Posts Tagged ‘short chapters’

The Traitor’s Emblem

October 5, 2011

Author: Juan Gomez-Jurado

Title: The Traitor’s Emblem

Genre: Suspense, Historical Fiction

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 321

Geographical Setting: Munich, Germany

Time Period: 1919-1940

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: In 1940, a Spanish sea captain rescues German sailors during a dangerous storm. As a reward, one of the castaways gives the captain a mysterious gold and diamond emblem. The story of the emblem holds the truth behind the web of family secrets, betrayal and murder of one German man. Disgraced and impoverished Paul Reiner never knew his father. After his death 15-year old Paul and his mother are forced to live with her sister as help. Paul believes he died heroically in a shipwreck but a secret revealed from his cousin sends Paul on a quest through Nazi Germany and colonial South Africa to find the truth about his father’s death. The next 15 years of Paul’s life are dedicated to tracking down his father’s murderer. Gomez-Jurado weaves adventure and suspense with a star-crossed romance between Paul and Jewish, affluent Alys Tannenbaum who overcome immense obstacles to be togther including Paul’s cruel, vengeance-seeking cousin Jurgen.

Subject Headings: Nazi Germany, Family Relationships, Freemasonry, Family Secrets, Betrayal and Secrets

Appeal: action-oriented, character driven, complex, dialogue rich, fast paced, historical details, investigative, multi-layered, plot twists, short chapters, strong sense of place, well researched.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Action-Oriented, Investigative, Plot Twists

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

  1. The Rise and fall of the Third
    Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
    by William L. Shirer

Fans of the The Traitor’s Emblem may enjoy reading the history of Nazi Germany,
beginning with Germany’s loss in World War I to Adolf Hitler’s rise. This non-fiction
read will provide readers the history and understanding of 1920’s Germany, its
politics and culture mentioned in the book.

2. Freemasonry: Symbols, secrets,
by Kirk W. MacNulty

This fascinating read depicts the
mysteries behind the centuries-year old fraternal order, Freemasons. Readers who
want to learn more about Mason rituals, history and symbols described in The Traitor’s Emblem will enjoy this

3. Stalin’s Children: Three
Generations of Love and Betrayal
by Matthews Owens

This title is an extraordinary
history and memoir of Michael Owen’s family in Russia beginning with his
grandfather’s execution in 1937. It follows the Owen family through three
generation as they struggle with war, hardships, sacrifices and a star-crossed
love affair between Owen’s parents.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

  1. The Lost Symbol by
    Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol chronicles symbologist Robert Langdon
as he follows clues to a mysterious puzzle that will lead him to his missing
friend in Washington D.C. Langdon unlocks the mysterious to the Freemasons and
the capital through this fast-paced, action thriller.

2. Cold Vengeance by
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Special Agent Pendergast seeks vengeance
for his wife’s murder which takes him on a chase through Scotland, New York
City and Louisiana.  The more involved he
becomes, the deeper he is forced to dig into his wife’s past. The murder conspiracy
may be more complex than Pendergast may have imagined.

3. The Count of Monte Cristo by
Alexandre Dumas

Innocent, Edmond Dante is betrayed
by friends and unjustly imprisoned for live. He escapes after 14 years seeking
revenge for the ones responsible for his imprisonment. Once escaped Dante finds
hidden treasures, described by a fellow inmate, and becomes a wealthy Count.
Dante creates an elaborate plan bringing down the men who stole 14- years from
his life.

Name: Noelle Swanson


Ask Me No Questions

August 25, 2011

Author: Budhos, Marina

Title: Ask Me No Questions

Genre: Multicultural

Publication Date: 2006


Number of Pages: 157 p.

Geographical Setting: New York City

Time Period: Post 9/11/2001

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: A young Muslim Bangledeshi girl named Nadira and her family have lived in America on expired visas for years working, living, and looking for a way to become United States citizens. Then the events of 9/11 occur and suddenly Muslims are considered dangerous and Nadira’s family is under threat from sides. Ask Me No Questions tells the tale of a girl and her family as they face threats of deportation; increased scrutiny from neighbors and the law. This novel provides an intimate and alternate perspective on the United States “war on terror” through the eyes of 14 year-old.

Subject Headings: Freedom, Patriot Act, war on terror, 9/11, Islam, immigration,

Appeal: short chapters, emotional, inspirational, memorable characters, multicultural, , Issue-oriented, relaxed pace, heartwarming, heart-breaking, detailed settings, dramatic, contemporary.

3 terms that best describe this book: Timely, controversial, informative.

3 Relevant Non Fiction Works and Authors

1.)  They were strong and good by Robert Lawson – The author retales how his grandparents helped build the United States

2.) The Ancient Ship by Wei ZhangRecounting the trial and tribulations of three intertwined families over three generations.


3.) Five thousand days like this one: an American family history  by Jane Brox – The history of a family of New England farmers.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1.) Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier – An Indian tennager in the U.S. deals with non- acceptane from both Indian and American peers.

2.)  The absolutely true tales of a part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie – A young Native American leaves his reservation’s troubled high school to attend a majority caucasian high school.

3.) Journey of the Sparrows by Fran Leeper BussBrother and sister refugees are smuggled into the United States from El Salvador and attempt to start a life in Chicago.


The People Could Fly

August 17, 2011

Author: Hamilton, Virginia

Title: The People Could Fly

Genre: Folktale, African-American

Publication Date: 1985 (Hardcover), 1993 (First paper back printing)


Number of Pages: 178 p.

Geographical Setting: A somewhat mythical antebellum Southern United States

Time Period: Prior to 1865, each tale is essential timeless

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: The People Could Fly is a collection of Black American folk tale passed down through oral traditions from the arrival of enslaved Africans in the North America, through slavery, to this very day. The collection can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. There are tales that are somewhat familiar (i.e. “Doc Rabbit, Bruh Fox, and Tar Baby.) and other tales that should be new to the casual reader. A Coretta Scott King Honor Book, its beautiful illustration won the award in 1986. The book divides the tales into 4 thematic sections: animal tales, tales of the Real, Extravagant, and Fanciful, tales of the supernatural, and slave tales of freedom. And after every story the origin cultural and geographic origins of that tale are broken down for the reader. This tome contains humorous yarns, weird stories, and inspirational tales great for all ages.

Subject Headings: Freedom, slavery, folklore, animal tales, Black American culture, oral traditions

Appeal: great read-a-loud book, short chapters, imaginative, weird, inspirational, memorable characters, beautiful illustrations, dialect, funny, Issue-oriented, Relaxed pace, heartwarming, homespun.

3 terms that best describe this book: Witty, humorous, timeless

3 Relevant Non Fiction Works and Authors

1.)  African folktales: traditional stories of the Black world by Roger D. Abrahams – Another collection of folk tales, this time including tales from the nations and people of West Africa.

2.) Italian folktales by Italo Calvino: A collection of 200 Italian folk tales.


3.) Dee Brown’s folktales of the Native American, retold for our times by Dee Alexander Brown: Thirty six stories of various Native American oral traditions retold for the common era

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1.) Best African-American fiction, 2010 edited by Gerald Early & Nikki Giovanni. – A collection of short stories and novel excerpts from the years catalog of black fiction writers.

2.)  Best African-American fiction, 2009 edited by Gerald Early & E. Lynn Harris. – A collection of short stories and novel excerpts from the years catalog of black fiction writers.

3.) The monkey suit: and other short fiction on African Americans and justice by David Dante Troutt – Ten short fictional stories based off of actual case of documenting the African American struggle against segregation and for civil/human rights.


The Greatest Lies in History

August 8, 2011

Author: Canducci, Alexander

Title: The Greatest Lies in History

Genre: Non Fiction

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 335

Geographical Setting: Generally speaking, Earth and its immediate environs.

Time Period: Length and breadth of human history.

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: There is no plot to this book as it addresses, in a case by case manner, the many myths, falsehoods, and outright lies that have passed for history for centuries despite evidence to the contrary. The text is organized by the specific type of cover up, and is divided into four parts: “Spin & Doublespeak”, “Passing the Buck”, “Official Deceptions & Cover Ups”, and “Acting Under False Pretenses”. The pages of this book will shatter many of the legends that have acted as a substitute for history in elementary, high school, and even in some college classrooms.

Subject Headings: History, conspiracy, deception,

Appeal: Quick pace, short chapters, informative, written in the vernacular, accessible, humorous, witty, subversive, historical, well organized, stunning illustrations.

3 terms that best describe this book: Controversial, well researched, life changing.

3 Relevant Non Fiction Works and Authors

1.)  Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond – This book is rational scientific  explanations for why some societies are conquered by other and why some societies simply fail. Diamond looks directly at geographic, epidemiological data, and social phenomena as opposed to taking the essentialist view and attributing societal failure to the individual quality of the people who made up said civilizations.

2.) A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn – Another example of a history text that re-examines historical myth and seeks to replace it with social historical fact; or at the very least provide a “bottom-up” view of American history.

3.) Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond: In this text Diamond focuses on the political and social choices that societies make and how those choices can determine whether a society will collapse under its own weight or last for centuries.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1.) The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown – This book’s main character attempts to untangle myth from “historical truth” concerning the Catholic Church in this thrilling bit of historical fiction.

2.) The Breath of God by Jeffrey Small – This is a fast paced, thought provoking novel where the main character discovers secrets that run counter to the prevailing history of Christianity.

3.) The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury – Similar to the Da Vinci code in pacing and also in its fictional accounts of cover-ups within the Catholic Church, however the secrets the protagonist uncovers span far beyond the church itself.


I, Jedi by Michael A. Stackpole

August 1, 2011

Author: Stackpole, Michael A.

Title: Star Wars: I, Jedi

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 1998 (Hardcover), 1999 (Softcover)

Number of Pages: 577

Geographical Setting: A galaxy far, far away

Time Period: A long time ago

Series (If applicable): Star Wars – Stand alone novel.

Plot Summary: Corran Horn was once a former officer and pilot in the Corellian Security Force. For personal and political reasons he defected to join the Rebellion against the Galactic Empire, that still persists after the destruction of the second Death Star at the Battle of Endor. Having worked his way through the piloting ranks of the Rebellion, Corran now finds himself as a lead pilot in the Rogue Squadron, the Rebellion/New Republic’s most elite starfighter squadron. During his time in Rogue Squadron, Corran discovers a long lost secret about his heritage and finds that he is descendant from a long and storied line of Jedi Knights. When his wife goes missing on a mission for the newly formed New Republic, Horn joins the first class of Luke Skywalker’s newly formed Jedi Academy, so that he might gain the skills necessary to rescue his wife. Disappointed with the deliberate pace of  Skywalker’s teachings, Corran leaves half trained, and during his mission to save his wife, finds himself tempted by the dark side of the Force.

Subject Headings: Star Wars, George Lucas, Jedi, Galactic Empire, Corran Horn, fighter pilots, The Force.

3 terms that best describe this book: High adventure, suspenseful, space opera.

Similar Authors and Works: Karen Travis, James Luceno, Troy Denning all are regular contributors to the Star Wars Universe. While they have their own unique styles they all know how to maintain the pace of a Star Wars novel.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card – This book is also about space battles, very dramatic and focuses on a main character’s training and personal development.

Look to Windward by Iain Banks – An intricate plot punctuated by pitched space battles between good and evil.

Once a Hero by Elizabeth Moon – Fast paced science fiction about space warfare, and the main character coming to terms with a storied heritage.


Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Star Wars Art: Visions by J.W. Rinzler (Introduction)  & George Lucas (Foreword)

Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary by David West Reynolds, James Luceno & Ryder Windham

Star Wars Character Encyclopedia by DK Publishing

by  Morgan S. Lewis

Judge and Jury by James Patterson

July 25, 2011

Author: James Patterson

Title: Judge and Jury

Genre: Suspense

Legal Thriller

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: 421

Geographical Setting: New York

Time Period: present day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: FBI agent Nick Pellisante after a long chase finally brought to the trial a mob godfather, Dominic Cavello. One of the jurors selected for the court case against Cavello is Andie DeGrasse, a single mom and jobless actress. She does not even want to serve her jury duty, and her destiny takes her way beyond that. As soon as the trial starts, things go horribly wrong. Cavello sends an assassin to put the bus with all jurors on fire, and then escapes. Nick with an unexpected partner goes for a deadly chase after Cavello. This story has multiple plot twists and it will keep the reader on the edge of the seat. Short chapters and witty language splattered with some humor will make it a fast and entertaining read. Fans of Suspense will appreciate the sense of menace as Cavello and his people take unpredictable actions.

Subject Headings: Mafia trials – New York – Fiction; Women jurors – Fiction; Organized crime – Fiction; Suspense fiction

Appeal: plot-driven, fast paced, suspenseful, entertaining, dramatic, humor, chase, tense, deadly threat, sympathetic protagonists, villains, sense of menace, short chapters, alternating points of view, plot twist, uneasy atmosphere, roller-coaster style, resolved ending

3 terms that best describe this book: fast paced, suspenseful, entertaining

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Gotti: Rise and Fall by Jerry Capeci – while Cavello appears to be “the most vicious and powerful mobster since John Gotti” (, this book pictures the real Gotti and the New York organized crime; like in Patterson’s novel, bringing the mobster to justice is extremely challenging

A Trial by Jury by Graham D. Burnett – this true crime memoir of an ordinary citizen who serves as a juror on a New York’s murder trial explores in depth a situation in which Andie became involuntarily thrown

We’re Going to Win this Thing: The Shocking Frame-up of a Mafia Crime Buster by Lin DeVecchio – true story so unbelievable it reads like a fiction thriller; fans of Nick Pellisante may appreciate his efforts even more after reading a shocking story of an FBI agent framed for New York mafia crimes while trying to bring the mafia to justice

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

The Firm by John Grisham – like Judge and Jury it is a fast paced, plot-driven, and suspenseful legal thriller about the mafia chased by FBI

I’ll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark – suspenseful, plot-driven page turner; the same setting – modern day New York

The Jury Master by Robert Dugoni – this Suspense/Legal thriller is fast paced, plot-driven, and with a sense of malice; like in Patterson’s novel the focus is more on non-stop action rather than legal details

Name: Anna Demitraszek

Lifeguard by James Patterson

February 23, 2011

Author: James Patterson & Andrew Gross

Title: Lifeguard

Genre: Action/Suspense/Mystery

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 393

Geographical Setting: Palm Beach, FL; Brockton, Massachusetts (suburb of Boston)

Time Period: Present

Plot Summary: Ned Kelly was offered a deal of a lifetime: help steal three paintings worth $60 million and walk away with $1 million in his pocket.  But he and his friends were beat to the chase, and Ned is the only member of the group still alive.  He must clear his name and the names of his friends while on the run from the FBI.  To add to his growing list of felonies, Ned kidnaps FBI special agent Ellie.  Somehow, Ned convinces Ellie of his innocence and she helps get to the bottom of the missing art.

Subject Headings: Palm Beach, Florida; FBI; Art Theft; Brockton, Massachusetts; Murder; Upper Class v Lower Class; Gin Rummy; Car Theft; Pablo Picasso; Paul Cezanne; Jackson Pollock; Red Sox; Betrayal; High Speed Chase

Appeal: Breakneck pace, told in multiple points of view, humorous characters, suspenseful, short chapters, character-centered

3 terms that best describe this book: beach, art, theft

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

A Life of Picasso: The Prodigy, 1881-1906 by John Richardson (Picasso’s paintings become a character, knowing more would help make sense of some of the lesser explained references)

Madness Under the Royal Palms: Love and Death Behind the Gates of Palm Beach by Laurence Leamer (Sordid stories of the real people living in Palm Beach make the conniving characters in Lifeguard more realistic)

FBI 100 Years: An Unofficial History by Henry M. Holden (FBI agent Ellie plays a major role in uncovering the truth)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Dirty Work by Stuart Woods (Protagonist tries to clear her name in a murder investigation)

Silent Joe by T. Jefferson Parker (protagonist seeks revenge for family’s murders)

Tell No One by Harlan Coben (quick pacing and likeable main character)

~Angela Bennett