Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

An award winning story that is an emotional journey through guilt and grief.

Conor is a loner, invisible, angry, a thirteen year old boy who calls a monster to life. Death, love, grieving, guilt, torment-- all of these yet a true picture of a family facing the reality of terminal illess. Black and white illustrations by Jim Kay are stark images reflecting Conor's world.

Inspired by a story idea from Siobhan Dowd.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Beth Revis
Across the Universe

Amy is floating, dreaming and waking with no sense of time, but upon awakening her life really goes downhill.

Amy's family is in cryogenic stasis on a colonizing spaceship, Elder is the leader-in-training of the ship's non-frozen inhabitants. Someone left Amy to die, rescued by Elder, they team up to solve the mystery of the killings and the future of the ship's population. This teen dystopia novel asks the hard questions--What makes a good leader? How far will you go to save your way of life? What do children owe their parents? Does diversity cause discord? Good sci-fi plot with believable characters.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Isaac Marion
Warm Bodies

A zombie love story with characters you can identify with, music by Sinatra and the Beatles.

R is a zombie whose days are filled with groaning, riding escalators, one word conversations, and an occasional hunt for humans in the nearby city. But R thinks about his world and feels pity toward his victims, during one life-altering encounter his........meal........ triggers intense memories and feelings. So R does the unprecedented and saves an teenage girl who should have been the second course. He is changing into something more........human. Julie is scared but defiant. Her whole life has been dedicated to survival of the human race currently trapped in small military enclaves awaiting the next undead onslaught. Together with sympathetic humans and zombies, they try to create a more humane world. Unusual plot with a familiar theme-- young idealists changing the world.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Louise Penny
Still Life

Looking for an award-winning mystery series? Meet Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec...........

It's great to find a mystery author whose characters pull you into the story, a plot that intrigues and a setting you can visualize. Even better if the books are a series. Louise Penny's Three Pines series, begins with Still Life and the death of Jane Neal, a beloved schoolteacher and reluctant artist. Was it a hunting accident or deliberate? This is the question for Chief Inspector Gamache, a quiet, observant, happily married man who is drawn into Jane's group of grieving friends. The characters are rounded with compassion for their flaws but reader is not overwhelmed by details. Somewhat akin to Ngaio Marsh, Charles Todd, Julia Spencer-Fleming.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Mal Peet

Teen book about WWII Holland concerning espionage, passion and betrayal.

Parallel timelines--1995 London 15 year old Tamar is following a map given by her grandfather after her father disappears. In 1945, Trained by British intelligence two men parachute into Holland to organize the conflicting resistance groups against the Germans. Tamar is in love with Marijke and hoping to make a life with her after the war. One his first mission, radio operator Dart is in constant fear of discovery. An exciting story about young men fighting evil but fearful of reprisals to their acts of rebellion and sabotage. A shortage of food drives the resistance to desperation ending in an attack on a German general. As the Germans exact their revenge Tamar and Dart are driven to the edge. Unusual setting, interesting characters and a mystery make this book a great choice for anyone.

Max Brooks
World War Z

Now that the zombie war is over—it’s time to assess the psychological effect on humanity.

Mr. Brooks submits this U.N. assessment report ten years after the zombie plague has swept the earth. We hear from a Chinese doctor encountering the first victims locked in a hospital, a human smuggler transporting desperate refugees to Pakistan, an astronaut observing the lights going out around the world, an American soldier in the first coordinated standoff in upstate New York. Snapshots of a world gone mad, humans flee to the tundra to escape the zombie mobs but without adequate food or shelter, they go feral; a government administrator re-training white collar workers to dig latrines and shear sheep; a film producer creating propaganda films to stop the mass suicides. Not about zombies really, but people confronting hysteria, grief, fear, greed, hunger, climate change and social upheaval. Read it before the 2012 movie with Brad Pitt.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Barbara Cleverly
The Joe Sandilands mystery series

Cleverly sets the series in 1920s India, her protagonist is Joe Sandilands, former Army soldier, now a Scotland Yard detective on loan to the Bengali police force. However, Joe moves about to India's hot spots to solve crimes at the behest of the Viceroy's government. Exotic locale, colorful people, and intricate plotting. In book three, The Damascened Blade, Joe is visiting a friend in the Northwest Frontier, bordering Afghanistan, acting as bodyguard for a visiting American heiress when one of the visiting Afghani leaders dies. Is it murder or an accident? When a government official and the heiress are kidnapped by the leader's friend, war becomes a real possibility. Joe is trying to solve the crime, rescue the hostages and avert a war. But this is not an action adventure story, people talk, observe and share information. With definite similarities to Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh, Joe has to decide if he should follow the law or do what is right.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Jenny Cain mysteries by Nancy Pickard

Lets go back a few years to a paperback whodunit series that you may have missed. Jenny Cain lives in Port Frederick, MA and works as the head of a charitable foundation. But this isn't a Jessica Fletcher cozy, Jenny is lonely, a bit insecure in her important position, her mother is in a coma and her sister hates her. She gets involved in a mystery by her family members, old friends or the foundation. For example in No Body, the third book in the series, her sixth grade teacher stumbles across an empty Civil War era graveyard, thus the title. Jenny's guy, a policeman, is out of town and his replacement is a real jerk. She follows the evidence despite him, working with a reporter to figure out who is killing the employees of a funeral home. Not just another cozy filled with quirky endearing characters, Pickard writes people of substance, with feelings and realistic reactions, some with not-so-nice qualities, some just creeps. So the overall effect is a bit funny, a bit sad and quite engaging. Plus I never can figure out who done it.

first book: Generous Death