Calder, has just died, leaving her a fortune in Centurion Studios stock. Arrington has plans for the money and asks Stone to represent her in the sale of the company. But when he arrives at her home in Bel-Air to finalize the deal, things take a nasty turn. It seems many of Hollywood's rich and beautiful have Arrington and Centurion in their sights, and Stone finds himself dragged into a surprisingly deadly web of intrigue.

For more information log on to www.stuartwoods.com

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On the recommendation of my book club friends, I've just completed THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy.

From Wikipedia:

The Hunger Games trilogy is a young-adult adventure science fiction series written by Suzanne Collins. The trilogy consists of The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay. The first two books were each New York Times best sellers, and the third book, Mockingjay, topped all US bestseller lists upon its release.

Inspirations
Collins says that she drew inspiration for the series from both classical and contemporary sources.

Classical
Collins says that the main classical source of inspiration came from the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. As a punishment for past crimes, Minos forces Athens to sacrifice seven youths and seven maidens to the Minotaur where they were killed. Collins says that even as a child the idea stunned her since "it was just so cruel", as Athens was forced to sacrifice their own kids. Collins also cites the Roman gladiator games. She feels that there are three key elements to create a good game; an all powerful and ruthless government, people forced to fight to the death, and it being a source of popular entertainment.

Contemporary
Collins says that another source of inspiration was the recent fascination with reality TV. She relates this to the Hunger Games in how they are not just entertainment, but also a reminder to the districts of their rebellion. On a tired night, Collins says that she was channel-surfing the TV where she saw people competing for some prize and then saw footage of the Iraq war. She describes how the two combined in an "unsettling way" and she got the idea for the series.

Structure
Each book in The Hunger Games trilogy has 27 chapters and is further divided into 3 sections of 9 chapters each. Collins says that this format comes from her playwriting background, which taught her to write in three acts. Her previous series, The Underland Chronicles, was written in the same way, as Collins is "very comfortable" with this structure. She sees each group of nine chapters as a separate part of the story, and comments that she still calls those divisions "act breaks".

Background
The Hunger Games trilogy takes place in an unidentified future time period after the destruction of North America, in a nation known as "Panem." Panem used to consist of a rich Capitol, located somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, and thirteen surrounding, poorer districts which cater to the Capitol's needs. As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol wherein the thirteenth district was supposedly destroyed, every year one boy and one girl from each of the remaining twelve districts, between the ages of twelve and eighteen, are selected by lottery and forced to participate in the "Hunger Games." The Games are a televised event where the participants, called "tributes," must fight to the death in a dangerous outdoor arena until only one remains. The winning tribute and his/her corresponding district is then rewarded handsomely. It is required viewing for everyone in the districts.

Even though the books deal with serious matters, I think they're perfect for your summer reading list. Watch for my review in an upcoming edition of your News-Telegram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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