“Leaving Time” Jodi Picoult

October 22, 2014 2 comments

Rated 5 stars ***** ARC. Published October 14, 2014. Random House (Ballantine Books.) 407 pp. Includes “Author’s Note.”

LeavingTimeThirteen-year-old Jenna Metcalf has lived with her grandmother since she was 3 years old, when her mother Alice disappeared from the hospital where she was taken after she was found injured at the elephant sanctuary where she worked.

With her father committed to a facility for the insane and her grandmother refusing to reveal any details of Alice’s life, all Jenna has are her brief memories and her mother’s research journals on elephant grief. Knowing that if she wanted to find her mother she would have to suspend her scientific disbelief in the supernatural she decides to hire Serenity Jones, a disgraced psychic, along with Virgil Stanhope, the former detective on her mother’s case, to find her mom.

Serenity has not been able to access the spirit world since she made an incorrect prediction on her former television show, but feels she was meant to help Jenna find her mother. Believing Alice holds the clue to what happened the night they found her, and that she could finally explain why a body was found trampled by an elephant, Virgil decides to help Jenna in order to gain closure. Neither Jenna, Virgil nor Serenity know their search for Alice will take them on a trip through the past that neither of them ever expected.

In alternating voices Jenna, Virgil, Serenity, and Alice tell their stories, allowing readers to gain a complete picture of what actually led to that dark night 10 years ago when Alice disappeared. Picoult has deftly woven together a story of mystery, love and suspense along with beautiful true stories of elephant love and behavior towards one another.

In the Author’s Note, she references The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald Tennessee as the place where she observed the behaviors used for her elephants in “Leaving Time.” The plight of elephants in Africa and zoos across the world will resound with Picoult’s readers, along with Jenna’s story, in her latest blockbuster book. PS – The author asked that I not reveal the ending, so will leave it up to you to discover as you read it for yourself.

Recommended for Adult readers.


“The Revenge of Seven” Pittacus Lore

October 12, 2014 Leave a comment

Rated 4 stars **** ebook. 2014. Lorien Legacies, book #5. Harper (Harper Collins). Includes three excerpts from “I Am Number Four: The Lost Files titled “Return to Paradise,” “Five’s Legacy,” and “Five’s Betrayal.”

TheRevengeOfSevenElla has been kidnapped by Setrákus Ra, is a prisoner aboard his spaceship, and finds out she’s actually his granddaughter. Meanwhile John, Sarah, Sam, Malcolm and Adam are holed up trying to plan their next move after the disaster in Chicago while Six, Marina and Nine are trying to find their way out of Florida swampland where they’d been ambushed by Five. Eight has been killed and taken by the Mogs, but Marina is determined to find a way to rescue his body from them.

Despite being separated and facing grim odds, the remaining Loric are desperate to figure out a way to use their legacies to stop the Mogadorians from invading Earth. With each passing day Setrákus Ra’s evil plan gets a step closer to becoming reality, and it will take all of their combined power to stay a step ahead of the Mogs to survive one more day and save Earth.

This latest book in the “I am Number Four” series is full of the usual Mog fights and Loric shows of power. An interesting twist, along with a very frustrating cliffhanger ending, will leave readers eagerly clamoring for Book #6 which won’t be released until 2015 and is portrayed as THE final book in the series. I’ll believe it when I read it.

Recommended for readers aged 14 and older.

“The view from who I was” Heather Seppenfield

October 6, 2014 Leave a comment

Rated 5 stars ***** ARC. ebook. To be published January 8, 2014. Flux.

TheViewFromWhoIWasOona Antunes hated her mom demanding life be perfect, and missed the father who was always away on business. Fascinated with water, as it reflected her own disappearing and despairing life, she kept a journal detailing water facts.

In the middle of a winter dance Oona split herself into two different people. The new “spirit self” became the narrator and, through her eyes, readers saw Oona leave the dance to freeze to death on a mountain trail.

When Oona awoke in the hospital, it was to the realization she had died for almost 20 minutes and had lost several fingers and toes, as well as part of her nose and cheek, to frostbite. While healing she realized the pain her attempted suicide had cost others, and attempted to set things right with them and with herself by Living with a capital “L.”

Part of her healing came about when she accompanied the school’s guidance counselor to a Native American School where she realized everyone’s sense of family and identity was something she wanted. Oona was sure her distant and unemotional father held the key to her family’s happiness, feeling she could help him to Live, but would soon find she had undertaken a task far greater than she had expected.

Through “The view from who I was” Seppenfield takes a look at suicide and its effects on those left behind. Oona’s raw and honest journey of self-discovery will resound with her readers.

Recommended for ages 14 and older.

“The Monmouth Summer” Tim Vicary

October 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Rated 3 stars *** ebook. 2012. White Owl Publications. (Includes “Author’s Note.”)

TheMonmouthSummerIt is 1685 and in the countryside of a small English town Robert Pole, Lord of Shute Manor and soldier in King James II’s army, is romantically pursuing Ann, Puritan daughter of Adam Carter cloth seller. Despite knowing their backgrounds would never allow them to be married, Ann could not stop herself from loving Robert. Being betrothed to her childhood friend Tom only served to make her more fearful of spending her life with someone she did not love.

In the midst of Ann’s confusion the Duke of Monmouth, the King’s illegitimate son, arrived and brought his own upheaval. Knowing many of King James’ subjects objected to his Catholicism, the Duke promised to restore the Kingdom to Protestantism. Under that hope thousands of Puritans joined his army, including Adam and Tom, to try and topple King James from the throne.

In alternating chapters Ann and Adam’s hopes and fears for themselves and those they love are laid bare alongside the battles that raged between the Duke’s army and the King’s. As the war nears its end, Ann and her father find they will have to make unpopular decisions that may cause more harm than originally expected.

“The Duke of Monmouth” was actually a very good read. The number of grammatical errors was much lower than normally seen in self-published books, while the historical storyline was interesting, which allowed me to focus on what I was reading instead of being distracted by errors. Despite taking historical liberties with some facts (the many ways Ann showed her rebellious nature would never have dared to surface in a true Puritan family), Vicary did a fine job describing the tumultuous events of the summer of 1685.

Recommended for Adult readers.

“I Hunt Killers” Barry Lyga

September 27, 2014 1 comment

Rated 5 stars ***** ebook. 2012. Jasper Dent #1. Little, Brown & Company.

IHuntKillersSeventeen-year-old Jasper wanted a normal life but having Billy Dent, a serial killer, for a father meant life could never be normal.

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.

“An Indigenous People’s History of the United States” Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

September 25, 2014 1 comment

Rated 5 stars ***** 2014. ebook. Beacon Press. Includes “Acknowledgements,” “Suggested Reading,” and “Notes.”

AnIndigenousPeoplesHistoryOfTheUnitedStatesUsing 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.

“Creed” Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie

September 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Rated 5 stars ***** ARC. ebook. To be published November 8, 2014. Flux.

CreedDee, 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 would have to be purified for their sins – even if purification came 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.


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