Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax, #1) by Robert J. Sawyer

Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax, #1) Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer

Hominids is the first book of The Neanderthal Parallax, a trilogy that will examine two unique species of people. They are alien to each other, yet alike in their never-ending quest for knowledge and essential humanity. We are one of those species, the other is the Neanderthals of a parallel world where they, not Homo sapiens, became the dominant intelligence. In that world, Neanderthal civilization has reached heights of culture and science comparable to our own, but with a radically different history, society, and philosophy.

During a quantum-computing experiment, Ponter Boddit, a Neanderthal physicist, accidentally pierces the barrier between worlds and is transferred to our universe. He is almost immediately recognized as a Neanderthal, but only much later as a scientist. He is quarantined and studied, alone and bewildered, a stranger in a strange land. But Ponter is also befriended - by a doctor and a physicist who share his questing intelligence and boundless enthusiasm for the world's strangeness, as well as by Canadian geneticist Mary Vaughan, a woman with whom he develops a special rapport.

Meanwhile, Ponter's partner, Adikor Huld, finds himself with a messy lab, a missing body, suspicious people all around, and an explosive murder trial. How can he possibly prove his innocence when he has no idea what actually happened to Ponter?" Contact between humans an Neanderthals creates a relationship fraught with conflict, philosophical challenge, and the threat to the existence of one species or the other - or both. Yet their meeting is also rich in possibilities for cooperation and growth on many levels, from the practical to the esthetic to the scientific to the spiritual. In short, Robert J. Sawyer has done it again.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Excellent read. Hard to put down once I started. Great characters, great plot and lots of stop and think moments. Totally love the Parallel Earth plot and look forward to reading the next two in the trilogy!

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Beauty by Robin McKinley

Beauty Beauty by Robin McKinley

A retelling of Beauty and the Beast

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A great re-telling of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. McKinley is a master at rewriting fairy tales. I loved this version of Beauty.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

The Forestwife (Forestwife Saga 1) by Theresa Tomlinson

The Forestwife (Forestwife Saga 1) The Forestwife by Theresa Tomlinson

Mary, raised by her uncle, her mother dead, has no other choice among the nobility of medieval England. So she flees into the forest, seeking only her freedom.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What an enchanting tale of Mary, a girl who becomes Marian, the Forestwife and falls in love with Robert, her champion. A fabulous take on the story of Robin Hood with the emphasis on Marian. I absolutely loved it and can not wait to find the next 2 books in the trilogy.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

The Great God Pan by Donna Jo Napoli

The Great God Pan The Great God Pan by Donna Jo Napoli

Pan, both goat and god, is a curious being who roams nature searching, wondering, and frolicking with maenads and satyrs. He plays melodies on his reed flute, wooing animals to listen. He is a creature of mystery and delight. One day in his travels, Pan meets Iphigenia, a human raised as the daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra. Pan is captivated by the young princess. Set against a landscape of myth and legend, Napoli’s latest tale is a love story wrought with sincere emotion and all that is great about the Gods.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a wonderful story. I loved mythology as a kid and this is a wonderful romp back into that childhood love. This is the story of Pan and his curse, his love of a human, and his sacrifice for that love.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Midnight Predator (Den of Shadows, #4) by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Midnight Predator (Den of Shadows, #4) Midnight Predator by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Midnight, the ancient evil sanctuary of vampires and their human slaves that was burned to the ground centuries ago, has risen from the ashes to open its dark doors once more. And it's up to Turquoise Draka, famed human vampire hunter of the Bruja guild, to stop Midnight's founder and vampire most malevolent, Jeshikah. But once inside Midnight's walls, Turquoise discovers that instead of Jeshikah, the surprisingly benign vampire Jaguar is at the helm. Acting as a human slave, Turquoise tries to discern Jaguar's mysteriously kind motives as she works at planning Jeshikah's assassination. Meanwhile, her acting servitude is playing havoc with her memories, as she begins to recall the bleak days when she used to be a human slave herself, the time before her training as an elite Bruja warrior. With bitter memories of beatings and humiliations battling with her present suicidal assignment, Turquoise must do everything in her power to keep from blowing her cover and losing her sanity.

While this is listed as #4 in the Den of Shadows series, it is really a stand alone. There were no characters that I recognized from the earlier books and the only similarity is that the vampires are in both books. This is an entirely different group of vamps who live in a very different lifestyle than the previous books. This book evolves around the slave trade and a group called Midnight where vamps have human slaves.

The book itself was quite enjoyable, the characters well developed and overall a much more mature writing style than the previous books by this author.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Shattered Mirror (Den of Shadows, #3) by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Shattered Mirror (Den of Shadows, #3) Shattered Mirror by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Publishers Weekly
In this third installment in the series that began with In the Forests of the Night, Atwater-Rhodes focuses on teen witch (and vampire killer) Sarah Vida, who "never asked for anything more complex than the simple good and evil definitions she had been raised on" but gets more than she bargained for when she befriends vampire siblings Nissa and Christopher. This is trouble: it's harder to kill when you know your prey, and her mother the most infamous witch of all will disown her if she finds out about the friendship. Her conflict intensifies when she discovers that Christopher's twin is Nikolas, the same vampire who long ago murdered a Vida witch. Atwater-Rhodes chooses an interesting theme (no one is purely good or evil), and she builds some creative elements around it. SingleEarth, an organization of all creatures, for instance, includes vampires and witches who work together for peace. Her description of Nikolas, whose home and clothing are completely black and white, plays into this well, and provides for some striking visual images. Some of her writing, though, as in Sarah's final faceoff with Nikolas and Christopher, is over the top ("I want it as much as humans want to breathe, but I have control," Christopher says of Sarah's blood). Still, fans of the teen goth writer will likely find plenty to feast on here. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a very good, quick read. Each of Atwater-Rhodes Den of Shadows books is like a little peek into this world that she has created. While this book has a couple of characters who were featured in the previous book it could very well be read as a stand alone.

Looking forward to more glimpses into this entertaining world of vampires and witches that this author has created.

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Demon in My View (Den of Shadows, #2) by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Demon in My View (Den of Shadows, #2)   Demon in My View (Den of Shadows, #2) by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Jessica isn't your average teenager. Though nobody at her high school knows it, she's a published author. Her vampire novel Tiger, Tiger has just come out under the pen name Ash Night. Jessica often wishes she felt as comfortable with her classmates as she does among the vampires and witches of her fiction. She has always been treated as an outsider at Ramsa High.

But two new students have just arrived in Ramsa, and both want Jessica's attention. She has no patience with overly friendly Caryn, but she's instantly drawn to handsome Alex, a cocky, mysterious boy who seems surprisingly familiar. If she didn't know better, she'd think Aubrey, the alluring villain from Tiger, Tiger had just sprung to life. That's impossible, of course; Aubrey is a figment of her imagination. Or is he?

Nail-bitingly suspenseful, here is the deliciously eerie follow-up to In the Forests of the Night, by the remarkable fifteen-year-old novelist Amelia Atwater-Rhodes.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a quick interesting read. I like the world of vampires and witches that the author has developed. It has been quite some time since I read her first book 'In the Forests of the Night' and I really felt like I was missing a lot of back story. I probably would have enjoyed this book much more if I had read it nearer to finishing the first book,since I have no recollection of the characters.

But keeping in mind the age of the author when she wrote these books, a good read.

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Report Card by Andrew Clements

The Report Card The Report Card by Andrew Clements

Nora Rose Rowley is a genius, but don't tell anyone. She's managed to make it to the fifth grade without anyone figuring out that she's not just an ordinary kid, and she wants to keep it that way.

But then Nora gets fed up with the importance everyone attaches to test scores and grades, and she purposely brings home a terrible report card just to prove a point. Suddenly the attention she's successfully avoided all her life is focused on her, and her secret is out. And that's when things start to get really complicated....

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read this book with my 5th grade literacy group at school. I then proceeded to rave about it to the teachers and tell everyone I talked to that they needed to read it as well. This is an amazing book. What insight into the whole test taking dilemma faced by our kids in schools today!

I highly recommend this to all parents of school aged kids as well as all educators.

Fantastic book!!!!

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Keeper of the Earth (Daughter of Destiny, Book 4) by Jenna Solitaire

Keeper of the Earth (Daughter of Destiny, Book 4) Keeper of the Earth by Jenna Solitaire

Having found the Board of Fire, Jenna and Simon hurry to decipher the clues that will lead them to the Board of Earth—and mastery over the very land itself. But on their way to locate the tomb of a mythical English hero while fending off shadowy new attackers who want the Boards for themselves, an offer of help comes from a surprising source. Can Jenna and Simon trust this offer—or are they walking straight into a trap set by the one who has coveted the Boards for millennia?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Well this did not have the 'happily ever after' ending that I prefer, but it was an interesting end (or is it the end) to the series.

I enjoyed this entire series more than I thought I would and was please with the way that the last book went.

Hoping that maybe one day the author will continue the search.

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