Sunday, November 30, 2014

Books Read in November



Here are the books I finished this month. I only finish books that I like enough to recommend to other readers, keeping in mind that no two people ever read the same book and that each and every book is a unique collaboration between the writer and the reader, filtered through the reader's experiences, beliefs, and knowledge.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Book of the Week - Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane

In the beginning, I wasn't sure I liked this story of the people of a Texas town where a high school boy, who was obsessed with quantum physics, disappeared one day. As the time after the disappearance grows, a variety of residents show who they are by talking about the missing Tommy Smythe. Along the way other stories are told.

The structure is challenging and I was glad I stuck with it because eventually I  was captivated by the various narrators, the essential questions, and its ambiguity. A stunning debut.

While it is not science fiction, it will appeal to readers who like the big questions often posed in SF.  My gut feeling read-alikes for it would be Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson and Cecil Castelucci's First Day on Earth.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Teen Romance - Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton

Thrill-seeker Dyna lives on risk but it almost kills her when she plummets onto submerged rocks in a swimming hole. Rescued by a perfect guy who, not really her type falls in love with her, she faces a lengthy recovery and the prospect of never climbing mountains again. Forced into an alternative rehab program by her mother she meets others with horrible injuries including a nineteen-year-old one legged former soldier. It is an interesting and refreshingly brief but emotional teen romance. Kudos on the nicely depicted caring parents, a couple of bikers covered in tattoos.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Revisiting an Old Friend

The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know 
Brent Hartinger

I've loved Hartinger's teen books since Geography Club and Last Chance Texaco. I must admit that even though I wanted to know how Russel was as an adult, I started this book for adults with some trepidation. Did Russel turn out ok? Were he, Min, and Gunnar still friends? In The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know my hopes were fulfilled and my fears banished.

It falls into the new adult category, a recent sub genre that combines the angst that doesn't end at 18 or 21 but continues on through the early 20s (and for many, much longer) with adult characters, challenges, and situations. I had never read a Gay romance before (terrible to confess as a reader's advisor who tries to read broadly)  but even though I would classify this as a romance, it doesn't really follow the traditional romance story arc,  there is so much more going on -- friendships, work life, and Bigfoot. It is really true to life of what people think about and worry about in their 20s, including sex.

I hope that all those readers who loved teen age Russel, Min, and Gunnar when they were teens themselves, find this story now as adults.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book of the Week - The Lightning Horse by John Moore

John Moore's comedic satirical tales always hit my funny bone just right. His long awaited latest novel, is a take off on Frankenstein with lots of echoes of the Gene Wilder film Young Frankenstein and innumerable horse books. It features a couple of gamblers with a dead bay horse named the Roan Ranger who have big plans for his reanimation but a unicorn brain, mobsters, teen angst, and a kick-ass female jockey may throw a monkey wrench in their plans. The twists of language and well known tropes are delightful. Moore's earlier books were published by Ace but this one was published by Yard Dog Press, a small press specializing in science fiction, fantasy, and horror that unfortunately seems to distribute solely through Amazon.