The Final Frontier – Neil Clarke, Ed.

5B51CE0A-5FBC-415E-9F47-9CDB2A765B44This anthology is all about space exploration and discovery. Neil Clarke says that it is like “all the episodes of Star Trek where they discover some new phenomena, make contact with a new species or explore the remnants of some long forgotten race.” Thus, the title. The list of authors sounds like a list of Nebula or Hugo award winners…. Ken Liu, Nancy Kress, Elizabeth Bear, Michael Swanwick, James Patrick Kelly…you get the idea. It’s hard to pick a favorite. Elizabeth Bear’s The Deeps of the Sky about an otherworlder sacrificing much to save an intruder is a contender. Sailing the Antarsa by Vandana Singh is beautiful and poetic. The Symphony of Ice and Dust by Julie Novakova is like nothing I’ve read before. I loved them all

eGalley review.                                          Publication date 7.10.18

Posted in adult, science fiction | Tagged

Clock Dance – Anne Tyler

32F5C59E-3658-4582-A76C-4E161C9E70E1Willa has always been the one to calm things down, smooth things over. Starting with her mother’s volatility, she was the child who made things better. We get little glimpses of her life as she hones her skill as a peace maker . . . a college student contemplating marriage, a young widow, a retiree married to her second husband. And then with a phone call from a stranger and a case of mistaken identity, she begins to reinvent herself.
Anne Tyler is amazing. Her books are always full of warmth and humor, dysfunctional families, and quirky characters….the same basic formula. Yet every book is fresh, original, not at all the same old thing. Her writing is beautiful and you fall in love with the characters. This is one of her best books. Don’t miss it.

eGalley review.                      Publication date 7.10.18

Posted in adult, realistic fiction, Uncategorized

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe – Lauren James

00A61534-7BBB-45B4-8E5E-BDAF2F17BB8CThe spaceship is all Romy has ever known. She was an unauthorized/unexpected baby while her parents were the only crew members not in stasis during a long distance voyage to establish a colony. The crew in stasis died years ago, then Romy lost her parents. All alone for years with a batch of frozen embryos, she has no choice but to continue the mission. Transmissions from Earth have a long delay, so there is no one to help if an emergency situation arises. She learns that NASA sent another ship to catch up to her. Finally, she will not be alone! But what are the true intentions of this ship’s captain?

The author did an excellent job pulling off what is difficult to do in stories with limited characters. This is all Romy, all the time. Too much drivel about what the character is feeling is off putting. But this is so well written, that rather succinctly, the reader can grasp the situation, Romy’s reactions, feelings, and actions. The story moved briskly with the perfect amount of tension. The ending was spot on. The reader gets a glimpse and that is all that is needed. Highly Recommend.
eGalley review                                          Publication date 7.3.18

Posted in highly recommend, science fiction, suspense | Tagged

The Dante Chamber – Mathew Pearl

Dante ChamberDawn in London’s public gardens. The January wind is fierce. A hunchback slowly plods along. Then there is a loud crack and he falls to the ground. A crowd begins to gather, and then notices that the man was not a hunchback. Instead, a stone, a very large stone, circles his neck and the pressure caused it to snap. On the stone is an inscription in Latin. Five years ago Boston was the scene of several Dante inspired murders, and when another murder seems to be linked to Dante’s “Purgatory”, Scotland Yard begins to wonder about a possible connection. The poet Christina Rossetti also wonders about a connection. Her brother, the strange, obsessed, artist and writer, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, has disappeared. Is he is connected to the murders? Is his life is in danger? She needs help deciphering the literary clues she has found and enlists her friends, Robert Browning and Alfred Tennyson and Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes. As he did in The Dante Club, Matthew Pearl, mixes real people into his fiction. And he does it so well. The four writers’ personalities are complex, interesting. The plot takes many unexpected turns and sucks the reader down into the London of the mid-nineteenth century. The suspense builds, and the book could not be put down.

eGalley Review                                              Publication date 6.5.18

Posted in adult, historical fiction, mystery, Uncategorized | Tagged

Us Against You – Fredrik Backman, translated by Neil Smith

Us Against YouIt is summer in Beartown. The citizens are trying to come to grips with the impossible events of the previous winter, and they are doing pretty good. Until they learn that the hockey club is bankrupt and will be disbanded. Many of their players are now playing for Hed. Hed is not just a rival town. Hed is the enemy, Hed is hated beyond reason. And now they will be the only hockey club in the area. For a town that has only hockey to love, this is devastating. It seems, though, that there will be a happy ending. A local politician has found money to keep the club afloat for now and has found a coach. A female coach! But there will be hockey, so all is well. Or is it? The book is told in the first person, someone trying to explain to you just what their town was and is and perhaps will be. And it is deeply moving. Fredrik Backman is Swedish, writing about a tiny town in Sweden, writing about hockey. I know nothing about hockey, have never been to Sweden. Yet this book moved me. I cared deeply about the characters, as if they were my friends, my children. When I finished the book, I was emotionally drained. This is the second book about Beartown, and to truly understand this one, the books should be read in sequence.

eGalley review                             Publication date 6.5.18

Posted in adult, fiction, realistic fiction, Uncategorized | Tagged

The Death of Mrs. Westaway – Ruth Ware

Death of Mrs. WestawayHal is overwhelmed by her life. No, it’s the lack of a life. Hal was eighteen when her mother died a couple of years ago. Her only way to earn a living was to take over her mother’s tarot reading booth at Brighton Pier. But it’s not much of a living, and she now owes money to a loan shark. Then a miraculous letter appears from a solicitor in Penzance. He informs her that her grandmother has died and she is a beneficiary of her estate. Hal knows it must be a mistake. Her grandparents had been dead for twenty years. She knows she must write back and tell them that. But she desperately needs money, and if she can keep up the pretense, a few hundred pounds would give her breathing room. So she books a ticket to Penzance. Ruth Ware just keeps getting better, and this book has it all. A plot with many twists and turns, family secrets and family quarrels, a creepy old mansion with a creepy old caretaker, and tarot readings. I loved every page and read far into the night. Needless to say, I highly recommend this book.

eGalley review                                                           Publication date 5.29.18

Posted in adult, mystery, suspense, Uncategorized | Tagged

Whisper of the Tide – Sarah Tolcser

Whisper of the TideThe sequel to Song of the Current opens with Caro, now captain of her own ship, and Markos, rightful ruler of Akhaia, in a committed relationship.  They continue to strategize how Markos can gain control of his country.  The only option appears to be a marriage alliance in exchange for an army.  Caro sacrifices her happiness by ending things with Markos freeing him to marry for political gain.  To make matters worse, Markos sends Caro to fetch his future bride.  The plot starts twisting from there and Caro is thrust into desperate adventures with her survival dependent upon an old adversary.  The sequel is every bit as fabulous as the first, perhaps better.  Caro is such an engaging heroine and her adventures are a thrill.  I look forward to reading everything this author publishes.  Highly recommend.

galley/ARC review                                          Publication date 6.5.18

Posted in adventure, fantasy, highly recommend, Uncategorized | Tagged