Saturday, July 22, 2017

Egypt's Sister by Angela Hunt

    An enthralling story about two girls who are raised in Pharaoh's household. One, the daughter of the king, and the other, the daughter of the royal tutor. Chava and Urbi became best friends, blood sisters for life.
    When Urbi unexpectedly becomes Queen Cleopatra, her ultimate betrayal sends Chava to the lowest depths of society, where at any given moment she could lose her life. After being in prison for a while, she is sold at a slave market. When she arrives at her new home, she finds out that after a life of leisure she has no skills to offer, so she decides to become a midwife.  After reading everything she possibly can to educate herself in the art, she finally has the chance to show her new learned skill. After a delivery, she finds favor in her master's house due to her intelligence, skill, and beauty. Chava rises to become the most sought out midwife in all of Rome.
During a time of war Chava is summoned and asked to do the unthinkable to gain her freedom: she has to go to the Queen and ask her to give herself to Rome. This is a story of love, loyalty, betrayal, and trust.  I highly recommend this book.

"Blood of my blood and heart of my heart"-Urbi (Queen Cleopatra)

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley

It’s 1859 and world-traveling botanical expert Merrick Tremayne believes his days of adventure are over after a leg injury. He has resigned himself to a life of solitude on his family’s deteriorating Cornwall estate with no company but his unhappy brother. When an old friend shows up to convince him to set off for Peru in search of cinchona tree cuttings for the East India Company, Merrick is initially resistant. With much needling from his friend and his brother threatening sending him to an asylum, Merrick relents and joins the expedition. Peru has a monopoly on the cinchona trees, the only source of quinine, and has begun charging exorbitant prices for the anti-malaria drug. The East India Company believes the Tremayne family’s ties to a remote village will allow him to sneak into the forest and smuggle out the cuttings under the guise of searching for frost-resistant coffee plants. Upon arriving in the village, Merrick discovers that the Peruvian mountains hide more than just the cure for malaria. There are exploding trees, a border of salt that is said to be fatal if crossed, moving statues, and a priest with a strange illness. When the quinine runners catch on to Merrick’s plan, he and the priest cross the salt border and enter the unknown forest hoping to make it out the other side alive.

This is Pulley’s second book, and has some loose ties to her debut, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, though each can be read as a stand-alone novel. A gifted storyteller, Pulley manages to make the fantastic aspects of her stories seem just as plausible as the mundane and shows the reader that true magic is found in love, trust, and enduring friendship. The Bedlam Stacks will be released in August 2017, but you can put your name on the holds list today!

- Reviewed by Portia

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Penhale Wood by Julia Thomas

Penhale Wood is the second novel by Julia Thomas and the first starring Detective Rob McIntyre.  Rob has gone to London to visit with his brother and family for Christmas. He is feeling lost and considering leaving the police force since the "love of his life" Allison left him without a word after ten years together.   When he arrives, he finds that his sister-in-law has an emergency situation and the family has left London.  Rob stays over and is accosted by Iris Flynn whose three year old daughter was murdered by the live-in nanny a year ago.  Iris is determined to find Karen Peterson and make her pay for her daughter's murder.  After leaving the child on a river bank at Penhale Wood,  the nanny disappeared and was never found.  Since the funeral, Iris, her husband and other two children have been living with her sister in Australia.
Iris's husband  has also stayed in Australia which leads readers to question their marriage. Iris demands Rob drop everything and find Karen.  Rob thinks she is hiding in London and will be impossible to find.  There has been a recent development in the case-a psychic has reported she has seen the killer through the eyes of someone in the same room as Karen.  She is able to describe this person to the police sketch artist, but it does not look like Karen.  Again the trail seems cold, but Iris pushes on determined to find her daughter's killer with or without the detective.
There is a side story concerning Rob's ex Allison and her burgeoning career as a crime writer.  As the two stories come together, the tension and the clues ramp up.  Who is Karen Peterson and why are the police unable to find her?  Why and how is Allison involved?  Why was Sophie killed?  Well you will just have to read the book and find out!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy

The sun is shining, the sea is blue, the children have disappeared.

Cousins Liv and Nora decide it would be fun to go on a vacation cruise together with their husbands and children. The families are enjoying their time together, and the children--two  eleven-year-olds, an eight-year-old, and a six-year-old--are feeling confident and independent as they are allowed to attend Kids Club on the ship each day without their parents. A simple onshore outing to an unnamed Central American country turns it all upside down. A series of small events leads to chaos. One minute the children are there, the next they're not. As readers, we know where the kids are and what is happening to them, but the suspense still builds as the narrative switches between the adults and the children. It's interesting to see how the relationships disintegrate into blame and guilt and regret and how the children process their experiences. This is not your typical suspense novel. It is a complex portrait of an extended family in distress. Meloy is an expert navigator of the human heart. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Kelly Currie

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks

Waking up to a nightmare, knowing you have been kidnapped and have no idea where your captor has placed you. This is the situation main character, Linus, finds himself in after living as a teenage vagrant for a while. He is alone and stuck inside what seems to be a basement or bunker with the only way out being an elevator that can only be controlled from the outside. The Bunker Diary was filled with suspense and mystery that drives you to read until the end.

Always being a fan of mysteries and thrillers, I was intrigued when I read the description for this book. I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did and figured it would be a book with a happy ending and similar to other books I have read in the same genre, but I was pleasantly surprised. This story was well-written and made me feel the fear of not knowing where you are or even why you were taken. 

It all starts with a stupid mistake. Linus knew that he should not help that blind man and felt that something was off, but he reluctantly continues on. As he goes to help the blind man, he is drugged and kidnapped and put into a bunker by himself. He is only given a diary and able to get few supplies by writing and list and leaving it on the elevator. One by one, more people start to arrive until each room in the bunker is filled. Different ages, genders, and races, this strange mix of people cannot figure out who took them, why they are down there, or if there is a possibility of escape.

The characters were all interesting and you definitely felt more sympathy for some than others. Linus is a strong character who proves he is wise beyond his years and takes care of most of the people in the bunker and is constantly trying to figure an escape. The ending of this book was unexpected and slightly frustrating but I felt it was the perfect way to end the story. If you are a fan of mystery, thriller, crime, or suspense novels, check out The Bunker Diary from the teen room today.