Mystery, Science Fiction and More Faves for 2016

Mystery, Science Fiction and More Faves for 2016

Today is the Mixed Bag of Favorites! I’ve got mysteries, sci-fi and even some woman’s lit that plays into my love of expanding horizons

Genre: Mystery

Sidney Chambers and The Dangers of Temptation by James Runcie


Sidney Chambers and The Dangers of Temptation
James Runcie
The Grantchester Mysteries #5
Bloomsbury USA
Rel: 14 June, 2016

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From greed to lust through pride and prejudice, each character has their moment to present and tackle the issues that pop up in an ordinary life, and choices made in those moments are often fraught with self-doubt and uncertainty.  One could expect these stories to bring a certain level of ‘preachiness’ with them, yet Runcie manages to present an entirely humanist set of values, always looking to do and be the best in the moment. Prose is poetic and lyrical, with details and descriptions presented with precision, providing imagery, emotion and a solid understanding of the moment.

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Dark Corners
Elaine Raco Chase
Roman Cantrell-Nikki Holden Mystery #2
Damsel in Distress Publishing
Rel:  20 September 2016

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This isn’t a simple mystery with interconnected pieces, relationships and a bit of personal baggage thrown in to mix things up, but that just serves to add dimension and plausibility to the characters. While the mystery is solid and captivating, you want to read on because of Nikki and Roman, you become their cheerleader and partner.

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Genre:  Science Fiction

The Jakkattu Vector
 P.K. Tyler
Jakkattu #1
Evolved Publishing
Rel:  28 November 2016

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What Tyler has done is introduced a world that is on the precipice of change: the last days (perhaps) of a ruling class chosen in moments of fear. All scrabbling for a seat at the table. Questions about ruling classes, the dehumanization of large groups of people with subjugation, restrictions and fear. Establishing intellectual superiority by limiting access to learning and history, controlling movement, family structure and resources. Using superstitions that play on fears to push forward a religious-driven agenda that demands worship without providing options or allowing questions, requiring obedience and outward manifestations of belief lest one be subject to punishment. Wholly new and different – there is a sense of this could (did and may already) happen should we lose the ability to see the similarities in our differences.

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Genre:  Woman’s Lit

A House Without Windows by Nadia HashimiA House Without Windows
Nadia Hashimi
William Morrow
Rel: 16 August, 2016

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Lyrical prose and compelling stories take the edge off a difficult read, one that required many breaks for some of the conditions and life stories are harsh, bordering on barbaric. But, even in the breaks, I couldn’t walk away or stop thinking about the moments, the integral connections to the tribal laws and fundamentalist beliefs that feel foreign, if not completely unknowable. A wonderful book, well worth your time and effort.

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A Change of Heart
Sonali Dev
Rel: 27 September 2016

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Deftly Dev has woven a dark tale, with moments of bright lights that urge you to read on, despite the sounds and smells of the slums, the power players in the lucrative if wholly immoral and illegal organ trade and it’s all woven together with quotes and insets in Jen’s voice, her speaking from the grave sharing concerns, discoveries, fears and ultimately showing her courage.  A story that gracefully moves through multiple genres and yet remains ultimately undefinable in every way except to say, this is a keeper. Dev’s writing is polished and nuanced, leading the reader to conclusions without tipping her hand, allowing the characters and their own imminent sense of mortality and morality to impact in ways unexpected.

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