Sunday, July 27, 2014

Book of the Week - Little Greed Men by Kym O’Connell-Todd and Mark Todd

Little Greed Men
O’Connell-Todd, Kym and Mark Todd
Raspberry Creek 9780985135232 2013

One of my favorite books of all time is Tourist Season, Carl Hiaasen’s hilarious debut novel which utilizes alligators, both living and rubber, as murder weapons. It resonated so much with me because I’ve spent most of my adult life in rural paradises that are  unfortunately very appealing to tourists, scammers, and developers -- somewhat like Hiaasen’s Florida. Now I’ve found another rollicking novel dealing with the conflicting values between those who love the rural landscape, those who want to develop it, and the woo woo invaders who love it but just don’t “get” it.

     The team who wrote the Silverville Saga, are astute observers of rural Western Slope Colorado and have nailed the setting and citizenry and what happens when change hits these communities. A purported UFO sighting leads to economic development when a shady citizen jumps on the bandwagon to publicize it as vacation destination complete with a UFO themed museum, motel, and amusement park. The town hires a UFO expert to guide the campaign but when on his way to Silverville, he gets out of his car to pee on a mountain pass during a late spring blizzard and is accidentally hit and killed by a con man who inadvertently takes on his identity.

     Quirky characters, twisty plots, and guffaw worthy coincidences combine for a thoroughly delightful reading experience. One of the good things about reading a book when it isn’t brand-new-hot-off-the-press that does have sequels is that the reader doesn’t have to wait around for years for the next book. I can request a copy of All Plucked Up right now and be reading it later this week!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Something Weird

Something weird has happened to my teen review site www.teensread.org. I've reset the cname so hopefully it will be back soon. It can still be accessed at http://genrefluentteentalk.blogspot.com/  I found out because I heard from some teens who were trying to submit reviews.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Book of the Week - The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

The Goblin Emperor
Addison, Katherine
Tor 2014 - April

Eighteen-year-old Maia, the son of the emperor of Untheileneise, has lived in exile all his life, relegated to a manor far from towns, cities, and the royal court of his elvish father, under the guardianship of a cousin who hates him. His life has been desolate since his goblin mother died when he was only eight years old and he has experienced no kindness or affection since she died. When a dirigible carrying the emperor and Maia’s many half brothers crashes and burns, he finds himself the new emperor. Going to court, woefully unprepared for politics, his innate good sense and kindness come into play as he faces racial prejudice and political rivals who would welcome a coup. While Maia may be naive in the ways of palace intrigue, he is far from that in his appraisal of human (elvish & goblin) nature.      Discovering that the dirigible explosion was intentional, he faces even more dangers.

Addison’s complex world building is some of the best in fantasy this century. In addition to creating a political system, religions, language, and customs, her world also looks at race and gender roles. I loved the expressions and emotional nuances delineated by what is going on with the placement and attitude of characters’ ears.

This satisfying read is going on my list of top ten so far this year.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Short Takes on Recent Reads


At ALA I was able to pick up three ARCs written by some of my very favorite authors. I read them too fast and now, alas, I must wait a long time for their next books. Paolo Bacigalupi's Doubt Factory was a real change for him in many ways. It was contemporary suspense/thriller instead of science fiction but did feature insightful social commentary and exposes serious problems facing the world.  

Lish McBride's Firebug, featuring a a young woman with the ability to create fire, rebels against the organization and its leader that has forced her to perform assassinations, kept me entertained while sitting in the hospital while my dear husband was going through knee replacement surgery. McBride is masterful in creating groups of characters with all their relationships and baggage who come through for each other. It was great to be surrounded by such an interesting and illustrious crowd while going through such a worrisome time. 

Clariel by Garth Nix was wonderful. A stand alone prequel, it will send readers to hunt down his other Old Kingdom books immediately. Clariel wants to be a Borderer but as the daughter of prominent gold smiths, a member of the Abhorsen family, and a close relative to the throne she is forced to go to the city where politics and magic are running amok.




Saturday, July 5, 2014

Book of the Week - The Ways of the Dead by Neely Tucker

The Ways of the Dead
Neely Tucker
Viking 2014

Sully Carter, a veteran reporter of several wars, most recently Bosnia, is now in Washington, D.C. trying to keep his career going despite his increasing problems with alcohol. When the teen daughter of a federal judge is found dead in an alley in the bad neighborhood where she was taking dance classes theories abound  tied to the judge's cases and political ambitions. Sully doesn’t buy the easy solution that leads to the arrest of three black youths who had been harassing  the victim just before her death especially after the body of another young woman is found in the cellar of a nearby building. In Sully’s quest for the truth, it appears he may have stumbled across the trail of a serial killer. Tucker captures the end of an era as the 20th century and old style investigative reporting head to their ends in this suspenseful debut novel.