Friday, December 30, 2016

Best Books of December

December is a busy month, but there's always time to read! Here are the great books I read this month.

Jenny Lundquist was an author whose books I read while I was waiting for my first book to come out. I love her writing, so I was counting the days until her November 29th release. Especially when I saw this gorgeous cover!

The Charming Life of Izzy Malone focuses on Izzy, a sixth grader who is at that awkward age where she isn't quite sure where she belongs. Making matters worse, she has a prodigy sister who seems to be perfect and a mom who is running for mayor. Jenny's writing took me right back to that age and the panicked frustration I felt when I thought nothing I could do would make grown-ups see me as the unique, creative person I was. This is a book that will help the many tweens who feel that way see that they aren't alone. Izzy makes the perfect middle grade heroine--quirky and filled with angst, but strong and spunky. You can't help but root for her!

Kristin Smith is another longtime blogging friend and she's celebrating her first book!!! I was so excited when I opened this book on my Kindle, and now I get to tell you about it.

Catalyst depicts a very realistic future in which genetic modification has taken over. The main character, Sienna, is forced to engage in criminal behavior after her father dies suddenly. When she learns her father's death wasn't an accident, her motives change. Kristin's version of the future is all too real...eventually people likely will choose their children's characteristics, thanks to science. But she also packs plenty of action scenes into the book that keep you turning the pages until the very end.

If I'm solely judging a book by its cover, I'm likely going to go for pink and cartoony. Or glittery and colorful. I think those are the hazards of being a children's author! So when I saw the cover for my next December read, I knew I was in for a wild ride.

Hell Comes to Hogtown by C.D. Gallant-King focuses on the death of the prime minister's wife and two guys who are pulled into the drama by accident. C.D. has a humorous, immensely likable writing voice that makes every scene more interesting. When you add in the action and drama of a comic book shop employee on the run with his wrestler friend (yes, you read that correctly!), you have a book that you won't be able to put down. 

Ayla Hashway is a new voice in the writing world. She's only NINE YEARS OLD!!! I'm sure many of us can say we wish we'd started writing and publishing books at nine. Imagine how successful we'd be by now!

In The Secret Sister, a 12-year-old girl named Olivia and her younger brother Max are preparing to go on vacation to Abura. Why Abura? A mysterious woman randomly walked up to her, handed her a brochure, and told her she should go there. It was only the first of several strange events for Olivia and Max. In addition to their exciting trip, the two also have to solve a mystery involving their mom. I can't emphasize enough how amazed I was that a nine-year-old wrote this book! It was engaging and fun and very readable. I think everyone should give Ayla's first book a read. (Pssst: It's free!!!)

And last...but so not this contemporary romance from Jennifer Lane. Have I mentioned lately how much I love contemporary romances? I couldn't wait to dive into this one!

Spiked is a new adult romance told from two perspectives: the son of the U.S. President and an aspiring Olympic swimmer. It's also the third in a series, but it stands on its own, so you don't have to read the other two first. When the female protagonist, Jessica, is raped at a college party (very early in the book), she has some serious healing to do. As you can imagine, this book tackles some heavy issues, but the author does so in a compassionate, healing way that has you falling in love with both characters. This is like no other new adult romance you've read!

What are you reading now?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Mystery Monday: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...

Every Monday, I'm presenting a new mystery. Some have been solved...some remain unsolved to this day. 

The number of airplanes that have disappeared over the vast ocean is astounding. Each time, it feels like something out of a paranormal novel. You want there to be some mythical explanation. You at least want to imagine the passengers are having a good time on a desert island somewhere.

Unfortunately, we all know things can go wrong with airplanes. When it happens over land, we have a crash scene. When it happens somewhere over the ocean, the debris may never, ever be found.

On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 departed Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing at 12:41 a.m. Less than an hour later, the plane's onboard communication system lost contact. The last words from the co-pilot came just a few minutes prior to that: "Good night Malaysian three seven zero."

The plane, 12 crew members, and the 227 passengers on board were never seen again.

On military radar, the flight was seen veering from its course, heading west across the Malay Peninsula.

Some debris from the plane washed up in the Indian Ocean, making its fate pretty clear. But one thing that remains a mystery is why?

Recent reports say there was a power failure on the aircraft, citing the failure of the satellite data unit (SDU). Although the SDU rebooted after the auxiliary power kicked on, some experts believe the loss of electrical power could have left the pilots unable to maneuver the aircraft. This could support the theory that a fire broke out on board. This fire suppression bottle washed up on Maldives Beach:

One journalist theorizes the pilot was in the restroom when an explosive decompression in the cockpit sucked the air out of the jet's cabin. She also believes there was a problem with the plane's oxygen system, leaving the less experienced co-pilot unable to think clearly enough to turn things around.

The co-pilot and pilot

Some experts point to fuel starvation, which happens when a blockage doesn't allow fuel to reach the engine. If both engines burned out at once, the plane would have begun a rapid descent toward the water below.

What do you think happened to Flight MH370?