Turtles all the way down
Fiction / November 22, 2017

Inside the mind of Aza is a terrible place to be.   WHAT IS IT ABOUT The latest John Green novel got published in October 2017. We know John Green from The Fault In Our Stars. Turtles all the way down is a young adult novel that tells us the story of Aza. She is a 16-year-old girl with obsessive-compulsive disorder. John Green himself suffered from this disorder when he was young. When a billionaire that lives close by suddenly disappears, Aza reaches out to his son. She also feels the need to solve the mystery of where he disappeared to. Her friend Daisy helps her because she could really use the hundred-thousand-dollar reward for information that leads to his appearance. THE MENTAL ILLNESS A lot of people will jokingly state that they are so OCD. Most people don’t know how bad it can be, though. Seeing Aza’s inner thoughts and struggles, are really eye-opening. She constantly fears infections such as C. diff, and she keeps on re-opening a callous on her finger to drain out pathogens. It is not something that she can control or stop doing. Luckily Aza has close friends and a caring mother that helps to…

The Old Man And The Sea
Fiction / October 31, 2017

“The old man and the sea” will sweep you right into the thrills of catching the big one.     WHAT IS IT ABOUT:  Ernest Hemingway wrote “The old man and the sea” in 1951. It is about an old Cuban fisherman with the name of Santiago. He has already gone 84 days without catching any fish. The villagers call him “salao”- the worst form of unluckiness that exists. His young friend and apprentice, Manolin, are not allowed to fish with him anymore. His parents worry that he will not learn anything and become unlucky himself. This leaves Santiago to be all alone when he eventually tries to catch a huge marlin.     THE CHARACTERS:  Santiago:  Santiago is a good person. He never wishes ill upon others. And even though he has hit a hard patch, he still stays upbeat and positive.     Manolin:  Even though he is not allowed to fish with the old man, he still takes care of him. He helps him to carry his fishing gear. He also brings him food.     The Marlin:  This fish is a character on its own. You can’t help but marvel at the fish’s strength and uncanny intelligence. I totally rooted…

Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children
Fiction / October 27, 2017

Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children is a spectacularly peculiar book indeed.   WHAT IS IT ABOUT? Jacob Portman assumed that his grandfather only made up his fantastical stories. No way thee could be peculiar children living in a secret home, with a “wise old bird” guarding it. And obviously, there can’t be man-eating monsters that chased him. Or so he thought. When his grandfather dies in a suspicious way, Jacob’s whole world turns upside down. His grandfather’s last word to him is: “…find the bird in the loop on the other side of the old man’s grave on September 3, 1940, and tell them what happened. Jacob sees one of the monsters that his grandfather used to describe, and he thinks that he is going crazy. His parents send him to a psychiatrist. He suggests that Jacob go to Cairnholm, Wales, where his grandfather grew up. His father accompanies him there. Using the clues from his grandfather’s old photographs, he uncovers a large, abandoned orphanage. But is it really abandoned?   PECULIAR THINGS:   Peculiars: Peculiar people are humans that have a second soul. It causes strange characteristics and abilities in the peculiars. Peculiar children are rarely born to…

I could pee on this (and other poems by cats)
Fiction / October 20, 2017

This little book is surprisingly refreshing and hilarious. It was worth every single minute of laughing out loud.   WHAT IS IT ABOUT? If you love cats, then you will love I could pee on this. It is full of poems… written by cats! Francesco Marciuliano penned these funny poems that explain everything you ever wanted to know about your furry friend.Their deepest thoughts and behaviors will suddenly make sense.I could almost imagine the cats sitting in front of a fire with a glass of kitty wine, making up poems about the things that are important to them. ISSUES THAT ARE ADDRESSED: The very important issue of being fed by the humans. Why would humans want to sleep, when they would rather be feeding them? And what is up with doors. Why should they be either closed or open? Who knows if life on the other side of that door is better than on this side? Why can’t humans be grateful of the little gifts they get from their cats? Do they not realize that a dead mouse between their sheets is a gesture of love? And don’t get the kitties started on their humans that sometimes smell like… other…

Lord of the flies
Fiction / October 19, 2017

What happens when a group of young boys tries to start their own government on a deserted island? Chaos and anarchy, of course. WHAT IS IT ABOUT?   William Golding wrote Lord of the flies in 1954. The story takes place during a war. A group of boys gets stranded on an island after their plane crashes. A boy called Ralph has natural leadership skills, and the boys elect him as their leader. But, there is a group of boys that do not agree with his leadership. Ralph gives these boys the task of becoming hunters. He allows them to distance themselves from his leadership. THE SETTING:   The island is abundant with pigs and fruit. The boys soon become lazy and idle. Ralph made three rules for the boys to follow. To have fun, to survive, and to keep the fire burning that would give a smoke signal to potential rescuers. They manage to make fire by using a boy called Piggy’s glasses.   As time goes by, the boys start to regress into savages. Rivalries and fighting about leadership flares up. The boys start to believe that there is a monster living on the island. They call is…

Kafka on the shore
Fiction / October 19, 2017

This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. WHAT IS IT ABOUT? Kafka on the shore is a book with two distinct plotlines. At first, it seems as if the one has nothing to do with the other. One of the plotlines tells the story of 15-year-old Kafka. He runs away from home to escape a curse and to find his mother and sister. He finds a home in a library in Takamatsu. Then he makes friends with Oshima, who runs the library. He finds peace in reading and helping in the library. But the peace gets disturbed when the police get interested in him. The other plotline tells us the story of the lovable character Nakata. After being sick as a child, he became mentally deficient. But he got another ability- he communicates with cats. When he searches for a missing cat, he gets pulled into a path that takes him far from his home. He befriends a truck driver. They have an adventure that neither of them suspected they would ever have. THE CHARACTERS: Kafka Tamura: He chooses this name for himself, in honor of writer Franz Kafka. He is fifteen years old and…

IT
Fiction / October 19, 2017

Horror comes in the shape of a clown… and it has never been scarier.   WHAT’S ‘IT’ ABOUT? Stephen King wrote IT in 1986. The story tells us the story of a thing that disguises itself as a clown. The thing terrorizes kids using their fears and phobias to manipulate them. Kids like him since he looks like a clown. His prey of choice is young kids. THE PLOT: The book is quite long, at over a thousand pages. The story alternates between two time periods. One, where the kids are still kids, the other is when they are grown up. Seven kids that are a bunch of misfits sticks together. They call themselves “The Losers Club.” Eventually, the Losers realize that they all had weird encounters with the monster. He used their individual fears to scare them even further. Ben’s mummy. Eddie’s leper. Bill with George’s ghost. Richie’s werewolf. Stan’s two drowned boys. Beverly with a fountain of blood spurting from her bathroom sink. And Mike with a large, aggressive bird. They link their scary experiences to murders that have been happening to other kids. WHO IS ‘IT’? We find out that the alien monster existed in a void…

Fever
Fiction / October 12, 2017

What would a post-apocalyptic South Africa look like? And how long would it take for its people to regroup? WHAT ITS ABOUT: A fever has swept over the whole world, causing a huge amount of earth’s population (about 90%) to die. Nico Storm tells us the tale of how he and his father travels around in a truck filled with essential supplies. Then his father, Willem Storm, decides to start a new community. He founds Amanzi (which is the Zulu word for water). THE CHARACTERS: Nico Storm: Nico is an excellent marksman. He also has a cool head. He first becomes his father’s protector. Later he joins the “army” that protects their community. Willim Storm: He is not a fighter at all. He wouldn’t even kill a snake. But, he is a thinker and a leader. He is wise and compassionate. Melinda Swanevelder: Nico and Willim rescue her from brutal thugs. She takes a while to recover. When she does, she is loyal to Willim Storm. Hennie Fly: He is a pilot. He makes life a lot easier with his Cessna plane. Beryl Fontuin: She is a self-proclaimed protector of orphans. Domingo: A man that you would rather have on…

Digital Fortress
Fiction / September 29, 2017

The world’s best code breaking machine encounters an unbreakable code… it is up to one woman to break the code before it’s too late. WHAT’S IT ABOUT   Digital Fortress is about a woman named Susan Fletcher. She is a brilliant mathematician and cryptographer. The NSA (National Security Agency) , a top- secret government agency that she works for, calls her in. The agency is in possession of a state of the art code breaking machine. But this super computer has encountered a problem. A mysterious code showed up, and now the machine is unable to crack it.  It turn out that a former NSA agent, Tankado, wrote this algorithm. Actually,Tankado himself helped to build the super computer, TRANSLTR.  But he quit his job after finding out that the NSA will be using the computer to read the emails of private citizens. He basically felt that this was a violation of human rights. He wanted to tell the public about the computer, but he was captured and deported before he could. Suddenly Susan finds herself fighting not only for the agency, but also for her country, and for her own life. THE CHARACTERS Susan Fletcher: The NSA’s head cryptographer, and the story’s main character. David Becker: Susan Fletcher’s…

Bag of Bones
Fiction / September 19, 2017

Be sure to read this book in the broad daylight!   Bag of Bones is one of those books that makes you wonder whether you really need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Because you might hear a child crying in the darkness… You guessed it, this book creeped me out. But I loved it. And I must add, that at the scariest part of the book, a cyclone hit my town, and the power suddenly went off. 3D cinema can go home, this book is the king… (Stephen King, lol.) WHAT IT’S ABOUT Ok, seriously now. Bag of Bones is a story of a bestselling author, Mike Noonan. After his wife passes away, he suddenly suffers from severe writer’s block. He literally spent four years of his life filling in crossword puzzles. Then he starts getting nightmares about his summer house up in Maine. When his dreams become too bad, he decides to confront his fears head-on. So, he moves to that house, which is called Sara Laughs. Right from the start, strange things start to happen. At the same time, he gets his creativity back and starts to write. Mike is so happy that…

Desert God
Fiction / September 16, 2017

Get sucked right into ancient Egypt, and the epic lives of the Egyptian royals. WHAT IS IT ABOUT? We met Taita, the Pharaoh’s slave and brilliant advisor in Wilbur Smith’s book, River God. In Desert God, Taita is on a quest to defeat the Hyksos army and form an alliance with Crete. Taking care of two strong-willed princesses doesn’t make his mammoth task any easier. This is a novel full of adventure and with a good dose of mythology thrown in there as well. Entertainment at its best. THE CHARACTERS Taita: Taita tells the story from his point of view. He is very clever, and quite vain about it, too. He’s also quite snobbish. It is understandable since he is the Pharaoh’s right-hand man. At least he tries (and fails) to be humble. He is a scientist, inventor, and eunuch. He’s born way before his time. Tehuti and Bekatha: The princesses that accompanied Taita were quite irritating. Taita spoils them and they take advantage of that whenever they can. I did feel sorry for them. They were being forced to be brides for the Supreme Minos of Crete. But their heart was elsewhere. Loxias This was my favorite character. Loxias…

Before I Go To Sleep
Fiction / August 25, 2017

You won’t go to sleep until you finished this book! THE PLOT Before I Go To Sleep is about Christine Lucas. She wakes up every day thinking that she is a twenty-something-year-old woman. In fact, she is forty-seven. Christine suffers from amnesia. Her memory resets itself every time that she sleeps. The condition started after she survived an attack eighteen years prior. She does not recognize her husband, Ben. Luckily he is patient, and every morning he explains to her what happened. Every morning she has to go through the same shocking discovery again. One day, after Ben left for his job, Christine receives a call from doctor Nash. He claims that he has been helping her to regain her memories. She can’t remember any of it, but she decides to trust him. Dr. Nash has suggested to Christine that she keeps a diary. The diary becomes a substitute for her memory. It helps her to remember any flashbacks that she had. As Christine digs into her past, she finds out some shocking events. But why don’t these events add up to the stories that people have been telling her? THE CHARACTERS Christine Lucas has survived a brutal attack. It…

Bridget Jones’s Diary
Fiction / July 26, 2017

It is impossible to read Bridget Jones’s Diary without laughing out loud. WHAT IS IT ABOUT? Bridget Jones is a thirty-something-year-old single lady. She keeps a diary (Bridget Jones’s Diary) about her life. It starts out with her new year’s resolutions, which she tries, but fails, to keep. Every day’s entry starts with a tally of the previous day’s calories, drinks, and cigarettes. It’s a roller coaster, and one can’t help but relate to her. Being single forever terrifies her. And her parents and friends don’t make it easy on her either. Hilarity ensues when she ends up with not one, but two love interests. THE CHARACTERS: BRIDGET JONES: We all know at least one happy-go-lucky person who seems to attract disaster. Then they dust themselves off, laugh at the situation and move on. Bridget is a fun loving woman, who decides she should improve herself. She first works in publishing, and then on television. Her biggest fear is staying unmarried. She believes that if she could lose weight, and stop smoking and drinking, she will find Mr. Right.   MARK DARCY: He is a lawyer and human rights activist. Bridget’s mother tries her best to hook Bridget up with…

Deception Point
Fiction / July 17, 2017

When you mix science and politics, you get deception.   WHAT IS IT ABOUT Deception Point revolves around a claim made by NASA that they have found proof of extraterrestrial life. A meteorite that landed in the Milne Ice Shelf has been tested for organisms and proved their theory. But, since the presidential election is close by, the president can’t take the risk of being embarrassed by a hoax. And NASA also needs some credit, because they stand at risk to lose funding from the government. So the president sends five people to investigate the claims. When the team discovers a small anomaly with the claim, they suddenly have to fight for their lives. The only way to survive is to get the information through to the right people. But, of course, nobody can really be trusted. MEET THE TEAM Rachel Sexton: She is a data analyst for NRO. Her father is Senator Sexton. They have a rocky relationship since it was her father’s infidelity that indirectly caused her mother’s death.   Michael Tolland: He’s an oceanographer. (Who knew that’s a real job? I didn’t.) He’s a bit of a television celebrity from his science-based show. Out of all the…

The Mark
Fiction / July 9, 2017

This young adult dystopian novel is as unpredictable and surprising as it is great. WHAT’S IT ABOUT The Mark plays off in the year 264 PC. The world as we know it doesn’t exist anymore. All animals except for a few insects are extinct. Plants are now endangered. The sun scorches everything it touches. And a huge division exists between the rich and the poor. Ettie does her best to dodge her fate by becoming invisible to the system. MY FAVORITE CHARACTERS Ettie is the main character. She cares about one person only, which is Kitty. Ettie and Kitty are roommates in the orphanage where they grew up in. The conditions in the orphanage are horrible. Both girls work for a cruel handler who makes them risk their freedom by stealing for him. They agree that stealing is better than rummaging through the trash to find their next meal. Ettie also loves books. Before the destruction, people used e-readers to read, so they threw away real books. (Let’s not ever make that happen, okay?) So, after the apocalypse, people used the books that they found to make fire. Ettie is on a mission to save books. She then takes them…

The Fault In Our Stars
Fiction / July 7, 2017

Prepare to cry. A lot. WHAT IT’S ABOUT The fault in our stars is about Hazel, a terminal cancer patient. She lives with the knowledge that she will die soon. A medical breakthrough gives her a few more years to live. Then she meets Augustus at a Cancer Kid Support Group. Will they be able to find love, even with the sword of cancer hanging over their heads? MEET THE CHARACTERS Hazel Grace Lancaster. She is sixteen years old. When she was thirteen, she got diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It has spread to her lungs. She knows that her death will only hurt the people around her. She tries to keep everybody at a distance to minimize the pain. Her view of the world is very mature. I found it very easy to like her. Augustus “Gus” Waters He is also sixteen years old and has osteosarcoma. He becomes Hazel’s boyfriend. Augustus fell in love with Hazel at first sight and likes big romantic gestures. Isaac Isaac is a mutual friend of Hazel’s and Augustus’s. His cancer blinded him. His girlfriend dumped him, so he is understandably cynical. He got both Hazel and Augustus to join the Support Group. Mrs….

The Celestine Prophecy
Fiction / July 2, 2017

Go on a journey to explore ancient eastern traditions.   WHAT’S IT ABOUT: In The Celestine Prophecy, governments kill people to prevent them from becoming too spiritual. Though it’s not believable, I’m not complaining. It really kept the story moving forward. The narrator is a middle-aged guy who never gets named. He leaves his job, and then a series of coincidences happen to him. He finds out about nine insights found in a manuscript. They are being kept from scientists by the Peruvian government. This interests him, and now that he has a lot of time at hand, he books a ticket to Peru. One after the other, he discovers and learns the nine insights. WHAT ARE THE INSIGHTS?   We are discovering again that we live in a mysterious world. It is full of sudden coincidences and synchronistic encounters that seem destined.   As more of us awaken to this mystery, we will create a completely new worldview. Redefining the universe as energetic and sacred.   We’ll discover that everything around us, all matter, consists of and stems from a divine energy. We are beginning to see and understand it.   We can see that humans have always felt…

The Woman in Cabin 10
Fiction / June 15, 2017

Stuck at sea with a killer… this is a must-read thriller. WHAT IT’S ABOUT Lo Blacklock is a journalist for a travel magazine. She gets a chance to prove her worth to her editor, by going on a weeklong luxury cruise. What can be better than someone treating you like royalty, and then writing about it, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out that way at all. Lo witnesses a crime one night when she sees somebody throwing a body overboard. Lo tries to convince everybody of what she saw. Nobody believes her since there is nobody on the ship unaccounted for. Lo thinks it was the woman that she saw one day while she went next door to borrow some mascara. Since nobody knows who the women are, Lo decides that she won’t stop searching for the woman in cabin 10. Then she starts to get threatening messages to back off… THE CHARACTERS The main character, Lo Blacklock, was very real. Not likable, and not always correct. But always real. And I appreciated that about her. Not all women fake niceness to reach the top of the corporate ladder. I felt her frustration when she got discounted as a witness…

Geek Love
Fiction / June 6, 2017

Uncomfortably entertaining, weirdly fascinating.   WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Geek Love is packed with weird characters and unexpected plot lines. Al and Lil Binewski is struggling to save their family business. They have a traveling carnival. They come up with a plan to create little showstoppers of their own. Al exposes Lil with radiation, drugs and prescription pills while she’s pregnant. The children are all born with deformities. They become the freak show’s main attraction.  CHARACTERS: Oly (Olympia) Oly is a bald albino hunchbacked dwarf. She narrates the story. She is not deformed enough to perform in the freak show. Instead, everybody treats her as a servant. She takes pride in her deformities, as she feels it makes her unique. Arty (Arturo) His stage name is Aqua Boy because he has flippers attached to his torso. He’s a sociopath, and he ends up with a cult of his own. Elly (Electra) and Iphy (Iphigenia) The Siamese Twins are split from the waist up, but share a single pair of legs and digestive track. Elly is unlikeable and says everything as it is. Iphy is the nice girl. They are beautiful, with pale skin and brunette hair. Chick (Fortunato) His parents thought he…

The Lost Symbol
Fiction / May 28, 2017

The tension will have you sitting on the edge of your seat! WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Professor Robert Langdon gets invited to give a lecture at the United States Capitol. His friend and mentor, Peter Solomon has invited him. But, the lecture turns out to be a trap, and Langdon has to save Peter Solomon from Mal’akh, a madman. Mal’akh believes that he can achieve divinity, and he is using the Free Mason Brotherhood to reach his goal. He is holding Solomon hostage, and it is up to Robert to solve the mystery of the Masonic Pyramid. This knowledge will set his friend free.   THE CHARACTERS: Robert Langdon This is the same guy we met in “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons”. In The Lost Symbol, he is still a Harvard symbologist. He has a knack for getting himself into difficult situations. Mal’akh This character is quite obsessed with transforming himself. He tattoos himself and grows his muscles to change his appearance. He believes that he will reach divinity when he dies in a certain way. Fun fact: Mal’akh is the Hebrew word for “angel”. Peter Solomon One rich guy, he is the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution….