A richly detailed, compelling story about the power of love.

READER

DAUGHTER OF TIME: BOOK 1

An original take on various sci-fi motifs that meditates on themes of love and humanity.

Traversing time and space, Stebbins’ space opera follows the long journey of a singularly gifted Earth girl named Ambra Dawn, who might just be the savior of the entire universe. Even as a young girl among humans, Ambra was different. Odd and strange, she possessed an ability coveted by all alien species: a gift to see the future and the past, the result of a tumor growing in her brain. Unbeknownst to the inhabitants of Earth, an insectlike alien race called the Dram rules from the shadows. Influencing culture and politics, they’re here to guide human evolution toward producing Readers—those, like Ambra, who possess the ability to guide Dram ships through the Orbs. With tendrils reaching out, Orbs allow for instantaneous space travel, but what the Orbs truly are is unknown and debated. Ambra’s idyllic life in farm country is destroyed when humans working for the Dram come and take her. In an institution, she’s tested, beaten and experimented on. Horrific surgeries mutilate and blind her, and her skull is removed to give her tumor room to grow. The only escape Ambra has is to travel through time, back into history on her own to learn and experience life. But, since the Dram don’t realize she has surpassed every other Reader in terms of power and ability, Ambra is taken from Earth and sold into slavery. Stebbins does an exceptional job creating unique, detailed alien races, from the dreadful, cruel Dram to the octopuslike Sortax who live in water and the Xix, who rescue Ambra from enslavement. Long, lean, four-armed, intelligent and kind, the Xix work to prevent cruelty against the lesser races. Two Xixians, Waythrel and Thel, are especially strong alien characters who act as guides for Ambra, helping her develop her abilities. Although the first half of the novel suffers from too much telling and too little action, the second half comes alive. Ambra, able to travel through Orbs like no one before, takes on the Dram in a dramatic conflict that leads to her facing the Dram emperor. In order to free the universe of the Dram scourge, Ambra must make a heart-wrenching choice: the universe or Earth. Eventually, the novel takes a slightly odd turn toward metafiction, as Ambra informs the reader that they, too, have a part in saving the Earth.

A richly detailed, compelling story about the power of love.

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989000444

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Twice Pi Press

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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