Thursday, July 30, 2015

Eden West

Eden West  by Pete Hautman

Jacob is a member of the Grace living in Nodd, a 12 square mile religious compound located in Montana between a Native reservation and the Rockin' K cattle ranch.  He does not remember life in the World, and thinks himself lucky to be among the few who have rejected all Worldly things so that he will be pure for the coming of the Ark and the archangel Zerachiel.

But Jacob is 17 years old, and inevitably, his body responds to hormonal demands--he is attracted to a young woman in the compound and also to the pretty blond daughter on the neighboring ranch.  The Grace maintain their faith while beset by hardship: a bitterly cold winter, a disease among the chickens, a wolf among the sheep.  But then other tragedies strike, and Jacob finds that he must choose between the life he knows, and the World he does not know.

There are few surprises in the story, but the narrating voice of Jacob is strong, and worthy of consideration.  Often in literature, religious extremists are portrayed as simple (or crazy), and some of that is present here.  But there is a bit more.

For readers 14 to adult.  Some cussing, some kissing, and quite a few lustful thoughts.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Girl With Borrowed Wings

The Girl with Borrowed Wings  by Rinsai Rossetti
Everything Frenenqer Paje does is controlled by her father.  He has rules for how she must dress, speak, move.  She must never slam doors, or read too much, or allow milk to drip from a spoon.  She must do whatever her father thinks she must do, always.

One day, in an unprecedented act of independence, Frenenqer rescues a sickly cat from the Animal Souk...and the cat turns out to be much more than a cat.  Sangris is a Free Person, living completely without rules.  He's not even stuck in the shape of a cat--he can take the shape of a person, or a dragon, or an animal that nobody has ever imagined before.  And Sangris loves Frenenqer.

Unfortunately, "love" is against the rules made by Frenenqer's father.

Imaginative, lush, and intriguing, this unique story is not a quick read.  It will not be quick to forget, either.

No cussing, some kissing.  

The Martian

The Martian  by Andy Weir
audiobook ready by  R.C. Bray

Everybody figured that Mark Watney was dead.  The Martian astronaut's space suit was pierced by a flying piece of equipment during a sandstorm.  The suit erroneously reported that his vital signs were flat, and nobody could figure out where his body had fallen.  So the crew of Aries III left the Red Planet without him.

But Mark isn't dead.  Not yet.  He might die of starvation, or of carbon dioxide poisoning.  He might get lost on the surface with no way to find his way back to the equipment that will help him survive.  He might even die of loneliness or despair.

But he isn't dead yet.  

Apollo 13 meets MacGyver meets Robinson Crusoe in a fast-paced and believable survival story.  The audiobook read by R.C. Bray skillfully portrays the voices of a widely diverse cast of character--not just Mark Watney on Mars, but also the Aries III crew, the politicians at home in Washington, the team leaders at NASA, the orbital science geeks at JPL, and more.

Be aware that the narrative contains a sh*tload of cussing. If you were stranded alone on Mars, you'd probably cuss too.  

Highly recommended.  This book is not written for teen readers but will have lots of teen appeal, especially when the film starring Matt Damon is released in October 2015.