Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Books I read in August

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor B+
From the book jacket: When Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, must flee through the Pool of Tears to escape her murderous aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carroll, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly! Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss’ story and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may eventually battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts. The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges our Wonderland assumptions surrounding mad tea parties, grinning Cheshire cats and a curious little blond girl to reveal an epic battle in the endless war for imagination.
Since I wrote & directed a production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ for the school in Seattle, I am VERY familiar with the story and all the weirdness associated with it. Beddor has taken it all and turned it on it’s ear. This is interesting YA- in the style of Harry Potter. A fun, disturbing interesting world and solid characters. I think they should have started the story somewhere else, ‘cuz the first couple chapters stunk... But if you get through that first bit, the story is fantastical & a lot of fun. The story has some weaknesses, but I honestly enjoyed reading it.

Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon A+
Loved this... Reminiscent of Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury and Stand by Me by Stephen King- except better than both. (Which is saying a lot, I liked both of those very much.) A coming of age novel with supernatural & mysterious twists. I read more passages out of this to my husband than anything except the Bible and a couple of books we’ve read together. :) We laughed out loud at a section about a wasps nest emptying into an Easter Sunday service. The story made me laugh and made me sad... Recommended by my friend Marty and has now made my list of favorites.

Sixth Covenant by Bodie & Brock thoene A
Excellent. I didn’t know this was the sixth in a series until I was a third into the book- it just didn’t make any difference to the completeness of the story.
This was the story of Joseph, Mary and Jesus’ birth- however, it was more about their Jewish heritage, and the historical aspects of the coming of the promised Messiah. I loved the accuracy & historicity of it. Brock Thoene is a historical researcher and their literature has been used to teach history in colleges. My friend Melissa has recommended Thoene books to me for a while and I finally got around to trying one. Enjoyed it thoroughly.

Victory Conditions by Elizabeth Moon A
The finale to her Vatta quartet. Very good military sc-fi... She’s one of the best at military sci-fi, and this series definitely reflects her military experience and writing talent.

Goblins in the Castle by Bruce Coville A
I think from Coville’s note at the end that this is one of his favorite stories. He wrote it for a character that has been a recurring person in his life: Igor. The story was very good- about a boy in a mysterious castle and the noises he hears in the night.

The Monsters of Morley Manor by Bruce Coville A
Fun, Wacky world - purgatory, vampires, aliens... Very good YA
The Dragonslayers by Bruce Coville B
Very short- rather simple. Not Bad, but not his best. Good YA
Stranger at the Wedding by Barbara Hambly B+
I enjoyed this thoroughly, but I’d forgotten how wordy Hambly is- I’ve read most of her fantasy, but it’s been a while. A mystery with magical touches. Interesting characters & situation.

Spellbinder by Melanie Rawn A/D
Hard to say about this one- I loved the characters and I hated the story... I kept hoping it would get better... I kept reading... And I kept getting annoyed. Very pretentious and pompous writing- Rawn is better than you and she knows it. At the same time, I have to say, she writes beautifully... And I cared very much about her characters. I was disgusted by her presentation of all Christians as self-righteous bigots. I know I’ve met ‘em, too, but I’ve also met Christians who are the most gracious & kind Godly people alive, too.

The Ghost in the Third Row & The Ghost in the Big Brass Bed by Bruce Coville B
YA mysteries. More silliness from Coville- very good.

Sisters of the Raven by Barbara Hambly
I started this, but did not finish it... I was getting very angry about what was happening so I said, "Enough! I don’t have to read this!"... I feel released! Freed!

The Dragon of Doom, The Weeping Werewolf by Bruce Coville B
A series about a young boy and the incompetent magician he befriends. Silly & fun magical adventures, 4th-6th grade YA, very quick reads, an enjoyable main character & a silly magician. Everything ends up happily-ever-after... Good.

A Just Determination by John Hemry A
Sci-fi military law drama- quite the genre... Probably the only one I’ve ever heard of... However, it was good, very interesting. Good solid characters, good solid action. A media-hungry space captain destroys an unarmed science vessel, and then faces court martial. Sounds kinda dull, but it wasn’t- the book held me attention & kept me coming back for more.

Burden of Proof by John Hemry A
The second in his sci-fi military law drama series. Even better than the first- an engineering officer is killed in a fire accident and his commanding officer comes under question. Very good writing, interesting story line and characters.

Simple Glass Beading by Dorothy Wood B+
Good directions with excellent photography. Most of the projects are sewing, looming or weaving, but there are about three projects that I can manipulate to use with my own style & wirework. Glad I checked it out instead of buying it! :)

Charlie Bone and the Time Twister by Jenny Nimmo A-
I’m definitely enjoying this series. They’re advertized as a rival to Harry Potter, which is over-estimating them, but they’re still fun. Interesting mysteries. Magic & Mayhem. Fun characters. Scarey school and freaky bad guys.

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