30. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, read by Kira, on 04/25/2014

Ready Player One Paperback Covertumblr_m6agh9Kd9O1rvnsrpo1_500

What a delightful and fun read.  Teenager Wade is living in the US about 2014′s, in a post energy world.  He lives in the stacks – stacks of trailers/mobile homes linked together with steel poles, and whatever jetsam is lying around, his trailer is on the 32nd level, and actually receives a little sunlight.  His aunt steals his food vouchers.  He has found a safeplace at the bottom of a mound of abandoned vehicles (no gas left), which he crawls into every day hooks into the Oasis (FB on steroids) with a visor and haptic glove and goes to school.  This is the environment.  The multibillionaire, James Haliday who invented the Oasis and numerous other internet games died 5 years ago and set up a series of challenges, the winner will inherit the billions.  Wade is one of several hunters searching for the 1st key.  Haliday loved the 80′s so the hunters as well as the readers get to share in 80′s culture.  Personally, I don’t think I’m very in touch with pop culture, but was amazed at all the culture references I caught – Blade Runner, LadyHawke, War Games, John Hughes movies, Excalibur, Gary Gygax, D & D, etc.

I REALLY enjoyed this book! and have recommended it to all  sorts of people.

 

 

antisixers    tumblr_mxs80pnIbe1qjp0avo1_500ready_player_one_by_zippo514-d6v1zjc tumblr_m44pazkStP1qjp0avo1_1280 tumblr_m3esfbFSDf1qjp0avo1_500 Tomb of Horrorssmall_background

28. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tammy · Tags:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gamain, read by Tammy, on 04/14/2014

ocean at the end  A haunting tale set in Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home for a funeral and finds himself drawn to the farm at the end of the lane. He suddenly begins to remember what happened to him in this place when he was seven and the most remarkable girl he met there, Lettie Hempstock. He is joined at the edge of a lake by Lettie’s mother and grandmother who haven’t changed at all even though it’s been forty years. This is his story and Lettie’s and of what happened that day long ago when Lettie promised to protect him, no matter what.

 

 

 

hollow city   The story picks up where Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ended with Jacob and his peculiar friends running for their lives from hollows and the wights and trying to figure out a way to save Miss Peregrine. They aren’t sure if there are any safe time loops left or if they have all been destroyed. Can they find someone who knows how to turn Miss Peregrine back into a human? The children travel into war-torn London and come across other peculiar folks along the way. Once again the author uses vintage black and white photographs to illustrate his story creating a different visual experience for the reader.

19. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction

In Search of Goliathus Hercules by Jennifer Angus, read by Angie, on 04/18/2014

Henri Bell has been sent to America to live with his Great Aunt Georgie. His father has disappeared in British Malay and his mother has gone to look for him. While staying with his aunt Henri discovers that he can communicate with insects. He suspects Georgie can too. Georgie’s neighbor is the sinister Mrs. Black who takes a peculiar interest in Henri. Henri runs away with the circus and starts working with the flea circus. He decides that he wants to travel to Malay to find his father and to capture Goliathus Hercules, a giant beetle of legend. On this journey Henri starts a metamorphosis of his own…he is turning more and more insect like. He is pursued always by Mrs. Black in one guise or another.

I really enjoyed the first part of this book where Henri learns about his new skills with insects and works with the flea circus. I loved the other characters he met at the circus: Tony, Billy and Robin. I thought it was really interesting how he kept enhancing the show with more varieties of insects with different abilities. Where I thought this story fell apart a bit was the end where they get to Malay and start looking for Goliathus Hercules. First there is Henri’s transformation which is never fully explained. The mystery of his father is cleared up, but we have no idea why the insect communication gift has seemed to occur differently with the members of the family. Then there is the evil Mrs. Black. Her desire for Goliathus Hercules and her pursuit of Henri are never explained at all and we are left wondering what it was all about. Jennifer Angus is a new author and I think she has some really interesting ideas; she just needs to work out the details a little better.

16. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe, read by Kira, on 04/14/2014

The-Hum-and-the-Shiver-Alex-Bledsoe1Wild and willful Brownwyn Hyatt is back from the Iraq war.  There are omens that her mother is likely to die, and a haint is wanting thumshivo talk to her.  Will it be possible to change the future and keep her mom alive. Or if her Mom does die, will Brownwyn be able to remember her musical skills in order to learn her Mother’s song.  Will she be able to resist the temptation of her old boyfriend, bad-boy, Dwight?  It also includes the storylines of a Christian minister trying to make inroads into this isolated community of people called the Tufa.  And it includes the storyline of Don Swayback, 1/8th Tufa, who comes back to his roots.

I really liked the storyline of the book up until the last chapter, even if it was a bit slow-paced.  I didn’t like the way the protagotuatha_de_danann_by_mirovia-d4h4bx0nist behaved in the end, so totally self-centereeriu_queen_of_tarad.

16. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

The Misadventures of the Magician's Dog by Frances Sackett, read by Angie, on 04/14/2014

Peter is your typical army brat kid. He lives with his mom and sisters while his dad is deployed flying jets in Afghanistan. Peter is really worried about his dad and a little mad at him too. On his birthday the last thing Peter wants is a party or a big to do, so it is with a lot of surprise that he announces he wants a dog. Peter can’t figure out where the words came from because he is afraid of dogs. But he adopts The Dog from the shelter and takes him home. That is where the fun begins. The Dog is not your normal dog. The first thing you notice is that he talks, the second thing you notice is that he can do magic. Turns out The Dog is a magician’s dog and he needs Peter’s help to free his master. The magician has turned himself into a rock. Peter starts to learn to do magic with The Dog’s help but soon realizes he has to get angry to do it. The more magic he does the angrier he gets. He wonders if magic is worth the price he is going to have to pay.

I really enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. Peter is a great character who seems really real. He is dealing with a lot of things that kids deal with today: absent parent, trying to be the man of the house, taking care of his younger sisters, not showing how scared and frustrated he is. I really enjoyed the struggle he went through when he was deciding about the magic. He had to come to a place where love was more important than anger. That is not a thing a lot of people can do and I thought it was a great lesson in the book. Plus there are dinosaurs. Who doesn’t love magic dinosaurs?

16. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli, read by Angie, on 04/12/2014

Jack lives in Hokey Pokey; a land inhabited by children and surrounded by places like Snuggler and Stuff and Socks and The Kid. Jack likes to hang with his amigos, giving Tarzan yells and riding his wild bike Scramjet. Then one day Scramjet is stolen by The Girl and Jack is different. He keeps hearing a whistle and the tattoo that every kid gets in Hokey Pokey is fading. His friends try to help him but there is nothing they can do. Things are suddenly different and they don’t know how to handle it.

This is a strange little book that I am not sure I completely understand and I am pretty sure kids will not. I can’t decided if Hokey Pokey is a metaphor for childhood or a dreamland or what exactly. It is definitely not the real world as we see the real world in the latter part of the book. I was not a fan.

09. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Award Winner, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kristy

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, read by Kristy, on 03/15/2014

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family . . .

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

07. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Courtney, Fantasy, Fiction

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente, read by Courtney, on 03/27/2014

September has now been to Fairyland twice. As the final book in the Fairyland trilogy begins, September is yearning to go back to her favorite magical place. She’s been stuck in Nebraska for over a year, helping her family and learning to drive a Model A. It’s all horribly dull in comparison to her beloved Fairyland. Finally, after months of waiting, September is whisked away to the moon by the impetuous Blue Wind. They arrive at a way station on the moon. September is given an occupation (criminal) and is given a task. The moon is being torn asunder by a giant Yeti and September will need all of her wits and her old pals, A-L and Saturday to save it and Fairyland.
The third of the Fairyland books does not disappoint. The Moon over Fairyland is as whimsical as Fairyland itself. The main difference this time is September herself. She is no longer the eager and uninhibited girl who was first whisked away. This September is a girl who is starting to grow up. She has matured emotionally since she left and now finds herself holding back. She is also now confronted with the consequences of her previous actions in Fairyland, which have far-reaching effects. This final book is very much a metaphor for the process of growing up and becoming a woman. Taken literally, however, it’s a delicious and detailed adventure story with a spunky young protagonist. Either way, it’s a satisfying addition to the Fairyland series.

01. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Fortunately, the Milk. by Neil Gaiman , read by Kira, on 03/31/2014

milkA cute piece of froth wherein the father goes out to purchase some milk for his children’s cereal, and when he arrives later than expected he spins a tale of time-traveling dinosaurs flying in balloons visiting talking volcanoes, purple ponies, vampires, and GaimanMilk_1_photo_Brady_Hall080713pirates.  Not Neil Gaiman’s usual fare.

01. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags: ,

Murder of Crows: a Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop, read by Kira, on 03/29/2014

murdcrows Mexican Wolf Peeking Over the Snow c.murder.crows.poland.TNIn the first novel, Written In Red Meg Corbin cements her place among the Others (vampires, werewolves, Medusa-plague-causer, elementals, etc).  In this book Murder of Crows, Meg and her Lakeside community confront additional attacks on their community and attempts to recapture Meg.   The Others are reminiscent of Native Americans, and I like the fact that they don’t get pushed around here and are able to deal with the intruders on their own terms… also that the polluters get their comeuppance.   I really enjoy this series – definite page-turners and full of atmosphere!

 

“Near perfect…Written in Red isn’t just the best urban fantasy of the year, it may be one of the best ever.”—All Things Urban Fantasy

31. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Lisa

Hob and the Goblins by William Mayne, read by Lisa, on 03/12/2014

Hob is a friendly spirit who makes his home in one family’s house. He straightens out messes and takes a way small troubles. He enjoys looking out for his “family.” But one day, when Hob moves into a new house with a new family, he is unexpectedly confronted with a group of mean and nasty witches, gremlins, dwarfs, goblins, and an ominous ogre. Hob is forced to use all his tricks, a little cunning, much love, and his power to be invisible to help his adopted family to live peacefully in their new home.

31. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Tammy · Tags:

Black Orchid by Neil Gamain, read by Tammy, on 03/30/2014

black orchidNeil Gaiman writes a unique, dark and moving super hero story of a crime fighter trying to discover who she really is. I would recommend reading the introduction after reading the graphic novel. I think the intro gives to much away. The illustrations of Dave McKean make this a hauntingly beautiful story while the unique lettering technique of Todd Klein helps the reader follow the multiple story lines.

 

31. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Tammy · Tags:

Instructions by Neil Gamain, read by Tammy, on 03/29/2014

instructionsAn instruction book for any adventure you might want or need to take into fairyland or fantasy. Aimed at children and very brief with beautiful illustrations. I enjoyed the story though and think that adults will recognize fairy tales where the main characters didn’t follow the rules and bad things happened.

31. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Tammy, Teen Books · Tags:

Beautiful Chaos: Caster Chronicles # 3 by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, read by Tammy, on 03/28/2014

beautiful chaosEthan and Lena have survived her sixteenth birthday without Lena being claimed by dark magic in spite of her family’s curse. Then on her 17th birthday she claims her self as both dark and light magic but this choice has far reaching consequences. Both the mortal and the caster world is thrown out of order. Now, before someone’s 18th birthday a choice and a sacrifice must be made to save both worlds. Lena and Ethan’s family search for the answer of who or what will need to be sacrificed and if it’s a who, can they be saved?

31. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, read by Angie, on 03/30/2014

Alina grew up an orphan in Ravka. She joined the army with her best friend Mal. Mal became a tracker and Alina a cartographer. On a mission to cross the Fold, an evil darkness filled with monsters, they are attacked and saved by Alina. Alina suddenly has powers she didn’t know she had. She is the one and only sun-summoner Grisha and must be protected at all costs. She is taken to the Little Palace by the Darkling, the most powerful Grisha in Ravka, to be trained. She falls under the spell of the beautiful Grisha and the intriguing Darkling. But when she is told everything isn’t as it seems she runs away to save herself and Ravka.

I really enjoyed the Russian feel to this book. I was very glad I listened to it instead of reading it so I didn’t have to worry how all the Russian-sounding words were pronounced! However, I found the book fairly formulaic and didn’t feel like it covered any new ground. I was bored by Alina’s continued doubts about herself and her obsession with the beautiful Grisha. I did like the fact that the love story didn’t really become a love triangle and I enjoyed Mal and Alina’s relationship. There were some exciting battle scenes and the ending was fairly satisfying, but I didn’t think there was anything special about the book and don’t feel compelled to read any of the others in the series.

24. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Eric, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal · Tags: ,

How to Catch a Bogle by Catherine Jinks, read by Eric, on 03/23/2014

Ten-year-old Birdie works as an apprentice for Alfred, surrogate father and bogler, in the poor, tough streets and houses of Victorian London. A boglers job is to kill the various dark monsters infesting London, and snatching up their favorite snacks, children. Birdie is the bait for the team’s salt-circle traps, and is vital to luring out the bogles. She’s proud of her work, even though it is very dangerous, and doesn’t pay well. When Miss Eames, an upper-class lady fascinated with the science of monsters, convinces Alfred to allow her to observe their work, they soon find themselves faced with monsters of both the bogle and human kind.

This is an excellent start to a new trilogy, and right up my darkened alley. The bogles are nasty, the dingy Victorian setting is ominous, and the Alfred-Birdie monster hunting team is great. The human murder mystery at the center of it all is creepy, satisfying, and makes me wish for the next book. Recommended.

19. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction · Tags:

B.U.G. (Big Ugly Guy) by Jane Yolen, Adam Stemple, read by Angie, on 03/16/2014

Sammy Greenburg is bullied at school. He has a smart mouth and can’t seem to help mouthing off to the bullies. He makes friends with new kid Skink who helps a bit with the bullying situation, but isn’t always around. During bar mitzvah lessons he learns about golems. He decides to make a golem to help him out. Gully, the golem, does protect him from the bullies and he becomes his friend. Sammy, Skink and Gully form a band and get a gig performing at school. Of course Sammy’s rabbi tries to warn him about the danger golems can be to those around him. Sammy has to decide what to do about Gully and the bullies.

There are parts of this book I really liked. I liked the lessons on bullying and making friends and making good decisions. However, this was kind of a clunky book to read. It starts with a chapter on golems going crazy in Isreal featuring Sammy’s rabbi. Doesn’t seem to fit with rest of the story except when the rabbi tells the story later to illustrate how dangerous golems can be. I also didn’t buy just how horrible the bullies were. Bullies are of course mean and terrible and they do really bad things, but do most 6th grade bullies try to kill their classmates? I don’t think so. I found it strange that no one questioned Gully’s appearance (which is gray down to his teeth) or the fact that he just shows up and starts going to school nor do they question his disappearance. Even though this book isn’t supposed to be exactly realistic, it has so many realistic elements that the fantastical bits really stood out and didn’t work.

14. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Tammy · Tags: ,

The Daylighters by Rachel Caine, read by Tammy, on 03/11/2014

morganvilleThis Morganville adventure picks up right where the previous book left off. Claire, Shane and Eve have returned to Morganville only to find it greatly changed and a the anti-vampire group, The Daylighters, in charge. They aren’t sure what has happened to their vampire friends, Michael, Mrynin and Oliver. Eve’s only concern is getting Michael back safely. Shane is dealing with the affects of a mysterious dog bite. Even the Glass House and Matilda don’t feel safe. Claire however has to decide if she’s on the side of good or evil in this fight. People can now come out of their homes without fear and can be out on the streets after dark. Isn’t that a good thing? But what is happening to the vampires who have all been captured and hauled away to a guarded building at the edge of town. The leader of the Daylighters claims he is trying to find a cure but Claire doesn’t believe him. Her previous experience with the group back East makes her question everything about them.

I believe this may be the final chapter in the Morganville series. Many questions are cleared up at the end including relationships. The author’s wording of her opening also leads me to think this may be the last book. If so, it is a satisfying ending.

07. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Teen Books

The Apprentices by Maile Meloy, Ian Schoenherr (Illustrations), read by Angie, on 03/06/2014

The Apprentices is the sequel to The Apothecary. Maybe I would have gotten more out of this book if I had read the first one, but somehow I don’t think I would have liked it even then. Because I didn’t read the first book, I had no idea who the characters were and why I should care about them. The story jumps around between each character so much that it is a little difficult to keep the thread of the story going. And what a convoluted mess of a story it is.

Janie is a girl who goes to boarding school and is super smart. She gets accused of cheating on a test even though she aced it by her scheming roommate. Roommates father wants her experiment on desalination, but that plot goes no where fast. Janie ends up living with the family who owns the Italian restaurant even though she doesn’t know them. The boy of the family of course develops a crush on her. In other story lines, Benjamin is in love with Janie but hasn’t seen her in two years. He and his father are out in war torn Asia trying to help people. There are of course some other characters we are supposed to care about, but really could care less. There is a of course a couple of villains who want to kidnap all our characters so they can make a nuclear bomb that can’t be stopped. There is an island with a secret uranium mine. There are boat rides and plane rides and bus rides and cannibals and magic and sorcery.

It was a trial to read this book and I probably would have given up on it if I didn’t have to read it. Wouldn’t recommend unless you were a super fan of the first one.