|Dark Market: Cyber-thieves, Cyber-cops and You by Misha Glenny|
If you are concerned about identity theft and personal security, Dark Market is going to keep you at night. This book documents the murky world of international cyber-crime in which billions of dollars are lost to cyber criminals who have no difficulty keeping one step ahead of law enforcers. It’s a must read for anyone interested in how information has become a commodity and for those concerned about its safety.
White Horse by Alex Adams
White Horse is a decidedly ‘what if’ novel. What if all the hallmarks of society, such as transportation, food supply, and government began to crumble? What if everyone around you was dying of a mysterious disease? What if those that didn’t die, mutated into bizarre forms? What if you were immune from the disease that wiped out most of the planet’s population? What if you were being stalked by a crazed Swiss? You’ll have to read it to find out how it ends!
Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari
As the “Hunger Games” withdrawal symptoms continue unabated and anticipation for the movie release increases, another dystopian YA novel to consider is Ashes, Ashes by Nova Scotian Jo Treggiari. It has all the familiar elements – plague, floods, mad dogs, haz-mat suited villains, an independent heroine and a touch of romantic interest. When Treggiari was asked to list the 5 people she would like to invite to dinner (dead, alive, fact or fiction), she responded with Malcolm X, J.K. Rowling, Jesus, Suzanne Collins, and the warrior queen,Boudicca. I’d love to participate in that dinner conversation!
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Here is another YA futuristic dystopian offering for those pining for a Hunger Games read-a-like. Nailer, a teenage boy, is part of a crew breaking down oil tankers for valuable parts on a desolate part of America's Gulf Coast. An extreme storm event caused by global warming results in a clipper ship wreckage that could be Nailer's ticket to freedom or his doom, as others, including his drug-addicted, psychotic father and fierce and genetically-altered dog men seek the contents of the ship. A thrilling, fast paced adventure!
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
If neurotic sisters who dislike each other and can employ Shakespeare’s lines to skewer fellow rivals for parental affection appeals, then by all means open The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. Three sisters, all named for the bard’s heroines by their professorial father, return to the family home to assist in the care of their mother, recently diagnosed with breast cancer. However, the return home has more to do with avoiding the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in the outside world than just domestic concern. The novel holds special appeal for biblio-lovers as the sisters believe “there is no problem a library card cannot solve”. Hurrah!
The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock
If you enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, try this book. The chapters’ point of view alternates between Cathy, an overweight, angst-ridden teenager in the 80’s, and Charlie, her rebellious teenage uncle during the WW2 occupation. It examines the unexpected consequences of lies and delves into the many variations on truth, both personal and historical. It is a gritty, edgy look at life on a small island, but the dark humour and freshness of the main character make this debut novel a delight. If your interest in World War 2 history was piqued by Potato Peel Pie Society, it also provides another insight into the Guernsey occupation.
The Butterfly Cabinet by Bernie McGill
This historical novel is based on a true story in which a 19th century Irish woman is placed on trial for the murder of her child. The point of view alternates between the diary account of the accused aristocrat and a servant in her household who witnessed the events. If you enjoyed Upstairs, Downstairs and Gosford Park, you’ll enjoy this portrayal of period attitudes towards women, child-rearing, religion, class and marriage. It is an atmospheric tale full of secrets, passion and recrimination.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
This is a compelling look at youth suicide. The suicide victim, Hannah, pre-records cassette tapes and has them send to the thirteen people she identifies as having contributed to her decision to commit suicide. When Clay Jenson plays them, he learns the painful details of her life and the intricate web of circumstances that lead to her death. It is a story of betrayals and secrets that demonstrate the consequences of even small actions. Hannah, herself, is not free from guilt and the novel’s ultimate message is about how important it is that we treat one another well. A simply riveting read!