28. August 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Judy, Science Fiction · Tags:

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, read by Judy, on 08/27/2014

When Fat Charlie’s dad named something, it stuck.  Like calling Fat Charlie “Fat Charlie”.  Even now, twenty years later, Charlie Nancy can’t shake that name, one of the many embarrassing “gifts” his father bestowed–before he dropped dead on a karaoke stage and ruined Fat Charlie’s life.

Mr. Nancy left Fat Charlie things.  Things like the tall, good-looking stranger who appears on Charlie’s doorstep, who appears to be the brother he never knew.   A brother as different from Charlie as night is from day, a brother who’s going to show Charlie how to lighten up and have a little fun . . . just like Dear Old Dad.   And all of a sudden, life starts getting very interesting for Fat Charlie.

Because, you see, Charlie’s dad wasn’t just any dad.  He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spider-god.   Anansi is the spirit of rebellion, able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, and baffle the devil.    Some said he could cheat even Death himself.

 

27. August 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Jane, Science Fiction, Teen Books

In The After by Demitria Lunetta, read by Jane, on 08/21/2014

They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you’ve ever seen.
And They won’t stop chasing you…until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.

27. August 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Fire & Ash by Jonathan Maberry, read by Angie, on 08/26/2014

I am not sure why it took me so long to get around to reading this final book in Jonathan Maberry’s Rot & Ruin series. I love this series and I loved this book. It was the perfect ending to the series. 

Benny and the gang have made it across the desert and to the safe haven of Sanctuary. Of course nothing is quite what it seems. The military staff at Sanctuary is very secretive and won’t tell them anything about what is happening. The Reapers led by Saint John are still out there and headed to the Nine Towns. Chong was bitten in the last book and is becoming more and more like a zombie. This is the first time Benny, Nix, Lilah and Riot have a chance to take a moment and take stock of themselves and what they have discovered in the Rot & Ruin. They are not the same people they were when they started this trip to find the mysterious plane. They thought they would find all the answers and all they found were more questions. There is also the case of the missing Dr. McReady. She was supposed to be on the plane they found in the desert and she supposedly has a cure for the reaper plague. The teens set off with Captain Joe Ledger to find her and the cure and bring an end to the zombie nightmare. 

What I love about this series is the fact that even though it is about zombies it really isn’t about zombies. It is about the inhumanity of man and how without society’s strictures man becomes the monster. Zombies are just mindless disease carriers. They have no thought or rationale, but man chooses to do evil or good. This theme is more explicitly stated in this book than in some of the others, but it is an important theme. Benny has to find the person who can fight and win against Saint John. He has to do decide if doing what has to be done to win will make him cross that line in becoming a monster himself. In some ways this book is about redemption; the redemption of Benny, Chong, Nix, Lilah, Riot and even Joe and the redemption of mankind. Is mankind worthy of saving? Or should they allow everyone to be released to the darkness. I really loved how this series ended; it was perfect and felt natural. Humanity is worth saving and there is hope in the world.

24. August 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Science Fiction, Tammy, Teen Books · Tags:

Cress by Marissa Meyer, read by Tammy, on 08/07/2014

cressThe continuing story of the cyborg Cinder and her ragamuffin group of friends trying to save the people of the Earth and Luna (the moon) from the evil queen of Luna, Levana. Cinder, Captain Thorne, Scarlet and Wolf discover a girl imprisoned on a satellite. Believing she has information and skills that can help them overthrow Levana they set out to rescue Cress.

When the daring rescue goes awry the group ends up separated. Meanwhile Queen Levana moves along the wedding plans to Emperor Kai. Can Cinder rescue her friends before it’s too late. What will Cinder decide about her own future. Can she give up her freedom to save all the rest of inhabitants of Earth?

 

22. August 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell, read by Angie, on 08/22/2014

The year is 2049 and humanity is becoming infertile. Very few babies are being born which has led to “the troubles”. In order to end the troubles, a company called Oxted started manufacturing robot babies. Parents can adopt the babies and pretend everything is normal. The children go back to Oxted periodically for upgrades so they can seem to grow. No one is supposed to know who is a robot and who is a human kid even the kids themselves. However, during the teen years the robot kids sometimes do something that breaks the veneer of humanity and the parents can’t deal so they send them back to Oxted. Doesn’t really matter anyway because all the kids have to be returned at 18 to be recycled. What a lovely future!

Tania is 11 when the book starts. She thinks she is human until she falls into the Thames and doesn’t drown. Once she realizes she is a robot she embraces her robothood (after a few days of cranky). She has made friends with John and Sian and together they form a band; later they are joined by Kieran to round out the sound. Tania starts exploring the TelNet (internet) to see what she can find out about Oxted and what is going on with humanity; however, this plot point doesn’t last very long. The novel is told through Tania’s diary entries in which she writes to a future alien Mr. Zog. Of course Mr. Zog answers her posts from the future where he is reading about earth in some kind of archive. 

The story is pretty slow and drags a lot as we are just hearing Tania’s side of the story and she is mostly talking about her day-to-day life. The idea of the book was an intriguing one but the execution was pretty terrible. None of the characters actually seemed like real people to me; they didn’t talk like real people or act like real people. Maybe it was because most of them were robots but I think it was more poor writing. The world building was atrocious. This is set only 35 years in the future, which isn’t really that long, and yet the world has fallen apart. There is no explanation as to why fertility has disappeared or how the robot babies were accepted so quickly. Other than the robots, technology doesn’t seem to have advanced very much either. Other than the fact that there doesn’t appear to be any real book or music or movies anymore because everything is digital. I also thought it was really interesting (kind of dumb) that everyone seemed to only listen to 70s rock bands???? Lots of music was mentioned throughout the book but very little of it was post-1980. Why? The end did not make reading the whole book worth it at all. I wanted more from this story and was really disappointed that I didn’t get it.

19. August 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Science Fiction, Teen Books, Teen Books · Tags: ,

Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves., read by Kira, on 08/19/2014

interworld-by-neil-gaiman-and-michael-reaves Inter_World917 itrs 8dd7103b2bb3074baa5d7ad59f963f3a Interworld-neil-gaiman-1548448-258-410 interwrld Interworld_by_Neil_Gaiman_and_Michael_Reaves_200_312 50130_interworldThe setting is the Multiverse or all the different possible versions of realities our world could have taken. Two factions at opposite ends of the multiverse continuum are fighting for supremacy, destroying worlds with impunity.

In our world Joey Harker takes a wrong turn, and first winds up in a world very similar to our own, except that his mother has a fake arm, and her offspring is a girl Josephine, who looks very much like him, just a female version.  In the next world, it turns out he drowned in the river a couple years ago, instead of having a close brush with death, and getting a huge lecture from his father on water safety.  Another look-alike Joe Harker look-alike J is sent to rescue Joey Harker before the warring factions can use his soul for energy in their never-ending war.  The Joe Harker look-alikes vary widely from girls with wings, to cyborgs with implants.  This was a quick and enjoyable read.  It leaves room for a sequel.  Lastly, I liked the mudluff sidekick.

18. August 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Homeland by Cory Doctorow, read by Angie, on 08/17/2014

This is the second Cory Doctorow book I have read and it scared me and made me paranoid just like the first one. Homeland is a followup to Little Brother and follows the same character of Marcus. Marcus and his girlfriend Ange are at Burning Man when they are given a USB stick with confidential information on it and later watch the couple who gave them the info taken away by paramilitary thugs. Back in San Francisco Marcus has to figure out what to do with the thousands of documents full of incriminating information. He is also starting a new job and trying to deal with the fact that his parents have both lost their jobs. There is a lot going on in this book and I will admit that I didn’t understand the majority of the techno jargon. What I did understand was enough to make me paranoid and leary of everything I have ever done online. The scariest part is that this is not fiction; stuff like this is happening around the world as we speak. Cory Doctorow is truly terrifying and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if someone was hacking him and watching his every move. 

11. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

The Rule of Three by Eric Walters, read by Angie, on 08/10/2014

Adam is helping his friend Todd with a paper in their high school computer lab when all the sudden the power goes out. And it is not just out in the school, but all over town and the world. Turns out everything with a computer chip is fried. Fortunately, Adam has a pre-computer car and is able to get home. His mom is a police captain and his dad is an airline pilot stuck in Chicago. His neighbor Herb is an ex-CIA operative (never stated but assumed) who is ready for the apocalypse and quickly takes charge. Soon their neighborhood has checkpoints and a census of people’s skills and walls to protect them. The world has ended but these people can still be good people and help each other out. Of course there are bad people out there. People are fleeing the cities and turning on each other. 

This book reminded me so much of the TV show Revolution. Of course this covers the beginning of the power failure not several years in and there are no supernatural elements. I thought it was frighteningly realistic in its portrayal of what would happen if everything went dark. People would not be prepared and there would be panic. I liked all the details of how the neighborhood came together and how they organized themselves. However, I did think there were a few things that were just too good to be true. Herb for one is a fabulous character but so over the top prepared and knowledgeable that it seemed almost unrealistic. I also thought it was interesting that their neighborhood never really suffered. They had plenty of doctors and security and weaponry and know-how to make everything almost normal. It was like the best possible group of people lived in the same neighborhood so they could survive the apocalypse together. I was also a little disappointed in the conflict with the “bad” group. I was expecting to read about an actual conflict but again it was the best possible outcome for our intrepid group. I really enjoyed the book and thought it was fairly realistic for an apocalypse story; however, I wanted the realism to extend into the characters and their circumstance which didn’t happen. 

07. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski, read by Angie, on 08/07/2014

Homeroom 10B got there flu shots one day. By the next day they could hear other people’s thoughts. They were confused, afraid and more than a little thrilled with their new super powers. It turns out hearing other people’s thoughts has its good and bad points. We find out that Mackenzie cheated on Cooper, Cooper’s parents are getting a divorce, that Teddy doesn’t really like Tess like she likes him. There are no secrets safe from the espies (as they call themselves). Some want to continue with their secret, others want to tell someone and get help. Do they all have to stick together?

This book was a lot of fun. Sure the kids are your typical high school kids: a bit whiny, a bit selfish, a bit horny, but they are highly entertaining. I liked the mix of personalities and reactions to getting ESP. I didn’t realize this was the start of a series when I picked it up but it could be a very entertaining one. Not a lot of substance to the story, but a lot of fun. 

06. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction

FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics, Vol. 1: The Paradigm Shift by Simon Oliver, read by Courtney, on 07/08/2014

For all your physics-related emergencies, there’s only one entity to call: the FBP. Whether it’s just a localized loss of gravity or a full-blown bubble universe threatening to consume an entire city block, the FBP is there. Or they were until a mission goes horribly wrong and the political forces pushing for privatization get the perfect opportunity to discredit the FBP. Now, there are only a handful of dedicated agents left and the private industry is taking over. Adam Hardy has been dutifully serving FBP for years, but when he and his partner get caught up in a collapsing “bubbleverse”, Adam begins to realize that a conspiracy is at play and has been for years. Adam’s father died in a similar situation and the dots are now starting to connect for Adam.
This new comic series has a fantastic premise that is, by and large, well executed. The artwork is lovely and has a very organic feel to it, in spite of its somewhat unusual color palette. I didn’t really feel like I got to know Adam as a character very well, but there’s plenty of time for his character to develop. Adam’s new partner, Rosa, is a welcome addition to the otherwise predominantly male cast. FBP also gets bonus points for having not just one, but two POC main characters.

04. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, Tracy

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon, read by Tracy, on 07/30/2014

With her now-classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon introduced two unforgettable characters — Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser—delighting readers with a story of adventure and love that spanned two centuries. Now Gabaldon returns to that extraordinary time and place in this vivid, powerful follow-up to Outlander….

For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones … about a love that transcends the boundaries of time … and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his….

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart … in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising … and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves.

22. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Noelle, Science Fiction, Teen Books, Thriller/Suspense

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy, read by Noelle, on 07/03/2014

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

07. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction

Archon by Lana Krumwiede, read by Angie, on 07/05/2014

Archon is the continuation of the Psi Chronicles that started in Freakling. Taemon has successfully gotten rid of psi in Deliverance and the community has fallen into chaos as people try to figure out how to live without psi and do things manually. Taemon learns that when he asked the Heart of the Earth to get rid of psi it left everyone except him. So not only did he destroy everything he kept power for himself. Taemon also discovers that his father has been taken over the mountain into the Republik. Taemon and Amma venture over the mountain and discover the Republik is building up an army of psi warriors to invade Deliverance. Taemon’s action hasten the invasion and he has to bring all the communities of Deliverance together to fight back the Republik.

For some reason this book took me forever to read. I got about half way through it and then put it away for several months. It wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t nearly as excited about it as I was the first book. I still like this world where people have mental abilities and thought it was interesting to see them figuring out how to live without them. I didn’t think it was ever fully explained how psi existed in the Republik when it was only supposed to be a part of Deliverance, but that is a minor issue which may be resolved in the next book. 

03. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Lisa, Science Fiction

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke, read by Lisa, on 06/20/2014

Ben Hatke brings back our intrepid space heroine for another delightful sci-fi/fantasy adventure in this New York Times‑Bestselling graphic novel trilogy for middle grade readers.
 
Zita the Spacegirl has saved planets, battled monsters, and wrestled with interplanetary fame. But she faces her biggest challenge yet in the third and final installment of the Zita adventures. Wrongfully imprisoned on a penitentiary planet, Zita has to plot the galaxy’s greatest jailbreak before the evil prison warden can execute his plan of interstellar domination!

03. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Kristy, Science Fiction, Teen Books

The Maze Runner by James Dashner, read by Kristy, on 06/28/2014

“If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.” 

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers–boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out–and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

01. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Eric, Fiction, Science Fiction

The Martian by Andy Weir, read by Eric, on 06/28/2014

Mark Watney is in real trouble. His EVA suit has been punctured, as well as his side. He is leaking atmosphere, and blood. This is the good news. The bad news is that the rest of the crew just lifted off the planet, believing he is dead. He is stranded on Mars, with the next mission from Earth due to arrive in four years. His current supplies are enough for a couple months.

This is hard science fiction at its very best. Either author Andy Weir knows a mind-boggling amount about science and NASA technology, or he knows an army of real scientists. Nearly every word of this novel rings true to space exploration and science, which may be the largest hurdle for readers not interested in such things, because through Watney, Weir explains a ton of science. It’s the backbone of every step the astronaut takes on Mars, and is crucial to his possible survival.

The bulk of the novel is a first-person account, told in Watney’s regular mission journal entries. At first, his sarcastic sense of humor grated a bit, but soon I realized how vital it is to his ability to roll with increasingly-deadly events. Sometimes things are so bad that you just have to laugh. For anyone with a love of realistic space travel, exploration, and science, this is a must-read. I can’t imagine an actual tragic space event happening any differently than this. It’s Apollo 13 times ten. Very highly recommended.

29. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Science Fiction

Smek for President! by Adam Rex, read by Angie, on 06/28/2014

Smek for President! is the sequel to The True Meaning of Smekday, a book I adored. I love the fact that J.Lo and Tip are back for another adventure. In this book, things have settled down on Earth now that the Gorg are gone and the Boov have moved one of Saturn’s moons. J.Lo is still a bit of an outcast as a Boov on Earth and he and Tip have not revealed how they actually saved the world. Dan Landry has taken all the credit and fame. J.Lo decides he needs to talk to Commander Smek and make things right. So he and Tip head for Saturn, but the trip doesn’t turn out like they thought it would. Turns out the Boov are having an election for High Boov and Commander Smek might not win. He throws J.Lo in jail and sends Tip on the run. Tip has to find J.Lo, free him, convince all the Boovs they are heroes not villains and not get killed by a mysterious masked Boov chasing them. She makes friends with Bill the Billboard and FunSize the garbage man, who help her along the way. This is a fun trip back into the world of the Boov. I find this series hilarious. J.Lo and Tip are a great team and pretty entertaining. I enjoy their interactions. This book also has some interesting thoughts on the democratic process, celebrity and the media. I’m not sure why more people aren’t reading Adam Rex but they really should.

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley.

23. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Eric, Fiction, Science Fiction, Thriller/Suspense

The Kraken Project by Douglas Preston, read by Eric, on 06/22/2014

Dorothy isn’t an ordinary girl. For that matter, she isn’t even a girl. She is the most advanced artificial intelligence ever created by NASA, and was designed to operate autonomously within a probe destined for the largest of Saturn’s moons, Titan. Her creator, Melissa Shepherd, designed her so well that Dorothy realizes she is destined to die, and desperately wants to do something about it. Soon, Dorothy is loose on Earth, and wondering why humans should be allowed to live.

Douglas Preston takes a familiar killer A.I. scenario, and adds just enough twists to keep things interesting. As Melissa and former CIA agent, Wyman Ford, attempt to track Dorothy down, an unscrupulous Wall Street trader hopes to do the same, for very different (and lucrative) reasons. At whatever cost, even in human lives. I’ve always enjoyed Preston’s work (both solo, and with Lincoln Child), and this is no exception. Several moments reminded me of the film, A.I., but that’s not such a bad thing. Enjoyable, if not quite believable.

17. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Stories

Last Night of the World by Ray Bradbury, read by Brian, on 06/17/2014

esq-ray-bradbury-1966-lgThis is one of Ray Bradbury’s shortest but most meaningful stories.

 

16. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Science Fiction

The Battle For WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi, read by Angie, on 06/15/2014

This is the final book in the wonderful WondLa series. Eva Nine and her companions must find a way to stop the evil Loroc before he completely destroys the civilizations of Orbona. We see the cast of characters we met in The Search for WondLa and A Hero for WondLa plus a few new ones as Eva travels across the land trying to save everyone. I loved her journey in this series and how much she has grown and changed. I thought the ending was a very satisfying one and I enjoyed the epilogues that told of the future of Orbona in the centuries to come. It had been a while since I read the previous books and this one made me want to read the series all together so I could really enjoy the progression of Eva’s character and the story. Fabulous series and one I would definitely recommend.