When No One Is Watching | Alyssa Cole
Summary: Enamored with her hometown neighborhood, Sydney pays attention to the changes being introduced from outside forces. Not only are the businesses and buildings becoming more upscale, the tenants are moving away – sometimes suddenly. Is this area of Brooklyn getting gentrified or stolen piecemeal? Having her own personal issues to navigate, Sydney responds to the call of duty and becomes a guardian investigator with the help of an adorable outsider with special skills. Is there an agenda in place or is she paranoid?
Recommendation: When an author can write successfully through a flawed or insecure or anxious character to set the tone, that’s an accomplishment. Sydney does indeed have her issues, not the least of which is hiding certain truths from her protective neighbors. There is a point of discord where the plot seems to meld into an action film with chases and escapes far beyond an average person’s ability, but I still enjoyed it a great deal.
To Be Taught, If Fortunate | Becky Chambers
Summary: Everything is explained near the beginning – how the technological improvements have advanced the survivability of long space travel, what the team is expecting in terms of their futures and relationships with each other, why someone might choose to devote their life to acquiring answers to the unknown. But every perfect plan has to test your mettle, hm? When the people you are working for, trying to improve their state of being, seem to stop responding altogether… what comes next?
Recommendation: I listened to this work as an audiobook, so reading it might produce a different experience. The narrator, Brittany Pressley, is excellent and makes this 4.5 hr listening episode feel much shorter. About midway through, I found myself completely invested in what happened to both the hero-explorers and anyone left on Earth. How translatable is this toward a television series? I would watch it despite already knowing how the book ends.
A Hundred Thousand Worlds | Bob Proehl
Summary: Val was once a star on the small screen – a bit diminished and less shiny now after being off the air. Yet she’s been raising her son, a thoughtful and calculating kid wise beyond his nine years. Smart as he is, Alex starts to doubt the veracity of his mother’s explanations. She’s taking him through conventions across the US to deliver him to California… why? And for how long?
Recommendation: Being a mom, this was quite emotional to read/hear. Val knows she made a mistake and is attempting to rectify it without losing herself. Her ex-husband doesn’t make it any easier. Will her son benefit from the upcoming change or lose himself to any number of threats?