There's not much to Cedar's life other than reading, writing and taking care of her critters--but she likes it that way. She has rescued and rehabilitated many exotic birds, and enjoys the companionship of her own three parrots (including Gatsby, named for Cedar's love of classic literature). Cedar enjoys getting lost, whether it's in the real world exploring with her dog, or discovering new worlds in the pages of a book. If you have questions about parrots, dystopian fiction or the best way to navigate Central Oregon without a car, she is definitely your gal.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if Willy Wonka was a geeky programmer rather than a chocolatier? Well wonder no more. The year is 2044. Wade is an awkward teenager living in futuristic slums called "the stacks," appropriately named for the over-crowded mobile homes piled on top of one another. Wade, like most people, spends most of his time avoiding reality in the Oasis, a virtual utopia where almost anything is possible. The Oasis is more than just a video game; everything, from business transactions and education to social interactions, takes place in the virtual reality world. People all over the world mourn when the mastermind behind the Oasis, James Halliday dies, but sadness quickly turns to excitement when it is revealed that he left one last game behind. Halliday has hidden an Easter egg in his virtual world, and whoever finds it inherits not only the Oasis, but his entire fortune. In order to find the egg, players will have to make sense of Halliday's cryptic clues and odd obsession with 80's pop culture. As Wade gets closer to discovering the egg, it becomes clear that his competitors are willing to do anything to get the egg first. Light hearted at times, intense at others, this was a fun escapist novel that was surprisingly thrilling.
Evie O'Neill is ecstatic when she is sent to live in New York, the glamorous world of flappers and speakeasies, even if it means living with her Uncle Will, who has dedicated his life to studying the occult. Evie is free to explore New York, as long as she meets curfew and keeps her secret--a supernatural power she's had since birth--hidden from her uncle. However, a string of brutal murders quickly overshadows the glamour of her new life. Because of the ritualistic nature of the killings, Will is called upon to assist with the investigation. Evie soon realizes that her gift may be the key to uncovering the killer, and she must decide if using the unpredictable power is worth the danger it brings. Libba Bray has written a number of novels, but she's at her best when writing historical fantasy. Once again, she has managed to create a kick-butt heroine while still remaining true to the story's time period.
I was drawn to this book as a dog lover who still needed some closure after the notorious dog fighting scandal of the early 2000s. The book ended up exceeding my expectations by containing much more detail than I anticipated-- which was both enlightening and brutal. Gorant definitely doesn't make any effort to spare the reader's feelings, but he shares no more detail than is necessary to convey the true atrocity that took place in Vick's fighting ring. However, as much as the book is painful to read, it is also uplifting at parts; most people probably don't realize the underlying good nature of Vick's canine victims, or how many of them were successfully rescued and rehabilitated. I read the sections about the dogs that found new homes over and over again, so relieved that there were some happy endings. Possibly more valuable than anything about the dogs themselves was the author's detailed account about the investigation, and how hard it is to hold celebrities accountable in the justice system, even with abundant evidence. This is a story of redemption and perseverance, and a definite must read for animal lovers.