Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout

When I was in my 20's and 30's I was all about traveling to distant and exotic locations.  Same thing with Amanda, but she takes it a step too far.....

Amanda writes this memoir about a very specific time in her life, her 20's. She wasn't motivated to attend college.  After her high school graduation she moved to Calgary and started waitressing.  It was there that the travel bug hit!  I am envious of most all of the places she visited.

In 2008 she traveled to Somalia, one of the most dangerous places on earth.  She had a "gig" as a journalist and really appeared to be well-prepared.  Security, guides, a "safe" hotel in Mogadishu..... it would appear that she covered all her bases.  Unfortunately, on the way to interview at a camp  for "displaced persons", she and her traveling companion, Nigel, were kidnapped.

The kidnappers demanded millions from the families;  money they certainly did not have.  As negotiations dragged on over 15 months, Amanda and Nigel did whatever they could to keep their sanity,even converting to Islam.  As Amanda said, "They can't kill us if we convert."  Amanda bore the brunt of the rebel's anger and brutality.  She is lucky to be alive.  If you read her story I think you will agree!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick

This new book was just named the 2014 Printz winner!!

If I had to describe the book I would say it is unsettling, almost bordering on creepy.  It's not scary, just, well, unsettling.  The book has seven inter-connected stories that all take place on the magical island of Blessed.  The island grows a very unusual species of flower with healing properties and it is rumored that the residents never die.

Each story takes place in a different time.  We start in 2073 where a journalist, Eric, is sent to Blessed to write a story.  Odd things almost immediately happen. When he loses his cell phone connection to the "real world" it bothers him, that it doesn't bother him.  Does it have something to do with the strange tea he is drinking?

The stories move backward in time.  The present day is covered, wartime, all the way back to viking times.  What is the connection?  Do you believe in reincarnation?  Read the book and see if you get sucked into Eric, Merle and Tor's worlds.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Living by Matt De La Pena

This book has survival, adventure, intrigue..... Shy is working a summer job on a beautiful cruise ship. There are many subplots that will keep you reading!!
Plot 1: Shy's job is a good diversion because he is mourning the death of his grandmother. Romero Disease has killed her. Scientists have yet to figure out a cause or a cure. The virus spreads rapidly through a person, bringing almost always certain death.
 Plot 2: On his first voyage Shy is a direct witness to a passenger suicide. A conversation with the "jumper" prior to his leap off the deck of the ship was very confusing. Shy is now being followed by a mysterious man in a black suit.
Plot 3: The "Big One" occurs. A massive series of earthquakes has hit the west coast. California, Oregon, Washington, and Mexico are destroyed.
Plot 4: Following the earthquake a series of tsunamis occur......the colossal size has never been witnessed in history. You can guess what happens to the cruise ship. Shy finds himself floating in a ruined raft with a motley crew of survivors.
 Questions remain: Will Shy survive? Will Romero Disease kill off everyone on the west coast of the United States? Is there a conspiracy with the drug companies? You will have to wait for the Fall 2014 sequel, The Hunted, to find out.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Holding on to Zoe by George Ella Lyon

Jules refuses to accept that she has had an ectopic pregnancy. It is heartbreaking that in her mind the baby is alive....she feeds the baby, talks to it and provides for it like only a mother can. She carries around "Zoe" in a blanket. Mom is not sympathetic to the pregnancy which she at first denied, nor the subsequent loss. Damon, her boyfriend has left her. Until Jules can honestly get help from a healthcare provider, she refuses the truth. It is a difficult journey of acceptance.