Thrown

Title: Thrown

Author: Colette Auclair. This is her first novel.

Genre: Romance, Chick Lit

Readers: Daycare teacher EMarie, policy wonk BakingSuit, at-home parents Sarah L., Shawna and Megan V.

Summary: Professional trainer Amanda Vogel dreams of riding jumpers in the Olympics, but after seeing her best friend die in a riding accident, she’s so traumatized she can’t show. Broke and desperate, she takes a summer job in Aspen teaching some big-shot widowed movie star’s spoiled daughters to ride—even though she hates teaching kids. She braces herself for three miserable months. But by Labor Day, she has to choose between capturing a gold medal…and the man who has captured her heart.

Our Take: A solid romance novel that’s an easy and fast read. Sure, it’s nothing groundbreaking but it’ll pass the time nicely.

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A Wilder Rose

Title: A Wilder Rose

Author: Susan Wittig Albert. She is the author of several historical novels, including The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Readers: Blogger From Grind to Whine Stacey, metrics analyst Mary, stay at home parents Shawna and Marina, and lawyers Cait and Abby R.

Summary: In 1928, Rose Wilder Lane—world traveler, journalist, much-published magazine writer—returned from an Albanian sojourn to her parents’ Ozark farm. Almanzo Wilder was 71, Laura 61, and Rose felt obligated to stay and help. To make life easier, she built them a new home, while she and Helen Boylston transformed the farmhouse into a rural writing retreat and filled it with visiting New Yorkers. Rose sold magazine stories to pay the bills for both households, and despite the subterranean tension between mother and daughter, life seemed good.

Then came the Crash. Rose’s money vanished, the magazine market dried up, and the Depression darkened the nation. That’s when Laura wrote her autobiography, “Pioneer Girl,” the story of growing up in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, on the Kansas prairie, and by the shores of Silver Lake. The rest—the eight remarkable books that followed—is literary history.

But it isn’t the history we thought we knew. For the surprising truth is that Laura’s stories were publishable only with Rose’s expert rewriting. Based on Rose’s unpublished diaries and Laura’s letters, A Wilder Rose tells the true story of the decade-long, intensive, and often troubled collaboration that produced the Little House books—the collaboration that Rose and Laura deliberately hid from their agent, editors, reviewers, and readers.

Our Take: Lovers of Little House may find their dreams shattered when they read this novel of the truth behind how the books were written. Those who are big time LH gurus may find nothing new here. While some of our readers found the book to enrich their Little House love, others were more disenchanted.

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Prodigal Son

Title: Prodigal Son

Author: Debra Mullins. She is the author of several historical romance novels, including A Necessary Husband.

Genre: Romance, Fantasy

Readers: Stay at home moms Shawna and Sarah L., developmental editor Aryooki.

Summary: Bounty hunter Rafe Montana is a Seer, descended from the fabled Atlanteans. He uses his inherited power to “see” criminals across the globe and track them down, and he’s just started on a new case. Danny Cangialosi is accused of disappearing with a stolen car…but for the first time in his life, when Rafe goes looking, he is unable to “see” him. Instead, his search leads him to Danny’s stubborn, meddling, and verycute stepsister, Cara McGaffigan.

Cara is looking for Danny, too, but not to turn him in. He is her brother, after all, and she’s convinced he has a good heart. If she can just find him before the cops do, she’ll figure out a way to get him out of this. But Cara didn’t count on a scorching-hot bounty hunter getting in her way.

Despite instant chemistry, Rafe and Cara know they’re never going to see eye-to-eye when it comes to Danny. What they don’t know is that Danny didn’t just steal a car—he stole a precious stone, a stone right out of the legends of Atlantis. It holds powers they can only dream of…and its owner wants it back.

Our Take: So it’s not the best writing in the world, our readers agree that they wanted a stronger narrative. And it’s definitely coming from a romance writer, so you should be prepared for out-of-nowhere sex scenes. But our readers thought the concept was good and 2 out of 3 are up for the rest of the books in the series.

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Ghost Hawk

Title: Ghost Hawk

Author: Susan Cooper. She is the Newbery Award-winning author of several books for children, including The Dark is Rising series.

Genre: Middle-Grade, Historical Fiction

Readers: Stay-at-home moms Kristi, Shawna and Sarah L., librarian Zoe and professor JoLee.

Summary: On the winter day Little Hawk is sent into the woods alone, he can take only a bow and arrows, his handcrafted tomahawk, and the amazing metal knife his father traded for with the new white settlers. If Little Hawk survives three moons by himself, he will be a man.

John Wakely is only ten when his father dies, but he has already experienced the warmth and friendship of the nearby tribes. Yet his fellow colonists aren’t as accepting of the native people. When he is apprenticed to a barrel-maker, John sees how quickly the relationships between settlers and natives are deteriorating. His friendship with Little Hawk will put both boys in grave danger.

Our Take: We all love the subject matter, it’s a fascinating look at an often overlooked period of American History. You may want to read it before your kids, or save it for middle-schoolers. A great adventure story, but loses some steam in the 2nd half.

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Cartboy and the Time Capsule

Cartboy and the Time Capsule by L. A. CampbellTitleCartboy and the Time Capsule

Author: L. A. Campbell. This is her first novel.

Genre: Middle-Grade

Readers: Stay at home moms Shawna and Colleen B., teacher Kelly, and media professional Denise.

Summary: Hal hates history class—it literally bores him to tears. But his father is a big history buff, and unless Hal gets a good grade this year, he’ll never get his own room. Sixth grade gets off to a horrible start when history teacher Mr. Tupkin gives the class an assignment to write journals that will be buried in a time capsule at the end of the year. Things get even worse when his dad makes him take his neighbor’s old shopping cart to school, earning him the nickname “Cartboy.” What else could possibly go wrong? Read Hal’s journal to find out!

Filled with photos, drawings, and timelines, Hal’s time capsule journal chronicles a year in the life of the hopelessly hapless Cartboy.

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