Thursday, May 13, 2021

Tuesday Book Reviews on Thursday

 Since I missed last week, here are two reviews

Four-star review of Excelsior, book one of New Frontiers by Jasper T. Scott

 Interesting first book for a series. This one takes place in the 2790s at a time when the world is divided into East, governed by the Confederacy, and West, where the Alliance calls the shots. Alexander and his wife live in the West and have traveled North to escape poverty but also to receive injections to be immortal and have perfect looks. To do this, he had to join the Alliance navy. At the start of the story, he is captain of a spaceship with a mission to go through a wormhole and determine if the planet, Wonderland, on the other side would be a good new home for Earth humans. The foreshadowing through the early parts of the book tended to give away what would happen later in the book. Still, this was an interesting story with good characters. The bits about time dilution that would mean a trip that took five months would translate to years on Earth were quite believable. I’ve enjoyed Scott’s books before, and although this wasn’t the best, it was still a quick and good read.



Four-star review of What Child is This by Rhys Bowen

 A short, quick read, really a long short story. Sweet and seasonal, it tells of a couple, Maggie and Jack, bombed out of their home on Christmas Eve in 1940, who find an abandoned child in an abandoned house in another part of London. The setup to enable them to continue to live with the child is a little too coincidental. Still, the characters are engaging, and the story gives a historically accurate picture of what citizens of London had to endure during the WWII bombings softened by the kindness of strangers. I hadn’t expected such a heart-warming story since Rhys Bowen usually writes mysteries.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Tuesday Book Reviews


Five-star review of Then by Morris Gleitzman


The story of Felix and his six-year-old friend Zelda continues in this novella, only now they’re calling themselves Wilhelm and Violetta (after the characters in the Richmal Crompton books they both love). He’ll do anything he can to protect Zelda. A woman named Genia takes them in and tells everyone they’re her orphaned niece and nephew. Felix is now more aware of what’s happening all around him, but still makes naïve assumptions about people’s motivations. He’s growing up and it’s reflected in his voice. The ending of this book might be hard for younger readers but it’s an important book for pre-teens to read. On to the next story in the series.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Tuesday Book Reviews


Three-star review of Gerta by Kateřina Tučková translated by Veronique Firkosny


Could not finish. This story about a half-German, half-Czech woman in Brno, Czechoslovakia trying to survive during and after WWII was too harrowing for me to continue reading. The lack of hope was the greatest hindrance to finishing the story. I recognized the writing is excellent but even though I generally enjoy books that touch me emotionally, I didn’t enjoy the emotions this brought out. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Tuesday Book Review


Five-star review of Once by Morris Gleitzman

This is a sad story but also a funny one because it’s told from the naïve viewpoint of ten-year-old Felix, the son of Jewish bookstore owners in Poland who was left in a Catholic orphanage three years and eight months before. He interprets all that’s going on around him in terms of his life with his parents and is desperate to get back to them. His voice is one of the strong points of the book. It’s 1942 and he doesn’t understand why three men in suits come to the orphanage and burn books. His descriptions of everything that happens to him is so poignant, because we don’t have to be told what’s really happening. This is a wonderful book for pre-teens and younger teens. Highly recommended for everyone. I’m eager to read the sequel.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Tuesday Book Review


Five-star review of The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia, translated by Simon Bruni


A slow, beautifully written story about two boys growing up in northern Mexico between 1910 and 1920, during civil war, a world war, changes in major crops and the Spanish flu. From the moment Simonopio is found as an infant with a deformed mouth and bees lighting all over him, to his incorporation in the Morales-Cortes family, to the birth of Fernando Jr. several years later and Simonopio’s efforts to teach him all he knew, to the tragedy on Fernando Jr.’s birthday, we see how Simonopio and his bees helped his adoptive family. The lyricism of the translation must reflect on the original Spanish magical realism. The story is told from multiple viewpoints but ultimately from that of Fernando Jr.  

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Tuesday Book Review


Five-star review for The Light from Far Below by Simon Williams


In the sequel to Summer’s Dark Waters, Joe and Amber are separated to protect them from the Order. Joe’s new friend Dean is a son of a member of the Order and inadvertently gives away Joe’s location. Meanwhile, Amber and her dad are found and separated. The kids travel through the Nothingness separately and find themselves in a maze controlled by the Order. Aimed at middle-grade and older readers, this is a great series to introduce kids to darker science fiction and fantasy. The writing is very good and is illustrated by drawings.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021


Four-star review of Legend by Marie Lu


A fast-paced, quick read about two fifteen-year-olds from different sides of a future Los Angeles. The Republic is in charge in the area and rules with an iron hand. June is a soldier for the Republic and, if you can believe a fifteen-year-old can be one, the most wanted criminal. In the belief Day killed her brother, June sets out to find him, and he finds her. Yes, it’s one of those kinds of stories. Trite at times and containing characters drawn with broad strokes, it was an enjoyable, easy read. I’ll probably wait until I’ve made a sizable dent in my TBR pile before I read the sequel, but I do what to learn what Day, June and the others do next.