Every weekday we feature a different review on Booklist Online. These reviews are notable for different reasons—they may be starred, or high-demand, or especially relevant to the current issue’s spotlight. We’ve collected the reviews from September 28–October 2 below, so you can revisit the best of the week.
Monday, September 28
Black Widow: Forever Red, by Margaret Stohl
Eight years ago, U.S. S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanov was on a routine mission to assassinate her childhood nemesis in a Ukrainian warehouse when she rescued an eight-year-old girl, Ava. But rescuing Ava meant she was placed in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s own spy-training camp, only now she’s escaped, and Natasha feels an inexplicable need to find her, along with an intense compulsion to monitor Alex, a teenager in New Jersey who, by all rights, should be a stranger.
Tuesday, September 29
Boundless: Tracing Land and Dream in a New Northwest Passage, by Kathleen Winter
Eager for an adventure, Winter signs on to be writer-in-residence on a two-week journey through the Northwest Passage. Surrounded by fellow passengers on their own voyages of discovery, she watches the bird-watchers compare gear and life lists, the geologists hunt down rock samples, a songwriter share the pain of losing his father, and all manner of tourists take in stunning vistas and experience shock and awe over an approaching polar bear.
Wednesday, September 30
One Dough, Ten Breads: Making Great Bread by Hand, by Sarah Black
It’s hard to imagine how the printed page can capture the sensations—touch, taste, feel, and smell—involved in baking bread. Yet lifetime baker Black manages to do so. How? By first investigating the building of a simple white loaf. The instructions are very tactile: “Notice the warmth of the water,” “See tiny bubbles form from the yeast.” Experiences are put into words: sticky hands, living yeast, fermentation, kneading, shaping, and, finally, baking.
Thursday, October 1
Writing Fantastic Fiction, by Jennifer Joline Anderson
The title of this entry in the Write This Way series says it all: it offers solid advice to prospective authors. Beginning with the assumption that kids know some of fiction’s basic requirements—“interesting characters, a vivid setting, and a gripping plot”—Anderson delves deeper into these topics and more, suggesting ways to hatch story ideas; develop characters, conflict, and settings; and outline and write a rough draft.
Friday, October 2
Women Chefs of New York, by Nadia Arumugam
One chef’s guilty pleasure is powdered cheese, another chef’s secret is using herb purees as sauces, and another chef calls August her favorite month in which to cook. Although the 100 unusual recipes presented here are certainly one attraction of Arumugam’s latest book (her first was Chop, Sizzle & Stir, 2009), interviews with two-dozen-plus-one women chefs are, in a word, mesmerizing.