Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Real Children by Jo Walton

My Real Children
Jo  Walton
Tor 2014

Patricia, suffering from dementia, is in a nursing home. She has memories of two, very distinctly different lives. Covering the years from 1933 when she was seven, to 2015 when she is lying in a bed not wanting to have to decide which was her real life, she loves both her lives.

In both lives she got an Oxford education and had children. In one life she had several pregnancies and four children who lived; in the other life she gave birth to two children but mothered others. In one life she had love, in the other respectability. In one world, peace and cooperation lead to scientific advances; in the other bombings and nuclear fallout affect her life.

As always, Walton’s writing is mesmerizing, pulling the reader into the lives and hearts of the people in the pages. This is very subtle science fiction, mostly taking place in the past but in two very familiar worlds where subtle difference show they are not ours.

My Real Children is one of those books a reader never forgets. One that will echo, with thoughts of it springing into mind unbidden, for many years. Definitely one of the best books of the year.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book of the Week Wood Sprites by Wen Spencer

Wood Sprites
Wen Spencer
Baen 2014

I always find it hardest to write reviews of books I fall in love with. Wood Sprites with its wit, imagination, and humor is fully in this category.

     Just days before their ninth birthday, precocious twins, Louise and Jillian discover they are not biologically related to their parents when their blood type is revealed after they create a huge explosion when filming an episode of their underground video series set in their imagined version of Elfhome. The issue with their parentage is extremely mystifying since they’ve seen the video of their birth and they know they emerged from their mother. In this delightful romp, the twins uncover their true parentage and relationship to Tinker, become celebrities, write and produce a kick ass school play version of Peter Pan, and discover a diabolical plot that could end the accord between our world and its parallel, Elfhome. It is set in the world of Spencer’s outstanding science fantasy Elfhome series where a transdimensional gate catapults a near future Pittsburgh onto a parallel world inhabite by elves  where it stays except for one day a month.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Read in August

Here are most of the books I read in August. There were a couple that weren't on Riffle yet including the picture book Little Puppy and the Big Green Monster by Mike Wohnoutka that I like a lot.
Remember, I only finish reading books I enjoy and like enough to recommend to others so all of these are recommended. I didn't read much YA/Teen in August but The Name of the Blade played out like a very colorful anime right before my eyes, I loved the combination of fairy tale and science fiction in Stitching Snow, and was surprised by the unpredictability of The Devil's Intern. Wood Sprites, Thief's Magic, and Trace of Magic were all very well done, extremely enjoyable, fantasy novels. The time periods and settings in Seven for a Secret, the Fair Miss Fortune, and Flight of the Sparrow all were informative and skillfully drawn making each of their eras come vividly to life complete with smells and sounds.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye

Seven for a Secret
Lyndsay Faye
Berkley 2014
Timothy Wilde is a New York policeman, a wearer of a copper badge who may be of small stature but has a huge need to see justice done. He is quite the opposite of his brother Valentine, a big-shot in the corrupt Democratic machine that runs the city in the days of corrupt Tammany Hall, but despite their differences they are always there for each other. This adventure pits Tim against slave hunters who have kidnapped a free black woman and her young nephew and whose incredibly beautiful sister is married to a white man with a secret identity. He meets a vigilance committee, a group of free blacks who have banded together to help those other free blacks who are the targets of kidnappers who sell them into slavery and get away with it by pretending to be catching escaped slaves. The evil madam, Silkie Marsh, is still up to nefarious deeds. Well researched with the slang of the New York criminal class and vivid descriptions of the filth, poverty, and stink of mid 19th century Manhattan.
I generally don't review paperback reprints but this trade edition came in and I had missed it when it came out last year in hardcover.

 Recommended for book clubs.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book of the Week - Etta Mae’s Worst Bad-Luck Day by Anne B. Ross

Etta Mae’s Worst Bad-Luck Day
Anne B. Ross Viking 2014
Sassy Etta Mae, the bad girl of the Miss Julie series gets to tell her story. Working as a CNA, the twice divorced bombshell who has a kind heart is is engaged to Howard Connard, Senior, the wealthy elderly community leader, once the major employer in the area. Unfortunately her boss has told Howard Junior who has immediately come from Raleigh, even though he hadn't visited his father for months, and made plans to move him to a nursing home. Meanwhile, Etta Mae’s first ex-husband who had left her with nothing but debt returns to to town to tell her he has a winning lottery ticket he wants to split with her but unfortunately he is on the wrong side of a bunch of big bad guys who are hell bent on getting the ticket. When Etta Mae works out a way to free her fiance and get the wedding done in a hurry, every thing that can go wrong does to comic effect.