Luke’s Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell Review

Rating: ★★★★☆ – great!

UndercurrentAfter Callum Harris tumbles down the waterfall, he wakes up in an alternate world of his own. One where his parents aren’t separated. One where his brother, Cole, is paralyzed. One where he is some big sport star. One where more than just his former best friend wants him dead.

“Well, if everything stays the same forever, you stop enjoying what you’ve got. And stop appreciating people.”

A couple of months ago, I came across Undercurrent while I was looking at the books coming soon list on the HarperTeen site. One aspect that reeled me in was the alternate reality. Fascinating, I thought.

When it arrived at the library, I got excited—the way I usually get after waiting, you know, ages. Then, when it came to reading it, I was immediately gripped. There was always questions running through my mind, and they propelled me to read.

However, I feel like there were some unresolved parts, but maybe a sequel can resolve them.

Overall, I thought Undercurrent was intriguing, gripping, and thrilling. I especially loved the sci-fi. Now I’m hoping there will be a sequel.


Melissa’s Review of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Rating: ★★★☆☆ – very good!

Wow. I had to decompress for a few days before I could think what to write about The Night Circus.the night circus

The story centers on a game between two very old magicians that catches many extraordinary people in their net. The venue is a most spectacular circus with dazzling affects that draws committed followers from all over the world.

Intertwining the stories of Celia, Marcus, Widget, Poppet, a clockmaker and the boy who can save the circus, Morgenstern builds to a shocking climax. While some of the characters are better developed than others, most of their emotions are somewhat soft. Some of the characters are left hanging. It isn’t really clear to me why Marcus is chosen among the other boys at the orphanage, or why the boy who can save the circus is the one. The magic isn’t explained, only that it must appear as an illusion so as not to upset the normal people.

The descriptions of the different elements of the circus are fantastical. I am unsure how the normal people are supposed to ascertain the illusion in some of the tents, like the one where you jump from high up and miraculously land. But it is just the sort of circus I would like to visit.

This story tends towards the literary style, without alienating the audience, much like Audrey Niffenegger – who writes high praise for this book. This book is very much plot driven, with the mystery pulling you through the immense description. Morgenstern is a magical storyteller, the way she weaves words and stories is beautiful. She is truly talented.


Luke’s A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger Review

A Trick of the Light

★★★★☆ – great!

A Trick of the Light follows fifteen-year-old Mike Welles, who is losing his sense of direction; then a voice in his head tries to guide him to become faster and stronger than he was before—to get rid of everything that holds him back.

Like the author, I never knew boys could get eating disorders. It is described as a “girl’s disease,” but the males with eating disorders are understudied, as I found out in the Author’s Note. In this book, I learnt that 10 million people in the United States have an eating disorder, but about 10 percent—which is about 1 million—of those are male.

I found the choice of narrator interesting. Rather than the narrator being Mike, Lois Metzger decided to narrate from the point of view of Mike’s eating disorder, which is a nagging presence in his head. It knows Mike better than he knows himself. It even thinks it has Mike’s best interests at heart. I found this voice creepy and unsettling at times.

This is one of the most intriguing, original, and insightful books I have ever read. You don’t read about males with eating disorders every day. It is a short (190-page) and complex book. I am glad to have found it, and I can tell you that it is a much recommended read.


Three Books I am Eagerly Anticipating in 2014

This year has sped by and I have started thinking about 2014, and I am pleased to announce that I have found my first set of things to look forward to. Of course, I had to settle the book situation, now I can think about what else may happen!

There are definitely many more books coming out that I would like to read, but these are at the top of my list. Picoult and Alexandra are my top two favourite living authors and Lynch is a new favourite…

Jodi Picoult at an elephant sanctuary
Jodi Picoult at an elephant sanctuary

Jodi Picoult’s 23rd book Leaving Time will be out in late 2014. On her website, Picoult provides a synopsis:

Ten years ago, Alice Metcalf was a researcher studying the reaction of elephants to grief – they are one of the few animals species that recognize and mourn for their dead, as humans do. Along with her husband, Thomas, she ran an elephant sanctuary – until one tragic night, an animal caretaker died in an accident and Alice disappeared, leaving behind only one witness: her three year old daughter, Jenna. Now, ten years later, Jenna is determined to find her mother – whom she believes would never leave her behind willingly.“

She also provides some information about her research trip to Africa earlier this year and an excerpt.

If you want some other reading while you are waiting, you could try The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Sing you Home – or really any Picoult book.

Golden_Earrings_Belinda_Alexandra2-193x300Belinda Alexandra will be releasing Sapphire Skies around April 2014:

“This is the story of Katya Makarova, downed from France and in danger of capture by German soldiers. Saved by a Frenchman, the two lovers try to find each other again after the war through a maze of Soviet red tape, lies and deception.”

Her last book, Golden Earrings, was another tremendously, heart-warming, heart-wrenching, epic story by a master storyteller. It was released two years ago this month. Her website provides synopses of her previous five books, they are all worth a read.

I am also eagerly awaiting Sarah-Kate Lynch’s next novel, Heavenly Hirani’s School of Laughing Yoga. All I know is that she wrote it by accident, between planning another novel and leaving for the research trip (to France!) and that it is set in the wedding beesMumbai. She has warned that previous stories took several drafts and that she has only just finished one, but I am excited none-the-less. In the meantime you can find my review of her most recent book, The Wedding Bees. Find out more on her blog.

What are you eagerly anticipating next year?