Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book Review: 'The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches' by Alan Bradley

✰✰✰✰ It's the spring of 1951, and Flavia de Luce's long-lost mother, Harriet, has finally returned to her beloved ancestral home, Buckshaw. It seems the whole town of Bishop's Lacey has turned out to welcome Harriet home. The gathering includes extended family, friends, a famous politician, and a mysterious stranger, who ends up dead soon after delivering a cryptic message to Flavia. Immediately Flavia's interest is piqued, and she must once again don her sleuthing hat. Working around her grieving family, with the funeral just hours away, Flavia must work quickly to uncover even more family secrets and discover the cause of her mother's untimely death.

The Bottom Line: Flavia is captivating, sweet, and just a little bit morbid at times. Her character continues to mature as she is confronted with death on a personal level; however, she's still that spunky, tomboyish free spirit I adore. As more family secrets are revealed, Flavia uncovers and struggles with her destiny. This quick and quirky mystery is enthusiastically recommended for both YA and adult readers who enjoy cozies set in England. It's always fun to read about Flavia's fascination with science.

Details: The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley. Hardcover published by Delacorte Press in 2014. 336 p. ISBN: 978-0-385-34405-0

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Book Review: 'The Lotus Caves' by John Christopher

✰✰✰✰✰ The year is 2068, and life in the moon's Bubble is boring. When Marty's best friend is forced to move back to Earth earlier than planned, fifteen-year-old Marty is left alone. Everything changes when Marty befriends a classmate named Steve. As an orphan, Steve is used to being an outcast and a loner. It isn't long before Steve and Marty's new friendship leads to trouble. Having skipped school, the pair takes a crawler out to the abandoned First Station. 

What starts out as a quick and harmless adventure quickly goes awry when the crawler skids out of control. The friends awake to find themselves in a cave beneath the moon's surface. Much to their surprise they find food, oxygen, plants, another human, and alien life. At first the place seems magical, but the more they consume, the more obedient they become to the alien creature in charge. As the days go by, it becomes harder and harder to resist submitting to the creature. Before forgetting who they are, Marty and Steve make a plan for their escape. However, the creature just might have other plans for them.

The Bottom Line: This is classic science fiction at its best. I remember reading and rereading this book in grade school during the 1970s, and I have been searching for a copy to own ever since. I'm happy to write that the book has retained its magic. The themes of friendship and believing in yourself are just as current today as when it was written. Very highly recommended for kids in middle school. Also, highly recommended for adults interested in sci-fi.

Details: The Lotus Caves by John Christopher. Paperback reissue edition published by Aladdin in 2014. 288 p. ISBN: 9781481418379