September 6th, 2015

Read or Die

Books 17 to 24 of 50.

17) The Dwarves by Markus Heitz 2005 in German and translated into English by Sally-Ann Spencer in 2009. Sweeping and hard to put down so don't read this book unless you are retired or on vacation and can sleep in. Our hero Tungdil is an orphaned dwarf brought up by a mage at a mage school who longs to meet his own people. After a prank with one of the mage's apprentices goes to far, Tungdil is sent on a long trip to find another mage and return some items his mater borrowed. Then the awful undead evil starts it's methodical march on all the living lands.

18) Dragonshadow by Barbara Hambly. 1999 British edition. Did not know there was a sequel to Dragonsbane. A good read for magic, demons, and dragons fans. There is a sequel to this one too which I will have to find in my local library I hope.

19) The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. While Mary Anne Schwalbe was undergoing treatments for pancreatic cancer, she and her son formed a private book club to have something to talk about during her chemo treatments. This is a lovely and loving memoir of a remarkably humble yet very influential woman by her son at a very difficult and painful time.

20) Moon of the Three Rings by Andre Norton. Originally published in1966, Fifth printing 1978. A very interesting story of a voyage by a merchant spacer and the mysterious pet trainer he meets and saves. A good read.

21) Rimrunners by C.J. Cherryh. 1986. A sci-fi tale with space spies, space raiders, and a space raider aiming to redeem herself. The language really gets you into the world of long haul spacers and the socail order they inhabit.

22) Queens of England by Norah Lofts. 1977. A chapter for all the queens of England from the good, the bad, and the sad, from ancient historical Boadicea to the current Queen Elizabeth the Second.

23) Shelley Also Known as Shirley by Shelley Winters. 1980. A biography of a rather fascinating star from the old studio system of Hollywood's 40' and 50's. She tells some fine tales about the highs and lows of her life, plus all the loves of her life.

24) Radiant by Karina Sumner-Smith. 2015. The first book in a trilogy set in a post apocalyptic world where the elite live in magically fuel floating towers while the rejects live on the ground doing their best to scramble a living while avoiding the creepy undead that roam the nights. A on odd friend ship between a girl who sees ghosts and a ghost with a terrible secret are fighting for their very lives and existances. Really well written and hard to put down.

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Book #39: Bag of Bones by Stephen King

Number of Pages: 660

This book opens with its narrator, writer Mike Noonan, losing his wife in tragic circumstances. I've noticed recently that Stephen King seems to LOVE writing books about authors (Misery, for example).

Following a series of nightmares, Mike returns to his summer home, Sara Laughs. Early in the book, he saves a girl called Kyra Devore from being run over, and promptly becomes embroiled in a court case where her grandfather, Max Devore, is attempting to gain custody of the girl.

While this doesn't sound like typical Stephen King, the nightmares that appear, particularly in the early chapters, provide horror elements, and the fact that a mysterious force keeps sending Mike messages via fridge magnets provides another supernatural aspect, with the implication that his wife's ghost is present.

After a few unexpected plot twists, the book becomes a story about Mike's efforts to protect Kyra, and the horror element is ramped up significantly towards the end.

I found the book hard going at times, especially as there were a number of flashbacks near the start, and the backstory of the Devore family felt a bit complex. However, I enjoyed it overall and found the book's denouement satisfying. Also, Mike's description of hallucinations he had as a boy while he had a fever is one of the creepiest moments I have ever read in one of King's novels. The characters were ones that I was able to sympathise with very quickly, and I always felt compelled to keep reading.

Next book: A Walk Among the Tombstones by Lawrence Block
Light in the Darkness
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[Book Review] The Best of Me

Title: The Best of Me
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Year: 2011
Genre: Romance
Personal Rating:

The book is about two teens who fall in love in a Romeo and Juliet style. She's from a respectable and wealthy family while he's the complete opposite. His surname, Cole, brings fear into the hearts of all who hear it. His family is like this giant small town mafia that nobody pisses off. But here we have young Dawson, who hates his family, is nothing like them, and has fallen in love with one Amanda Collier, a girl way out of his league, status and general lifestyle.

Needless to say her family did not approve. Not in the slightest. As is mentioned in the summary, their paths go different ways. Twenty years later they reunite. Does love bloom again? Have their hearts' desire changed?
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Book 95

Vitro (Corpus)Vitro by Jessica Khoury

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Vitros is akin to Frankenstein mashed up with the Island of Dr. Moreau with a dash of Star Trek: The Next Generation's 'The Perfect Mate.' So there's nothing ground breaking here but that doesn't mean it's uninteresting.

Sophie has arrived in Guam from Boston after getting an email from her mother saying she is in trouble. Sophie lives with her dad and only sees her mom once a year or so. She wants to go to Skin Island where her mother works as a scientist. However, the only people in Guam that even acknowledge there is such a place treat it as a wicked urban legend. Sophie can't find anyone willing to take her out there until the teenaged pilot Jim volunteers.

Both of them are surprised to see each other. Sophie and Jim were childhood friends and he feels obligated to help her. However, once they get to Skin Island someone has purposely wrecked Jim's plane by putting nails down to shred his tires. He'll have to haul the plane to water as it is a float plane and can take off from there. He promises to wait for a little while for SOphie.

Sophie goes looking for her mom with the help of a young man, Nicholas, who welcomes their plane. But before she knows it, Sophie is face to face with someone who could be her twin (not a spoiler. it's in the blurb on the dust cover which is so much better than the one Goodreads is using). Sophie quickly finds herself knocked out and when she comes to she's surrounded by scientists including her mother and they think she's the twin who was just awakened.

Jim finally comes looking for her but finds her twin, Lux, who awakens and lives to serve only him. It doesn't take long before Sophie and Jim are fighting for their lives, Jim especially since there's no reason not to kill him. The scientists need SOphie and Lux.

There is enough science in this to make it believable. Ectogenesis is well on its way to being a real, controversial thing. It is easy to see it going this badly with scientists creating a sub-race of people who imprint of others, making virtually a thought-deadened race of working drones and sex toys. To heck with the silver metal lover when you could make a living partner who will do anything you say. These teens were grown with computer code in their brains so you have that cyberpunk wet-wiring touch to this.

Overall, I liked it but didn't love it. The characters felt a bit flat somehow. Maybe because too many YA tropes were called into play. There is no way Jim and Sophie could do some of this if they had parents who were paying the least bit of attention (which is always an issue in YA lit). Sophie ran away from her attentive dad and Jim's dad is an alcoholic and both were abandoned by their mothers as children.

I think Sophie lost me a bit in the middle when she does something pretty stupid. She wants to save the teens and her mom and Jim is right. How can two unarmed teens do this against a complex that is paramilitaristic and well stocked with arms? There were probably other easier ways to move the story along without Sophie deciding she was going to save everyone bullets raining down or no. That was a bit eye rolling.

It was creepy but a touch overly long. The ending was a bit too easy, too happy ending like to be believable and I can't really believe what they decide to do with the science at the end though I suppose some scientists would indeed do it. Overall it's an entertaining read.

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