The 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
Rachel 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
Young 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
She 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
Isabel’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
Cousins Dacia and Lou, born in America during the late 1800s and are the best of friends. They have been raised in high society by mothers of Romanian birth and now it is time they found spouses. They’ve come of age and have been sent to Romania to get to know their other relations. Little did they know that the family matriarch is a cruel and domineering woman whose desire for power guides her every move. It seems their mothers have been keeping a deep dark secret. They come from a family of shapeshifters and now that they are 17, their Romanian family enable their first change. The family needs the girls back in the country to help overthrow the king of Romania so the royal Draculas can regain the throne.
Dacia and Lou are plucky, vivacious, and spunky, yet downright vicious when they have to be. The girls don’t meekly accept their role in the family. Punctuated with intrigue and action, the story briskly unfolds. The men in the story are secondary characters but very well drawn. This is a fun read and is another gem from Jessica Day George. There is violence but the language and sexual situations are okay for middle grades while captivating for older teens. Highly recommend.
Nix earns money for her college fund by working as a bounty hunter in the virtual world of MEEP. When kids stay hooked up to their virtual world too long, having adventures in their virtual world while their body remains unconsious, parents call Nix to go into their kid’s world and retrieve them. Nix’s parents work for the MEEP developer so she has inside access to commands that help her in her missions. All is well in the virtual world until the mega billionaire MEEP developer’s son, Wyn, is trapped inside the virtual world and Nix is hired to retrieve him. His body lies hooked up to machines to keep it alive since it has been days. Nix navigates a series of deadly traps while making her way to Wyn only to get trapped in Wyn’s MEEP world.
Nix is such a fun heroine. She’s spunky and witty and sharp. Then there is Wyn who has the attention to detail and delight in world building that would make his island retreat and pet kraken a wonderful world to visit – but not when assassins are after you. This is another offering to the growing novels about the addiction of gaming and virtual worlds like Heir Apparent (Vande Velde) and Elusion (Gabel and Klam). The Leveller is well-written and fun to read. In addition to the action-packed story line, there is the caution about the intrusion of the virtual world into the real world. Highly recommend.
eGalley review Publication date 6.23.15