30 April 2018

Then She Was Gone; Lisa Jewell

Then She Was GoneThen She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fairly predictable mystery/suspense about What Happened to Ellie, who disappeared ten years ago. Of course, Paul and Laurel's marriage has dissolved, and of course Laurel is stuck in that moment. Then some of Ellie's bones and belongings are found... and Laurel can move forward. But is Floyd really who (or what) she wants? The problem is, if you like these types of books, you know where this is going. And it does, with only one surprise. And if you like these types of books, you'll enjoy it as much as any other in this genre.

eARC provided by publisher.

Float; Laura Martin

FloatFloat by Laura Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A perfect read for Middle School Boys set in a camp for people with different abilities. In this case, Emerson literally floats, tethered to earth by heavy shoes and a vest (and tied into his bed at night). He quickly makes friends with his bunkmates, each of whom isn't quite normal (one can set things on fire, one time-travels, and one could be called the sometimes invisible boy). They have the same experiences many campers have, with bonfires and hiking, pranks and KP duty, and trying to meet the girl campers. And yet... those abilities...

ARC provided by publisher.

Blackfish City; Sam. J. Miller

Blackfish CityBlackfish City by Sam J. Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great dystopian fiction about a floating world, populated with refugees from all over and ruled by a combination of landlords and the equivalent of mob bosses, with an overlay of AI tech. While there are a few too many POVs for my taste, each voice is from a different enough sector of this society that it's not that irritating. Readers of Pullman may think that the polar bear is borrowed from him, but I think it's more a reflection of the climate change that flooded most of the known world. Even that - the climate change - is muted in service of the story about the characters and their lives, how they intertwine and move forward (there's a lovely revenge plot I'll dangle but not spoil).

eARC provided by publisher.

84K; Claire North

84K84K by Claire North
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

At some point in the future, everything begins to belong to The Company. And The Company is nothing if not efficient - even crime has been monetized, so that every crime has a "dollar" amount (because this is Britain, it's really a pound amount) attached. "Theo", who really isn't Theo, but we never learn his birth name, works in an office that determines how much those crimes will cost the perpetrator, knowing that his very life is something of a crime. Then he gets mixed up in another crime and his relatively innocuous life changes as he leaves London for... he's not exactly sure where.

Told in alternating timelines and from the POV of Theo and Neila (a boat-dweller traveling the Grand Union Canal), there are moments when readers will be a little confused about who and when. Theo is really a blank slate, reacting to events more than anything. And those events? At times the action feels like more plotting would have been helpful, that things are a little too rushed to be plausible.

ARC provided by publisher.

Give Me Some Truth; Eric Gansworth

Give Me Some TruthGive Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Life on the Rez isn't easy, but neither is life in the city. Set in 1980s upstate New York, on the Tuscarora reservation and nearby cities, this isn't a sequel to If I Ever Get Out of Here but is set in the same world, with many of the same characters. The blend of reservation life and life outside is skillful, and there's nothing about the lives of Carson, Maggi, Lewis and their families and friends that won't be both familiar and real for readers. The "real world" intrudes in the form of a racist diner, racist coworkers and John Lennon's death - and there's a squicky couple of relationships. For readers looking for another view of Indian life, this (and the previous book) are must reads.

ARC provided by publisher.

Valley Girls; Sarah Nicole Lemon

Valley GirlsValley Girls by Sarah Nicole Lemon
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Yosemite Valley, not LA Valley... and there was nothing there to make me care about what happened.

ARC provided by publisher.

The Glass Room; Ann Cleeves

The Glass Room (Vera Stanhope, #5)The Glass Room by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another series I'm reading out of order, and it doesn't seem to matter that much. Vera's self-awareness varies from book to book, and in this case within the book - there are times she knows the effect she has on Joe and Holly, and others when she seems not to. As far as the mystery goes, it's one of those where it's nearly impossible for the reader to solve because the detective has knowledge they're not sharing with us. The setting felt very familiar, but I couldn't find an adaptation of this in the tv series so my guess is that this is one of those Standard British Mystery Settings.

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl; Stacy McAnulty

The Miscalculations of Lightning GirlThe Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Getting hit by lightning isn't exactly a lucky event, but in Lucy's case it changed her from being an average young girl into a true genius, finishing high school by the time she should be in seventh grade. On the other hand, there's the OCD she has, which is fine al=s long as she doesn't go outside. Suddenly her grandmother decides Lucy needs to go to regular school and enrolls her at the local public school... where Lucy's differences really stand out.

The plot is pretty standard, with Lucy finding friends and herself, etc.. But the way in which the author makes Lucy's differences seem normal elevate this from the standard - check out the author's notes - and may make middle school readers understand how even small acts can have large impacts on the world around them.

ARC provided by publisher.

16 April 2018

Ace of Shades; Amanda Foody

Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1)Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

DNF at 25% - fake swearing, so-so worldbuilding, too many "missy" references and too little reason to care about any of the characters.

ARC provided by publisher.

Picture Us in the Light; Kelly Loy Gilbert

Picture Us in the LightPicture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This had promise, but also too much going on. There's the plot-line about Danny's sister and how she died, the plot-line about why Danny's parents just picked up and left Texas (and what they're hiding), the plot-line about Sandra, and then the plot-line about Danny's feelings about Harry. Of course there's intersection, but the problem is more that focusing on one or two would have made for a stronger book. As it is, all feel as though they're each being given short shrift and no character is fully fleshed out. The pacing is also a problem, with the first almost-half being slow and filled with back-story.

ARC provided by publisher.