One Wild Christmas, by Nicholas Oldland (2019)

Picture Book | 3-7

This is the first of two reviews this week to help with your holiday shopping. Canadian Nicholas Oldland has released a delightful addition to his Life In The Wild picture book series (see my review Walk on the Wild Side). Our three pals – a moose, a beaver, and a bear – are ready to celebrate Christmas with decorations, stockings and yummy food when they discover they have forgotten a tree. Out they go in search of the perfect tree, but when they find it, Bear loves it too much to let his friends cut it down. Sharp young readers will figure out the solution before it’s revealed, a lesson in compromise wrapped in environmental ethics.

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V-S Day, by Allen Steele (2014)

Science Fiction | Adult

I like alternative histories, and this is an intriguing one based on the real-life explorations into space travel research by Nazi Germany. What if the space race had taken place two decades earlier, during World War II, pitting the Americans against the Germans? In 1941, Austrian aerospace engineer Eugen Sänger proposed a rocket-propelled bomber he called the Silbervogel or Silver Bird, intended to attack the United States. Steele, a science journalist turned sci-fi writer, drew on this interesting fact for a couple of short stories and even a television script that never gained interest. In V-S Day he fleshes out the concept into a full-length novel, developing characters on both sides of the Atlantic as the two countries race to develop the technology – the Germans to attack, and the Americans to defend.

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The Missing Season, by Gillian French (2019)

Mystery | 13-16

The Missing Season, by Gillian French

Here’s another title chosen after appearing in an e-newsletter from the Grand Forks & District Public Library. If you aren’t subscribed yet, give it a go! It’s a great way to discover new titles as well as others in the collection that might interest you but have escaped you so far. This is the first book by Gillian French I’ve read, but she’s got a couple of other YA titles under her belt. It’s October in Maine, and school has been in session for a month when Clara arrives in town with her parents as she starts her final year of high school. Her dad has a job helping to close down the mill, so this is a town on the slide. She’s hesitant about making friends, but quickly finds allies when a bully zones in on her.

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Recursion, by Blake Crouch (2019)

Science Fiction | Adult

Recursion, by Blake Crouch (2019)

Holy hannah – hang on to your hat! It’s another another terrific, mind-blowing story from the author of Dark Matter. Where to begin? Or rather, when? NYC Detective Barry Sutton stumbles across an amazing device as he investigates False Memory Syndrome, a phenomenon in which people are suddenly remembering entire alternative lives that aren’t real. The device is a memory chair, the work of physicist Helena Smith. Having watched her mother deteriorate from early-onset Alzheimer’s Syndrome, Dr. Smith has has spent her life trying to find a way to capture our most precious memories so they aren’t lost when brain disease takes hold.

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Vessel, by Lisa A. Nichols (2019)

Science Fiction | Adult

Vessel, by Lisa A. Nichols (2019)

Science fiction meets domestic drama in this terrific debut novel that sees astronaut Catherine Wells return from a mission to an exoplanet via a wormhole, three years late and missing her entire crew. Worst of all, she can’t remember visiting the planet or what happened to the crew. And back on Earth, the blackouts are still happening and she hasn’t told anyone. At home, things are little better. Catherine has been gone nine years; her mum’s dementia has deepened, her middle school daughter is about to graduate, and her husband has found a new love. The family does its best to try to bring Catherine back into the home, and in fact, she’s the one who can’t seem to adjust.

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Storm Rising, by Sara Driscoll (2018)

Thriller | Adult

Storm Rising (series FBI K-9 #3), by Sara Driscoll (2018)

This is the third entry in the FBI K-9 series by Sara Driscoll, but the first one I’ve read. Meg Jennings and her rescue dog Hawk, a superbly trained black lab, are sent from Washington D.C. to help find missing people when a hurricane devastates the Virginia Beach shore. Partners in the FBI’s Human Scent Evidence Team, the two searchers and their colleagues work hard to find live victims, not than bodies. But when Meg and Hawk find a terrified young woman in the Great Dismal Swamp, they are diverted into a criminal investigation into a human sex trafficking ring that was disrupted by the storm. The chaos gives police an opportunity to break up the ring and save even more young lives, but promising leads fade as the evidence they need is washed away.

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We All Fall Down, by Daniel Kalla (2019)

Thriller | Adult

We All Fall Down, by Daniel Kalla (2019)

Daniel Kalla is a Vancouver emergency room doctor who writes medical thrillers. I’ve read a couple by him and enjoyed them so I was looking forward to this one, the story of a reemergence of the deadly bubonic plague that decimated Europe in the middle ages. Dr. Alana Vaughn is an infectious disease expert with NATO, specializing in bioterrorism. A former soldier, she worked an Ebola epidemic in Africa with the WHO, but resigned when the bureaucracy left her helpless against the deadly rampage. A former WHO colleague and lover, the gorgeous and now-married Dr. Nico Oliva, asks for her help in Genoa, Italy, when a woman shows up at the hospital with symptoms of the plague.

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