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Search tags: April-2014
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review 2015-08-02 12:39
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
Lair of Dreams - Libba Bray
Lair of Dreams picks up a short time after The Diviners end. Evie is know known as the Sweetheart Seer and has her own radio show. Sam and Jericho are doing everything they can to keep the museum open while dealing with their own Diviner issues. Henry finds out there is at least one other Dream walker out there. Theta worries her nightmares from the past may burn her future.
 
Lair of Dreams was somehow even better then The Diviners. One or two new characters are introduced and fit right in with the already existing ones. I really didn't care for Evie's character for most of this book. Towards the end, you see a glimpse of the old Evie and you get why she acts the way she does for most of the beginning. I still didn't care much for her thoughtlessness, but at least there is a explanation. I'm glad she wasn't the main focus in this title. There wasn't really a main character in Lair of Dreams and I absolutely loved that. Each character has a equal amount of time. This allows each character the time they really needed to grow. The writing and the story are absolutely superb. I liked the ghost story a lot more then Naughty John. I really, really hope it doesn't take another three years for the next Diviners title. 
 
**Thank you Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for providing this in exchange for an honest review**
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review 2014-05-18 12:20
Rezension: Heike Eva Schmidt - Die gestohlene Zeit
Die gestohlene Zeit: Roman - Heike Eva Schmidt

Nachdem mich das Debüt der Autorin ("Purpurmond") damals leider ein wenig enttäuscht hatte, obwohl ich ihre Ideen durchaus gut fand, hoffte ich, dass es mir mit diesem Buch nicht ebenso gehen würde. Glücklicherweise hat Heike Eva Schmidt dieses Mal meinen Geschmack schon viel eher getroffen. Die Idee, einen Teil der Geschichte in der Zwergenwelt spielen zu lassen, finde ich wirklich toll. Dieses kleine Volk ist absolut faszinierend und die Sagen, die in diese Geschichte verflochten wurden, haben mir gut gefallen. Der Autorin ist es sehr gut gelungen, die verschiedenen Zeitebenen hier unterzubringen. So werden die Protagonisten aus ihrer gewohnten Zeit mal eben in die Zukunft katapultiert, nachdem sie gefühlt nur ein paar Tage im unterirdischen Reich von Zwergenkönig Laurin leben mussten. Dieser Zwergenkönig ist ein ziemlich bösartiger und hässlicher Wicht, genau wie seine Untertanen auch. Sein größter Wunsch ist es, Emma für sich zu gewinnen (und das zur Not auch mit Gewalt), weil diese seiner großen Liebe Similde (die vor vielen Jahrhunderten ebenfalls vor ihm geflüchtet ist) zum Verwechseln ähnlich sieht. Emma möchte sich in dieses Schicksal natürlich nicht so ohne weiteres fügen und flüchtet gemeinsam mit Jonathan, der schon seit langer Zeit ein Gefangener Laurins ist. Zurück aus den Höhlen der Zwerge erwartet die beiden jedoch eine große Überraschung und es sind noch einige Hindernisse zu bewältigen.
Glücklicherweise hat Heike Eva Schmidt dieses Mal ihre Charaktere nicht ganz so jung ausgewählt. Bei "Purpurmond" war ich sehr genervt von der jungen Protagonistin, was hier jedoch glücklicherweise nicht der Fall war. Emma ist mutig und nimmt ihr Schicksal selbst in die Hand. Ein wenig zu schnell kam mir nur die Zeit vor, die Emma und Jonathan benötigten, um sich an die neue Zeit zu gewöhnen, in der sie gelandet sind. Das hätte man vielleicht noch ein wenig mehr in den Vordergrund rücken können.
Der Schreibstil der Autorin lässt sich flüssig lesen und man kann sich gut in die Umgebung hineinversetzen, die sie hier beschreibt.
Die Geschichte ist fast durchgängig spannend und ganz besonders gut gefallen haben mir hier die garstigen Zwerge. Diese sind toll beschrieben und ganz besonders Laurin sorgt immer wieder für Gänsehaut. Interessante Nebencharaktere sind ebenfalls vertreten, denn nicht nur die Zwerge machen Emma und Jonathan das Leben schwer.
Fazit:
"Die gestohlene Zeit" gefällt mir viel besser als das Debüt der Autorin. Die Mischung aus märchenhaften Sagen, Fantasy und Zeitreise hat mir sehr gut gefallen. Die Zwerge sind ganz anders, als man sie sonst oft beschrieben bekommt und gerade das fand ich absolut faszinierend. Eine wirklich tolle Geschichte.

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text 2014-05-08 06:46
April Wrap Up!
Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel García Márquez
Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
Siddhartha - Hermann Hesse,Hilda Rosner
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
The Postman Always Rings Twice - James M. Cain
No Country for Old Men - Cormac McCarthy

I'm late with this, but here's my April wrap up. This month I read seven books! First I completed Garbriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, which I really enjoyed. Marquez's prose is absolutely gorgeous and I loved the atmosphere that he imbued this novel with.

 

After that I read Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, which was unlike anything I have read thus far. Really interesting and easy to engage with. I really enjoyed the use of short, snapshot scenes and time travel.

 

The third book I read was Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. I absolutely loved experiencing a small chunk of African culture through this novel and intend to continue reading the remainer of Achebe's African Trilogy and looking in to his other works.

 

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed my fourth book this month: Siddhartha by Hermann Hess. I anticipated struggling to get through this work, but I found it very easy to read and engaging as a piece of philosophy. Though I appreciated the narrative elements of this novel, I read it primarily as a work of philosophy.

 

The fifth book I read this month was Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Though I enjoyed the prose of this piece and appreciated the focus on depression, I couldn't help but feel a barrier between myself and the main characters of the novel, who is also the narrator and was, therefore, inseparable from my experience of the narrative. 

 

I wasn't intending to read James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice, but I found myself away from home and without internet for a few days and needed something to read after I finished The Bell Jar. I absolutely loved this novel. So concise, concrete, and visceral. An absolute pleasure to read. 

 

I actually completed Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, the last book on my April TBR early in May, but I decided to include it here. I really did love elements of the writing in this novel, but overall I found it hard to engage with. For a high action novel, it felt anticlimactic and stilted. 

 

Overall, I'd say that I had a very successful reading month this April. I hope to be equally successful this month. 

 

Happy Reading!

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review 2014-05-06 22:09
Dreamsnake / Vonda McIntyre
Dreamsnake - Vonda N. McIntyre
They called the healer Snake, and she bore the name proudly, for the medicine she distilled from the venom of the viper she carried with her was a potent cure; and the soothing power of her other companion, the alien dreamsnake, banished fear. But the primitive ignorance of those she served killed her dreamsnake and wrecked her career - for dreamsnakes were dreadfully rare, and Center would not grant her another.  Snake's only hope was to find a new dreamsnake - and on her quest, she was pursued by two implacable followers, one driven by love, one by fear and need.
 
I enjoyed this short little tale of a healer trying to find her place in the world, making mistakes as we all do and struggling to find a way out of a bad situation.  Finding companionship, love and an adopted daughter.  A strong female main character, solving problems competently yet accepting help when it is offered.  A book which passes the Bechdel test with flying colours [there is more than one female character and they talk to each other about something besides men].
 
My only complaint was that it was too short—there were several interesting items which tickled my curiosity and made me wish that there was a sequel or that the original was a bit thicker, with more detail.  For example, how did Earth get to this post-apocalyptic state?  Who are the aliens who created the domes and brought the strange plants and dreamsnakes to Earth?  Have they stuck around or who exactly is in the intact city dome?  
 
In a world where there are still so many books in which the female characters are stiff as cardboard or stereotypical caricatures , this book from the 1970s really shines as a book where I felt real affection for Snake.  She is a realistic woman, with emotions and dilemmas that I can relate to.  I must read more of McIntyre’s work.
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review 2014-05-03 23:07
Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore / Robin Sloan
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore - Robin Sloan

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything—instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.

 

This is one of the most charming books that I have read in a long time.  It is a love story to books, bookstores, libraries, museums and the internet.  There are wonderful allusions to all kinds of geeky things, from Star Trek to Batman.  The author has a real way with words, being able to describe things with one sentence, yet setting the scene perfectly, as when he describes an older lady's home as being that of a bibliophile hobbit.  I also loved his description of the situation as Scientology aimed at elderly scholars!

 

Sloan obviously loves information in all of its forms and his love shines through in his writing.  I hope there are many more novels coming from this author.  And I hope that someday his Accession Table contraption for museums will be available for use!  I'll willingly sign up for training!

 

 

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