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In alternate steampunk Victorian England, Irene Adler hires the niece of Sherlock Holmes and the half-sister of Bram Stoker to solve a mystery surrounding the recent suicides of London’s eligible society girls. This all probably sounds awesome, largely because it is. The content is handled so fluidly and Gleason offers a fresh voice to young fans of mystery and detective stories. Miss Holmes and Miss Stoker, respectively an insufferable know-it-all and a dark action girl with a suicidal streak, balance each other perfectly. This is another example of really good world building and writing, but the heroines and their relationship shines. --Reviewed by Marie at Books Inc. Chestnut Street

 

 

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(Photo posted with parents' permission at our October 2013 Jeff Kinney Event!)

Set in the bayous of East Texas, this tells of the struggle to save an tiny unspoiled gem of wilderness and rural living fro two separate threats. In one plotline a boy named Chap helps his mom run a pie shop beloved by the locals for the exquisite pies made from sugarcane of the swamp surrounding them. He mourns his grandfather who imparted Chap all manner of lore. Now their way of life is threatened by one of those greedy cartoonish developers who often show up in this sort of story.

Unbeknownst to the humans, a pair of young raccoons are concerened by another attack on the swamp, in the form of a family of terrifing feral pigs crashing towards the famous sugarcane. these plucky little critters, Bingo and J'miah are the Information Scouts of the swamp. Their clever kin have served the swamp for untold generations watching for danger. When a crisis like this arises they must wake the Sugar Man, the legendary protector of the bayou-- part Bigfoot and part Paul Bunyan.


The folksy venacular will turn some readers away, it is laid on thick. Comparisons to Carl Hiaasen are inevitable. I fould that the denizens of Sugar Man Swamp also his the same sweet spots as Pogo and Margery Sharp's The Rescuers. There's a bluesy, rockin' rhythm and loads of humor, heart, and courage. Readers will be reminded that an ecosystem does include people as well as animals; that our history and family stories join with the turns of the seasons and the calls of unseen birds. --Reviewed by Chris of Compass Books, SFO Terminal 3

This was our book club read for November and we thoroughly enjoyed it! This is a fantastic debut from Terrill and I can’t wait to see what she’s going to come up with next. Em has been imprisoned at a secret military base for what feels like years. She’s constantly tortured for information by a man called, the doctor (yes I really did love the slight Doctor Who reference, even if it was unintentional!). All Em has to keep her going is the voice of a mysterious boy in the cell next to her, until one day she finds a slip of paper taped inside the drain of her cell. The slip of paper contains the instructions Em will need in order to escape. This fast-paced science fiction thriller is great for fans of, well, science fiction! I know it’s a slim genre in YA, but I really liked the time travel elements in this one! It’s a quick read with an unbelievable ending!--Reviewed by Anna, Books Inc. Palo Alto

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