Ruby Black is a cabaret singer with a lifestyle of cigarettes, hard applejack, and jazz, who pinches pennies from her day job as maid while dreaming of the big time in the opera.
When she’s confronted with a two-year old murder mystery in the person of the victim’s determined fiancé, she gets involved in the dark tale against her better judgement.
This fairytale retelling is perfect for mystery lovers, as chilling suspense combines with a rich writing style. Continue reading
Junk Food for Zombie Lovers
This book is like mind candy for the science fiction apocalypse lover. Zombies – quick, coordinated, and flesh-eating – mixed with aliens – small, big-eyed and green – and robots for a wild, active romp thru cliché and disaster-tales.
If only the violence weren’t so medically accurate…and if only the author had learned that “series” is not code for “serial”. Continue reading
The Top Ten Tuesday topic for this week is “Read In One Sitting Theme”. I’ve filed my choices into three categories: stories that drag you along, begging to be read all at once; stories whose length and format suit them to comprehensive reading; and stories suited to periods of interrupted reading time.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brian
We used this as our bedtime story once. Mr. O’Brian puts his chapter breaks in exactly the right places – in a way. While we didn’t quite finish it in one read-through, the story pulled us along from chapter to chapter, long past when Dad had first said, “Well, just one more.”
I’ll admit Necromancer Awakening has one of the most gripping opening chapters I’ve seen. Nicholas Murray, archeology student, is getting ready for his adoptive father’s funeral – a man who took him on as a teenager and got him where he is now – when supernatural visions cloud his sight and he’s sucked into another world before his girlfriend’s eyes.
I’m afraid the first third of the book was a struggle to get through. While I acknowledge that being yanked away from everything you’ve ever known would be stressful and disorienting, the cliché of whiny, clueless protagonists and grumpy, impatient mentor-figures gets old fast. Continue reading
The Book I Loved, the Series I Stopped
I haz rifle – and a pet spider. Ergo, I’s awesome.
Rangers Apprentice, by John A. Flanagan, is a series highly recommended to me by a good friend of mine. It follows the adventures of a group of characters in a quasi-mystical land where “Rangers” (Rogues, Hunters, Hide-in-shadows-shooting-with-deadly-accuracy-awesome, whatever the name is) train and serve the king of Araluen.
Sadly, it is also the series I think back on when I think of the wrong way to do cliffhangers. Differences in fiction taste aside, here’s why I loved the first book, but finally gave up on the series.
The Case Studies
1 The Ruins of Gorlan: They have always scared him in the past—the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied…
I’ve heard this book get some flack, but it was my favorite. Continue reading
On the planet of Netaia, Firebird Angelo comes from a royal family that rules the stratified civilization with a rigid tradition of honor and detailed religious code. As an extraneous heir, Firebird faces the obligation of suicide once her older sister delivers a second child. Meanwhile, her planet nation prepares for war against the nearby Federation of planets.
While easily melodramatic, this sci-fi culture is handled well, the characters are nuanced and compelling, and the book overall was one I enjoyed. Continue reading
Three Things to Think On This “Holiday Season”
If you’re like me, you’re pretty familiar with the mythos of A Christmas Carol, but have never actually read the original. This year, I remedied that.
Charles Dickens’ original story of rich, cantankerous, “Bah-Humbug” Scrooge, the ghosts of Christmas, and the joy of celebration is available on Project Gutenberg and on Amazon as free ebooks (or as an audiobook!), so there’s no barrier to enjoying this classic tale.
As I read Dickens’ version of the story, three things jumped out at me. Continue reading
This book has a lot going for it: secret agent vibe, engaging plotting style, and the feeling of a learner’s guide for real-world hacking infiltration.
Unfortunately, I cannot recommend it without some major caveats. Continue reading
Love is dynamite, every woman a detonator, and every man a fuse. In the hand of God, it builds castles…in the hand of man, it destroys cities.
This book felt like more allegory than story, and at 1800 words it felt like I sped through it. Although I’m much less familiar with the original “Beauty and the Beast” than I was with “The Fisherman and His Wife,” this retelling felt less like the Disney version and more like Taming of the Shrew. Continue reading
When the book opens with someone getting gunned down in the street clutching a laptop, you figure it’s going to be good. Operation Zulu Redemption focuses on a team of female Special Forces soldiers who have gone into hiding after a mission accidentally took the lives of twenty-two innocent bystanders. Living new civilian lives, they hide from the past and from whoever was responsible for sending them in – until someone starts killing them.