03. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

Fire : tales of elemental spirits by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson, read by Kira, on 05/29/2014

fire1 hellhound5 stories around the motif of fire beings.  I preferred Robin’s tales over her husband Peter’s (big surprise, since I’d never heard of him before).  The best tale was called Hellhound, about a demon who changed sides.  Peter’s tales had some very excellent sections, and then other parts seemed liked they needed fleshing out (also, could have done without the sexism – no it was a made-up time, so did Not need to be part of the context).

02. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tracy · Tags:

The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein, read by Tracy, on 05/22/2014

Is the kingdom’s fate in the hands of an orphan cat?

Running fast to save his life, Aldwyn ducks into an unusual pet store. Moments later Jack, a young wizard in training, comes in to choose a magical animal to be his familiar. Aldwyn’s always been clever. But magical? Jack thinks so and Aldwyn is happy to play along.

He just has to convince the other familiars the know-it-all blue jay Skylar and the friendly tree frog Gilbert that he’s the powerful cat he claims to be.

Then the unthinkable happens. Jack and two other young wizards are captured by the evil queen of Vastia.

On a thrilling quest to save their loyals, the familiars face dangerous foes, unearth a shocking centuries-old secret, and discover a destiny that will change Vastia forever. Their magical adventure an irresistible blend of real heart, edge-of-your-seat action, and laugh-out-loud humor is an unforgettable celebration of fantasy and friendship.

02. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books

Chalice by Robin McKinley, read by Kira, on 05/22/2014

chalice2chalice3chalice - Copy - Copy  Beekeper Mirasol is unexpectedly chosen as the next Chalice, the most important adviser to the Master.  I was absolutely delighted with this tale.  Previous Chalices usually used water, or some milk, rarely blood.  But Mirasol’s element seems to be honey.The pacing, the worldbuilding, the level of tension, was perfect for me.  I am now seeking out all of Robin McKinley’s works.-Gold-Plated-Chalicechalices - Copychal - Copylggoblet - CopychalicecircleArdagh_Chalice - Copy

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler, read by Angie, on 05/31/2014

Alice is orphaned and sent to live with her uncle in the country. Uncle Geryon lives in The Library and has a fortress-like library filled with all manner of strange books. There are invisible servants and talking cats to add to the strange mix of the household. Alice discovers quite by accident that she is a Reader, a magician who can read herself into magic books. The books can be prisons for dangerous creatures or portals to other worlds. Alice tries to find out what happened to her father and what is happening to her. She doesn’t know who to trust and ends up working with Isaac, another young Reader who has snuck into the Library trying to locate a book. 

I love books like this that deal with books in a mysterious and dangerous way. Basically any book with Library in the title will get my attention, but it has to be quite enthralling to keep me reading. This one pushed all the right buttons. Alice is a spunky and smart girl who is not afraid of doing what’s right even when it hurts. She isn’t gullible or easily led, but thinks for herself and looks out for herself. I loved the idea of books as prisons and portals. I especially loved the cats. They are just as you would image magical cats to be full of attitude and mystery. This is the beginning of a series and leaves several questions unanswered, but I was ok with that. The main story is wrapped up nicely with just a few threads left dangling to keep your attention. Definitely a series to watch. 

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Horror, Tammy · Tags:

Harlequin Valentine by Neil Gaiman, read by Tammy, on 05/10/2014

harlequinHarlequin sets out to win the heart of his next valentine, but with Harlequin there’s always a trick. Also includes a brief history of Harlequin character.

 

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Paranormal, Tammy · Tags:

The Facts In The Case Of The Departure Of Miss Finch by Neil Gaiman, read by Tammy, on 05/24/2014

miss finchA spooky tale of three friends and a new acquaintance, Miss Finch attend a unique circus performance.

 

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

Doctor Who Series 3 Volume 3: Sky Jacks by Andy Diggle, read by Tammy, on 05/15/2014

doctor who 3After the Tardis goes on the fritz the eleventh Doctor interacts with pilots from World War II. Another rollicking adventure with the Doctor and Clara.

 

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

Doctor Who Series 3 Volume 2: The Eye of Ashaya by Andy Diggle, read by Tammy, on 05/12/2014

docor who 2The eleventh Doctor, Rory and Amy have three adventures in this Doctor Who collection.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

Doctor Who Series 3 Volume 1: The Hypothetical Gentleman by Andy Diggle, read by Tammy, on 05/08/2014

doctor who 1Collected in this volume are two 11th Doctor adventures with Rory and Amy. The first story, “The Hypothetical Gentleman” sees the Doctor trying to visit the Crystal Palace in London for the Great Exhibition. 
The second story, “The Doctor and the Nurse”, is a comedy where Amy, frustrated that the Doctor and Rory seem to bicker with each other a bit too often, orders the two to spend some quality “guy time” together in a Victorian pub. However the Doctor and Rory have other ideas.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time Volume 1 by Scott Tipton, read by Tammy, on 05/06/2014

doctor who prisonersVolume one in a special 50th anniversary comic book series featuring Doctor Who, all 11 of him. You get to experience an adventure with each of the first five Doctors and their companions in this volume.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

Batgirl, Vol. 2: Knightfall Descends by Gail Simone, read by Tammy, on 05/10/2014

I didn’t enjoy this one a much as volume one. One of the plot batgirl 2lines seems to just stop and then pick up later. I’m wondering if I’d have to read a comic in the Batman series to get my answers.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection by Gail Simone, read by Tammy, on 05/04/2014

batgirl 1Volume one of DC Comics “New 52″ event that started in September 2011. Darkest Reflection starts a new vision of the Batgirl story after her back injury. Barbara Gordon has to deal with secrets from her past and determine if she can still be Batgirl. Her first major challenge comes in the form of a brute named Mirror. This volume collects issues 1-6 of Batgirl.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 2 by George R.R. Martin, read by Tammy, on 05/30/2014

Continuing story of the seven kingdoms of Westeros. I don’t want to give any details away. So, I will just say, a fast-paced fantasy story that pulls in and keeps you wanting to know what happens next.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 1 by George R.R. Martin, read by Tammy, on 05/27/2014

game of thrones 1A comic version of the Game of Thrones novel. As the author explains: this is the same story as the novel but it may be slightly different, just as the TV show is different. He feels each medium has it’s own challenges and rewards and as long as the main core is the same it is the same story. This shorter version has made me even more curious about the popular novel series.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

Hedge Knight (The Tales of Dunk and Egg vol 1) by George R.R. Martin, read by Tammy, on 05/25/2014

hedge knight gnA Pre-story to the Game of Thrones series. This tale follows Dunk, a squire as he tries to became a Hedge Knight and his squire, Egg. Set in Westeros there’s plenty of adventures and a lively joust.

27. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books

Unthinkable by Nancy Werlin, read by Angie, on 05/26/2014

Fanella has been trapped in Faerie for 400 years. The curse on her family has finally been broken, but she finds she is under another curse and she cannot die. Because Fanella started the curse on the Scarboroughs and doomed each generation of Scarborough women to be sent to Faerie, she feels she should die now that the curse has been broken by Lucy. The Faerie queen tells her she too must perform three acts in order to break her curse. Fanella jumps on the chance before she is told the acts must be of destruction and on her family in the human world. Fanella will do anything for the chance at death so she agrees. Then she is also told if she doesn’t complete the acts the original curse will be reinstated. Fanella goes to her family and convinces them she has been freed from Faerie. She begins her acts of destruction; first destroying safety, then love, then hope. All the while she is trying to work through her feelings for her family and her new feelings for Walker, the handsome friend of the family who has taken an interest in her. 

I didn’t love this book. Perhaps if I had read the first book where Lucy broke the curse I might have been more invested in it. I found I got really frustrated with Fanella’s tendency to just jump into things and not think them through. I loved her Faerie companion though. The Queen turns Ryland (her brother) into a cat and sends him into the human world to advise Fanella. He is full of snarky comments and truly adds a humorous touch to the book. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed in the ending as well. Fanella spends all her time working towards her death, but in the end chooses to live out her life (with Walker of course). I found it typical and not surprising but a bit of a muddle to the story. Not a bad book, just not my favorite.

21. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Eric, Fantasy, Fiction

Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett, read by Eric, on 05/10/2014

A new era is arriving on the Discworld, in the form of a steam-belching engine running along tracks. When Mr. Simnel begins demonstrating his new invention, even Lord Vetinary is surprised by the inexplicable draw Iron Girder has on the populace. One thing is for certain- the city needs to be part of this enterprise, and the Patrician believes Moist von Lipwig is the right (if not upright) man to oversee things. Meanwhile, dwarfs are revolting, and so the new train is tasked with getting the Low King of the Dwarfs to Schmaltzberg in time to put things right.

This is the 40th book in the Discworld series, which I adore. Unfortunately, my reaction to this entry is similar to the one I had for Unseen Academicals. All the familiar faces are here, but the Pratchett magic is a faded shade of octarine. There are plenty of dwarfs doing dwarfish things, and an interesting new invention for the world, but it simply isn’t as humorous or satirical as usual. Even the footnotes seem a shadow of their former selves. I will continue reading every bit of output Sir Terry manages to produce before being unable, but also hope for a bit of the old spark next time.

20. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett, read by Angie, on 05/19/2014

The Carpet People was first written by Terry Pratchett when he was 17 years old. He reworked it and reissued it a few years ago. You can see his progression as a writer and a satirist in this early work. It has the beginnings of the depth and humor as his early Discworld books. You get a good idea of where his leanings lie and what message he wants to send out into the world through his books. I would be interested in reading the original version of this book just to see how it was finessed for the reissue.

The Carpet People tells the tale of the land of the carpet. It is populated by different groups of people, animals, monsters, kings and emperors. The Munrungs are a simple people led by Glurk. They are part of the Dumii Kingdom, but only in the sense they are counted and pay taxes. When The Fray destroys their village they take off across the Carpet. Along the way they discover the monsterous Mouls are ravaging the land on their vicious snarls. They help free the Deftmene people and they meet a mysterious Wight who sees all possible futures. Together they all band together to free the land of the terrible Mouls and to come up with a better system than kings and emperors. This story is part adventure, part fantasy, part political satire and all fun. Fans of Terry Pratchett will not go wrong with reading this early work. 

A fairy tale-like story.  The rulers of Montagne have been rumored to possess and use magic.  But this has been only a rumor.  Grandmonther (queen mother) Benificence, her two daughters Wisdom and Temperance, along with an orphan named Fortitude and a miller’s son Tips all end up at Wisdom’s wedding to the neighboring and coveting kingdom.  Its a pretty fast paced, fun tale, written mostly in letter, epistolary format. wisdom's kiss wisdom-s-kiss

14. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Kira

MirrorMask by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean, read by Kira, on 05/13/2014

index mirrormask-drawing    mirr  MirrorMask,ChildrensEdition_Hardback_1185587477Circus daughter Helena says she hates her life and wants to have an ordinary “real” life, and that she hates her mother.  Her mother falls ill with mirrormask2cancer.  In an alternate reality – a dreamy Alice-through-the-Looking-Glass world – Helena has to set things right, in order to return to her original world. I choose this title because its a graphic novel, which is this months challenge.  It was interesting, kind of showing teen rebellion and growing up.  I didn’t really care for the artwork.

I wish they could get someone like Laurel Burch to do the artwork in these Graphic Novels – please add this kind of color graphic novelists!images