Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry

The Fifth Petal is is a mystery and high-stakes thriller yet the author, Brunonia Barry, ingeniously combines this with the historical details of the 1692 Salem witchcraft trials.

Here's a historical detail that Barry drops that ties the past with a current suspect, Rose:


"With the exception of Sarah Good, who was thirty-nine, the women  executed on July 19, 1692, were much older, ranging in age from fifty-seven to seventy-one. Some were homeless or nuisances to the community: indebt, outspoken, or otherwise troublesome. It made him think of Rose."


Rose is homeless, deranged, and is now accused of a crime that he does not think she committed. No wonder Rafferty draws the parallel.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Into the Wild by Erin Hunter

Into the Wild, is the juvenile novel that kicks off the popular Warrior cats series by Erin Hunter.

This series has inspired a lot of fan content: name generators, youtube videos and fan art. 

Maybe its so popular because it involves a heroic journey. Rusty makes a journey into the unknown, the wild forest beyond his house. He is initially met with derision from the feral cats who live there. Then, Bluestar recognizes his talents and chooses him to join them.

Rusty is accepted as an apprentice but must prove his mettle if he is to become a warrior. Along the way, Rusty, renamed Firepaw, has several crises.

Firepaw wonders if its always right to follow the warrior code. Should he have mercy on a pitiful cat like Yellowfang who has gone rogue? Should he tell Bluestar the dreadful secret he learns from Ravenpaw?

The warrior code is in jeopary in other ways. The four cat clans that have co-existed peacefully for years. Recently, however, the Shadow clan has pushed the Wind clan off their territory. 

In the end, its up to a brave apprentice, Firepaw, and his companions to set things right. 


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Brunonia Barry's The Lace Reader


The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
Brunonia Barry, a screenwriter, tells this supernatural mystery in a series of powerful vignettes that move back and forth in time. Towner Whitney tells her own story even though she is an unreliable narrator with “gaps” in her memory.  Towner comes from an old Salem family known for a predilection toward quirkiness and an uncanny ability to “read” lace. Unfortunately, what Towner sees in the lace on her seventeenth birthday nearly causes her to lose her mind. Exactly what causes Towner’s mental breakdown is just one of the many mysteries in this multi-layered gem. Switching deftly between first and third person, Clark also introduces Detective Rafferty, a burned-out cop from New York City, who simultaneously investigates the strange death of Towner’s eccentric great Aunt and the bizarre disappearance of Angela Rickey. Towner and Rafferty, while tentatively exploring a relationship of their own, must also contend with two warring factions–the witches of Salem and the fervent Calvinists led by Cal Boynton.

Sabotage by Neal Bascomb

In a book that reads like a thriller, Neal Bascomb explains how Norwegian commandos effectively prevented Nazi Germany from getting their hands on an atomic bomb.


A small group of Norwegians, trained in Britian, returned to their homeland to sabotage Vemork, the plant that was supplying Germany with heavy water. Germans needed heavy water, or Deuterium, to construct an atomic bomb.

Intended for young adults, Bascomb makes this part of Norwegian history accessible to all. Though Bascomb conveys a lot of detailed information,  notes and an index give readers who want additional information the ability to learn more.

A friends of mine, who is European, swears the Norwegian commandos stories are widely known in Europe. Even if they are known, Bascomb makes their stories come to life.

If you liked Sabotage, you make like Winter Fortress by Neal Bascomb. Winter Fortress is the same story written more for adults than young adults.