Posts Tagged ‘conversational language’

Secrets of the Lost Summer

October 3, 2012


Author: Carla Neggers

Title: Secrets of the Lost Summer

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publication Date: 2012

Number of Pages: 344

Geographical Setting: Swift River Valley- New England

Time Period: Present day and 1938 (historical flashbacks)

Plot Summary: After suffering from a friend’s betrayal that damages her career, Olivia Frost decides it is time to walk away from her life in Boston and start fresh in her hometown. While Olivia is delighted to renovate her historic home in scenic Swift River Valley, she finds herself annoyed by the dilapidated house that neighbors her own. Dylan McCaffrey, California businessman and retired NHL player, is surprised to learn he inherited this crumbling shack from his father. Eager to investigate what brought his adventure-seeking father to New England and why he purchased this rural home before his sudden passing, Dylan heads east and quickly becomes engrossed in both his attractive neighbor and the mystery his father left him in Quabbin Valley. While trying to solve a seventy-year-old puzzle, Dylan and Olivia become fearful that their findings will not only explain Dylan’s unusual inheritance but also reveal a small-town secret that will change the lives of the people of Swift River Valley forever.

Subject Headings: Bed-and-Breakfast, Inheritance and Succession,  Interpersonal Attraction, Jewel Thefts, Men/Women Relations, Secrets, Treasure Hunting, Family Secrets, New England

Appeal: engrossing, gentle, heartwarming, romantic, closely observed characters, multiple points of view, flashbacks, steamy, detailed setting, historical details, straightforward style, conversational language.

Three Appeal Terms: closely observed characters, detailed setting, historical details

Three Fiction Read-Alikes

Juliet by Anne Fortier

Fortier tells the story of Julie Jacobs, a young woman who finds herself pursuing a family treasure upon receiving a surprising inheritance. Set in scenic Italy, readers who enjoyed Neggers’ element of mystery in a detailed setting will appreciate the descriptive landscape and Julie’s suspenseful mission.

Moving Target by Elizabeth Lowell

Lowell’s romantic suspense novel follows Serena Charters as she tries to piece together a mysterious inheritance she received upon her grandmother’s shocking passing. During her quest for information, Serena seeks the help of Erik North, a writer/historian, to whom she is instantly attracted. Fans of Secrets of the Lost Summer will enjoy the mysterious, historical inheritance plot entwined in a love story.

The Treasure by Iris Johansen

Like Neggers, Johansen writes engrossing love stories that appeal to those looking for a suspenseful read. The Treasure takes place in 12th century Europe and follows the story of Selene, a young woman who falls in love with a former assassin who rescued her from slavery. Readers who enjoyed the historical references and fast-paced storyline of Secrets of the Lost Summer will appreciate this read.

Three Nonfiction Read-Alikes

The Herbal Kitchen: Cooking with Fragrance and Flavor by Jerry Traunfeld

Along with her vivid descriptions of New England countryside in Secrets of the Lost Summer, Neggers also describes Olivia’s charming garden and farm-to-table cooking in great detail. Readers are provided with rich descriptions of Olivia’s obsession with freshly grown herbs, an element of this love story that may particularly engage readers with a gardening or cooking interest. For those who share Neggers’ fascination with herb gardens, The Herbal Kitchen cookbook is a strong nonfiction suggestion. Readers may enjoy applying Olivia’s cooking experiences to their own lives.

Quabbin Valley: People and Places by Elizabeth Peirce

This collection of vintage photographs depicts the lives of the people of Quabbin Valley from 1750 to 1938, when the land was purposefully flooded to create a steady water supply for Boston natives. Neggers discusses this historical moment and the affect it had on Quabbin residents in great detail. Readers who seek a visual representation of Neggers prose will enjoy this title.

Quabbin: A History and Explorers Guide by Michael Tougias

In the spirit of Dylan’s father’s love for adventure and treasure-hunting, Quabbin: A History and Explorers Guide makes for great additional reading for those who were taken with Neggers’ description of the New England landscape and its evolution since 1938. This title provides readers with a brief history of the valley as well as tips for those that may want to explore the area themselves.

Annotation by: Elizabeth Hopkins

The Lake House

July 25, 2011

Author: James Patterson

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 376

Geographical Setting: Colorado/Washington D.C.

Time Period: Present-Technological Future

Plot Summary:  Ever dreamed of flying? This novel from award-winning author James Patterson follows six extraordinary children who can do just that. Max, Matthew, Icarus, Ozymandias, Peter, and Wendy come from a future where children can be genetically engineered with animal DNA, to produce super-humans. Max and her kind find safety with the only humans they’ve ever learned to trust, a couple, Frannie and Kit. Now villains from the children’s past are resurfacing. An evil doctor named Ethan Kane will try and find the kids so that he can use them in his own sick experiments. Will Frannie and Kit be able to keep these children, who aren’t even their own, safe? Or will these unique beings once again find themselves in cages, kept from the one freedom they love the most?

Subject Headings: Hard-edged Suspense; Advanced Technology; Fantasy; Romance; Biomedical Technology

Appeal: page turner, multiple story-lines, multiple points-of-view, engrossing, sympathetic characters, dramatic, emotional, moving, suspenseful, conversational language, gritty

Three Words or Phrases Best Describing this Book: Suspenseful, emotional, dramatic

Similar Authors and Works

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Flying the Alaska Wild: The Adventures and Misadventures of an Alaska Bush Pilot by Mort D. Mason (suspenseful, flying stories)

Biomedical Engineering: Bridging Medicine and Technology by W. Mark Saltzman (an introduction to biomedical engineering, interesting subject matter for those interested in the subject of biomedics)

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Bird by Christopher Perrins (entertaining, informational, accessible guide for bird-lovers)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Smash Cut by Sandra Brown (dramatic, page-turner, action-packed)

Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell (romantic, suspenseful, engrossing)

Rules of Prey by John Sanford (sympathetic main character, evil antagonist, suspenseful, violent)

Name: Tara Bauer

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

October 21, 2009

Author: Dan Brown

Title: “The Lost Symbol”

Genre: Adventure

Publication Date: September 2009

Number of Pages: 504

Geographical Setting: Washington, D.C.

Time Period: Contemporary

Series: Series character, Robert Langdon

Plot Summary:  Robert Langdon returns to use his brains to help out an organization as the reader is toured around a detailed set of Washington, D.C..  Langdon finds that he has been called to the Capitol building to help out a long-time friend, Peter Solomon, and to return a mysterious packaged item that has been entrusted to him.  He arrives only to discover that the severed hand of his friend has been tattooed and set up in the middle of the room, pointing upwards.  Peter’s sister, Katherine, joins the search for her brother.  The CIA join as well, except that that are not concerned with finding Peter’s captor, but will do anything to get the package held by Landon, which is said to reveal all the secret knowledge held by the legendary secret society, the Masons .  Questions litter this tale: Who has captured and tortured Peter?  Is he alive?  How has he come to know all that he does?  How did the CIA get involved?  Whose interests do they have at heart?  What exactly is this secret knowledge that has been guarded vehemently for centuries?

Subject Headings: Washington, D.C., Secret societies – Masons,

Appeal:  fast paced, relentless, series character, eccentric villain, complex storyline, investigative, plot twists, informative details, detailed depiction of Washington D.C. architecture, historical details, contemporary setting, political backdrop, dangerous, dangerous mood, conversational language, natural description, resolved ending, easy yet researched

3 terms that best describe this book:  Historical, Exciting, Dangerous

Similar Authors and Works
3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

“The Secret Architecture of Our Nation’s Capitol:  The Masons and the Building of Washington, D.C.” by David Ovason.  This text notes several important founders who were involved in the construction of D.C, such as James Hoban (designer of the White House) and notes how their designs reflect well-known Mason symbols.  This may in fact be a source Dan Brown used for his own text, as it was published in 2002.

“Insight Guide Washington, D.C.” by Insight Guides.  A great resource for Washington architecture, offering plenty of historical details and little bias.

“Secret Societies: And How They Affect Our Lives Today” by Sylvia Browne.  This text documents sixteen different societies, offers a brief history of each, and whether or not it is known to be active today and how.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

“The Kabalyon Key” by Charles Westbrook.  A religiously controversial tale of secrets and conspiracy wherein the world is threatened as historical secrets are revealed.  Westbrook peels the layers of mystery similar to Dan Brown so that the reader is taken on an exciting adventure.  Historical facts and illustration are also used to supplement the story.

“Spartan Gold” by Clive Cussler.  Like Brown, Cussler chronicles the hunt for a secret treasure (once belonging to the ancient world and then again to Napoleon) while two parties race to solve the clues to finding it.

“The Doomsday Key” by James Rollins.  This text intertwines history and science (like The Lost Symbol does).  Scientific experiments are explored that have the magnitude to change mankind, offering high suspense.  Also similar is the usage of series characters, for those who appreciate comfort with their narrator.

Name:  Melissa

Bodega Dreams

April 14, 2009

Author: Quinonez, Ernesto

Title: Bodega Dreams

Genre: Urban literature

Publication Date: 2000

Number of Pages: 213

Geographical Setting: Spanish Harlem

Time setting: Present day

Plot Summary: Love, murder, idealisms and Latin American emotion all play a part in the day to day world of Spanish Harlem. Julio Mercado, better known by his street name, Chino, has lived in Spanish Harlem since he was a young boy and has always been there for his lifelong friend Sapo. While Sapo went to work as a collector/enforcer for the neighborhood crime boss, Willie Bodega, Chino went to college, married his very religious grammar school crush and now has a child on the way. Chino is summoned by Bodega, through Sapo, and is asked by Bodega for a favor. At first he doesn’t like Bodega and denies him, but his affinity grows for him when he realizes Bodega is using money from his criminal enterprise to help the residents of the neighborhood better their lives. Chino helps Bodega with a favor, but no-one, especially Chino and Bodega, realizes that they have been double crossed by someone who they both considered an ally, until it’s too late.

Subject Headings: Puerto Ricans; Latin Americans; Latin American–religion; Latin American–growing up; Latin American–neighborhoods; Crime; Friendships; Latin American—marriage; Young marriage—problems.

Appeal Terms: Measured pace,unhurried , lifelike characters, strong secondary characters, well drawn characters, dramatic characters, flashbacks, menacing atmosphere, optimistic atmosphere, conversational language, candid language, natural language, plot twists, strong language, details of Latin American life, details of Latin American street life, details of Latin American family life, urban, dialect language.

Red Flags: Drug use, offensive language, violence.

Fiction read-a-likes

Carlito’s Way by Edwin Torres. Urban, Details of Latin American street life, plot twists.

A Nation of Amor by Christopher Connell. Details of Latin American street life, menacing atmosphere, urban.

Affinity for Trouble- A Puerto Rican story by Hector Varlea. Lifelike Characters, details of Latin American family life, natural language.

Non-Fiction read-a-likes

Down These Mean Streets By Piri Thomas. This is the classic memoir about the author’s life growing up in Spanish Harlem and the problems he faced as a Puerto Rican. He also recounts how he turned his life around after he hit rock bottom, going to prison, after a life of crime and drugs.

Barrio Dreams by Arlene Davila. This book examines the feelings of Latin Americans who live in Spanish Harlem and the feelings towards progress, politics, development, schooling and family, as well as other social issues in this very tiny and compact part of a large city.

My Bloody Life: The Making of a Latin King by Reymundo Sanchez. Take a firsthand look inside the most fierce and largest Latin American gang, which started out a social movement to protect the interest of Latin Americans, but transformed into a criminal empire.