Boneshaker

By Cherie Priest

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Tor, 2009

Genres: Fantasy, steampunk, horror, science fiction, adventure

ISBN: 9780765318411

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 416

Setting: Seattle, WA

Time period: 1880

Plot summary: In an alternate history, the Klondike gold rush began a few decades earlier and brought huge numbers of people to Seattle.  Commissioned by the Russians, Leviticus Blue built a giant drill capable of penetrating the thick Klondike ice to reach the gold below.  However, when Levi takes his Incredible Bone Shaking Drill Engine for a test run in Seattle, it has dire consequences.  Not only does the Boneshaker cause massive structural damage to the city of Seattle, it also releases a poisonous gas, later named The Blight, which causes people who breathe it to turn into zombies, or rotters.

Sixteen years later, Levi’s widow, Briar Wilkes lives in the Outskirts of Seattle, which is now surrounded by a thick, massive wall to keep both the Blight and rotters inside.  When Briar’s teenage son, Zeke, decides that he wants to try and clear his father’s name for the history records, he ventures inside the walled city.  When Briar discovers where her missing son went, she also ventures inside the wall to try and find her son. Continue reading

Water Witches

By Chris Bohjalian

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Simon & Schuster, c1995, 1997

Genre: General fiction, eco-fiction

Series: Hardscrabble Books –fiction of New England published by University Press of New England

ISBN: 9780684826127

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 340

Setting: Central Vermont

Time period: mid 1990s

Plot summary: Scott Winston works as a lawyer for the ski industry in rural Vermont.  He is also a member of a family of dowsers – or water witches – (by marriage), who have lived in the area for generations.  When a severe drought hits Vermont as a ski resort is trying to expand, Scottie finds himself at the center of an environmental conflict framed as jobs vs. the environment.  This would not be a new situation for him except that he and his nine year old daughter, Miranda, have witnessed something so rare that it completely changes his perspective on life. Continue reading

So This is How it Ends

By Tui T. Sutherland

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Eos, 2006

Genre: Fantasy, time travel fantasy, adventure, mythic fiction, science fiction

Series: Avatars; 1

ISBN: 9780060750299

Intended audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 480

Settings: Many various settings including: Los Angeles, NYC, Chile, Mexico

Time periods: 2003 – 2012, 2087

Plot summary: Five teenagers in various parts of the world find themselves alone in a post-apocalyptic world.  Most of them must travel great distances to meet at a gathering place in New York City, while avoiding mutant animals, crystal robot hunters, and a few deranged humans.  Once they reach their destination, they learn more details about what has become of the world they once knew.  They also learn that they will be participating in a battle – whether they want to or not. Continue reading

Bloodhound

By Tamora Pierce

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Random House, 2009

Genres: Fantasy, mystery, paranormal

Series: Beka Cooper trilogy; 2

ISBN: 9780375814693

Intended audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 551 (includes Glossary, Cast of Characters, and Notes about the Provost’s Guard)

Setting: Corus and Port Caynn, Tortall

Time period: 247 H.E. (medieval)

Plot summary: No longer a Puppy, Beka Cooper is now a full fledged Dog (Provost Guard) patrolling the streets of Corus’s Lower City.  Her biggest problem as a first year Dog is her lack of ability to keep a partner for very long.  When her latest partner walks out on her, Cooper is teamed up with her old trainers Goodwin and Tunstall.  Even though she wants her own partner, this arrangement works well for Cooper, especially when one of Cooper’s good friends has a problematic encounter involving counterfeit coins.  With Goodwin and Tunstall as partners, Cooper can do some real Dog work for a change and try to learn where the fake coins are originating. Continue reading

Generation Debt: Why Now is a Terrible Time to be Young

By Anya Kamenetz

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Riverhead Books, 2006

Genre: Non-fiction, social sciences

ISBN: 9781594489075

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 265 (including Notes and Bibliography)

Setting: USA

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: Why do so many younger Americans graduate from college (or not) with huge debt from school loans where previous generations did not?  Why do younger Americans typically accrue large credit card debts and often end up either never leaving home or having to move back in with Mom and Dad?  What happened to all the good jobs?  Should high school graduates even bother to pursue a college degree when a typical undergraduate leaves college with a $20,000 debt and often struggles for years to find a job that comes even close to a livable wage?  And how can individuals of this generation even think about moving forward with planning for a family when they are so mired and bogged down with their personal finances?  Anya Kamenetz asks a lot of tough questions in this book and reveals how young Americans are getting shafted by their government, corporate interests, and older Americans. Continue reading