The current description for this book at Goodreads is confused with Edgar Allan Poe so I will provide the publisher's description for this fabulous liThe current description for this book at Goodreads is confused with Edgar Allan Poe so I will provide the publisher's description for this fabulous little book:
"In another infinitesimal flash he had taken it in. Pale, dusky skin, covering nothing but bones and tendons of appalling strength; coarse black hairs, longer than ever grew on a human hand; nails rising from the ends of the fingers and curving sharply down and forward, grey horny and wrinkled. He flew out of his chair with deadly inconceivable terror at his heart."
The art of telling a ghost story is a refined one and Montague Rhodes James was a master of it. With gentle cunning, he draws the reader into a narrative that at first seems innocuous but which by gentle turns becomes darker and darker until he transfixes you with his prose, creating the most unforgettable, alarming and frightening images. This volume contains all his timeless masterpieces from the four collections of his eerie tales: Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904), More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1911), A Thin Ghost and Others (1919), A Warning to the Curious and Other Ghost Stories (1925).
I'm reading the stories slowly in conjunction with the discussions being had at A Podcast to the Curious. I am enjoying the stories very much indeed and gradually falling in love with M.R. James himself ... who seems to be the very picture of nerdly lore who would be much appreciated today.
FINISHED I finished this some time ago but forgot to mark it done. I enjoyed these stories very much. They are gentler, for the most part, than today's ghost stories but some are absolutely horrifying....more
Good Story #36. Scott learns that Texas is it's own direction, and Julie changes her opinion about Robert E. Lee. Neither is certain where in the timeGood Story #36. Scott learns that Texas is it's own direction, and Julie changes her opinion about Robert E. Lee. Neither is certain where in the timeline to find Lincoln's vampire slaying.
Against all odds I loved this book. I wanted both sides to win. This despite being initially unnerved to see maps when I opened it. Maps with arrows indicating troop movements hither and thither around Gettysburg.
I do not care about maps in books. Even for Lord of the Rings I ignored the maps. I hasten to add that I actually love real maps ... on a wall, in an art book, on a blog. I just do not want to have to make my mental image when reading have to conform to the reality of a map.
Feeling brave despite my unnerving experience I soldiered on. (ha!) I would like everyone to note that my reading of Coraline (for both Good Story and also SFFaudio) was not in vain. Bravery consists in keeping going when one is afraid (or even merely unnerved).
It only took reading the descriptions of the leaders to begin re-embracing the book. I now have read the first chapter and am captivated. Who knew?
I am looking forward to this experience in Gettysburg, which could hardly be more appropriate in terms of such real life experiences as summer vacations. (Not that I'm going on vacation or would head for Gettysburg deliberately if I were ... but it is summer ... and there are such things as theme here ... so this is our summer theme.)
FINAL Simply an amazing book in communicating the humanity, the flaws, the errors, and the brotherhood and love of these men ... and the tragedy of the battle. I now have a small crush on General Longstreet. Really looking forward to discussing this in a few days at A Good Story is Hard to Find.
I also wonder how the son's books stack up against this one, as I know there wound up being a trilogy....more
This was all the rage a little while ago (in book reading time) and the library finally filled my long-standing request. Having something like 9 booksThis was all the rage a little while ago (in book reading time) and the library finally filled my long-standing request. Having something like 9 books I'm partway into (including audio), I knew I'd better wait to begin this. I read the first chapter to make sure I'd be interested and Susan Hill's beautiful, expressive prose swept me away for an hour before I looked up.
This is more than the standard recounting of "book's I've read and loved" as Hill incorporates the brief memories that each elicits of people, places, and life stories. The chapters are brief and may account for a single author or, more often, a type of book such as favorite children's books. She combines old and new as when musing upon her best loved reading as a child and then comparing the success of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series to the extent that at one point her 15-year-old, 23-year-old, and husband were all ensconced in various bedrooms reading themselves to sleep with different volumes.
As I am reading through the various sorts of books this makes me fondly remember the many books I've loved in my life ... and the books I've recently come to love. I owe Hill thanks for sending me on my own voyage through books I love.
Thoroughly enjoyable and the sort of book that leaves one with a long list of other books and authors to dip into ... as well as the desire to leisurely spend the year just reading the books in one's own home. ...more
I never heard of H.V. Morton until I saw that Amy Welborn gave his "A Traveler in Rome" five stars and began checking out what he'd written. A talenteI never heard of H.V. Morton until I saw that Amy Welborn gave his "A Traveler in Rome" five stars and began checking out what he'd written. A talented young journalist who got the lucky break of being the reporter to break the story of King Tut's tomb being discovered, Morton found his metier in travel writing (or so all the tidbits in books tell me). I checked out samples via Kindle and was entranced by all of them. I especially was interested in In the Steps of St. Paul and In the Steps of the Master, but Morton travels all over Europe and as far as South Africa, where I believe he retired and lived until his demise.
I chose to begin with his most loved book, In Search of London. Thus far, I am still entranced and looking forward to Morton's unique blend of history, personal memory, and "current" reporting from 1951....more
If the book just was published can I still call it a classic?
If I just got it, can I really know it is 5 stars?
Let's just say that I have every confidIf the book just was published can I still call it a classic?
If I just got it, can I really know it is 5 stars?
Let's just say that I have every confidence in Nigel Slater's Ripe being just as fantastic as Tender (his vegetable garden and cookery book) was last year.
It has the same gorgeous photography in a stunningly produced book. It has Nigel Slater's same quirky honesty. The only difference here is that the focus is on fruit.
As I'm at the beginning, I can't say much more. Except to confide that just reading the first page of the introduction made me look at the back yard and think, "blueberry bushes?" (Right. From the person who finds container gardening a chore. But still, it made me consider it.)...more
Friendship has a powerful impact on people's behavior. Parents often worry that their children will succumb to "peer pressure," implicitly acknowledgi
Friendship has a powerful impact on people's behavior. Parents often worry that their children will succumb to "peer pressure," implicitly acknowledging the power that friends can have on someone's life. Children aren't the only ones influenced in this way -- adults, too, allow their personalities and choices to be shaped by the company they keep. Communal-ness is part of human nature. We want to be accepted by others. We don't want to seem odd. Natural as this is, it, too, often leads people away from the Faith and into the culture of death in which we live. But friendship's power can work both ways: The Christian who remains faithful to his beliefs and stands up for Christ in this life can have a great influence over those closest to him, even without saying a word.
Very true. For example, I often ask myself "What would Mike Aquilina do?" Never have I been around a nicer guy who consistently sets me on the path of right behavior ... never through a word of criticism but always through his own behavior and words.
I am not a member of Opus Dei, the spiritual movement founded by St. Josemaria Escriva.. Never been much of a joiner really. However, I am well versed in the fundamental way that St. Josemaria Escriva thinks about holiness and every day life thanks to the In Conversation with God series, which I have used for over a decade. Written by a priest from Navarre University, which Escriva helped found, it reflects a lot of Escriva's spirituality which I like. The beauty of the ordinary, the everyday, offered to God is a very practical way to live, as Holiness for Everyone's subtitle reminds us.
Sammons gives a quick look at St. Josemaria Escriva's life and works. He then sets the foundations of what it means to have God as our father and what true love, freedom and holiness really mean. Finally, he comes to how to live a saintly life in our everyday, ordinary lives. Whether at work, at home, with family, with friends, or just driving to the store, the methods to becoming holy are all around us.
Mortifications are all those activities which help us to control our sinful impulses and desires. They can be as simple as denying ourselves a second helping at dinner, allowing others to speak first in conversations, or choosing the longer line at the checkout counter.
This is all interwoven with another theme dear to my heart, that we are all meant to be saints. Becoming a saint sounds like a lofty and unattainable goal because we have only seen the saints after they achieved their goals. Through stories, examples from his own life, and many other sources, Sammons gives us the tools to understand how we too can be saints-in-training right here on earth.
For example, I was struggling with grudgingly doing something I knew God wanted of me. (This is a continual struggle on this particular topic, by the way ... something of a thorn in my side which I must continually strive to overcome.)
A son or daughter of a king is uniquely privileged -- but bears a demanding load of responsibility as a result of his or her lineage. Just so, as children of God, we are called to act in accord with our nobility. Humble submission to the will of our Father will mark us as true children.
It was a real help in my struggle to suddenly see myself as a grown, royal princess, standing to the side of her father the king, awaiting his bidding. This is an image I call up time and again. It helps.
Even if you have no interest whatsoever in St. Josemaria Escriva, you will find something of value in this book. Few of us can pursue holiness aside from the demands of work, family, and friends. Holiness for Everyone gives help and the proper perspective to journey to heaven, together. Highly recommended....more
I'd probably never have picked up this book. I was perfectly happy with how Feed ended and had no interest in a story being told by Shaun, instead ofI'd probably never have picked up this book. I was perfectly happy with how Feed ended and had no interest in a story being told by Shaun, instead of by George. Also, the mystery was so easy to solve in Feed that I didn't hold out great hope for the sequel being a lot better.
Then my co-worker showed up proudly bearing Deadline. What can I say? Reader, I read the whole thing.
I am quite surprised to report that I really like it. It bogged down in the middle but the beginning when they have to evacuate their place in Oakland and the end ... which is a rip-roaring roller-coaster ride of action and (thankfully) surprise answers ... were definitely worth the time spent. In fact the end was so action-packed that when I think back on it, I literally hear in my head the Aliens theme accompanying the story just as it would from the end of that adrenaline-filled movie. When a book gives me "theme music" I've gotta say that it had a powerful impact.
The book begins with a CDC researcher showing up on Shaun's doorstep, having faked her own death in order to bring vital information about the conspiracy they thought was ended in Feed. Namely - it's alive - and much worse than they thought. Interestingly, although there was one unexpected twist after another throughout the story, I still knew early on who the main villain was. The plot is much improved over Feed but Mira Grant's still got to figure out how to present viable villain candidates that aren't obvious throw-aways. Perhaps she didn't grow up reading Agatha Christie books as voraciously as I did.
Still, that's a small quibble. It was really a great read and I actually am eagerly anticipating the release of the next book....more
I read to page 130 before this book solidified my thinking about bloggers who write books. They usually nThis is an Amazon Vine book.
What a mish-mash.
I read to page 130 before this book solidified my thinking about bloggers who write books. They usually need to be very carefully edited and that doesn't happen enough of the time.
Too much description for every single thing from having coffee to walking down the street to going out at night. Description is welcome in a memoir/travelogue, to be sure, but not when everything mentioned explodes adjectives, including some that the author has made up such as "a small, divey Hamra bar" or "some hipstery bars in town." As well, there is no narrative focus for the reader to follow. The author does little more than wander through town, drink coffee, socialize in the evening with friends, write, and agonize over whether she'll ever find a place where she "belongs." That can make a wonderful reading, especially when set in an interesting location like Beirut. However, the lack of focus leaves the reader being jerked from subject to subject to subject and then back again, all in as many paragraphs. That is the pattern for the book and it left me feeling as if I was in a tornado.
Blogging well is one thing. Writing a lengthy book is another. A good editor can help the blogger learn how to make that transition gracefully. This poor author had no such help and since her professional writing experience is through magazine articles and the like, she is used to writing short pieces.
There are many well-written memoir/travelogues that would-be authors may be interested in reading to see how to tell a clear story while including information about many things. My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme; Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie; The Flame Trees of Thika by Elspeth Huxley, and Madeleine L'Engle's Crosswicks Journals (A Circle of Quiet is my favorite) all come to mind. Perhaps the most helpful for this particular author (and more specifically the editor for Jasmine and Fire) would be the Crosswicks Journals. Each flows through time by the months and season, as Jasmine and Fire does, but the clarity of thought and communication are simply fantastic.
As I say, I put most of the blame for this lack of focus on the editor.
That doesn't make the book any easier to read. What a shame. It had great potential....more
I picked this up when Podiobooks.com released it recently. The basic concept of the Matcher (a sentient rock?) is interesting as is the conflict betweI picked this up when Podiobooks.com released it recently. The basic concept of the Matcher (a sentient rock?) is interesting as is the conflict between the retros and the affinities (two opposing ways of organizing family life on the planet).
Here's the basic description.
Novi colony is inhumanly peaceful and John Jerzy has been sent to find out why. Jerzy's last assignment ended in disaster, his career has stalled, and he plans to unravel this minor mystery the Novians call the Matcher and get a real assignment as soon as possible. Stella has lived on Novi all her life and she's going to the Matcher to find her affinity group. She sees no reason to change and she plans to live happily ever after. Max Bari wants to change Novi from a backwater colonial planet to an interstellar power, with himself at the helm. All he needs is to fix the Matcher. He has a plan. Three people, three plans. But the Matcher has no plans. Only rules.
The author narrates the book and her style is rather flat and sometimes the pace is a bit off. However, it isn't enough to detract from my interest in her story.
UPDATE I really enjoyed this book. The inventive social structure, the contrast between the way that the Novians and the off-planet born view The Matcher, and, above all, Stella's and Jerzy's progress in picking their way through the minefield of friend versus foe were absorbing. I was riveted to the last few chapters and found the conclusion both satisfying and inventive....more
This is a bit of a cheat (ok, a big cheat) because I haven't read this book and don't actually intend to.
However, I wanted to express my appreciationThis is a bit of a cheat (ok, a big cheat) because I haven't read this book and don't actually intend to.
However, I wanted to express my appreciation to the author for providing Paul with something to review. (And to Paul for reviewing it, naturally, and asking candid questions of his own.)
And I wanted to express my appreciation to Goodreads at providing a forum where Paul's review followers (including me) could have a 240-comment conversation about religion between atheists, agnostics, Christians and all sorts ... carried on with good humor, patience, and consideration. Surely that is an accomplishment in America today when what's on display is rudeness and a lack of consideration for others' beliefs and feelings.
Crater Trueblood is an orphan and helium 3 miner on the moon, 100 years in the future. This coming of age story features an annoying best friend, a prCrater Trueblood is an orphan and helium 3 miner on the moon, 100 years in the future. This coming of age story features an annoying best friend, a pretty tomboy, and a sidekick—Crater's gillie, a sentient and sometimes insubordinate clump of slime mold cells. Crater is chosen by "the Colonel" for a mysterious mission because he feels Crater may succeed where others have failed. All Crater has to do is travel to the capital city, pick up a package and deliver it to the Colonel. That sounds almost too easy and, of course, it is. Along the way we get to see other places on the moon, meet memorable characters, and learn about Crater's ingenuity. As with many of these stories the journey teaches Crater as much, if not more, than finishing his quest.
I requested this book from Amazon Vine because the gillie was an intriguing concept. I am pleased to say that it was a totally justified decision because the gillie rose far above the "slime mold cells" description by being rather charming and a bit of a know-it-all.
Crater made me feel the way I did when I could sink into the Heinlein juveniles for a rattling good story. This author shows original thinking in such details as the way they bioengineer space suits for outside Moon working, which kept me interested in more than just the adventure. Overall it was a great read and one that left me wishing the sequel was available.
I was interested to note that a few times there was prayer in the book and then I noticed that the publisher is known for their Christian books. However, the book didn't come off that way at all. It was just a rattling good adventure.
In fact, one of my favorite parts was actually a commentary on prayer which made me laugh aloud.
Teller pointed at the woman. "It was your stupidity that killed Tilly." He cut his eyes back to Crater. "Say a prayer for her, Crater."
Crater didn't know why the captain wanted him to say a prayer, but he gave it some thought and said, "Dear Lord, I didn't know Tilly, but I hope You'll take her into heaven. She messed up here at the last but that doesn't matter now, not to her and maybe not to You either."
"I said say a prayer, not write an editorial," Teller growled.
The gillie jumped in. "For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Dust to dust, ashes to ashes, blessed be the Lord thy God who loves thee still. Amen and good-bye."
Teller stared at the gillie, then said, "Well, at least that thing's got some sense."...more
I'm a bit tired of the zombie genre, however, this was of interest because of the large part that blogging plays in the story. In fact, blogging is thI'm a bit tired of the zombie genre, however, this was of interest because of the large part that blogging plays in the story. In fact, blogging is the reason for the story, as it turns out. And that is the reason my friend pressed the book upon me, as he knew my long time blogging and podcasting habits.
Set in 2040, the world has seen the zombie apocalypse thanks to well-intended medicinal cures going awry (isn't that always the way? thank you, I Am Legend movie). The major media downplayed the idea of "zombies" rising from the dead and cost thousands of lives. But the plucky blogging community of citizen reporters gave everyone the truth and helped save civilization. Variations of George and Shaun are the most popular children's names now thanks to society's debt to such movie makers as George Romero and movies like Shaun of the Dead for giving tips to how to avoid and kill zombies. So, yes, the book is heavily invested in pop culture, as one would expect
At the time of the story, bloggers are the new celebrities and our heroine, Georgia, and her brother, Shaun, are among the most popular. They are picked to cover an up and coming presidential candidate as he campaigns before the Republican National Convention. It soon becomes apparent that someone is out to stop the campaign and our intrepid reporters are out to uncover the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
I'd have marked this up another star except the solution to the mystery was so extremely simple that I'd considered it early on and rejected it as too obvious. Yes, both where the adversary was getting information (and why) and who the villain was (and why).
I really enjoyed the environment of the Newsies, Irwins, and Fictionals and how they worked together within their news organization to create full news coverage. I also appreciated the thorough thought the author gave to the virus and the implications to the living population. That actually gave the story a complexity that was lacking in the mystery details. As well, I liked the basic story and characters, although I could have done with much less of Georgia's ever present headaches due to the virus' effect on her eyes. Got it and don't mind a few reminders, but they could have cut it in half and it would have been enough.
Overall, though, high marks for a thrilling, fun to read story that kept me interested so that I kept picking up the book every time I had a chance, reading it in two days. Ironically, my overall comment would match the one that we kept reading throughout the book when others would comment on our heroes' "blogging as journalism" ... not perfect, a bit rough and could use improvemnt -- but it has great heart. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel and crossing my fingers for a more complex plot....more
Be careful reading other Goodreads reviews for this novel as some toss spoilers out in their questions or dissatisfaction with the plot.
Be careful reading other Goodreads reviews for this novel as some toss spoilers out in their questions or dissatisfaction with the plot.
That said, I am 6 chapters in (listening via narrator Mark Douglas Nelson's SciPodBooks podcast which releases a chapter a week) and am fascinated by this story. Yes, as others have noticed, it does reflect the societal attitudes of the 1950s in which it was written. Ok. What do they expect?
Looking past that, though, is the "end of the world" concept which is undertaken in a surprising way. And I didn't think I could be surprised by such things anymore, here in the future 60 or so years later. I am really interested to see how this tale proceeds as it seems to me to be an impossible situation.
FINAL I was won over by this story's old-school sf charm and also as a look at "primitives" versus the "civilized" ... really a great read. And one that has more food for thought than many might think....more
This short story should be read only after one has read Camp's brilliant first book, Assam and Darjeeling. I very much enjoyed reading this adventure,This short story should be read only after one has read Camp's brilliant first book, Assam and Darjeeling. I very much enjoyed reading this adventure, seeing evidence of Jee's character growth, and also in puzzling over the real identities of the man and his wife (not to mention that tree). As always, Camp has a way of mingling myth and modern story while providing an underlying meaning that provides the reader with food for thought.
One comment about the layout though is that the type is gigantic (which is a personal thorn in my side when I encounter it). Assam and Darjeeling was nicely laid out and the only reason I ever know of for such a faux pas in book design is to make the book appear longer (or incompetence, which cannot be laid at Mr. Camp's door). I advise people to take a page from Subterranean Press which has released short stories from such authors as Ted Chiang without apology for their length (or lack thereof) in beautifully laid out books....more
This is a beautiful book, both in the cover and content. It guides the reader through the liturgy of the hours for seven days, using Flannery O'ConnorThis is a beautiful book, both in the cover and content. It guides the reader through the liturgy of the hours for seven days, using Flannery O'Connor's writing for the contemplative prompt. It also includes some of her favorite quotes, prayers, saints, and so-forth. I'm looking forward to sitting down with this. From Paraclete Press which continues to impress me with their interest in melding literature and prayer....more
A beginner must think of herself as one setting out to make a garden in which her Beloved Lord is to take his delight ... (St. Teresa of Avila)
A beginner must think of herself as one setting out to make a garden in which her Beloved Lord is to take his delight ... (St. Teresa of Avila)
This book is a step-by-step approach to help guide you in creating a meaningful sacred space — a place you can step into, close at hand, matched to what brings you personally to inner quietness. ...
This book does not consider the need to landscape your whole yard, but only a very small portion of it so as to be able to attend to the landscape of your soul.
I am not a gardener. At the very most, I have a front porch full of plants in containers which I maintain in a haphazard fashion. Meaning, I'll suddenly look at them and think, "It's 106 today and I haven't watered them for ... hmmm ... well, for a while. Better do that today."
I know. Poor things. Surprisingly, they still seem to flourish, especially my beloved African Iris.
I like the idea of a garden though. I like being outside, hearing water trickle, seeing tall grasses bend under the wind, watching a juvenile grackle beg his mom for food, smelling that elusive honeysuckle every June when I exit my office building, and running my hand over a lavender plant.
Therefore, when I saw Margaret Rose Realy's book about creating a prayer garden, I perked up my ears.
Realy does a fantastic job of taking readers through each step for creating the space you desire most. Even complete novices to gardening or spiritual spaces can follow the process and wind up with a space designed specifically to their needs. Aside from the ordinary garden plan items like soil density, light, and so forth, Realy brought up unexpected items such as whether the point of the garden is for meditation, healing, prayer, or memorial. Scents, colors, textures, and sounds are just a few of the details that I was surprised I had such definite likes and dislikes about, when going through the worksheet process.
Sounds take on a unique quality when we are being contemplative: the sounds of nature, the sounds of water, the sounds of a city, the sounds of our family. We may desire to be receptive to some sounds in our prayer space. Other sounds we may want to minimize.
Sounds can be organic or created. Simply put, the sounds of nature such as birds, wind and crickets are organic. Water is also considered organic and can be manipulated to vary its intensity and type of sound. We can create sounds in our garden with wind chimes or have intrusive created sounds from cars and kids.
Sounds from water vary in type and intensity. With moving water, the faster the flow over rocks or the higher the fall from the edge of a fountain, the more noticeable the sound will be. If your spiritual elements include a fountain, the flow and fall of water is what you will hear. A pool or pond of still water may have just the soft sound of a bird bathing or a frog plopping into it.
I actually already have three spots I turn to when I want to become immersed in nature and prayer but Realy's book has me examining them differently, with an eye to what can easily be added or taken away so that the spaces are even more welcoming than before. And there is a narrow gap of grass between our garage and the neighbor's fence that I'm considering in a whole new way. That may wind up being the space I take and make my own where I'd never have considered doing anything at all.
The book also mentions a lot of other books that Realy herself uses as resources. My To-Read list has grown and I'm grateful because these are books I'd probably never have discovered otherwise.
My one comment otherwise a note to the publisher: the type is gigantic. Sort of a "large type to beat all large type" layout. The layout is fine otherwise and even when using black and white photography it is evocative of the effect the author wishes to show. But the type is so big it is offputting. (Yes, type size is a bugaboo of mine but this has boggled the mind of several others I have shown it to. I think the publisher is just branching out to the book business from what I could discover on the internet so that may be the reason....more
Catholic Family Fun is a guide families can use for having a great time together, often using supplies from around the house or just plain imaginationCatholic Family Fun is a guide families can use for having a great time together, often using supplies from around the house or just plain imagination. Sarah Reinhard has a variety of ingenious ways to have fun in an old fashioned way that doesn't seem "old fashioned." The headings alone point you in the right direction. Who can resist Silly Things to Do Together, Story Starters, or Outdoor Adventures?
Each activity has a several variations, starters to help you get going, faith angles, and a way to "make it yours." There must be over a hundred possibilities when you consider all the alternatives. Some of these are activities that we did with our children when they were little but many of the variations are new to me. I'd have loved this book as an idea generator for a way to grow closer to the kids.
In keeping with the faith theme, the sections Faith with Fun, Ways to Serve, Saints to Celebrate and Praying Together are all just as fun and ingenious as the rest of the book. Somehow I never thought of doing the housework together while singing the Divine Mercy chaplet but just thinking about the house ringing with that song is one that makes me smile.
Although it is Catholic Family Fun, you could easily give it to families who don't care about the Catholic angle. Fun is fun no matter what a family does or doesn't believe. In the faith areas, many of the service ideas, for example, work just as well for any faith orientation with a bit of creative tweaking.
Just reading this book cast my memory back to sleepovers our girls would have when the big event was a musical show. The kids planned, costumed, and scripted it using Disney soundtracks. The next morning, all the parents got a show. Nothing we bought them could have given the fun and excitement they had from those evenings. This book is full of similar ways of "making" your own good times.
Full disclosure: when this book showed up in the mail, I immediately began thinking of which young mother of my acquaintance would be the recipient. Certainly, I planned on reading a few sample chapters at best. Therefore, this book's best testimony is that a third of the way into it, I was wishing I'd had it when my children were small and planning to tuck it away thinking "grandchildren someday."
Families with small children or grandchildren need this book. Period. If I had the cash, I'd keep a supply on hand to distribute to my many friends with small children. This could not only save their sanity but give them the reputation as the most fun mom on the block....more
This was this week's free offer from Phoenix Picks (via Amazon for Kindle). It is the third one they've had and the first that I've liked enough to goThis was this week's free offer from Phoenix Picks (via Amazon for Kindle). It is the third one they've had and the first that I've liked enough to go on past a few pages. I'm interested to see where this story leads. I generally find stories with this many standard fantasy elements to be retreads, but this one feels different and I hope it keeps it up.
The basic story:
Long ago, when the worlds were one... So begins the Tale, the ancestral legend Bron's family has guarded for a thousand years. Once, they were the keepers of the Stone, the most sacred object on earth, from which all the powers of Mind are drawn. But when the conflict between Mind and Hand split the worlds apart, the Stone was seized by an ambitious sorcerer. To keep the new world from contamination, he created rigid Limits circumscribing which tools might be made and which knowledge might be pursued-laws brutally enforced by a group of Guardians known as the Arm of the Stone. For centuries, Bron's family has concealed the secret of its heritage. But when Bron's brother invents a new kind of plow-an unpardonable heresy in the world of the Guardians-the Arm of the Stone reaches in once again to tear them apart. Fleeing for his life, Bron vows revenge....
Final Analysis The world and story concept are interesting. However, I found the use of the same old "star crossed" lovers because they won't bother to ask each other a simple, direct question to be convoluted and annoying as hell. Though I did like what happened to Bron in the end. It was an intriguing look at his Gift. But not enough that I care to read a sequel....more
In my trade, confidence is built on a platform whose legs are made up of good intelligence, continuous training, proper equipment, and field support.
In my trade, confidence is built on a platform whose legs are made up of good intelligence, continuous training, proper equipment, and field support. I had a sick dog, a dead man’s gun, a stolen briefcase, a vampire hunter’s stake in my belt, and a cell phone…
Joe’s dealt with zombies, the island of Dr. Moreau, and the Seven Plagues of Egypt. Surely nothing can surprise him now. At least that’s what he thinks.
After rescuing American college students held hostage in Iran, Joe is contacted with the alarming news that the Iranians want his help in locating six stolen nuclear bombs. Nukes are soon the least of Joe’s problems when he’s attacked by super-powered killers who are probably genetically engineered and may actually be unbeatable. Certainly, it’s the first time he’s been told to “run away” when he calls Mr. Church for orders. The mysterious assassin Violin, with her mommy issues, adds an intriguing element that I liked, although her name made me snicker. Whose side is she really on? Toss in the mysterious Book of Shadows together with an age-old Holy Inquisition* that’s gone off the rails and you’ve got a fast-paced thriller with the usual slight touch of science needed to make us wonder “could it happen…” As usual Joe is sarcastic but has the heart of a warrior so he never quits.
As always, Ray Porter IS Joe Ledger. As I’ve said before, his narration is the reason I wait for the audio books instead of snapping up the printed versions. He’s got a direct, blunt delivery that can go from sarcastic to heart-felt to outraged in 60 seconds. Believably. That’s good because sometimes that’s the way Joe’s day goes.
The fourth entry to the Joe Ledger series piles surprise upon surprise until there are so many moving parts you need a score card to keep up. That’s ok. The ride is most of the fun anyway. It was refreshing to see Echo Team on an assignment that didn’t involve anything supernatural or genetically engineered. It also explained why Joe is sometimes incredulous about the strange situations in which he becomes embroiled. He’s so deep into rescuing college kids that he just plain forgets about his first zombie killing assignment.
That excuse doesn’t really work for the many times that people who should know better protest, “What? Supernatural? That’s just crazy!” That really is the weakest part of these stories. Shouldn’t Echo Team be surprised if there isn’t a monster or super-villain somewhere in the shadows?
This was a return to the Joe Ledger adventure style of the first book in a way, which I liked very much. It also satisfactorily tied up some loose ends that had been accumulating through the last book or two. Highly recommended for those who enjoyed the previous books.
NOTE: This book was originally reviewed for SFFaudio.
* Catholics needn’t worry. Maberry plays fast and loose with elements but he’s generally respectful of religions. Any Catholics involved in this were lied to, folks. Lied to!...more