Youth in Asia

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A new story of infantry combat in the Vietnam War

Read the highly rated story of US Army soldiers in battle

After the furious battles around Dak To and the horrific fight for Hill 875, Youth In Asia is a new novella of young Americans trapped in the jungles of Vietnam’s Central Highlands in a war they did not understand.

Youth In Asia relives the friendships, loyalties and betrayals of young men in combat, and for those that survive, the memories they carried home.

Written by an infantryman who served as both an enlisted man and an officer in the military after the war, Youth In Asia is a realistic account of five men of the 173rd Airborne Brigade separated from their platoon in the darkness of a jungle night while armed with little more than M16s, an M60 machine gun, Claymore mines, and a desperate desire to survive. This war story is about infantrymen conducting air assault operations near the border with Cambodia as North Vietnamese Army units and Viet Cong irregulars are streaming east toward the coast to fight the Marines in the Battle of Hue, or south past Pleiku to Saigon in preparation for the brutal Tet Offensive of 1968 that broke the back of America’s commitment to fight the Vietnam War.

It is a memorial to our Vietnam Veterans and a war story of determination, triumph and loss. It is a story of furious, close combat in lethal firefights, and it is a story of confusion both on the battlefield and in the minds of young men a million miles from their homes. Those that survive will have changed. Forever.

Half of all earnings will go to organizations that benefit our wounded warriors.


 

While I don’t often review historically based books here, I frequently read them for my work at the branch, and the Vietnam War has long been a particular interest of mine. When I came across Youth in Asia on NetGalley, I couldn’t resist, and I’m extremely glad I picked this one up.

Youth in Asia follows a few key battles, following US soldiers as they fight their way through a war they may not all believe in. This story follows five infantrymen in particular, most of whom it is easy to get attached to, immediately increasing the tension of the story. This is especially true because of the quality of the writing, which I foound to be strong from beginning to end.

My only real qualm with this book is that I would have loved for it to be longer. This felt like only a snippet of a much larger story, and I would have loved the opportunity to explore that farther.

 

Dangerous Benefits

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Even fame and fortune can turn deadly…

Ruby Delaney has finally landed a Broadway role and is determined to put her notorious past behind her. But her good intentions are sidetracked when she learns a con man has targeted her mentor’s life savings.

Ruby teams up with fraud investigator Hari Bhatt to find the swindler, but their investigation leads them to a murder instead. The partners track the victim’s missing money to Paris and uncover a link to one of Wall Street’s biggest names, a man seemingly above reproach. Ruby and Hari race to prove their case, unaware they’re being watched by someone who will go to desperate lengths to hide a lethal secret.

Dangerous Benefits is the second book in the Ruby Danger Series


 

Ruby Danger is back! And I can safely say that book two did not disappoint! The ending specifically on this one blew me away, and now I’m feeling the need to recommend this series to anyone and everyone who will listen to me.

Ruby ‘Danger’ Delaney is a quickly developing character, although maybe I only feel that way because I’ve been binge reading this series. Just when it looks like she’s starting to get her life on track, exactly how she wants it, her old life drags her back in… and I’m so glad it did.

It’s fair to say I liked this book even more than I did the first one, even though this book had a slower burn. But this series over all (so far has been exactly what I need, and perfect for a winter read). It’s such a fresh take on the mystery/thriller genre, I think mainly because of Ruby’s character. Or maybe simply the characters overall, really even the minor players seem to jump right off the page.

 

 

Dangerous Allies

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Second Honeymoons Can Be Dangerous…

After a brush with tragedy, tabloid target Ruby Delaney is determined to put the parties, booze, and notorious paparazzi photos behind her. A cruise with her husband is the fresh start she needs. But their luxury liner has barely left port when she stumbles across evidence that her spouse is involved in a massive stock fraud linked to the ruthless Russian mob. She’s stunned to discover he plans to disappear with millions and frame her for the crime.

Ruby stages a disappearing act of her own, but her impulsive action backfires when the mob becomes convinced she’s vanished with their share of the take. In a frantic race to uncover the truth and escape with her life, Ruby leaves a trail of collateral damage. She doesn’t know who to trust, where to find answers, and above all—how to get off a cruise ship, undetected, in the middle of the Caribbean.

Dangerous Allies is the first book in the Ruby Danger series.


 

Well, it’s official… Ruby Danger is one of my new favorite heroines, even if it did take a while for me to warm up to her! She’s far from perfect, but when her life changes dramatically, she absolutely steps up to the plate and becomes someone we can all absolutely root for.

The plot itself in Dangerous Allies was unlike anything else I’ve read in the mystery genre, which made for a heart-pounding, page turning read! There’s so much going on that it can sometimes be hard to keep up, but the plot itself is intricate and a lot of fun. From the moment when Ruby first sees a suspicious passport, to when everything wraps up in a way I absolutely didn’t see coming, this was fantastic!

Rickie Blair is absolutely an author to follow! So on that note, I’m actually going to jump into book two right now!

Blog Tour: The Undays of Aralias Lyons

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Don’t miss K.L. Horvath’s compelling time travel fantasy with talking beasts, iron monsters, otherworldly creatures and a desperate father!

For centuries the great Houses of Time have watched over the mythical creatures, those who manipulate the past for their own ends and humankind. But now the houses have dwindled and few are left who remember the mandates. One, in fact, is determined to put the world in its proper place—beneath his rule.

To do that, he’s kidnapped Jack Lyons, the youngest of the Time Travelers. And to get him back and defeat Bliss, Lord Aralias Lyons, Jack’s father, will do anything he has to. He’ll fight wicked spiders, an army of clockwork men, let his son suffer and manipulate time itself in order to right what Bliss has put wrong. He’ll even allow the innocent Miss Clara Heartwell to discover more about the Travelers than most mortals know.
Through secret and deadly deals with dragons, battles back in time and with Jack himself, Aralias has to think smarter, act faster, and be more decisive. Because in the end, saving Jack is all that matters …

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What a wonderful, imaginative story! The Undays of Aralias Lyons was unlike anything I have ever read before, while still managing to be the type of story that will appeal to a wide range of fantasy lovers. Jack Lyons is the youngest time traveler, which also made him the easiest target for those who weren’t happy with the status quo. And once you add Aralias and Clara to the mix, things only get more fun from there.

Now, we can’t talk about this book without mentioning that stunning cover. I think I would have recommended this book for our catalog without ever having read a single chapter, if it had come down to that. There’s no way fantasy readers won’t be picking this one up just to see if the story inside matches the quality of the cover… and it does!

K.L. Horvath is a new author to the fantasy scene, but one that I expect we’ll see a lot of great things from in the coming years! There were a few points where the pacing dragged a little, but never enough to tempt me into putting the book down, and the excellent world building more than made up for any lagging moments.


About the Author
kerryK.L. Horvath is a fantasy author, whose books are filled with magical realism, romance and elements of the fantastical with a good dash of humor. Born in a small town in Ohio where corn grew like wildfire and horses were her next door neighbors she developed a deep love of nature and art. She adores Monet’s sailing ships and his collection of hay stacks.

Blog Tour: The Worlds Traveler (Review + Excerpt)

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Life on the run from madman Martin Reimer gets in the way of everything.

For fourteen-year-old Phillip, it has meant having to stay hidden, unable to use his gift of moving through maps to search for his missing father. But the arrival of a stranger named Delroy brings unexpected opportunity, for Delroy is a man with the ability to travel worlds hidden within our own and he was sent by Phillip’s father. Now Phillip will do everything he can to find his dad, even if it means tricking Delroy into helping him or a quest through those hidden worlds.

Even if leaving home means Martin can now find him…

Follow in the adventures of Phillip Stone and Natalie Bristol from the award-winning book The Magician’s Doll!

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Review
It has been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a middle grade adventure/fantasy book as much as I did The Worlds Traveler. If I had to pick one book to describe the reading experience, I’d have to go with fun! And I can’t think of a better word when it comes to what I look for in books to recommend to younger readers. Undeniably, the characters are dynamic, the writing is smart, and the world has a lot of elements to it that will make this a memorable story, but what will keep readers young and old turning pages is simply how much fun this story is.

Fair warning, if you’re considering reading The Worlds Traveler, then I would recommend picking up The Magician’s Doll first as it will help get you into the loop with everything that is going on a lot faster than jumping into book two. I didn’t realize at first that this was a sequel, and I was enjoying the book on it’s own, but once I was invited to read the first book and then polished that off in a couple of days before restarting book two, my reading experience got that much better.

Boy and girl readers will equally find parts of this story to love, and both Natalie and Phillip are the types of characters that middle graders love to cheer for. They’re smart, without being infallible, and they will quickly come to feel like your friends.

I would absolutely recommend this book to those who come through the doors of our library next year, and hope to see more from this author in the future.


Excerpt

“Natalie!”

“Phillip!”

Phillip, Natalie, and Delroy spun in the direction of the summons. Beausoleil and Mrs. Stone were several blocks away, but they were running and would soon reach them.

“I guess they found my note,” Natalie said.

“You left a note?” Phillip exclaimed, exasperated.

“Maybe you can leave your mom without telling, but I can’t.” Natalie’s reply was calm, but it held a sadness that made Phillip feel ashamed.

“You’re right, I’m sorry.”

“No need to feel bad,” Delroy interrupted, “because we’re not leaving together. Period.”

“Phillip!” His mother’s voice was frantic. “Phillip, don’t go! Please!”

For once she was not ordering him, and of all the things that could have stopped Phillip, her pleading cry was one. He hesitated.

His mother and Beausoleil drew near, halting as Phillip backed away.

“We’ll figure something out, Phillip,” his mother said. “I promise.”

“You always say that,” Phillip cried.

“We have new information now, Phillip,” Beausoleil said. “Trust me, we can use it to search for your father.”

“When?” Phillip asked. “I have a plan now.”

His mother glanced at Delroy who looked away. “Please don’t leave with Mr. Mendu.”

“You’re wrong about him,” Phillip said. “Dad trusted him. And Natalie said he could help us. She thinks we should leave with him, too!”

“No,” his mother breathed. “Oh, Natalie.”

Natalie bowed her head. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Stone. I promise I’ll do everything I can to keep him safe.”

Beausoleil turned to Delroy. “Are you going to go along with this? Are you going to take them?”

“Absolutely not. If you all don’t mind, I’ll be on my way.”

Anger surged through Phillip as Delroy, with scarcely a glance at him, turned heel and continued down the walk.

”My dad asked you!” he shouted at Delroy’s retreating back. “He trusted you!” When Delroy failed to turn around, Phillip charged across the street.

He pulled out his map.

“Aerthreis,” he ordered.

As the lines emerged on his map, he heard Delroy yell, “No! Are you crazy? You’ll get yourself killed!”

“What?” his mother screamed to Delroy. “What is he doing? Where is he going?”

Natalie ran to Phillip. The hazy, wiggling shape of Aerthreis had formed when she reached him and flung her arms around him. Phillip grasped her tight.

Beausoleil bolted towards them. His mother dropped to her knees. Delroy raised his hands and closed his eyes, summoning his gift, Phillip thought. Then it all blurred.

“I’m sorry, mom,” Phillip whispered, as he and Natalie faded into the map and disappeared.

 

 

The Fountain by Suzy Vadori

cover78880-medium.pngCareful what you wish for. It just might come true. Ava Marshall, driven by a desire to learn more about her mother’s past, moved across the country to attend St. Augustus. But her mom’s secrets will have to wait, because she finds herself instantly hated for her family’s connection to her new school and is forced to fight alone against a classmate who is setting Ava up to be expelled. Fleeing campus, she takes a shortcut to her Gran’s house through the forbidden West Woods and discovers a mysterious fountain that has the power to grant a wish and change it all. But can she live with the consequences? Or will she end up breaking every school rule and risking the love of her life to make it right…


 

Everyone has heard the legend of the magical wishing fountain that makes your wishes come true. When Ava comes across that very fountain, her careless wish sends everything off course. Everything she goes through in order to try to make things right again (but you know it’s never that simple) make for a great story that I’m confident many readers will enjoy! And not just younger readers, but also that growing slew of adult readers who love YA books.

The Fountain on Goodreads

The Callahan Split by Lisa Heidke

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The Callahan Split: No one knows you better than your sister.

In tennis, as in life, nothing ever goes truly to plan.

Samantha and Annie Callahan are successful doubles champions — the toast of the Olympics, Wimbledon, and Flushing Meadow. But their winning partnership spirals out of control when Annie’s new boyfriend announces their engagement at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Bear, the sisters’ coach, guides Annie as much as she’ll allow. But when she insists on dropping Samantha in favour of a singles career, her game and rankings plummet.
Samantha is left floundering. Disillusioned, her only sweet spot is the growing passion between her and Bear. Amidst rising anger and betrayal, Samantha completely changes both their destinies when she does the unthinkable after a devastating Wimbledon loss.

The sisters are driven to create new lives by confronting the past and taking control of the present. But can Samantha and Annie both win?


 

This was my first Lisa Heidke book, but I suspect I’ll be reading others. This is an author who can tell a great story. The Callahan Split follows siters, Samantha and Annie, sisters who are world renound for their skills on the tennis court. But when drama splits the sisters apart, things start to get really interesting.

The writing is what really hooked me, though I did also fall in love with most of the characters. The pacing was fantastic, and the depth of the plot kept me turning pages.

Also, I understand that the cover is trying to look like a magazine cover or similar, but it took me a while to pick up this book after being approved for it on NetGalley because the cover was holding me back. Maybe if we saw the stack of papers under the main one? I don’t know… something about this just didn’t say fiction to me.

Overall this was a great read, and a must read perfect for a wide range of readers.

 

Dancing in the Athenian Rain

cover78090-mediumWhen Donna is sent back in time to Classical Athens, she’s furious at Dr. Stephens for sending her against her wishes. Then a Greek soldier purchases her to be his wife.
She’s forced to learn a new language and culture and faces her fears of never returning to her own time. The society hates her, especially because they think she’s an Amazon, which forces her to confront her issues—being compared to her genius brother, borderline abusive friends, and a cheating boyfriend.

But her husband, Peleus, is kind and patient. He counters all the negative voices from her past, but those voices drive a wedge between them. She must let go of her fears, her inhibitions, and insecurities, and admit her feelings, or she could lose him and the life they’ve built.


Review: I knew I was going to love everything about this book as soon as I saw it. Not only Athens, but ancient Athens! Yes please! I’m a sucker for time travel books, and this one did not disappoint. I especially enjoyed the fish out of water element with Donna trying to figure out how to survive in this world that is extremely different from the one she knows. But this girl definitely makes it work!

At times the dialogue was a little stilted, but for the most part, this was really well written. I fell in love with the characters right away and the world of ancient Greece came alive right off the page, including Donna’s jarring reaction to it.

I’d recommend this book for romance and history buffs alike!