For fans of Doctor Who this collection of eleven stories offers the perfect blend of excellent writers and excellent stories. Like most collections thFor fans of Doctor Who this collection of eleven stories offers the perfect blend of excellent writers and excellent stories. Like most collections there are a few stories that lag behind the others a bit, but each is true to the doctor it features. If you love Doctor Who definitely give the stories a read....more
A collection of 13 short stories from the Jane Yellowrock series, including several new stories and several previously published pieces. I love all ofA collection of 13 short stories from the Jane Yellowrock series, including several new stories and several previously published pieces. I love all of them, though the new ones were obviously my favorites. This is the first time I've read stories from a perspective other than Jane's so that was an interesting take. Fans of the Jane Yellowrock books will love this collection and won't be disappointed. People who are new to the series should start with the books first, so they are well grounded in the characters and world before diving in to the short stories as you'll enjoy them more. A fun, fast read and just the perfect pre-holiday treat. ...more
Kate, Micheal and Emma Wibberly continue their adventures in search of the fabled Books of Beginning. While Kate now posses the Emerald Atlas, the chiKate, Micheal and Emma Wibberly continue their adventures in search of the fabled Books of Beginning. While Kate now posses the Emerald Atlas, the children are in even greater danger from the Dire Magnus and his minions. When Kate is sucked back in time to turn-of-the-century New York, Michael and Emma embark on a quest for the second Book of Beginning, the Book of Life or Fire Chronicle, in order to rescue their sister.
This second book is filled with action, humor and the excellent writing I fell in love with in the Emerald Atlas. Stephens' whimsical characters and imaginative world building suck me right in and I just loved every page. I found the story line with Kate and Rafe fairly predictable but it didn't stop me from rooting for the two of them. Despite the book having dual stories going (Kate in New York, Michael & Emma pretty much all over) this was really Michael's story and he's the one who shows the most character growth. Occasionally petty and immature, Michael's a bit all over the place in the beginning of the book. By the end, however, he's grown up a lot and embraced his role in wielding the Fire Chronicle. This is such a lush and fun book, perfect for fantasy loves, reluctant readers, and children of all ages who like a good story.
I know a lot of people compare this series to the Harry Potter series in an unflattering light and claim it's derivative, however I think the books stand on their own. There are certain children's fantasy archetypes that are very prevalent in this sort of book and the series does use them. The mark of a good writer is making those tropes and archetypes their own and putting a fresh spin on them. I believe Stephens has done that. Pym is not Dumbledore, though he does fit the wise mentor archetype. The Dire Magnus is not Voldemort, though he does fit the classic villain mode. Calling these books derivative denigrates the time and effort Stephens put into building his world and his characters. I find the series wholly delightful and have nothing bad to say. I cannot wait for the next book in the series....more
In her second adventure, foundling Jennifer Strange must win a wizards' challenge to save the magical company she manages, protect the freedom of magiIn her second adventure, foundling Jennifer Strange must win a wizards' challenge to save the magical company she manages, protect the freedom of magic and prevent a despot from gaining unlimited power. Sounds easy enough - except everything keeps going wrong. The Kazam wizards, one after another, are out of commission, the corrupt king & his cronies are rigging the contest against Kazam and a strange quark beast is on the loose and in danger of being captured by a scruple-less hunter.
A fun, crazy read with lots of strange twists. Fforde is clearly having fun with this series and indulging his love for the absurd. While the plot dragged a tiny bit, particularly in the first third of the book, overall it's an engaging read. This is the sort of story that will make you smile with all the quirky little details packed inside. Recommended for anyone who loved the first book, Fforde's Thursday Next series, or satirical writing in general. ...more
Nathan Garrett is a sorcerer and a thief. He's also a man without a past - at least not one he can remember. When Nathan agrees to steal an ancient anNathan Garrett is a sorcerer and a thief. He's also a man without a past - at least not one he can remember. When Nathan agrees to steal an ancient and valuable book he stumbles into a plot that will reveal his past, endanger his friends and probably end his life.
Crimes Against Magic started out strong but quickly fell apart for me. The characters feel a bit thin and the underlying story, the conflict and Nathan's past stretched credulity to the breaking point. I read a lot of fantasy and I'm totally willing to suspend disbelief BUT I have to feel like the author is really selling the story and I didn't feel that at all with Crimes Against Magic. Instead it felt like a strange amalgamation of several archetypal tropes and cultural histories poorly stitched together.
(view spoiler)[The Arthurian legend, slapped onto the greek myths with a dash of other religions as well? It may have worked in American Gods by Neil Gaiman but that's because Gaiman created a credible world and shored up his characters with enough back story and support for WHY this gods were co-existing. This book's back story was just a mess. And the jumping between eras got a bit confusing at times as well.
In addition, Nathan's feelings for Jenny are patently ridiculous. He knew her for basically a day, had a one-night stand with the woman and suddenly he's all passionate about her and mooning around as though they've been dating for ages? Plus he's still got a thing for Holly don't forget. It's inconsistencies like that which kept me from really enjoying this book. (hide spoiler)]
It's not badly written per-say, the dialogue is fine, there's a decent amount of humor and the setting descriptions were good. The characters, though thin, were at least distinctive.
While this book wasn't for me, I'm sure others will enjoy it. I can see this book appealing to action fans and perhaps fans of the Iron Druid series as well. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Harry's return to Chicago isn't going well - Demon Reach is set to blow up, Molly's MIA and as usual shit is about to hit the fan. Buckle your seat beHarry's return to Chicago isn't going well - Demon Reach is set to blow up, Molly's MIA and as usual shit is about to hit the fan. Buckle your seat belts for another fun Dresden Files adventure.
I keep expecting this series to start petering out. I mean we're 15 books in and surely the writing has to be getting a bit stale at this point, right? Nope, not even a bit. The books are still fantastic and one of my favorite series ever. Skin Game delivers on all fronts with lots of great action, plot twists, humor and characters I've grown to love and adore over the years. I finished the book desperately wishing for a time machine so I could jump forward and start the next book. If you're a Dresden Files fan you're going to love this book just as much as the others. ...more
Alanna of Trebond longs to be a knight, something no girl would ever be allowed to undertake. When Alanna and her brother Thom are sent away to schoolAlanna of Trebond longs to be a knight, something no girl would ever be allowed to undertake. When Alanna and her brother Thom are sent away to school they decide to go their own way and Alanna reinvents herself as Alan and begins training. Learning to be a knight is brutal and hard and as she ages it's harder for Alanna to hide her gender.
The story telling was simplistic overall and I found the story largely forgettable. I cringed every time the author described Alanna's lavender eyes. This is an upper middle-grade reader and fits comfortably in that genre, there's nothing overly challenging and deep. Alanna's period is mentioned at one point, that's perhaps the most controversial thing. Though I understand that the second book in the series does push some boundaries most middle-grade readers do not in regards to pre-marital sex and sexuality.
I struggled for a while to understand why I didn't like or connect with this book. I really like the story of Mulan and I'm a huge fan of kick-ass girl stories. But Alanna doesn't want to be a girl and in many ways I feel like she hates herself and her gender. She continually calls females weak and sees herself as less than the boys she's competing with. She hates her body. I prefer a story where the girls aren't filled with self-loathing and are perfectly fine with being female AND kicking some ass. I might have been okay with the story if Alanna had grown to accept her gender by the end of the book, but that wasn't the case. She's outed not by herself, but circumstance....more
Percy and Annabeth must fight their way out of Tartarus, while Leo, Hazel, Frank, Piper and Jason head for the ancient lands in an attempt to rescue tPercy and Annabeth must fight their way out of Tartarus, while Leo, Hazel, Frank, Piper and Jason head for the ancient lands in an attempt to rescue their friends from the other side of the doors of death.
This was another fast-paced, action packed read. A perfect accompaniment to the series. There's some good character progression for Jason in this book, along with Percy and Annabeth, and surprisingly, Leo. We learn more about each of them and there are certainly a ton of romance moments for Percy and Annabeth. I love how their relationship has changed over the series and I also like how Riordan shows us different aspects of each of the characters, how they see themselves and how others perceive them. Percy is everyone's golden boy, but Jason, surprisingly, is the hero of his own story and a hero to Leo and Piper, but not beloved and accepted the way Percy is. I can't wait to read the next book and really loved this one.
SPOILERS BELOW 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
For the longest time, GLBT issues weren't really seen in YA literature other than a few very niche books. These days gay characters are almost a given. I'm happy with that change when the characters fit the story and it doesn't feel like they're just being included as a token gesture. Like the author is ticking off a list "Let's see, potential love triangle, check. Gay character, check. Bit of romance, check." Finding out that Nico is gay and in love with Percy felt forced. I need to reread the previous books but I don't feel like there were any hints in that area so it came out of left field. Perhaps I'm just not reading the subtext in the previous books properly. I just felt like Nico was the token gay character and that personality aspect was tacked onto him. Unlike in a book such as Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green where the fact one of the main characters is gay is a natural part of that character and adds to his storyline and his personality. Nothing about Tiny's character in Will Grayson, Will Grayson felt forced. But in House of Hades, the internal conflict with Nico being in love with Percy did feel forced and unnatural. A manufactured conflict and a way for Riordan to rationalize Nico's need to isolate himself. Nico can't be anti-social and a loner without some big, dark secret. I don't buy it and that was the only aspect of the book I didn't enjoy. If Riordan had built toward this in the previous books and laid groundwork for it, I'd be fine with it....more
On a visit to her friend Keisha, Rose sees a ghost: Keisha's brother Jay, a sailor supposedly lost at sea three months before. Rose and the Doctor jumOn a visit to her friend Keisha, Rose sees a ghost: Keisha's brother Jay, a sailor supposedly lost at sea three months before. Rose and the Doctor jump in to investigate when weird things begin happening.
I listed to the audiobook version of this story, which is narrated by David Tennant. I absolutely love Tennant and I could listen to his voice recite the phone book and still be entranced. That fact that he was in character and this is a decent story was just icing on the cake. The title characters, the doctor, Rose, and Mickey, were all in keeping with their TV personas and came across very believable. There's lots of fun banter and some good action. I really enjoyed this story. Like the TV shows it ended far too quickly for my tastes - I could have listened for another couple hours quite happily. ...more
In this re-imagining of the Peter Pan story, Jodi Lynn Anderson shares Tiger Lily's story.
I was hesitant to start this book. Afraid it'd be another raIn this re-imagining of the Peter Pan story, Jodi Lynn Anderson shares Tiger Lily's story.
I was hesitant to start this book. Afraid it'd be another random story tie in with cardboard characters and little substance. I should have known better considering Anderson is one of my favorite authors. From the beginning this book is a bit of a mystery. All along I was left guessing at what events would occur, trying to place characters in the frame work I'm familiar with them being in and trying to guess who was who. Unusually, Anderson uses Tinkerbell as her viewpoint narrator for the entire story. And somehow it works. The only bit of weirdness is the idea that Tinkerbell can read thoughts, memories and intentions. That threw me a little and makes for some occasional odd verb tenses in parts. But like the rest of the story it works in the end.
From the beginning we're told this is a love story, but not a happy one and that good does not win. Despite that, I was hopeful throughout, rooting for that perfect happy ending to somehow happen. Even though I knew it couldn't and had been warned it wouldn't. I have to applaud Anderson for NOT forcing a happy ending but providing a satisfying one that is true to the characters and the story. There's a beauty in this story and an underlying sadness for things loved and lost and that can never again be. For wild boys who grow up to be civilized men, for pirates that are in no way romantic and for an ancient culture threatened by the encroachment of western civilization and Christianity.
There are so many wonderful things in this book, one of my favorite is that Tiger Lily is allowed to be strong and brave, fallible, selfish, loving and un-beautiful. She's a strong female character, not a pretty doll being pushed along by circumstance. ...more
Fourteen-year-old American Janie Scott has just moved to London in 1952 and is having trouble fitting in at school. Her parents were about to be accusFourteen-year-old American Janie Scott has just moved to London in 1952 and is having trouble fitting in at school. Her parents were about to be accused as communists so there's no going back to America and Janie will just have to make the best of it. When Janie becomes involved with the Apothecary's son, Benjamin Burrows, she's inadvertently dragged into a mad adventure filled with Russian spies, magic users and, most importantly to Janie, Ben - the boy she's been crushing on.
Janie and Ben read much younger than their apparent ages in the book. Perhaps that's because the story takes place in 1952 and we're to believe that children were, in general, more child-like in those days. The plot is fairly predictable, and the reader is asked to take some pretty huge leaps of faith. (view spoiler)[I still don't understand how Mr. Burrows believes his atomic containment spell will make a difference considering he'd have to be on-site for any atomic explosion to contain it and he'd have no way of knowing, in advance what the target was going to be, and then getting there in time given a devastated transit system (as would inevitably result in the event of a nuclear disaster). (hide spoiler)] The magic aspect being completely tied to chemical and alchemical formula was an interesting twist.
For the most part, however, I found the characters to be largely two-dimensional. That was the biggest failing of the book overall. (view spoiler)[Also, I found the whole memory-loss potion entirely too convenient a plot device - the idea that the Apothecary could wipe out only a set time period stretches the bounds of credulity. Even if the reader buys into that idea, the emotional trauma Janie's parents suffered from their daughter going missing had to have had an impact. It would spill over into their everyday life, even if they couldn't remember why they were reacting as they were. For goodness sakes their daughter was missing and they had no idea what had happened to her. Plus, a kid was missing! Why weren't there more police involved than just the two detectives? There had to have been a case file. But all of that is never addressed or mentioned. (hide spoiler)] The ending felt contrived and false to me.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The Peter Grant series just gets better with each book, and the first one was pretty fantastic so that's saying something. Each book has a distinctiveThe Peter Grant series just gets better with each book, and the first one was pretty fantastic so that's saying something. Each book has a distinctive flair, the words just dripping with incredible character voice. It's urban fantasy meets police procedural meets the best of BBC drama.
One of the things I love most is that the plot is unpredictable and yet still completely believable within the terms of the world and characters Aaronovitch has created. Filled with memorable characters, lots of action and excellent twists I love every minute of these books and am always sad when I reach the end, breathlessly eager to jump into the next book....more
Peter Grant has investigated some weird stuff but that all goes up a notch when he finds himself searching for a Jazz Vampire. It's not the best namePeter Grant has investigated some weird stuff but that all goes up a notch when he finds himself searching for a Jazz Vampire. It's not the best name for whatever is killing London's jazz musicians but Peter and his boss, DCI Nightingale, can't come up with a better one. Nightingale is still on medical rest and must take a back seat as Peter tries to figure out what's going on. Add to that the unexpected re-appearance of a dark wizard and suddenly London is a very dangerous place to be an apprentice wizard.
Just as fast paced and fun as the first Peter Grant mystery this one drags readers along for a madcap adventure. The language, descriptions and characters are all spot on and the plot twists keep things interesting. I really love that Aaronovitch doesn't give his characters easy outs - there are real consequences in their world and just because magic exists doesn't mean it can fix everything. In fact, it's more likely to mess things up. Leslie's appearance and continued struggles are ample proof of that and it lends a credence and realistic factor to the story that is sadly missing in so many Urban Fantasy stories today. Peter Grant is definitely one of my favorite characters and his series is going on my favorites shelf. ...more
Peter Grant is a junior constable when he stumbles into the middle of a grisly murder spree. If only he hadn't seen the ghost that night everything miPeter Grant is a junior constable when he stumbles into the middle of a grisly murder spree. If only he hadn't seen the ghost that night everything might have been different. Now he's been reassigned to Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale of the London Metro Police - in a department that consists of only the two of them and can best be described as the department of weird shit. Ghosts, magic, elementals, vampires, Nightingale has dealt with them all and now Peter has to deal with them too as he races to find a supernatural killer intent on making London his public stage.
The characters and language of this book are excellent. The descriptions are the absolute best and Aaronovitch has a way with language that just makes me grin. The plot drags a bit toward the end but then speeds up. Overall I think the book could have been edited down a bit, but those are minor quibbles. There are too many other fantastic aspects not to give this book a go. I really appreciate that magic is actually hard work in Aaronovitch's universe and his characters and supernaturals conform to physical laws. Everything is so probable and well handled that you could almost believe the story possible, which is the best kind of urban fantasy. The language is gritty at times but it fits with the story. A good read and I'll definitely be looking for more from this author....more
Ursula Todd dies and is reborn into her same life, over and over and over. With each rebirth she retains more memory of her former lives however and cUrsula Todd dies and is reborn into her same life, over and over and over. With each rebirth she retains more memory of her former lives however and can shape events differently. Sometimes it's Ursula herself who changes things and sometimes it's just happenstance: the doctor arrives late and Ursula is stillborn, he arrives on time and resuscitates the child saving her life. As Ursula grows, getting older with each successive redo of her life, she struggles to figure out why she's different, why this doesn't happen to everyone apparently, and what she's meant to do.
The premise of the book is intriguing, but the mechanics are rather a mess. (view spoiler)[WHY and how Ursula is reborn is never adequately explained. More-over, the repetitive nature of the various rebirths can be a bit waring and the novel feels unnecessarily drawn out. My largest gripes with this book are two-fold, first that the central question - why and what purpose is never really answered, and secondly that there is no resoltion for Ursula. None. No hope, no reprieve and no apparent end to the cycle of birth and death that she's stuck on. How can she not go insane in the end and even that won't be an ending because she'll still keep dying and being reborn in an endless, hideous merry-go-round. In re-incarnation myths and belief, rebirth is a learning process that has a finite limit - one eventually achieves enlightment and gets to move on to the after life. You also get to live different lives. Poor Ursula has no hope of an end offered and has to relive the same life continuously. Because so much time and emotion had been invested in getting to know Ursula's character I felt dissatisfied and angry at the lack of resolution - it made the novel feel incomplete. (hide spoiler)]
Overall this was an interesting but frustrating novel.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more