Oh, what a strange trip I'm on. Harrow's mom feels that Harrow has been marked for greatness because she died as an infant and was brought back. Harrow of course doesn't remember any of this nor can she share any prophetic wisdom from the other side. Sent to a strange philosophical boarding school before her mother abandons her she then finds herself at a dilapidated resort on a death spiral from an apocalyptic environmental event. The lake resort is filled mainly with elderly people on death's door but Harrow does make friends with a young boy there with his mother. This is one of those books that makes me feel like much of the hidden meaning is going over my head. It is a sad depiction of what may happen because of putting our heads in the sand over climate change. There is no easy genre to put this one in nor should it be dismissed as just apocalyptic/horror - it is simply like nothing I have read before. 4 stars
There are chapters that will have you giggling like a little kid, chapters that will keep you off hiking trails and mountain roads and there are chapters that will make you think twice about that exotic vacation that involves monkeys, elephants or vomiting seagulls. One thing is certain - you will be wildly entertained and learn much. Science has never been this much fun! Mary Roach brings together rogue animals, naive people and a plethora of experts to help explain (and in many cases exonerate) nature from the mishaps we blame on them. Keep your eyes up watching for killer pines, down at the trail to see what might be thinking of you as a snack and in the skies for crazy birds. Mary Roach's books are always an interesting and delightful foray into stuff we don't even know to be concerned with. 5 just for fun facts stars
This huge saga covers two thousand years from the ancient Mayan culture in 1012 to the far flung future in 3012. While the characters in each section are very different stories they are connected by common themes and a sacred cave in Belize. It is difficult to pinpoint this book into a genre but it covers issues such as sex, gender identity, humanity in crisis, war, religion and politics so well that we can follow along in each time period. In the end people tend to act in similar ways. From the incestuous twin king and queen to people trying to save the world from yet another devastating war the author pulls you into the story. 4 stars
Panic hits the perfect family when the mom disappears into thin air one day. The four grown kids come home to take care of dad only to find out that maybe all wasn't so grand at the Delaney household. Joy and Stan have run a successful tennis school, have a great marriage and still play doubles so no one understands it when Stan ends up as the murder suspect. The couple also have recently taken in a young woman who seems more than a little sketchy to the kids. There is family drama and secrets galore just like Liane Moriarty is known for. 4 stars
This is a historical story of a queen with power and a young woman without. Eleanor is a wild card who includes Marie in her court and then sends Marie at 17 to become a nun in a poor abbey. Marie makes the best of her situation and goes about developing the abbey based on visions she has. These new projects come as a shock to the nuns but soon Marie begins to build up the wealth of the abbey as the prioress. It is also a story of longing, togetherness and the strength of women. Very different from other books by this author. 4 stars
A bit of a misfit Willodeen feels closer to the creatures around her like her hummingbear than other kids. She, like others have been taught to fear the screechers who terrorize the village and woods. That changes when she makes contact with a baby screecher and learns how they are a vital part of the fragile ecosystem. Part warning about messing up the planet, part finding your voice, part friendship and all magic. This story will resonate with earth lovers, animal lovers and numerous Katherine Applegate fans. Once again the author implores us to listen to the quiet voice instead of the angry outburst and to look for the magic that is right in front of us. On a side note, my Animorph animal would be a hummingbear. 4 1/2 stars for middle grade readers.
There are fault lines in every marriage. Little stress fractures that given the right circumstances can build into a giant sink hole if the big one comes along. Mizuki is the picture of a modern Tokyo housewife with two beautiful children and a successful husband. She loves her children and appreciates the life her husband's hard work is providing but wants more out her day than laundry, food prep and kid entertainment. One night it is too much and she explores the city alone. She meets a man who offers her conversation, is interested in her as a thinking person and makes her laugh. These meetings continue making the fault line widen wondering if the big one comes what direction she will take or if the foundation will hold. Emily Itami gives us a glimpse into the life of many Tokyo women who constantly straddle the division between old world views of marriage and home life and the lure of freedom that a modern environment promises. She has written a story that women around the world can relate to and a charming love letter to her native Tokyo full of fabulous sights, food and customs. 4 stars
A stunning story of family, survival and of course, magic. The Montoya family story begins with Orquídea in Ecuador where she makes a deal with the devil to save herself and her hometown which will follow the family through several generations. We flip between chapters detailing Orquidea's early life and how she came to Four Rivers to stay until present day when she summons the family home to her death bed. Years pass until the curse must be broken or debts must be paid as the remaining members of her family come to realize. Vivid imagery makes this book a feast for the senses, full of Latin American myth and culture, a healthy dose of magic and powerful family ties.
This will be a hit with readers of Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Isabel Allende and readers of Stephen King's THE OUTSIDER. 5 stars
A prize of a remote converted chapel in the Scottish Highlands during a blizzard may not be the winning ticket to put a marriage back together but that is where Adam and Amelia find themselves.
From the first minute something is off. There isn't a soul around except a creepy woman in a dilapidated cottage. Lights go out, no phone, doors open/close by themselves, faces in the dark and then the dog disappears. Haunted house or something more sinister?
Alice Feeney is a genius at misdirection and killer endings and this one will not disappoint her fans and readers of all scary mishaps with a twist. 4 stars
College friends gather to celebrate an upcoming wedding but in reality it is a drug intervention gone horrible wrong. They are hassled by a construction team demanding payment, an extra person tags along who isn't anyone's friend and when two of the group go out for cigarettes and don't come back the rest of the weekend seems to be shot. The small upstate detective is still embroiled in her own past and must now deal with an out of towner nightmare. So many secrets in everyone's present and past, manipulation and lies - no one needs friends like these. Tightly knit thriller that keeps connecting all the dots until a jaw dropping end. 4 stars
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