coming of age

Teen Drama & Magic Potions in “Flannery”

26113800.jpgFlannery by Lisa Moore
Groundwood Books: May 1, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!

Flannery Malone is sixteen years old and she’s been in love with Tyrone O’Rourke since she was a little girl. Sadly, this love is unrequited. However, things start looking up when Flannery is paired with Tyrone on their entrepreneurship assignment. Together, they have to create a product, a product that up until this point there has been no desire on the part of consumers to actually own (apparently this is the basis of being an entrepreneur). Tyrone suggests that he and Flannery make magic potions for their assignment; after all people will be willing to spend their money on a magic solution “Especially if they start to believe in it” (p. 52). The funny thing is that people do start believing in Flannery’s potions. Now, if only Flannery had a magical solution to solve the problems in her own life. (more…)

Signal to Noise: Best of 2015

signaltonoiseSignal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Solaris: February 10th, 2015 (Fantasy / Coming of Age / Fiction)

Outstanding Adventure! vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3

This story about three teenagers growing up in 1980s Mexico city drew me in so slowly and seductively that I hardly realized it was happening, until I felt compelled to turn page after page. The real world faded away as the vivid colors of Meche’s, Sebastian’s, and Daniela’s Mexico City surrounded me.

Meche, the main narrator, is a fifteen-year old misfit who spends all her time with two other misfits at her school, Sebastian and Daniela. Meche, the ringleader, goads Sebastian and Daniela into practicing magic with her portable record player after she discovers she can make inexplicable things happen if she wants it hard enough while playing the right song.

The narration splits between all the main and close supporting characters, and between two time periods: their fifteenth year, in 1988, and twenty years later, when Meche returns for the first time to attend her father’s funeral and nine days of mourning. Sometimes, split narratives can be distracting, but they rounded out the characters and the story here. As the story progresses, we find out that something terrible happened between the trio of friends, and Meche is deeply opposed to seeing Daniela and Sebastian when she returns. Slowly, it is revealed what happened and why the friendships disintegrated. (more…)

Character Driven Success in ‘The Goblin Emperor’

17910048The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Tor Books, April 1, 2014 (Fantasy; Steampunk)*

My rating: Outstanding Adventure! (5/5)

The Goblin Emperor was an outstanding read, and unlike anything that I’ve read in the  last little while. My advance copy was slowly making its way to “expired” on my Kobo and I decided I’d give it a shot during the Easter weekend. To my surprise, I was left wondering why I had waited so long. The wonderful reviews I had been reading about The Goblin Emperor are completely warranted and I cannot wait to get my hands on more from the author.

At it’s heart, The Goblin Emperor is a character study. There’s not much in the way of action here, and although it’s marked as steampunk, there’s really not a whole lot of descriptions of gadgetry. The novel is really about Maia, the youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor. Maia has been in seclusion since the death of his mother when he was eight year’s old; the funeral being the one and only time he has met his father. When he is eighteen Maia unexpectedly ascends to the throne when he father and three brothers all die in an airship explosion. The Goblin Emperor is Maia story as he navigates this unasked for responsibility and deals with the intrigues of court life, a life he was in no way prepared for. The author had depicted such a wonderful imagining of this situation, I could not put this book down, and I simply had to learn more about court life and the decisions Maia would make on his road to becoming an emperor. (more…)

Trade Secret: A disappointment for a dedicated fan of the Liaden Universe

tradesecretTrade Secret by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Baen, November 5th, 2013 (Science Fiction / Space Opera)*

My rating: Vacation by the beach

Disclaimer: The Liaden novels are some of my all-time favorites, and I am devoted to Lee and Miller.

This latest installment just did not achieve the greatness of all the other stories in the Liaden Universe. I felt confused throughout the first half, and certain things still did not make sense even by the end. I ended up reading the whole thing without trying to go back and make sense of it. Would I have done that if I were reading a paper copy? I’m not sure – but on an eReader, it’s not worth it.

The first of Jethri’s stories was published with the Crystal Variation omnibus (loved that one! The stories about how the Korval clan got its start, and especially the anthropomorphic tree!). I read it two years ago and could not remember the context for this follow-up. Which really hindered my ability to understand the plot in this one. I would have found a preliminary summary of what went before extremely helpful in understanding the events that take place in this book.