Tag Archives: publisher: little brown and company

Before This is Over by Amanda Hickie

Before This Is Over

Before This is Over by Amanda Hickie

Published by: Little, Brown, and Company on March 28, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

The epidemic seemed to come out of nowhere, but Hannah knows that it does not take long for something like this to spread. And she is determined to do everything she can to protect her family from contracting the highly communicable and deadly illness. But staying alive in the face of disaster is not easy. And it can be further complicated when one cannot leave the house or be sure who to trust. And with symptoms taking up to two days to show themselves, Hannah also cannot be sure that she or any of her family have managed to avoid exposure. But where there is a will to survive, there’s always a way. Right?

If you’ve ever played the online game “Pandemic,” you know how this story starts. A disease starts in one small corner of the world, but with world travel being such a thing it quickly finds its way to other cities, other countries, and other continents. Before long, places start closing themselves off to outsiders, not wanting to let anyone in who could have been exposed. This also closes people in, though, and makes the struggle for resources almost as important as the quest to stay disease free. And thus is the world in which Hannah finds herself. It’s an interesting read that made me think how I might react myself in such a situation. It’s not something we ever expect to happen, but the reality is that it could probably happen just as quickly as it is described here. And would we be prepared?

[This review is based on an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.]

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

18190208Title: The Witch Hunter
Author: Virginia Boecker
Published: June 2, 2015
Pages: 368
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Elizabeth has devoted much of her life so far to becoming one of the best witch hunters in the kingdom. She has worked hard and has earned a stellar reputation that has even drawn notice of the king. But in a surprising twist she stands accused of witchcraft and all of that work seems in vain. The accusations are the first clue that things are not at all as they seem in the kingdom, and Elizabeth soon learns the conspiracy runs far deeper than she could have imagined. She is but a single small target in a larger plot that makes an ally of the enemy and turns friend to foe. Elizabeth learns she will have to rely on those she previously worked against if she’s going to save the kingdom, even if she might not be able to save herself.

Virginia Boecker has created a unique and engaging fantasy world that made for a fun and interesting read. Elizabeth’s journey from hero to purported villain and her quest to save her kingdom, her friends, and her name feels like it could be the start of an epic story. The characters, the plot twists, and the magic of this world all combine to create something that is certainly worth reading.

The ending feels a bit more unresolved than I would have liked, but since this is clearly the beginning of a series, that’s likely forgiven in that more resolution will hopefully be given in the next book. I recommend checking this out if you’re looking for a new YA fantasy world in which to immerse yourself.

Title: Amity & Sorrow
Author: Peggy Riley
Publication Date: April 16, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Amaranth and her daughters, Amity & Sorrow, have fled their family and their life in a polygamist religious compound with nowhere to go and Amaranth’s only thought being to get them as far away as possible. But when the car crashes in rural Oklahoma and she is forced to rely on a farmer for help (one of many things that challenges the strict rules they’ve all been taught to follow), she is also forced to confront the past, the present, and the future for both herself and her daughters.

A gripping tale of the aftermath of being indoctrinated into what I can only describe as a cult, Amity & Sorrow contains some difficult content but is one of those books that really hits you emotionally. The layers of Amaranth, Amity, and Sorrow’s experiences that are slowly revealed over the course of the book through narrative and flashbacks are complex and provide the reader with a dark and vivid picture of their lives before the book begins.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, though I know it’s not one everyone is likely to enjoy. It’s gritty and certainly isn’t a shiny happy tale, and I know some people don’t like books like that. But I’d still encourage people to give it a chance.

(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Content warnings: [mentions of child abuse, sexual abuse, and incest; religious fundamentalism]

Title: The Liars’ Gospel
Author: Naomi Alderman
Publication Date: August 30, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
This is a book that I would not have been likely to pick up if it hadn’t been offered to me by the publisher to read. And it’s honestly not surprising to me that the reviews on this book are pretty much at either end of the spectrum. Some people have a very hard time thinking objectively when they feel something touches close to their belief system, especially if it asks them to consider a different possibility or perspective.

The Liar’s Gospel is a work of historical fiction that looks at Jerusalem during the time of Roman occupation through the eyes of four people: Miryam (Mary), Iehuda (Judas), Caiaphas, and Bar-Avo (Barabbas). While, obviously, one common thread between these is the life of Yehoshuah (Jesus), I personally saw this as a text that looks much more at everyone else. It attempts to understand the political climate that existed at the time and how others may have viewed (or been forced to view) the situation and their options. It reflects the struggles of a people against an oppressive imperial regime and also points out just how often the story that ends up being told or remembered often leaves out both the struggles and accomplishments of those who aren’t central to the prevailing thread. As Alderman’s own epilogue states “Storytellers know that every story is at least partly a lie. Every story could be told in four different ways, or forty or four thousand. Every emphasis or omission is a kind of lie, shaping a moment to make a point. […] Do not imagine that a storyteller is unaware of the effect of every word she chooses. Do not suppose for a moment tat an impartial observer exists.” And this text illustrates that assertion splendidly.

(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)