Reading Life


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Technological scavenger hunts

Lexington Public Library will host a technological scavenger hunt called BattleKasters. Youth will be able to use their smartphones to visit beacons throughout the city. The game is based on Alane Adam's book, The Red Sun

The book is aimed at middle school readers. What a terrific way to encourage literacy!

Adams' book features a twelve-year-old hero and Norse gods.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

People in crisis mode are interesting. Jenna, the protagonist of this debut novel, is definitely in trouble. She has just lost her five-year-old son in a hit-in-run accident. In response, Jenna attempts to restart her life by moving to a remote village in Wales.

Two detectives, Ray and Kate, are slipping in a maelstrom of their own making. Both want to find the hit-and-run-driver who killed Jenna's child, even if they solve the crime off the books. Though each are seeing other people, they are increasingly drawn to each other.

Kate remind Ray of his old self, the kind that cared more about getting the bad guy than getting promoted. Meanwhile, in remote Penfach, Wales, Jenna and Patrick, a local veterinarian, fall in love. 

Jenna's life seems to be improving until she finds a strange message in the sandy beach near her cottage.

Not to give anything away, but Part 2 of the novel is completely startling. In a rush, readers are given a new point-of-view and a new version of events. 

Jenna's sad history unfolds revealing a different picture of the accident. Ian's cruel manipulation of Jenna and her quiet aquiescence is painful to watch.  

A thriller of first rate quality ensues as Jenna struggles to free herself from Ian's cruelty.

Random House has sent me an advance reader's copy in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Firebird by Susana Kearsley

Though she wants to hide her supernatural gifts, Nicola finds that increasingly difficult to do. When a woman tries to sell a Russian relic in the art and antiquities gallery where she works, Nicola feels motivated to use her psychometric abilities.

Holding the relic in her hands, Nicola knows the woman's story is true; the relic has been a gift from the Empress Catherine of Russia handed down through generations of the woman's family. 

Proving the provenance of the wooden object, however, is much more of a challenge. Nicola contacts an old boyfriend, Rob, who has even more sophisticated psychic abilities. He can see past events in his mind merely by visiting a place. 

Working together, Rob and Nicola learn Anna's story, the woman who had originally been gifted with the firebird. 

What they witness is startling and heart-breaking. When the English force the Jacobites to flee Scotland, Anna's relatives send her to a convent in Ypres for safekeeping. Betrayed by a girl she befriended a the convent, Anna flees to Calais where she faces even more spies.

In St. Petersburg, Anna is adopted by a kind man to whom she has never revealed her true identity. She becomes Anna Niktovna ("Nobody")  to protect her Scottish relatives. 

After Anna takes a job in St. Petersburg, as a lady's companion. At this new household, Anna becomes intrigued by rakish Mr. Edmund O'Leary, a relative of her employer.

Kearsley relates an epic, powerful love story about the courage to assert one's own identity in the midst of political turmoil. 

This novel is well-researched and employs fully developed characters.

If you enjoy The Firebird, you may also enjoy Paullina Simon's The Bronze Horseman.

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