Thoroughly entertaining.

READ REVIEW

THE GHOST RUNNER

From the Lithia Trilogy series , Vol. 2

Vegan vampires, Shakespearean actors, food–co-op aficionados and serious runners face off against old-school bloodsuckers and rapacious, forest-devouring builders in this follow-up to Out of Breath (2011) set in—where else?—Lithia (Ashland in disguise), Ore. 

When not serving road warriors at Lithia Runners, Kat’s dating fellow vegan environmentalist Alex and only occasionally obsessing over actor Roman. He loves her but refuses to abandon his carnivorous ways—a deal breaker, since, like Alex, he’s a vampire. Sending Roman away, Kat enrolls in college, where she’s talked into auditioning for a role in the Bard’s Measure for Measure. Aware someone’s tracking her, Kat’s on edge. Running keeps her sane, though the woods are full of spirits—not just vampires, but ghosts. One appears to have something to tell her. Her post-alcoholic, ne’er-do-well father’s arrival and gainful employment cheers her. Good luck piles on: landing the role of Isabella then a staggering inheritance. Before she can enjoy any of it, Kat’s in big trouble, targeted by enemies—supernatural and all too human—and in danger of losing everything. Spunky Kat is good company; Alex and Roman are better defined this time around, but "most vivid character" honors go to the setting, whose tall evergreens and babbling brooks, shadowed by brooding mountains, enhance the sturdy plot.

Thoroughly entertaining. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61822-017-2

Page Count: 268

Publisher: Ashland Creek Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity.

FUTUREDAZE

AN ANTHOLOGY OF YA SCIENCE FICTION

A low-wattage collection of original stories and poems, as unmemorable as it is unappealingly titled.

The collection was inspired by a perceived paucity of short science fiction for teen readers, and its production costs were covered by a Kickstarter campaign. The editors gather a dozen poems and 21 stories from a stable of contributors who, after headliners Jack McDevitt and Nancy Holder, will be largely unknown even to widely read fans of the genre. The tales place their characters aboard spacecraft or space stations, on other worlds or in future dystopias, but only rarely do the writers capture a credibly adolescent voice or sensibility. Standouts in this department are the Heinlein-esque “The Stars Beneath Our Feet,” by Stephen D. Covey & Sandra McDonald, about a first date/joyride in space gone wrong, and Camille Alexa’s portrait of a teen traumatized by a cyberspace assault (“Over It”). Along with a few attempts to craft futuristic slang, only Lavie Tidhar’s fragmentary tale of Tel Aviv invaded by successive waves of aliens, doppelgangers, zombies and carnivorous plants (“The Myriad Dangers”) effectively lightens the overall earnest tone. Aside from fictional aliens and modified humans, occasional references to dark skin (“Out of the Silent Sea,” Dale Lucas) are the only signs of ethnic diversity. Most of the free-verse poetry makes only oblique, at best, references to science-fictional themes.

A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity. (author bios) (Science fiction/short stories. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9847824-0-8

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Underwords

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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DEATH BENEFITS

In this character-driven intergenerational story, Royce Peterson and his single mother have recently moved from Nova Scotia to British Columbia to help care for Arthur, Royce’s 95-year-old grandfather and one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century. After the curmudgeon chases off every aide, the teen is enlisted to watch his grandfather. At first the homesick, friendless and mono-recovering teen and his homebound, rude and crude grandfather are at odds, but then Royce gains new appreciation for Arthur—he caroused with Gloria Vanderbilt and Picasso, traveled the world, loved and lost loves—and Arthur begins to appreciate life again. But just as the pair begins to respect each other, Arthur suffers a series of debilitating strokes and asks Royce to end his life. Inspired by her experience caring for her aged father, Harvey offers a realistic view of the aging process, the difficult decisions left to loved ones and the need for friends and family. Sophisticated readers and fans of Joan Bauer’s Rules of the Road (1998) or Louis Sachar's The Cardturner (2010) will enjoy the grandfather-grandson banter and tenderness. (Fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-55146-226-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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