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All Books

Author:

Duncan McCue

This is a memoir of the author's season living in the deep Canadian bush, hunting and trapping. The story is well-written and engaging, and it alone would make this book worth your time. But this book is something more, too. The author is Anishinaabe, a member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in southern Ontario, and his time in the bush is spent with a James Bay Cree family. He weaves a discussion of the challenges facing First Nations youths and communities into the narrative, and uses his experiences to provide insight into these issues, which makes this a book you may find yourself thinking about long after you've finished it.

Favorite Thing:
The description of the hunting trip
The Shoe Boy book cover
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
High
Categories:
Disclosures:
None
Author:

S.J. Parris

This is a short mystery, set in a Dominican monastery in 16th century Naples. The mystery part is not particularly surprising, but the story is still enjoyable to read. The historical setting is well-drawn, the characters are interesting, and the writing moves you through the story even once you have guessed the ultimate outcome. It is great escapism, because it draws you completely into the the setting that is completely removed from our modern world. It is a short story related to a series of longer books, and it serves as a good advertisement for them, but also stands well on its own.

Favorite Thing:
The historical setting.
The Secret Dead book cover, a single monk on a white background.
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Short story/novella related to a series of long books
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Categories:
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Ellen Seltz

This is the second Mister Mottley short mystery I have read, and it is just as enjoyable as the first (Mister Mottley and the Key of D). It is a light-hearted and quick moving mystery set among the British upperclass in the 1930s. If you're looking for some fun distraction, the Mister Mottley mysteries deliver it. However, this particular mystery is very short, and light on character development. I'd recommend starting with Mister Mottley and the Key of D or one of the other slightly longer mysteries in the series. If you're already a fan of Mister Mottley, though, this one won't disappoint you.

Favorite Thing:
The light-hearted tone
Mister Mottley and the Kiss of Death book cover
Book Length:
Shortest
Part of Series:
Part of a series of short stories/novellas
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Low
Categories:
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Anna Mitchael

On the surface, this is a light-hearted story about a woman who moves to a ranch in rural Texas and has to overcome her fear of rattlesnakes. There is something a little deeper in it, too, though, because rattlesnakes are just the most obvious manifestation of her fears. There aren't necessarily any new insights about overcoming fear in the book, but it is an enjoyable read, and sometimes a slightly humorous reminder of how to handle fear is just what you need.

Favorite Thing:
The author's voice
Rattlesnake Stories book cover
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Amanda Hamm

This enjoyable novella tells a first contact story, with the twist that the story is told twice. The first half of the book is the story from the viewpoint of the humans, and the second half is the story from the viewpoint of the extraterrestrial species that has crash landed in Antarctica. The second telling is not repetitive. Instead it expands and deepens the story, and answers some of the questions raised in the first telling.

Favorite Thing:
The retelling of the story from the extraterrestial's viewpoint
Zero Station book cover
Book Length:
Short
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Categories:
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Manju Soni

This book is a well-executed blend of history and personal reflection about the end of apartheid. It covers the rise of the student movements that helped end it, and does not flinch from showing the cost paid by the participants in these movements. It is an engrossing read, and a reminder that while determined citizens can fight oppression, some of them will pay a terrible price for doing so.

Favorite Thing:
The look at the lives of the students who became activists
When Lions Roared
Book Length:
Short
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
High
Categories:
Disclosures:
None
Author:

DJ Cockburn

This is a near future "inside your head" thriller about a scientist who discovers what seems like a miracle cure for depression, only to find that it comes with a terrible cost, both to himself and to the world. This tautly written novelette will make you ask yourself questions about how far you'd go for success. If there was a pill that made you successful, would you take it? What if it also made you a psychopath?

Favorite Thing:
The character of Tia
Caresaway book cover
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
High
Categories:
Disclosures:
Published by TH owner
Author:

Ariel Ramchandani

This is book tells the story of a series of mysterious house fires in a small town in Sicily, and the various explanations that were advanced for them. It does a good job of setting the scene, and a slightly less good job of fleshing out the characters, but it is an interesting story that I enjoyed reading.

Favorite Thing:
The descriptions of the town
When the Devil Enters book cover
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Categories:
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Ted Chiang

The is an excellent re-imagining of the biblical story of the tower of Babylon, told from the viewpoint of a miner called in to help tunnel through to the vault of heaven once the tower has reached it. To tell you more would ruin the joy of this book, but I recommend it highly.

Favorite Thing:
The details of life in the tower
Tower of Babylon book cover
Book Length:
Shorter
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
None
Author:

Daniel Bristow-Bailey

This well-written novella is set in seventh century England, when the borders with Wales were still dangerous and a new religion called Christianity was starting to gain prominence among the ruling class. It is at its heart a coming of age story, about a young man sent from the borderlands to learn the ways of the court and the new religion. But it is also about how to find your way in a time of great change, and I always have a soft spot for stories set in times of great societal change. However, the real selling point for this novella is that it is a fun story to read, with characters you'll care about.

Favorite Thing:
The monk charged with teaching the main character Christianity
The Ruins book cover
Book Length:
Short
Part of Series:
Not part of a series
Stand Alone:
Yes
Stickiness:
Moderate
Disclosures:
Received free copy

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