Monday, December 10, 2018

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

My Sister, the Serial Killer: A Novel by Oyinkan Braithwaite --- 226 pages including Acknowledgements.

Nigerian author, Oyinkan Braithwaite's debut novel, My Sister, The Serial Killer may be described as Nigerian Noir. The book is a black and edgy comedy about two Nigerian sisters. Korede, the elder, is the responsible, self-effacing sister who cleans up the messes made by her younger sister, Ayoola, who has a bad habit of killing her boyfriends.

But the book also has a serious point to make: both sisters are emotionally damaged because of the abuse they suffered at the hands of a vicious and controlling father, and a society that enables and encourages the subjugation of women. 

If you liked the Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay, you may enjoy this book too. It will be interesting to see what Oyinkan Braithwaite comes up with next.

Click HERE to read the * review from Publishers Weekly.

Click HERE to watch the video trailer for My Sister, the Serial Killer on Youtube.

Click HERE to read the review in the Washington Post.

Click HERE to read the review in the New York Times.

Toothiana: Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies by William Joyce

Toothiana:  Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies by William Joyce - 226 pages

Beware a tooth fairy queen scorned in this, the third chapter book of Academy Award winner William Joyce's The Guardians series. There's a lot more to this tooth-swiping sprite than meets the eye!

When last we heard, the Guardians were resting easy with the knowledge that the children of Santoff Clausen were finally safe from Pitch's dastardly plans.

But is it all a ruse, a scheme, a lull the evil Nightmare King has deviously concocted?

Whatever Pitch's plans, what he doesn't know is that there's a new Guardian in town, and she's not the type to forget old grudges. Actually, she's not the type to forget anything--because this Guardian is none other than Toothiana, the Tooth Fairy herself. She's fierce and fast and crossing her will lead to a multitude of troubles. And, it turns out that, well, all those teeth she has been collecting? They contain memories. The forgotten memories of childhood... including the memories of how to fly. Young Katherine is hopeful that these memories might help her to remember her parents. The Guardians hope they'll offer even further protection from Pitch.

You can see how this information would be invaluable to our heroes. But it could also be invaluable to Pitch...

Doctor Who: Heart of Stone by Trevor Baxendale

Doctor Who:  Heart of Stone by Trevor Baxendale - 183 pages

The Doctor, Amy and Rory are surprised to discover lumps of moon rock scattered around a farm. But things get even stranger when they find out where the moon rock is coming from - a Rock Man is turning everything he touches to stone! Can the Doctor, Amy and Rory find out what the creature wants before it's too late?

I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski


I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski - 378 pages

I see London, I see France, I see Sydney’s underpants.

Nineteen-year-old Sydney has the perfect summer mapped out. She’s spending the next four and half weeks traveling through Europe with her childhood best friend, Leela. Their plans include Eiffel-Tower selfies, eating cocco gelato, and making out with très hot strangers. Her plans do not include Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend showing up on the flight to London, falling for the cheating ex-boyfriend’s très hot friend, monitoring her mother’s spiraling mental health via texts, or feeling like the rope in a friendship tug-of-war. 

As Sydney zigzags through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, and France, she must learn when to hold on, when to keep moving, and when to jump into the Riviera…wearing only her polka-dot underpants.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

It's Your Universe: You Have the Power to Make it Happen by Ashley Eckstein

It's Your Universe:  You Have the Power to Make it Happen by Ashley Eckstein - 204 pages

Ashley Eckstein grew up inspired by all things Disney. She launched Her Universe, an apparel company catering to fan girls, which has become a preferred partner for Disney and their girl power initiative.

In IT'S YOUR UNIVERSE, Ashley shares her own life lessons, as well as lessons from iconic Disney characters, as a way to inspire girls to create big dreams and work to make them a reality.

Ashley tells her story of being a little girl dreaming of being on a Disney stage, voicing the first female Jedi, Ahsoka Tano, and starting Her Universe, a blockbuster clothing line and community for fangirls.

With space for readers to make journal entries and quotes from iconic Disney characters, Ashley shows how princesses, Jedis, and super heroes were great role models for choosing her own path.

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

Lethal White: A Cormoran Strike Novel  by Robert Galbraith --- 650 pages including Acknowledgements and Credits.

The fourth book in the Cormoran Strike mystery thriller series by J. K. Rowling writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith is the "Moby Dick" of the series in the opinion of at least two reviewers.  At 647 pages with the actual murder not occurring until almost 300 pages into the story, I have to agree with that assessment.

The plot is convoluted and diffuse, but centers around an aristocratic family fallen on hard times --- mostly through their own incredibly bad judgement and egotism --- and desperate to keep up appearances. The patriarch, Jasper Chiswell, is the Minister for Culture in the Tory government and working on the logistics for the 2012 Summer Olympics taking place in London. He hires Strike and his partner, Robin Ellacott, to find proof that a political enemy is behind an attempt to blackmail Chiswell over something that happened six years or more ago.  Chiswell won't say what he did, only that it wasn't illegal at the time but is now, and he doesn't want the press to get hold of it and embarrass him.

Another thread of the plot centers on Billy Knight, a forlorn and mentally ill young man who keeps insisting that when he was a boy he saw a child strangled  and buried down in the dell near his father's cottage on the grounds of the Chiswell estate. So Strike is intrigued when Billy's older brother Jimmy appears to be involved in the attempt to blackmail Chiswell.

And of course another part of the plot has to do with the irresistible attraction between Strike and Robin, unhappily married to a husband who is jealous, controlling and self-absorbed. 
The book could have been improved by some judicious editing, but it's still a compelling read and hard to put down. Galbraith/Rowling knows how to engage readers' attention.

The BBC has developed a television series based on the first three books in the Cormoran Strike series, called Strike, starring Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger. It's been shown in the U.S. on Cinemax under the title C.B. Strike. Rowling recently confirmed that Lethal White has been optioned for a fourth season of the show. When she started the book series she said she planned to do at least seven books, so we can expect more adventures for Strike and Robin.

Click HERE to read the review from The Guardian (U.S. Edition).

Click HERE to read the review from the New York Times.

Click HERE to read the review from Publishers Weekly.

Click HERE to read the review from Kirkus Reviews.

Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King by William Joyce

Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King by William Joyce - 228 pages

Before SANTA was SANTA, he was North, Nicholas St. North—a daredevil swordsman whose prowess with double scimitars was legendary. Like any swashbuckling young warrior, North seeks treasure and adventure, leading him to the fiercely guarded village of Santoff Claussen, said to be home to the greatest treasure in all the East, and to an even greater wizard, Ombric Shalazar. But when North arrives, legends of riches have given way to terrors of epic proportions! North must decide whether to seek his fortune…or save the village.
When our rebellious hero gets sucked into the chaos (literally), the fight becomes very personal. The Nightmare King and his evil Fearlings are ruling the night, owning the shadows, and sending waves of fear through all of Santoff Clausen. For North, this is a battle worth fighting...and, he's not alone. There are five other Guardians out there. He only has to find them in time.