Monday, October 28, 2013

111:120 The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

Read for book club.  Jean Le Flambeur is a thief of outstanding reputation but no one seems to know where he comes from, not even himself.  He has been in a prison so long and now that he's been broken out, he is on a journey to rediscover who he was and what he knows.  The big problem is that there are a lot of other people who want that information as well.  His journey takes him to the moving city of Mars, the Oubliette, where time really is money and memories are treasures.  Can he find what he is looking for before those in power put a stop to him?

Ok, first off, the man who wrote this is obviously a genius.  The world is elaborate and I had a hard time at first getting into it.  This was not a book to be read 15min here and there which is all I could manage and with personal stuff definitely messing up my brain, I know there is a lot of details and nuances that I missed as it was just not the right thing for me to be reading right now.  I will likely try reading it again at some point in the future when I can give it the proper attention it deserves.  It was intriguing but there was just too much going on for me to handle right now.

Page count: 337p/30,422p ytd/174,822 lifetime

Thursday, October 24, 2013

110:120 The Early Human World by Peter Robertshaw and Jill Rubalcaba

Middle-School Ancient History by Oxford Press, part of "The World In Ancient Times" series.  This is my second time reading it.  This was my previous review:

This is the first in the series of The World in Ancient Times that we are using for Matthew's Ancient History class this year and was recommended by one of his friends who is 2yrs older. I really like the format of the books. They are told in a definite story form rather than a dry "here are the facts" that so many history books do. They keep it light, interesting, and entertaining while getting the information across. They pack lots of fun little facts in which help to keep it interesting as well. I definitely learned a lot and enjoyed it and even better, so did Matthew. I think that right there is the best compliment is when the 6th grader is happy to do history when it's not normally one of his favorite subjects.

Well, now I'm using it for Jonathan who is in 7th grade (we did US History for 5th & 6th since that was better for him rather than breaking it up).  He's enjoying it as much as he can any history which is about as far from his favorite subject as you can get.  I'm enjoying reading it again as there is a lot that I have forgotten since so much of it is just not something that I have to deal with in my day-to-day life.  Maybe by the time the last one reads it in a few years, I'll actually be able to retain more of it.  In the meantime, forgetting large chunks means it's a fun read when it's that time again. *big grin*

Page count: 161p/30,085p ytd/174,485p lifetime

109:120 Indexing by Seanan McGuire

A Kindle Serial where a new installment was sent out every two weeks.  It just wrapped up on October 24 and will be in paperback early next year if you don't have a kindle.

Fairy tales are real and all around us, happening all the time.  Many of them are fairly benign but then there are those that have catastrophic repercussions like the Snow Whites, Pied Pipers, Sleeping Beauties, etc. For those tales, there is the ATI Management Bureau.  They work tirelessly to find and thwart those tales or at least limit the damage they can do.  But what happens when the tales start getting manipulated and don't follow the established patterns?  How is a team that consists of an activated Pied Piper, a suspended Snow White, a manifested Shoemaker, a suspended Wicked Step-Sister, and a normal human supposed to shut things down?

I was skeptical about the whole serial thing but I love this author so decided to give it a chance.  Most of the time it was not left with a cliff-hanger at the end where you wanted to strangle someone for two weeks but I always wanted to know what was going to happen next.  This last episode had me checking my kindle every hour to see if it had updated yet so I could finally see how things turned out.  I found it an interesting concept, nicely done and tied together.  I really hope that Ms. McGuire finds a way to continue playing in this world.

Page count: 374p/29,924p ytd/174,324 lifetime

Sunday, October 20, 2013

108:120 Tempt the Stars by Karen Chance

The 6th book in the Cassie Palmer series.  Pritkin saved Cassie at the end of the last book but at the cost of his own freedom.  He is now back in the demon realms as his father's prisoner and Cassie is determined to get him back.  How?  She is still trying to figure that way out but she is thinking talking to her mom, Artemis (yes the Goddess), is probably a good place to start.  Harder than you think considering she's been dead for a while and wasn't easy to approach when she was living even though Cassie can go back in time.  Even if she gets information from her mom, it will still mean breaking into the demon realms and getting Pritkin out of there in one piece.  Then, of course, there is still her regular life as Pythia to deal with with.  The witches are barging in demanding meetings and what about the Pythia Court that she has yet to even set foot in since becoming Pythia?  Yeah, her hands are just a little full.

Ok, first off, I'm not a huge Mircea fan so I'm putting that out there. It's not that I dislike him or I think he and Cassie are a bad match but he's a typical vampire which means he's hot, secretive, and manipulative.  Not such a huge fan of the later two and it seems that frequently when Cassie is in need of support, he is nowhere to be found.  Pritkin has been there, even if his support is not what we would normally think of as being "supportive" but he has kept her alive (after he stopped trying to kill her) and been a staunch ally and we keep finding out more about him so he is intriguing as a more fully fleshed out character.  That being said tho, I do not like that this uber-important person, Cassie, is risking everything to go find him and bring him back but okay, friendship and loyalty and all that.  Got it.  It was an interesting journey and we got more backstory on Artemis and the other gods and their relationships with humans and demons so there was a lot of stuff being fleshed out which I like and is setting things up for the future.  In all, I found it fast paced but with a little less of the standard humor.  I still wish Cassie would start figuring things out at least at the same time I do instead of many pages later.  She really needs to be a little smarter in my opinion.

Page count: 418p/29,550p ytd/173,950p lifetime

Sunday, October 13, 2013

107:120 An Apple for the Creature edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni Kelner

A compilation of short stories with school/education themes including stories by Ilona Andrews, Faith Hunter, and Charlaine Harris.  I always find it hard to do reviews of these because by the time I've finished it, I'm less clear on the earlier stories but here are my thoughts:

I enjoyed the Sookie story by Charlaine Harris.  It was about her visiting her nephew Hunter at his school when all heck breaks loose.  Nice to have something happen that doesn't involve shifters or vampires or other supernaturals.

Spellcaster 2.0 by Jonathan Mayberry was an interesting take on what can happen when you mix technology and magic.  I'd read one of his zombie novels previously and had been less than impressed but this one was fun.

Academy Field Trip by Donald Harstad didn't really stand out to me.  Interesting premise but lacked a punch.

Sympathy for the Bones by Marjorie M. Liu went more for the voodoo teacher/student relationship and was ok.

Low School by Rhys Bowen was written by someone truly evil with a sick mind.  Fabulous!

Callie meets Happy by Amber Benson left me feeling like it was set in a world that I had no understanding of or the characters in it and didn't make me want to find out more.

Iphigenia in Aulis by Mike Carey was very well written with an interesting premise.

Golden Delicious by Faith Hunter was one of the reasons I bought this book and it was fabulous.  I'd been wanting to know more about what had happened with Rick when he went off to his training and what the relationship was between him and Soul and it was nice to get some answers.

Magic Tests by Ilona Andrews was the other reason I bought this book and it did not disappoint.  Love Julie!

An Introduction to Jewish Myth and Mysticism by Steve Hockensmith teaches you not to mess with the meek and mild Jew.

VSI by Nancy Holder makes the study of vampires just that much more relevant.

The Bad Hour by Thomas E. Sniegoski was ok but again I think it was set in an established world and I felt like I was missing a bit.  Not sure that I want to look into it further.

Pirate Dave and the Captain's Ghost by Toni L.P. Kelner seemed like it was a backstory fill in for a series but was a bit campier in style than I usually go for.

In all, I enjoyed most of the stories and the compilation as a whole.

Page count: 336p/29,132p ytd/173,532p lifetime


Saturday, October 12, 2013

106:120 The Sand-Reckoner by Gillian Bradshaw

Historical fiction for kid's bookclub.  A snapshot of the life of Archimedes from the time he leaves Alexandria to come home because of his father's failing health and the threat of war between his home, Syracuse, and Rome.  It breaks his heart to leave Alexandria and his pursuit of pure mathematics but he does his duty.  When he returns home, it is to find that his father is dying and he will soon be head of the house and must find a way of supporting himself, his mother, and his sister.  He knows that he can be an engineer and build bigger catapults than Syracuse has ever had if given the opportunity so he wrangles himself an interview with the king's advisor and presents the deal that he will build a one-talenter catapult and only be paid when he delivers a working machine and should the machine not work, he will pay for the supplies to have built it.  The Advisor takes the deal but while Archimedes is there, he ends up meeting the King's sister, Delia.  When the King returns from the war and sees what Archimedes has done, he knows that he must find a way to keep him in Syracuse.  

This story goes into the hows and whys of their relationship and Archimedes relationship with Marcus (his slave), Delia, and his homeland.  I found it an engaging tale, well told, and a more fun way of learning some history.

Page count: 584p/28,796p ytd/173,196p lifetime

105:120 Autumn Whispers by Yasmine Galenorn

Book 14 in the Sisters of the Otherworld series by Yasmine Galenorn, told by Delilah.  Grandmother Coyote has come to the girls after finding that the balance of things is off and it's due to daemon energy coming out of a building in Seattle.  She has charged the girls, and especially Delilah, to deal with it.  The Wayfarer gets torched and an army is marching on the Elven homeland in Otherworld to try and claim the Spirit Seals the girls have given the Queen to protect.  The good news is that Iris has given birth to the twins and Sharah's pregnancy is going well but how in the world are they going to deal with all the new crap that is being thrown at them???

There is so much going on in this one but it's well balanced in that nothing gets forgotten for too long even if they aren't actively dealing with it.  There is birth and death, wins and losses.  It's life and while they are trying to deal with the main baddie, there is stuff springing up all over that doesn't necessarily have to do with him (cause that's the way life usually goes) but the main plot continues to move, well, at least sideways.  I absolutely love this books and it kills me that I read them so fast when the new one comes out because I've been missing the world but then I have to wait for months for the next one.  It's torture but they are so incredible it's not like I could ever consider doing anything different.

Page count: 322p/28,212p ytd/172,612p lifetime