We're winding things up at Visioncon, hoping for a strong finish for the convention. All too soon we'll start having to pack the fiddly fragile stuff and hoping that people won't decide they shouldn't bother us with something we'd like to buy.
But once all the heavy work is done, it's a great time to head back to the hotel for some well-deserved rest. And that's a wonderful time to pull out a good book and do some reading.An Alternate World War II by Joseph T Major
From Book 1: "There are bitter weeds in England." The Dunkirk Evacuation was a great deliverance. But some of the soldiers did not make it. If someone had only known . . . A troubled man, a man divided between two nations and several natures, delivered from the continent, pursues a twisted course in a wilderness of mirrors to serve his masters. A woman staging a great pretense that is almost true finds herself in the heart of darkness, seeing the advance of evil. Their relatives and connections each struggle with his or her own burdens as the horrors of war spread. The simple kindness of stopping to give the dead some small dignity begins a wave of change that will wash across the world, in this first volume of a series highlighting the great and the petty, the powerful and the victims, and finding both pain and hope.
(I love this series because of its themes of family ties and of how small choices can make a big differences).The Atlantis Grail by Vera Nazarian
From Book 1: You have two options. You die, or you Qualify.
The year is 2047. An extinction-level asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, and the descendants of ancient Atlantis have returned from the stars in their silver ships to offer humanity help.
But there’s a catch.
They can only take a tiny percent of the Earth’s population back to the colony planet Atlantis. And in order to be chosen, you must be a teen, you must be bright, talented, and athletic, and you must Qualify.
Sixteen-year-old Gwenevere Lark is determined not only to Qualify but to rescue her entire family.
Because there’s a loophole.
If you are good enough to Qualify, you are eligible to compete in the brutal games of the Atlantis Grail, which grants all winners the laurels, high tech luxuries, and full privileges of Atlantis Citizenship. And if you are in the Top Ten, then all your wildest wishes are granted… Such as curing your mother’s cancer.
There is only one problem.
Gwen Lark is known as a klutz and a nerd. While she’s a hotshot in classics, history, science, and languages, the closest she’s come to sports is a backyard pool and a skateboard.
This time she is in over her head, and in for a fight of her life, against impossible odds and world-class competition—including Logan Sangre, the most amazing guy in her school, the one she’s been crushing on, and who doesn’t seem to know she exists.
Because every other teen on Earth has the same idea.
You Qualify or you die.
(Another series I love because of the warm, loving family. So many dystopias seem to have either viciously dysfunctional families or characters who have no apparent family at all. But the Larks stick together through thick and thin, helping each other and even risking their own futures for a sibling. Which makes the ending of Book 1 particularly poignant).Over the Sea by Sherwood Smith
When Sherwood Smith was eight years old, she had dreams about a girl queen who traveled between worlds, looking for girls who loved adventure. Clair came to Earth, where she found CJ, and adopted her as her princess best friend. One of her jobs was to serve as leader for Clair's gang of girls, as they encountered villains who thought it would be easy to take a kingdom away from a mere kid. From the shadowy Kwenz, a powerful mage with a very wicked past, to the usurper Glotulae and her son Prince Jonnicake, who in their ridiculous way were just as determined to boot Clair out, there were plenty of chances for adventure. And mystery, like why did kids from other times and worlds show up every now and then? These are the early stories, how Clair found her gang of girls, and how "the M girls" developed the fine art of the Duel to the Pie.
(There are the families we're born into, and there are the families we create. The M Girls are one of the latter, brought together by Clair and forming bonds of sisterhood through shared trials).Starlight Running by Leigh Kimmel
Eight lives depend on Kyle's desperate trek across the Moon to get help. But someone -- or something -- intends for him to fail. Can he defeat it in time?
(How far would you go if your family depended on you?)