I received THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH as an ARC through netgalley.com.
Middle school is a really difficult period of time. And Ellie's adjustment period i...moreI received THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH as an ARC through netgalley.com.
Middle school is a really difficult period of time. And Ellie's adjustment period is made even more difficult by the fact that her grandfather is somehow thirteen years old again, and he's not playing the part very well.
Ellie's grandfather is a famous scientist who hates getting old. Through experiments with jellyfish, he manages to reverse the aging process. The trouble is, once he looks like a teenager, he gets kicked out of the lab. It's up to his granddaughter and her newest friend to help him get back in so he can get his things and share his results with the world.
But is that really such a good idea?
Through the course of this charming little love letter to science, Ellie learns a great deal about herself, her family, and the world around her. She grows and matures as she helps those around her do the same, and ends up being a wonderful inspiration and role model for readers of all ages.
I can't wait for this to be published so I can buy a copy for my 10-year-old niece.(less)
**spoiler alert** I received TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-ONE BAKER STREETS as an ARC through netgalley.com.
I have a confession to make (unless you...more**spoiler alert** I received TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-ONE BAKER STREETS as an ARC through netgalley.com.
I have a confession to make (unless you already know me, in which case, this is common knowledge): I take Sherlock Holmes pretty seriously. Possibly more seriously than it's strictly healthy to take a fictional character. But he's been part of my life since I was very very small, and has shaped my entertainment choices and my personality fairly considerably. I started reading TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-ONE BAKER STREETS at the introduction, and almost instantly had mixed feelings. David Thomas Moore, he editor of the anthology, has some very different opinions than I do, which I thought might mean I wouldn't care for his selections. But I should have thought of the introduction as a whole, rather than its parts, because the authors in this collection delivered exactly what Moore promised at the end of his intro:
"They've all found incredible ways to shed new light on old characters, to show you sides of the great detective and his indefatigable companion that their fusty reputations made obscure. Fun, clever, haunting, sad, scary, strange and weird, here are Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson as they never were...and really are."
I still don't agree with that 100%. But it does make me go back and agree with his opening statement, which is that Sherlock Holmes owes a lot to the revisionists. And as a fanfic reader/writer, this pleases me.
TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-ONE BAKER STREETS includes fourteen stories of Holmes, not quite as he is in the canon. This includes different place settings, different time settings, different genders, different occupations, et cetera. As with almost any anthology, not every story was a hit, in my book. But enough of them were that I would recommend this to Holmes fans who aren't strict purists. Your mileage may vary, but the stories that stood out the most for me were:
- "The Lantern Men." This one is a ghost story, of sorts. It presents Holmes as an architect and Watson as a builder. They've been friends since childhood, and enjoy doing some sleuthing together on the side. The professions fit them, I think, and gave a little insight into their characters, and the ending sent a chill up my spine and left a sad ache in my chest, and that's one of my favorite feelings.
- "The Small World of 221B." This story led my brain in a couple of different directions before the puzzle pieces snapped together for me, and when they did, I found the resulting picture rather delightful. I'll just say, an anthology of Holmes stories is not the only one this story would add some fun to.
- "The Final Conjuring." In which a magician in a fantasy realm conjures "the Sherlock," who is "a demon of investigation." I think I'm going to start calling Holmes this all the time, even out of the context of this story. It also fits into the canon in a place that I found very clever, and a lot of fun.
- "The Innocent Icarus." Imagine a world where most people are born with some kind of mutation/superpower. Herculeans, like Watson, have great strength and/or are impervious to injury. Cassandras, like Mycroft (and Mrs. Hudson, to a lesser degree) can see the future. Icaruses (Icari?) can fly. And so on and so forth. And in this world, imagine Sherlock Holmes ... has none of these things. Sherlock Holmes is what's known as a Typical. I found this concept of basically turning the original canon on its head and having Sherlock's ordinariness be what makes him stand out absolutely fascinating.
There were stories that I flat-out didn't like--one that seemed to just cut off instead of having an ending, and another where (SPOILER) Watson murdered Sherlock, for example--but they were far outnumbered by the stories that I enjoyed.(less)
I received WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY FINE as an ARC through netgalley.com.
The first thing I want to say is well done, Daryl Gregory, on researching how gr...moreI received WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY FINE as an ARC through netgalley.com.
The first thing I want to say is well done, Daryl Gregory, on researching how group therapy works. I've read (and watched) so much fiction where therapy sessions seem ... well ... fictional. It was kind of a delight to find some where it felt natural.
I also really loved the structure of this book. It is full of small mysteries that get solved bit by bit until the puzzle of the overall mystery is put together and dealt with in the book's climax. Even then, the praiseworthy parts aren't over; the final dénouement manages to be creepy and comforting at the same time. And that is my absolute favorite combination of feelings to get from fiction.
A tribute to both the research done and the structure, as well as to the deeply interesting characters, this book never gets boring or feels like it's dragging, even though a great deal of it takes place during group therapy sessions. I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of mysteries and/or supernatural fiction. You won't be disappointed.(less)
I received PHOBIC as an ARC through netgalley.com.
PHOBIC is a YA supernatural horror/thriller with a romantic subplot. For many readers, tha...moreI received PHOBIC as an ARC through netgalley.com.
PHOBIC is a YA supernatural horror/thriller with a romantic subplot. For many readers, that's enough to tell them if they want to read it or not. But this book is more than its labels.
I do have some criticisms (for example, some repetitious descriptions seem to be there because the author doesn't trust the reader to remember character names) but, for the most part, I found PHOBIC to be a fun and tense read. I was hooked right from the beginning, primarily by the language--almost poetically descriptive while rarely venturing into purple/flowery territory--and was delighted when things didn't go quite how I expected. I recommend reading it in the dark on a dimly glowing e-reader screen.
I'm definitely interested in further titles in the Forbidden Doors series; I want to find out what happens to these characters next!(less)