Saturday, December 28, 2013

Kingdom Keepers Disney After Dark by Ridley Pearson

Using Daylight Hologram Imaging five middle school students are virtual Disney host.  When things get strange is when their dreams start seeming real, then they discover they are real, they are able to be in the park after they fall asleep.

As everyone knows Disney is full of magic and all magic has two sides. The DHIs have been created to help solve a mystery and to fight off evil. 

A really fun story, fast paced without being pushed, and quick chapters to encourage a reluctant reader.

It will also make you want to go to Disney.  I went when I was very young and was not impressed but this may make me give it another chance.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Serpent on the Crown by Elizabeth Peters

The Emerson family is back in Egypt once again and as always there is a mystery, a murder, and a lot of hot, dusty, digging.

As always the Egyptology aspect is well represented as always although there is not a major find in that department.  Ramses and Nefret are finally getting to do their own thing, at least for a bit, and Peabody take full credit for that arrangement. 

Sethos appears about mid-way through, always an entertaining character and David arrives from England before the end. 

A very fun read which will actually have you laughing out loud so beware if you read in public.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sackett by Louis L'Amour

Tell Sackett tends to get in the middle of things without meaning to do so but always comes out if not sound at least alive.  The challenges of settling a new country, weather, people, conditions, al seem to all come together at once.

As always L'Amour tells a good story but the writing is often disjointed and choppy.  Read it as a whole and do not reflect on the writing to much and you will enjoy it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Air Apparent by Piers Anthony

Wira and Hugo are ready to summon the stork but Hugo never comes back from the wine cellar where he went to get a bottle to celebrate.  In his place is what appears to be a dead body.  A mystery!

This would be easy to solve except Magician Humphrey's Book of Answers is scrambled.  A quest is in order!

Filled with the usual puns the story drags at times then picks up and drags again.  I am not a fan of all the worlds of Ida and they play a major part.

The Adult Conspiracy plays a major role but in this I find it has a bit of a molester feel which was very off putting.  Innocent is not always innocent and this is something that creeps into Anthony's writing in other books also.   If not for this it would be a typical enjoyable Xanth novel.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Coming Home by Lauren Brooke

The first installment in the Heartland Series the appeal is to horse loving young girls.  Other than the obvious family tragedy that seems to be standard fare for this genre there are a few other problems. 

There is no way that an Olympic caliber horse will be turned over to a fifteen year old girl to train.  Waiting thirty minutes for a storm to pass makes more sense than trying to load a horse in the middle of a storm.  A pony would not live more than a week without drinking and although depression in horses is a reality one person singing one time does not cure it.

Just a bit to much of the "joining up" and herb remedies for me.  Girls read this type of junk and think this is really how you deal with horses.  It is not all false but there needs to be some reality thrown in also.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

Book Four of the Heroes of Olympus

Greek and Roman demigods work together trying to defeat Gaea, the Earth Mother, before she wakes.  A quest, prophecies, random minor gods, you know the drill.

What I really liked is how the character of Nico de Angelo really develops along with Frank Zang, without either one doing anything on purpose.  Expect to see more from these two.

If more is told to much is given away, you just have to read it for yourself.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Murder Me Now by Annette Myers

This is the first introduction I have had to Olivia Brown and at times I like her, most of the time she strikes me as drunken slut that will sleep with anyone. 

Set in the Bohemian community of Greenwich Village during Prohibition little work is completed by anyone but a lot of gin is consumed.  Miss Brown is a poet, of some reckoning, that has a taste for drink.  The story opens and ends with drinking and in between is a murder, some mystery, cops, robbers, thugs, and gangs.

The writing is good, I just have no love of the characters.

I finished it six months after I bought it if that says anything about my feelings.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Wizardof London by Mercedes Lackey

Children with certain talents must be trained and if their parents magical or psychic talents do not match with their offspring then they must send them to someone to train them, for the safety of all.

The Harton School is ran by just such a couple. Although it is in a seedy part of London the school itself is a haven for all who enter.  Sarah Jane Lyon-White comes from Africa and has an extra sense with the dead.  Nan comes from streets of London and has her own powerful abilities. Together they help to avoid disaster on the metaphysical plane.

An Elemental Masters novel that does a good job of introducing one to the world and contains characters that appear in other novels as well.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Legends edited by Robert Silverberg

Three short novels from Terry Goodkind, George R. R, Martin, and Anne McCaffrey are well written and provide a nice fantasy fix in small doses.

Each tell a full story and leave the reader wanting just a bit more information even though the story is complete.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Blood Noir by Laurell K. Hamilton

Werewolf Jason needs to go home to his father that has only been given a few weeks to live.  Only problem is he really needs to take a woman to prove to his father that he is not gay.  His latest romance has just broken off so he is at lose ends.  Nathanial volunteers Anita and since Jason is her friend she agrees to go.

Things become really complicated when they arrive in Asheville to a feeding frenzy of media for a governor's son that Jason happens to look immensely alike.   It seems the gene pool in their community is not that varied.

As always there are vampires, weres, and a lot of other stuff going on.  This novel is back on track and interesting and I would recommend it.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Duck Commander by Willie Robertson

The first parts are funny and the last section has some good advice.  Willie and Corrie gave did some things right and other not so well but are willing to admit to mistakes.

Probably better if you like the show but anyone can gain from it.

Moving Targets and Other Tales of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey

Read this before and the first story is still not that good, the rest are okay. The last one is good, dressage as magic I can relate to well.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey

Fairy tales are actually much darker than what is presented by Disney and The Black Swan fills the criteria without being depressingly dark.

A group of women that have betrayed a trust or love are captured by a sorcerer to live as swans by day and women by moonlight.  The daughter of the sorcerer is their keeper while the magician searches the countryside for more unfaithful females. 

When given the chance to win her freedom the swan queen opens the eyes of the daughter, the question is will the new viewpoint be enough to save them all from becoming permanent birds.

Very good novel, follows the "rules" of magic and is not sugar coated.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Stitches in Time by Barbara Michaels

A vintage clothing shop seems a safe part-time job for Rachel as she completes her doctoral dissertation.  After having several quilts left on the porch, very fine quality and from an unknown source, Rachel begins to have strange moments with actions that she does not remember.

Could this be a case of possession, sympathetic magic, or insanity?  Working with several others she seeks to find answers.

A romantic suspense novel filled with just enough paranormal to keep things interesting.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Danse Macbre by Laurell K. Hamilton

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter seems to just be hunting sex to feed the ardeur.  If you like three hundred pages of off and on sex and a lot of drama then this is the book for you.  If you like a sudden ending that really does not tie up anything, then this is the book for you.

It was not the book for me and I think I remember why I stopped reading this series.  The first five or six are good and then the quality falls off.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Crystal Lines by Anne McCaffrey

The final installment of the Crystal Singer Trilogy find Killasandra Ree and Lars Dahl, her longtime partner, at odds over memory.  Crystal singers lose memory and they come to like it that way.  Lars does all he can to retain his brain function for more than the moment.

Light sci-fi with a very human factor.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Droagonflight by Anne McCaffrey

The first Pern novel introduces the reader to a world protected by dragons and the people that partner with them.  Filled with drama, moments of great love, and a few light hearted moments even after reading it several times there are new things to find.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

Gwenda Reed is newly married and coming "home" to England for the first time.  Born in India but sent to live with an aunt in New Zealand after the death of her mother this is all new to her.   Her husband will follow shortly but she has gone ahead to find a new home for them. 

After finding the perfect house which feels just like home she begins to notice a few strange occurrences.  It is when she dreams of seeing a murder that she goes off to London to see a cousin and meets Miss Marple. 

As always Dame Agatha includes many twist and turns and it is not until the conclusion that the solution is offered.

Peagasus in Space by Anne McCaffrey

Peter Reidinger has "Talent" and that is a good thing. After having been injured he uses his powers of his mind to move his body which would otherwise confine him to a hospital room for the rest of his life.  Teleportation is still in the early stages of study but is being used to build and develop space stations to relieve the overcrowding or Earth.

This is a sci-fi novel but as with all good writing it deals with human nature good, bad, and ugly.  By using mental powers to communicate and transport the story is able to move along quickly without causing the reader to question the time-line.

Part of the Talents series which do not have to be read in order to enjoy.

Definitely Dead by Charlane Harris

Sookie Stackhouse is through with Bill the Vampire, is getting over Eric Northman, and is trying to live a "normal" life, or as normal as you can be when you can read minds and are surrounded by supernatural beings.  There is also that slight issue with Debbie Pelt that has yet to be resolved hanging over her head too.

Going off to New Orleans to take care of her cousin Hedley's estate, who really is dead and not just a vampire now seems simple enough. Of course it is not.

This is a fun read, moves quickly, and holds many twist and turns. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Mary lives in a world surrounded by fences.  A world where the Unconsecrated hunger for human flesh.  A world of rules and isolation  where a single mistake will let you make one choice, to be killed quickly because you are infected or to be put into the forest as you change into a zombie.

In a world in which an experiment went very wrong and isolation is the key to survival there is not much flexibility of thinking.  Only by following the rules is survival possible but the rules have also caused the digression of the society.

The first couple of chapters set the stage and then things begin to move quickly.  The first in the series the ending offers hope for humankind.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Blast From the Past by Kinky Friedman

Written as a prequel Blast From the Past looks back into the past to introduce us all into the particular way in which Kinky goes from a barely employed musician to a barely employed musician and private eye.

With the unique mixture of humor, satire, irony, and crudeness that is the Kinkster you will either love it or hate it.  There is a tremendous amount to drinking and drugs along with unhealthy living in general.  Of course being chased by a madman is not very healthy for living either.

If I had not read any of Friedman's work before and enjoyed it I probably would have stopped after about chapter three.  Luckily I had read him before and about chapter six it got better and was enjoyable.  The off putting was not the writing, I just do not enjoy reading about people getting high or drunk ever other page.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Dragondrums by Anne McCaffrey

Dragondrums is the third installment in the Harper Hold segment.  Piemur, a rascally apprentice in the Harper Hall takes us through an adventure on Pern set during the time of Lessa, F'lar, Master Robinton, and the Oldtimers.

Although there are dragons they are not the focus and the adds depth and character to the world of Pern.  Everyone can not be a dragonrider, there are also crafts, holders, villains, harpers, healers, and even drudges to take out the ashes.

This is one of my favorites and was written in 1979 which is when some of the best Pern novels were penned.  It is enjoyable to visit with old friends in the summer.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Claws and Effect by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown

Something strange is going on in Crozet and of course Harry Harristeen, along with Mrs. Murphy, Tee Tucker, and Pewter, just must get involved.  When the head of maintenance at Crozet Hospital is murdered Harry can not help but investigate and almost becomes a victim herself.

Through a deep freeze Murphy, Tucker, and Pewter make observations and do all they can to keep Harry on the green side of the grass.

Includes a couple of good fox hunts and acute observations about human nature. A fun mystery although a favorite member of Crozet is killed off towards the end.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Reserved For the Cat by Mercedes Lackey

Ninette Dupond is the daughter of a very poor Parisian mother.  Her mother has made sure that Ninette has received training in dance in the hopes that one day, when she is old enough, she will attract the eye of sponsor.  It is known that she will be expected to return certain favors but better to have an understanding with a gentleman then be forced to work the streets.

After her mother dies things are tough but Ninette is dedicated to her dance and makes it by with just a bit of luck.  Of course good luck is followed by bad and when a patron notices her the dancer that claims that patron ensures that Ninette is jobless, which will also mean homeless within just a few days.

Then things get interesting. Her cat talks to her, gives her a purse of money, and instructions on how to get to England. 

To tell more gives to much away but be assured that if you like Historical Fantasy this book will meet your needs.

They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie

Published in 1951 the feel of the Cold War sets the stage for this novel that begins in London and quickly travels to the Middle East.

Victoria Jones lies much better than she tells the truth which gets her into a variety of situations, not all of them positive. 

Fast paced with several twist and turns this is a lighter novel by Dame Agatha. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Once again we join Tess, Jem, and Will at the London Institute.  Jem and Tessa are engaged to be married.  Will loves them both so hides his feelings well, only wishing for happiness for his parabatai and his chosen.

Of course nothing is ever simple with Nephiliam.  Gabriel and Gideon Lightwood have come to the institute and then need help in a family emergency, that is stating it lightly but to do otherwise would be to give to much away.

Mortiman is on the trail of Tessa and with each interaction we learn more of exactly what she is and why her angel necklace is so special.

A wonderful read and the epilogue is the best part! Not many books can say that.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Cloaked by Alix Flinn

Johnny works in his the family business, a shoe repair shop in South Beach.  Barely keeping the bills paid with his nose to the grindstone this high school student does not wish for much, just a bit of money to help his mama out.

Enter  one princess with tales of magic and a quest for Johnny to go in search of her brother who has been turned into a frog. 

A great combination of fairy tales in a modern setting.

*From the author of Beastly.

To Ride Pegasus b y Anne McCaffrey

Published in 1973 To Ride Pegasus is on the leading edge of Science Fiction Fantasy.  In a world of overcrowded cities psychic talent is used to keep things running smoothly. Either through precog to prevent disaster, telekinesis to move things, or a telepath to keep people from rioting, all have a place. 

As with any set of people that are set somewhat apart people not of their group will find fault.  Citizens, politicians, corporate entities, all want a piece of what they see as a lucrative pie.

Follow several main characters as they go about setting up a new way of looking at Talent while avoiding the pitfalls placed along the way.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Second Wind - Dick Francis

Meteorologist are usually just looked upon only for the weather but Perry Stuart is a favorite of the racing crowd and his fame helps him get a ride into a hurricane.  Now you may ask how does a weatherman in England end up in a plane in the Caribbean and that would be a good question.  In typical Francis style it is answered in a very logical way that keeps you turning the pages until late at night.

Limited steeplechase exposure in this novel but still an excellent read.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Seeing A Large Cat by Elizabeth Peters

Amelia Peabody and her intrepid husband Emerson are back once again in Eygpt for a season of digging but of course none of that goes smoothly.  Mysterious messages, irritating gad abouts, danger, and secrets, pretty normal season.

In 1903 Cairo is a hotbed of dalliants, want-a-be archeologiest, and serous scholars. Seperating the grain from the chaff takes a sharp eye.  When Amelia dreams of a Large Cat she takes it as a message of something more to come. 

Ramses, their son, Nefret their adoptive daughter, and David, the grandson of their reis add a few more layers to the happenings within the family.

Filled with humor and a classic who done it style you will laugh out loud as your read.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Beyond by Graham McNamee

A ghost story, a mystery, or is it a tale of possession?  The reader must decide.  A face paced page turner that has a few disturbing moments which really stick with you later.  Good enough that I know I will wait a year and reread it again to find the things I missed the first time around because I wanted to see what happened next.

Note, does deal with a child molestor/abductor so not for the younger crowd, more a high school book in my opinion.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Being Divergent was bad enough, now the divergent are being targeted and the factions are fighting each other.  Tris is at the center of the Insurgent movement even though that is not what she wants.  She is confused about how to deal with Four, grieves for her parents, and is not sure of her brother Caleb.  Add in that Dauntless should face their fears and she freezes every time she sees a gun and things just got even more complicated.

Fast paced, intense, and makes you think! Several times I had to put the book down and just rest my mind but would go right back to it again after a short break.

I am looking forward to the next addition to this thought provoking series.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Night Mare by Piers Anthony

A night mare that no longer does well delivering bad dreams has a problem.  Xanth is being invaded by the NextWave of Mundanians, another problem.  The Kings of Xanth are being ensorcerelled, another problem.  How will all the problems be solved?  By following this advice, "Beware the Horseman!"

Of course everyone is beware of the horseman, but none know exactly who the horseman is and that is the flaw in the plan.

Filled with puns which are always fun and layers upon layers of twist and turns this is a very fun read which explains many of the "rules" of Xanth.  The best part of these books is they can be read more than once simply because there is so much to discover that you missed the first time around.

Note, the Accelerated Reader test has a mistake and says Day Mare insted of Day Stallion which will cause you to answer that question wrong.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Divergnet by Veronica Roth

A world broken into factions with each faction having a role in society.  At sixteen youth are tested through a mind simulation and the results give them the best choice for their life choice.  At that point they either remain in their faction or leave it and their families forever.

Beatrice is Abenegation, the quiet, self-less faction that runs the goverment and puts others first.  She must chose between Candor, who see things as black or white and do not lie, Erudite who live to learn, Amity that just want to be peaceful and are in charge of farming and food, or Dauntless who show no fear and protect their world.

The problem, Beatrice gets a divergent result, no clear choice is made, this is dangerous.  She choses Dauntless because she knows she is not selfless, she is willing to lie, does not love to learn, would smoother with the thought of being peaceful, and most of all she is draw to the danger of Dauntless.

Distopian novels are dark but they also offer hope. Ms. Roth has done an excellent job of combing the aspects of a superior novel.  It is the type of novel that invades your thoughts and sometimes your dreams.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle

The threat of war dims the Thanksgiving celebration of the Murray family.  Even stranger is the rune given to Charles Wallace by Mrs. O'Keefe.  As the family struggles with the news they are privy to due to Mr. Murray's high standing in the scientific field they also try to maintain normalcy as much as possible.

Charles Wallace takes a walk to the star watching rock, his favorite thinking spot.  Here he stays in touch with Meg through kything, a mental skill they have held onto for many years.  While there he meets with a unicorn who consults the wind and takes them through time and space. 

Charles Wallace goes "within" a series of boys and men and bends things just enough to change the future.

A fantastic blend of history, time travel, and fantasy.  My favorite of all of the books with the Murray's as a focus.

Bliss by Lauren Myracle

1969, Charles Manson and his Family are on trial for horrific murders, hippies live in communes and groups away from society and sometimes families are torn apart by the social changes.

Bliss is sent away from her happy place with her family who lives with a group of like minded others in Canada, away from the threat of the draft for Vietnam.  She arrives in Atlanta to live with her grandmother in what seems to be a different world. 

Coming from tolerance and acceptance she is now in an exclusive private school that has the few token scholarship students with the rest making plans for debutante balls and other like events.

There is one other little thing, Bliss "hears" a voice that propels her to open a locked door.  This opens more than a physical barrier. 

Narration from the point to view of Bliss interjected with diary entries, Andy Griffith show quotes and transcripts from the Manson trial keeps things moving right along.  A bit of mystery, a lot of coming of age and a dash of otherworld powers keep you turning pages until the end.

I really enjoyed the book

Friday, January 4, 2013

Nerilka's Story by Anne McCaffrey

Set in the same time period as Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern, the time of a great sickness which blows through Pern faster than a burrow of thread with great loss of life.  Nerilka is a daughter of Fort, but not a much loved one by any means.

As the sickness sweeps over the continent she goes out to help, leaving behind her heritage and name. By chance she ends up in Ruatha which is where the sickness hit hardest since it occured at the time of a gather.

Dragons are not the focus this time and it is a nice read to supplement the usual draconic fare.  Even though the dragons and riders protect Pern it is the people of Pern that make it the place that it has become.

If you have never read any of the Pern novels this is a good one to read, along with Moreta as they are stand alone novels.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander

Taran finds himself at lose ends after his adventures have sent him back to Caer Dallben.  He is determined to find out exactly who he is and sets off with faithful Gurgi to find out.

To the marshes to speak with the thinly disguised fates who send them on a mad dash away from their lair.  A shepard, a smith, a weaver, and a potter all show Taran things about himself and even though he fights it at times he is gaining self-knowledge.

Greater character development and better written than The Book of Three, this is my favorite of the series.  Even better, as an adult I can still appreciate the storyline and the only pet peeve is the disregard of horse care but there are few authors that put that chore into their tales.