I know and understand that not every book is for every reader, and so I generally take it easy on an author and give them credit for having their own point of view of their work. However, in this case I feel it is my absolute duty to recommend to our readers to avoid this book. I’m a person that enjoys books that aren’t so happy with their endings, but what I’m not a fan of is promoting behavior that has no relevance to the story and enhances people’s beliefs that it may be okay to act in this certain negative way towards other people.
The story is about a 16 year old girl who has no memory of her early youth basically falls madly in love with a strange new boy within an hour of meeting. Okay, I am raising two teens right now so I know their emotions can be strangely erratic and illogical, but to then start shunning your supposed best friends in order to spend time with this guy - not okay. What is more discouraging though, is that the main character’s best friend is consistently slut-shaming the main character and vice versa. I do not want my children ever to be in a position in their life where they would think that talking like this to another human being is okay. I feel horrible for this author because my fear is that this language and content is stemming from some experience in her past that she has brought into this book and it has no place for it in this work.
The Divinersby Libba Bray was an exceptionally tense and scary YA novel that was essentially the story of Evie O’Neill, a young woman from a small town who ended up in the bustle of 1920’s New York, staying with her uncle, who operates the unusual Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult. There she meets a diverse crew of characters, and discovers that she has supernatural powers that help her Uncle solve the crimes committed by a serial killer who is more than he seems.
Lair of Dreams takes up the story a bit later. Evie, now famous now for her talents, is a radio star called The Sweetheart Seer, and is trying to stay atop the fiercely competitive world of showbusiness any way that she can. Most of the supporting cast from the first book is back, and it is large and diverse; Theta, Sam, Jericho, Henry and Ling and Memphis; they all have stories, though Henry and Ling take center stage a lot more here, and Ling is the breakout character, stealing the show with her determination and drive. Together the two of them travel through a realm of dreams, trying to solve an epidemic that is making people fall asleep and never awaken. Ms. Bray is excellent in bringing this world to life, (though I found her 20’s slang a bit over-used), and every scene comes to life with exceptional detail. This is a book that you can taste and feel. The plot was well-structured, and it was often genuinely scary it has so much going for it, and taken together with The Diviners I think it’s quite effective. I am giving it a high rating, but I felt that there are some issues that I must address. Although not much longer, Lair of Dreams felt a lot longer than the Diviners.
When asked by fans where he got his ideas, Harlan Ellison, one of my favorite writers, used to say that he got them from a factory in Schenectady. He got a fresh six-pack once a week. If such a place existed, China Mieville could easily work there. There are very few writers currently working who are as consistently inventive and conceptually audacious as he is. What’s more, he is unusually rigorous in the extrapolation of his fictional worlds. He’s prolific as well, producing novels and short stories at a surprising pace.Three Moments of an Explosionis his latest collection of short fiction, twenty-eight pieces of such varying length and stylistic variety that you could be forgiven for thinking that you were reading an anthology, if not for the consistency of his voice. His prose is unique as well. The spiraling complexity of the language of his novels is a bit more spare here, but the virtuosity is still intact.
Most of the stories in Mr. Mieville’s book are surreal, and unsettling. In Polynia Londoners find themselves dealing with a sky that is suddenly full of floating icebergs. A series of inexplicable card games with deadly but un-glimpsed consequences is the topic of The Dowager of Bees. Dreaded Outcome is about a Therapist who uses assassination to help her patients. Sacken is a streamlined and sharp horror story with a touch of Lovecraft to it.
I was very excited to get this book, Serpentine by Cindy Pon because I have a great fondness for books dealing with Asian culture, and all of the books I've read regarding this specific genre have been adult books. So when I came across this title, having spotted the cover on another website, I immediately had to get it in my hands. This book did not disappoint!
Serpentine tells the story of a young coming of age girl named Skybright, who is the servant girl for a daughter of a wealthy family that is roughly the same age as Skybright. This is not your typical relationship however because we come to learn that Skybright was found on the family’s doorstep shortly before the birth of their daughter and they took this as a gift of companion ship for their new bundle of joy. So Skybright, while holding no position in the family, is very much loved and looked after.
When I read and reviewedHades, Candice Fox’s first novel, I was stunned by how believable it was even though you couldn’t turn around without bumping into a killer. Well inEden, it’s sequel, she proves that it wasn’t a fluke. There are as many killers here, if not more, and I think that it’s even better thanHades, which is saying a lot.
Frank Bennett is struggling with the loss and trauma that occurred during the first book, and he’s doing it the same way, by drinking too much and generally putting everything off until the last possible moment. Eden Archer lost as much or more, but is so enigmatic and self-contained that she spends most of her time fixing Frank’s life, including pestering him to see their court-ordered therapist, Imogen Stone, who has to clear both detective’s for active duty. Eden is itching to get back to work on their next case; three missing women, all of whom worked for a low-life named Jackie Fry, who runs a farm that seems only to employ ex-cons and reprobates.
Review by: Stacy Palm
Release Date: September 15, 2015
**** 4 out of 5 stars
I'm deeply involved in this book and with these characters. This is one of the best books under the steampunk genre that I have read since the series of books by Kady Cross. The lead character, Eyelet, is everything I want from a leading heroine. She is smart, sassy, and a bit naive having lived a shelter life up until the moment when everything changes. Her companion, Urlick, is such a refreshing male counterpart, equally smart, sassy, and equally naive. The characters that surround them are unique and have such a flair that they fit so uniformly into this futuristic adventure.
Review by: Stacy Palm
*** 3 out of 5 stars
Release Date: 9/15/2015
First, let me clarify that my 3 star rating is a neutral rating. This is a very difficult book for me to review. I'll start with what I believe is the premise. This is a book about marriage, and about individual perspectives on the same situation. It's a book that brings to light that every person experiencing a situation, even if the situation seems mundane, brings with them their own prior knowledge, and their own view hinged upon all the information that they know that others may not. It is also a book about compromise and what that compromise is worth to a person.
The reasons I enjoyed this novel and would recommend it. The character development is astounding, after reading this novel I know these characters, inside and out. Honestly, this book is relying heavily on the fact that the characters are the driving factor for you to turn the page because there isn't much else there. So they are lively, vivid, characters. These characters do seem to propel the story along so that you feel lost in their world. The beginning and younger years were by far my favorite chapters of the book.
Review by: Mark Palm I love reading and reviewing books. Yet if you read a lot of my reviews, (and I hope, Dear Reader, that you do), you will notice how frequently I write about the difficulty I find in reviewing certain books. More often than not I then precede to rave about that book. It’s because as a reviewer I feel that I am beheld to an oath similar to the Hippocratic one taken by doctors; first, do no harm.
Good books deserve to be experienced by their readers with as little interference as possible, so I try to give you a feel for the book without dropping spoilers and ruining the reader’s chance to revel in an exceptional work. All of which brings me toThe Eightby Katherine Neville.
Review by: Mark Palm ***** 5 out of 5 Stars Release Date: September 29, 2015
There are tons of cliches that reviewers fall back upon to describe how much effect a book had upon them. It kept me up, all night, I couldn’t put it down, etc.Pretty Girlsby Karin Slaughter brought a new one to life for me. The entire time I was reading this astounding novel I was so jittery and on the edge of my seat that I felt like I had just downed a triple-shot of Starbuck’s strongest.
I have read a few of Ms. Slaughter’s other novels, and she is easily one of the most daring and fearless suspense novelists working today. She takes chances, and has the skill and daring to make them work, and all of her talents are brought to to bear again here, and then some.Pretty Girlsknocked me out.
When I was a kid learning to cook, cookbooks just seemed to be lists of recipes and maybe a few sections about measurements and conversion charts. Either I was reading the wrong cookbooks, or else they just got a whole lot better. The Cowboy’s Cookbook by Sherry Monahan is a perfect example. It’s has all of the things you need to make a wide variety of Western food, from Steaks and biscuits to Son of a B. Stew. It also casts its net a bit more broadly, giving recipes for desserts, and more sophisticated fare. Where it really shines, though, is in the rest of the material. Ms. Monahan gives us wonderful sections on the vernacular of cowboys, the history of the Chuck Wagon, and much more. It’s all written with flair, and so much affection that Ms. Monahan could almost jettison the recipes. I also really enjoyed the design of the book, which is charming with just the right old-fashioned look.