Ten-year-old Tracy Tam has a hypothesis, based on the slogan of the Santa Commission: “Even magic needs a helping hand.” But her hypothesis is that thTen-year-old Tracy Tam has a hypothesis, based on the slogan of the Santa Commission: “Even magic needs a helping hand.” But her hypothesis is that there’s no such thing as magic at all, only science that is disguised or undiscovered. That’s why she sets out on Christmas Eve to gather evidence for the science behind Santa Claus – that and the little matter of a state science fair with enough prize money to pay for her cousin’s desperately needed operation. But what starts as a science experiment gets wildly out of hand. Why does Santa behave like a mindless zombie? What are the reindeer REALLY? And when Tracy’s unauthorized trip in Santa’s sleigh ends with her being chased off a rooftop by wolves, her “science experiment” puts all of Christmas in jeopardy.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is how scientific principles are employed in an engaging story, while still allowing for the possibility of magic.
An excerpt: “Okay,” Beth said as if the matter was settled. “How about we say it was magic?” “How about we don’t?” Tracy whipped out a tiny notebook and pen and scribbled something down. “I’ve given you my hypothesis –” “And I’ve proven your hypothesis incorrect. When that happens, you need to modify it.” “Modify it to what?” “I gave you an alternative theory.” Beth took Tracy’s notebook and scribbled the word ‘magic.’
Tracy Tam is an entertaining holiday read with a stubbornly scientific protagonist, a smattering of ornery “elves,” a few over-worked and over-worried Santa Command employees, one grieving and angry boy, a little bit of golden magic … and yes, I wiped away a few tears at the end....more
I went into Survival Colony 9 believing it would be a dystopian novel. In fact, to my delight, it was a pure horror story set in a post-apocalyptic woI went into Survival Colony 9 believing it would be a dystopian novel. In fact, to my delight, it was a pure horror story set in a post-apocalyptic world. The characters don't remember a world before the disaster; most of them weren't even born when civilization collapsed. Is their goal to re-build civilization? That's not possible -- because after the fall of human society, the Skaldi came. No one knows if they are alien or something that mutated or evolved on Earth. They just are. Now, staying alive is a lofty goal.
Wherever they came from, the Skaldi are terrifying. The description in the book blubs make them sound a little like the "silencers" in Yancy's The 5th Wave. THEY AREN'T. So, if you're thinking, eh, I already read a book like that, NO, YOU HAVEN'T. Remember the horror you felt the first time you saw the movie ALIEN? Yeah, I felt that again reading SC9.
Querry's memory loss worried me from the start, because I suspected his father and his father's officers weren't telling him the whole truth. Maybe not any of the truth. So add the psychological suspense of "What happened to Querry?" to the bleak, hopeless backdrop of a ruined world, throw in one of the scariest and unique monsters I've encountered in a long time -- and you have a winner!...more
Wow -- what a book! I was captivated from the first sentence to the last. I think Sage must be the trickiest narrator/protagonist I've met since JulieWow -- what a book! I was captivated from the first sentence to the last. I think Sage must be the trickiest narrator/protagonist I've met since Julie in Code Name Verity....more
West of Paradise is a time-traveling romance, with the emphasis on the romance, adventure, and a setting in the Old West. It is not science fiction. JWest of Paradise is a time-traveling romance, with the emphasis on the romance, adventure, and a setting in the Old West. It is not science fiction. Just like in Connie Willis novels The Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, the mechanism for time traveling is not explained because it’s not important to the plot. You just have to accept that it exists and go along for the ride.
Jack McCabe and Katherine Kennedy both sign up separately for the experience. Neither is happy in their current lives, and Paradise Tours offers an adventure of a lifetime. Jack, who goes into the past first, almost immediately has a near fatal run-in with a female outlaw. After surviving a gunshot wound, he finds a niche in the 1880s as a bounty hunter and “goes native.”
Katherine never intends her trip to be anything more than a visit to the past—where she gets to wear beautiful 19th century gowns and gloves and fancy hats. But her vacation is hijacked by a roguish bounty-hunter mistaking her for the villainous woman who shot him five years prior. And when Katherine sees the Wanted poster, she realizes Alanna McLeod has to be her ancestor—one she’s never heard of.
Jack is determined to bring Katherine/Alanna to justice in Abilene in spite of her protests of innocence. Neither knows the other one is a time-traveler, although the reader waits breathlessly for one of them to figure it out. Meanwhile, Alanna’s former partner, Will Cushing, hears of her capture and rides off to intercept the pair—not to rescue Alanna, but to get his revenge on her.
West of Paradise is a fast-moving adventure/romance with a vivid and accurate historic setting, seen through the eyes of two modern main characters. Marcy Hatch creates a varied and likeable cast, and a plot with unexpected twists. Her style is engaging, entertaining, and likely to produce compulsive page-turning.
As a full disclosure, I served as an early reader for this story in its manuscript stages. However, familiarity did not in any way dim my enjoyment of the finished, polished version. ...more
Soul Cutter is an engaging and well-written page turner in the YA horror genre. It's got a little bit of the paranormal romance going on, but I was deSoul Cutter is an engaging and well-written page turner in the YA horror genre. It's got a little bit of the paranormal romance going on, but I was delighted to discover the story is mostly HORROR in a modern but exotic setting. It's about time the YA crowd left Western society and explored the Middle East. I loved the blend of Middle Eastern culture/superstition with modern mores. And I especially loved the that overused Egyptian mythology was absent. The legends here were all new to me -- and riveting!
Yes, I was scared at parts. Yes, I was surprised. Yes, I think you should read it!...more