The Crash of Hennington by Patrick Ness

The Crash of Hennington by Patrick Ness


Patrick Ness’s first novel written for adults recently reprinted.

As with his other books it is original, political and at times confusing but in the end satisfying.

Short chapters easily followed between many different characters and storylines.  They are coming together, but how?

A rhinoceros herd with free range in the town, a country club with corrupt management, a married mayor and her long lost ex coming to win her back. Oppression, wealth and drug addiction.  Prostitution, loyalty, religion and a town without history.

I highly recommend this title, it’s Patrick Ness darkness is hidden in farcical style.

The Painter by Peter Heller

The Painter by Peter Heller


One of my favorite books of all time is Dog Stars, written by the same author.  A different type of story in some ways.

A damaged man, a talented painter, a confused sole.  A father who has lost a daughter, a marriage, a home.  He has started over but can’t leave his flaws behind.

This book is as beautifully written as the first.  It kept me turning the pages following the story to it’s conclusion.  It is sad, suspenseful, hopeful and has humour.

While is does lack in consequence, you are cheering for the underdog.


The Martian by Andy Weir


The Martian by Andy Weir

A si-fi set in the future where humans can travel to Mars. They go to do testing and can get left there with supplies for a while. Mark and this co-astronauts land on Mars, and there is a catastrophic event. The rest of the astronauts make it back to the ship, they are sure that Mark has died in the explosion.

Mark has not died although he is injured. He watches his ship and supplies fly away from Mars. He has no way to contact anyone. He is a scientist and he is smart. He sets about surviving. He thinks about how to get a message through that he is alive. Not everything goes to plan.

There is a lot of scientific fact in this story which is necessary because it has to be possible and believable. In some places I skimmed over the scientific bits because I couldn’t get my mind around them. This didn’t detract from the story, it made it more real.

This is a thrilling thriller. Recommended for si-fi fans, as well as fans of other types of thrillers. It is very hard to put down.

If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie
Will lives with his Mum. He doesn’t know his Dad but he always puts the money in the bank. His Mum doesn’t go outside the house, the world panics her. She gets everything delivered. Will can’t remember ever being outside.
One day while his Mum is having a rest he goes outside. It isn’t what he imagined. The kids aren’t wearing helmets like he does, whether he is inside or out. His Mum is worried he will get hurt without the helmet. She is like that, they cook most of their meals in the jug. His Mum has heard about terrible things that have happened to people with other appliances.
Her family has a history of tragic, random deaths and she isn’t taking any chances with Will.
He decides he wants to go to school and she allows this. She is afraid if she doesn’t, someone will come and take Will away from her. At first he doesn’t fit in. His Mum’s way of educating him was unconventional and he has some odd ways of thinking.
Finally he makes a friend. They decide to try and find out what happened to a kid from a foster home who went missing. It turns out the boy may have been involved with some criminals. They discover something that turns the criminal’s attention onto them.
The adventure gives Will an opportunity to learn about the world outside.
This is a sensitively written story with enough mystery to keep
you turning the pages.

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin


Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Rose Howard is on the autism spectrum but is verbal and bright. Her family life is a bit tricky. Her solo Dad has vowed not be like his own father. This is a struggle for him. He has a sometime job and spends time at the bar on the corner. Rose spends afternoons by herself and cooks dinner every night. Sometimes her Dad is home to eat with her, sometimes he doesn’t eat at all.
Her Dad’s single brother Wesley is Rose’s ally. When Rose is no longer allowed to ride on the school bus he offers to drive her each morning and afternoon. He also takes her places on the weekends sometimes.

One day her Dad arrives home with a stray dog for Rose. She names him Rain because it was raining when he came into their lives. They don’t look for the previous owner because Rain doesn’t have a collar or tags. Rose and Rain become the best of friends.

Rose doesn’t have friends at school. She struggles with her autism and OCD. She confuses the other children by her outbursts of prime numbers and her obsession with homonyms. Her teacher aid stays with her all day and is helping Rose discover how to relate to others.

A superstorm hits and Rose’s Dad lets Rain out without her collar. Rain becomes lost. It is up to Rose to find her. Uncle Wesley helps her but Rose has to make some big decisions. Rose finds out along the way that she is brave and strong and smart.

Recommended to readers 8+ especially fans of ‘A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime”

The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings


The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings

“Moving through grief like it’s a thick drift” this is how Sarah St John describes life since her only child, 22 year old Cully is killed in an avalanche. It is three months since his death. Sarah is trying to reengage with life. She goes back to work as a television host for the local ski resort info channel but her mind can’t engage with what she is supposed to be saying, her heart isn’t in it.

Her recently retired father Jack is living with her. This is a blessing as well as a challenge. Sarah and Jack get on very well but Jack has so much time on his hands that he has resorted to watching and purchasing from the home shopping channel.

When returning home from her first day back at work she encounters a girl, Kit, in her driveway. Kit offers to come and shovel snow the next morning after the predicted storm moves through. Sarah uncharacteristically invites Kit inside and tells her father that the she could get started chipping ice off the back deck. Jack and Kit work for a while in the afternoon.

Kit returns the next day, by then Sarah and Jack are wondering what this girl is really up to. Kit has a proposition for them that has incalculable possibilities.

Sarah’s best friend Suzanne’s husband of many years has cheated on her and although she is devastated, her grief does not compare with Sarah’s. It is difficult for their friendship because they need each other more than they are able to help each other.

Sarah’s daughter is a lifelong friend of Cully and they attended the same university. She has arranged a memorial tribute to Cully. Sarah, Jack, Suzanne, Cully’s Dad and the Kit go along.

This should be a sad and depressing read but it was not for me. What made me love this writing was the possibilities, not exactly hope but a glimpse into the future. How possibilities allow us to continue to move through life when it seems to have stopped around us.

How possibilities allow us to heal, grow and move on even when we aren’t ready. How possibilities can force us to make choices which are far reaching and may not be what we hoped for. That the possibilities make it possible to move on.

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon


T has been shot in the street by a white man.  Was he armed?  Was it self-defence?  Why do all the witnesses have a different version of what went down?

Very, very good. Short chapters, easy flow, hard hitting reality of living in a bad neighbourhood. Either running into or away from gangs. The desperation, poverty, hopelessness is tragic but sympathetically written.

You don’t always have a choice whether you join a gang or not. The boys of Peach Street don’t have many choices. It’s either the Stingers or the Kings. The girls don’t have much hope either.

This book should draw in reluctant boys 13+ but is a gripping read for all ages. Strong girl / women characters.