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The Broken Girls – a book review in 200 words

The Broken Girls

by Simone St. James

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The Broken Girls by Simone St. James is a well-written, fast-paced, thrill-soaked ride told in (at least) two timelines.

The book opens with a young girl being followed by someone or something in the very dark on a deserted road. Who is she? Where is she? When is she?

In 1950, four troubled girls (Katie, CeCe, Roberta and Sonia) are staying at Idlewild Hall, a home for the worst troublemakers. Each has a secret that slowly unfolds as the pages are turned. Each secret is worse than the last.

In 2014, local journalist Fiona cannot let her sister’s murder go. She can’t sleep and she can’t leave the small town where the unthinkable happened. Her sister’s murder has stopped time for both herself and her father until Fiona hears rumors that Idlewild Hall, the site of the murder, is being renovated.

Woven into all of this (as though it was not enough!) is the threat of a visit in both timelines by Mary Hand, the resident woman in black and the ghostly creature who supposedly haunts the hallways, classrooms and grounds of Idlewild.

Between the two timelines, murders, disappearances and strange happenings abound. What a fun and utterly readable book!

Rating: 92/100

Buy this book when it comes out (today! 3/20) at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman – a book review in 200 words

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

 

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“Over these many years, I have observed both profound folly and breathtaking wisdom among humankind. They balance each other like dancers in the throes of a passionate tango.” – The Thunderhead

I don’t remember ever loving the second book in a series more than I love this one. The world that Shusterman introduced in Scythe is taken to an entirely different level in Thunderhead.

The continued adventures of Scythe Lucifer (Rowan) and Scythe Anasthasia (Citra) have incredible consequences for the Schythedom and the rest of North Merica. All of the characters from the first book have returned; and the introduction of a new character, Greyson Tolliver, and the Thunderhead as an actual “character” in the novel changed my perspective on this entire near-future Earth – in a way I could not have anticipated.

What happens when the world is threatened but humanity is too complacent to pay attention or even care about what is happening? You will see.

This smart, thoughtful, action-packed series will make you think about your place in the world. If you believe there is not tremendously great teen fiction out there, this series will change your mind. Unfortunately, the third in the series does not even have a name yet – so I will wait in frenzied anticipation for the wrap-up to this story. Hurry up, Neal Shusterman, I need to know how this ends!

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 92/100

Buy it January 9, 2018, at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

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Glass Houses by Louise Penny – a book review in 200 words

Glass Houses

By

Louise Penny

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What is a Cobrador? Why is one in Three Pines, standing in absolute stillness and silence for days? Why is Gamache on the witness stand?  And who exactly is on trial? These are the questions racing through your mind as you start this newest book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny.

I think this may be the best book in Penny’s series to date. As always,  she weaves together seamlessly: obscure history with fabulous fiction, the lives of her recurring characters with new people (be they friends or suspects), and the quiet life of Three Pines with the ongoing struggles against corruption within the Sûreté du Québec.

I sell a lot of Penny’s books to my customers for two reasons. One, her plots always contain great mysteries where the endings never disappoint. And, two, I want to live in Three Pines and be friends with everyone who lives there!

Penny’s characters come alive again in this 13th book as we learn about the roots of a Spanish tradition still in existance today, a plot meant to heap untold pain on too many humans, and a daring plan that could mean the end of many Sûreté careers. ENJOY!

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 97/100

Buy it tomorrow at Barnes & Noble / Amazon / IndieBound

The Witches of New York – a book review in 200 (and a few) words

The Witches of New York

by

Ami McKay

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If you are intrigued by any of the following:  mysticism, spiritualism, witches, demons, opium, absinthe, crazed clergy, surviving civil war soldiers with missing limbs, Egyptian obelisks, the djinn, fairy tales, spells, ghosts, the Fae, talking animals, insane asylums, fortunetelling, scrying, herbal remedies, the Salem witch trials, women suffragists, mediums and/or folk magic – then this is the book for you.

The Witches of New York tells the story of three witches in New York City in 1880. Eleanor comes from a long line of witches, absorbing her folksy magic from her mother. Adelaide learned fortune-telling while working for a side-show and quickly found she had a real knack for it. The too-smart and restless Beatrice moves to the City and learns that she’s a new kind of witch.

There is so much history and magic contained in the pages of this book, that it is difficult to describe it exactly. McKay blends the real 1880’s New York with her fictional characters and circumstances so effortlessly that I found it difficult to discern the difference. Her descriptions are spot-on as well; when her characters walk down the street, you walk with them – you can hear the newsboys, smell the roasted peanuts, feel the cold on a sleigh ride through Central Park in January.

Hopefully, this book is the first of a series or I will be sorely disappointed; many storylines were left unresolved at the end of the novel. Plus I would love to spend more time with these three witches of New York.

Rating:85/100

Buy this book July 11, 2017. Pre-order at:

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

The History of Bees – a book review in 200 words

The History of Bees
by Maja Lunde

The History of Bees

The History of Bees follows three distinct characters in three wildly disparate timelines:  

  • The whiny but lovable William, England (1852). A scientist with a large family and a seeds shop – he has been bedridden for an undetermined amount of time.
  • George, a taciturn and stoic beekeeper, Ohio (2007). He hopes his son will join the family business after graduating college. The son has other plans.
  • Tao’s job is to pollinate flowers, individually, China (2098). This work leaves little time for her to enjoy her son, Wei-Wen.

Honestly, I expected this book to be a three-prong diatribe on colony collapse disorder. Happily, Lunde weaves together three very human stories with amazing characters, writes about real relationship issues that affect everyone, and has such a light touch when including information on the honeybee decline that I barely noticed.

Though there are three story lines carried throughout the book, each individual story could have been unrelated and I still would have enjoyed it. The fact that all of the characters and story lines relate to each other in a beautiful, uncomplicated, completely natural way was an unexpected pleasure.

This book does not go on sale until August. Please put this on your to-buy, to-read list!

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Rating: 90/100

Buy in August 2017.

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