Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy holidays to all!

I'm signing off for the year; there shall be no more blog posts 'til 2012. I'm taking a well-earned vacation from fretting over updates for a while.

So, I wish you the happiest of holidays and the merriest of new years. May it be full of good books.

Me, Bob, and Milo the cat

Monday, December 19, 2011

House of Many Ways
by Diana Wynne Jones

What does it mean to be respectable? In the world of Mr. and Mrs. Baker, it means bringing up your daughter to be a lazy, selfish girl who is unable to do the simplest tasks for herself. I'm talking about the protagonist of House of Many Ways, of course: Charmain Baker. She's assigned to house-sit for her great aunt's uncle while he's away being treated for a mysterious illness. Surviving in his house requres a knowledge of magic Charmain doesn't have; luckily, an apprentice magician arrives to help her with the day-to-day chores, and with unravelling the mystery she's been drawn into. Can Charmain get her nose out of a book in time to save the kingdom?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson is your typical pre-teen misfit: awkward, isolated, and relatively angst-filled. He's just been kicked out of  school. He doesn't get along with his stepfather. He's got mild dyslexia and ADHD. And occasionally, he gets picked on by bullies. But there are good things in his life too: his mom; his friend, Grover; and his Latin teacher, Mr. Brunner. It's learning about Greek mythology that Percy likes best. Unfortunately, things get a little too real when his math teacher transforms into a Fury and tries to kill him. Thus begins Percy's introduction into the world of Camp Half-blood, a summer camp for the children of gods.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Castle in the Air
by Diana Wynne Jones

Abdullah is caught up in a life of daydreams; they're the one upside to selling carpets in his stall at the market. He imagines that he's the son of a king, stolen away at birth by ruffians, and eventually found by his father, the carpet-seller. He imagines that he's betrothed to the most beautiful princess in the world, and that they will live in a grand palace. Then, a shifty man stops by the stall, wanting to sell his magic carpet, and all Abdullah's daydreams start to come true. Even the bad ones.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Suggested book for December, 2011

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Genre: young adult fantasy

I tried to think of a Christmas-themed book that I've read which also happens to be sci-fi, fantasy, or YA, and I couldn't think of ANYTHING!

So, I decided to go with the series I usually end up re-reading around Christmastime, instead.

If you know of any Christmasey fantasy, sci-fi, or YA, please post the title and author in the comments, so I can check them out.

What can I say that hasn't already been said? The hidden world of wizards and witches that J.K. Rowling creates in this first book is incredibly appealing to readers of all ages. I first read this book at sixteen, and I was enthralled; I pulled my entire family into Harry Potter-fandom with me. While the Philosopher's Stone is slightly more juvenile than the later books, I don't find that it detracts from my enjoyment. After all, Harry is only eleven years old in this story. There's a reason this series has such a huge fan base; if you haven't already read this, give it a try. You'll be proud to call yourself a muggle.

View my suggested books by J.K. Rowling

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Jason wakes up in the back of a school bus with no memory. Everyone around him knows who he is, including his closest friend Leo, and and his girlfriend Piper. When they are attacked by storm spirits, he, Leo, and Piper are launched into the world of gods and demigods, finding a place for themselves at Camp Half-blood. But for a reason Jason can't explain, he feels like he doesn't quite belong. Nevertheless, they all discover the secret of their parentage and a dire threat to the gods, demigods, and humanity alike.  Together they set off on a quest to restore Jason's memories and stop the destruction they believe is about to unfold.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Howl's Moving Castle
by Diana Wynne Jones

Everyone knows that the eldest of three daughters will never amount to much. Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three sisters in the town of Market Chipping, and being eldest finally takes its toll when she's cursed by the Witch of the Waste. Trapped in a ninety-year-old body and unable to tell anyone what's happened, Sophie leaves her life as a hatmaker behind as she sets out to break the curse.

Friday, November 25, 2011

House of the Scorpion
by Nancy Farmer

This is a guest post
by Kristy Bruce
Six-year-old Matt Alacran is a clone. He doesn’t know what that means, but he does know that he’s different from the people around him. The people who care for him can be counted on one hand: Celia, the closest thing Matt’s ever had to a mother; Tam Lin, his bodyguard; and his powerful and volatile “father,” a man they all call El Patron. 

El Patron is the undisputed leader of the country they call Opium, a narrow strip of land between the southern border of the United States and Azatlan. His mansion is surrounded by the vast opium fields that are the source of his wealth, and are tended by eejits, human beings who have been altered to be little better than mindless slaves.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sandwriter by Monica Hughes

What is there left to want when you're raised with every luxury? For Antia, princess and heir to the throne of two continents, it's freedom; although, she doesn't know it, yet. Sent to the remote desert continent of Roshan obstensibly to be wooed by the prince, Antia has secretly agreed to spy for her tutor, Eskoril, whom she loves. Expecting a backwards land full of flea-bitten camel riders, Antia is surprised to find a land of freedom and pride, where every gift of nature is appreciated by the people. Torn between her love for Eskoril and her growing esteem for the desert land, will she betray the secret of Roshad and its generous people?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Earth Bound by J.A. Taylor

Most people despise tabloids; they see the ridiculous headlines and scoff. Even the journalists who provide those headlines, apparently. Matt Granger is one of them, a journalist working for a tabloid to pay the bills, all the while reminiscing about better days and reliving his fall from grace. Then, on an ordinary assignment with the rest of his team, he becomes a believer: He gets abducted.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Zinovy's Journey by Ginny Jaques

Imagine a world where religion has been eliminated and the disparate cultures of the world have been assimilated into a single, secular state. Now insert a Russian soldier-hitman who's fled to the International Space Station after refusing to assassinate the mother of his yet-unborn child. Then destroy Earth. You now have the setting for Zinovy's Journey, by Ginny Jaques. It's the spiritual and physical journey of a man who has learned to trust only himself, and to love no one. But will Zinovy be able to find a place for himself in this new world?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Oryx and Crake
by Margaret Atwood

This is a guest post
by Jessica Kirby
Snowman—lover to Oryx, friend to Crake, monster-god to a manufactured tribe—sleeps covered in a mangled bedsheet at the top of a tree. In his waking hours he reveals his unremarkable self by fantasizing about long-lost women, devising ways to trick fish from the natives, and pissing on the crickets. His narration of Margaret Atwood's 2003 tale, Oryx and Crake, is a twisted version of his otherwise mundane reality in a futuristic world of people with citrus-flavoured pheromones living in aristocratic, bubbled communities.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen

This is a guest post
by Cheryl Hannah
Twelve-year-old Ambrose is a misfit. He has a life-threatening peanut allergy, a knack for Scrabble, and an overprotective mum. She “was this close to being a normal mom,” but then his dad died. While Ambrose understands why she worries he might lift up the toilet seat, “fall in, and drown,” and understands why she makes him watch the Stranger Danger video “twenty thousand times,” and understands why she pulled him from public school to enrol him in correspondence school, he’s desperate to find a friend.

Ambrose and his mom live in Kitsilano, in the basement apartment of a nice old Greek couple, the Economopouloses. It’s right on the bus route to UBC, where Ambrose’s mum works as a sessional lecturer. Then, one day, the Economopouloses’ son Cosmo shows up on the doorstep, fresh out of jail

Monday, November 07, 2011

Pacific Edge
by Kim Stanley Robinson

This is a guest post
by Fraser Hannah
Why do so many people love science fiction so passionately? I read it more than every other kind of book combined, and this may be the first time I've wondered why. I think it's because I like looking at different worlds and societies, and seeing how we still bring out our eternal themes and stories. Even in the dark empty reaches of hyperspace, I like to think, there will still be evil to fight, people to fall in love with, and personal quests to follow. And Pacific Edge is a science fiction novel, in just this sense.

It's a novel about an admirable future Earth (well, California, anyway) where huge global corporations have been painfully eliminated, and humanity has once again realised the importance of building ecological, healthy homes in towns that respect and support the environment. A new social structure has emerged (well, obviously) and technology has been repurposed to reclaim the environment, a little at a time.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Swirls book trailer

I have another book trailer for you, to get you all excited for my upcoming review. By "upcoming" I mean sometime within the next two months. Not soon enough for you? Well, that's just the way it goes; we can't all get through three books in a week. Unless you want to take some of the work off my plate? Didn't think so.

Oh, and you can find the author, F. A. Hershey's, blog here.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Reamde by Neal Stephenson

This is a guest post
by Eva van Emden
Fans who found the Baroque Cycle and Anathem heavy going will be happy to hear that with Reamde, Neal Stephenson returns to the action-packed techno-thriller style of Cryptonomicon and Zodiac.

The biggest problem that Richard Forthrast, mega-rich owner of the only multiplayer game T'Rain, has to deal with is coddling the egos of his content writers. But the game is turned upside down when a virus called Reamde starts to encrypt the files of thousands of T'Rain users, demanding a ransom paid within the game; a full-scale war breaks out as bandits flock to rob the victims of their game gold. When a T'Rain player accidentally encrypts some files belonging to the Russian mafia, the consequences spread across the ocean to China and involve MI5, the CIA, a group of Islamic terrorists, and Richard Forthrast's own family.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Suggested book for November, 2011

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman 

Genre: young adult fantasy

Philip Pullman's theological subtext is subtle and compelling in this all-ages adventure. The Golden Compass is the story of Lyra Belacqua, a spirited child of eleven, who is drawn into a dangerous contest of wills when her best friend is kidnapped by Gobblers. Experience the world of Jordan College, Bolvangar, and Svalbard as Lyra travels with Gyptians, an armored bear, and an aeronaut on a journey to save her friend and discover the nature of Dust.

View my suggested books by Philip Pullman

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Navigating the Journey

Ginny Jacques has launched her website. Here is the link.

I've decided my blog needs more stuff. Content is king, as they say.

So, I'm going to give you the scoop on the books I'm reading before I review them, a little before-and-after.

Starting with Zinovy's Journey, by Ginny Jaques. Here is the author's book trailer. I hope to have the link to her site up soon, too.

I realize I've said that I'm going to give you information on the book before I review it, but I have to stress the words "give you." I plan to make information on the books I review available for interested parties, but I don't plan on reading it myself, if I can avoid it, until after I'm done reviewing. I find that reading the reviews of others inevitably impacts my own. 

So, please enjoy my first video content ever.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Treespeaker by Katie W. Stewart

Jakan has a fulfilling life. He is a father and a husband, and more, he is Treespeaker to his people, the fifth tribe of Arrakesh. He interprets the will of Arrakesh, helping his people to thrive in their forest home. One day, a stranger named Beldror arrives from the outside. The villagers make him welcome, but Jakan senses that this visitor is hiding something dark. Jakan's worst fears are confirmed when Beldror uses his powers to turn the minds of the villagers against Jakan, even his own son, Dovan. Jakan is driven from the forest. It is up to Jakan to follow Arrakesh's last words of guidance in the hopes that he can wrest power back from Beldror before the Arrakeshi and their way of life are destroyed.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Suggested book for October, 2011

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

Genre: Science fiction

In a dystopian future populated by rakunks, pigoons, and the CorpSeCorps, mankind is nearly wiped out by "the waterless flood." Toby and Ren, former followers of Adam One and members of God's Gardeners are some of the few survivors; one locked in the quarantine room of a brothel, the other hiding in a high-end spa. Discover the world of Oryx and Crake from another perspective in The Year of the Flood, by Margaret Atwood.

View my suggested books by Margaret Atwood

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Memory by Linda Nagata

Jubilee is a rambunctious child in a dangerous world, but her childhood is cut short when her brother, Jolly, is taken by the silver. The silver is by nature unpredictable. Sometimes it creates, sometimes it destroys, but it is always deadly to the players it touches. That's why she's so disturbed when, just before being taken, her brother tells her that he called the silver. Years later, a stranger appears out of the silver looking for Jolly. But no one can survive in the silver, and Jolly was taken years before. Troubled by the questions this man raises, Jubilee sets out to discover the truth of her brother's disappearance.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Once and Future King
by T. H. White

Everyone knows the story of Arthur and the knights of the Round Table. It's the story of mighty and chivalrous knights having adventures under the reign of the just King Arthur. It's the story of the love affair between Lancelot and Guenever. And it's the story of Arthur's fall at the hands of his son, Mordred. T. H. White has taken the famous text Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory and re-written it in four parts: Aurthur's childhood, his early kingship and the young lives of the Orkney clan, Lancelot's adventures and his relationship with Guenever, and the fall of the Round Table. 

Friday, September 02, 2011

Suggested book for September, 2011

Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop

Genre: Fantasy

Discover an entrancing world in Anne Bishop's Daughter of the Blood. It's the first installment in the Black Jewels trilogy, and it launches readers into a darkly erotic world of seduction, intrigue, and fated love. After centuries of slavery, Daemon Sadi and Lucivar Yaslana are given new hope: a prophecy of the coming of a new queen, one fated to be more powerful than any in history. Join them as they search for the woman who will set them free. Just remember, among the Blood, there is no law against murder.

View my suggested books by Anne Bishop

Monday, August 29, 2011

Many Waters
by Madeleine L'Engle

Sandy and Dennys Murry, the "normal" Murry children, accidentally interfere with one of their father's experiments, transporting themselves back into human history. Waking up, Sandy and Dennys discover that they've arrived in a prehistoric human settlement, where mythical creatures exist. Unwittingly, the twins are caught up in the drama surrounding Noah, the builder of the Biblical ark, and the nephilim, fallen angels living on earth. It's a story of the power of love, where Sandy and Dennys are challenged to rise above the greed inherent in humanity.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Suggested book for August, 2011

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

Genre: Young adult fantasy

A story about growing up and learning to trust yourself. Robin McKinley tells the story of an awkward princess whose stubborn nature leads her to find her inner strength. Whether her perseverance will be enough to save her kingdom from an insidious evil is up to you to discover.

View my suggested books for Robin McKinley

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tehanu by Ursula K. Le Guin

Tenar, once the White Lady of Gont and Priestess of Atuan, is alone. Her husband is dead and her children have gone. While she accustoms herself to her new, isolated life, a young girl is abused and nearly killed. Tenar takes the girl in and loves her, even though there are those who see only the child's scars. Then Ged, Archmage of Roke, returns to Gont on the back of a dragon. Tenar's relationships with Ged and the child, Therru, blossom, bringing her a new perspective that enriches her life. However, her love for such outlandish people isolates her further, and draws violence from her neighbours.