This pandemic begins in a camp in Indonesia and soon infects a whole country as the faithful pilgrims gather in Mecca. From there it moves and affects the world where widespread panic and WWIII threatens. Henry and his team from the CDC need to find a solution but Henry is trapped at ground zero in Mecca helpless as others around him to find answers not knowing what is going on at home. It is amazing to me how close this author has come to imagining life in a pandemic. When a crisis hits on a worldwide scale all the systems we have come to depend on breakdown. This is what can happen when a virus is unleashed and climate change, bio weapons, mass hysteria and racial hatred all rear their ugly head at once. This made my heart race more than a little bit.
Bunny is a blonde Amazon who loves volleyball but sees herself as a freak due to her 6'3" height. Michael is the long-haired, eyeliner wearer gay kid who lives next door and watches Bunny from afar. He lives with his aunt and is just barely hanging on and sees Bunny and her dad as having it all. Then they meet, become best friends and Michael understands that appearances aren't always truth. High school is bad enough for both of them as they try to find love and family in all the wrong places. Theirs is an odd relationship that is often funny but also debilitating in its sadness. The moral of the story is that we don't get to pick our family and many don't have a perfect time growing up but it is possible to find that perfect friend out there just like Bunny and Michael. An interesting coming of age book that will appeal to readers of quirky family relationships.
Kate is running away from the harassment case at her old job on the East Coast to her new job, the fresh start she is hoping for on the West Coast. Working for the son cataloging his famous dead mother's photos and papers, Kate begins to break down her boss's defenses and becomes more obsessed with his mom's violent death. Relationships blossum as old wounds are reopened leaving everyone off kilter and exposed. The writing between a found diary and Miranda's letters and Kate's growing instability creates the perfect psychological cat and mouse game where the reader is left wondering what is real and what is mania. A great addition to the thrillers filled with unreliable narrators and a lot of speculation.
Michael, Juliet, and their two small children embark on a year-long sea voyage around Latin and South America leaving behind their suburban humdrum. Part travel ship's log and part narrative from Juliet this is the dissection of a marriage and not just the reality of sailing around with two small kids that sinks in. There are moments of absolute joy that will have you wanting to take your own gap year on a book but then comes the reality and despair that caused their trip's shattering conclusion. Based on a true story this intimate journal is both eye-opening and heartbreaking in its truth. Anyone who has ever flirted with the idea of leaving it all behind to go on a grand family adventure should read this first.
Four friends live in an apartment building in Seoul. They act as you would expect most twenty-somethings all over the world do, staying out late partying, looking for new ways to reinvent their look, obsessed with pop stars and trying to get ahead in a fast paced world. The culture in Seoul is obsessed with perfection and beauty which means that countless young women will undergo
multiple cosmetic surgeries and hours of prep looking for absolute beauty. Kyuri works as a hospitality girl in an exclusive men's salon, Ana a mute, works as a hair stylist to salon wannabes, Miho is an artist on the way up, and Sujin just wants to be part of Kyuri's world and is willing to put herself under the knife to get there. Even the woman downstairs is caught up in the quest for perfection wanting to have a baby she knows that she and her husband can't afford to raise. It is a heartbreaking look at culture off the rails - where perfection in face, lifestyle and perception means everything and it all comes with a price.
A teen ranch hand with an affinity for horses mixes with the well off kids whose horses she takes care of and the daughter of the estate down the hill. This is a coming of age story of Rory's awakening sexuality but it is also a story of racism and a world where money is the greatest power. A horrible accident draws Rory's stepdad further away from his family and the horses and ranch he cares for. He feels guilty about his part in the accident and powerless to stop his marriage from crashing, his dreams for the horses and ranch falling apart and stopping Rory from the destructive path she is on. Rory is caught in relationships that will empower her and then destroy her in a world that she doesn't understand. Set in the canyons beyond Los Angeles and told in two time periods, this is a sparkling example of love, loss and defining who you are. Readers of THE GIRLS, LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE and A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD will devour this book.
Growing up with nothing but a loving con-artist mom and a yearning for a better life, Nina finds herself taking up where her mom left off to support her mom's cancer treatments. She hatches a plan with her con partner/boyfriend to steal from the family that made her life miserable in high school. Sometimes the job doesn't go according to the plan and you know the old saying "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned". You think you know the characters and where the story is going but all the twists will have you happily in knots and off-balance. Deliciously evil and quite satisfying to see justice served. A thriller fan's delight.
The latest installment in uncovering the stories of the unsung heroes of WWII. When all the men had gone to war in Europe there weren't enough of them left at home to fly transport planes, test new planes or fly them to train new pilots so a brave bold group was formed to handle the load - the W.A.S.P. The program was born out of need but also a desire in these women to fly and from day one they had a battle on their hands. They would need special treatment, weren't strong enough, would just want to find a man and have babies - the list went on and on. Thankfully, they did have some people fighting for them and they soon outperformed and took on any task without complaint. At the end of the war the program was scrapped and everyone was told to disband and return to civilian life without honors. Their service would not be recognized for many years.
The author was able to interview many of these ladies in person and got a true accounting of their life and the important service they performed for our country in its time of need.
There is a world in the not too distant future where we are grouped by our Q score (I.Q., test scores, genetic background etc). No one is exempt from these tests, not even our embryos. Student's futures and teacher's careers hang in the balance and when something happens in your life, as it always does, you are stripped of your previous life and sent to a state school never to be near your family again. This happened to Eleana and her youngest daughter. This is the story of a mother who made a choice between her youngest and oldest daughters, husband and the comfortable life they had. If the story seems a bit familiar it is because there are clear overtones of Hitler's vision, genetic cleansing that has happened in far away countries, and Neo-Nazi propaganda. Part futuristic thriller and part horror novel, it will leave you with a feeling of dread and disbelief. Ideal for fans of HANDMAIDS TALE, 1984 and curiosity seekers of Eugenics.
This is a story of what might have been - historical fiction about a great love, a spiritual calling and politics. Before Jesus was proclaimed the Messiah, he was a quiet carpenter, fisherman or anything else that would put food on the table for his family and he was in love with a fiercely independent scholar named Ana. This is their imagined life. Ana is portrayed as one of the first feminists who bucked tradition and had a formal education and wrote. She had a voice, she needed to be heard and she was loved by a quiet man who was called by his God to serve in ways she could not fully understand. It is a beautifully realized world full of love, devotion, family as well as secrecy, powerful figures and politics. It is a spiritual journey no matter the religion you honor. I found this woman's point of view in a world where women had little or no say in their lives fascinating.
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