November Mini Reviews
The Obelisk Gate #2 Broken Earth by J.K. Jemisin
Award: Hugo and Locus Fantasy Awards
Published 2016, 391 pages
This follow up to The Fifth Season is a worthy second book in the series. There was no drop off of world or character-building as is often the case for books in a series. The story of Essun and her daughter Nassun continue - they are separated but each start to come into their greater power. Nassun, at only 12 years old, discovers some secrets in using her orogeny (ability to manipulate thermal and kinetic energy to control or create seismic events). And her mom, Essun, learns how to expand her power by connecting to the network of obelisks in the sky.
It's a somewhat complex world and the 'magic' of the silver threads of power and of orogeny lost me sometimes. But even though the world is dystopian as it enters into a fifth season, the characters, the society, the pettiness, jealousies, prejudices, misunderstandings, loyalties, etc. are all very relatable. The book opens with Essun being tasked to 'catch the moon' and ends with Nassun saying, "Tell me how to bring the moon home." Mother and daughter challenged separately and in different parts of the world to return the moon to father Earth. I'm looking forward to the end of the trilogy to see what happens to these two incredible women!
Last Shot by John Feinstein
Genre: YA, General Fiction
Published 2005, 272 pages
A middle grade story about a couple of 13yo kids who won a writing competition to attend the Final Four. It's a gentle mystery that the kids work to solve. Clearly aimed at the middle grade ages in terms of writing style and vocabulary, BUT, the constant name dropping of coaches and players, current to the time and past, was overwhelming. A flood of names. Then there's all the names of the main characters of the story....I could follow Susan Carol and Stevie, the kids, and their dads. BUT, the bad-guy coalition....too many and not strong enough personalities to differentiate. I skimmed the last 1/3 of the book just to finish and see what outlandish luck they'd have to solve the problem.
My boys were both basketball players, and with their dad are huge sports fanatics. However, this book had SO many names and was only lightly about basketball, that I'm sure they wouldn't have finished the book. I can't believe the average kid wanting to read about a sport would enjoy being overwhelmed with the quantity of names.
Reading Challenge: #BooklistQueen20 #29: book about sports
Rapid Falls by Amber Cowie
Published 2018, 238 pages
A worthy psychological thriller with a thoroughly unlikeable main character in Cara and a sad, broken sister in Anna. The twist was not terribly unexpected, but it was revealed well.
The story jumps back and forth between current day and high school graduation where jealousies and drinking get out of hand and a tragedy occurs that sets the course of the sisters' lives as one goes to prison and one goes on to get married and have a family. When the younger sister is released from prison, she drowns her unhappiness in drink which further strains the sister's relationship. BUT, there's a big secret...... and when it is revealed, nothing is the same.
A good study in sisterly jealousy and one-upmanship, family dynamics, parental choices, family alcoholism, and the consequences of a tragedy.
Reading Challenge: #Bookworm20 #43: season in the title
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
Genre: General Fiction
Published 2001, 208 pages
Okay, that was different! As you'd expect both from the title and jacket blurb. Clever and entertaining with an imaginative use of language, including made-up words as letters drop from the written and spoken word.
Ella and her family live on a tiny island country and revere Nollop, the author of "The quick brown dog jumps over the lazy fox." When a letter tile falls off the statue erected in his honor, the town council proclaims that it's a 'sign' and that letter will no longer be allowed in either written or spoken language with 3 infractions leading to banishment from the island. An epistolary novel, the correspondence between residents becomes more challenging as more tiles fall off the statue and more letters are discontinued in usage.
Challenging to write, clever in letter and language use, this is a quick, entertaining, smile-on-your-face read. Read it when you're in the mood for something entirely different!
Reading Challenge: #PopSugar20 #26: pun in title
The Night Bird #1 by Brian Freeman
Published 2017, 364 pages
This book has been on my Kindle for a couple years and was one of the best Amazon first free books I've read (most I choose are duds). It's the first in a series about a detective who discovers a connection between a series of bizarre deaths and links them to a psychiatrist with an unusual treatment therapy. It's a great premise and puzzling enough mystery and even though I knew there had to be a twist coming, I didn't figure it out! I liked the detective character......a caring man but with a flaw or two to make him believable. I'll be looking for more in this series!
Reading Challenge: #PopSugar20 #29: bird on cover
There are some good reading possibilities here. Which one(s) will make your TBR list? Or, if you've already read them, leave me a quick note and Let's Talk Books!