Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan (Contemporary Novel, 2018). Ren Ishida heard of his sister’s violent and mysterious death just after finishing his graduate degree at one of the top universities in Japan. Keiko was long-estranged from the rest of the family, though she spoke to Ren through weekly phone calls. She’d been living in a smallish town […]Read more "REVIEWED: RAINBIRDS"
The Apocalypse Of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson (YA Fantasy Novel, 2018). Hutchinson has written anumber of well-received YA novels, as well as editing two anthologies in the genre. His latest portrays a modern-day Florida teen identified as the first person scientifically proved to have been born via parthenogenesis (hence, from a virgin mother). That has […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Apocalpse of Elena Mendoza"
Another Thursday passed; another night at the coffeehouse at The Grand Midway, Windber’s historic haunted hotel, to report about. Decent-sized crowd tonight, as ever a mix of regulars, less-regular but familiar faces and a few newcomers. There was much talk about last Sunday’s attempt to set another world record, this for Most People Dressed as […]Read more "Windber Coffeehouse Nights: 21 June 2018"
Medusa Uploaded by Emily Devenport (YA/SF Novel, May 2018). I class this one as YA SF mainly because the lead character, Oichi, is herself a young adult. She’s a common worker (a ‘worm’ to use the insulting local venacular) aboard a generational starship over a century into a sublight voyage to what those aboard hope will […]Read more "REVIEWED: Medusa Uploaded"
Agent in Place by Mark Greaney (Spy/Suspense Novel, February 2018). Court Gentry is a modern-day secret agent/assassin, often working for the CIA but sometimes (as in this case) more-or-less freelancing his services for a cause/mission he believes in. He’s known as the Gray Man for his shadowy and mysterious nature, and Greaney has been writing about […]Read more "REVIEWED: Agent in Place"
Rushing about for various tasks, so my account of Thursday’s coffeehouse at the Grand Midway is late getting posted. Today (in an hour or so) I’ll be back down there for the attempt to get another World Record (Most People Dressed As Wizards). Last year, we had the redcord for most people dressed as ghosts […]Read more "Coffeehouse Nights: June 14, 2018"
The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar (Novel, 2018). Whether it’s the mood of the country/world, various authors responding to what’s in the news or just plain coinicidence, I’ve noted several recurrent themes in novels (and even nonfiction books) I’ve been reading. For one thing, I’ve been encountering plots involving women in either […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Map of Salt and Stars"
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden (Historical Fantasy Novel, 2018). This is the second in a series of novels that capably blends Russian folklore/fairy tales and medieval history into spirited adventure fiction in an exotic wilderness. Arden’s first novel introduced readers to Vasya, a young noble woman with the gift of seeing supernatural creatures […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Girl in the Tower"
Things were hopping at last night’s coffeehouse at Windber, PA’s fabled haunted hotel! It was another open mic night. The funky local musical duo, The Birddogs, performed more of their eclectic covers and a young standup comic Edward Locker (spelling?) made his Grand Midway debut with a set that centered around growing up in the […]Read more "Coffeehouse Nights: June 7, 2018"
Queen Anne’s Lace by Susan Wittig Albert. (Cozy Mystery Novel, April 2018). In this, the latest in a long-running series of cozy mysteries centered around former lawyer turned professional herbialist and amateur mystery-solver China Bayles, the author deftly blends generations-spanning family secrets, an unthreatening yet persistent and ultimately helpful ghost, the lore concerning the title plant […]Read more "REVIEWED: Queen Anne’s Lace"