A recent transplant to Richmond, Chris is a triplet who loves Philadelphia sports and cheesesteaks just about as much as he loves science fiction and fantasy. After graduating from Catholic University, he spent the last 5 years in professional ministry, and now is taking this season to call Richmond home. When he's not moon-lighting as a barista or reading, he's likely listening to music or hanging out at a local comic book store, where his love for Magic the Gathering and nerdiness in general comes out front and center.
When Shadow is released from prison, he is brought into a quest that tests his own identity, relationships, and even his sanity. Discovering his wife Laura has been killed in an accident with his best friend at the wheel, and his life seemingly directionless, Shadow takes a job being the bodyguard and personal assistant to Mr Wednesday, who sets Shadow on a path to become a hero for the 'old gods' of America. This books takes the imagination that lines the fabric of America, and looks at those things we as Americans readily believe, while letting the reader question what 'gods' we really worship.
Reza Aslan is back, this time looking at the progression of how humanity has come to know and understand the idea of a creator (which many call God). His work, while academic in nature, opens the door to people of all levels and beliefs, to see how this concept has effected the human story since the dawn of man. Well written and engaging, this book pushed me to open my own thoughts on how many of the ideas that might seem like they seperate humans from one another, in reality unite us.
Simon is an average sixteen-year-old kid, who has one secret he's not sure he's ready to share with the world yet: he's gay. When by chance he strikes up a digital friendship with a fellow closeted student in his school over anonomous email, he is forced to engage with the assumptions about his friend group, his family dynamics, romance and what he wants for his life. This book is everything a good YA coming of age needs - drama, character growth and comedy. But what it does best is present queer identity as part of what it means for some teens to discover as they grow up.
This book had me from the title. On a personal level, being in the ministry world most of my 20s, gatherings large and small were my bread and butter. But Parker is very strong in looking at the why behind events and meetings, as much as the how. This book is great for the business leader, the casual dinner party host, or the person who dreams of having deeper connections with the community around them. The Art of Gathering has the chance to be the next Know Your Why, and change the landscape by helping us to remember how to come together as one human family.
Taran Matharu is back with a free-standing prequel to his The Summoner trilogy. Arcturus, a young orphan, discovers during an escape attempt that he is the first commoner able to summon: cast a spell to bring a demon from an alternate reality to his side as his companion. This sends angst among the social elite, who until recently had believed that only their children could summon. Arcturus is sent to be trained as a summoner, but becomes part of a bigger plot to topple the ruling class and has to choose how to save his new friends from forces greater than himself. Fast paced and an easy read, The Outcast is a good addition to the YA Fantasy scene.
Am I allowed to say 'this book?' Ok - THIS. BOOK. What Madeline L'Engle did for my imagination in 4th grade, the Shades of Magic series did for my angsty 28-year old soul. A Conjuring of Light is the conclusion to this face-paced trilogy, where our heroes Kell, Lila, and Rhy have to deal with a magic that threatens to take their entire world captive. The stakes are raised, as each character must sustain sacrifices of the people they love in hopes of stopping the dark force. Schwab's writing is unique and thrilling, and her characters make you desperate to join in their adventure. My only regret was having to see this trilogy end.
The American consumer fabric has been changed in the corporate landscape over the past twenty years by two major developments: the increase of start-up technology companies and the ever-present mode of Americans to 'strike it big' in business. "Bad Blood" tells the story of Elisabeth Holmes, the young Standford drop out who dreamed of making it big in the pharmaceutical world. But her desire to be the next tech leader, imitating those giants like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, led her down a path to take no prisoners and eventually mislead her investors and pharmaceutical companies about her new blood analyzing device. Author John Carreyrou makes this an exciting and quick read, even with the technical aspects involved. If you like corporate business endeavors and true crime, you will enjoy this engaging story.
Feels like the next The Handmaid's Tale, but reads like a Patterson novel? Sign me up! Dalcher's novel is a breath of fresh air in the modern dystopian landscape, with the characters making you believe that it could be your own family's reaction to an overreaching government. Vox shows us how powerful a person's voice can be, even without speaking at all.
This is one of the better adult fantasy books that I have read in the past year. Feist rivals authors like George R R Martin with his dark, adult themes and character intrigue. But he adds a depth of character development with his young protagonists, who have to manage a world full of danger while themselves wrestling with growing up. A good tale for those who love the stories of Tolkien, Terry Brooks, and even late-stage Harry Potter - this book will surely please the adventurer in us all.