My only disappointment with this series is that the next isn’t due out until 2015, of course. I highly recommend this to historical mystery fans especially those that have enjoyed the Sano Ichiro series by Laura Joh Rowland.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
This is a great mystery set in 16th century Japan, and you can almost feel, hear and smell the setting and live the story right along with the wonderful lead character, Hiro and Father Mateo. The story is sprinkled with memorable supporting characters as well: Ana, the curmudgeonly housekeeper, and Luis, the Portuguese merchant and guest in Father Mateo’s home.The story is filled with authentic sounding and feeling details, and the author certainly has the chops to assure you of their genuine nature. This was a fabulous reading experience, and I do mean experience. I feel like I just returned from a trip to medieval Japan I was so immersed in the story. I highly recommend this to historical mystery fans especially those that have enjoyed the Sano Ichiro series by Laura Joh Rowland.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Cary Caffrey has created a dark, moody future world where corporations truly rule everything. The story of the special girls growing up away from their families is a sad one. The 21 girls form alliances among themselves with the typical “mean girls” and their followers, and Sigrid, the youngest and weakest, is at the bottom of the pack. Tormented, Sigrid is ostrasized from the larger group until she is befriended by the stronger, popular Suko. Under Suko’s protection, Sigrid is able to mature and grow and develop into one of the most accomplished of the group. The relationship between Sigrid and Suko eventually develops into one of a romantic and sexual nature but they are parted while still attempting to sort out their feelings for each other.As their training comes to a close, the girls begin to receive their “contracts,” their assignments where they will work and begin to repay the debts their parents racked up even before the girls were born. Some are sent to Kimura operations, others to the naval service until their very existence is threatened by the Council for Trade & Finance, the governing council of the Federation of Commercial Enterprise. Called “abominations,” the council wants all the girls turned over to them to be used for their own mysterious purposes.
There is a bit of the geek fantasy about the novel with young girls achieving mental and physical perfections and skill levels in fighting hand-to-hand, flying planes, and operating any weaponry under the sun (as well as the aforementioned girl-with-girl romance.) It is a fun and entertaining tale that I would recommend if you’re in the mood for a fun, light, entertaining space story. I probably would not recommend it for the younger, young adult fans because of the few scenes of a sexual nature. This is the first in a series (The Girls from Alcyone series). Book 2 is already released and titled The Machines of Bellatrix. I'll probably be picking that one up soon.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
The Annihilation of Foreverland is told through the eyes of multiple characters but mainly by Danny Boy, whom we first encounter as he wakes up on the island devoid of any memory of his past. In fact, none of the boys remember who they are or where they came from. Another viewpoint is that of Reed, an older boy who has steadfastly refused to succumb to the promise of “Foreverland.” Finally, we get insight from the mysterious island owner known only as “The Director.” The old men or “investors” vary from supposedly kindly and caring to downright creepy and cruel. There is a psychotic bully among the boys which adds more tension. The characters and their pasts are gradually revealed over the course of the novel. The suspense and horror grows until we have a satisfyingly full picture of each.The storyline is a unique one in which technology, privilege, money, and power all combine for an exciting, thought-provoking, ethics-challenging tale. The author added exquisitely creepy little details that absolutely made my skin crawl. These small details added a whole other level of “eww” to the story. Thankfully, the villains get their “just desserts” and we can leave the island with the knowledge that things are going to work out right. With a marvelous setting, interesting characters, and nice plot revelations, I recommend this to the young adult readers that like theirs with a good dose of horror.
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
The pre-teen protagonists, Andrew, Hannah, and Jackson, are highly likeable characters and act true to age. The setting, situations, and the interactions between the characters felt genuine and actually took me back to my own junior high experiences. It felt that real.The Take Back of Lincoln Junior High not only delves into the issue of commercial sponsorship but addresses the everyday problems of being a kid and growing up. There is suspense and mystery. Who is the mysterious new student, Liam, and what’s he up to? Will Andrew get the girl? Will Andrew and Jackson resolve their problems and become true friends?
I think that this book would be enjoyed by young readers, the middle school crowd, and parents reading along with their children. The author's writing is clear and simple for the younger folks and interesting enough to hold the attention of adults. Additionally, it would be a great classroom tool, and to that end, the author has included a study guide at the end of the book with specific activities designated for each chapter as the story unfolds.
Sunday, August 03, 2014
As the story unfolds, we slowly get glimpses of what kind of person Ryan was and what kind of life he led. We see the vestiges of his past relationships with his family and his friends and how they attempt to pick up where they left off although Ryan has undergone more changes than just those that physically apparent. Ryan tries to make the most of his chance to makeover a life that he had obviously found more painful than death.Chatwin has created some memorable characters and memorable scenes as if she’d been a witness to their happening. The interactions and dialogue seem genuine, and the eventual resolution of the story is quite satisfyingly real. Ryan’s ultimate confrontation and confession to his father is emotionally tough.
Erased is a great story with good characters, and well worth the experience of reading. There are some consistent grammar and word choice problems that keep me from giving the novel a higher rating but there is nothing that a competent editor wouldn’t easily repair.