A thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi tale that surpasses its predecessor.

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LIA, HUMAN OF UTAH

BOOK TWO

In this sequel, a woman with enhanced powers faces off against aliens and mutated humans.

It hasn’t been long since Lia awakened in a post-apocalyptic Utah populated by murderous creatures. Slowly regaining her memories, she gets some clarification: Her husband, James, created the L strain to combat a super-cancer infecting their daughter, Tory. At the time, extraterrestrial technology had led to advances on Earth, and James derived the L strain from an “alien substance.” This ultimately led to extensive human mutation, including in Lia, whose body can generate “razor-sharp tendrils,” among other changes. Now in the 24th century, after Lia has lost colleagues and loved ones, there’s little remaining on Earth. James suggests traveling to a colony ship in space, in which human survivors fled back when the L strain and an alien invasion were growing concerns. The couple find the ship, but their predicament hardly improves. Soon they’re up against more mutated creatures as well as aliens on the hunt for human slaves. As the story progresses, Lia garners additional abilities and an immense power that’s virtually limitless—with the potential to destroy an entire planet. Ramsay’s (Lia, Human of Utah: Book One, 2017) first installment thrived on mystery, as Lia initially could remember nothing. This book, in contrast, delves into engrossing backstories for Lia, James, and even the aliens. The exposition rarely affects the narrative’s steady pace, and the second half is jampacked with rousing action sequences featuring lethal weapons: “Lia forced her armour to obey, reconstituting it around the reverberating power…she redirected that energy to her katana, pointing directly at the curious monster’s face.” At the same time, the plot boasts a couple of genuine surprises and profound moments of Lia ruminating about mutated people she has had to kill. While the ending is definitive, readers may want another installment or even a prequel or spinoff centered on another character.

A thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi tale that surpasses its predecessor.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-77508-336-8

Page Count: -

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2019

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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