Welcome to Modest Musings!
This is were we tell you about the books we have acquired this week. Whether it is through purchases, NetGalley or one of our many book list emails. Please feel free to tell us what you think and if there is a particular book you are interested in seeing us review. We hope you enjoy what we found this week!
New England Witch Chronicles by Chelsea Bellingeri – The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 were an embarrassing stain on America’s revered past. Innocent people were persecuted at the hands of a few overzealous Puritans, but what if real witches existed during those colonial hunts? What if there are witches in present day New England? That’s what Alexandria Ramsey’s crazy grandmother believes. Grandma Claudia claims Alex descends from a long line of New England witches.
Modern day witches in Hazel Cove, Massachusetts? Unlikely, but strange things are occurring in the weeks preceding Alex’s seventeenth birthday. Alex is haunted by bizarre recurring nightmares of a man chasing her through the Hazel Cove Cemetery. On a few occasions, when her emotions have spiraled out of control, inanimate objects have shattered around her. But that’s just a coincidence, right? Alex isn’t so sure, especially after a local girl, who supposedly dabbled in witchcraft, was killed in the nearby forest.
Alex knows something strange is happening. With the arrival of a new boy in town, James Van Curen, who is causing problems between Alex and her best friend, Peter, Alex feels like her entire world is on the verge of chaos. Could Alex really be a witch? Is it possible Hazel Cove will become a battleground for modern-day witches and witch hunters?
Sparks by RS McCoy – “Everyone in the world has a Spark, a light inside that guides them, keeps them alive.”
Myxini School for Children specializes in training young men and women who have powerful Sparks. Strikers are taught to manipulate fire. Trackers learn to find animals in the most formidable terrains. Handlers are instructed in communication with large predators. But forty years have passed since the last time they had a Reader – a student with the ability to read minds.
When Lark Davies enrolls at Myxini, he knows there aren’t many like him, but he doesn’t realize just how rare his abilities really are. He thinks nothing of being asked to keep his Spark a secret; after all, he can barely control it. Thoughts and emotions flood unbidden into his mind until he can scarcely walk or hold a conversation. But just when he needs it most, his ability fails him.
Lark meets Khea, a small frightened girl who mysteriously incites his protective nature. He has no explanation for the curious strength of their relationship, and it doesn’t help that she is one of the few people in the world whose thoughts can’t be read. As he struggles to get to the root of their unique bond, Lark begins to unravel more power than even his mentor expected, but in the process makes himself a target to political leaders eager to take control.
Romance? Love? In this Once Upon A Romance Series Book 1 romantic comedy, Charlotte (Charlie) King doesn’t have time for either one. All she wants is her late father’s dream to come true by making his beloved King’s Department Store thrive again. However, her stepmother has other ideas. Charlie agrees to help her stepmother find grooms for her sheltered stepsisters. In exchange, the stepmother will release her stronghold on the store’s budget. After all, one good deed deserves another, right? But, Charlie has no idea what her heart’s in for when…
Alexander (Alex) Royale, dubbed by society newspapers as Prince Charming, arrives for dinner to meet the all-female King family. His ailing grandparents yearn for his marriage and then the baby carriage. Well, that and running the family company. Having unsuccessfully searched for months, Alex doesn’t hold out any hope in finding his future bride among the King sisters. However, all his expectations, including his idea of a business-like marriage of convenience, vanish the moment Charlie crashes into him.
When Alex sets out out to win over Charlotte, he has no idea he has to bargain with the stepmother, secretly buy the store, court Charlotte after the wedding, and, oh yeah, be featured in Charlie’s new fairy tale ad campaign, The Charmings, based on them. Can a guy ever get a break?
The couple never factored in falling in love with each other. Now, faced with losing all their families ever wanted, Charlie and Alex must choose: Do they live their families’ dreams or do they finally live their own?
Season of the Harvest by Michael R. Hicks – What if the genetically modified crops that we’re being forced to depend on for food weren’t really created by man? What if they had a far more sinister purpose?
FBI Special Agent Jack Dawson investigates the gruesome murder of his best friend and fellow agent who had been pursuing a group of eco-terrorists. The group’s leader, Naomi Perrault, is a beautiful geneticist who Jack believes conspired to kill his friend, and is claiming that a major international conglomerate developing genetically engineered crops is plotting a sinister transformation of our world that will lead humanity to extinction. As Jack is drawn into a quietly raging war that suddenly explodes onto the front pages of the news, he discovers that her claims may not be so outrageous after all. Together, the two of them must battle a horror Jack could never have imagined, with the fate of all life on Earth hanging in the balance…
House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple – Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.
Ticker by Lisa Mantchev – When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder.
On the last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthings’ factory is bombed, Penny’s parents disappear, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom note demanding all of their Augmentation research if they want to see their parents again. Is someone trying to destroy the Farthings…or is the motive more sinister?
Desperate to reunite their family and rescue their research, Penny and her brother recruit fiery baker Violet Nesselrode, gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling, and Marcus Kingsley, a young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.
Book One of the Curiosity Chronicles
1837: Lydia Dimosthenis detests pirates, especially those of British ilk. The lady machinist will do anything to protect her island home of Aspasia from the scurvy knaves, even if it means crafting seven-foot clockwork soldiers to drive intruders away. When her automatons catch the eye of a charming yet stubborn ambassador from New Britannia, she is given an offer that she truly cannot refuse. But that doesn’t stop her from trying.
Rhys Cartret, ambassador and agent for the Cabinet of Intellectual Curiosities, didn’t count on having a strong-willed, attractive inventor thwarting his every diplomatic move. It’s hard enough keeping his pirate past a secret from Lydia. Matching wits with her is the last thing he needs, especially since New Britannia’s rival France is racing to get the automatons before he does. Intrigue, romance, and striking bargains abound in this curious tale of clockwork soldiers, ruthless pirates, and steam-powered ships.
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, David Levithan, Holly Black, Kelly Link, Gayle Forman, Myra McEntire, Kiersten White, Mathew de la Pena, Jenny Han, Ally Carter, Laini Taylor – If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers (Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de La Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Laini Tayler and Kiersten White), edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa, there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.
Return of the Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett – Dashiell Hammett was a crime writer who elevated the genre to true literature, and The Thin Man was Hammett’s last–and most successful–novel. Following the enormous success of “The Thin Man” movie in 1934, Hammett was commissioned to write stories for additional films. He wrote two full-length novellas, for the films that became “After the Thin Man” and “Another Thin Man”. Bringing back his classic characters, retired private investigator Nick Charles and his former debutante wife Nora, who return home to find Nora’s family gardener murdered, pulling the couple back into another deadly game of cat and mouse. Hammett has written two fully satisfying “Thin Man” stories, with classic, barbed Hammett dialogue and fully developed characters.
Neither of these stories has been previously published (except for a partial in a small magazine 25 years ago). The Return of the Thin Man is a hugely entertaining read that brings back two classic characters from one of the greatest of mystery writers who ever lived. This book is destined to become essential reading for Hammett’s millions of fans and a new generation of mystery readers the world over.