Reviews by Sidney Young

C+
Dragon Springs Road

My experience with books set in China has not been stellar – I've read too many authors who seem only interested in transplanting characters with western attitudes to a more exotic setting. Janie Chang's Dragon Springs Road, I am happy to say, does not fall in this category. If anything, by adheri ...

B+
A Perilous Undertaking

In A Perilous Undertaking, the second book in Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell series, Veronica and Stoker are called upon to investigate the murder of an artist. Having just read and loved A Curious Beginning, the first book in the series, I couldn’t wait to see what the pair were going to ...

C
The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

I've never read Julie Klassen before but know her by reputation - several of her inspirational romances have received good grades here at AAR. Therefore it pains me to say this, but her latest book is a predictable and meandering affair punctuated by plot holes that repeatedly took me out of the sto ...

C
The Apothecary's Curse

We mere mortals have always been obsessed with the idea of immortality.  With The Apothecary's Curse, author Barbara Barnett taps into that fascination by bringing us the story of two men bound together by their inability to age. The tale revolves around the ideas of what it means to be alive and h ...

B-
Yesternight

Stories about reincarnation have both fascinated and terrified me ever since I read The Mirror by Marlys Millhiser in high school. Therefore, it was with equal parts trepidation and excitement that I picked up Cat Winter’s Yesternight, a book about a child psychologist investigating claims of rein ...

D
Catching Heat

Catching Heat is the third and final book in Janice Cantore's Cold Case Justice series. Having been a huge fan of the TV show Cold Case, I was initially excited to read this novel. That excitement, however, was soon tempered when none of the cases featured in Catching Heat managed to hold my attenti ...

C+
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

One of the hardest things about reviewing is grading a book with strong writing that for some reason leaves you cold. Bright Smoke, Cold Fire is such a book. Normally, I love books that put a different spin on classical literature, and stories featuring lovers from rival clans is one of my favorite ...

B-
In the Barren Ground

Loreth Anne White’s latest book is set in the Barren Lands, a vast swath of sparsely inhabited region in northern Canada. While I liked the unique setting and found the central mystery well-done, the romance portion of the book didn’t really work for me. In the Barren Ground is an atmospheric th ...

D+
The Secrets She Kept

The Secrets She Kept is the second book in Brenda Novak's Fairham Island series about a prominent family on… you've got it... Fairham Island. In the first book, The Secret Sister, Maisy Lazarow returns to Fairham Island to help her troubled brother Keith and ends up unearthing old family secrets a ...

C+
Angel in Scarlet

Angel in Scarlet is the fourth book in Lavinia Kent's Bound and Determined series. With a series title like that, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the book is heavy on sex and light on dialogue and exposition. Ultimately, though, it is the lack of appealing characters and a convincing romance th ...