Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French

As a special Halloween treat, I decided to read this delightful children's book.  It only took me about 2 hours to read, but it was the cutest little story!  The book opens with the evilest sorceress in the land commissioning a lovely new dress with spider webs, poison ivy and adorable little skulls sewn all along the hem.  Unfortunately, (as is often the case in today's economy) she soon realizes that she can't actually afford the dress.  To raise money she decides to turn all the local royal children into frogs and then blackmail their families for cash to turn them back.  With a charming cast of characters, just a dash of romance and humor, this is a children's book for all ages.

Tales from the Five Kingdoms

The Robe of Skulls
The Bag of Bones
The Heart of Glass
The Flight of Dragons

UPDATE - The Bag of Bones was just as cute as the first book!  I'm very much looking forward to book 3!
UPDATE 2 - In The Heart of Glass we see a little more romantic tension developing and it's just adorable.  :)
UPDATE 3 - Vivian French states that The Flight of Dragons was almost as much fun for her to write as Robe of Skulls.  Cute and enjoyable, this series continues to be one I will keep reading.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Sharing Knife: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold

I found this book through an author read-alike search on NoveList for Juliet Marillier - one of my all time favorite historical fantasy writers.  Beguilement is about a young girl who runs away from home because she is pregnant.  On her way south to look for work she is kidnapped and then rescued by a man who is a Lakewalker - something like a cross between a ranger and a sorcerer.  What they don't tell you at the beginning of the book is that the young girl is only 18 and the strapping Lakewalker man is flippin' 55 years old.  We learn this on page 269 of 355.  After they've spent the entire book spending lots of *cough* time together and the girl asking so many questions about the birds and the bees that you have to wonder how she managed to get pregnant in the first place.  So if you're interested in pedophilia and a little sex-ed, read this book.  If you think you can somehow pretend that two oddly matched people aren't trying to mate the entire time, this book actually has a very interesting (side) plot dealing with magic and evil creatures in the land.  This is actually a trilogy and if I had more time to waste I would probably read them.  Who knows, maybe someday I will.  For now though, I think I'm going to have to take NoveList's recommendations with a larger grain of salt.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Sleeping Beauty by Mercedes Lackey

In a land where the magic of tradition bends people's lives into fairy tales, Rosa must take her fate into her own hands if she wants her happily ever after.  This is the fifth book in Mercedes Lackey's Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series and although it does not live up to the first book's standard, it has surpassed book four, The Snow Queen, by leaps and bounds.  The main flaw of this book probably lies in the statement made by Lackey in the introduction to the book where she claims to have written her first comedy.  While the characters seemed to find everything funny and would frequently burst into random hysterical fits of laughter, I found nothing funny or even remotely comical until a ditsy talking unicorn with a lisp made an appearance near the end of the book.  If nothing else, I have been reminded once more that if ever I see a creature in distress I ought to help it on the off chance that the animal is semi-intelligent and will come to my rescue when I am in great peril at some future time.

Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms
The Fairy Godmother
One Good Knight
Fortune's Fool
The Snow Queen
The Sleeping Beauty
Harvest Moon: A Tangled Web (Novella)
Beauty and the Werewolf

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dark Life by Kat Falls

Of all the post-apocalyptic young adult fiction I've been reading lately, this one is the best.  As the glaciers melt, continents disappear, making space such a precious commodity that people are forced underwater to find it.  Pioneers with homesteads in the "frontier" must deal with the inconveniences of life in the deep as well as with outlaws who threaten their new way of life.  Ty's family is no exception and he must choose between exposing a well guarded secret or protecting the homeland he holds dear.  A choice that becomes harder when the line between the two blurs.  This book was scouted for film rights before it was even published.  An excellent last beach read of the year for those of you still living in semi-warm climates.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Exile by Diana Gabaldon

For years I've watched Diana Gabaldon's books leave the library and always wondered what all the fuss was about.  So I was delighted when this book came out so that I could get a little taste for The Outlander series without committing myself to thousands of pages (per book).  From what I understand this graphic novel tells Jamie's (I had no idea who that was) side of the story.  The plot was interesting and not at all what I had thought it was based solely on looking at the covers all these years.  Basically, a woman named Claire living in the World War II era somehow time slips into 18th C. Scotland where she meets attractive, Scottish warrior Jamie.

Claire is not, however, the main character in this story.  In fact, based on number of appearances alone, there seem to be two heroines in this piece - and they were constantly falling out of Claire's dress as it seemed to be in a perpetual state of getting ripped off her by strange men, torn in clumsy falls or pushed up by some unnatural force that disobeyed all laws of gravity.  So yeah . . . I'm glad I know more about the general plot of the Outlander books, but I have to admit I'm not real keen to ken them better.  If anyone has read the actual books and wishes to disagree with me, I'd love a second opinion.