Another Day – David Levithan

another dayWhile this could be read as a standalone, it is far better to have read Every Day first.  It is okay if Every Day was read years ago, the story will come back.  Another Day is not a continuation of Every Day but tells the story from Rhiannon’s point of view.  A is a soul that since infancy, wakes up in a different body every day.  A is neither boy nor girl. A is a person, or perhaps a soul.  A ages.  For example, when 16, all the bodies A inhabits are 16.  A meets a girl, Rhiannon, and for the first time, strives to make a lasting connection.  From Rhiannon’s point of view, the reader glimpses the struggle to accept this person she is falling in love with is in a different body (girl or boy) every day.  Can she have a real relationship with someone like that?  And what about her boyfriend Justin?  That relationship involves a lot of work and struggle, so it that truly a quality relationship?

Excellent questions are examined and feelings are thought out.  The nature of relationships is front and center.  Beautifully written and provides so much food for thought.  This book is better for older teens. Highly recommend.

eGalley review     Publication date 8.25.15

Posted in highly recommend, realistic fiction | Tagged

The Taming of the Queen – Philippa Gregory

Taming of the QueenIn fairy tales young women dream of marrying a king, becoming a queen. But this isn’t a fairy tale.  This is reality, circa 1543, London, and the king is wife murderer, Henry VIII. Newly widowed.  Kateryn Parr has just received a proposal she can’t refuse. Her life will now be measured in careful steps, careful words, always hoping she will not fall out of favor. Still, she manages to be herself; to study, to learn and even to publish.

Told in Kateryn’s voice, I felt as if she were talking to me and I experienced her fears and doubts, and moments of triumph.  In spite of knowing the story and knowing the ending, I found myself full of anxiety. I was turning pages to see what happens next, just like a suspense novel. As always, the descriptions of court life are vivid and detailed . . . the clothes, the food, even the smells, bringing the reader into the story. This may be Philippa Gregory’s best book.  Highly recommend!

eGalley review       Publication date 8.25.15

Posted in adult, historical fiction | Tagged , , ,

The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin

Fifth SeasonThe land is just a normal land, with rivers and mountains, cropland and forests. But it moves a bit. Well, more than a bit. It moves a lot. And so we call this land the Stillness. The Stillness has a tendency to split open, spewing fire and ash, destroying civilizations. In order to calm the moving earth we have enslaved a group known as orogenes. These orogenes are outcasts, feared for their tendency to destroy anything nearby when threatened, but needed for their ability to calm the earth shakes. They must be kept under total control, for we don’t want the world to end . . . again.

This post- apocalyptic fantasy is riveting, with characters that are many layered, always interesting if not always likable. I loved the way the story unfolded in bits and pieces, jumping from one time frame to another without a thought of chronology. My only complaint is that it ended too abruptly, and I will be kept hanging for a very long time.

eGalley review                         Publication date: 08.04.15

Posted in adult, dystopian, science fiction

The Marriage of Opposites – Alice Hoffman

Marriage of OppositesRachel didn’t follow the rules. And rules were important, for she was part of a Jewish community that fled the European Inquisition and finally settled in the Caribbean. She rarely did as she was told. She spent most of her time in her father’s library reading, mostly about Paris, memorizing all the maps, imagining a cold fairyland. She always believed that St. Thomas was not her true home. Paris was where she belonged. When she wasn’t in the library she was wandering the island with her only friend, Jestine, the daughter of her mother’s maid. Exasperated, her mother said “I hope you have a child that causes you the misery you have caused me.” Rachel never expected the curse to come true.

Alice Hoffman is a wonderful story teller, painting a vivid picture of St. Thomas, the island of the turtles. The mosquitoes, the bats, the incredible flowers and the ever present heat surrounded me. Her characters are fully developed and complex and she skillfully blended historic facts with fiction into a compelling tale of the life of Rachel Pomie Pizzarro, a story of friendships and loves. I enjoyed everything about this book and I highly recommend it.

eGalley review                   Publication date 8.4.15

Posted in adult, biography, historical fiction | Tagged , ,

River Runs Deep – Jennifer Bradbury

river runs deepYoung Elias suffers from tuberculosis and is sent to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky for experimental treatments by Dr. Croghan who hopes the cool cave air will aid in recovery.  In the 1840s there were few proven treatments for tuberculosis (consumption).  Elias does thrive under the treatment and soon goes exploring into the depths of the cave with the slaves who guide tours and explore the cave.  One of the other patients has hidden his true purpose for being in the cave and threatens the careful work of the slaves.

Combining the exploration of Mammoth Cave, tuberculosis and the Underground Railroad, three seemingly unrelated items into a historical fiction adventure is another example of the author’s writing expertise.  The story has a slow and deliberate pace opening with the experimental treatments, then delving into the dangerous exploration of Mammoth Cave.  I very much enjoyed two of the author’s other books, Shift and A Moment Comes , but I had a difficult time connecting with this book.  Recommended for readers who want a gentle adventure and enjoy caves and history.

eGalley review                                  Publication date 7.21.15

Posted in adventure, historical fiction | Tagged , ,

Alive – Scott Sigler

AliveShe awakes to pain and panic.  Shackled inside a coffin pitch dark.  Sketchy memories fly through her mind.  She must escape and fight through the pain to break free, only to find she is trapped in a room with other coffins.

Respecting the author’s request to not give anything away, I’ll stop here.  This is going to be a huge success!  The story is chockfull of characters determined to stay alive.  It is dramatic and violent and edge of your seat.  Best of all, from a middle school librarian’s view, is the lack of sexual situations and lack of foul language that help make this book ideal for this age group as well as older teens.  Sure, the violence is there and bad things happen but that’s what keeps this story so exciting at every turn.  Fantastic read for teens of all ages, and adults!  Highly recommend.

eGalley review                    Publication date 7.14.15

Posted in highly recommend, science fiction, suspense

The Novel Habits of Happiness: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel (10) – Alexander McCall Smith

Novel Habits of HappinessIsabel’s life is slightly off center. First, Cat, her niece has a new man in her life who seems too good to be true. Second, old enemies have appeared in Edinburgh, and may be moving there. And third, a young boy seems to be remembering a previous life. His mother has asked Isabel for help.

Isabel Dalhousie is editor and owner of the Review of Applied Ethics, and as an accomplished philosopher, her thoughts tend to wander onto odd paths, which I dearly love. Her musings and gentle wisdom are calming and stress relieving. Charlie, her son who is almost four, and Jamie her musician husband, complete this lovely family. Quite unlike TV families, these people are intelligent and caring. They solve the inevitable problems rationally and without tantrums. As with the other books, nothing much happens. If you are looking for action and adventure, stay away. Read only if you want to come away feeling that all is well with the world.

Although this is the tenth book in the series, the story can stand alone. But after reading this, it is probable the reader will want to start from the beginning.

eGalley review                      Publication date 7.21.15

Posted in adult, fiction