Grave Predictions: Tales of Mankind’s Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian and Disastrous Destiny

My rating - 3 Stars

Grave Predictions is another anthology with an apocalyptic or dystopian theme to the stories. I consider myself a fan of the apocalyptic/dystopian genre so I was excited to see a collection with a variety of stories. There are 16 different stories by 16 different writers. I included the full list of stories below. It is always nice to know what stories are in a collection like this beforehand. The stories are not new and have been published before. Only one of the 16 I have read before. Most of them weren't too depressing either, which is a plus.There is something for everyone - super computers, comets, aliens, global warming, nuclear war and more. My favorites were The End of the World, Upon the Dull Earth, The End of the Whole Mess, and Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man's Back. Short stories are always a hit or a miss. You either love them or hate them.  Overall, I rated the majority of the stories as three stars. If you haven't read these before and you are a fan of sci fi and short stories, then this would be a good collection to read.

Eugene Mouton - The End of the World (1872)
W. E. B. Du Bois - The Comet (1920)
Ray Bradbury - The Pedestrian (1951)
Arthur C. Clarke - No Morning After (1954)
Philip K. Dick - Upon the Dull Earth (1954)
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. - 2 B R 0 2 B (1962)
Harlan Ellison - I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (1967)
Ursula K. Le Guin - The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (1973)
Brian M. Stableford - The Engineer and the Executioner (1976)
Stephen King - The End of the Whole Mess (1986)
Joe R. Lansdale - Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man’s Back (1992)
Greg Bear - Judgment Engine (1995)
Erica L. Satifka - Automatic (2007)
Mark Samuels - The Black Mould (2011)
Ramsey Campbell - The Pretence (2013)
Carmen Maria Machado - Inventory (2013)


Good Behavior - by Blake Crouch

My rating - 4 Stars

Letty Dobesh is a convicted thief and a drug addict and just out of prison but she hasn't been reformed. This is a collection of three fun stand alone novellas (The Pain of Others, Sunset Key, and Grab) by Blake Crouch. According to Blake Crouch's website (http://www.blakecrouch.com/letty-dobesh.php), Letty is his favorite character of all time and I can see why. Each novella is a fast-paced thrill ride that will keep you guessing on how it will end. 

In The Pain of Others Letty is robbing hotel rooms when she find herself hiding in closet and over hearing a killer for hire. She is faced the decision of either saving the intended victim and risk going back to jail or going along her merry way and forget she heard anything.

In Sunset Key Letty is tasked with stealing a priceless painting while posing as a high paid escort from a wealthy CEO's private island the night before he goes to jail for securities fraud.

Lastly in Grab, Letty is on her way to see her son and takes a detour to Las Vegas to rob a casino for a once in a lifetime score. 

Each story is easy to read, fast-paced, and delivers a solid plot. The book has an introduction by Crouch and at the end of each novella there is some extra background information on the story and writing the new TNT television series coming out. These are nice little extras. I thought it was interesting to read about some of the reasons behind making changes in a story for a TV show.


Friday Free Reads

Did you know that Barnes & Noble offers one free ebook to read each month? All you need to get started is the free Barnes and Noble reading app or go to their website and read it in your browser.

Every month a different eBook can be read for free. The program is called Serial Reads. Everday a few chapters are posted to read, for free. By the time you get to the last day of the month you have read the entire book. This is great if you're not a fast reader or don't have a whole lot of time. You can also wait until gets closer to the end of the month and read the entire book over a few days. It's also a great way to save some money. Let's face it, books are expensive. It's sometimes difficult to justify spending $15-30 on a book and then not like it.  Being able to read a book for free is a great way to try out a new author or a different genre than your normal read.

Check out this months serial read here.


Halloween Reading

Halloween is just around the corner. To get you in the Halloween spirit, here are a few recommendations to get your started. These are sure to get you in the spirit of the season.

Something Wicked This Way Comes - by Ray Bradbury

This is a classic book for Halloween. This fantastic story by Ray Bradbury takes place in a fictional Illinois town where the arrival of a carnival brings Halloween a few days early.

Salem's Lot - by Stephen King

This was King's second published novel. A man comes back to his hometown after being gone for 25 years only to discover the unspeakable evil that lurks there.

The Elementals - by Michael McDowell

A great 80's horror novel about two families visiting their vacation homes in Alabama. One of the homes is vacant and has been for years and is slowly being buried beneath a dune of sand. Although no one has lived in the third house, something evil lurks inside.

Dark Harvest - by Norman Partridge

Every Halloween the October Boy rises from the corn fields of a Midwestern town. Teenage boy eagerly await him for a chance their chance to destroy him and be crowned the winner and a ticket out of the dead-end town.


The River at Night - by Erica Ferencik

My Rating - 3 Stars

The premise for this book looked interesting. Four best friends going on their annual trip together. This time they decide to go on a white river rafting adventure. None of them have ever been rafting before and none of them have any outdoor skills much less survival skills. An accident on the river leaves them stranded without supplies or their raft. This sounded like it could be a great story about four friends without survival skills trying to survive in the remote woods of Maine. Yet it wasn't. It was more of a Deliverance-esque story line. Which would have been fine but it didn't pack the same punch. If you have ever read the book or seen the movie, then you know what a punch it packs. The River at Night has just a few too many similarities to Deliverance (such as four city raised friends, both main characters are graphic artists, first half of the book describes everyone's jobs and lives, remote river trip, crazy people in the woods). The story starts off slow and spends the first half the book with the protagonist telling the reader what a wuss she is.  The build up of what's to come just isn't there. I just wasn't on the edge of my seat when the book finally got to some excitement. When the reader realizes the story is going to be another Deliverance type of story then it is disappointing. If you have never read or seen the movie Deliverance, then you might enjoy this book. It's a little tamer and missing some of the acts done to as well as by the four friends that make Deliverance.

I was provided a copy from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

From the books blurb

A high stakes drama set against the harsh beauty of the Maine wilderness, charting the journey of four friends as they fight to survive the aftermath of a white water rafting accident, The River at Night is a nonstop and unforgettable thriller by a stunning new voice in fiction.

Winifred Allen needs a vacation.

Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings.

What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare: A freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test. To survive, Wini must reach beyond the world she knows to harness an inner strength she never knew she possessed.

About the author

Erica Ferencik is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Boston University. Her work has appeared in Salon and The Boston Globe, as well as on National Public Radio. Find out more on her website EricaFerencik.com and follow her on Twitter @EricaFerencik.



Books I've Been Reading...

It has been a crazy few months and I just haven't had time to post. But that doesn't been I haven't been reading! Here are some of the books I have been reading lately:

Planet of the Apes - by Pierre Boulle

So you have seen the original 1968 movie with Charlton Heston. Or maybe you have seen all the recent reboots of the movie. You think you know what this book is about but you are wrong. The 1963 novel written by French author Pierre Boulle (also the author of The Bridge Over River Kwai) is nothing like any of the movies. Yes, there is a planet and yes there are intelligent apes on the planet. There are a few similarities with the original film and the book but not much. So if you have seen the original movie, forget it. It will make your reading experience more enjoyable if you aren't trying to compare the two and predict what is going to happen because it isn't going to happen. The gist of the book is a space expedition to a distant planet that is orbiting the star, Betelgeuse. When they get there, the are surprised at how similar the planet is to Earth but all is not what it seems.

A Clockwork Orange - by Anthony Burgess

Another classic written in 1962 by Anthony Burgess and made into a movie by Stanley Kubrick. If you had the misfortune of seeing the movie, then I feel for you. We all know the saying, "the book is always better than the movie." This is one of those cases. The book is narrated by Alex in Nadsat slang (this slang is made up by Burgess who was also a linguist). The Nadsat slang isn't too difficult to figure out as you go and it's rhythms play an interesting juxtaposition with the "ultra violence" Alex and his gang commit. The book follows Alex and his exploits and his criminal reform. It is important to note, that the original American version deleted the last chapter (chapter 21) of the book and the movie left this out as well. If you like to buy used copies of books, I suggest making sure the 21st chapter is included.

Blindness - by Jose Saramago

Blindness was written by Portuguese writer Jose Saramago in 1995. Apparantly this has also been made into a movie which I haven't seen. So I am sure the book is better than the movie! This book is interesting. An entire city suddenly has an epidemic of people becoming blind. The story revolves around a group of blind quarantined internees struggling with their new blindness and relying on the government for food. Saramago has an interesting writing style which has nothing to do with giving the reader a feeling of the chaos of suddenly finding your self blind. It is just the way he writes all of his books. If you download a sample or preview of any of his books you will notice the long sentences with only commas separating different speakers instead of quotation marks etc. Don't let that turn you off of reading his books. You get used to it (hint: when a speaker changes, Saramago will capitalize the new speakers clause).


Dead Souls: A Novel - by J. Lincoln Fenn

My Rating - 4 Stars

I am not sure what I was expecting when I saw the blurb for this book but it intrigued me enough to want to read it. All I can say is wow, what a roller coaster ride. This book did not disappoint and exceeded my expectations. I finished the book in one day, it was that good. The premise is simple enough, girl in bar meets guy and has a few drinks. Next thing you know he says he is the devil and will grant her a wish in exchange for her soul and a future favor. Without thinking she blurts out a wish thinking this is some crazy pick-up line. Fiona soon realizes she really did sell her soul to the devil and she isn't the only one. Fiona is a likable character despite her career driven, millennial personality. I was on pins and needles trying to figure out how Fiona was going to be able to turn the tables on the Devil and save her soul.  There were a lot of twists and turns and the ending was not what I expected. 

From the books blurb:

When Fiona Dunn is approached in a bar by a man who claims he’s the devil, she figures it’s just some kind of postmodern-slash-ironic pickup line. But a few drinks in, he offers her a wish in exchange for her immortal soul, and in addition, Fiona must perform a special favor for him whenever the time comes. Fiona finds the entire matter so absurd that she agrees. Bad idea. Not only does Fiona soon discover that she really was talking to the devil incarnate, but she’s now been initiated into a bizarre support group of similar “dead souls”—those who have done the same thing as Fiona on a whim, and who must spend their waking hours in absolute terror of that favor eventually being called in...and what exactly is required from each of them in order to give the devil his due.

About the author:

Her debut novel, POE, won the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror and went on to become an Amazon bestseller. DEAD SOULS will be published in September 2016 by Gallery Books. The author grew up in New England and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of New Hampshire. Currently she lives in Seattle with her family.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review


A Time of Torment - by John Connolly

My Rating: 3 stars

This is my first book by John Connolly and also my first Charlie Parker novel. A Time of Torment is book 14 in the Charlie Parker series. Usually I do not read a lot of detective stories but the supernatural element sounded like an interesting departure from the norm. As far as detective novels go A Time of Torment has the usual elements. There is a crime or mystery to be solved, a detective (and sidekicks) that no one seems to like, a side crime, and a lot of descriptions. Did I mention a lot of descriptions? For me, it is the overly descriptive story that makes my eyes glaze over and for that reason this book is only a three star book for me. Other than that, it is has an interesting plot and the supernatural nature of the story is an added bonus. Also, I enjoyed the sidekicks, Angel and Louis. I would have liked to see more of them in the story. The book takes place in Maine

and West Virginia and Connolly does a good job with the feel 
of the locations. I was surprised to find out he is from Dublin, Ireland. For readers that enjoy horror and detective stories then I recommend giving the Charlie Parker books a try. 

From the books blurb:

Dangerous and driven private investigator Charlie Parker returns in the latest gripping thriller of internationally bestselling author John Connolly’s series, in which ungodly 

fears haunt a strange and isolated community.

Jerome Burnel was once a hero. He intervened to prevent multiple killings, and in doing so destroyed himself. His life was torn apart. He was imprisoned, brutalized.

But in his final days, with the hunters circling, he tells his story to private detective Charlie Parker. He speaks of the girl who was marked for death, but was saved; of the ones who tormented him, and an entity that hides in a ruined stockade.

Parker is not like other men. He died, and was reborn. He is ready to wage war.

Now he will descend upon a strange, isolated community called the Cut, and face down a force of men who rule by terror, intimidation, and murder.

All in the name of the being they serve. All in the name of the 

Dead King.

About the author:

John Connolly was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1968 and have, at various points in his life, worked as a journalist, a barman, a local government official, a waiter and a "gofer" at Harrods department store in London. I studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, subsequently spending five years working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper, to which I continue to contribute, although not as often as I would like. I still try to interview a few authors every year, mainly writers whose work I like, although I've occasionally interviewed people for the paper simply because I thought they might be quirky or interesting. All of those interviews have been posted to my website, http://www.johnconnollybooks.

He is based in Dublin but divides his time between his native city and the United States, where each of his novels has been set.


Dark Matter - by Blake Crouch

My Rating: 4 Stars

Blake Crouch the author of the Wayward Pine series, that was made into a TV show, is back with another terrific book.

It is difficult to review this book without giving away the plot. So here goes!

Jason Dessen is a college professor that is abducted at gunpoint and knocked out and left in some abandoned building in Chicago. When he wakes up, he is surrounded by strangers. The problem is that he is not a stranger to them. Jason just wants to get back to his wife and son but reality is playing tricks on him. Basically, this is a sci-fi thriller about choices, the path taken and the path we could have taken. Dark Matter is a fast read and it was difficult to put down once I started reading. Dark Matter is a fun sci-fi story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is definitely mind-blowing and will leave you thinking of the possibilities. I can't really say more than that without giving it all away. Just read it!

If you have read any of Bake Crouch's books before, then I think you will really enjoy Dark Matter. If you haven't read any of his books then you're really missing out.
Copy received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the books blurb:

From the author of the bestselling WAYWARD PINES trilogy, a brilliantly mind-bending science-fiction thriller in which an ordinary man is kidnapped, knocked unconscious—and awakens in a world inexplicably different from the reality he thought he knew.

Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.

It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.

When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!”

Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born.

And someone is hunting him.

Is the life Jason remembers just some crazed dream? And can he survive long enough to discover the answers he needs?

About the author:

Blake Crouch is a bestselling novelist and screenwriter. He is the author of the forthcoming novel, Dark Matter, for which he is writing the screenplay for Sony Pictures. His international-bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy was adapted into a television series for FOX, executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan, that was Summer 2015’s #1 show. With Chad Hodge, Crouch also created Good Behavior, the TNT television show starring Michelle Dockery based on his Letty Dobesh novellas. He has written more than a dozen novels that have been translated into over thirty languages and his short fiction has appeared in numerous publications including Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Crouch lives in Colorado with his family.


The Last One - by Alexandra Oliva

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Apocalypse and post apocalypse books are very popular right now and The Last One is another installment in an overflowing genre. The Last One is a little different though. The story focuses on Zoo, a reality game show contestant, on a survivor type reality show. While Zoo is left alone in the woods as part of a solo challenge something happens to the outside world. The TV show is a cheesy, big budget show with no end objective except the last person still playing, wins. The contestants are subjected to staged scenarios and at some point it becomes difficult for Zoo to discern what is real and what is not.

The story switches back and forth from a third person narration of the game and the contestants to Zoo's point of view as she is trying to complete the challenge. It becomes clear to the reader that something has happened but even the reader has doubts about what is real and what is staged.

I enjoyed this book and the premise of a survival game show during some kind of apocalypse event. As the book neared the end, the suspense level went up. Which is a big plus for me. The writing from Zoo's point of view flowed really well and it was easy to get into a rhythm while reading. The third person narrative didn't flow as well and was a little choppy for me (hence the half a star deduction from me). But it did get the idea across of how this "reality" show was more staged than real and why Zoo behaved the way she did. I would have preferred the entire book written from Zoo's perspective especially when the contestants come across things in the game that are staged for their benefit.  I think this would have increased the suspense and anxiety level. The idea is refreshing and different than most of the post-apocalypse books out. 

From the books blurb:

Survival is the name of the game as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself in Alexandra Oliva’s fast-paced novel of suspense.
She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.

Sophisticated and provocative,
The Last One is a novel that forces us to confront the role that media plays in our perception of what is real: how readily we cast our judgments, how easily we are manipulated.

About the author:

Alexandra Oliva was born and raised in upstate New York. She has a BA in history from Yale University and an MFA in creative writing from The New School. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. The Last One is her first novel.

I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


New Book Releases

It's June and summer is almost here. Which means summer reading is almost here! Some of my favorite ways to read in the summer are road trips, airplane rides, lounging at the pool, and sitting on the beach.  Here are the latest new releases for June, enjoy!

End of Watch: A Novel (The Bill Hodges Trilogy)

I haven't read the first two books in this series, yet. I plan on doing a binge read of all three, HA! This new release comes from Stephen King and I have heard that it is the best book of the trilogy. I can't wait to read all three.

From the books blurb:

Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre, where eight people were killed and many more were badly injured, has been in the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic for five years, in a vegetative state. According to his doctors, anything approaching a complete recovery is unlikely. But behind the drool and stare, Brady is awake, and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room.

Retired police detective Bill Hodges, the unlikely hero of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, now runs an investigation agency with his partner, Holly Gibney, who delivered the blow to Hartsfield's head that put him on the brain injury ward. Brady also remembers that. When Bill and Holly are called to a murder-suicide with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put not only their lives at risk, but those of Hodges’s friend Jerome Robinson and his teenage sister, Barbara. Because Brady Hartsfield is back, and planning revenge not just on Bill Hodges and his friends, but on an entire city.

The next new release this month is Lisa Unger's Ink and Bone. I haven't read any of Lisa Unger's books before but the book's blurb caught my attention:

Twenty-year-old Finley Montgomery is rarely alone. Visited by people whom others can’t see and haunted by prophetic dreams, she has never been able to control or understand the things that happen to her. When Finley’s abilities start to become too strong for her to handle – and even the roar of her motorcycle or another dazzling tattoo can’t drown out the voices – she turns to the only person she knows who can help her: her grandmother Eloise Montgomery, a renowned psychic living in The Hollows, New York.

Merri Gleason is a woman at the end of her tether after a ten-month-long search for her missing daughter, Abbey. With almost every hope exhausted, she resorts to hiring Jones Cooper, a detective who sometimes works with psychic Eloise Montgomery. Merri’s not a believer, but she’s just desperate enough to go down that road, praying that she’s not too late. Time, she knows, is running out.

As a harsh white winter moves into The Hollows, Finley and Eloise are drawn into the investigation, which proves to have much more at stake than even the fate of a missing girl. As Finley digs deeper into the town and its endless layers, she is forced to examine the past, even as she tries to look into the future. Only one thing is clear: The Hollows gets what it wants, no matter what.

I hope I am not jinxing Paul Treblay's newest book, but if it is half as good as A Head Full of Ghosts then I will be happy.

Late one summer night, Elizabeth Sanderson receives the devastating news that every mother fears: her fourteen-year-old son, Tommy, has vanished without a trace in the woods of a local park.

The search isn’t yielding any answers, and Elizabeth and her young daughter, Kate, struggle to comprehend his disappearance. Feeling helpless and alone, their sorrow is compounded by anger and frustration. The local and state police haven’t uncovered any leads. Josh and Luis, the friends who were with Tommy last, may not be telling the whole truth about that night in Borderland State Park, when they were supposedly hanging out a landmark the local teens have renamed Devil’s Rock— rumored to be cursed.

Living in an all-too-real nightmare, riddled with worry, pain, and guilt, Elizabeth is wholly unprepared for the strange series of events that follow. She believes a ghostly shadow of Tommy materializes in her bedroom, while Kate and other local residents claim to see a shadow peering through their own windows in the dead of night. Then, random pages torn from Tommy’s journal begin to mysteriously appear—entries that reveal an introverted teenager obsessed with the phantasmagoric; the loss of his father, killed in a drunk-driving accident a decade earlier; a folktale involving the devil and the woods of Borderland; and a horrific incident that Tommy believed connected them all and changes everything.

As the search grows more desperate, and the implications of what happened becomes more haunting and sinister, no one is prepared for the shocking truth about that night and Tommy’s disappearance at Devil’s Rock.  


Bargain Books

Here are more Amazon Kindle bargain books for June. The prices should be good for the entire month. What will you read this summer?

Science Fiction and Fantasy:


This is more dark fantasy/horror:

A terror-filled story of one family and their friends, as they struggle to survive in a world overrun by ravenous creatures that hunt purely by sound...

Mystery, Thriller, Suspense:


Two young lovers find themselves ensnared in a seemingly supernatural web that ties them to a young girl’s disappearance fifteen years earlier in this dark and twisty tale from the New York Times bestselling author of Island of Lost Girls and Promise Not to Tell. Jennifer NcMahon returns with a vengeance with Don’t Breathe a Word—an absolutely chilling and ingenious combination of psychological thriller, literary suspense, and paranormal page-turner that will enthrall a wildly diverse audience including, among others, avid fans of Keith Donohue (The Stolen Child), Laura Lippman (I’d Know You Anywhere), and Tana French.(In the Woods).



Architect and landscaper Charles Cabot, a descendant of dukes, finds himself much in demand. Wealthy landowners are enthusiastically improving their vast country estates. When Sir Eustace Lawrence, renowned King's Counsel, invites Cabot to visit his Berkshire home, Cabot plans to apply his talents to a modification of the grounds. But he soon discovers that other skills are called for. All is not well with the amiable Lawrence family. One daughter, Margaret, has for years drawn the unwelcome, jealous attentions of the powerful Earl of Sutcliffe. The earl has essentially placed Meg under siege. Meg has had ample proof of Sutcliffe's deadliness. She has not dared to bestow her hand or her heart on any suitor for fear of what may befall him. But she is unaware of the lengths to which their new family friend, Charles Cabot, will go in order to protect her. When her family visits London for the season and a confrontation looms, Meg and her awakened affections must face the ultimate test.

Teen and Young Adult:


There is no cure for being who you truly are...

In a cottage high atop Llanfair Mountain, sixteen-year-old Clara lives with her sister, Maren, and guardian Auntie. By day, they gather herbs for Auntie’s healing potions. By night, Auntie spins tales of faraway lands and wicked fairies. Clara’s favorite story tells of three orphan infants—Clara, who was brought to Auntie by a stork; Maren, who arrived in a seashell; and their best friend, O’Neill, who was found beneath an apple tree.

One day, Clara discovers shimmering scales just beneath her sister’s skin. She realizes that Maren is becoming a mermaid—and knows that no mermaid can survive on land.
Desperate to save her, Clara and O’Neill place the mermaid-girl in their gypsy wagon and set out for the sea. But no road is straight, and the trio encounters trouble around every bend. Ensnared by an evil troupe of traveling performers, Clara and O’Neill must find a way to save themselves and the ever-weakening mermaid.

And always, in the back of her mind, Clara wonders, if my sister is a mermaid, then what am I?

Literary Fiction:


Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come. Though Lisbeth leads a life of privilege, she finds nothing but loneliness in the company of her overwhelmed mother and her distant, slave-owning father. As she grows older, Mattie becomes more like family to Lisbeth than her own kin and the girl’s visits to the slaves’ quarters—and their lively and loving community—bring them closer together than ever. But can two women in such disparate circumstances form a bond like theirs without consequence? This deeply moving tale of unlikely love traces the journey of these very different women as each searches for freedom and dignity.