ranuel: (Woman Reading)
Hounded Cover
Hounded by Kevin Hearne
Book One of the Iron Druid Chronicles


This was SO MUCH FUN!! Probably a mistake to read it during my reading of the Dresden Files because it has everything I like about Dresden Files without the stuff I don't like. One of the librarians handed the audio book to me and told me I'd like it and he was right. The reader does such a good job that I plan to get the audio versions for the other two as well.

Atticus O'Sullivan owns Third Eye Books in Tempe, Arizona. He's a good looking young man who appears to be in his early twenties with bright red hair and some cool tattoos. At Third Eye you can sip a cup of custom blended tea in their small tea shop, pick up a deck of tarot cards, get a book on magic or religion, or pick up a bust of Ganesha. In other words it's your standard university town New Age bookstore except if you know to ask the owner can set you up with an ancient grimoire from the backroom.


Read more... )
ranuel: (Woman Reading)
Hounded Cover
Hounded by Kevin Hearne
Book One of the Iron Druid Chronicles


This was SO MUCH FUN!! Probably a mistake to read it during my reading of the Dresden Files because it has everything I like about Dresden Files without the stuff I don't like. One of the librarians handed the audio book to me and told me I'd like it and he was right. The reader does such a good job that I plan to get the audio versions for the other two as well.

Atticus O'Sullivan owns Third Eye Books in Tempe, Arizona. He's a good looking young man who appears to be in his early twenties with bright red hair and some cool tattoos. At Third Eye you can sip a cup of custom blended tea in their small tea shop, pick up a deck of tarot cards, get a book on magic or religion, or pick up a bust of Ganesha. In other words it's your standard university town New Age bookstore except if you know to ask the owner can set you up with an ancient grimoire from the backroom.

Read more... )
ranuel: (Mini Me)
The Graveyard BookThe Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

I follow Neil on Twitter and Tumbler and I read his blog. I read his various posts when he was writing this and when it came out and when it won awards. I somehow managed to remain at least 80% spoiler free and I had NO idea what this book would actually be like. EVEN THOUGH I realized as I was reading it that Neil had totally given it away in a subtle way more than once. I don't want to spoil it for anybody else because it was a lot of fun following the twists of the story and situation so I'll leave it at this:

If you haven't read it I recommend it. It isn't my favorite Gaiman but he is just that good that he's written so much good stuff that something this good only comes in around 5th. It's a very compelling story. I picked it up from the bookmobile after work, stopped to get something to eat on the way home and started reading it, got home and finished the whole thing before I went to sleep. A lot of the pleasure I got was slowly realizing how this book connected with one of my other favorite books by a different author and starting to actively make comparisons between them.

If you have read it I'd love to discuss it with you but please use big spoiler warnings or Rot13 for your comments.
ranuel: (Mini Me)
Blood Rites
Blood Rites
By Jim Butcher
Dresden #6


I really liked this one. It continues the improvement I saw in the previous novel and he's really working on making the supporting cast into three dimensional people instead of plot devices.Read more... )
ranuel: (Mini Me)
Death Masks
Death Masks by Jim Butcher
Book Five of The Dresden Files


****SPOILER ALERT****
Spoilers for events through Ghost Story not just this book.

Read more... )
ranuel: (Mini Me)
summer knightSummer Knight (Dresden #4)
Jim Butcher


There are massive spoilers here. I'm posting this more for discussion with anybody else who's read these than to entice someone into reading them. If my first three posts about this series haven't done that then nothing I say going forward probably will.

Read more... )
ranuel: (Mini Me)
Gravel PerilGrave Peril
by Jim Butcher
Dresden Files Book 3


Read more... )
ranuel: (Text with Pencil)
I ended up rewriting a good 80% of this from when I reviewed it over at FOAF. Then I had to fix the mess copy/pasting from a Google Doc made of the HTML. My love for LJ's new code continues to grow.

Click to read the review )
ranuel: (Death of Rats)
This week has ended up having a sort of theme. I read Storm Front, the first Dresden Files book and followed it up with The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Both are urban fantasy and are about as different as can be and still be in the same sub-genre. And yet...


More review plus how Death is a theme in real life this week )
ranuel: (Default)
This week has ended up having a sort of theme. I read Storm Front, the first Dresden Files book and followed it up with The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Both are urban fantasy and are about as different as can be and still be in the same sub-genre. And yet...

More review plus how Death is a theme in real life this week )
ranuel: (Life is Sweet)
The Archbishop in Andalusia
By Andrew M. Greeley

This will probably be the last Blackie Ryan novel unless there is an outline somewhere someone else gets hired to turn into a book. If Father Greeley has not recovered enough from his head injury to have even communicated a short message to his fans 16 months after his accident then there is no chance he will recover enough to write another book. A family member did post that he is continuing with his therapy and appreciates the well wishes on the anniversary date but there was no direct quote from him leading me to believe that he is still severely aphasic.

As Blackie's swan song it's a mixed bag.
Read more... )
ranuel: (Default)

Can't Wait to Get to Heaven
I've never read one of Fannie Flagg's books before and I need to catch up now. I saw Fried Green Tomatoes but as much as I liked it, it didn't make me want to run out and read the book. This was out on display at the library and it looked good so I took a chance even though the subject matter was potentially upsetting. I've had quite enough of death the last few years without reading a book that features the death of the main character. This turned out to be one of the best novels I've read in a long time. I've recommended it to all my RL friends who will hold still long enough to listen to me gush about it.

Read more... )
Read more... )


 
ranuel: (Default)
PhotobucketTranslated by Andrew Bromfield.
Audio book read by Campbell Scott

I wasn't aware that this was the third in a series when I picked it up but I had no problem following the story. We learn all we really need to know to follow as the story progresses without any infodumps to kill this story's momentum. According to Wiki each novel in the series emulates a particular mystery novel genre and Leviathan is Akunin's take on Agatha Christie and her imitators.

ranuel: (Default)
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

According to the cover this is now a "major motion picture" which I've somehow missed and now need to add to my Netflix list. I originally picked this up as an audio book but less than 40 pages in the reader's voice had grated on my last nerve and I returned it to the library and asked for the paper version. The reader was a soap actor in her teens but read using an annoying little girl voice that made Ella sound like a nasty brat.

The "real" Ella can be a bit bratty at times but she has a good heart and once I was allowed to read her words directly I really got to like her. This retelling of Cinderella makes a wild departure from the original. Here Ella was cursed at birth by a well-intentioned but totally clueless faerie to be always obedient. Her mother and her true faerie godmother help her to keep this a secret but once her mother dies and the wicked step sisters show up it's only a matter of time before they figure things out.

Ella's adventures as she fights the curse are original to this version of the story and it's only in the last chapters that things start to synch up with the traditional version at all. She has brains and bravery and works to save herself instead of sitting around waiting to be rescued. Prince Charming, here called Prince Charmont, even gets to be a real character and not just a plot device.

I'd really recommend this to any woman or girl who likes fantasy but I don't know if the guys would be as enamored with it.
ranuel: (Reference Library)
The Uncommon Reader
by Alan Bennett

One day at Buckingham Palace the Queen's corgis make such a racket that she goes to see what is going on. She finds that they are upset by the appearance of a book mobile parked near the kitchen dumpsters.

Being the polite soul that she is Elizabeth goes inside to apologize and in so doing starts on a path that will have consequences for the entire world.

She gets introduced to reading for pleasure.

Her guide to this new world is Norman, a gangly "ginger haired" dishwasher whose main criteria for selecting the books he reads is whether or not the author is gay.

She soon promotes Norman upstairs over the objections of Sir Kevin her private secretary and a battle of wills begins between Sir Kevin and the Queen over her new hobby.

This is a 120 page novella with good-sized margins so you can easily get through it in one sitting but it holds up well to reading in several smaller gulps. There is a lot of subtle humor and a great deal of philosophical reflection on reading, literature, authors, writing, and the role of the Queen.

There are a lot of great lines:

"'Am I alone,' she wrote [in her journal], 'In wanting to give Henry James a good talking-to?'"

"Authors, she soon decided, were probably best met with in the pages of their novels, and as much creatures of the reader's imagination as the characters in their books. Nor did they seem to think one had done them a kindness by reading their writings. Rather they had done one the kindness by writing them."

This is the second book with a really killer ending I finished this week and while Kim had the best ending line, this had the best ending punchline. I laughed so hard I scared the cats.
ranuel: (Reference Library)
Kim by Rudyard Kipling (1901)

I know, I took forever since I mentioned I was reading this over at FOAF, but it was a nice meander through India. Reading it a few pages here and there at lunch when I didn't have a library book or in line at the bank didn't hurt this at all. It just made it more as if I'd been on the long journey along with Kim and his old man.

If you want to read it too, Project Gutenberg has it free:

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/2226
ranuel: (Default)
Origin is the long awaited revelation of Wolverine's past. Ever since the character was introduced in the seventies there has been a deliberate air of mystery about him. Little clues were dropped from time to time and we learned a good bit of his recent history but where he came from and who he really was remained the subject of fanfic, not canon.

Until now.

I'll take the fanfic please. I haven't actually read any dealing with this topic but I am pretty certain that I can find at least one fan written story that would be better. It shouldn't be hard. Really good fanfic authors tend to be careful about stealing large chunks of plot from other stories for a start. The lifts from The Secret Garden and Rurouni Kenshin are the most obvious to me but other bits of the plot seem just a little too familiar as well. There are echoes of a classic Batman story at one point, hints of Lady Chatterley's Lover, and just a touch of Huckleberry Finn. I could probably figure out a few more "homages" if I wanted to reread the thing and do some searching but it's not worth the time.

Now, a reused plot can still serve as the basis for a good story if you have good characters but the reason that the reused plot stands out so much here is that even the characterization is lifted from the very stories that were plundered. Unfortunately instead of being the vivid, real, people they were when they had other names from other authors, these characters are bad photocopies.

As the story goes from one plundered plot bit to another they change to fit their analogs not necessarily in the manner the people they were at the beginning would change under the circumstances. A character will be filled with anger and the need for vengeance and then without explanation soften toward the object of his rage and spare him, or help him. People do stupid OOC things just to advance the plot.

The art is not that great either. Richard Isanove did an outstanding job on the coloring. I love the warm firelight on skin that he does. The problem is that they went from Andy Kubert's pencils directly to the finished art without an inker to clean things up. The result looks unfinished at times. Faces can be cartoonish and scenes with a lot of visual elements often seem muddy and unfocused.

I would recommend checking this out from the library if you spot it, just to stay up to date on one of the most popular Marvel characters, but unless you absolutely have to have anything Wolverine related save your $14.99 for something more worthwhile. The classic Chris Clairmont Wolverine series is being offered in  collected volumes and it would be a much better use of your time and money.
ranuel: (Default)
http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Tightwad-Gazette-Amy-Dacyczyn/dp/0375752250

Amy Dacyczyn  (pronounced like decision) sees nothing wrong about spending money on what you really want. It's just that most people never sit down to figure that out and prioritize how they spend their money. What she and her husband wanted was a big old house they could fill with kids and antiques. In the '80s over a seven year period on a combined salary of about $30,000 they saved 49,000 and were able to put a down payment on their dream house.

It took a lot of work and creativity and Amy, whose father had published a conservative Christian newsletter, realized with what she'd learned she might have a key to a home business. Most articles and books on saving money tend to assume that the reader is an idiot who is going out to expensive restaurants and wearing designer clothes while crying about being broke. There was a market for tips from a woman who was in the trenches and making ends meet for a family.

Amy started a montly newsletter, The Tightwad Gazette. It was so popular that she was able to voluntarily end publication and retire in her early forties to spend full time with her kids and her garden.

The Tightwad Gazette books are collections of the best of the newsletter. Almost random bits of serious practical advice are mixed with whimsical projects for the kids using things like soda can rings. A lot of the content was sent in by her readers over the years.

Some of the advice is basic and obvious, like avoid eating out, after all everyone had to start somewhere. There are tips for the extreme tightwad too, like how to recycle vacuum cleaner bags. You aren't expected to do all of them, or even most of them. She frequently encourages the reader to take what will fit in with their lifestyle and leave the rest. The important thing is the mind set. Which is why even though there are tips that are seriously dated a decade after publication the whole is still very, very useful.

Amy encourages her readers to check the books out of the library or get them used. However you get them I really recommend them.

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