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review 2017-07-29 03:34
Red is a smart & fun heroine
Red's Planet: Book 1: A World Away from Home - Eddie Pittman

 

 

Red is a spunky 10-year old girl who runs away from her foster home, looking for a place to belong and ends up abducted by an alien spaceship. When the spaceship crashes on an alien planet, Red is stuck with a crazy bunch of aliens that she must learn to live with. The artwork is gorgeous, bright, and colorful and adds to the humor of the story.

 

I really liked this one. Red is smart and headstrong. The other aliens are funny, including two that look like the man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors, and a cute gray alien with huge eyes. 

 

Kids will enjoy this adventure.

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review 2017-07-28 23:38
"The Spaceship Next Door" by Gene Doucette
The Spaceship Next Door - Gene Doucette,Steve Carlson

"The Spaceship Next Door" is a fun book: witty, fast moving, great dialogue, original ideas, a twisty plot, aliens, zombies and a whole bunch of in-jokes for those of us who live and breathe SciFi and horror.

It's told in a raconteur third person style that heightens the amusement, keeps things from getting too serious and allows the parts of the puzzle to be nudged into sight at just the right pace.

The basic premise is that a spaceship lands in the small mill town of Sorrow Falls, Massachusetts in the middle of the night and then,,, nothing much happens... for three years. Long enough for the good folks of Sorrow Falls to get used to having a spaceship next door and even to take for granted the strong Army presence that is guarding the ship.

Then things do start to change and it seems the end of the world is at hand. At least, it will be if sassy sixteen year old Annie Collins doesn't help the thirty something government agent who absolutely no-one believes is the reporter he claims to be, to solve the mystery of what the ship wants and what it will do if it doesn't get it.

Annie Collins is the heart of this book. If you don't like her, then the book will just pass you by. Fortunately, she's very likeable. She's open, friendly, preternaturally smart, always has a clever question to ask and is hiding a hugely important secret from just about everyone.

I was smiling almost all the way through this book. I listened to the audiobook version and felt entertained the whole way through.  In addition to being witty, "The Spaceship Next Door" manages to twist a number of tropes around aliens and zombies and the reaction of the military to a space invasion in very clever ways. It makes constant reference to science fiction movies and books and I could almost see the author's gleeful grin in my mind when he managed to include the line, "Take me to your leader."

If you're a sci fi fan looking for a smile and a few surprises, come and spend a few hours in Sorrow Falls and let Annie Collins show you around.

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review 2017-07-28 21:22
Middlemarch - Michel Faber,George Eliot Eliot is one of those writers who I always forget how good she is. It’s not that I ever forget she is good, it is just that forget the high standard she has for most her work. The exception is Adam Bede, and this is no doubt because it was the first Eliot I read (thanks to Alistair Cooke). I first read Middlemarch in either college or grad school. I recently re-read because of a line in the New York Times Book Review. To call Middlemarch feminist would be wrong, though in many ways it is proto=feminist. At the heart of the novel is the character of Dorothea and the idea of marriage. If Doretha was Catholic, she quite easily could have become a nun. But she isn’t, so the avenues opened to her are a bit slim. She wants to do good works, and to improve people’s lives. At beginning of the novel is she able to do this with a help of a suitor, a suitor she doesn’t know is a suitor, and later in the novel, she has the possibility to do it another way. This of course soon changes. The theme of the novel, in part, seems to be the idea of marriage for marriage does concern much of the part. At first, it is merely Doreatha’s marriage to Casaubon, who is older and who she hopes will teach almost like a father. Then it is the marriage between Lydgate, a doctor who wants to do good, and Rosamond, whose brother Fred forms part of a third marriage with Mary Garth. The question of marriage is more a question what a good marriage is. Doreatha’s first marriage, really isn’t a good one. But it is not entirely her husband’s fault and in fact, very few of her friends (in fact only her sister and James Chettam) try to talk her out of it or express doubts about the marriage. In many ways, the true right people in the novel are Mary Garth and Celia Brooke, Doretha’s younger sister. Mary is the dependable and intelligent daughter of the Gareths. She is prudent. The most imprudent thing she does is love Fred, who at the start of the book has a good heart but is a bit too much flash and imprudence. Celica is Doreatha’s younger sister, less religious, more sensual, but also more observant. She watches before she speaks. She may not be as good or holy as Doretha but she is not a bad woman. Mary too watches. This makes those two women better able to handle the society that constrains them. Doretha is not able to handle society in the same way. Her marriage options are frowned upon whether she marries for the right or wrong reason. And unlike Lydgate, who marries an illusion, a pretty thing that he does not see as human or understand fully as human. He does not watch enough. Neither does Doretha at first. Eliot’s suggestion that she is trying to write or example a modern life of St. Theresa is interesting because Dortha, like Lydgate, doesn’t quite come what she could have been. Of course, that is, in part, the purpose of Eliot’s book, showing us the bonds – both prison like and fond – that society puts on us.
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text 2017-07-28 18:24
Reading progress update: I've read 207 out of 384 pages.
Sharpe's Fortress - Bernard Cornwell

'I knew you could beat a jetti in a fair fight.'

'I beat three at once in Seringapatam,' Sharpe said, 'but I don't know as it was a fair fight. I'm not much in favour of fair fights. I like them to be unfair. Fair fights are for gentlemen who don't know any better.'

'Which is why you gave the sword to the jetti,' Sevajee observed drily.

'I knew he'd make a bollocks of it.'

Jettis are strongmen who kill people with their bare hands. Sharpe fought with a spear.

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review 2017-07-28 16:58
I continue to be drawn in by beautiful cover art
The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle - Janet Fox

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox is another prime example of an eye-catching cover which I couldn't resist. It evokes a certain gothic mysteriousness which I'm happy to say was delivered. From the very beginning,  the reader is launched into a tale of magic, wickedness, desperation, and all-consuming power. The story follows a family of children who are sent to stay at an estate in the country during the Blitz of WWII. However, all is not what it seems at this country school as the oldest daughter, Kate, quickly realizes after meeting the lady of the house. Much of the drama is tied to a chatelaine (a chain decorated with different items used around a house and usually worn by the woman in charge of the household affairs) worn by this woman. There are a lot of different threads to follow in this narrative which made it a little challenging to follow at times. The reader is sent back in time to follow this woman's history and then suddenly we're back with Kate in the present. That was a bit jarring but easily overcome. I'd say that the book's biggest strength was its originality in using magical artifacts of an unusual sort (I don't want to give it away entirely). If you are a fan of boarding school mysteries with a healthy heaping of dark magic then you'll most likely enjoy this book. It's a 6/10 for me but it would have been higher if the narrative thread had been a bit tighter.

 

I mean how could I have turned down this cover?!

 

Source: Amazon

 

What's Up Next: Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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