Category Archives: #amreading

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Hootenanny day-7

Women and Words, a fabulous site for women authors, is hosting their annual Holiday Hootenanny. Click on the banner above and it will take you to their magical site where, by simply leaving a comment, you may enter for a chance to win any of the books or opportunities listed on the Hootenanny 2017 – Day 7 page!

Good luck and Happy Hootenanny-ing to one and all!

 

 


 

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WatchdogWatchdog by Will McIntosh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Watchdog, by Will McIntosh – A fun, action-packed, read!

Will McIntosh’s Watchdog is set in the slums of Chicago, where hungry children scramble over heaps of rotting garbage for something to pawn. It serves up an ugly near-futuristic view from the perspective of orphaned thirteen-year-old Vick, saddled too young with the responsibility for his autistic twin sister. Interest in the disorder is at an all-time high, and his struggle to keep Tara safe while dealing with the complexities of her autism was both entertaining and thought-provoking. Vick’s fierce, unforgiving anger toward the bullies who scared his crying sister rang true, as did his grudging acceptance when he discovered some assumptions were wrong.

The author gives us two unlikely heroes, fraternal twins both physically weak but with unseen strengths. Tara is small and looks half her age but is a genius with electronics. Her twin brother suffers from severe asthma attacks, but Vick is a natural leader with his own genius for survival. McIntosh pits their very existence against the mindless violence of underground robotic watchdogs, horrific mechanical creations being designed as specific weaponry by a crime lord.

Described as a nightmarish version of robotic animals, the watchdogs are only mechanical…until Tara finds a stolen military microchip. She modifies her own small robot pet, Daisy, who springs to life, literally, as a fully realized soldier capable of collecting and analyzing data, constructing and modifying her own mechanical body, and updates strategies based upon new intel. So far, she hasn’t spoken but as a reader I feel hopeful that ability will be forthcoming.

I enjoyed the book very much, but I rather reluctantly agree with another reviewer who remarked that the villain resembled a Disney cartoon. Mrs. Alba, a rather-neatly realized black-marketeer who rules with the expected fear, lies, and intimidation, is utterly dependable, showing up at the right time with the right tricks to make her a clear villain with no redeeming qualities.

However, Vick, Tara, and the crew they gather seeking to escape the clutches of Mrs. Alba’s evil henchlings, each enjoys human quirks and failings and the charming stumbles of young adults seeking to define themselves. Vick and his friends share the undeniable determination to right wrongs, to protect the vulnerable, and adherence to a code of ethics so essential to young people in their early teens.

All in all, my disappointment in a somewhat two-dimensional villain is thoroughly outweighed by my delight that all violence is contained between mechanical watchdogs. The battle scenes are skillfully drawn, action packed and very exciting, without becoming mired in gore. And, I must say, Mr. McIntosh’s refreshingly frank portrayal of adults as uncaring and threatening reminded me of Roald Dahl’s most fascinating works, where unlikely children must defend themselves and rise above the dark designs of adults to shine through as their authentic selves.

I give the book five stars, feeling free to recommend it to anyone who enjoys character-driven YA literature. I hope there will be a sequel or series following Vick, Tara, and their gang into this new dystopian future.

Genta Sebastian – award-winning author of Riding the Rainbow

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Death and Love

Death and Love

Review:

Death and Love at the Old Summer House

Dolores Maggiore

Young Adult Mystery

It’s summer 1959 and sixteen-year-old Pina and her best friend, Katie, know something horrible happened when their parents were kids at a now forgotten and rotting old camp.

Pina has painful dreams which force her to relive whatever happened through the eyes of the participants. Terrified, she turns to Katie for understanding and support. As the girls grow closer, Pina realizes she’s fallen in love with her friend but is terrified to tell in case it ruins everything between them.

 When they discover Katie’s father had a homosexual encounter when he attended the old camp and might have been involved in an unreported murder, it brings everything into sharper focus. The two girls chase clues to not only the unraveling mystery but also their feelings for each other and the complexities of adult love.

Death and Love at the Old Summer Camp is a fun story for young adults and anyone who remembers the first time puppy love grew up.

5-stars

 

 

Book Review: The French Way by Mary M. Wright

The French WayThe French Way by Mary M. Wright
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review for The French Way by Mary M. Wright

Like a first French kiss, this book awakens you to a new way of looking at things.

On the surface, The French Way is a charming new adult lesbian romance. Set at the end of the hippie era, charming Sophie, an innocent abroad, is aflame with a desire for adventure. She and her traveling companion take somewhat risky chances while traveling through Europe during summer vacation. A year of study in France, alone and independent of her family, will be the separation she feels is necessary to become truly adult.

One night in Paris Sophie sees Genevieve, an entrancing older woman, at the same time fate throws her a serious curve ball. Weeks later, the two women reconnect and discover a real attraction between them. Sophie realizes she’s attracted to women, but will the love that Genevieve offers be enough to conquer her new trepidation and fear of being tied to anyone and any place? Would that really be The French Way?

*spoiler alert*

Although a rape occurs, it is not the salacious, almost tantalizing type overused by so many authors. Rather, the character must wrestle with the memories of not struggling too hard, or protesting too loudly, and not having obvious outer wounds. Was what happened to her really rape, or should she hold herself responsible because she didn’t fight enough? This situation occurs to many women. It was a welcome experience to live through this very real struggle through the eyes of Mary Wright’s characters.

I received a free ARC copy of The French Way from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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