Liesl, Children's and Teen Buyer
Favorite Genres: Books about pandemics, mysteries set in England past and present or with intrepid teens in boarding schools, mysteries set in interesting locales, fantasy (but without Orcs- EW!), history (fiction and non), mythology re-told, teel lit but not the sad real life ones, middle grade fiction of all sorts, cookbooks and books about food, funny books, and kids picture books
Favorite Authors: Kate Atkinson, Elizabeth George, Anthony Horowitz, Minette Walters, Colin Cotterill, Mary Beard, Kelly Barnhill, William Ritter, Kevin Sands, Neil Schusterman, Tamora Pierce, Megan Whalen Turner, Jasper Fforde
Taking on the Mulan legend, Shelly Parker-Chan gives the story more edge and a more feminist slant. Power, passion, violence and mythology wind throughout the story of one woman's embrace of her mandate. Set at the end of the Yuan dynasty, when politics and superstition walk side by side, Zhu uses both to her advantage to take her place as the first Ming emperor. The writing is both epic and intimate.
The Kingdoms was a delightfully unexpected read. I was expecting a historical mystery, I wasn't expecting the history itself to be the mystery. We meet Joe, and he has no memories prior to waking up on the train. What follows is an atmospheric and complex novel of "what if'? As the pace quickens to the end, you realize the clues were there if you knew where to look. We read it for our staff book group and had a very lively discussion!
I've just discovered this series and now I can't stop reading them (there are 10, YAY!) A delightful cross between The Canterbury Tales (sly, witty) and Law & Order (murder! courtroom drama!) Ralph Delchard and Gervase Bret are land surveyors and census takers for the Domesday Book in England,1085. Normans, Saxons & the Church all vying for the same land? You can see where murder might come into play.
I'm always delighted when I read Jasper Fforde. His writing is playful, serious and agile. You never know what is coming until you finish the whole book, sit back and say "wait, did he just combine Dr. Seuss, Peter Rabbit, and interment camps? Yes, yes he did...Satire at it's best. I encourage you to sit back and enjoy the ride!
It's 1617 and a sudden storm has killed all the men in a small fishing village above the Artic circle in Norway. The women must re-imagine themselves and survive in the harsh climate. The language of this book envelops you like a cloud as it builds to it's inexorable ending. The women are kind and cruel as they bring about a storm that they cannot stop. The Mercies brings a little remembered historical event out of the fog.
For an avid mystery reader, this book is deeply satisfying. Short stories are picked apart by a young editor and an older author, looking for a mathematical standard to the classic detective novel. Each story depicts a variation of victim, killer, and detective, and contain clues to another mystery. Puzzles within puzzles, and the final reveal...no spoilers from me, but it was unexpected in the best way!
It's not often that an adult author can transition to writing upper elementary age books, but Lev Grossman has nailed it! He hits that delicate balance of letting the kids voices and thoughts sound natural and not over explaining all while keeping the action moving. I was also super impressed by how deftly he snuck in so many animal and train facts. It would make a great book to read to your younger kids as well.
I love a good mystery, and this was a super fun read. I enjoyed all the references to other mysteries, and nods to booksellers everywhere. Since it was a quick read, it was perfect for a day on a plane or on a beach (or at home, if you happen to be stuck there.) Enjoy!
Bruce Holsinger must be a parent. It's the only way that can explain how accurately he captures how complicated it can be. Faced with a new Gifted School opening up (in a town that looks very much like Boulder) the parents vie for spots for their kids. Holsinger really digs down into the emotions and drives of these parents, with real care for his characters. It reads quickly, but will linger with you.
Our hero, S.T, is on a quest to save his favorite things. There is a slight problem — he is a crow, and one of his favorite things is humans and they have all become zombies. S.T. is a delightful observer of the world that he lives in, has a fantastic grasp of the insult, and has a lot to learn about being a bird. I laughed out loud, I cried, and I developed a Cheeto™ habit.
Bless you, Kate Atkinson, for bringing back Jackson Brodie! I have loved all of Kate's works, but I originally fell in love with her through Jackson Brodie. His stumbling through life, relationships, and mysteries with his mix of cynicism and hope touch me in a wonderful way. I love that you are intimate with these characters and through them, see that people are never one thing or the other but everything all at once.
I started Ruin of Kings on an long flight, and I didn't even notice the 8 hours, because I was so involved in the story. Epic and complex world building, dynamic and terrifying characters, political intrigue and blood feuds that have lasted centuries … Very, very satisfying! Reminded me of the first time I read The Name of the Wind.
As a fan of "the Classic Age of British Crime Novels" The Sentence is Death fills me with delight. Anthony Horowitz manages to inject himself into his own mysteries in a seamless and extraordinary way. His writing is cheeky, the concept is daring, and he — as himself — comes off as slightly petulant but somehow charming, just like all of my favorite characters of yore.
My Sister, the Serial Killer is short, tense and wonderful. One sister is beautiful and deadly, the other plain and efficient. Oyinikan Braithwaite gives us a glimpse into how a society values beauty. The sisters seem like two halves of a whole, each supporting and providing something to the other. A lovely little short read that won't take up to much space in your bag, but will take up a big space in your mind.
Kate Atkinson is an amazing writer. I adore her handling of her characters, bringing the little nuances out so subtlety that when you put it down you have to step back to see the whole because you have been IN the story and WITH Juliet Armstrong so intimately. I am always blown away, and this new book was no exception.
Anthony Horowitz takes the Agatha Christie-style mystery and doubles down in this ingenious novel. When an author of a popular detective series is found dead, his editor starts looking for clues and the missing pages of his latest book. Christie reverences abound and the whole set up is wonderfully clever and delightful. Great for fans of British mysteries, both modern and vintage.
Meg Howrey takes 3 astronauts, puts them in isolation and shows us remarkable observations into love and life in her new book, The Wanderers. Told from the view points of the astronauts and the people they leave behind, the reader is encouraged to look beyond roles we play and determine what is real and what is a façade. And in the end does it matter? I will be thinking about this book for a long time.
Looking for something new in fantasy? Cece Rios has some of the most original elements that I have read in a while. It's hard to explain in 3 sentences. It's a blend of the desert setting, the criaturas who roam out from Devils Alley in the dark, and a unique blending of Mexican folklore and Pokémon. I just want there to be another one set in this world, because I liked it very much and I think there is more to Cece’s story.
So Cheeky! In more ways than one. It totally brought a nestogic smile to my face, as I remembered my own son and his delight in naked, dresses and shiny jewlery. I think everyone can get behind the joy of playing dress up.
This is going to be a hard review to write, because I really enjoyed this book. Is it Teen Science Fiction?(well yes, but more). Space Opera with depth and love?(that too). Coming of age in space? (sort of). It's just very well written and has it's own vibe, to compare it to something else seems unfair. The universe, like this book is not what you expect, but somehow it is exactly as you'd hope.
A new book to add to my favorites list! Octopus is happy in his cave, feeling the waves and eating clams. One day he gets into the wrong thing and whoosh he is somewhere else. It's interesting for a while... I love the expressive way both the author and the illustrator depict Octopus' personality. Just delightful and a treasure to be read again.
A beautiful and exciting first day of school for one Vietnamese child. The Mekong Delta is his route, his boat his transport, and this is the first time he is doing it by himself. It's really gorgeously illustrated and is a great way to see that kids go to school in all manner of ways the world over.
It all begins with cheese. Mouse has missed the cheese festival, but why? How? This leads him to wonder what is time and if can he change it. In all of Torben Kuhlmann's books (Lindbergh, Armstrong, Edison) the illustrations are outstanding with many tiny little clues and easter eggs that you can look at often and find something new to marvel at. Taking on Einstein's theory of relativity was no easy task but is pulled off in the ingenious way I have come to expect from this series.
Andrea Zuill captured my heart with her wonderful book WOLF CAMP, she kept it safe and sound with SWEETY, she continues to make me feel warm and fuzzy with her newest REGINA IS NOT A LITTLE DINOSAUR. I don't know what it is, the words? The personalities of the characters coming through in conversation bubbles? The expressive art? It must be all three, because each book brings me such joy!