Monday, September 30, 2013

Ill Wind

Ill Wind (Weather Warden, #1)
Today’s post is on Ill Wind by Rachel Caine. It is the first in her weather warden series and is 337 pages long. It is published by ROC fantasy. The cover has a beautiful car with a woman standing next to it facing away from the reader looking at a coming storm. There is sex, language, and violence in this book so 16 and older. It is told from first person point of view of the main character Joanne. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Rider on the storm. The Wardens Association has been around pretty much forever. Some Wardens control fire, others control earth, water or wind- and the most powerful can control more than one element. Without Wardens, Mother Nature would wipe humanity off the face of the earth…
Joanne Baldwin is a Weather Warden. Usually, all it takes is a wave of her hand to tame the most violent weather. But now Joanne is trying to outrun another kind of storm: accusations of corruption and murder. So she’s resorting to the very human tactic of running for her life…
Her only hope is Lewis, the most powerful Warden. Unfortunately, he’s also on the run from the World Council. It seems he’s stolen not one but three bottles of Djinn- making him the most wanted man on earth. And without Lewis, Joanne’s chances of surviving are as good as a snowball in- well, a place she may be headed. So she and her classic Mustang are racing hard to find him because there’s some bad weather closing in fast…

Review- This was a great book with only one problem. There are only five chapters. Yes you read that right; only five chapters and the book is 337 pages long. I say that this is a problem because while there are break inside each chapter sometimes they come quickly and sometimes in more than 20 pages of text. Knowing that I would have still read the book but I would have changed how I read it. I was reading it on my lunch break but that did not work out. So I finished reading it at home and enjoyed much more. Caine is a great writer, this is the first time I have read her, and this book is a work of art. Joanne is likable, relatable, and you want her to win. Caine builds the world slowly giving the reader time to process all the details and rules because this world is full of them. There are only a few side characters with the biggest being David; Joanne’s love interest but all the characters are interesting. For a book with all the violence in it there is a surprisingly small death toll in fact only three deaths that I can think of. The magic is fun, the Djinn are Djinn, and I am excited about reading more in this world. While not all of the characters get as fleshed out as Joanne, I felt that I understood the motives of the side characters.

I give this book Four and a half stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I bought this book with my own money.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Lethal Believers: The Innocents

Today’s post is on Lethal Believers: The Innocents by G.M. Baker. It is 215 pages long and is published by MasterKoda Publishing. The cover has the title and author name in white against a gray background with smoke and some kind of cross on it. The intended reader is someone who likes thrillers I think but I will get into that in my review. There is language, sex, talk of rape and child molestation, and violence in this book so beware. It is told from varying view point but I will get into that in my review as well. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From Goodreads- Malachi Danta-Mercadel, retired INTERPOL/Secret Service rails against the Mantid Tranquil organization bent on vesting a form of paranormal revenge, given Danta’s handiwork for exposing Mantid’s illicit operations. However, a certain intervention, with an intricate agenda, leaves both Danta and Mantid Tranquil not only at decisive odds, but also at the distinct disadvantage of an unsettled Myth.

Review- I feel bad about the review I am about to give. I was given an ecopy of this book to review for free and I am not going to give this book a good review. I cannot recommend this book. The plot makes no sense. I had and have no idea what was going on in the book. I do not know who the real killer was and what makes this worse is that I do not care. I do not care about any one of the characters. I did not feel that the characters were real. The dialogue was forced, confusing, and in some places just down right bizarre. There are time jumps that are unexplained and just serve to confuse the reader even more. Danta is, I think, supposed to be interesting and very smart but he was fake and boring. I was bored for some of this novel because it was un-understandable. I think that this was to be a thriller but it was too all over the place to be anything. At the end of the novel when the person convicted of the killings is hanged there is a weird paranormal something that I am not sure why it was in the novel. About the point of view; Baker goes from third person close to third person omniscient back to third person close again all within the same sentence. The other main character goes from being teacher to victim to killer all without the reader getting any hint as to why. I could go on but I am going to stop now. Maybe I am just not the intended reader for this book but I do not recommend this book.

I give this book One out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I was given this book in exchange for my honest review and this gives me no pleasure.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Escape: The Story of the Great Houdini

Escape!: The Story of the Great Houdini
Today’s Non-fiction is Escape: The Story of the Great Houdini by Sid Fleischman. It is 210 including notes and an index and is published by Greenwillow Books. The cover has a picture of Houdini is in his Chinese Water Trap. The intended reader is about seven and up. It is written from third person with notes, letters, photos, and the odd comment from the author. There is no sex, no language, and no violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Who was this man who could walk through brick walls and, with a snap of his fingers, vanish elephants? In these pages you will meet the astonishing Houdini- a magician, ghost chaser, daredevil, pioneer aviator, and king of escape artists. No jail cell or straitjacket could hold him! He shucked off handcuffs as easily as gloves.
In this fresh, witty biography of the most famous bamboozler since Merlin, Sid Fleischman, a former professional magician, enriches his warm homage with insider information and unmaskings. Did Houdini really pick the jailhouse lock to let a fellow circus performer escape? Were his secrets really buried with him? Was he a bum magician, as some rivals claimed? How did he manage to be born in two cities, in two countries, on two continents at the same instant?
Here are the stories of how a knockabout kid named Ehrick Weiss, the son of an impoverished rabbi, presto-changoed himself into the legendary Harry Houdini. Here, too, are rare photographs never before seen by the general reader!

Review- This is a biography written by a children’s book author and kids will love it. Fleischman is an award winning author who knows how to write for kids. This biography was easy to read, interesting, and fun. I had a fun time with it. I am not much of a biography reader but when I saw the cover of this book I had to read the blurb. When I read the blurb I had to read the book and I am glad that I did. Fleischman loves Houdini and magic and it shows in this book. The notes in the back are intensive and could be used as a good base for more research into Houdini and his life. Fleischman knows how to write in way that kids will understand, enjoy and want to read. With details from Fleischman about magicians, as a former one himself, he makes the answers about Houdini did his tricks come alive. Houdini wanted to be legendary and this biography helps explain how he did it.

I give this book Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for this review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Ghost and The Goth

The Ghost and the Goth (The Ghost and the Goth, #1)
Today’s post is on The Ghost and The Goth by Stacey Kade. It is the first in The Ghost and The Goth series and is 281 pages long. It is published by Hyperion. The intended reader is young adult but anyone who was or is goth, likes funny stories, or interesting ghost stories should enjoy this one. The cover has a beautiful blue sky with a boy and a girl sitting on a bench. The girl is looking at the reader smiling but see-though and the guy is in black not looking at either the reader or the girl. There is some language, talk of sexuality but no violence. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- The Ghost- It’s not my fault I was born with it all- good looks, silky blond hair, and a keen sense of what everyone should not be wearing. My life isn’t perfect, though, especially since I died. Run over by a bus of band geeks- could there be a worse fate? As it turns out, yes- I’m starting to disappear, flickering in and out of existence. To top it off, the only person who can see or hear me is Will Killian, TOTAL loser boy, and he refuses to help!
I need to get control of my afterlife, and fast, before I’m dead AND gone for good. If I can get Will to talk to me, I might have a chance. But that means trusting him with my secrets… and I don’t trust anyone, living or dead.
The Goth- My mom thinks I’m crazy. My shrink wants to lock me up. Basically, my life sucks. And that was before the homecoming queen started haunting me. Alona Dare was a pain when she was alive; dead, she’s even worse.
Yeah, I can see, hear, and touch ghosts. With just a few weeks of school left, all I want to do is graduate and get out of here, find some place with less spiritual interference. But with a dead cheerleader who won’t leave me alone, and a violent new ghost who wants me dead… I’m screwed.
Alona and I might be able to help each other… if we can stop hating each other long enough to try.
Yeah, right.

Review- I read this from curiosity but I really enjoyed this novel. It is funny, clever and has great dialogue. The banter between Alona and Will is really good and fun. I liked that both main characters are a little older Will is eighteen and Alona is on permanently seventeen but they act like reasonable human beings. They both have some temper flare ups but nothing out of character or out of story. The underlying themes of forgiveness and honesty are nice and not overdone. In fact unless you are looking for the one about honesty you may not even notice it but that is a thing for me personally. I am looking forward to reading the second one. I do highly recommend this book.

I give this book a Five out Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library but I may be buying this series because I really did enjoy it.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Crown of Embers

The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2)
Today’s post is on The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. It is the second book in her Fire and Thorns series. It is 410 pages long and is published by Greenwillow Books. The cover is a dark blue with stars at the top and ice on the bottom; in the center there is her godstone with Elisa’s profile in it. The intended reader young adult but if you read and enjoyed the first one read this one too. There is talk of sexuality but no sex, no language and the violence is less than the first book. It is told, like the first novel, from first person point of Elisa. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- She does not know what awaits her at the enemy’s gate. Elisa is a hero. She led her people to victory over a terrifying sorcerous army. Her place as the country’s ruler should be secure. But it isn’t.
Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.
To conquer the power she needs, once and for all, Elisa must follow a trail of long-forgotten- and forbidden- clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyes spy, a traitor, and the man whom- despite everything- she is falling in love with.
If she’s lucky, she will return from the journey. But there will be a cost.

Review- I was not sure that I was going to read this book. I was okay with the first one but so many of my friends have it and are just crazy about this series that I decided that I would read it. It is not bad; it is a good second book. The plot goes in an interesting way. The characters grow from beginning to end. And unlike the first one I can say that I will read the last novel in the trilogy. The writing is good, the dialogue is okay. I know that I am a dialogue person, I love to read and watch how the characters interact with each other. But the dialogue is just okay. Nothing really ground breaking going on here. I feel that Elisa moves back from the ending of the first book back to the timid person she was at the start. Most of the book is about her getting the courage to who her country needs her to be. I wonder why Carson felt the need to do this instead of moving Elisa into being who she was posed to be at the end of the first novel but she’s the writer. So the first half of the book was hard for me to read but the second half better. Elisa starts to travel and is not afraid of what she needs to be. Read it for the second half of the story and so that you can read the third in the series and understand what is going on of course.

I give this one Four stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Holy Sh*t

Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing
Today’s Nonfiction post is on Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing by Melissa Mohr. It is 316 pages long including notes and an index. It is published by Oxford University Press. The cover is brown with the title in a black asterisk. The intended reader is adult and that is best but I will get to that in my review. There is very strong language in this book, sexuality, and talk of violence but with what this book is about how can there not be? There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Determining what is obscene is a timeless preoccupation, nearly as timeless as the search for words that adequately express a relationship with the divine. As Melissa Mohr shows in this imaginative and illuminating tour through linguistic history, those preoccupations are not separate. “Swearing” is what we do when we forge a bond with a higher authority, as when we tell the truth and nothing but the truth; it is also what we do to break that bond. In both cases, certain words are endowed with the power to shock or to awe. Obscenities tend towards the earthly and generally remind us that we have bodies. Oaths are lifted to heaven and serve to remind us that we have souls.
Holy Sh*t brilliantly and entertainingly investigates these two kinds of swearing- obscenities and oaths- from ancient Rome and the Bible to the present, uncovering the history of sacred and profane language in English through the ages. It is a journey with a number of surprises. Obscenities in ancient Rome were remarkably similar to our own; George Carlin would have felt completely at home. With the rise of the Church came a new sense of how language should be used, or not- and the difference was often a matter of life and death. Holy Sh*t tracks the advancement of civility and corresponding censorship of language in the eighteenth century; considers the rise of racial slurs after World War II; examines the physiological effects of swearing (increased heart rate and greater pain tolerance); and answers a question that preoccupies the FSS, the U.S. Senate, and anyone who has lately visited a junior high school: are we swearing more now than people did in the past?
A gem of lexicography and cultural history, Holy Sh*t is a serious exploration of linguistic totem and taboo. It charts the way swearing had changed over the centuries, and considers the cultural concerns that gave way to those changes. By looking at the words that have expressed our deepest emotions, high and low, Holy Sh*t reveals the shifting relationship between the divine and the dirty.

Review- This is an interesting book if you are interested in linguistic history as I am. The reason that I say this book is really adult only is not because of the language or content. It is because this is written at a college or higher level. I really think that this is Mohr’s doctoral thesis. At times this book is a struggle to read because of the nature of the language but in the end I really enjoyed it and I think that learned some interesting history. Be prepared for long chapters. On the down side her notes are just notes they do not really add to the text if you just a casual reader like me. Knowing what I was going into this book gives what I was expecting and what I wanted. I wanted to learn more about swearing and how the words changed over the long course of human history and Mohr does that.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The demon trapper’s daughter

The Demon Trapper's Daughter (The Demon Trappers #1)
Today’s post is on The Demon Trapper’s Daughter by Jana Oliver. It is the first in the Trapper series, it is 355 pages long including the first chapter from the second book, and is published by St. Martin’s Press. The cover is two toned starting grey then growing in red from the top down, it has the main character, Riley, standing above the city with a clear sphere in her hands. The intended reader is young adult but it is very well written so if end of the world stories are your thing then try it out. There is violence, talk of sex, and some underage drinking; so be warned. The story is told from third person close of the main characters. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself- and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on…
Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary demon trapper Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils- Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.
But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart- and her life?

Review- I only had one problem with this book and it is more of a compliment then anything. It is I really cared about Riley so it was hard to read so much bad stuff happening so fast. From the beginning of the book all the way to the end there is no real break from all the bad. Riley does get a boyfriend and make peace with the mean girls in her school but that is nothing to having her father murdered by demons, getting a abusive new master trapper, and having to deal with her father’s old apprentice who is a dick. I know that he going to be her main love interest but I do not like him. He is a controlling dick. He may be the reason that I do not read anymore of the series. But then again I really enjoyed the world and Riley is a good heroine. It has a good ending for a first novel with some questions still there but most of the little problems are worked out. So I will probably read the second one because I really like Riley.

I give this one Four stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Strands of Bronze and Gold

Strands of Bronze and Gold (Strands of Bronze and Gold, #1)
Today’s post is on Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson. It is 339 pages long and is published by Knopf publishing. Cover has the heroine in profile with her fire lit up from the light behind her. The intended reader is young adult but if you are fan of the Bluebeard fairy tale you should read this. The story is told from third person close with the focus on the heroine Sophia. There is no language but there some intense situations between Sophie and de Cressac involving violence and sex. There is no sex but de Cressac does not understand that no means no. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father die, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation- on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting- from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.
Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives- all with hair as red as her own- in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.
Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut- a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.

Review- This is a well written and interesting retelling of a lesser known fairy tale. De Cressac is a good villain, he is evil, he is selfish, and I was worried about Sophie. The prose is good and easy to read. You believe that he has murdered and done other horrible things to people and animals. He is scary so be warned. Sophie is not stupid, which is nice. At first she does not want to believe that de Cressac could do those things but over the course of the story she comes to not only believe that he would do them; she gets proof so that he could be publicly brought to justice. There are shades of grey in all but two of the side characters. Sophie’s real love interest and the wise woman who lives in the woods are Sophie’s support system as she tries to survive the dangerous and deadly abbey in the woods. The final confrontation between heroine and villain is intense and gripping.

I give this one Four stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I Wear the Black Hat

Today’s Nonfiction post is on I Wear the Black Hat Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined) by Chuck Klosterman. It is 214 pages including an index at the end. The cover is black with the title and the author’s name in white and a black top hat with a curly mustache and goatee in the middle. The intended reader is adult and I think that adults would get the most of is. There is language, talk of sex, talk of violence and other adult things talked about in an adult manner. The narration style moves from first person of Klosterman when he is expressing opinions to third person when he telling a story. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Chuck Klostermann has walked into the darkness. As a boy, related to the cultural figures who represented goodness- but as an adult, he found himself unconsciously aligning with their enemies. This was not because he necessarily liked what they were doing; it was was because they were doing it on purpose (and they were doing it better). They wanted to be evil. And what, exactly, was that supposed to mean? When we classify someone as a bad person, what are we really saying (and why are we so obsessed with saying it)? How does the culture of deliberate malevolence operate?
In I Wear the Black Hat, Klosterman questions the modern understanding of villainy. What was so Machiavellian about Machiavelli? Why don’t we see Bernhard Goetz is the same way we see Batman? Who is more worthy of our vitriol- Bill Clinton or Don Henley? What was O.J. Simpson’s second-worst decision? And why is Klosterman still haunted by kid he knew for week in 1985?
Masterfully blending cultural analysis with self-interrogation and imaginative hypotheticals, I Wear the Black Hat delivers perceptive observations on the complexity of the antihero (seemingly the only kind of hero America still creates). I Wear the Black Hat is a rare example of serious criticism that’s instantly accessible and really, really funny. Klosterman continues to be the only writer doing whatever it is he’s doing.

Review- I do not know anything about or even heard of Chuck Klosterman before hearing any NPR interview with him about this book. So I read this book in a vacuum. I know only what Kolsterman tells in this book. I enjoyed this book. I like criticism (I blame being an English major in undergrad). But I did not really find this book funny. Maybe I am just too serious a person but nothing was really funny in either a haha sense or a laugh out loud sense to me. But this was an interesting book about how as a society we see villains and even how villains are made. I like villains. I like villains to be bad. I want to see them rise than I want to see them fall. I have said many times when reading a book or watching a show that the villain needs to be the most interesting person in the scene. My personal view about that is this- the hero is good, should be good no matter what. But the villain needs more than just be evil or bad. The villain needs to be charming. The villain needs to be seductive. Klosterman never says that but that is okay with me. He talks about things in a bigger way. He is interested in why someone is a villain and when do they cross that line. This book is definitely is a must read if you like thinking about things in the abstract.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Diverse Energies

Diverse Energies
Today's post is on Diverse Energies edited by Tobias S. Buckell and Joe Monti. It is a short story collection of eleven stories; is 314 pages long including a preface, an afterword, and information about the authors, and is published by Tu Books. The cover has a city landscape in orange with the title and the author’s names in white. As that this is a short story collection the point of view changes from piece to piece, giving the reader a little bit of everything. The intended reader is young adult but some of the stories are really very good so any anyone over the age of about 15 should read and enjoy. There is some language, talk about sexuality, and alternative lifestyles. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- In a world gone wrong, heroes and villains are not always easy to distinguish and every individual has the ability to contribute something powerful.
In this stunning collection of original and rediscovered stories of tragedy and hope, the stars are a diverse group of students, street kids, good girls, kidnappers, and child laborers pitted against their environments, their governments, differing culture, and sometimes one another as they seek answers in their dystopian worlds. Take a journey through time from a nuclear nightmare of the past to society’s far future beyond Earth with these eleven stories by masters of speculative fiction.

Review- This is an interesting and fun read. Like all short story collections I have read some of the stories fit perfectly and some do not but do not let that stop you. In my opinion the best story in this collection is Good Girl by Melinda Lo. But there are so many good stories in this one. All the stories handle the short format with ease and excellence. There is everything from a boy who the descendant of Odin to a girl who is out of step with time. There is a lot of dystopian in this collection but that is not surprising because dystopian is very hot right now. The dystopian is varied from story to story. In one because things are changing in time the world is falling apart in front of the main characters eyes. In another acid rain, over-population, and the 19th Dalia Llama mix with a young boy just trying to eat. All the writing styles are different so the reader does not get bored with reading the same thing over and over again just with different authors.


I give this one Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Archived

The Archived (The Archived, #1)
Today’s post is on The Archived by Victoria Schwad. It is 321 pages and is published by Hyperion. The cover has a gold key just under the title with smoke coming down from it and in the smoke there is a girl’s face. The intended reader young adult and that would be best. There some mild language, no sex, and some violence. But the violence is action based and not really graphic. The story is told from the first person perspective of Mackenzie. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.
Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.
Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous- it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself may crumble and fall.
In this haunting, richly imagined novel Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

Review- This sounds so good and it is not bad but it is not bad just not great. There is some confusion about what histories are, what keepers are really doing, there is a love story thrown in. The book is all over the place. There is a mystery, grief, two guys into Mackenzie, and all the general YA tropes for today. But Schwab really just drops the ball. She wants to do too much with this novel. I wanted to like this book, the idea behind sounds really interesting and it has been a long time since I have read a good ghost story but that is not what I got. It is not badly written and maybe I am just not the audience for this novel. There is little character grown and about 90% of the mystery of the background, that Mackenzie questions and brings attention to through the entire novel, is not explained. After reading the book I still feel like I know nothing about this world and I am not going to read the second novel.

I give this book Two stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

On the Map

On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks
Today’s Nonfiction post is on On the Map: A Mind Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks by Simon Garfield. It is 464 pages long including and index, and a bibliography. It is published by Gotham Books. The cover has a map on it with a hand blacked-out with the title and author information on it. The intended reader is someone who likes nonfiction, maps, or just an enjoyable book to read. There is no language, no sex, and no violence in this book. But there is honesty about things like racism so there is your warning. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- Imagine a world without maps. Where would we go? How would we record those journeys? What would men and women argue about in cars? Our reliance on maps has gone far beyond the paper they are printed on or, more recently, the strength of our GPS signal. Maps fascinate us. They chart out understanding of the world and they log our progress, but above all they tell our stores.
In On the Map, Simon Garfield leads us on a stimulating journey grounded in the idea that maps hold a key to what makes us human. Scientists have even argued that mapping, more than the development of language, is what boosted our prehistoric ancestors over that critical threshold that the other apes failed to cross. Garfield weaves a rich narrative tapestry ranging from the quest to create the perfect globe to the challenges of mapping Africa and Antarctica, from spellbinding treasure maps to the naming of America, from the Ordnance Survey to the mapping of Monopoly, and from rare-map dealers to cartographic frauds.
On the Map explores the unique way that maps both relate and realign our history, beginning with the early sketches of philosophers and explorers and progressing to Google Maps and beyond. En route, there are delightful digressions: “Pocket map” tales about dragons and underworlds, a nineteenth-century murder map, research conducted on the different ways that men and women approach a map, and an explanation for the curious long-term cartographic role played by animals.
On the Map is a witty and irrepressible examination of where we’ve been, how we got there, and where we’re going.

Review- I really enjoyed this book. It is well written, interesting, and with fun pictures. Garfield takes the reader from the beginning of maps when the world was flat to turn-by-turn present and with many stops in-between. He is witty, funny, and well informed. While I was reading this book I was stuck at a tire place waiting and this book helped me not be there but with Robert Lewis Stevenson as he drew the map of Treasure Island. I cannot think of enough good things to say about this book. I am going to be reading more of Garfield’s books because of this book. He is a good writer that makes something interesting fun. I find history interesting but it takes talent to make it fun and new again. Garfield does just that. I highly recommend this book.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Planesrunner (Everness #1)
Today’s post is on Planesrunner by Ian McDonald. It is 268 pages long including a dictionary at the end. It is published by PYR. The cover has two of the main characters one running towards the reader from an iPad and other has her hands thrown out with cards coming from them. The intended reader is young adult but I do not think that YA’s have the attention span for this novel. There is no language, no sex, and all the action is pretty tame. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- There in not one you. There are many yous. There is no one world. There are many worlds. Ours is one among billions of parallel earths.
When Everett Singh’s scientist father is kidnapped from the streets of London, he leaves young Everett a mysterious app on his computer. Suddenly, this teenager has become the owner of the most valuable object in the multiverse-the Infundibulum- the map of all the parallel earths, and there are dark forces in the Ten Known Worlds who will stop at nothing to get it. They’ve got power, authority, the might of ten planets- some of them more technologically advanced than our Earth- at their finger-tips. He’s got wits, intelligence, and a knack for Indian cooking.
To keep the Infundibulum safe, Everett must trick his way through the Heisenberg Gate that his dad helped build and go on the run in a parallel Earth. But to rescue his dad from Charlotte Villiers and the sinister Order, this Planesrunner’s going to need friends. Friends like Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, her adopted daughter, Sen, and the crew of the airship Everness.
Can they rescue Everett’s father and get the Infundibulum to safety? The game is afoot!

Review- I wanted to like this book. The concept is strong, I know McDonald as a writer, and the publisher is very picky about who they publish. But somewhere McDonald just dropped the ball. This is book is not for YA. It is too wordy, the characters are boring, the plot ploddingly slow. I was bored for most of this book. I would count the pages in chapters just to see how long they were so I would read one then go do something else before reading another chapter. I can think of nothing that I enjoyed about this book and that is making writing this review so hard. All the action scenes that happen just feel like filler, the narration was terrible, really there was nothing that I liked about this book. And that is too bad because I wanted to like this book. It sounds wonderful, so promising but I really do not know where McDonald went wrong but this book really is just plain old boring. If you want to want McDonald get his adult stuff. It is so much better.

I give this book One out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.