Category Archives: A

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Verne

Jules Verne 1870

(Note: 1 league = 3.45 miles)

If you wanted to write a book about all the cool places in the ocean, and if you were a scientist who had studied the classifications of many hundreds of species, you would write this book. What better frame: a professor, curious about everything, who gets invited on a fantastic-al submarine voyage, where he studies both the enigma of Nemo and the enigma of the seas. With creative yet impressive or too-convenient inventions, the furtive Captain Nemo takes Prof. Aronnax from wonder to wonder circling the globe–and then some.

Prepare yourself for awe. Verne wrote this I feel to talk about the splendid places below the waves that he could share his visions with the people of the 1850s. But I said to prepare yourself because the moments of awe are sometimes tucked in long paragraphs of descriptions of fish and fauna. Jules Verne loves himself a fish. He also loves a startling vista, which he offers many even fathoms under the ocean, and he loves a scene of human interest. Continue reading

Son of the Shadows

Juliet Marillier

Very good.  A great fantasy read.

{LitLiv Summary: Sorcha and Iubdan, protagonists of Daughter of the Forest, have built up a lovely life and brought stability and prosperity to Sevenwaters.  Their three children, Sean (a born leader learning from his father and uncle Liam), Niamh (very much a Briton, fiery and willful), and Liadan (unforeseen, a healer, and inwardly strong) grow and experience the events of this novel.  Ripples of problems begin when Niamh falls in love with a man she should not, the adults keep a lie which starts to erode the family, and Liadan’s suitor is consumed by the pursuit of her.  Liadan is the protagonist and must navigate the dangerous times while everyone attempts to influence her decisions.  She realizes her important role in the prophecy (that a child of Sevenwaters with the mark of the raven will gain back the three sacred islands from the Britons), but she is not sure of the great danger that is awakening.  As events unfold she manages to stay true to herself and follow her own heart, Fair Folk and prophecy be damned.}

I really liked the character of Liadan and learning about her world and her brother and sister.  She grew as a character, and she matched very well with Bran, even though their relationship frustrated me at first: they wouldn’t admit that they loved each other.  Bran as a character was also very cool, with his raven persona and complicated past and emotions.  The climatic conflict that stemmed from Eamonn was unexpected.  At first I didn’t quite like the idea of Liadan having a baby everywhere with her, it was definitely different, but Marillier made it work well for the story.  The historical aspect of mercenaries and maneuverings of the feudal system in ancient Ireland/Britain is very interesting and makes a great premise for Son of the Shadows.

+ Her website has the cover images of the book from different countries and a map of the places in the book.

Rose in Bloom

Louisa May Alcott, 1876

In this sequel to Eight Cousins, Rose has just come back from a two-year tour through Europe with Uncle Alec and Phebe. Eight Cousins left off when she was 14, she left for Europe when she was 18, and now she is 20. She has grown wiser and even more beautiful, and will inherit her parent’s fortune in a year.  The chemistry between the young people has changed too, which becomes evident to them, “No sooner were they shut up in a carriage, however, than a new and curious constraint seemed to fall upon the young people, for they realized, all at once, that their former playmates were men and women now.” (pg. 3)  There are many who seek her hand, especially when she tries “coming out in society” for a few months, some who are desperate, some who are foolish, and some who genuinely feel affection for her.  But it becomes evident (without even looking at the cover) that the two greatest contenders are Mac, the bookworm, and Charlie, the Prince.

It feels like the writing style changed a bit from the first book.  As if we, the reader, are growing with Rose, the writing changes focus and contains more human emotion and intrigue.

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Rapture of the Deep

Cover image courtesy of Goshen Public Library

Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Soldier, Sailor, Mermaid, Spy

L.A. Meyer

{Just minutes away from walking down the aisle to finally be united with her Jaimy, Jacky is snatched up again by that despicable British Intelligence.  In her wedding dress she hears the terms of her new mission: diving for the treasure of a Spanish ship that sunk in the Caribbean (because King George’s coffers are getting empty from fighting Napoleon).  The tricky part is that she must do it without the Spanish finding out, and she must dive farther than anyone has before by using a new apparatus from Boston.  In return she will receive a full pardon.

So the Nancy B. Alsop (with two new young crew members) and the HMS Dolphin (with Jaimy on-board) sail down to the West Indies to find the Santa Magdalena, where they will have happy reunions with old faces and make new friends and new enemies.}

Very good, very fun.  The seventh book in the Bloody Jack Adventures, L.A. Meyer is still delivering the same quality, novelty, and excitement.  The book before this– My Bonny Light Horseman– was very heart wrenching whereas this book sees more going right for Jacky Faber.  But the book does seem to be a little more racy, with dirtier jokes, and I would like to see more character development concerning Jaimy.  Rollicking around Havana, Cuba, the reader picks up some interesting info about her history and culture in 1807.  Upon finishing I cannot wait for the next book to come out!

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Le Silence de la Mer

par Vercors (Jean Bruller), 1942

Published covertly in Nazi-occupied France, this was a publication for the French people, a sort of “guide for la Resistance” to this country still dazed and reeling from the invasion.  There were underground publications of newspapers going on, but Vercors approached a publisher to do this larger project.  It is a short story, only 50 pages, but still very good and with psychological depth in its intricacies of symbolism and character interactions, as well as an inspiring greater message.

The story enfolds as two lower soldiers examine the narrator’s house.  Several comings and goings later a soldier tells the man and his niece that there will be an officer staying in their house.  When they meet him he is actually fluent in French and very polite.  Still, neither the niece nor the narrator utter a word or even acknowledge him.  This was the start of an unspoken agreement that they would continue their lives as usual as if he had never came. Continue reading

Healer’s Keep

by Victoria Hanley

A big thank you to Reading Rocks for this book!!  You guys rock :)  Click to see an interview they did with the author, Victoria Hanley.

This book is excellent!  I haven’t read a fantasy this good for a long time.  Why, I believe that if parts of it were longer with more description and emotional depth it could brush the title of epic.  I would definitely recommend this book.

{From Victoria Hanley’s website: Two new students arrive at the Keep. One is Dorjan, a mysterious young man and heir to the family of Dreamwens-people who can walk in dreams. The other is the Princess Saravelda, daughter of King Landen and Queen Torina. Both Dorjan and Saravelda are hiding secrets of the past, but they must trust each other before they can act to overcome the darkness threatening the Healer’s Keep.

Across the ocean in Sliviia a talented slave girl named Maeve is running from Lord Morlen, a man who inspires terror in all who meet him.  Maeve learns that she, too, is part of the Dreamwen line.  She meets Jasper, a freeman of Sliviia who has survived on his wits and courage, who must decide how much he will risk for love.  The destiny of these four people are intertwined.  Together they confront the powers that prey upon their world. }
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Red Glass

by Laura Resau

I really, really liked this book.  Reading this book is biting into a big, juicy guava.  It tastes amazing and is the most wonderful thing ever, the sticky juice starts trickling down your chin,  and you realize that it’s better that way.

The characters are wonderful in their flaws, their acceptance, their bravery, their open-hearts, and their laughter.  The quotes from The Little Prince were so poignant to me because I just finished reading that novelette en français.

Red Glass is a multi-faceted view of Mexico and the lives that people lead around the world.  It shows how a little bit of discomfort won’t kill you.

{From Minnie at Athena’s YA Book Reviews: “It is a beautiful book about a girl whose life is changed on a journey through Mexico…there’s beautiful imagery, great love stories, and lots of familiar places, food, and music styles that anybody living in a border town or who has knowledge of Mexican culture will easily recognize. I loved it! I’ll be posting a full review soon!” click here to see info from a chat with the author!}

Thanks for that interview, Minnie.  Resau is an amazing person and a talented author.  I hope to read more books by her in the future, especially The Indigo Notebook.

The Great Gatsby

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

It was lovely; I really enjoyed it.  One thing though, reading this book was like living in a haze.  Maybe Fitzgerald was trying to capture the ambience of the flapper 20’s, or maybe that was how these silly characters’ minds worked.

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness…” (pg. 114) These people live the decadent life of the roaring twenties. The mindless, indulgent, irresponsible life style where consequence is just an afterthought.” homework-online.com.

I encountered this story when I saw the movie last year.  Looking back I would say that the film, I saw the version starring Robert Redford, was a wonderful rendition of this book.  And I think seeing the movie first made the book better; it was easier to visualize the period clothing, parties, and attitudes, and to understand the plot to be able to look for important clues and symbolism.

> You can read the whole book online thanks to eBooks@Adelaide.

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The Time Traveler’s Wife

by Audrey Niffenegger

I love this book.  Clare and Henry’s love is so awesome, it helps them surmount the meaninglessness and cynicism that could take over their lives.  The settings, beautiful Michigan and diverse Chicago, voice, originality, character development and pacing are excellent.  It does seem a little slow and meander-some at first with no clear problem/solution scheme, but you can look past that and enjoy the sights.

Yes I loved it, but I’d also caution that this book for more mature readers.  Clare and Henry are a very happy couple.  As characters, their emotional depth was magnificent.  I like how Henry grew up and became a much better person.

I hated it when Henry lost his feet.  That was devastating.  Did it have to happen?  I think not.  Neither did I like the inevitability, such as when Henry is 15 and his dad walks in on him and himself, he says that he was powerless to do anything.  I prefer a view of time travel along the lines of Artemis Fowl and Harry Potter III.

Recently I heard that my cousin’s wife had a miscarriage.  Before reading this book I never grasped how devastating and actually dangerous a miscarriage can be, now I am equipped with a new sense of empathy for women who experience one.  Clare had six.

And bonus, after reading it and loving it, I went to a library book sale and got The Time Traveler’s Wife on cassette for 10¢.  Ten cents!!  My car doesn’t have a CD player so this will be perfect for long car trips across Iowa.

Some interesting facts: According to The Straits Times, Audrey Niffenegger dyed her hair red to say “goodbye” to the novel after she had finished writing it.  From The Independent, Niffenegger based Clare and Henry’s romance on the “cerebral coupling” of Dorothy Sayer’s characters Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane.

She said about the prospect of her book becoming a film, “I’ve got my little movie that runs in my head. And I’m kind of afraid that will be changed or wiped out by what somebody else might do with it. And it is sort of thrilling and creepy, because now the characters have an existence apart from me.” (James Cowan, “Niffenegger’s first book, and it’s about time,” National Post)  Filming began in September 2007 and the movie is scheduled to be released by Warner Brothers on 14 August 2009.  Personally I hope to never see it because I feel exactly like Niffenegger about books turned into movies.

I can’t wait to read what comes next from the great Audrey Niffenegger!  Her second novel, the forthcoming Her Fearful Symmetry, has been called “one of the most eagerly sought-after works in recent publishing history”. (The New Zealand Herald)

Wuthering Heights

by Emily Brontë

Another classic to cross-off of the NEA’s Big Read: Top 100 list!  I liked this book, especially when I got farther into the story.  The novel is framed by the premise of a new tenant learning the turbulent history of two families on the moors, the Earnshaws and Lintons.  It covers three generations, so it is helpful to have a family tree for reference.  Some books include a family tree or you can find one on the internet.  This timeline is also very helpful.

The love between Cathy and Hareton at the end was so wonderful.  When the love was realized, they were so happy together and made their surroundings blossom again.  And probably my favorite part was when Nelly confronted Heathcliff about his new mood, and he explained how he had the means right before him to completely destroy the two families forever, but couldn’t.  He looked into the young lovers’ faces and just let them be happy.  He still looked like a demon when he died but that choice to not wreck the two young people redeems him a lot in my eyes.

Critics of the time thought this to be a horrible book, and one even said, “We rise from the perusal of Wuthering Heights as if we had come fresh from a pest-house. Read Jane Eyre is our advice, but burn Wuthering Heights…” (Reader’s Guide to WH).  I am inclined to believe quite the opposite; I’ve never read Jane Eyre but from movies and my sister’s interpretation I think Wuthering Heights is far more interesting, less depressing, and more thrilling.

This is my favorite book from AP Lit & Comp this year.  Some study questions that could be turned into essays:

  • What role does Joseph play in the novel?
  • Compare the marriages of Catherine (senior) and Isabella.
  • How did Nelly alter the image of Heathcliff through her narration?

Read poignant observations and comments about this book on Only a Novel, also where the cover image comes from.

And if you’ve read this story, you must watch the Kate Bush interpretation.  It’s good for a laugh but also somehow appealing.

Ender’s Game

Ender's Game cover

by Orson Scott Card

Good book!  I’ve been on a sci-fi run lately, and they all surprise me with their ideas and points of view.  So thought-provoking, so intense.  I really enjoyed the Game and its intricacies, I couldn’t wait for their next match or to see how Ender would develop his leadership skills.  Although I did find the ages unrealistic.  Card writes that Ender is 6 when he is taken to battle school; the situation would be more feasible if he were 15.

I really like Card’s way of using omniscient voices.  In some stories such conventions leave me very confused and distracted, but in Ender’s Game, this extra tidbits have just the right effect.  It is well done indeed. Continue reading

Abhorsen

Abhorsen cover

by Garth Nix

A very good ending to the trilogy, this book was heavy and sad and yet emerged triumphantly and hopefully at the end.

I fell in love with the Disreputable Dog.  She was such a great soul and a great character.  Not knowing her past and her mysterious actions almost made me wonder if she was on the bad side, but thankfully for our heroes she was not.  She was an angel.

One thing; why didn’t Sam and Lirael realize that Sabriel and Touchstone were still alive because Sabriel’s flutes were still working when they crossed the wall?  Oh well.

The Ninth was strong
and fought with might,
But lone Orannis
was put out of the light,
Broken in two
and buried under hill,
Forever to lie there,
wishing us ill.
So says the song. But Orannis, the Destroyer, is no longer buried under hill. It has been freed from its subterranean prison and now seeks to escape the silver hemispheres, the final barrier to the unleashing of its terrible powers.
Only Lirael, newly come into her inheritance as the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, has any chance of stopping the Destroyer. She and her companions — Sam, the Disreputable Dog, and Mogget — have to take that chance. For the Destroyer is the enemy of all Life, and it must be stopped, though Lirael does not know how.
To make matters worse, Sam’s best friend, Nick, is helping the Destroyer, as are the necromancer Hedge and the Greater Dead Chlorr, and there has been no word from the Abhorsen Sabriel or King Touchstone.
Everything depends upon Lirael. A heavy, perhaps even impossible burden for a young woman who just days ago was merely a Second Assistant Librarian. With only a vision from the Clayr to guide her, and the rather mixed help of her companions, Lirael must search in both Life and Death for some means to defeat the Destroyer.
Before it is too late. . .

{From http://www.abhorsentrilogy.com:

Orannis, the Destroyer, is no longer buried under hill. It has been freed from its subterranean prison and now seeks to escape the silver hemispheres, the final barrier to the unleashing of its terrible powers.

Only Lirael, newly come into her inheritance as the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, has any chance of stopping the Destroyer. She and her companions — Sam, the Disreputable Dog, and Mogget — have to take that chance. For the Destroyer is the enemy of all Life, and it must be stopped, though Lirael does not know how.

To make matters worse, Sam’s best friend, Nick, is unwittingly helping the Destroyer, as are the necromancer Hedge and the Greater Dead Chlorr, and there has been no word from the Abhorsen Sabriel or King Touchstone.

Everything depends upon Lirael. A heavy, perhaps even impossible burden for a young woman who just days ago was merely a Second Assistant Librarian. With only a vision from the Clayr to guide her, and the rather mixed help of her companions, Lirael must search in both Life and Death for some means to defeat the Destroyer.}

Freaks: Alive on the Inside

Annette Curtis Klause

An intriguing tale of circus life with some ancient Egyptian mystique as a sub plot, I very much enjoyed this narrative.  The protagonist, Abel Dandy, starts out at an idyllic resort type circus where he lives with his parents.  There he wonders if he has anything to contribute to the show, because he isn’t “different” like everybody else.  Then he heads out on his own and meets the shocking realization that not only are “freaks” ostracized, but that he is also shunned for being in contact with them!

Though he tried to evade it, responsibility finds him as he trips along a path to a mysterious secret and helps right wrongs along the way.  Full of vibrant characters, this book not only makes you smile but makes you think.

Watch out for the word “caution.”  It is used about 4 times in a different (more dated) way than usual, instead meaning “an amusing or surprising person” (Oxford American Dictionary).  Good to know.

The Truth About Forever

by Sarah Dessen

{Summary from SarahDessen.com: Macy’s summer stretches before her, carefully planned and outlined. She will spend her days sitting at the library information desk. She will spend her evenings studying for the SATs. Spare time will be used to help her obsessive mother prepare for the big opening of the townhouse section of her luxury development. But Macy’s plans don’t anticipate a surprising and chaotic job with Wish Catering, a motley crew of new friends, or … Wes. Tattooed, artistic, anything-but-expected Wes. He doesn’t fit Macy’s life at all–so why does she feel so comfortable with him? So … happy? What is it about him that makes her let down her guard and finally talk about how much she misses her father, who died before her eyes the year before? Sarah Dessen delivers a page-turning novel that carries readers on a roller coaster of denial, grief, comfort, and love as we watch a broken but resilient girl pick up the pieces of her life and fit them back together. }

I love this book just as much as Dessen’s “This Lullaby,” and I really appreciate how she keeps everything fresh and lively. The message delivered throughout the narrative is one not understood by many but so important: order and perfection are not ways to live. We must embrace disorder and other human beings, we must learn to live our passions without fear.

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Mississippi Jack

Mississippi Jack
by L. A. Meyer

This is one of my most favorite series.  Such an upbeat and adventurous story, every page flies by and the action jumps out at you.  I secretly hope that this will turn into a 15+ book series. :P 

Review courtesy of Harcourtbooks.com:

    “The intrepid Jacky Faber, having once again eluded British authorities, heads west, hoping that no one will recognize her in the wilds of America. There she tricks the tall-tale hero Mike Fink out of his flatboat, equips it as a floating casino-showboat, and heads south to New Orleans, battling murderous bandits, British soldiers, and other scoundrels along the way. Will Jacky’s carelessness and impulsive actions ultimately cause her beloved Jaimy to be left in her wake?
Bold, daring, and downright fun, Jacky Faber proves once again that with resilience and can-do spirit, she can wiggle out of any scrape . . . well, almost.”

Sabriel


Sabriel, 1995 • Lirael, 2001

Garth Nix

Wow, quite a series.  Even though it is in large part about death, that should not hold anyone back from these solid stories and great pieces of fantasy literature.  I love this style so much better than Garth Nix’s other series, Keys of the Kingdom.

One day I sat down at the library with his Across the Wall – a collection of short stories that he has jotted down over the years. It was a neat read, almost like meeting the author in person. The ‘interactive narrative’ was a blast, I was cracking up the whole way and it brought me back to Paris with scenes of the Seine and Three Musketeer-ness. One of my favorite stories was the one about the gardner and the king who kept taking his roses. Interesting how such a powerful feeling can be produced in such a short passage.

Wikipedia: This book deals with the loss of family (Sabriel’s and Touchstone’s) and coming to terms with oneself and one’s responsibilities. Abhorsen’s final words to Sabriel, “Everyone and everything has a time to die,” refer to the idea of sacrifice. Another theme is that of destiny. Both the Book of the Dead and Sabriel’s almanac contain the lines: Does the Walker choose the Path, or the Path the Walker?

The book departs from the conventional form of fantasy in its resolution not to allude to the stereotypes of the genre. Death is not considered a bad thing as such, and loss is shown to be something that builds character. It also lacks a normal fantasy’s sheer cast list, of which there are typically hundreds of incidental characters and many hero-helpers.

Can’t wait to read the next one!

I love the positive reactions I see that this series gets from readers across the blogosphere: Eilidh, Anastasia, Ms. Moon, Royal Reviewers.

Gregor the Overlander

Gregor the Overlander and Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane

Suzanne Collins

Worth reading. It is for a little bit younger audience but I still enjoyed it very much. The author describes it as her New York version of Alice in Wonderland. She has created a fascinating world full of danger but also hope.

This Lullaby

Sarah Dessen

Great! I heard that Dessen is a really good author, and I’ll have to agree.  I’ll definitely be reading the rest of her books.  The ending isn’t quite my style but it works.

“Raised by a mother who’s had five husbands, eighteen-year-old Remy believes in short-term, no-commitment relationships until she meets Dexter, a rock band musician.” Dessen’s publisher

I love the main character’s name, Remy. So cool. Maybe not cool to be named after an alcoholic beverage (namely rum), but cool-sounding and distinctive as a name.

from Dessen’s site: “you always have these dynamic friends in your books. Maybe you should write from that point of view, just for a change.” She [Remy] was kind of bitchy, kind of cold, and was sure she had everything figured out. I couldn’t wait to see her proved wrong.

Plus it’s a summer book: set in that wonderful stretch from June to August when it just seems like everything is possible. Dreamland, my last book, had been so heavy, so emotional. I was ready for something a little lighter, but that still had something to say.

Basically, this is a story about faith. Faith in love (bear with me here) and just faith in general. Remy’s tragic flaw, of sorts, is that she’s afraid to take a chance on something she can’t guarantee. She wants hard proof, facts, a mathematical equation where X equals Y, before she’ll even begin to think about taking any kind of risk. But what she learns—what we all learn, eventually—is that the living is in the leaping. Sometimes, you just have to close your eyes, and jump.”

My all time favorite part: when Dexter finds the silverware in Remy’s car. That is the best.

The lullaby:

This lullaby is only a few words,
A simple run of chords
Quiet here in this spare room
But you can hear it, hear it
Wherever you may go
Even if I let you down
This lullaby plays on . . .

The Arkadians

Lloyd Alexander

from Amazon.com “An expertly developed cast of characters rounds out this witty epic that’s filled with romance and adventure.  Lucian, the archetypal hero, knows more than he should about the king’s nefarious soothsayers and must escape the palace or be killed. He takes with him Fronto, a poet whose folly has turned him into a donkey.  Guided by Joy-in-the-Dance, a pythoness oracle who serves the Lady of Wild Things, they seek the Lady on an Oz-like journey for answers to their problems, joined on the way by Ops, a chief who was cast out of his village.

The travelers do not get what they had hoped for from the Lady, but Lucian does learn why her followers and his Bear Clan are enemies. The seekers are then sent on another journey that completes the heroic cycle. On one level, this is a rousing adventure complete with cliffhangers and do-or-die situations. On another, readers familiar with Greek mythology will find clever hints at the myths’ purpose and genesis.  The Arkadians have experiences and listen to tales that resemble the stories of Narcissus, the Wooden Horse of Troy, Odysseus, and Theseus and the Minotaur, among others. The women are the wise ones in this novel and play their own heroic roles.

On a deeper level, this tale is about love and peace, symbolized by the marriage of Lucian and Joy-in-the-Dance and the subsequent uniting of the Bear Clan and the Followers of the Lady. Thus, Arkadia becomes the mythical Arcadia, which poets lauded as a utopia. The plot has many twists and turns, but is not hard to follow, and Alexander’s style is eminently readable.”

Cheri Estes, Dorchester Road Regional Library, Charleston, SC.  Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The Lightning Thief


Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1
The Lightning Thief
by: Rick Riordan

Can’t wait to read the sequel, The Sea of Monsters. Very good book, read it in a snap. Couldn’t believe how long it took me to figure out that Percy was short for Perseus…

I have so many posts saved as drafts right now… I am definately procrastinating. I have the feeling quite a lot of them will be put up with just a picture.

Straw into Gold

Gary D. Schmidt

Really enjoyed it!  Schmidt writes this retelling with a candor that never gets dry, and a realistic substance that makes you wonder.  Some plot points/predicaments seem a little unrealistic, but the overall effect is a great one, and the ending circumstances will hit you with feeling.

Have you heard the sunrise lately?

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson 1886

Great story!  Make sure to add this short novella to your list of classics to read.  It has suspense, angst, mystery and admirable development of empathy for the main character for such a short text.  The setting offsets the plot and amplifies it flowingly.

A very good man ventures into the land of the alter ego and the impulses not followed by decent people.  With a formula he discovers, the doctor unleashes the pure essence of his evil side.  His fascination with the other side is his downfall, because an impurity in the powders cannot be replicated, and he will be trapped forever, his own personality repressed while the beast rages on.  So in a last act of unselfish goodness, he manages to end his nightmare and spare society an evil madman.

Ptolemy’s Gate (The Bartimaeus Trilogy)

Jonathan Stroud

Extracts, special features: http://www.bartimaeusbooks.com/

Ptolemy’s Gate– Trapped for years on earth, Bartimaeus’s energies are fast running out. His master, Nathaniel, is increasingly arrogant and unapproachable and will not listen to his pleas. But as war and unrest rock the magicians’ government, Kitty uncovers secrets from Bartimaeus’s past that might help change the world forever.

This trilogy starts darkly but from there gathers speed and warmth.  The series sniffs of British sarcasm, attitude and humor.  I would highly praise it and suggest it to most.

Gossamer

Lois Lowry

Amazing. This is the 2nd fastest I’ve ever read a book, which means it is pretty darn good. It is so much better than the preview summary makes it out to be.

Stephenie Meyer said that there are two ways of writing, about Extraordinary characters in Ordinary circumstances or Ordinary characters in Extraordinary circumstances. That is like this book, the characters are so very extraordinary and the circumstances are so very common.
Another way one could look at this book is to say it is superb writing paired with a not-so-fantastical event, whereas I’ve read books with huge, fantastical events combined with poor writing.

Anyway, I’m trying to say that the writing was superb. The whole book felt like a dream. Littlest One was vividly described, and she was also the most dynamic character in the book.

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The Old Man and the Sea

by Ernest Hemingway

Excellent.  Hemingway takes you along on the journey of Santiago, an aging Cuban fisherman who goes out to get fish to sustain life and ends up catching a leviathan merlin, a blessing and a curse.

A short classic full of emotion, power, and epic-ness.