Friday, September 4, 2015

The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny

The Nature of the Beast: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny --- 376 pages

Each addition to Louise Penny's masterful Chief Inspector Gamache series continues to surpass expectations. The eleventh book, The Nature of the Beast, is an intricately woven mystery that combines the iconic village of Three Pines, the familiar continuing cast of characters, a brutal killing, a deadly secret lurking in the woods, and international intrigue. Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of the Sûreté du Québec, savours the peace and simplicity of his retirement in Three Pines. But that hardwon refuge is threatened when a nine year old boy with a runaway imagination is found dead in a ditch soon after announcing he has found a monster with a giant gun lurking in the woods outside the village. Only Gamache begins to suspect this time the boy was telling the truth.

In a brief afterword, Penny explains that her story is based on the life of a real person, the controversial Canadian arms designer, Geald Bull, murdered in Brussels, Belgium in 1990; a case that has never been --- officially --- solved.

Click HERE to read a review from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Click HERE to read a review from Kirkus Reviews.

Click HERE to read a review from Publishers Weekly.

Click HERE to read the article on the real Gerald Bull from Wikipedia.

Doctor Who: The Chains of Olympus by Scott Gray

Doctor Who:  The Chains of Olympus by Scott Gray  129 pages

In "The Chains of Olympus," the famous Time Lord travels to Ancient Greece, and finds himself up against the Gods themselves!

The Dreaming v.1 by Queenie Chan – 175 pages

The Dreaming v.1  by Queenie Chan – 175 pages

Twins Jeanie and Amber are taken to a remote boarding school in the Australian outback, where their aunt is headmistress.  Though threatened by the harsh vice-principal, they make friends, and learn the school has a mysterious history of students vanishing without a trace.  Jeanie and Amber begin to have eerie dreams, dressed in Victorian clothes amidst trees in the woods.  Dreams and the school’s disturbing history begin to collide when one of their friends vanishes, and they find themselves in the forest that surrounds the school, searching for her.  What this manga lacks in sophistication of character art, it makes up for in very good background artwork, adding to the gothic atmosphere.  The artist’s background of growing up in Australia also gives it a different flavor than other manga.  I like the classic ghost-story feeling of The Dreaming, and am impatient to find out what happens in the two remaining volumes.

Vampire Knight v.1 by Matsuri Hino – 208 pages

Vampire Knight v.1 by Matsuri Hino – 208 pages

Cross Academy exists as an experiment to bring peace between opposing worlds.  The day class consists of humans, and the night class- vampires.  The Disciplinary Committee makes sure that the day class never finds out the secret of the night class, and that the night class never draws human blood.  Beautifully and expressively drawn, one is very quickly "sucked" into the story of characters like innocent Yuki, aristocratic Kaname, and tortured Zero.  Plenty of action mixes with dashes of comedy.  I watched and enjoyed the anime, at least but for the resolution, but think I will enjoy reading the manga series as much or more for being able to linger over the fantastic artwork.

Yurara v.1 by Chika Shiomi – 200 pages

Yurara v.1 by Chika Shiomi – 200 pages

Yurara sees the spirits of the dead, and her grandfather tells her she is protected by something very powerful.  She thinks she’s alone in her ability until she meets two boys at school, zany Mei and somber Yako, who share her powers.  When confronting spirits at school, Yurara is taken over by a powerful spirit inside her, that helps guide lost souls to closure.  The dynamics between the three characters are amusing, and there’s a rich payoff in seeing Yurara help lonely ghosts.  The artwork is usually nothing out of the ordinary for a manga, but the ghosts are well-drawn, and the surreal elements that creep in.  Yurara is an entertaining ghost story.

Kiss of the Rose Princess v.1 by Aya Shouoto – 180 pages

Kiss of the Rose Princess v.1 by Aya Shouoto – 180 pages

Anise Yamamoto is granted four cards by their keeper, the cat-bat Ninufa.  Kissing the cards releases the Rose Knights, who just happen to be four of her handsome classmates.  Sworn to her service, she sets them to tasks from searching for her lost choker (which her father warned her never to take off) to making an arch for the school festival.  The artwork has an eye-catching, frenetic style, with excessive close-ups, that can be hard to follow at times.  A light story but with dynamic interplay between characters that keeps things moving briskly.  I had fun with the first volume and, though not as interesting as other manga I’ve read recently, I’d like to see how it develops in the next volume.

Monday, August 31, 2015

this is where it ends by Marieke Nijkamp
288 pages

The story takes place within a 54 minute time period and is told from the perspective of four students.  As the story unfolds you will hear and feel the events as each of the four main characters describes what he or she is going through in the midst of a school shooting. Each of the four characters is connected to the gunman and his revengeful plan. 
It is told from a great perspective and you truly feel as though you are there with each student as he or she describes his/her ordeal. This story is all to frighteningly real.

The publication date is January 5, 2016.