All posts filed under: Book Reviews

Book Review: The Candle And The Flame

DETAILS Title: THE CANDLE AND THE FLAME Author: Nafiza Azad Publisher: Scholastic Press ISBN: 9781338306040 Genre: YA Fantasy BACK COVER BLURB Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population—except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar. But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield. WHAT I THOUGHT Let’s start off by saying that the world-building in THE CANDLE AND …

Book Review: The Woo-Woo

DETAILS Title: THE WOO-WOO Author: Lindsay Wong Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press ISBN: 9781551527369 Genre: Biography | Non-fiction BACK COVER BLURB Lindsay Wong grew up with a paranoid schizophrenic grandmother and a mother who was deeply afraid of the “woo-woo”–Chinese ghosts who come to visit in times of personal turmoil. From a young age, she witnessed the woo-woo’s sinister effects; at the age of six, she found herself living in the food court of her suburban mall, which her mother saw as a safe haven because they could hide there from dead people, and on a camping trip, her mother tried to light Lindsay’s foot on fire to rid her of the woo-woo. The eccentricities take a dark turn, however, when her aunt, suffering from a psychotic breakdown, holds the city of Vancouver hostage for eight hours when she threatens to jump off a bridge. And when Lindsay herself starts to experience symptoms of the woo-woo herself, she wonders whether she will suffer the same fate as her family. WHAT I THOUGHT The Woo-Woo by Lindsay …

Book Review: Salt To The Sea

DETAILS Title: SALT TO THE SEA Author: Ruta Sepetys Publisher: Philomel Books ISBN: 9780399160301 Genre: Historical YA | WWII BACK COVER BLURB World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety. Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival. WHAT I THOUGHT This is a wonderfully written story about four young people, ranging in ages and backgrounds, set during World War Two, detailing all the horrors and ravages of war, and its effects on those struggling to survive. Vivid and sometimes, horrific moments punctate the spare prose of …

Book Review: Resurrection Bay

DETAILS Title: RESURRECTION BAY Author: Emma Viskic Publisher: Pushkin Press ISBN: 9781782273622 Genre: Mystery | Suspense BACK COVER BLURB Caleb Zelic can’t hear you. But he sees everything. CALEB ZELIC IS ON THE HUNT FOR HIS FRIEND’S KILLER His childhood friend has been brutally murdered—fingers broken, throat slit—at his home in Melbourne. Tortured by guilt, Caleb vows to track down the killer. But he’s profoundly deaf; missed words and misread lips can lead to confusion, and trouble. HE NEVER FORGETS A FACE Fortunately, Caleb knows how to read people; a sideways glance, an unconvincing smile, speaks volumes. When his friend Frankie, a former cop, offers to help, they soon discover the killer is on their tail IT MIGHT JUST SAVE HIS LIFE Sensing that his ex-wife may also be in danger, Caleb insists they return to their hometown of Resurrection Bay. But here he learns that everyone—including his murdered friend—is hiding something. And the deeper he digs, the darker the secrets… WHAT I THOUGHT First of all, let me just begin by saying this debut …

Book Review: The Dark Lake

DETAILS Title: THE DARK LAKE Author: Sarah Bailey Publisher: Grand Central Publishing ISBN: 9781538759929 Genre: Mystery | Suspense BACK COVER BLURB The lead homicide investigator in a rural town, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is deeply unnerved when a high school classmate is found strangled, her body floating in a lake. And not just any classmate, but Rosalind Ryan, whose beauty and inscrutability exerted a magnetic pull on Smithson High School, first during Rosalind’s student years and then again when she returned to teach drama. As much as Rosalind’s life was a mystery to Gemma when they were students together, her death presents even more of a puzzle. What made Rosalind quit her teaching job in Sydney and return to her hometown? Why did she live in a small, run-down apartment when her father was one of the town’s richest men? And despite her many admirers, did anyone in the town truly know her? Rosalind’s enigmas frustrate and obsess Gemma, who has her own dangerous secrets—an affair with her colleague and past tragedies that may not …