A.J. Fikry is a realistic piece of fiction that focuses on A.J. Fikry, recently widowed curmudgeon and bookstore owner whose whole life is thrown upsiA.J. Fikry is a realistic piece of fiction that focuses on A.J. Fikry, recently widowed curmudgeon and bookstore owner whose whole life is thrown upside down when a baby is abandoned in his store one evening. The little girl who will soon become his adopted daughter, Maya, ignites a social life that Fikry never before had or wanted, but which he very much needed.
Soon, his circle has expanded to include new friends, book clubs, and a love interest from a publishing company, and his outlook on life is transformed. The story is warm and cozy; a love letter to books and their peddlers, to small towns, to friends and family, to short stories (which Fikry loves above all other forms of literature).
I really enjoyed this one, and I recommend reading it back to back with Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. Good companions!...more
Mr. Penumbra follows Clay, a computer geek who begins working as a clerk at the titular Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Clay’s tenure as the night-sMr. Penumbra follows Clay, a computer geek who begins working as a clerk at the titular Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Clay’s tenure as the night-shift clerk soon takes a wild and unexpected turn as he uncovers codes, a secret society, and a mystery that has gone unsolved for generations. Soon, he, his odd boss, and a pack of loyal friends are on a quest that just might uncover the secret to immortality itself.
The story is fast-paced and fun, and it exudes an equal appreciation of the analog and the digital. Oh yeah, and the book itself glows in the dark, a fact that startled me the first time I turned off my bedside table light and which completely delights me.
Would be great for fans of Ready Player One (which I also adore)....more
The strained peace in New London has crumbled, and war is erupting; between witches and government, good and evil, oppression and education, rich andThe strained peace in New London has crumbled, and war is erupting; between witches and government, good and evil, oppression and education, rich and poor, even between sisters. In this breathtaking conclusion to the Cahill Witch Chronicles, the Brotherhood is taking measures to snuff out any hint of witchcraft in the city and it’s up to teenaged witch Cate Cahill to fight back.
As the Sisterhood and resistance begin to rise against the oppressive hand of the Brotherhood, rising tension and different agendas are setting friends and sisters against each other. At a time when they should be most united, the witches are falling apart, none more so than the Cahill girls. Cate’s beloved Finn has had his memories wiped clean of her, little sister Tess is falling prey to maddening visions, Maura is completely hostile, and all three Cahills are the subjects of a grim prophecy that seems destined to come true any minute with devastating consequences.
Despite the backdrop of strife and rebellion and disease, Cate is no shrinking violet, and she really comes into her own as a heroine in this book. Older readers won’t be able to put Sisters’ Fate down as it barrels towards its conclusion, and the plot is full of twists that will keep them guessing. In a world ruled by magic and mayhem, things are not always as they seem, and sisters can be the most complicated creatures of all.
Jessica Spotswood is a writer to watch, and her fans will be begging for more from her once they finish this beautifully wrought trilogy. Once they dry their tears, that is. Highly recommended.
This review originally appeared on abookandahug.com...more
The long version: They were rich and glowing and young and beautiful and elite. They were best friends. TThe short version: HOLY CRAP, guys, this book!
The long version: They were rich and glowing and young and beautiful and elite. They were best friends. They were family. They were the Sinclairs.
And they were Liars.
As far back as 17-year-old Cadence Sinclair can remember, she has summered at Beechwood, a remote private island off the coast of Massachusetts, with her extended family. Cady, along with friend-turned-love Gat and cousins Johnny and Mirren, was one of the Liars, the foursome who ruled over Beechwood summer after summer.
As far back as Cady can remember, the foursome existed tangled together with sand and boat rides and stories and stolen kisses. The trouble is, Cady can’t remember very far back anymore.
Something happened in her fifteenth summer at Beechwood—an accident? Something more sinister?—that has shaken the Sinclair clan to its core and virtually erased the whole summer from Cady’s memory. Back on the island after taking a year off, Cady is determined to unravel her own personal mystery. No one will tell her what happened, but too many questions are left unanswered, too many relationships strained for her to sit idly by. Readers will be enthralled as they follow her on her journey of remembrance, which proves to be a riveting twisty tale that will leave them guessing every step of the way.
Why doesn’t Gat love Cady anymore? Why is the whole family at each other’s throats? How can she separate the truth from the lies? And, most importantly, what happened to her during fateful Summer Fifteen?
This review originally appeared on A Book and a Hug....more
In the not-so-distant future, the online world is a lot more appealing than bleak reality. Anyone, no matter their station in life, can immerse themseIn the not-so-distant future, the online world is a lot more appealing than bleak reality. Anyone, no matter their station in life, can immerse themselves in the virtual world OASIS, the brainchild of gaming guru James Halliday. Users can create avatars of themselves, go to school, explore different worlds, fight, quest, and play video games to their heart’s content, which is exactly what down-on-his-luck teen Wade Watts does to escape his unfortunate real life.
After the death of James Halliday, Wade and hundreds of others are feverishly playing Halliday’s last contribution to the online world: a quest to uncover a hidden Easter Egg that will grant the winner control of the OASIS and vast amounts of money. For an impoverished kid like Wade, this offer is too tempting to pass up, and he dedicates every moment of his spare time to researching and egg hunting. Against all odds, his avatar, Parzival, becomes the first OASIS user to hit the high score board.
Propelled suddenly into fame, Parzival attracts a lot of attention (including some very welcome notice from Art3mis, the girl he has a crush on) and a lot of enemies. All too quickly, the hunt for the Easter Egg becomes less a game and more a matter of life and death.
Ready Player One is a big love letter to pop culture, the 1980s, and video games that just might become a sci-fi classic. The pacing of RPO is snappy and fun and each chapter left me wanting more. I listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by Wil Wheaton, and his narration (in all its snarky glory) sets the tone perfectly. All in all, this book is a LOT of fun and would be a great summer read, especially for fellow products of the 80s....more
6/30/13: I can't formulate my thoughts right now because of FEELINGS, but suffice it to say that this is just as good (if not better!) than the first6/30/13: I can't formulate my thoughts right now because of FEELINGS, but suffice it to say that this is just as good (if not better!) than the first installment and a review will be forthcoming.
9/24/13: The Cahill sisters are back in an enthralling installment that’s even better than its predecessor. The sequel begins right where Born Wicked left off, set in the dark days of an alternate 19th century New England.
Cate Cahill, a witch at the center of a dangerous prophecy, has given everything up to protect her younger sisters and her fiancé. Instead of declaring her engagement to Finn, as planned, she finds herself a novitiate of the Sisterhood, an organization that it more than it first appears. On the surface, the Sisters are devout servants, but in reality they are all gifted witches who are working to try to overthrow the tyrannical hand of the Brotherhood.
As more witches are persecuted, books are burned in the town square, and women’s rights grow more limited by the day, Cate and her sisters Maura and Tess find themselves divided over a harsh political climate. Worse still: the Sisterhood wants to use Cate as a weapon.
Star Cursed is a wonderfully woven tale that ties together magic, espionage, secrets, moonlight kisses, jealousy, and war with a skillful hand that will leave readers guessing and wanting more.
In 1970s Maryland, young Jess lives an ordinary, if boring, life: longing to be the fastest boy in the 5th grade, helping his parents with chores, hidIn 1970s Maryland, young Jess lives an ordinary, if boring, life: longing to be the fastest boy in the 5th grade, helping his parents with chores, hiding his growing artistic talent from his no-nonsense father, and trying not to get overshadowed by his many sisters.
But then, Jess meets his new neighbor Leslie, the girl who will turn his world upside down.
At first glance, Leslie is just plain weird—a pants-wearing, TV-less girl who runs with the boys and makes up wild stories. After a while, though, the inevitable friendship between the two blossoms and they become inseparable. Together, they form the kingdom of Terabithia, a magical place that belongs just to them where they can be free of school bullies and tough parents and let their imaginations and creativity rule the day.
Jess and Leslie are king and queen, and nothing can stop them…until the unthinkable happens.
Treat yourself and your children to an absolutely heart-wrenching, beautiful story of friendship, imagination, and life after loss that will stick with you forever after.
Bridge to Terabithia is the recipient of the 1978 Newbery Award for the most distinguished contribution to American Literature for children, and it has inspired the 2007 feature film of the same name....more
This much-lauded work is the best book that I read last year, and I cannot get it out of my head.
The setting is Molching, Germany, during World War IIThis much-lauded work is the best book that I read last year, and I cannot get it out of my head.
The setting is Molching, Germany, during World War II. The narrator is Death himself. The hero is young Liesel Meminger, otherwise known as the book thief. Her collection starts with just one book, a gravedigger’s handbook plucked from the ground at the scene of her brother’s death. It continues with books saved from Hitler’s burn piles, books nicked from the personal library of the mayor’s wife, books rescued from the icy waters of the Amper River, books given as gifts, illustrated books made by hand with painted-over pages from Mein Kampf. Liesel collects these treasures as she navigates her new life with a foster family, her tumultuous friendship with tough-as-nails Rudy Steiner, and the ultimate secret: a Jewish fist fighter named Max who is hiding in her basement.
Like the dominoes pictured on the cover of the book, each character is a piece of something much larger, and even the smallest actions can have resounding effects. As Death, working overtime to keep up with the casualties of war, keeps finding himself inexorably drawn back to Liesel’s story, the tension builds. The pieces begin to shift and to fall. The results are in turns terrible and beautiful.