The Games by Ted Kosmatka

Synopsis: A geneticist prepares a computer-designed monster for competition in an Olympic gladiatorial competition between genetically engineered creatures, only the codes may have engineered the creature for more than just a game. Review: The Games is a fast-paced, scary thriller that harkened back to Michael Crichton’s down-and-dirty days. I have to say I regretted finishing it so late at night! Creepy monster + creepy computer + gladiatorial spectacle = quite the riveting read. Plus the prose was better-than-average and I actually enjoyed the author’s style.…

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Grace by T. Greenwood

Synopsis: A father takes his son out to the woods–and takes aim, calling him a monster, and only the events of the previous year can explain how things went this far. Review: In Grace, T. Greenwood returns to Two Rivers for this intimate, gut-wrenching tale of a family gone so wrong that their troubles spiral out and affect everyone around them. Elsbeth is unhappy, her only pleasure in life her six-year-old daughter Gracy. Her husband Kurt is breaking his back in fear of a looming…

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Hapenny Magick by Jennifer Carson

Synopsis: A tiny Hapenny named Mae finds herself fighting against a disguised troll who wants to turn Mae and the other Hapennies into food for her troll friends. Review: Hapenny Magick is an adorable little fantasy tale, perfect for middle grade readers who enjoy fantasy stories. The world is charming, the characters imaginative, and the illustrations captured my four-year-old’s attention in a positive way. I think she’ll enjoy this one when she’s old enough to read it. Share on Facebook

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Daughters of Zion: My Family’s Conversions to Polygamy by Kim Taylor

Synopsis: A memoir by a girl who grew up in a Mormon sect practicing polygamy that spawned a feud between brothers that became a massacre. Review: In Daughters of Zion, Kim Taylor really made me understand the inner life of a girl who would accept polygamy. I really appreciated her honesty and candor in portraying the spiritual abuse she suffered and how she never questioned what was going on around her. She also showed the positive side of growing up in a tight knit community,…

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Synopsis: Against the backdrop of a dreamlike traveling circus, two magicians pit their powers against each other in a battle royale complicated by the transcendent love growing in spite of the rigid constraints of the game. Review: I had low-ish expectations for The Night Circus. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the weird plot description, and the glowing reviews had me suspicious that the book was all superficial charm. I could not put the book down. I was utterly transported into the world of the…

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I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can by Barbara Gordon

Synopsis: The classic autobiography of a TV producer recovering from a Valium addiction. Review: I read I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can because it was only 99 cents for Kindle. It has not aged well at all but I couldn’t put it down. It’s so dated but I found her earnestness kind of refreshing. However, the therapy she got was pretty horrifying, especially all the doctors who justified and even defended the behavior of her abusive boyfriend. I never quite understood exactly what was…

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Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Synopsis: After escaping from the repressive regime seeking to outlaw love, Lena joins the resistance and gets a dangerous assignment. Review: Pandemonium definitely suffered from middle book blues. I loved Delirium but I am not confident that the series will end up knocking my socks off. I’ll definitely read the third book whenever it comes out, though! Share on Facebook

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Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman

Synopsis: A young woman grows up in the extremely conservative Satmar group of Hasidic Jews, and the failure of her arranged marriage leads her to yearn for freedom. Review: I was very impressed by Deborah Feldman when I heard her on the Leonard Lopate show, and I was inspired to read her memoir Unorthodox. I am fascinated by strict religious groups, particularly when their practices elevate men and demean women. I loved Deborah’s honesty and insight into the way her identity was shaped by her…

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