by: Angela Cervantes
Review by: Avalon Palm
Gaby Lost and Found is the wonderful story of a young girl named Gaby. This story is about Gaby's adventures after her mother illegally crosses the border and is then taken back to Honduras after Gaby is born. While her mother tries to save up enough money to hire a coyote (a person who smuggles people across the border), Gaby struggles to live a normal life even though her father barely tries to care for her and she has to care for herself.
While Gaby is working hard to try and live normally, she meets Feather, a cat. Gaby feels as if Feather is her equal. Feather was abandoned on a side road with no parents, food, or water and Gaby feels as if that is what happened to her.
Gaby Lost and Found is a short book, but I would suggest it to all ages. I would not suggest it to anybody who doesn't
like a book full of emotion. There is not any adventure in this book. The characters and writing are wonderful parts of this book.
by: Chris Nickson
Review by: Mark Palm
"Fair and Tender Ladies" by Chris Nickson is the sixth book in the Richard Nottingham Historical Series. Coming in to a series is never optimal, but this books seems to stand well on its own. Heaven knows that there is usually a lot of textural depth to a series, but if wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets.
This book set in Leeds, England, in 1734, follows the life of Richard Nottingham, Constable, and the lives of his his daughter, Emily and the Constable's deputies. It starts with a suspected murderer being stabbed by a mob, moves on to a young farmer looking for his runaway teen sister, and before long the constable is investigating one, then two, then three murders. Also someone is vandalizing the school for girls that his daughter runs.
The body count is small, and the Mr. Nickson is a subtle writer. Descriptions and characters are swift and sparse, and the majority of the book consists of Richard and his two main deputies walking over Leeds and talking to it many and varied citizens. These scenes too are rather spare, and for a time I felt like a needed a dramatis personae to keep track of everyone.
About a third of the way in I noticed something, with all of these nagging little complaints still on my mind I was moving briskly through the novel. There is a lot to be said for many weapons of the writers arsenal, but one that is usually overlooked is the ability to make the reader want to know what happens next. Sure this book is low-keyed, but I cared about the characters and their story. They were grounded and real, and deeper into the book the story became more tense, and even tragic. Understand that this is not a book full of fireworks and stunt-writing; but Mr. Nickson seems to understand that sometimes, the best way to cook is with a low, slow flame.
by: Nelson DeMille
Review by: Mark Palm
When I first discovered The Quest was about the search for the Holy Grail, I thought I was in for another dose of puerile pap ala Dan Brown; but I was wrong. Whew! The Quest is tense and taut, and unwinds against the back-drop of the Ethiopian revolution and civil war of the 1970's. Three war correspondents, all well-drawn basic characters, stumble upon a dying priest, who starts them on a search for a whopper of a story.
Before they can begin their search they must first escape the collapsing country alive. DeMille shines here. He knows his facts and lets the danger and the squalor show without overkill. There are no superheroes here; people are scared, and they bleed and die. The novel loses a bit of steam when the reporters retreat to Italy to regroup; the background on the Grail seems forced, and a love triangle adds a bit of depth and color, but not much. The last part however, as the reporters, along with a British Colonel straight out of Rudyard Kipling, return to Ethiopia to begin their search, is a blast. The author shows us the danger of everyday life when a country collapses, and the tension keeps up until the end, where a spasm of violence is followed with the slightest grace note of mystery and faith.
Anyone tired of cartoonish thrillers where professors morph into secret agents should read this book, to see how to make a real thriller come to life and stay grounded at the same time.
by: Victoria Lamb
Review by: Stacy Palm
This is a must read for people who enjoy history with a bit of magic! The history behind the story is between Queen Mary and her sister Elizabeth during the time that Queen Mary had Elizabeth imprisoned as a suspected traitor to the throne. This main character of this book is Elizabeth's maid servant, Meg, who happens to be a witch. The story is non-stop action from the moment you pick up the book till the very end. It reads easily and effortlessly, giving you a solid sense of the time and place as while as providing many delightful characters that you care deeply about.
This is a young adult book that I would recommend to many teens. The love interest is age appropriate with no graphic content. I will be eagerly awaiting book two of this series to see what happens to Meg (...and Alejandro de Castillo!) This was a book that once I finished reading it I exclaimed, "Yay" out loud to my household. It was just that good.
It's another month and my favorite time of year for reading! We have some really awesome books lined up for this month and all the reviewers are geeked about some of the books sent to us. There are a number of children's books and teen books set to release this month that are very promising including "The Lost Kingdom", "Spirit Animals Book 1: Wild Born", and "The Darkest Path." Our Adult Fiction reviewer is very excited about the new Nelson DeMille book, "The Quest" and will be posting that review soon. We also have many cooking books, graphic novels, and young adult romances coming your way.