Welcome to New North, a near-future splinter-nation of a once-great democracy. A walled-off, totalitarian, patriarchal theocracy in which centralizedWelcome to New North, a near-future splinter-nation of a once-great democracy. A walled-off, totalitarian, patriarchal theocracy in which centralized wealth, rigid social castes, legislated segregation and discrimination, and technological reversion leave women powerless, denied the written word, kept as chattel by men: fathers, husbands, or the state.
We meet Andra BetScrivener on her seventeenth birthday, a day on which she is welcomed to womanhood by the Ministry, reminded that she must choose within the year: an appropriate marriage or entrance to a Women's Training Program, in which she will be taught to be a proper, subservient female so that her weak, inferior feminine brain can be put to use for the greater good (servitude or forced marriage). Andra, like her late mother before her, is a gifted artist, but Andra has talents heretofore unheard of in a generation of oppression and subjugation.
When Andra discovers that her unusual talents have far-reaching implications, she must take hold of her destiny and examine the true meaning of power.
A debut novel that is equal parts adventure story and call-to-peaceful-revolution, Lisa A. Kramer's P.O.W.ER reaches out to a broad audience. Echoes of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale mingle with shades of The Hunger Games. Like Atwood's Offred, Andra is a first person narrator, a witness to the events of the tale, but she is a conflicted warrior, a Katniss Everdeen whose bow and arrow are pen and ink, wishing for a life of peace, potential, and freedom from oppression, but drawn into and brought to the front of a rebellion with far larger goals.
Kramer's prose is accessible to YA readers without feeling reined-in, while the themes will give adult readers much to consider. The plot is tight, the conflict consistently present and immediate. This is a perfect book for young women, mothers, sons and fathers, brothers, and all those who both love a great story and believe in the power of community to bring about a better world....more
I had the privilege of reading an ARC of this book prior to release.
It takes a special kind of storytelling to allow a reader to fall in love with a dI had the privilege of reading an ARC of this book prior to release.
It takes a special kind of storytelling to allow a reader to fall in love with a deadly, haunted place, and that it exactly what happened when I stepped inside Elizabeth Yon's Johns Woods, the backdrop for all four stories in Blackfern Girls.
Ms. Yon has a distinct talent for lifting the veil between the world we know and what we cannot see, what is tangible and that which lurks in the corner of our eye. What her very human characters face when the veil lifts tests their mettle at every turn; the outcomes surprise.
While not directly connected, these four stories draw on one another, often revealing a thread from somewhere else in Blackfern County. Much in the way of Stephen King, whose world is vast and populous, Ms. Yon's characters move through their lives--and deaths--leaving marks in others' stories where they go.
Ms. Yon lures readers into the shades and shadows of the Johns Woods, and as her tales make their way into the forgotten hollows of Blackfern County, those shadows grow deeper and show their teeth. Girlhood is indeed hard in these woods, throughout and beyond time and place.
Fans of Ms. Yon's blog, The Palace of Night, will recognize Gideon Crowe, whose cameo in "Local Honey" gives a new glimpse of his peculiar journey, and begs the question, when will Elizabeth Yon give us his story in full?...more
I plowed through this book in a matter of two days, all pun intended, devoured Kimball's story of the unglamourous but purposeful life she chose. HerI plowed through this book in a matter of two days, all pun intended, devoured Kimball's story of the unglamourous but purposeful life she chose. Her language is gorgeous, her memory both soft and unflinching, and I loved every word....more
An imaginative retelling with a plausibly non-magical explanation of the fairy tale elements. Elise is strong protagonist, and a fresh set of eyes toAn imaginative retelling with a plausibly non-magical explanation of the fairy tale elements. Elise is strong protagonist, and a fresh set of eyes to view the time-proven characters....more
To Live Forever is an ambitious collision of near-historical fiction, adventure/thriller, and magical realism. Like a well-simmered gumbo, this bookTo Live Forever is an ambitious collision of near-historical fiction, adventure/thriller, and magical realism. Like a well-simmered gumbo, this book is rich, complex and deeply enjoyable, with just enough je ne sais quoi, that crucial pinch of filé that makes the thing just right.
I devoured the story in great gulps, always sad to have to put it down, but the characters and the Natchez Trace stayed with me, pulling me back whenever my Kindle and I had a moment alone.
In Meriwether Lewis, we find not the encyclopedia-page explorer, but a compassionate and desperate soul, caught between his desire to finish the work of his time in Nowhere and his lack of understanding of exactly what is required of him. Merry is competent, wry, and gentle, but not without the steel that brought him across a continent two centuries before. Emmaline Cagney is a captivating little girl, and while her mother and the Judge are despicable in their aims, I completely understood how Em enchanted everyone she met. She is on the knife-edge of growing up, and her time with Merry tests her mettle far beyond her years. While his "page-time" is perhaps less, the Judge is a villain in the best sense. He is vile, corrupt, and unhinged, but as the story winds the characters together, I saw that like Merry, the Judge is searching for what his believes to be his immortality.
As well as being a rollicking good story, To Live Forever is a literary examination of what it means to love, to give yourself and your legacy over to the keeping of others, to be remembered - to truly live forever....more
Marian Kent's poetry embodies nothing less than the extraordinary grace of everyday life in this, her second collection of poetry. SUPERPOWERS is a baMarian Kent's poetry embodies nothing less than the extraordinary grace of everyday life in this, her second collection of poetry. SUPERPOWERS is a ballad, an ode, to all that is being in the world. She taps into those feelings we keep closest, expanding them until they can't be contained on the page.
Her language is by turns rough and lush, her imagery vivid, and the structure of the volume is not to be ignored. It's impossible not to adore the visual homage to comic books and a bygone era, and impossible to ignore its wonderful significance within the poetry inside....more
As the head of Til Death's publishing team, I'm clearly biased! Check out Stephanie Ayers' debut romantic-suspense/thriller novella and read for yoursAs the head of Til Death's publishing team, I'm clearly biased! Check out Stephanie Ayers' debut romantic-suspense/thriller novella and read for yourself!...more
I initially wanted to say that Storch's collection is like a box of chocolates, but that's not it exactly... it's like rifling through a box of foundI initially wanted to say that Storch's collection is like a box of chocolates, but that's not it exactly... it's like rifling through a box of found treasures, things you'd forgotten you saved until you found them. Each little piece is like a ticket stub, a snipped, filthy friendship bracelet, or a fading photograph: Deeply personal, and touchingly lovely, even when the surface is dingy (a comment on subject matter, not presentation). There's a pervasive sense of nostalgia and bittersweet memory. The prose is clean, evocative, and universally appealing.
In "Impenetrable Falsehoods," E.W. Storch reminds us that storytelling matters, not genre or flowery style. He bills himself as an excellent liar, but there is a ring of deeper truth in these bites of fiction and journaling.
I confess, I am a little in love with David Braddock. Rough around the edges, consumed with guilt, clever and wickedly witty... damaged and dented andI confess, I am a little in love with David Braddock. Rough around the edges, consumed with guilt, clever and wickedly witty... damaged and dented and so very appealing.
As he did in Everyone Burns, John Dolan weaves a smart, close mystery, but it is the relationships in this book that pull at me. They are wonderful. Braddock is a mess, and his messy relationships are the kind you immediately connect with because they are so inherently human. Through Braddock, Dolan explores what it means to be a lover, a father, a friend, a son, a monster and an angel. He weaves a delicate thread of intrigue and danger through this exotic tale that binds the philosophical explorations to the earthly concerns of his hero's life and misadventures.
When you add a rich supporting cast and an expanded setting which takes the reader deeper into the Thai landscape, you have a perfect story. I was sad to finish Hungry Ghosts, but so very glad to know that David Braddock and company will return for many books to come....more