In the distant future planet Earth has barely survived attack by an alien race referred to as the “Buggers” for their bug-like appearance. Even though Earth was able to drive the enemy back everyone is waiting for the day when the alien force returns even stronger. All children are monitored as toddlers to early school age to see if they have what it takes to become part of the planets defense force especially leadership material. Young Ender Wiggin is deemed the perfect candidate to be trained up as the commander of the whole military force. He leaves his family at age 6 for rigorous training. He is constantly watched and tested by the teachers and military leaders who believe he may be the only chance for Earth’s survival against the enemy that they know so little about and understand even less. But is Ender clever enough and strong enough to be what the military is looking for? How can a child accomplish what no adult has been able to do so far?
Written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author Going Clear is based on more than two hundred personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists –both famous and less well known–and years of archival research. Lawrence Wright uncovers the inner workings of the Church of Scientology from its origins in the imagination of science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard to its struggles to find acceptance as a legitimate religion around the globe.
Wright centers the book on two leaders of Scientology. L. Ron Hubbard whose mind invented a new religion tailor-made for the spiritually troubled post-World War II era. And his successor, David Miscavige who had the unenviable task of preserving the church in the face of ongoing scandals and continual legal assaults after Hubbard’s death.
We learn about Scientology’s esoteric cosmology; about the auditing process that determines an inductee’s state of being; about the Bridge to Total Freedom, through which members gain eternal life. We see the ways in which the church pursues celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and how young idealists who joined the Sea Org, the church’s clergy, whose members often enter as children, signing up with a billion-year contract and working with little pay in poor conditions. We meet men and women “disconnected” from friends and family by the church’s policy of shunning critical voices. And we discover, through many firsthand stories, the violence that has long permeated the inner sanctum of the church.
In Going Clear, Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion and has given us an evenhanded book that uncovers the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is.
At first he thought the horns were a hallucination. He had spent the last year in a private hell following the death of his girlfriend, Merrin Williams. She was raped and murdered and everyone in town thinks Ig was responsible. A breakdown is to be expected but horns? And now the horns give him a mysterious new power.
Ig had been born into wealth and security. His father a renowned musician and his younger brother a rising late-night TV star. Then one summer he made a new best friend and met the girl of his dreams. He had it all. But Merrin’s death changed everything.
This is a dark, dark story with twists and turns. A compelling story and true to life characters and the reader sees what our main character is able to see… the worst side of people. But the reader also gets to see Ig’s family and friends as he’s growing up. You can feel his love for Merrin and his family and friends which makes it all the more crushing that they’ve turned against him. If you’re looking for a tale of evil and revenge with a touch of the supernatural this fits the bill.
A scruffy lad sees a girl leap desperately from a horse-drawn carriage in an attempt to escape her captors. Can the lad stand by and let her be caught? Of course not he’s…Dodger. Seventeen-year-old Dodger may be a street urchin, but he gleans a living from London’s sewers, and he knows a jewel when he sees one. He’s not about to let anything happen to the unknown girl–not even if her fate impacts some of the most powerful people in England.
From Dodger’s encounter with the mad barber Sweeney Todd to his meetings with the great writer Charles Dickens and the calculating politician Benjamin Disraeli, history and fantasy intertwine with adventure and mystery.
Alexia is different from the rest of her family. She’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Her mother has remarried and her step-sisters and step-father all tolerate her but think she’s odd. But they have no idea that she has no soul and can render supernatural beings powerless with a touch.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently. At one of the biggest social events of the year, she is attacked by a vampire which breaks all standards of social etiquette but Alexia accidentally kills the vampire defending herself. Then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, Scottish, and leader of a werewolf clan) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing?
Before Briony’s stepmother died, she made sure Briony knew that she was a witch and that she was responsible for all the family’s hardships. Briony has accepted her guilt. Of course, she’s dangerous. Of course, she’s unlovable. She used to escape to the swamp, where she told stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the punishment that would come with it.
But Sophronia soon realizes this school is not your ordinary finishing school and not quite what her mother had in mind. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn defense, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her new friends are in for quite an education.
A graphic novel translation of the Canterbury Tales by Chaucer.
To pass the time on their way to Canterbury, England a group of pilgrims decide to tell each other tales as they travel along on their motorcycles. The visual joke of people in Middle English dress on motorcycles instead of horseback and on foot maybe the best laugh for those who are already familiar with the stories and it is the only way the story diverges from the original tales. It is an accessible updated retelling in modern English and a unique way to introduce new readers to the famous tales. Includes adult content and adult drawings. I missed the cadence of the original poetry but now know why we didn’t read all the stories in my college class.
Moving and thought-provoking. Definitely not two words I thought I’d ever use to describe a zombie novel.
It didn’t dwell on the gore of a zombie attack and killing zombies though some of that action is described. Instead it is a collection of first person accounts from doctors to soldiers to individual citizens and political leaders in a variety of countries and cultures. It clearly brings home the emotional, social and economic damage caused by world-wide plague conditions or even an individual country laid low by a plague outbreak. It deftly combines the two (war and plague) never completely forgetting that the enemy were once other human beings often neighbors and friends or family who did not choose to become the enemy but for your survival and the survival of the human race and the human spirit — they all have to die.
This collection of Chinese folktales made for a fun read. You can almost hear the voice of the storyteller telling the stories around a campfire or more appropriately a father or mother telling their children’s these fables and tales at bedtime that their own parent told them. The stories cover a wide range of characters from peasants to princesses and kings. There are some morality tales as well with the man character being someone who is not too bright or who is lazy or stubborn. Some of the tales are similar to the fairytales including some dragons making an appearance.
This tale of adventure on the high seas is a rousing tale for teens. Set in 17th century England our young hero, orphan Philip Marsham must flee London in fear for his life. His father was a sailor so he decides to head to the sea. He signs on the “Rose of Devon” a dark frigate bound for Newfoundland. The story does take some time to get “underway” and into the action as we follow Philip on his walk to the sea, but he does meet some of his fellow shipmates along the way. Once aboard ship the story picks up. If the reader is unfamiliar with nautical terms he may need to look up some of the words to really be able to picture what is happening on the ship.
Philip soon wins his captain’s regard and is enjoying his new life when the ship is seized by buccaneers. With the bloody battles, murderous pirates and our brave hero this is a story for any reader in search of seafaring adventure.
Thirteen year-old Young Fu and his mother must move away from their farm in central China after his father dies and move to the city of Chungking (now spelled Chongqing. Young Fu and his mother have never been to the city before. While he is full of excitement and looking for adventure she is afraid of all the strange customs of the city and the foreigners who live there. Young Fu is apprenticed to Tang, a master coppersmith. The book is set in the 1920s a turbulent time for China it is after the fall of the Imperial government and factions are vying for power.
Chinese traditions are introduced to the reader through the eyes of Young Fu including crooked streets to catch and confuse evil spirits, payment of debt on New Year’s Day, the debate over whether a priest should be called or a doctor for a sick family member. The reader travels with Young Fu as he grows up and goes from apprentice to journeyman, or an experience craftsman. The book is told by stories of events that happen to Young Fu and usually there is some new experience or knowledge that he gains though sometimes it is by making costly mistakes.
Book 4 of the Iron Druid series with lots of Oberon! Atticus and Granuile fake their deaths so he can escape from the angry Norse gods and have 12 undisturbed years to train Granuile to be a druid. But first he has to payback Coyote, the Navajo trickster god, for his help in faking Atticus’ death and Coyote always has a way to trick you into doing more than you realized you were signing up for. And Leif shows up to complicate matters even more.
Gillian Flynn’s wildly popular novel does pull the reader right into the psychological mystery of the disappearance of Amy Dunne on her 5th wedding anniversary. Did Amy runaway? Did her husband, Nick, kill her? Did one of her stalkers kidnap or kill her? As the inspiration of a wildly successful children series, Amazing Amy, Amy has had a number of stalkers during childhood and adulthood or has she? Switching narrators between Amy’s diary and Nick’s thoughts and conversations with the police, his in-laws and his twin sister, Margo, the reader is led on a series of events that slowly unwind into a tangled, twisted web. Nick is definitely not husband of the year material either. Pushed by Amy’s doting parents and her best friend, that Nick didn’t even know Amy had, the police follow the winding trail of clues back to Nick. But is he the real killer? And if he didn’t kill her, where is Amy?
Though the writing is quick and clever and the mystery definitely sustains your interest some of the author’s details are out of whack. There really is a town of Carthage, Missouri, but it is on the opposite side of the state from St. Louis and it is not a river town. The Mississippi River features prominently in the story as do St. Louis and Hannibal and their proximity to “Carthage” is important in the plot. The Ozarks are described as flat land, while the region is well known for it’s hills and valleys. If you enjoy details of the setting of a story and know this and also know that the author is from Missouri, which I did, these repeated inconsistencies are grating. Also, the authors description of people who live in the Midwest is far from complimentary. Most of these descriptions do come from Amy, who loves her previous life in New York City and did not want to move to Missouri, but even general descriptions aren’t kind. As a well-educated and life-long resident of Missouri, who does not consider herself in any way a “hick” this grew very tiresome too.
For me the conclusion was also very unsatisfying. I didn’t guess what was going to happen, which is usually a plus for me. The more mysteries I read the harder it is for an author to surprise me, but what does happen was so upsetting to me that it totally ruined the surprise factor for me.
A few hours after nine-year-old Garnet Linden finds a silver thimble in the dried-up riverbed, on her family’s Wisconsin farm, the rains come and end the long drought on the farm. The rains bring safety for the crops and the livestock and money for Garnet’s father. Garnet’s good luck continues throughout the summer and she’s convinced its because of her lucky thimble. Though not a long book, it is easy for the reader to picture Garnet’s family farm, their small town and the close-knit farming community. Garnet clearly loves the farm, but her older brother is determined to never be a farmer as he watches their father struggle to pay the bills. He realizes the famiy income is based on the weather and things beyond his control no matter how hard dad works. But through the eyes of a stranger and Garnet he also grows to appreciate the benefits of farm life.
This Newbery Award winning children’s story follows the life of an orphan girl, who can’t even remember having a real name, let alone a real home. She is taken in by a medieval village midwife but not out of kindness. The midwife wants an assistant who will do all the chores and be thankful for a roof over her head and a few scraps of bread. But by the end of the story our young woman has found a name and made a place for herself in the world. An interesting look at a part of history rarely covered in children’s literature.
The further adventures of druid, Atticus O’Sullivan, his apprentice Granuaile and faithful wolfhound, Oberon. For twelve years Atticus has been training Granuaile and the world believes he has died. Now that he has to come out into the open to bind Granuaile to the earth and complete her training as a druid a whole host of supernatural beings are upset that he’s still alive.
A collection of poems that start with the thoughts of our murder victim, high school teacher, Mr. Chippendale, right before his untimely demise. Each poem that follows is the thoughts or police interview with students, teachers, neighbors and the police detectives themselves. The finale poem reveals who the murderer is with clues along the way in the poems to point you in that direction.
A collection of poems from Robert Service who is best known for his poems set in the Yukon such as “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee”. Most of the poems in this collection are set around his home in Ireland and with everyday experiences and people. They still tell a clear story and he pulls you into the lives of the poems’ narrators.