After being kept away from technology for 10 years, Hedda finds herself suddenly having to confront the devices of the modern world when her mother must travel to Australia. The only choice Hedda has is to go live with her father, his new wife and her half-brother. Almost immediately she encounters a bizarre situation in which a young girl supposedly commits suicide. Something seems off about the death. and Hedda tries to figure out what really happened. Other inexplicable violent deaths occur, and they seem to have some connection to an online- game. If the player dies thirteen times on level thirteen, they die in real life. Oddly enough the game is tied to Hedda. Her discovery of the truth ultimately tears her life apart. This is a thought-provoking novel. Can computer programs actually infiltrate the mind of the users and cause actions that they would not otherwise take? That is one of the questions the reader must confront. I found the story interesting, but I did have a big question about one scene. The story line moves through Hedda’s eyes – for the most part. There are some scenes which show action from another person’s viewpoint. These situations are indicated by a different font in the book. One situation which involved Hedda and her viewpoint I found implausible. Hedda goes to her father’s office and meets Kai, the receptionist. In this scene and only in this scene, Hedda refers to Kai as “they” not “she” or “he.” This is a very new transgender usage of pronouns. If Hedda had been socially isolated for ten years, she would NOT have had any knowledge of that particular pronoun usage. It appears to be a gratuituous reference to transgendered people. It does not fit into the story in any way. I found that disturbing. Also, when Hedda goes to live with her father she and her mother leave their farm. I could not find any reference to a caretaker or another farmer who helped them. When Hedda and her mother return to the farm, the animals and chickens are there, but the question remains: Who took care of them? If you can overlook these little problems, you might want to add it to your collection of modern fiction.
Reyna is nearly finished with her training as a map maker and explorer. She needs to do a major project to finish her studies and become a master explorer, but in a world where women are not accepted in that position, she has to prove that she is capable of what she wants to do. She has been traveling around her world and making maps for a year when the ship she is traveling on is attacked by a pirate ship. She manages to escape from the clutches of the pirates by jumping into the sea and swimming to land. Once there, she encounters a young man who she finds out is the crown prince of that land. Of course he helps her – at least as much as she allows him to. Thus begins a fast-paced adventure involving foreign intrigue, traitorous friends and sirens.
This is a great story of a woman defending her rights and proving her capabilities. While the world that Reyna lives in is a fantasy, it becomes realistic for the reader. The author has provided the reader with a great deal of adventure, a mystery, some mythology, and a little bit of romance. I believe this book is a suitable selection for high school readers.
I recognize that I am reading a review copy, but I would like to point out an observation: Places mentioned in the story are not on the map provided in the front of the book (I like to get a feel of where the action goes, and I could not do that). This might be corrected in the final editing, but the reader should be aware.
Peggy Fitzroy continues her spy game for the court of King George II as a lady-in-waiting. She finds that the man who was betrothed to her, and who tried to rape her, has returned. She tries to find out who are the real dangers to the royal family and to herself. Her uncle is still trying to run her life – even though he had kicked her out of his home and a strange man, named Johnny Leroy becomes an unexpected part of her life. This second novel of The Palace of Spies is a stand alone, but it will make the reader want to go back and read The Palace of Spies, the first book of the series.
I think teens who are interested in strong female characters, and who like spy stories will enjoy this series.
Miranda has given us a new take on reincarnation. What if, instead of being reincarnated to be able to better one’s soul, everyone were reincarnated with the same soul they had before – evil traits and all. Alina has spent her life on a secluded island – not for what she had done in her present life, but for what she did in a past life. She is being secluded to protect others from her. In her previous life she committed a serious crime and caused the death of a young man. They know it was her because they were able to test her soul’s print through a lumbar puncture done 12 hours after she was born. It matched the criminal’s print , and so Alina was separated from society for society’s sake. Only, she has people who want her to be free, and they help her escape; but, can she trust those people?
I don’t believe in reincarnation, and I don’t think this book will influence young people to begin believing in it. If anything, it probably will have the opposite effect. So, Christian parents, rest easy in allowing your young ones to read this story. I am saying it is science fiction because of the “science” in it. It is also an exciting mystery/adventure tale. It is sure to please readers in grade 10 and up. And, it would make a good movie.
I like ghost stories if they are somewhat believable. Ghosts who can kill or otherwise hurt people are just plain ridiculous to me. This one is a great read. All the way through it I kept thinking, “Maybe Olivia is really just hallucinating and imagining things.” This tension of reality and impossibility makes for a great tale.
Ellison has given us this enjoyable story: How can Olivia, a girl whose mother is in jail for killing a boy, even begin to believe that her mother didn’t do it since the police found her with the body and covered in his blood? Maybe Stern, the ghost of the boy who was killed, will be able to make her see that her mother is innocent. But, since her mother already had mental problems, that may be a little unlikely, especially since Olivia thinks she is now losing her mind. Seeing a ghost is not Olivia’s only problem. She had just begun art school when the murder happened, and she returned home – not just to comfort her father and be comforted by him, but also because she could no longer see colors. The inability to see colors is not something an artist can handle very well. If she tells anyone about this, she is convinced they will think she is also losing her mind. Once Stern convinces her that her mother is really innocent, she must prove that to the police and keep her visual problem a secret– not an easy task.
I recommend this for any middle school or high school student. Readers of mysteries will enjoy it, and readers of the paranormal will also relish the tale. Parents need not worry about sex, drugs or bad behavior.
It is not often that I get to change my opinion about the works of an author, but I was pleasantly surprised when I read this book. The author had also written Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer, which I had also reviewed, but this book doesn’t have any of the issues that I had found in that book – no teenage drinking or sex. It is an excellently written, squeaky clean, ghost/murder mystery for middle school and high school readers.
Willa is not happy about moving to Los Angeles with her mother and new stepfather. But after her father’s death, she is determined to try to help her mother be happy again. Little does she know that she will be quickly involved in a murder mystery, be visited by a ghost, and be in danger of being killed.
Willa sets off an unexpected chain of events when she tries to contact the spirit of her father because she wants to tell him she was sorry she killed him. When she begins to see the ghost, she doesn’t know if she should tell anyone about it; and, who could she tell: her mother, who is trying to be the perfect wife to her new husband? The new step-father, Jonathon, who is caught up in his work? Reed, his good-looking assistant, who seems to like her? Marnie, her new best friend, who may not be very trustworthy? Or, Wyatt, the overachieving boy, who is obsessed with a serial killer? Her life depends on the choice she makes.
If you want a hang-on-to-your-seat mystery, this is for you. It incorporates the last lines of some very famous movies and may very well be movie material itself, even though it is written for young adult readers.
Linda L. Richards, author of the Charlie D. series, introduces a new sleuth to us in the form of Nicole Charles, a newspaper writer. Nicole was offered a job with a major newspaper as a gossip columnist.
Although Nicole accepted that job, her real desire is to become an investigative reporter. While attending the opening of a new art gallery, she stumbles upon a body in a dark alley. The body is that of the artist who was featured in the opening. The unusual thing was that he was stabbed with an antique icepick.
Nicole begins her investigation to find her efforts somewhat thwarted by her boss, who allows another, more experienced journalist to take the lead on her story. Nicole is determined to discover the identity of the killer and to prove to her boss that she is not just a writer of gossip columns.
Richards has crafted a good mystery for the reader. It builds suspense and tension right up to the end. Although the protagonist is an adult, the material contained in the book will not be objectionable to any high school library. The text is designed to appeal to any reader who may experience some difficulty in reading. I recommend this book as an addition to your mystery collection in high school and in public libraries.