Wonderland Press

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The Clockwork Alice
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 42,860. Language: English. Published: February 27, 2017 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk
Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the girl who inspired the Alice in Wonderland books, has all grown up. She is married and has three rambunctious boys, an excellent husband, a wonderful house. A good life. And she has a painting given to her by the Reverend Charles Dodgson that may lead her to Wonderland one last time...in order to save it. But will it mean leaving her old life behind forever?
When Pigs Fly
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 9,980. Language: English. Published: January 24, 2017 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
A novelette of swindlers, dames, and a millionaire with a pig. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1925. Right before New Year's Day. Genevra has just brought in a mark with a story she can't believe: he wants to race his famous racing pig against all takers. It sounds like a con--and she should know--but she just can't resist.
All the Retros at the New Cotton Club
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 12,010. Language: English. Published: December 22, 2016 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Bernice had a good life with Bobby. She mighta been the second wife but to him she was number one. Then he died of cancer--something that not even the modern docs who could treat a ninety-year-old man to look like he was twenty-five again could cure. There was money, but only if she hosted his A.I. for three years--his "ghost."
How Smoke Delivered A Christmas Present
Series: Smoke. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 16,130. Language: English. Published: December 9, 2016 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Victorian, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
London, England. 1840. The former chimney sweep Caroline, a.k.a. the infamous Smoke, is trying to rescue homeless orphans from the streets. Three of her orphans have found a home with a wealthy mill-owner and his wife. The first night, all seems fine--but then the orphans disappear. Caroline breaks into the house, fearing the worst...
How Smoke Got Out of the Chimneys
Series: Smoke. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 10,210. Language: English. Published: November 23, 2016 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Mystery & Detective, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
1840 London. Caroline, a.k.a. the infamous Smoke, is one of the older orphan in a gang of chimney sweeps; she lifts and lowers the four- and five-year-old sweeps up and down chimneys. But rumor is she's about to be sold to a brothel in Whitechapel. Can she get out of her gang in time?
The Ballad of Molly McGee
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,210. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2016 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
Witches weave curses out of words; the less you use ‘em, the more powerful they are. Judith’s red-headed granddaughter Molly, also a witch, curses her way through life, and now look at her—pregnant, a widow, and an adulteress with the spirit of a mountain to boot. But what else is a grandmother to do, but love her grandbaby?
Alice's Adventures in Underland: The Queen of Stilled Hearts
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 46,320. Language: English. Published: August 12, 2016 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
Before Lewis Carroll wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, he was humble Charles Dodgson, mathematician at Christ Church college...and a zombie. Kept sane by a serum, chained to an iron ball, considered one of the finest amateur photographers in Britain, and friend to the three charmingly edible daughters of his superior and owner, Dean Liddell, Mr. Dodgson has quite the story to tell...
A Murder of Crows
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 75,380. Language: English. Published: August 12, 2016 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
A collection of short horror, ghost, and dark fantasy stories for adults, woven together by a flock of crows, telling stories to entertain a girl trying to survive a tragedy...
The Secret of the Cellar
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,470. Language: English. Published: October 8, 2013 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Readers / Intermediate, Fiction » Children’s books » Holidays & Celebrations / Halloween
Elly always gets stuck with entertaining her relatives while their parents talk to her mom. Blah, blah, blah. It goes on for hours. But this time, she worked and worked to make a special surprise for her visiting cousins...a haunted house in the basement! With a super-duper, extra-gross surprise in the spooky cellar.
Exotics #3: The Subterranean Sanctuary
Series: The Exotics: Kids, Spies, and Magic, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 41,620. Language: English. Published: September 9, 2013 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Readers / Chapter Books, Fiction » Children’s books » Paranormal
Returning home again after the terrible events at Xanadu House, Rachael Baptiste has learned not to trust humans...because they might be part of the Lighthouse Parents, a hostile group out to arrest and destroy the Exotics.
Guinea Pig Apocalypse
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 13,180. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2013 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Readers / Intermediate, Fiction » Children’s books » Monsters
Galileo’s mad-scientist parents have done it again: invented something that got completely out of control. This time, it’s a matter replicator in their basement. And a squirrel army out to get rid of the humans. And lots...and LOTS of Guinea pigs out of sewage. Yuck!
The Boy Who Would Not Sleep
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,580. Language: English. Published: March 19, 2013 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction
Just before the men in Nickolas's family grow up, they fall into a deep sleep...and serve a local dragon in their dreams. Tired of being teased, Nickolas makes a vow: he will not sleep. Now he's learning the consequences of disobeying a dragon...
The Mighty Mountain of Theornin
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,090. Language: English. Published: December 21, 2012 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction, Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables
Astra knows what she’s good at: thieving, tricking, and hitting people with rocks. Especially the mayor’s bullying son, after he makes fun of her. She also knows what she’s not good at: being a girl. Not the kind of girl that lives in the tiny mountain village of Theornin, anyway. So logically that means making Wizard Jorphen change her into a boy.
Beware the Easter Moon
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 14,740. Language: English. Published: November 12, 2012 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction, Fiction » Children’s books » Paranormal
Colin’s tired of his mean, bullying Grandpa stealing kids’ chocolate Easter eggs. So he hatches a plan to make his Grandpa eat one of last year’s Easter eggs. One of the regular kind. That stinks when it gets rotten. It was a terrible plan. But it was also a great plan. He just shouldn’t have gone outside at the farm to get the egg on the night of the full moon before Easter.
The Girl and the Genie
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,860. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2012 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction
In this fairy tale, a girl finds a magic bottle with a genie inside (she can tell there’s a genie inside, because she can see it having adventures), but the genie won’t come out to give her wishes. What does she do? She goes inside... (For children 8 to 12 years old.)
Exotics #2: Xanadu House
Series: The Exotics: Kids, Spies, and Magic, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 31,360. Language: English. Published: June 5, 2012 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Readers / Chapter Books, Fiction » Children’s books » Paranormal
(4.00)
After saving her half-human, half-animal friends, Rachael comes down with the Exotics virus. As a new Exotic, Rachael can’t control the change, so she travels to a safe place for Exotics in danger—Xanadu House. Xanadu is owned by an aunt that Rachael never knew she had, and who will protect any Exotic, no matter what side they’re on. But is Xanadu House as safe as it seems?
Alien Blue
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 108,180. Language: English. Published: May 21, 2012 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Bill Trout didn’t mean to get involved with aliens. He just wanted to run his brewery and mind his own business. But that ain’t the way things worked out, and now he’s got some bodies to bury, an alien to hide, and his best friend to talk some sense into. Except Mayor Jack ain’t one for sense. Nothing for it but to make some beer...
My Mom Ate My Homework
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,610. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2012 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Monsters, Fiction » Children’s books » Readers / Intermediate
Aya's mom just told her to pick up her stuff for the 1,001th time...she was almost going to pick it up for reals, but then her mom gets turned into a cleanicidal vacuum cyborg. And now Aya's almost late for school...
People Juice
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,650. Language: English. Published: April 27, 2012 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
If there’s one thing that can ruin your workday, it’s getting harassed. Beautiful, blonde Jackie has figured out how to handle it—most of the time. But last Friday she almost got snagged in the parking lot by a guy in a hoodie wearing too much aftershave, and now she’s out for revenge.
Secret Magic in Small Places
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 39,530. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2012 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
Inside every ordinary life hides a few instances of secret magic. The intuition you can’t explain. The coincidence that can’t possibly be true. Ten stories that capture that incredible moment before the wonder is hidden again.
Exotics #1: The Floating Menagerie
Series: The Exotics: Kids, Spies, and Magic, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 25,210. Language: English. Published: December 15, 2011 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction
(4.00)
When Rachael's mom disappears and she finds out that her second-grade classmate Raul might know something about it, she follows him into a trap and is kidnapped onto a mysterious ship along with a group of kids who can turn into magical animals--Exotics. She has to find a way to escape the ship and rescue the Exotics who are waiting to be sold as pets...or are they?
The Vengeance Quilt
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,070. Language: English. Published: October 14, 2011 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Western, Fiction » Horror » General
God’s work weighs on Sebastian, a new priest, harder than most. But dealing with demons is his penance, and God never makes a burden harder than you can carry. Or so he believes when the rivalry between two of his parishioners spirals into the supernatural. A Weird West story set on the Great Plains in the 1960s.
Tales Told Under the Covers: Zombie Girl Invasion & Other Stories
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 50,110. Language: English. Published: October 10, 2011 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Ten tales of death, invasions from other realms, bullies, babysitters, liars, and the brave kids who fight back. Zombie girls who have to hide, lest they get eaten by bigger zombies. Food that bites back. Wizards who are scared of their own power. Murdered (and murderous) pets. Secret superpowers. And that last, great voyage into the unknown.
Chance Damnation: A Tale of the Weird West
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 82,550. Language: English. Published: July 13, 2011 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
(4.50)
A little girl with the power of a God. Invaders from another world. When demons rewrite history on the Great Plains, three brothers follow one of their own into a strange Hell to change it back.
Letters to Thorbin
Price: Free! Words: 4,310. Language: English. Published: July 7, 2011 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Nonfiction » Parenting » Pregnancy and Child Birth, Nonfiction » Parenting » Family tragedy
(5.00)
August 5, 2010, was the best and the worst day of my life. On that day I married my best friend, my rock, my hero—and on the same day we lost our son, Thorbin, at 14 weeks due to heart complications. I wanted to share my story of this past year in hope of helping others who have gone though the same thing as we have.
Zombie Girl Invasion
Price: Free! Words: 3,330. Language: English. Published: April 14, 2011 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction, Fiction » Children’s books » Readers / Intermediate
When Neil shoots zombies in his imagination, they’re horrible and awful and they don’t have names. And then he meets Max, a zombie on the run from even worse zombies. Max is pretty nice, though. The thing is, Max isn’t just a zombie...Max is a girl zombie.
A Fly in Amber
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,160. Language: English. Published: February 20, 2011 by Wonderland Press. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
(4.00)
Three bottles of the Shackleton Scotch have returned to Scotland over 100 years after the failed Antarctic expedition. But how do they taste? Only a group of famed “noses,” that is, chemical engineers, will ever find out. And only one man has the talent to unlock the recipe.

Books

By Dawn's Bloody Light: An '80s-Style Horror Novella of Suspense, Fairies, and Revenge
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 18,660. Language: English. Published: June 26, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural, Fiction » Horror » Occult
Three women. One serial killer who has access to the supernatural. He can scare them...but he can't stop them from taking revenge.

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Wonderland Press' favorite authors on Smashwords


Smashwords book reviews by Wonderland Press

  • Dark Faith on Jan. 23, 2011

    Note - I read slush for Apex; this is an Apex book. A collection of short stories related to faith. Some of them went for the cheap tricks, but here were some of my favorites: The Mad Eyes of the Heron King - Richard Dansky. All herons are the Heron King. Scrawl - Tom Piccirilli. About a humble writer of porn. Cracked me up. The Days of Flaming Motorcycles - Catherynne Valente. Borders on the edge of hipsterism but still shines. Sandboys - Richard Wright. Two boys made out of sand on the seashore. It's a good thing when you read a collection and go, "Not bad," after you finish a story. None of these were quite immortal, but definitely on the high side of very good.
  • Walter's Bucket List on April 13, 2011

    Warning! Spoiler in next paragraph! This was a woman's version of the beginning of the movie Up, and I thought it was very sweet. The middle slowed me, like a series of pictures flying by, but the end more than made up for it.
  • Blood on the Ice on April 27, 2011

    Hammie's parents make him wear a mouth guard when he plays hockey for the Fighting Aardvarks. Why wouldn't they? They're dentists. The Aardvarks are going nowhere, until a new player joins, and half the team is sucking down raw-meat smoothies. It's up to Hammie, an incompetent vampire hunter, a hot librarian, and pair of dental extractors to save the team...and the world. There is nothing like a good farce like this (think Hudson Hawk) to put a smile on your face :)
  • Troubleshooters: The Longest Joke Ever Told on April 27, 2011

    With every obsession comes a price. Fortunately Mr. Whitecastle has the money. He hires assassin Angel, brain-modded hacker Haiwee, and monowheel-racing Camaro to help him recover one of three antique bottles...and destroy the other two. Selfish? Petty? Insane? They're not there to judge. They're just there to get paid. Fast-paced, alternately smart-aleck and deadly SF heist action.
  • Pariah's Moon on April 27, 2011

    The fun thing about this book was the way you got to go directly from a high-fantasy world into the Old West, but fantasy style. The high-fantasy world is full of all the melodrama of medieval politics (especially sexual politics), and the shift from that to the Old West-world of, well, rape, murder, and swindling the folks Back Home is like jumping into a cold pool on a hot day. Yeah, those elves are lying, cheating SOBs, but at least they're relatively honest. A clever variation for the Weird West subgenre (which I love). Good characters, fast action, and lots of bloody revenge.
  • Shattered - A Wizard's Work Book One on April 27, 2011

    Disclaimer: I know Mark. We met at a story-marketing workshop, and over the course of the workshop, he kept using his book as an example in his questions. By the time the workshop was over, I was sold. It's my reader candy...fantasy, intrigue, yeah. My kind of thing. What you have here is a high-fantasy novel that's not so much in the vein of Tolkein as it is in the vein of Stephen R. Donaldson's Mirror of Her Dreams/A Man Rides Through. Not as many plot twists (but lots of good red herrings), not as much blood (but there's a good one in there). A solid, put-your-feet-up, enjoyable fantasy book.
  • How to Cook Husbands: A Creepy Story on June 29, 2011

    Hee hee hee hee! I don't want to spoil it :)
  • Beyond Reach: Book 1 of the Beyond Saga on July 07, 2011

    Assassins, monkeys, and true love--oh my! Solid SF Adventure in a dark vein - almost, but not quite, romantic. An enjoyable diversion :)
  • Mutable Things on Aug. 18, 2011

    Interesting premise, characters, lots of action (and sex). There is just nothing wrong with this book. If that was all it was, though, I probably would have blown it off. However, she gets into a lot of depth (but not preachiness) about the expectations that young women face. "Be what your lover wants you to be" isn't something that just empaths have to face. Philosophical meat to a catchy thriller. Very nice.
  • Jack Dervish, Super Spy on Dec. 04, 2011

    In short: After Jack's superspy parents go missing, he hides in their secret lair for years...learning how to be the perfect spy. Now he has to face a terrible challenge: in order to find his parents, he has to to learn how to act like a normal kid. Jack Dervish's parents disappeared when he was four years old. He was smart enough to hide out in his parents' secret lair under the house, even after new people moved in upstairs. Living off his parents' savings and by using the Internet, Jack survived more or less alone. But on his twelfth birthday, Jack finally realizes that a) he cannot accept that his parents are dead and b) they aren't going to be able to come back on their own. He decides to go on a quest to rescue them; however, he has no idea where they could be, or what they were involved in when they left (well, he was four). He decides that the only way to search for his parents is to go into the outside world. And that means...pretending to be a normal kid. After eight years in his parents' secret hideout with nobody to talk to (except for a few people over the Internet), it won't be easy. Despite making a ton of mistakes (including deciding that "Rasputin" is a good name for a kid), Jack faces down bullies, fools the school into thinking he's from a foreign country, and makes a couple of friends that like him despite his really weird way of doing things. However, Isobel is one of the worst friends that he could have made; her father works for the Homeland Security Office...and is out to capture Jack and find the truth of where he really lives, and the source of all his gadgets. The thing is, Mr. Spencer knows something about Jack's parents...why else would he have a picture of them? I had a lot of fun reading this. Jack does not fit in, and that's what fifth grade was all about for me: being smart and not fitting in. If you enjoyed The Mysterious Benedict Society or the Artemis Fowl books, I highly recommend this book. I thought the beginning was a little silly--a four year old living on his own? Really?--but hey, why not? This looks like the start of a fun series. Lots of gadgets, traps, and sneaking about.
  • Fright Files: The Broken Thing on Dec. 28, 2011

    In short: Stevie likes horror movies and books…but when he discovers a real haunted house and a real haunting, he chickens out and has to be dragged into finding out more by his best friend, Angie. What they discover is a threat to their lives and the ones they love. Stevie, a big horror movie and book fan, is also the victim of bullies in Nohope, Vermont. The bullies chase him into some woods that are supposed to be, if not haunted, then at least too creepy to be running around in. While there, Stevie finds a broken doll-thing that almost seems to move in his hand–the doll is later stolen by the bullies. Soon afterwards, Stevie’s mom gets into a car crash (she doesn’t die) trying to avoid a ghostly, broken-looking girl in the middle of the road…a girl who wants to get back something that was stolen. Stevie and his best friend Angie, another horror fan, find out that the ghost used to be a girl who lived at a house just past the creepy woods…a girl who supposedly murdered her whole family, then killed herself. Stevie’s teacher doesn’t believe in ghost stories (but likes local legends), yet recommends they talk to his dad, who has a different, even scarier opinion of the old house… Okay, admittedly, with Goosebumps, sometimes you just have to laugh. Some of the situations that people get into are just too funny, especially when compared with adult horror movies. The Broken Thing, however much it may go in the Goosebumbs category, provides a few more chills than that. What makes the thrills just slightly annoying is that there are so many cliffhangers that lead to fake-outs–it wasn’t the monster sneaking up on them, it was only his sister! kind of things. But that’s a minor quibble. The characters were fun, the action exciting, and the slow parts tinged with creepiness. A couple of silly moments…but sometimes you just have to have a little cheese with your screams.
  • Fright Files: The Broken Thing on Dec. 28, 2011

    In short: Stevie likes horror movies and books…but when he discovers a real haunted house and a real haunting, he chickens out and has to be dragged into finding out more by his best friend, Angie. What they discover is a threat to their lives and the ones they love. Stevie, a big horror movie and book fan, is also the victim of bullies in Nohope, Vermont. The bullies chase him into some woods that are supposed to be, if not haunted, then at least too creepy to be running around in. While there, Stevie finds a broken doll-thing that almost seems to move in his hand–the doll is later stolen by the bullies. Soon afterwards, Stevie’s mom gets into a car crash (she doesn’t die) trying to avoid a ghostly, broken-looking girl in the middle of the road…a girl who wants to get back something that was stolen. Stevie and his best friend Angie, another horror fan, find out that the ghost used to be a girl who lived at a house just past the creepy woods…a girl who supposedly murdered her whole family, then killed herself. Stevie’s teacher doesn’t believe in ghost stories (but likes local legends), yet recommends they talk to his dad, who has a different, even scarier opinion of the old house… Okay, admittedly, with Goosebumps, sometimes you just have to laugh. Some of the situations that people get into are just too funny, especially when compared with adult horror movies. The Broken Thing, however much it may go in the Goosebumbs category, provides a few more chills than that. What makes the thrills just slightly annoying is that there are so many cliffhangers that lead to fake-outs–it wasn’t the monster sneaking up on them, it was only his sister! kind of things. But that’s a minor quibble. The characters were fun, the action exciting, and the slow parts tinged with creepiness. A couple of silly moments…but sometimes you just have to have a little cheese with your screams.
  • Thunderbird on Jan. 20, 2012

    In short: Twins Janine and Justin are stuck at their father’s dinosaur-digging camp for the summer. While most kids would be thrilled, they’ve seen it all before. However, when Janine is called to find a mysterious egg for a mythological creature (the thunderbird), they’re both drawn on a quest through the regular world and the spirit world in order to save the creature from dying. When I read like a kid (I’m actually a grown up, despite what my daughter might say), I think differently than I do as an adult. Some kids’ books you can read as an adult (like Harry Potter), but some kids’ books you have to read like a kid (like Goosebumps). This book is a book you should really read as a kid, and that’s a good thing. When twins Janine and Justin take off without their father knowing where they’re going to follow a magical quest, my adult brain wanted to go, “No! Bad bad! Kids shouldn’t take off without their parents!” but it’s a book. So I turned off that part of my brain and just enjoyed the book for what it is, which is an adventure story. You know, a story in which people do stuff that they wouldn’t normally do, which, you know, most kids can figure out that they shouldn’t take off on magical quests without at least leaving their parents a note first. One thing my adult brain really got into–Justin and Janine end up making part of their lengthy journey through the spirit world. As an adult, I’ve read a lot of stuff about traveling through various spirit worlds that just leaves me bored, but the adult side of me found the spirit world described here just as interesting as my kid brain did. I really enjoyed the fact that it changes depending on who your guide is? Loved it. Fast action, not a lot of blah blah blah, good characters, interesting plot and locations: this book receives my kid-brain seal of approval.
  • The Hands of God on July 20, 2012

    An unexpected, an unexpect-able book. It starts with a fourteen-year-old girl, Pamela, who lost her mother as well as her hands in an accident, who lives with her grandparents--a cruel grandfather who keeps her locked away from the world, and a grandmother who's lost her ability to protest. Pamela should be helpless, and in fact the author gives us a lot of detail into just how hard it is for her to deal with everyday tasks, and how that difficulty means that she's treated as less than human. But Pamela is her own person, with a talent for finding patterns in things--from horseracing to deloping new tools to help her gain more function with her arms. The details are fascinating as the author works out, step by step, how Pamela lives, thinks, and changes, blossoming from a girl with no sense of the world, to a worldly young woman (in the best sense) who can look out for herself, and even make difficult choices about not only how she wants to live her life, but how she wants to affect the world around her.
  • The Hands of God on July 20, 2012

    An unexpected, an unexpect-able book. It starts with a fourteen-year-old girl, Pamela, who lost her mother as well as her hands in an accident, who lives with her grandparents--a cruel grandfather who keeps her locked away from the world, and a grandmother who's lost her ability to protest. Pamela should be helpless, and in fact the author gives us a lot of detail into just how hard it is for her to deal with everyday tasks, and how that difficulty means that she's treated as less than human. But Pamela is her own person, with a talent for finding patterns in things--from horseracing to deloping new tools to help her gain more function with her arms. The details are fascinating as the author works out, step by step, how Pamela lives, thinks, and changes, blossoming from a girl with no sense of the world, to a worldly young woman (in the best sense) who can look out for herself, and even make difficult choices about not only how she wants to live her life, but how she wants to affect the world around her.
  • Captive Girl on Sep. 18, 2012

    I was expecting something different. The opening starts out with a girl, an asteroid, a sense of impending doom...space colonists have gone to inexplicable, almost illogical lengths to defend themselves, using little orphan girls (not so little now) to do their watching for them. The story didn't go where I expected it to go: no explosions, invasions, or despreate, noble self-sacrificing deaths. Instead, the authorities are like, "Well, that was about enough of that, our computers have improved, you've been replaced, thanks, here's a normal body, well done and all that, goodbye." Again, I'm expecting something different than what the author writes, but what she does write is horrifying. But that's not the worst part. It's the way that the author talked me around to thinking, "Maybe this isn't so bad." Then I started working out parallels and realized some of the implications, some of the similarities to our world. This is one of those stories that echo in your mind, a thoughtful kind of catharsis.
  • Captive Girl on Sep. 18, 2012

    I was expecting something different. The opening starts out with a girl, an asteroid, a sense of impending doom...space colonists have gone to inexplicable, almost illogical lengths to defend themselves, using little orphan girls (not so little now) to do their watching for them. The story didn't go where I expected it to go: no explosions, invasions, or despreate, noble self-sacrificing deaths. Instead, the authorities are like, "Well, that was about enough of that, our computers have improved, you've been replaced, thanks, here's a normal body, well done and all that, goodbye." Again, I'm expecting something different than what the author writes, but what she does write is horrifying. But that's not the worst part. It's the way that the author talked me around to thinking, "Maybe this isn't so bad." Then I started working out parallels and realized some of the implications, some of the similarities to our world. This is one of those stories that echo in your mind, a thoughtful kind of catharsis.
  • Sade on the Wall on Dec. 12, 2012

    There's a horrible moment somewhere in your childhood where you realize that everything is NOT going to be okay, and that the choices you make matter, and that the difference isn't just between two things you like but between losing all hope in the universe and learning how to cope. "Coming of age" books are about learning how to be an adult, how to take responsibility, how to be serious about working for a living, etc. This is a book about learning how to get past despair, injustice, incomprehensibility - and move, not into adulthood, but into living an authentic life. A nicely orchestrated book - a lot of themes going on here, a lot of subplots, all of them driving the book forward without being obvious or slow. In parts, the book's almost too realistic--not in gory details but in the horrible, misguided things some of the characters do. It's sad. But, of course, the author pulls you back from the brink - drops everything into place. "The world is painful. Being a teenager is fraught with danger." And then, "Everyone has find an answer to that. Here are a couple of good ones."