Book Reviews

Book Review: Lexicon

By Max Berry

Reviewed by Rich Magahiz

Thriller is the chosen genre of the 21st century. We are by now very familiar with its vocabulary of shadowy conspiracies, strangers with unknown motivations, mooks who find themselves on the short side of a firearm, traveling undetected through public transportation, the constant threat of assassination, the puppet master, jailbreaks. Read more here.

Book Review: Sky Raiders (Five Kingdoms)

By Brandon Mull
Reviewed by Christian Roulland Kueng
Sky Raiders is the first in a series called Five Kingdoms by best selling author, Brandon Mull. Mull is also the author responsible for the Fablehaven and Beyonders series, in addition to picture books Pingo and Pingo and the Playground Bully. What starts out as a fun Halloween with a visit to a weird haunted house, Cole Randolph and his friends, Dalton and Jenna, discover something more sinister happening in the basement… Read more here.

Book Review: The Explanation for Everything

Reviewed by Carolyn Burns Bass

In this intelligent and seductive novel of meaning and morality, Lauren Grodstein creates a story that challenges the deep-rooted dogmas we use to protect and provoke ourselves and others. Begin with Andy Waite, a widower of two young daughters stunned by the senseless death of his wife six years past. A brilliant biologist coming up on tenure at an obscure liberal arts college, he’s on the brink of discovery.

Read more here.

Book Review: The Transcriptionist, Amy Rowland

Reviewed by Mary Vensel White

The TranscriptionistAmy Rowland’s The Transcriptionist opens to a view of the Recording Room, within the offices of a fictional New York newspaper, the Record. It is a gray-colored, sparse room, long-forgotten by most employees and inhabited during work hours by Lena, the Record’s sole transcriptionist. She sits alone all day, headset attached, transcribing everything that’s been recorded for the paper. Like the room, most aren’t aware of her existence. Read more here.

Book Review: If I Never Went Home, Ingrid Persaud

Reviewed by Carolyn Burns Bass

Set between Trinidad and Boston, If I Never Went Home, explores themes both universal and regional through the eyes of two Trinidadian women, 29-year-old Bea and 9-year-old Tina…. Tina’s story alternates with Bea’s story, seasoning the narrative with colorful Caribbean characters both likeable and pathetic. How these two women intersect at the end is foreshadowed for a satisfying conclusion, yet still ambiguous enough to leave readers wondering. Read more here.

Book Review: The Line, J. D. Horn

Reviewed by Rich Magahiz

A love charm gone both right and wrong, a murder of the key member of a magical family, decades-old secrets and resentments brought to light, and a world-changing talent restored— mix these all up and put them in a setting steeped in centuries of history and you would have something approximating this debut novel by J. D. Horn. Read more here.

Book Review: Archetype, M.D. Waters

Reviewed by Robyn Hugo McIntyre

ArchetypeI recently read a book review in the New York Times wherein the reviewer wrote, “North American readers care inordinately that fictional characters be likable.” That struck me, for I’ve discovered if I don’t like the characters in a story, I have less interest in reading the work. The reviewer wondered if those of us who feel we have to be able to invest in a character aren’t missing good books. Is it not more important that the character be interesting? Read more here.

Book Review: The Real Jane Austen, Paula Byrne

Reviewed by Lisa Carden.
It takes audacity for a 21st-century writer to claim to know the real Jane Austen. Yet this is a book that answers the question “Why should I read another book about Jane Austen?” I could hardly put it down.
Paula Byrne does an excellent job of researching Austen and her times (20 pages of notes!) and presenting fascinating information in a way that continually moves us forward despite the lack of any overarching plot. Read more here.

Book Review: Mark of the Dragonfly, Jaleigh Johnson

Reviewed by Christian Roulland Kueng.
Thirteen year-old Piper Linney is an orphan living in Scrap Town Number Sixteen in the Merrow Kingdom but she longs to see the world. She survives by scavenging and digging out whatever the meteor storms bring from faraway places to her world. She has an unusual gift for fixing small machines that she finds in the debris in the meteor fields and sells the items at the Trade Consortium. Her talents as a scrapper and machinist are put to the test when, in the aftermath of one particular meteor shower, she rescues an amnesic girl who has a tattoo of the dragonfly on her arm. Read more here.

Book Review: The Tenth of December, George Saunders

Random House; January 2013 Reviewed by Kim Miner Litton...

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