Rated 5 stars ***** ebook. 2012. Jasper Dent #1. Little, Brown & Company.
It’s been four years since his father’s crime spree came to an end with his capture and arrest. However, all the years of having fatherly lessons drilled into his head for maiming and killing, which included hands-on demonstrations, has made Jazz think he could one day become Billy Dent: Killer #2.
A killer arrives in town, and Jazz is horrified to find out the person has been copying Billy’s earlier murders. Knowing that Billy killed 124 people, Jazz is determined to work with the police to find the murderer before he reaches that number, but his mind is so muddled up between his mixed-up past and his confusing present that he doesn’t realize what’s really happening in his town until it’s too late.
With “I Hunt Killers,” Barry Lyga explores the dark, twisted world of sociopathic serial killers and the repercussions of their lives on those they’ve left behind. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.
Recommended for readers aged 14 and older.
Rated 5 stars ***** 2014. ebook. Beacon Press. Includes “Acknowledgements,” “Suggested Reading,” and “Notes.”
Using the premise that the United States’ history is one of “settler colonialism,” (wherein the settler participates in genocide and land theft), Dunbar-Ortiz discusses the reasons behind colonization of the land and the many atrocities committed to the indigenous people going back to pre-Revolutionary War days. The historical version of how the U.S. was settled, ingrained in everyone’s heads through television and history books, is shown to not only be false but blatantly biased.
The U.S. and its settlers wanted all indigenous people wiped off the face of the earth (so they could take their land), while later seeking to “kill the Indian to save the man” through the inhumane practice of stealing their children to place them into boarding schools. Despite all attempts at genocide and destruction, many nations managed to survive. “An Indigenous History of the United States” is a story of survival and truth.
I have long been upset with the colonial status of Puerto Rico wondering why, in the year 2014, the United States is still in the “owning of a colony” business. Despite the fact that almost 45% of the Island lives in poverty, and that the majority of Puerto Ricans voted for statehood in 2012, their colonial “owners” refuse to “let the people go.”
After reading about the land-grabbing, money making, “get rid of the Indian” mentality of the United States government and its people in this well-researched book, I can see why Puerto Rico has been so alone on its long, poverty-stricken road.
I can only hope that readers of Dunbar-Ortiz’s eye-opening book will help the Indigenous people with their fight to have ancestral lands returned, while also helping to free the people of Puerto Rico from their “owner.”
Highly recommended for Adult readers.
Rated 5 stars ***** ARC. ebook. To be published November 8, 2014. Flux.
Dee, her boyfriend Luke, and his brother Mike were supposed to be on their way to a concert when they ran out of gas on a cold winter night in the middle of nowhere. With the weather worsening, they were forced to seek shelter in the small, abandoned town of Purity Springs.
Little did they know Joseph, the only son of Elijah Hawkins a crazed prophet, had made plans to ensnare them in his own plan of escape. For years Joseph and his mother had been trying to run away from the abuse generated by this man who used his version of the Bible to keep everyone in the town free from “evil” and doing his will.
Joseph thought Dee, Luke and Mike could help him, but Elijah had other plans. Since the four of them had tried to go against his decrees they will now have to be purified for their sins – even if purification comes at the price of their lives.
The cultish behavior of Elijah’s followers, and the horrors which took place in “Creed,” made me thankful it was “just a book.” However it also made me realize anew that there are many people in the world who actually live this type of reality because of their belief in a “leader” who walks hand-in-hand with the devil while spouting biblical quotes and promising them a life of rainbow and sunshine. It is a fearsome thought.
Recommended for readers aged 14 and older.
Rated 0 stars because it was Awful. ebook. 2014. Selladore Press.
It’s been YEARS since I picked up a book to read that was so awful I couldn’t finish it. In fact, it’s been so long that I can’t even remember the title of that particular book. As a reviewer I’ve always tried to finish books so I can educate my readers, but I just couldn’t do it with “Darkness.”
There weren’t any pages on the ebook version I was attempting to read, but I gave up at 8 percent. There wasn’t any way I could manage to keep reading for another 92 percent.
The 8% I managed to read was awash with poor sentence structure and a “storyline” that was so convoluted, jumping from thought to thought, I had whiplash trying to follow it. As I’ve said before on this blog I really, really, really dislike reading self-published books.
I will leave it up to you to Read it or Not. I suggest not.
Rated 2 stars ** ebook. 2014. Montlake Romance.
After a bad divorce Adrienne Carter used her settlement money to buy a rundown Victorian home in Florida she planned to renovate. One evening she came across a stack of love letters from William, a World War II soldier, addressed to someone named Grace. After spending time reading them, Adrienne became intrigued and decided to see if she could find William.
When Adrienne located William “Pop” Bryant, his irascible grandson Will didn’t take kindly to her because he thought she wanted to take advantage of his grandfather. It didn’t take long for his irritability to change to affection. For her part Adrienne kept her emotions in check, not wanting to fall for a man who reminded her too much of her first husband.
Soon more secrets began to be revealed. Knowing her involvement in solving them would arouse Will’s wrath, Adrienne forged ahead and soon found herself debating whether or not she should have let the past interfere with her present.
“One Lavender Ribbon” created likable characters like Pops and Sara, but Adrienne’s solving of so many secrets in such a short time gave it an unrealistic feeling. It was published by an Amazon imprint and needed editorial help with “taught” being used instead of “taut,” comma overuse and other errors.
Despite these problems it did have my interest, as I liked William and Sara. Perhaps if the author had told their story, and set it during World War II, I might have liked it better.
I’ll leave it up to you Adult readers to decide if you want to Read it or Not.
Rated 5 stars ***** 2013. St. Martin’s Griffin. 248 pp.
After 10 years of living in a camper without water or electricity in the middle of the woods with her meth addict mother and six-year-old sister Janessa, fifteen-year-old Carey knows how to hunt for food, how to teach herself and Janessa their schooling, how to play the violin, and how to survive. Carey has always taken care of Janessa, but now that Mama hasn’t come home in two months she’s worried because they are running low on food.
When a strange man claiming to be her father and a social worker show up, the girls are taken back to civilization. Janessa has never lived outside of the woods, but takes happily to her new life. Despite the love Carey feels from him and his wife for Janessa, she finds it hard to believe they love her. She had to do bad things to survive, and one of those big secrets has kept Janessa from speaking for over a year.
High school is awful; with her stepsister Delaney making sure it gets worse every day. Everything having to do with civilization is new to Carey and she is overwhelmed, wanting to run away to the woods. Her new friend Ryan was trying to be helpful when he showed her a flier saying Mama kidnapped her when she was five years old, but Mama had always said her father beat them so she had to run away.
Carey doesn’t know what to believe and, because of her big secret, is unsure of her place in this new world. She is certain everyone will hate her when they find out what happened that night. As Carey remembers what she had chosen to forget, she realizes she will have to tell the secret that bound her and Janessa together and kept Janessa from speaking. Their future depends on letting go of the past.
Emily Murdoch does a wonderful job drawing readers into the mind and heart of a young girl forced to grow up in the harshest of circumstances. Her use of flashbacks as Carey remembered Mama and their years in the woods had me on the edge of my seat as I walked through Carey’s pain with her. The rawness of those years comes out in Carey’s violin playing, and will necessitate that readers have a box of tissues at the ready as they read. I finished the book in one sitting, and know it will mesmerize others as it did me.
Highly recommended for readers aged 14 and older.
Rated 5 stars ***** 2013. Balzer & Bray (HarperCollins). 196 pp. Includes “Author’s Note” and a list of books on eating disorders.
Mike and his friend Tamio enjoyed watching Ray Harryhausen movies, discussing his stop-motion method of filming and the many creatures he brought to life using this technique. When his mother began to spend her days sleeping and his dad left home after he found a young girlfriend, Mike’s life started to go downhill. Keeping his problems at home a secret from Tamio, Mike began to listen to the voice in his head telling him to reinvent himself.
After he adds being rejected by a pretty girl at school to his list of problems, Mike is sure becoming fit and having a strong mind will be the answers to everything that ails him. The voice in his head urges him to become friends with Amber, a girl going through her own problems, and she gives him tips on how to shop for food and how to eat less.
Mike loves his new body and how running and exercising make him feel. He shuts himself off from everyone except Amber, and revels in his new powers of self-control. Unfortunately Mike’s new body begins to betray him, and he will have to learn to silence the voice in his head before it’s too late.
“A Trick of the Light” enlightens readers that males also suffer from eating disorders, and offers insight to this hidden population.
Recommended for readers aged 14 and older.
NEW UPDATE!: Lois Metzger was kind enough to let me know that the paperback edition of this wonderful book will be published on September 23. It will include a new section called “10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Eating Disorders.” She also noted the book was listed on ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults (compiled by YALSA) and was also on the Bank Street College Best Children’s Books of the Year list. Congratulations, and thanks Lois!