Thursday, May 7, 2015

Great Book Links for May 7th 2015

Here's a list of 40 short novels from List Muse that will help you be well read in no time. 

 I've read 13/40.  How about you?

Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks all intelligent people should read these 8 books. 

I haven't read any of them to completion.  Do you agree with Neil?  Which book would you add?

People who say they don't have time to read are lying.  

They are simply prioritizing other things in their life, which is fine.  But for those that want to read more books without increasing the amount of time they spend reading, there is this infographic.  All under 200 pages, these books will give you more bang for your buck.   

I'm at 15/55.  Where do you stand?

Huffpo has some more of those beautiful library photos that are always floating around.

What's fun about these is they are not only beautiful, they are also improbable.  And they are fascinating.  What do you think?  Have you seen enough unusual/beautiful libraries?  Or is there no such thing as too many libraries?

So, have you seen Avengers: Age of Ultron????

 I haven't yet, but here's a list of books to read if you absolutely cannot get enough superheroes in your life.  I've actually read 4 of the 12 which was a surprise.  If you haven't already, run don't walk to get the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Book Review: Steelheart

Imagine if the people in the world started developing super powers.  The only problem was, they were all becoming supervillains and not superheroes.  The world as we know it has ended and instead of serving and protecting, these supervillains known as Epics are subjugating the weak and destroying what remains of the country.  This is the premise of Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson.

These Epics have taken over all of our major cities, like Chicago, now known as Newcago.  Newcago has been thrust into darkness by an Epic named Nighwielder and turned completely to steel by the titular character, Steelheart.

The hero of our story David, watched Steelheart murder his father years prior, and has since vowed to kill Steelheart by any means necessary.  The problem is Epics as strong as Steelheart old have one weakness, but David believes he may be able to figure it out since witnessing his father's death years ago and seeing Steelheart bleed.  He'll have to join up with the Reckoners, and post-apocalyptic resistance who have been locating and killing Epics all around the country.

Steelheart is the first book in the Reckoners trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.   It is a great underdog story that teaches the value of hope and perseverance.  The main character is an 18 year old so it is suited for young adults, but adults will find it just as entertaining.  There are lots of really great characters, whether they be the monstrous Epics or Reckoner heroes.  Steelheart is available in paperback for $9.99 + tax.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Book Review: The Infinte Sea by Rick Yancey

The Infinite Sea, by Rick Yancey is the sequel to the 2013 bestseller, The 5th Wave.  Click here for a review of The 5th Wave I wrote in 2013.  I really enjoyed the first book, and the second took me a little while to get into, but I liked it just as much as the first one.

The sequel, like its predecessor, is told from the point of view of children and teenagers who survived the plague that killed most of the people who lived on Earth. The plague was caused by an alien species called the Others who want to inhabit the Earth.  The story begins from the point of view of Ringer, a female teenage soldier.  After the events that culminated in the destruction of Camp Haven, our main characters have holed up in a decrepit hotel, and need to move before they are discovered by the Others and killed.

One of the driving themes of this particular story is the desperate quest to maintain a part of your humanity in the face of the complete destruction of the world.  The only reason to fight so hard to continue on is to preserve the part of us that makes humanity worth saving, although it would be easier to continue the fight and to survive without it.  It's an interesting dichotomy that is presented over and over again in these stories.  The kids have had to become soldiers, and their teachers have attempted to rid them of everything that makes them human, but at the same time they are still just kids, which is obvious in their interactions and when they let their guards down.  The story does have echoes of Ender's Game in that respect.  But there is a huge reveal in this book that renders that comparison no longer valid.  Yancey could have just used this book to further the story and reunite Cassie and Evan, the couple from the previous novel.  But he doesn't, he furthers the story so that all of the main characters are closer to the truth, which is something they had never imagined.

The Infinite Sea is available on sale in hardcover for $16.99 as is its predecessor The 5th Wave.  They're good books certainly worth your read in the post-apocalyptic tradition of the Hunger Games, Divergent and the aforementioned Ender's Game.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review: Rosemary and Rue

Rosemary and Rue, by Seanan McGuire is the first book in the October Daye series.  It focuses on Toby, a faerie changeling with a human father and a faerie mother.  Toby is a private investigator who is trying to leave the faerie world behind her.  After building a life for herself with her human husband and daughter, she is kept from them for a period of 12 years by an enemy of her liege lord.  After her long absence, she is trying to put her life back together in the human world, and trying to avoid all contact with the faerie world that has caused her such pain.  The problem is, the faerie world isn't done with her yet.  She is dragged back in by the murder of her friend and a subsequent curse that causes her to have to find out who the murderer is or die herself.

This series, currently at 8 books, is just the right combination of fantasy and mystery.  It's great for fans of Jim Butcher or Kim Harrison.  It's good to see a strong female lead headlining a fantasy story.  I very much enjoyed McGuire's world building.  She jumps between San Francisco and the faerie knowes of California.  She creates vivid portraits of both worlds.

She also is very good with her characters.  They are both enjoyable, three-dimensional, and well thought out.  You will enjoy the world of Toby, Conner, Tybalt, Sebastian, and The Luidaeg.  You probably won't enjoy learning how to pronounce Luidaeg, but there is a handy pronunciation guide at the beginning of each book that will help inordinately.

We currently have the first two volumes of this exciting fantasy series available for $7.99 each + tax with the rest of the series on order.  Pick yours up today!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Book Review: Horrorstor

Horrorstor, by Grady Hendrix is a satire on Ikea and big box retail, but it is also a very compelling horror novel.  Something has gone wrong in the Orsk store in Cleveland Ohio.  Sales are down, even though the store is always busy.  There is a strange man who keeps appearing and disappearing from the salesfloor.  There are strange smells, and stains on furniture when the store opens, that weren't there when the store closed.

  In order to figure out what is going wrong at the store, three employees agree to spend an overnight in the store to patrol and catch the culprit.  So Manger Basil; young, directionless Amy; and perky, and upbeat Ruth Anne; all settle in for a long night.  It soon becomes clear that there isn't a person responsible for the trouble at all, but a malignant evil which has existed for centuries, just waiting for an opportunity to get out.

The story itself is sound, but the book is also nicely done.  It is set up to look like the Orsk furniture catalog.  It comes complete with descriptions or Orsk furnishings, a map of the store, coupons, and a home delivery form.  So in addition to being a captivating read, it is also a well designed book.

Overall Horrorstor is a very entertaining twist on the haunted house genre.  I recommend this quick and frightening story of dedication and redemption.

Horrorstor is available new in paperback for $12.95 + tax.  Come in and grab your copy today!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Book Review: Something From the Nightside

Something From the Nightside is the first book of the 12 book Nightside series by Simon Green.  If you like your fantasy a little darker, a little weirder, and a little more British this would be an excellent series for you.

The book starts with our protagonist, John Taylor, who isn't quite human.  He is a private investigator who is forced to return to the Nightside, a sort of hidden netherworld London, where it is always 3 am and always dark.  Taylor had been living in London, away from the Nightside.  He though he had finally left it for good.  The book focuses on his quest to return a runaway child to her mother.  Along the way we meet an interesting cast of characters, all various friends and enemies of our main character.

There is Suzie Shooter, the human bounty hunter who gets her name from her trademark weapon, and makes her money in very violent ways.  There is also Razor Eddie, the Punk God of the Straight Razor, also violent.   And something more than human, that cannot be killed.  There is also Alex Morrisey, the owner of Taylor's favorite bar Stangefellows, whose family has been attached to the bar for centuries, but can never leave.

One of the driving themes of this story and all the books, is Taylor's special talent for finding things, and what it allows him to do.  A theme that goes hand in hand with his abilities as a finder, is what he really is.  He is a product of a relationship between a human father and an inhuman mother.  What exactly his mother is is unknown to both Taylor and the reader.  Most creatures of the Nightside speak of her with both reverence and fear, but no one will reveal to Taylor exactly what she is or where she can be found.

I found Tales From the Nightside very entertaining.  Think of it as a cross between Stephen King and Neil Gaiman.  It's dark, mysterious, British and a bit gross.  But at all times entertaining.  The characters are well drawn, and interesting, and there are enough different types that Taylor interacts with, that it is never dull.  Beware in the Nightside.  Nothing is ever what it seems.  We have book 1 and 2 of the Nightside series available new in paperback for $7.99+ tax.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review: Wool

Wool by Hugh Howey is series of Science Fiction novellas bound in a single volume.  It tells the story of the Silo, an underground structure in which humanity has been forced to live, due to the poisoning of the environment on Earth.

The society in the Silo, while first appearing to be ideal, is eventually revealed to be politically corrupt.  The people who know the actual reason for the existence of the Silo are not the Mayor or the Sheriff, who are only titularly in charge.  There are others that know the real truth about the Silo, and are manipulating what goes on inside for their own ends, and the presumed good of the people.

Punishment for serious crimes in the Silo results in cleaning.  Cleaners are expected to clean the sensors and screens on the outside of the Silo, so those who remain inside can see what remains of the world outside.  The only problem is, the scientists inside the Silo have yet to develop a suit that can survive the rigors of the outside for very long.  Eventually the suits break down and the real sentence is carried out; death.

Wool starts out slowly, but once you understand the rules of the world, the stories grab on and don't let go.  You find yourself pulling for the protagonists to learn the truth, and rooting against the shadow authority that would have them fail.  The world Howey creates is one of social strata denoted by your role in the Silo, which is also signified by the color of your clothing, and on which floor you live.  Everything is controlled, from how many children you can have to whether you are allowed to own a pet.  But that does not stop the citizens from harboring a desperate hope that some day, a generation of humans will again live in the outside world.

Wool is very well done, and definitely worth your time.  It will appeal to those who read science fiction as a chosen genre, and those who don't really prefer it, as at its heart it is a story about people living their lives the best way they can.  It is available new in paperback for $13.99 + tax.