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Select Editions: Volume 1 - 2006 ~ True Believer by Nicholas Sparks ~ One Soldier's Story by Bob Dole ~ The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella ~ The Double Eagle by James Twining
Select Editions Volume 1 - 2006 True Believer by Nicholas Sparks One Soldier's Story by Bob Dole The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella The Double Eagle by James Twining Author:Nicholas Sparks ~ Bob Dole ~ Sophie Kinsella ~ James Twining TRUE BELIEVER — Nicholas Sparks — Warner Books — Fiction — ISBN: 0446532436 — In TRUE BELIEVER, journalist Jeremy Marsh spends his time debunking the supernatural. He has just finished exposing a fake television psychic, proving that the man was not able to read people's minds or see into their pasts. When he hears about a phenomenon happening in the... more » small town of Boone Creek in North Carolina, where ghosts are seen inhabiting a local cemetery, Jeremy knows he will be able to find the truth behind the lights that are seen glimmering on certain nights above the cemetery grounds. He knows that ghosts do not truly exist.
When Jeremy arrives in Boone Creek, he experiences what small town life is all about. He's from the big city and feels like he's walked into a time warp. Everyone knows everyone, and gossip spreads like wildfire. His "hotel" is a hole-in-the-wall motel, filled with dead animals ranging from a bear to snakes and all sorts of wonderful critters that can be found in the wild. He's as far from New York as he can get, and he's not sure he likes it.
The very day he arrives in town, Jeremy makes a quick visit to Cedar Creek Cemetery, where the ghosts are reported to have been seen, when he notices a young woman there who catches his eye. He later finds out that her name is Lexie Darnell. Neither of them knows it but soon their lives will be changed forever. Lexie is the granddaughter of the woman who had invited him to visit the town. Doris Marsh is the town psychic.
As Jeremy slowly does his research in the library where Lexie happens to work, he gets to know her. Despite what he feels about the town, he finds himself interested in this woman who doesn't seem to want anything to do with him.
Having read nearly every Nicholas Sparks book that has been written, it is safe to say that TRUE BELIEVER is quite the departure from his previous works. While Sparks tends to write tragedies as opposed to true romances, this novel is far from the tragedy that some of his other fiction books have been.
This is not to say that TRUE BELIEVER wasn't enjoyable. But fans who are looking for the typical Nicholas Sparks book will not find it here. Instead of concentrating on the romance, this reviewer found the focus of the novel to be on the mystery behind the cemetery, and the high point of the plot was Jeremy's answer to the story behind the ghosts. The fact that Jeremy is dating a woman who believes her parents' ghosts have come to her in the cemetery makes the reader anxious to know what he finds, realizing that the answer will greatly impact the relationship that is central to the love story.
One aspect of storytelling in which Sparks excels is his ability to create the characters who populate his books. His capacity to bring into being likeable, everyday people helps make this novel readable. The strength of the story isn't necessarily the plot, and the romance that is found here is not one that a typical romance reader might expect. For this reader, the characters were the highlight of the novel, and the process of getting to know some of the more prominent ones was a delight. One will find oneself chuckling over some of the antics of the townspeople. The brouhaha that the people make over Jeremy's celebrity is very cute, if not humorous.
Overall, the plotlines are balanced between the mystery of the cemetery, Jeremy and Lexie's relationship, the aspect of small-town living, and the individual life stories of the two protagonists. Focusing on the individual characters is just one way of truly enjoying this book. It's a soothing type of read, and readers will feel comfortable with these characters.
On that note, TRUE BELIEVER comes recommended. However, newcomers to Sparks should not think that this novel is characteristic of the type of writing that has popularized him over the years. His forte lies in the tragedy, and to read THE NOTEBOOK or MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE --- two of this reader's favorites --- is a must.
--- Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton
In One Soldier's Story, Bob Dole tells the moving, inspirational story of his harrowing experiences in World War II, and how he overcame life-threatening injuries long before rising to the top of the U.S. Senate. As a platoon leader in the famed 10th Mountain Division, 21-year-old Bob Dole was gravely wounded on a hill in the Italian mountains just two weeks before the end of the war. Trying to pull his radioman to safety while battling a fortified German position, Dole was hit by enemy fire in his right shoulder and back. Over the next three years, not expected to survive, he lapsed in and out of consciousness, lost a kidney, lost the use of his right arm, and most of the feeling in his left arm. But he willed himself to live.
Drawing on nearly 300 previously unpublished letters between him and his family during this period, Dole offers a powerful, vivid portrait of one man's struggle to survive in the closing moments of the war. With insight and candor, Dole also focuses on the words, actions, and selfless deeds of countless American heroes with whom he served, including two fellow injured soldiers who later joined him in the Senate. He speaks here not as a politician, but as a wounded G.I. who overcame the longest odds to rebuild his life. Heartfelt and inspiring, One Soldier's Story is the World War II chronicle America has been waiting for.
(The above description from publishers Harper Collins)
The Undomestic Goddess
by Sophie Kinsella
Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She s made a mistake so huge, it ll wreck any chance of a partnership.
Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they ve hired a lawyer and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can t sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope and finds love is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.
But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does will she want it back?
THE DOUBLE EAGLE
THE DOUBLE EAGLE just may be the fun book of the year. Debut novelist James Twining, an extremely successful entrepreneur in his own right, has crafted an exciting, suspenseful and fast-paced novel about...coins.
The Double Eagle is a $20 gold piece that was minted until 1933, when President Franklin Roosevelt recalled all U.S. gold and bullion, including gold coins. All were melted down, except for one that fell into private hands and five that were preserved at Fort Knox. Some 70 years later, however, a defrocked priest is murdered in Paris. When his mutilated body is found, one of the Double Eagle coins is lodged in his throat. Worse, it is discovered that the coins supposedly held safely and securely in Fort Knox are missing.
Suspicion is immediately cast upon Tom Kirk, a disgraced CIA agent who has been keeping himself in Rolexes by doing work-for-hire as an international jewel thief. Jennifer Browne, an FBI agent trying to rehabilitate her career, is dispatched to retrieve the missing coins from Kirk in exchange for a de facto pardon. The problem, however, is that Kirk has absolutely no idea what she's talking about. Worse, Browne and Kirk are both being double-crossed. They become uneasy and somewhat untrusting allies as they begin an international chase for the coins --- even as they themselves are pursued.
If THE DOUBLE EAGLE has a flaw, it's that Kirk is relatively boring compared to the villains of this piece. The bad guys are always more intriguing, of course, but Twining does an excellent job here of creating his blackhearts out of whole cloth. Still, Kirk remains an interesting enough character, and since a second novel featuring the ex-CIA agent is already in the works, Twining undoubtedly will have not only plenty of room to further develop his stellar protagonist but also more than enough readers to watch him grow. Recommended.