Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Life with Cornelia

Cornelia Brown is back! If you read Marisa de los Santos' first book Love Walked In, you'll be thrilled to learn that you can jump back into life with Cornelia and Teo and Clare in the new novel, Belong to Me. Cornelia and Teo have married and moved to the suburbs of Philadelphia, and Clare is living with her mom back in Cornelia's old neighborhood but visits regularly. Cornelia has a bit of trouble making friends in her new home at first, but Piper and Lake turn out to be very important in her life--for surprising reasons. You'll love these characters--they are people I would love to get to know in "real life." If you haven't read Love Walked In, don't worry, you'll still be able to enjoy Belong to Me. De los Santos has a fresh way of writing that makes you feel like you're right there in the setting with her characters. You won't have any trouble getting to know Cornelia and her family and friends. I'm already waiting for the next installment of "life with Cornelia"... will there be one?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A new author to watch

Rebecca Johnson, contributing editor at Vogue magazine, has written a great first novel, And Sometimes Why. It's about a family, the McMartins, with two teenage daughters, Miranda and Helen. One ordinary morning, the girls argue about whose turn it is to drive the car, and Miranda wins. Helen ends up hitching a ride on the back of her boyfriend's motorcycle (unbeknownst to her parents, who don't even know about the existence of this boyfriend). From that point on, it is no ordinary morning. And there are no more ordinary days left for the McMartins. Helen and her guy are involved in a serious accident involving another car. The guy is killed, and Helen is left in a comatose state. Johnson lets us see the unraveling of this family as they deal with their grief, and the writing is heartfelt and true. In fact, I wondered if the author had been through something similar, because the words seemed so right. The driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident, who was not at fault, is Harry Harlow, a celebrity game show host. Johnson also takes us into his life and how the accident changed his life and really shook things up for him. He comes across as a gentle person who has not always been smart about his choices and in fact has just let life happen to him. He seems bewildered at where he finds himself. Although this novel is based on a tragedy, there is much to enjoy here--good writing, interesting characters, even a little humor.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Dreaming Void

Peter F. Hamilton's new space saga, the first in a trilogy has just arrived at the library. Less action and more political than his previous novels (Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained), it takes place in 3589 more than 1500 years farther into the future. By this time humans have conquered immortality, but continue to look for the perfect religion. A growing number believe it can be found in the Void, a self-contained micro universe that is expanding in all directions consuming everything in its path, stars, planets, and civilization. Inigo, an astrophysicist who is studying the Void, dreams of this universe as a paradise where thoughts become actions and dreams become reality. His dreams are transmitted to hundreds of millions and a new religion, the Living Dream is born. Inigo becomes its prophet and when he disappears, another Dreamer encourages a pilgrimage into the Void which could trigger an apocalypse. A desperate race ensues to find Inigo and the second Dreamer. Some factions want to impede the pilgrimage and others to accelerate it. Could this pilgrimage ignite a catastrophic expansion of the Void? Be prepared for a cliffhanger!