Staff Reviews

Local Authors’ Book Recommendation: We Brothers Immortal by K & D Bear

Jacksonians, here are local authors K & D Bear! If you liked The Clan of the Cave Bear, I bet you will like We Brothers Immortal. If you are a fan of Tolkien, you will recognize certain elements in this book. Anyone who likes science fiction or fantasy at all will enjoy the adventure contained in the pages of We Brothers Immortal. This story is filled with lots of action as well as some provocative concepts you will want to discuss with other book lovers. Be warned that the books are unedited and self-published. If you haven’t read anything self-published, this is a pretty painless introduction, with fewer glaring grammatical issues than most. It has a slow start, but that changes fairly quickly.

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The Bear brothers do a good job of introducing the main characters and their lives with fun dialogue and some great descriptions. Several times I was surprised by directions the plot took, and the twin brothers often do things which are unexpected and occasionally illogical (kind of like teenagers everywhere). Each twin finds a mate and takes steps toward maturity until their lives look pretty settled. Then they make choices that throw everything, even whole communities, into upheaval and uncertainty. Just when I would think I had the plot figured out, it would take a twist into new territory, even new genres, and throw me off.

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This first book in the series ends on a cliffhanger, and the authors refuse to give any hints. (No matter how much I begged!) JDL owns all of their books, and the second book is called Immortal Gates (currently checked out to me). I recommend all of their books based on this first one. ~ Tessa April 2015 3.5 out of 5 stars

Juvenile Book Review: Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Recently there have been quite a few books on topics of terminal disease and disability, including The Fault in our Stars, Wonder, and My Sister’s Keeper. Somehow I missed this one: Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. I had read other books by her and knew she was a good writer. So I finally started reading this on my lunch hour. Pretty soon I was hooked, laughing and reading parts out loud to anyone who would listen.

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Melody, a fifth-grader with cerebral palsy, tells us about her (fictional) daily life as she goes to the special class at school, where she has a personal aide to feed her and take her to the bathroom and move her wheelchair from room to room. She shares her excitement as new technology provides her with a powered chair she can control herself. Next, she sees a girl with a laptop and asks her family if she could have one. The day her special device arrives, she and her afternoon caregiver program it so that, when her parents arrive, she is able to tell them for the first time, through the voice of the device, that she loves them. Major emotional moment.

No more spoilers—this story has a twist I never saw coming: it really jolted me. Highly recommended.~ Tessa April 2015 4.5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Cat out of Hell by Lynne Truss

CatoutofHellprintI spent the entire time I read the book Cat Out of Hell asking myself, “Is it humor? Or is it horror?” I would alternately laugh out loud or expect creepy music. This strange English tale begins at the seaside, where we find retired Cambridge periodicals’ librarian Alec Charlesworth. Recently widowed, Alec has rented a tiny cottage to get away from all the memories of his beloved wife, Mary.

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A colleague asks him to read over a file he was working on with Mary. Alec begins to read, and then he begins to wonder, as I did, whether the file is a spoof or a work of fiction. For the file reports interviews between a man and, wait for it, an elegant, refined, and well-educated cat. Yes, a tomcat named Roger. Who sounds like Vincent Price (before you get huffy, the dog sounds like Daniel Craig).

Then there are deaths. More deaths, in the cellar, at the library, up north—people who have been involved in some way with Roger and his life story. Alec is suspicious someone is trying to put one over on him until he visits his old workplace (which was Mary’s workplace, too) and sees what a cat has done to Mary’s rented carrel. Appalled by the size of the claw marks and by the horrendous smell, Alec is suddenly uneasy. But the story is only beginning!

When I finished the book, I asked myself, “Is it humor? Or is it horror?” And I answered, “Yes,exceedingly!” A short little book, it’s sort of fun. (By the author of Eats, shoots and leaves.) ~ Tessa March 2015 3.5 out of 5 stars

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