Book Reviews

The Black Hour, by Lori Rader-Day

Reviewed by Rich Magahiz

The Black HourThe Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day is set up as a crime novel where the reader has no doubt as to who committed the crime in question or how. Still, the reader feels a lot of suspense as the main character, Amelia Emmet, tries to unravel various mysteries that her near-fatal shooting and the suicide of the shooter brings to the surface. Some of the mysteries are quite clear to her…

Citadel, By Kate Mosse

Reviewed by Robyn McIntyre

From the story of Sparta’s 300, the Maccabees, through to the lunch counter sit-ins of the Civil Rights movement, history has hundreds of thousands of stories of individuals who continued to fight their enemies, though outnumbered. Most of these stories are framed by what the people were fighting against—tyranny, religious persecution, manifest destiny, genocide. In Citadel, Kate Mosse writes about what the fight is for—love.

Chasing the Sun, By Natalia Sylvester

Natalia Sylvester will be guest host of #LitChat on June 11, 2014, from 4-5 p.m. E.D.T. Follow #LitChat in Twitter, or login to our direct channel at www.nurph.com/litchat.

Reviewed by Mary Vensel White

In Natalia Sylvester’s debut novel, Chasing the Sun, the curtain rises on a domestic drama involving Andres and Marabela, an upper-class Peruvian couple. Married for many years, they have grown apart and dispassionate. They sleep separately and spend most of their time in their own pursuits.

Book Review: Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell

Reviewed by Kim Miner Litton

With some authors, you really have to wait for their next project. By then, you wonder if they’ll be able to recapture the magic of that first book, or if you’ll love them same way. In fact, you wonder if you really ever liked them in the first place or if you are just remembering them more fondly in retrospect. Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park exploded on the YA book scene in February of 2013; it was critically acclaimed and left many wondering what else we could expect from this new, exciting voice in realistic fiction.

Book Review: The Twin’s Daughter, Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Reviewed by Kim Miner Litton

Many teens will come to me looking for a historical fiction novel in the young adult section and, honestly, it’s a bit hard to find them. Of the ones that do exist, many authors have trouble translating the historical experience without alienating (or boring) young readers. The Twin’s Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logstead had all the pomp and beauty of a Victorian historical with the creeping uncertainty of a Gothic mystery. Read more here

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. In his new novel, Lexicon, Max Barry has come up with a way to infuse it with something new by mixing in some speculative brain science. 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.

Read More