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Great action series you may have missed

Book jacket cover of Patient ZeroThose of you who like fast paced, high octane thrillers with aspects of horror and science fiction (think James Rollins’ Sigma Force novels or Christopher Farnsworth’s Nathaniel Cade novels) should DEFINITELY try out the Joe Ledger novels by Jonathan Maberry. First in the series is Patient Zero: “When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there’s either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills … and there’s nothing wrong with Joe Ledger’s skills. And that’s both a good, and a bad thing. It’s good because he’s a Baltimore detective that has just been secretly recruited by the government to lead a new taskforce created to deal with the problems that Homeland Security can’t handle. This rapid response group is called the Department of Military Sciences or the DMS for short. It’s bad because his first mission is to help stop a group of terrorists from releasing a dreadful bio-weapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies. The fate of the world hangs in the balance …” Despite the intense action, the book is both fun and funny, and Joe Ledger is a great character that you will love to root for. Highly recommended!

Giant Pumpkin Suite by Melanie Heuiser Hill

Giant pumpkins, Bach and his cello suites, musicals, kintsugi, tap dancing, Charlotte’s Web, and the Minnesota State Fair.  What do all these things have in common?  You’ll find them all in the pages of Minnesota author Melanie Heuiser Hill’s debut novel, Giant Pumpkin Suite!

Rose and Thomas are twins, but you’d never guess it.  At twelve years old, Rose is 17 inches taller than her twin.  She loves reading, most especially Charlotte’s Web, and is a math whiz, taking classes at the university.  Thomas is good at figuring out how things go together, hates reading, and never passed his multiplication tables.  Rose prefers to stay inside, while Thomas is always running and jumping from place to place.  They’re not even in the same grade at school – Thomas was held back a year, and Rose skipped ahead.

Rose is also an incredibly gifted cellist.  Fiercely focused, she has her heart set on winning the Bach Cello Suites Competition in a few weeks.  The prize?  The winner will be awarded a fellowship with Maestro Harris Waldenstein, a renowned Bach scholar and cellist.  Rose loves Bach – the order, the complexity, the math jokes and puzzles hidden in his music, the loveliness and the cleverness of it all – and she just knows she is meant to win the cello suites competition.

But when Rose and Thomas’s next door neighbor Mr. Pickering has an accident that leaves them temporarily in charge of a giant pumpkin seed, Rose’s summer begins to change.  As Thomas helps Mr. Pickering with his pumpkin project, the borders of their lives begin to expand just like the fast-growing leaves of the giant pumpkin in their neighbor’s back yard.  At first, Rose isn’t too sure how she feels about all this extra pumpkin stuff going on, especially since it isn’t long before the whole neighborhood seems to be trooping through Rose’s life just as aggressively as the the pumpkin is vining.  But when another accident changes everything for Rose, it might just be the pumpkin project that helps her grow into who she’s meant to be.

Books and music are my two most favorite things in the world, and this novel has everything that makes my heart hum with happiness.  Family, friends, and neighbors all come together to make Rose’s journey not just a solo story, but a whole symphony of voices telling a tale sure to make you smile, laugh, cry, and, when you’re done, hug the book and download some Bach to play to your plants.  Don’t miss it!

Paris for One & Other Stories by Jojo Moyes

Paris for One & Other Stories by Jojo Moyes

paris-for-oneWhen Nell’s boyfriend falls through on their romantic weekend to Paris, she finds herself alone in the City of Light.  A nervous traveler and a woman who always researches and considers each decision, big or small, carefully, she resolves to return to London on the train first thing the next morning.  After all, she doesn’t speak French, and what’s the point if she has no one to spend the weekend with?  It doesn’t matter if she’s never seen the Eiffel Tower, or the Louvre, or that bridge with all the locks on it if there’s no one to share it with.  Best just to play it safe and head home.

Fabien is a writer.  Well, to be more precise, he is a waiter who is also a writer in the final stages of editing his first book (it’s not ready, the characters aren’t ready, he’s not ready) and who isn’t quite over the lovely Sandrine.  When a tipped mug sends the only copy of his novel flying into the streets of Paris, it seems Fabien is destined to be a waiter for longer than he had planned.

Nell and Fabien are both a bit lost, but in the gloriously romantic hands of one of my favorite authors, bad luck (and poor choices in old romantic partners…) turns to adventure and discovery on the streets of Paris.  Be sure to stock up on croissants, chocolat, and cafe au lait before you curl up with this delicious read from the author of Me Before You.  Nell and Fabien’s story isn’t the only one between these covers, either – there are eight other stories of love lost and found that will make you smile, cry a little, and definitely want to eat more croissants – or any French pastry, really.  Bon appetit!