Wondrous and Brillant


The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge

The Writing is simply brilliant and incredibly imaginative.

Faith Sunderly is a young girl coming of age during the late Victorian era, so this is not your average coming of age novel. This is a time when photography itself is coming of age as is the new branch of the investigative sciences of anthropology and archeology . Darwin’s, On the Origin of the Species  has shocked the ideological realm of religion. It is a new world threatening the long held belief that man inherited the world from God with all his fingers and toes place.

Faith’s father, the Right Reverend Sunderly is not only a man of God, but also dabs in the science of the Natural World. His goal is to disprove Darwin’s theory. Unknown to his daughter, Faith and family, he found a  dark and mysterious Tree that is said to hold the truth of everything; it puts forth the fruit of knowledge, but only if it hears lies and the liar must present the world with this lie. The lie must be of enormous consequence. He does this by fostering a great archeological fake onto society, and as he is a man of impeccable  reputation, it is taken on faith by other famous archeologists.  However, the fake is soon discovered and his reputation is sullied and a great scandal ensues.

He and his family are force to flee the scandal, and they are given refuge on an island where they are not well received because of the scandal. Yet, on the island there are others who want the tree and will do anything to get it, including murder. When Faith’s father dies under mysterious circumstance, she is sure it is murder. She is not your average prim and proper young lady of the times. She is clever, and smart and incurably curious, but she must pretend to be simple minded, as all women of the time were thought to be or risk being scorned by society or worse, by being placed in a sanatorium for the mentally unstable which was quite common back then. But she is determined and uses her wiles and her guiles to ferret out the murderer at great risk to herself.

Frances Hardinge has crafted a thrilling and page turning mystery that gets the heart thumping and the pages turning. The writing is gorgeous and the reader is easily transported into the era.  I highly recommend this wondrous novel for any age group, but especially to girls coming of age and to those who want a better understanding of the injustices women endured for centuries.




Sleeping Giants

untitledRecommended by Pierce Brown, a riveting new Science Fiction Novel due out April 26, 2016

I read the excerpt and this is nothing like Red Rising, but lends itself to a mysterious investigation regarding a giant metal hand which was found buried. It’s estimated age is thousands of years. It has glowing sigils and symbols no linguist can decipher. It hooked me immediately. It looks like a must read.

The Gods of Anthem

Dystopian with a Twist!Gods of Athem

The Story line: Well, a kitchen sink full of characters

Cancer is endemic. Much of the world’s population has died or is dying. Those who linger are sent to an island to die. Many others become zombies and roam in the wilds. The Authority rises to rule and those with money live opulent lives in a guarded society. But there is a rebellion growing, a grass roots thing. A secret military is surgically developing a new breed of superior soldiers to fight the zombies.

This is an offbeat story, but surprisingly engaging . Told from the POV of two protagonists.

Liza is a young cancer survivor who has been bitten twice by zombies and lived. More than lived. She has become incredibly strong.  She meets The Writer, Jeremy who is a leader in the rebellion against the Authority.

Tommy is a young soldier who has been modified. When angry, he turns into a raging monster,  (Hulk-ish).

The Author, Logan Keys take dystopia to a new off beat level, but it works!

The Writing: really good

The Characters: complex but inconsistent

Humor: tongue in cheek

Pacing: Fast, mostly, but meanders at times.

Sex: Some. (well, an almost rape scene)

Overall: Interesting. 4 stars because most of it kept my interest.



Daughter of Smoke and Bone

51kTIlXatRL__SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgbasic-5-point-gold-star-beveledFive Stars for the magical story

Though I’m not generally a fan of fantasy, this novel by Laini Taylor, a National Book Award Finalist, is an exception.  It’s her use of language that kept me enthralled.

The premise:

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”

And so begins the story of Karou, the strikingly beautiful blue-haired artist and Akiva, the vengeful angel who is the epitome of beauty. Karou’s past is shrouded in mystery,  though her present life is filled with art school and running mysterious errands for the equally mysterious Brimstone. Brimstone is, well, a chimera, a monster. But he and the other chimeras are the only family Karou has ever known.

Enter Akiva, one of the avenging seraphim angels who have been at war with the chimeras for a thousand years. Akiva has a bone to pick (no pun intended)with the chimeras. They killed the love of his life. He is moments away from bringing down his sword on Karou’s head when something about her stays his hand.

Their relationship is complicated, tangled in the mists and rife with torn alliances. Will they end the wars or will they destroy each other?

Laini Taylor takes the star-crossed lovers scenario and makes it her own. Laini’s use of language is magical. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and can certainly see why she was a National Book Award finalist for her novel, Lips Touch: Three Times targeted for middle and high school age groups.

Hot Off the Press Review


The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson

Five Stars for this beautifully written and stunning young adult novel.

“I will look in triumph on my enemies. They will scatter to the ends of the earth, and God’s righteous right hand will endure forever.” The ball of light whirls. My body tingles with power.  “I am God’s righteous right hand! And I will. Not. Waver.” The Godstone is all around me now, swirling and beautiful and terrifying. My skin breathes in the energy of the earth, of the air around me, and feeds it to my Godstone.

Princess Elisa is destined for greatness or for a horrifying death. She is the bearer of a Godstone that miraculously appeared in her navel when she was an infant. Few bearers have lived long enough to fulfill their destiny.

Elisa is sixteen when she is married to the young and handsome King Alejandro who rules a country far from her home. She has been protected and indulged her entire life. Secrets have been kept from her. To ease the worry that plagues her, Elisa, from childhood, has used food as comfort. She is a very large young girl, a girl with little confidence as compared to her slender, beautiful older sister. The marriage is a political arrangement.

She travels to the desert country of Joya d’Arena to become its queen, but when she arrives, Alejandro keeps their marriage a secret, offering an excuse pertaining to political issues. His mistress eyes Elisa with narrow, suspicious eyes. In response, Elisa continues to feed her worry with food. She is looked upon by all with scorn for her appetite and girth.

But there is a will of iron beneath her softness and when she is kidnapped a transformation takes place as she learns not only to survive the riggers of the heartbreaking trials before her, but to love the country and its people.

Ultimately, this is a story about belief in faith and in one’s self. Many times, Elisa doubts her ability to fulfill her God given purpose, but her belief sustains her even against seemingly insurmountable odds.

The novel starts of slow but as the story unfolds what Elisa faces engages the reader and holds the reader’s attention. I read late into the night. I had to finish it. The sequels, which I intend to read as soon as possible, continue her fight, not only for her people but for her life.