Trickster’s Choice
Book Review / August 13, 2016

Title: Trickster's Choice Series: Daughter of the Lioness, #1 Author: Tamora Pierce Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Scholastic Press Release Date: January 1st, 2003 Format: Audiobook Pages: 453 Source: Library Alianne is the teenage daughter of the famed Alanna, the Lioness of Tortall. Aly is bold and brave like her mother, but she has no wish to become a knight. Instead she longs to follow in her father’s footsteps as a spy, an ambition her parents vehemently oppose. After a furious argument Aly runs away, with disastrous consequences. Captured and sold as a slave in the Copper Isles, she discovers that this whole nightmare has not come about by chance – the Trickster God, Kyprioth, has plans for her… (via Goodreads) Amazon   Growing up, there were a few series of books I read until the spines broke: Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner, Tales of Magic by Edward Eagar, and most importantly The Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce. (Well, most importantly, Harry Potter, but that series extended long past my childhood days…). These books defined my literary formative years, and discovering Trickster’s Choice thrust me back into those beautiful worlds. This newer work by Tamora Pierce reminded me why I…

Mandela: An Audio History
Book Review / August 9, 2016

Title: Mandela: An Audio History Author: Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Joe Richman and Sue Johnson Genre: Non-Fiction Publisher: HighBridge Company Release Date: February 19th, 2014 Format: Audiobook Pages: 75 (transcript) Source: Library Recognized as one of the most comprehensive oral histories of apartheid ever broadcast (NPR, BBC, CBC, SABC), ” Mandela: An Audio History” tells the story of the struggle against apartheid through rare sound recordings. The series weaves together more than 50 first-person interviews with an unprecedented collection of archival sound: a rare recording of the 1964 trial that resulted in Mandela s life sentence; a visit between Mandela and his family secretly taped by a prison guard; marching songs of guerilla soldiers; government propaganda films; and pirate radio broadcasts from the African National Congress (ANC). Once thought lost forever, Radio Diaries producer Joe Richman unearthed a treasure trove of these historic recordings in the basement archive of the South African Broadcasting Corporation. Ultimately, over 50 hours of archival recordings and many more hours of contemporary interviews with the living witnesses to South Africa s turbulent history have gone into the creation of one of the most moving audio documentaries ever produced. (via Goodreads) Amazon   The drive to…

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Book Review / July 18, 2016

Title: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Author: John Berendt Genre: True Crime Publisher: Vintage Release Date: June 28th, 1999 Format: Paperback Pages: 386 Source: Owned Shots rang out in Savannah’s grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt’s sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case. (via Goodreads) Amazon   My birthday is typically the week after Mother’s Day. This year, instead of gifts (though my Mom cheated and still got me gifts!) we decided to go on a Mother/Daughter trip. My mother has always wanted to visit Savannah, Georgia, but never had the opportunity. A city known for art, history, architecture, and ghosts– it was perfect for us. A place where we could take it easy and never worry about how bored the men…

The Rithmatist
Book Review / June 30, 2016

Title: The Rithmatist Series: Rithmatist, #1 Author: Brandon Sanderson Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Tor Teen Release Date: May 14th, 2013 Format: Audiobook Pages: 378 Source: Library Illustrator: Ben McSweeney (Rithmatics Images) More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles. As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever. (via Goodreads) Amazon   Sanderson. Please. Stop making me desperately cling to your words hoping they will never stop. And stop tricking me into reading books for incomplete series. As soon as The Rithmatist ended, I knew I needed more. IMMEDIATELY. Joel wants desperately to be a Rithmatist– someone who battles using…

What If?
Book Review / June 15, 2016

Title: What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions Author: Randall Munroe Genre: Non-Fiction Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Release Date: September 2nd, 2014 Format: Audiobook Pages: 303 Source: Library Randall Munroe left NASA in 2005 to start up his hugely popular site XKCD ‘a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math and language’ which offers a witty take on the world of science and geeks. It now has 600,000 to a million page hits daily. Every now and then, Munroe would get emails asking him to arbitrate a science debate. ‘My friend and I were arguing about what would happen if a bullet got struck by lightning, and we agreed that you should resolve it . . . ‘ He liked these questions so much that he started up What If.  If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you survive? How dangerous is it, really, to be in a swimming pool in a thunderstorm? If we hooked turbines to people exercising in gyms, how much power could we produce? What if everyone only had one soulmate? When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British empire?  How fast can you hit a speed bump…

I Am Malala
Book Review / May 11, 2016

Title: I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban Author: Malala Yousafazi, Christina Lamb Genre: Memoir Publisher: Little, Brown and Company Release Date: November 1st, 2012 Format: Audiobook Pages: 327 Source: Library I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday. When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.  Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate. I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and…

Station Eleven
Book Review / April 19, 2016

Title: Station Eleven Author: Emily St. John Mandel Genre: Dystopian Literature Publisher: Knopf Release Date: September 9th, 2014 Format: eBook Pages: 336 Source: Owned An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity. One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them. Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities…

The Gunslinger
Book Review / March 9, 2016

Title: The Gunslinger Series: The Dark Tower, #1 Author: Stephen King Genre: Dark Science Fiction Publisher: Penguin Group New American Library Signet Release Date: June 23rd, 2003 Format: Hardback Pages: 299 Source: Library First Published: June 10th, 1982 Beginning with a short story appearing in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1978, the publication of Stephen King’s epic work of fantasy — what he considers to be a single long novel and his magnum opus — has spanned a quarter of a century. Set in a world of extraordinary circumstances, filled with stunning visual imagery and unforgettable characters, The Dark Tower series is King’s most visionary feat of storytelling, a magical mix of science fiction, fantasy, and horror that may well be his crowning achievement. Book I In The Gunslinger (originally published in 1982), King introduces his most enigmatic hero, Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting, solitary figure at first, on a mysterious quest through a desolate world that eerily mirrors our own. Pursuing the man in black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life, Roland is a good man who seems to leave nothing but death in his wake. This new edition of The Gunslinger has…

Illuminae
Book Review / February 15, 2016

Title: Illuminae Series: The Illuminae Files, #1 Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers Release Date: October 20th, 2015 Format: Hardback Pages: 599 Source: Library This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to…

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