Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Clan Corporate by Charles Stross

First sentence:

"Nail lacquer, the woman called Helge reflected as she paused in the antechamber, always did two things to her: it reminded her of her mother, and it made her feel like a rebellious little girl."

Description:

"Miriam Beckstein has gotten in touch with her roots in The Family Trade and The Hidden Family, and they have nearly strangled her.

A young, hip business journalist from Boston, she discovered that her family comes from an alternate reality, that she is very well-connected, and that her family is too much like the mafia for comfort. In addition, women are family property and are required to breed more family members with the unique talent to walk between worlds; however, she has tried to remain an outsider and her own woman. And start a profitable business in a third world that she has discovered, outside the family reach.

She fell in love with a distant relative, but he's dead, killed saving her life. There have been murders and betrayals. Now, however, she may be overreaching. And if she gets caught, death or a fate worse is around the bend. There is, for instance, the brain-damaged son of the local king who needs a wife. But they'd never make her do that, would they?" -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

This book was a good installment in the Merchant Princes saga. I liked how Miriam tried to keep her dignity and sense of self even when things look bleak. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, The Merchants' War.

Date read: 12/28/2008
Book #: 93
Series: Merchant Princes, #3
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: SF

ISBN-10: 0765309300
ISBN-13: 9780765309303
Publisher: Tor
Date: 2006
# of pages: 320
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing page

The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold

First sentence:

"In the box was a belt."

Description:

"The twentieth century I returned to was - different. Alien

The languages were different, the clothing styles, the maps, everything. The cities were smaller, the buildings were shorter and the streets were narrower. There were fewer cars and they seemed ugly and inefficient. There were slave traders in the city that would have been New York. There were temples to Gods I didn't recognize. Everything was wrong.

I could have been on another planet. The culture was incomprehensible.

I went back and talked myself out of eliminating Jesus Christ." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This book was an interesting take on time travel and identity. While I liked the main character, I wish the book had been longer and more detail given to Dan's adventures in different time periods.

Date read: 12/19/2008
Book #: 92
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: SF

ISBN-10: 1932100040
ISBN-13: 9781932100044
Publisher: Ben Bella
Year: 2003
# of pages: 115
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford

First sentence:

"It began in the last days of August, when the leaves of the elm in the front yard had curled into crisp brown tubes and fallen away to litter the lawn."

Description:

"In New York's Long Island, in the unpredictable decade of the 1960s, a young boy laments the approaching close of summer and the advent of sixth grade. Growing up in a household with an overworked father whom he rarely sees, an alcoholic mother who paints wonderful canvases that are never displayed, an older brother who serves as both tormentor and protector, and a younger sister who inhabits her own secret world, the boy takes his amusements where he can find them. Some of his free time is spent in the basement of the family's modest home, where he and his brother, Jim, have created Botch Town, a detailed cardboard replica of their community, complete with clay figurines representing friends and neighbors. And so the time passes with a not-always-reassuring sameness - until the night a prowler is reported stalking the neighborhood.

Appointing themselves ad hoc investigators, the brothers set out to aid the police - while their little sister, Mary, smokes cigarettes, speaks in other voices, inhabits alternate personas. . .and, unbeknownst to her older siblings, moves around the inaminate residents of Botch Town. But ensuing events add a shadowy cast to the boys' night games: disappearances, deaths, and spectral sightings caped off by the arrival of a sinister man in a long white car trawling the neighborhood after dark. Strangest of all is the inescapable fact that every one of these troubling occurences seems to correspond directly to the changes little Mary has made to the miniature town in the basement." -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

This book was an interesting mix of fantasy and mystery. While at time I wished I knew the narrator's name, it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the story. I especially liked the way the brothers tried to make sense of the disappearances and how they went to their sister for help.

Date read: 12/18/2008
Book #: 91
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery

ISBN-10: 0061231525
ISBN-13: 9780061231520
Publisher: William Morrow
Year: 2008
# of pages: 289
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing page

The Rising by Brian Keene

First sentence:

"The dead scrabbled for an entrance to his grave."

Description:

"Nothing stays dead for long. The dead are returning to life, intelligent, determined. . .and very hungry. Escape seems impossible for Jim Thurmond, one of the few left alive in this nightmare world. But Jim's young son is also alive and in grave danger hundreds of miles away. Despite astronomical odds, Jim vows to find him -- or die trying.

Joined by an elderly preacher, a guilt-ridden scientist and an ex-prostitute, Jim sets out on a cross-country rescue mission. Together they must battle both the living and the living dead. . .and the even greater evil that awaits them at the end of their journey." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a very gripping horror story with lots of graphic details. Jim and his friends face not just human zombies but animal ones too. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, City of the Dead.

Date read: 12/16/2008
Book #: 90
Series: Brian Keene's Zombies, #1
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Horror

ISBN-10: 0843952016
ISBN-13: 9780843952018
Publisher: Leisure Books
Year: 2004
# of pages: 321
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page

See Delphi and Die by Lindsey Davis

First sentence:

"'Marcus, you must help me!'"

Description:

"Falco and Helena hear that a young girl and a newly-wed woman, both Roman visitors, have been murdered at Olympia; the authorities will not investigate property, so Falco steps in. After making himself unwelcome at the hidebound sanctuary, he soon finds himself up against Seven Sights, its absentee tour-guide and its mixed bunch of customers, some of whom have things to hide.

The search for culture is far from genteel - and it can be very dangerous. Both the bridegroom and Helena's brother go missing in the birthplace of myth, as Falco and Helena struggle with a case that may contain worse features than any they have dealt with yet. . ." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a good mystery with a mix of humor and history as Falco, his wife Helena, and various family members go to Athens, Olympia and Delphi, Greece. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Saturnalia.

Date read: 12/15/2008
Book #: 89
Series: Marcus Didius Falco, #
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Mystery

ISBN-10: 009944528X
ISBN-13:9780099455289
Publisher: Arrow Books
Year: 2005
# of pages: 354
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page

Fall into Reading Challenge 2008




Fall into Reading Challenge 2008
When: September 22 - December 20, 2008
What: Read books - any number!



My list:

C.J. Westwick. Emerald Enigma -- finished 10/19/2008
Charles Stross. The Family Trade -- finished 10/19/2008
Anne Perry, et al. Murder in Baker Street: New Tales of Sherlock Holmes -- finished 10/30/2008
Karin Slaughter. A Faint Cold Fear -- finished 10/31/2008
K.J. Bishop. The Etched City -- finished 11/20/2008
Jim Crace. Quarantine -- finished 11/26/2008
Guy Gavriel Kay. The Summer Tree -- finished 11/27/2008
Patrick O'Brian. Desolation Island -- finished 12/8/2008

Celebrate the Author Challenge


Hosted by: Becky
When: January 1 - December 31, 2008
What: Read at least one book per month of an author whose birthday is in that month. For more information, click on the link above.

My list (alternative authors in parentheses):

January

Isaac Asimov. Naked Sun - finished 1/19/2008

February:

Karen Joy Fowler. Sister Noon -- finished 2/29/2008

March:

John Irving. The Fourth Hand -- finished 3/22/2008

April:

Douglas Clegg. The Attraction -- finished 4/22/2008

May:

Harlan Ellison. Ellison Wonderland -- finished 5/24/2008

June:

Tess Gerritsen. The Sinner -- finished 6/17/2008

July:

Michael Connelly. The Black Ice -- finished 7/23/2008

August:

Barbara Hambly. Magicians of Night -- finished 8/19/2008

September:

C.J. Cherryh. Rider at the Gate -- finished 9/9/2008

October:

Charles Stross. The Family Trade -- finished 10/19/2008

November:

Guy Gavriel Kay. The Summer Tree -- finished 11/27/2008

December:

Patrick O'Brian. Desolation Island -- finished 12/8/2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Desolation Island by Patrick O'Brian

First sentence:

"The breakfast-parlour was the most cheerful room in Ashgrove Cottage, and although the builders had ruined the garden with heaps of sand an unslaked lime and bricks, and although the damp walls of the new wing in which this parlour stood still smelt of plaster, the sun poured in, blazing on the covered silver dishes and lighting the face of Sophie Aubrey as she sat there waiting for her husband."

Description:

"Commissioned to rescue Governor Bligh of Bounty fame, Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend and surgeon Stephen Maturin sail the Leopard to Australia with a hold full of convicts. Among them is a beautiful and dangerous spy -- and a treacherous disease that decimates the crew. With a Dutch man-of-war to windward, the under-manned, outgunned Leopard sails for her life into a freezing waters of the Antarctic, where, in moutainous seas, the Dutchman closes." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I liked this nautical adventure featuring Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin. There were lots of edge-of-the seat moments as the Leopard had to flee the Dutch ship and later find a place to land for repairs. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, The Fortune of War.

Date read: 12/8/2008
Book #: 88
Series: Aubrey/Maturin #5
Challenges: Celebrate the Author Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge 2008
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Nautical Adventure

ISBN-10: 039330812X
ISBN-13: 9780393308129
Publisher: W. W. Norton
Year: 1978
# of Pages: 325
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

First sentence:

"Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree."

Description:

"It's the night before Hogswatch , and it's too quiet.

Where is the big jolly fat man? Why is Death creeping down chimneys and trying to say Ho Ho Ho? The darkest night of the year is getting a bit darker...

Susan the gothic governess has got to sort it out by morning, otherwise there won't be a morning. Ever again...

The 20th Discworld novel is a festive feast of darkness and Death (but with jolly robins and tinsel too).

As they say: You'd better watch out..." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a good Christmas fantasy book. I enjoyed the scenes with Death trying to do the right thing. I also liked the scenes with the wizards and their trying not to think of new gods and fairies.

Date read: 12/6/2008
Book #: 87
Series: Discworld, #20
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fantasy

ISBN-10: 0552145424
ISBN-13: 9780552145428
Publisher: Corgi
Year: 1996
# of Pages: 445
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Hidden Family by Charles Stross

First sentence:

"The committee meeting was entering its third hour when the king sneezed, bringing matters to a head."

Description:

"The six families of the Clan rule the kingdom of Gruinmarkt from behind the scenes, a mixture of nobility and criminal conspirators whose power to walk between their world and ours make them rich in both. Braids of family loyalty and intermarriage provide a fragile guarantee of peace, but a recently ended civil war has left the families shaken and suspicious.

Miriam, a hip tech journalist from Boston, discovered her alternate-world relatives with explosive results that shook three worlds. Now, as the prodigal Countess Helge Thorold-Hyorth, she finds herself ensnared in schemes and plots centuries in the making. She is surrounded by unlikely allies, lethal contraband, and, most dangerous of all, her family. With her modern American attitudes, she's not sure she can fit in, or if she even wants to, but to stay alive, she really has no choice.

To avoid a slippery slope down to an unmarked grave, Miriam must build a power-base of her own. She started applying modern business practices and scientific knowledge to a trade heretofore dominated by medieval mercantilists-with unexpected consequences for three different timelines, including the quasi-Victorian one exploited by the hidden family." -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

This was a good book about alternate worlds. I liked how Miriam learned about the third world and how she brought new inventions there. I looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Clan Corporate.

Date read: 12/4/2008
Book #: 86
Series: The Merchant Princes, #2
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: SF

ISBN-10: 0765313472
ISBN-13: 9780765313478
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2005
# of Pages: 303
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing page

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine


First sentence:

"On the day Claire became a member of the Glass House, somebody stole her laundry."

Description:

It's a small college town filled with quirky characters. But when the sun goes down, the bad comes out. Because in Morganville, there is an evil that lurks in the darkest shadows -- one that will spill out into the bright light of day.

Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. The popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks on the school's social scene: somewhere less than zero. And Claire really doesn't have the right connections -- to the undead who run the town.

When Claire heads off campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life. But they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood..." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a good urban fantasy. I liked how Claire learns to deal with trouble both living and undead. I look forward to reading next book in series, Dead Girl's Dance.

Date read: 11/30/2008
Book #: 85
Series: Morganville Vampires, #1
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Urban Fantasy

ISBN-10: 0451219945
ISBN-13: 9780451219947
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2006
# of Pages: 239
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Friday, December 26, 2008

Arson and Old Lace by Patricia Harwin

First sentence:

"I pulled the car in close to the hedgerow and turned the key, and that amazing silence came down."

Description:

"'You're a librarian, not a detective,' Catherine Penny's daughter reminds her. But Catherine, suddenly single in her sixties, finds it easy to slip into sleuthing mode when she leaves behind New York City and a failed marriage for a lovely 17th century cottage in the idyllic English village of Far Wychwood.

But behind the town's quaint stone walls and lace-curtained windows lurk dark secrets and whispers of witchcraft. And when her crusty neighbor George Crocker dies in a tragic fire, Catherine alone suspects arson. Lacking hard evidence, the police pay little attention, and the villagers swear she must be mistaken. Catherine, however, is one feisty expatriate American who leaves no stone unturned when circumstances point to murder. She may not be Miss Marple -- yet -- but her ingenious knack for uncovering the truth is about to take Far Wychwood by storm" -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a good cozy mystery with interesting characters. I liked how Catherine sought the truth in the death of her neighbor and I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Slaying is Such Sweet Sorrow.

Date read: 11/29/2008
Book #: 84
Series: Far Wychwood, #1
Challenge: Unread Authors Challenge 2008
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Mystery

ISBN-10: 0743482247
ISBN-13: 9780743482240
Publisher: Pocket Books
Year: 2004
# of Pages: 278
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay

First sentence:

"After the war was over, they bound him under the Mountain."

Description:

"It all began with a lecture that introduced five university students to a man who would change their lives, a wizard who could take them from Earth to the heart of the first of all worlds -- Fionavar. And take them Loren Silvercloak did, for his need -- the need of Fionavar and all the worlds -- was great indeed.

And in a marvelous land of men and dwarves, of wizards and gods -- and of the Unraveller and his minions of Darkness -- Kimberly, Dave, Jennifer, Kevin, and Paul discovered who they were truly meant to be. For the five were a long-awaited part of the pattern known as the Fionavar Tapestry, and only if they accepted their destiny would the armies of the Light stand any chance of surviving when the Unraveller unleashed his wrath upon the world. . . ." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this fantasy which started in this world and continued in the world of Fionavar. I especially liked how each character had his or her own skills to learn and challenges to overcome. I look forward to learning what happens next in the Fionavar Tapestry in The Wandering Fire.

Date read: 11/27/2008
Book #: 83
Series: Fionavar Tapestry, #1
Challenges: Celebrate the Author Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge 2008
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fantasy

ISBN-10: 0451451384
ISBN-13: 9780451451385
Publisher: Roc
Year: 1992
# of Pages: 383
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Man Booker Challenge

  • Hosted by: Dewey
  • When: January 1 - December 31, 2008
  • What: Read 6 books that have either won the Man Booker Prize or have been shortlisted or longlisted. Find more information at the link above.
My List:

Julian Barnes. Arthur & George (2005 Shortlist) -- finished 2/16/2008
Susanna Clarke. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (2004 Longlist) -- finished 4/25/2008
Arundhati Roy. The God of Small Things (1997 Winner) -- finished 6/7/2008
Rohinton Mistry. Such a Long Journey (1991 Shortlist) -- finished 6/27/2008
Jill Paton Walsh. Knowledge of Angels (1994 Shortlist) -- finished 8/5/2008
Jim Crace. Quarantine (1997 Shortlist) -- finished 11/26/2008

Quarantine by Jim Crace

First sentence:

"Miri's husband was shouting in his sleep, not words that she could recognize but simple, blurting fanfares of distress."

Description:

"Quarantine is an imaginative and powerful retelling of Christ's fabled forty-day fast in the desert. In Jim Crace's account, Jesus travels to a cluster of arid caves, where he crosses paths with a small group of exiles and changes their lives in unexpected ways. Evoking the strangeness and beauty of the desert landscape, Crace provocatively interprets one of our most important stories." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a powerful and thought provoking book about compassion and suffering. While it is set during Jesus' fasting in the desert, the narrative focuses more on the other people in the same area and their struggles and dreams. I especially liked the interactions between the women Miri and Marta.

Date read: 11/26/2008
Book #: 82
Challenge: Man Booker Prize Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge 2008
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0312199511
ISBN-13: 9780312199517
Publisher: Picador
Year: 1998
# of Pages: 243
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison

First sentence:

"I took a deep breath to settle myself, jerking the cuff of my gloves to cover the bare patch of skin at my wrist."

Description:

"There's no witch in Cincinnati tougher, sexier, or more screwed up than bounty hunter Rachel Morgan, who's already put her love life and her soul in dire jeopardy through her determined efforts to bring criminal night creatures to justice.

Between 'runs,' she has her hands full fending off the attentions of her blood-drinking partner, keeping a deadly secret from her backup, and resisting a hot new vamp suitor.

Rachel must also take a stand in the war that's raging in the city's underworld, since she helped put away its former vampire kingpin -- and made a deal with a powerful demon to do so that could cost her an eternity of pain, torment, and degradation.

And now her dark 'master' is coming to collect his due." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I liked this urban fantasy featuring witch Rachel Morgan and her friends and allies. I especially liked the way she learned how to harness the ley line power within her. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, A Fistful of Charms.

Date read: 11/25/2008
Book #: 81
Series: Rachel Morgan/The Hollows #3
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Urban Fantasy

ISBN-10: 006057299X
ISBN-13: 9780060572990
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year: 2005
# of Pages: 501
Binding: Mass Market Paperback

Initials Reading Challenge

Initials Reading Challenge

Hosted by Becky
When: April 1 - November 30, 2008
What: Read 5-8 books by authors who published under their initials. Examples include T.H. White, J.K. Rowling, etc.


My list:

R.D. Wingfield. Night Frost -- finished 6/28/2008
S.M. Stirling. Conquistador -- finished 7/19/2008
A.A. Attansio. Wyvern -- finished 8/29/2008
C.J. Cherryh. Rider at the Gate -- finished 9/9/2008
C.J. Westwick. Emerald Enigma -- finished 10/19/2008
K.J. Bishop. The Etched City -- finished 11/20/2008


The Etched City by K.J. Bishop

First sentence:

"There were no milestones in the Copper Country."

Description:

"'Have you seen a split cranium, growing flowers like a window box? I saw that, a mere hour ago...'

Fleeing the ghosts of their past, a healer and a killer escape from the ruined Copper Country to the city of Ashamoil. But as they salvage new lives from the debris of the old, they will discover that the ghosts of the past are also the ghosts of the future.

In the Etched City, art will infect life, dream and waking fuse, and splendid and frightening miracles will bloom." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a good depiction of a world in which the fantastical becomes real. I liked the interactions between the characters, especially Gwynn and the Rev.

Date read: 11/20/2008
Book #: 80
Challenges: Fall into Reading Challenge 2008, Initials Reading Challenge, Naming Convention Challenge
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Dark Fantasy

ISBN-10: 1405041609
ISBN-13: 978194951607
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2003
# of pages: 332
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont

First sentence:

"'You think life can't be like the pulps?' Walter Gibson asked the other man."

Description:

"Ravaged by the devastation of the Great Depression, America turned to the pulp novels for relief, for hope, for heroes.

And the pulps delivered in spades.

The science fiction story, the hard-boiled detective, and the superhero were all born on these cheap yellow pages, found behind blood-drenched covers dripping with sex and violence. Return now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, enter at your own risk into the dark and dank lair known as the White Horse Tavern, and meet Walter Gibson, the mind behind The Shadow, and Lester Dent, creator of Doc Savage, as they challenge one another to discover what is real and what is pulp.

For Gibson, writing a new novel about The Shadow every month is a way to evade his own dark past. For his rival, Dent, creating Doc Savage is an attempt to bring the light of better days to desperate millions. In their lives and loves they are different from one another as the the heroes they've created. But now the hideous murder of the fringe pulp writer H.P. Lovecraft -- victim of a mysterious death that literally makes the skin crawl -- will set these two men on a collision course with each other, and face to face with a terrifying and very real evil that could have sprung from the pages of their own pulps.

From the palaces and battlefields of warlord-plagued China to the seedy water fronts of Providence, Rhode Island; from frozen seas and cursed islands to the labyrinthine tunnels and secret temples of New York's Chinatown, Dent and Gibson will find themselves in a dangerous race to stop a madmen destined to create a new empire of pure evil. Together with the young pulp writer L. Ron Hubbard, a mysterious stranger, and a sexy psychic with a chicken, they will finally step out from behind their creations to take part in a heroic journey far greater than any story they have imagined. Their quest will force Gibson to look beyond the shadows and discover the true evil that lurks in the hearts of men, while Dent will learn that the nature of a true hero is not found in a fictional superman, but in the faith of the woman who challenges death itself to love him.

The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril is a swashbuckling, breathtaking romantic epic of magic and love, marriage and fatherhood, ambition and loss, and writers who never forget their deadlines even when facing the end of the world. In its pages is a tale that deftly weaves the lives of its real-life characters into a lie of outrageous proportions that just may tell the truth, but is always thrillingly, unapologetically pulp." -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

While the plot sometimes got confusing, I enjoyed this thriller featuring the creators of The Shadow and Doc Savage. I especially liked the interactions between Gibson, Dent and Hubbard.

Date read: 11/11/2008
Book #: 79
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Thriller

ISBN-10: 0743287851
ISBN-13: 9780743287852
Publisher: Simon & Shuster
Year: 2006
# of Pages: 367
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing Page

Friday, December 12, 2008

TBR Challenge - 2008!



It's time once again to post my list for the annual TBR Challenge! I selected 12 books for the challenge plus 12 alternates/extra credits.



Here they are (in no particular order) :
  1. Nicci French. The Red Room -- finished 1/12/2008
  2. Isaac Asimov. The Naked Sun -- finished 1/19/2008
  3. Lee Child. Killing Floor -- finished 4/13/2008
  4. Lionel Shriver. We Need to Talk About Kevin -- finished 5/24/2008 (substitute for Winner of the National Book Award)
  5. Jessie Prichard Hunter. Blood Music -- finished 7/4/2008
  6. S.M. Stirling. Conquistador -- finished 7/19/2008
  7. Joy Adamson. Born Free: A Lioness of Two Worlds -- finished 7/26/2008
  8. Arthur Herzog. The Swarm -- finished 8/3/2008
  9. John Nance. Pandora's Clock -- finished 8/27/2008
  10. Michael Palmer. Natural Causes -- finished 9/4/2008
  11. Stephen Spruill. Lords of Light -- finished 9/10/2008
  12. Karin Slaughter. A Faint Cold Fear -- finished 10/31/2008
Alternates/Extra Credits:
  1. James Lowder. Knight of the Black Rose
  2. Iris Johansen. Final Target
  3. David Wise. The Children's Game
  4. David G. Hartwell, ed. Year's Best Fantasy
  5. Whitley Streiber. The Forbidden Zone
  6. Robert Tine. Desperate Measures
  7. Iain Banks. Excession
  8. Eoin Colfer. The Wish List
  9. Ana Castillo. Peel My Love Like an Onion
  10. Douglas Clegg. Dark of the Eye
  11. Ann Rule. The Stranger Beside Me

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Faint Cold Fear by Karin Slaughter

First sentence:

"Sara Linton stared at the entrance to the Dairy Queen, watching her very pregnant sister walk out with a cup of chocolate-covered ice cream in each hand."

Description:

"An apparent student suicide has brought medical examiner Sara Linton to the local college campus, along with her ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver. But a horribly mutilated corpse yields up few answers. And a suspicious rash of subsequent "suicides" suggests that a different kind of terror is stalking the youth of Heartsdale, Georgia -- a nightmare that is coming to prey on Sara Linton's loved ones.

A small town is being transformed into a killing ground. And the key to a sadistic murderer's motive and identity may be held in the unsteady hands of a campus security guard -- a former police detective driven from the force by the hellish memories that will never leave her. Lena Adams survived the unthinkable and paid a devastating price. Now the survival of future victims may depend on her. . .when she can barely protect herself." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This book was an intense thriller in the Sara Linton/Grant County series, focusing mostly on Lena Adams and her struggle to identify the killer while dealing with her own personal issues. I liked the character interactions and the plot moved along well.

Date read: 10/31/2008
Book #: 78
Series: Sara Linton, #3
Challenges: Fall into Reading Challenge 2008, TBR Challenge 2008
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Mystery

ISBN-10: 0060534052
ISBN-13: 9780060534059
Publisher: HarperTorch
Year: 2003
# of Pages: 422
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Short Story Reading Challenge


When: January 1 - December 31, 2008
What: Read short stories. There are different options described on the blog linked above.






My list:
Option 3 - read 5 short story collections

Harlan Ellison. Paingod and Other Delusions -- finished 1/29/2008
Powers of Detection: Stories of Mystery and Fantasy -- finished 2/21/2008
Robin McKinley. A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories -- finished 4/20/2008
Harry Turtledove, et al. Worlds That Weren't -- finished 6/6/2008
Murder in Baker Street: New Tales of Sherlock Holmes -- finished 10/30/2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Murder in Baker Street: New Tales of Sherlock Holmes edited by Martin H. Greenberg, et al.

First sentence:

"It was raining."

Description:

"Eleven times over, the stories written especially for this premier volume by some of the finest talents at work in crime fiction today -- Anne Perry, Loren D. Estleman, Gillian Linscott, Edward D. Hoch, Peter Tremayne, Stuart M. Kaminsky, Jon L. Breen, Bill Crider, Howard Engel, Carolyn Wheat, and L. B. Greenwood -- celebrate the keen mind, ratiocinative methods, personal eccentricities, and singular manners that epitomize the most admired fictional sleuth of all time: Sherlock Holmes.

More than a century has passed since Arthur Conan Doyle introduced Sherlock Holmes to the reading public, but no literary detective has yet to match the Great Detective in popularity and to command the esteem of such legions of fans -- not least among them the mystery writers who pay tribute to him in this collection. Ingeniously contrived and shrewdly executed, their tales revisit the comfortable clutter of the rooms at 221B Baker Street where Holmes in an old silk dressing gown, his gaze piercing and his fingers stained with chemicals or ink, again peruses a telling trifle or perhaps takes up his violin.

Again, too, the inscrutable Holmes and his redoubtable companion, Dr. Watson, display at their peerless best the science and arts of detection -- whether they are investigating a crime in the wilds of Africa or uncovering villainy in the heart of London, whether it's the case of the bloodless sock or borderline dandelions, a remarkable worm or a vampire's mark" -- from the inside flap

Contents:
Introduction • Daniel Stashower
• The Man from Capetown • Stuart M. Kaminsky
• The Case of the Borderland Dandelions • Howard Engel
• The Siren of Sennen Cove • Peter Tremayne
• The Case of the Bloodless Sock • Anne Perry
• The Case of the Anonymous Author • Edward D. Hoch
• The Case of the Vampire’s Mark • Bill Crider
• The Hansom for Mr. Holmes • Gillian Linscott
• The Adventure of the Arabian Knight • Loren D. Estelman
• The Adventure of the Cheshire Cheese • Jon L. Breen
• Darkest Gold • L. B. Greenwood
• The Remarkable Worm • Carolyn Wheat
Sidelights on Sherlock Holmes • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
• 100 Years of Sherlock Holmes • Lloyd Rose
• And Now, a Word from Arthur Conan Doyle • Jon L. Lellenberg

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this collection of short stories featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, especially the ones "The Siren of Sennen Cove" and "A Hansom for Mr. Holmes". I also liked the essay "100 Years of Sherlock Holmes" which looked at how the Holmes character has been portrayed over the years on stage and film.

Date read: 10/30/2008
Book #: 76
Challenges: Short Story Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge 2008
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Mystery

ISBN-10: 0786708980
ISBN-13: 9780786708987
Publisher: Carrol & Graf
Year: 2001
# of Pages: 273
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing page

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

First sentence:

"What about a teakettle?"

Description:

"Meet Oskar Schell, an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist, correspondent with Stephen Hawking and Ringo Starr. He is nine years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. His mission is to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.

An inspired innocent, Oskar is alternately endearing, exasperating, and hilarious as he careens from Central Park to Coney Island to Harlem on his search. Along the way he is always dreaming up inventions to keep those he loves safe from harm. What about a birdseed shirt to let you fly away? What if you could actually hear everyone's heartbeat? His goal is hopeful, but the past speaks a loud warning in stories of those who've lost loved ones before. As Oskar roams New York, he encounters a motley assortment of humanity who are all survivors in their own way. He befriends a 103-year-old war reporter, a tour guide who never leaves the Empire State Building, and lovers enraptured or scorned. Ultimately, Oskar ends his journey where it began, at his father's grave. But now he is accompanied by the silent stranger who has been renting the spare room of his grandmother's apartment. They are there to dig up his father's empty coffin." -- from the publisher

My thoughts:

This was a very moving and complicated book about a boy trying to make sense of the world in his own unique way. I especially liked the alternating storylines between Oskar's search for the lock and his grandparent's experiences in World War II and afterwards. I also liked the use of photographs in the book.

Date read: 10/24/2008
Book #: 76
Rating: 4/5 = great
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0739458590
ISBN-13: 9780739458594
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Year: 2005
# of Pages: 326
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Family Trade by Charles Stross

First sentence:

"Ten and a half hours before a mounted knight with a machine gun tried to kill her, tech journalist Miriam Beckstein lost her job."

Description:

"It begins the day she is fired.

Miriam Beckstein is happy in her life. She's a successful reporter for a hi-tech magazine in Boston, making good money doing what she loves. When her researcher brings her iron-clad evidence of a money-laundering scheme, Miriam thinks she's found the story of the year. But when she takes it to her editor, she's fired on the spot and gets a death threat from the criminals she has uncovered.

Before the day is over, she's received a locket left by the mother she never knew-the mother who was murdered when she was an infant. Within is a knotwork pattern, which has a hypnotic effect on her. Before she knows it, she's transported herself to a parallel Earth, a world where knights on horseback chase their prey with automatic weapons, and where world-skipping assassins lurk just on the other side of reality - a world where her true family runs things." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book of parallel worlds as Miriam discovers the truth about her mother and learns about a family she never knew. I liked how she uses her skills as a journalist to uncover secrets and I look forward to reading the next book in the Merchant Princes series, The Hidden Family.

Date read: 10/19/2008
Book #: 75
Challenges: Celebrate the Author Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge 2008
Series: The Merchant Princes #1
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: SF

ISBN-10: 0765348217
ISBN-13: 9780765348210
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2005
# of Pages: 308
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Emerald Enigma by C. J. Westwick

First sentence:

"Why the hell did I think some guy was following me?"

Description:

"Disasters seem to follow Bret Lamplighter around the Caribbean. His simple assignment of follow-the-emeralds changes drastically when he has to tackle government corruption, terrorists run amuck, and elegant organized crime lords. Author C. J. Westwick throws both his hero and his audience into situations as immediate as the day's headlines and starts shooting.

So, grab a bag of techno-goodies and a gorgeous French secret agent; you're heading out to the beach and on into the jungle. Bret Lamplighter's looking for the emeralds. The killers are looking for Bret. The clock is ticking. . .

At least Bret thinks it's just a clock." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This book was an engaging thriller with lots of twists and turns. I liked the sense of being in the thick of adventure with Bret and his friends, especially the scenes on the boat in Colombia.

Date read: 10/19/2008
Book #: 74
Challenges: Fall into Reading Challenge 2008, Initials Reading Challenge, Unread Authors Challenge
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Thriller

ISBN-10: 0977600904
ISBN-13: 9780977600908
Publisher: Krell
Year: 2006
# of Pages: 344
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing Page

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Broken Angels by Richard K. Morgan

First sentence:

"I first met Jan Schneider in a Protectorate orbital hospital, three hundred meters above the ragged clouds of Sanction IV and in a lot of pain."

Description:

"Cynical, quick-on-the-trigger Takeshi Kovacs, the ex-U.N. envoy turned private eye, has changed careers -- and bodies -- once more. . .trading sleuthing for soldiering as a warrior-for-hire, and helping a far-flung planet's government put down a bloody revolution.

But, when it comes to taking sides, the only one Kovacs is ever really on is his own. So when a rogue pilot and a sleazy corporate fat cat offer him a lucrative role in a treacherous treasure hunt, he's only too happy to go AWOL with a band of resurrected soldiers of fortune. All that stands between them and the ancient alien spacecraft they mean to salvage are a massacred city bathed in deadly radiation, unleashed nanotechnology with a million ways to kill, and whatever surprises the highly advanced Martian race may have in store. But armed with his genetically engineered instincts and his trusty twin Kalashnikovs, Takeshi is ready to take on anything -- and let the dead take whoever's left behind. " -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this cyberpunk adventure featuring Takeshi Kovacs. While it was confusing at times remembering who was who and where they were, I liked the mix of artificial intelligence and human interactions. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Woken Furies.

Date read: 10/12/2008
Book #: 73
Series: Takeshi Kovacs, #2
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: SF

ISBN-10: 0345457714
ISBN-13: 978034545771?
Publisher: Del Rey
Year: 2003
# of Pages: 366
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Devil's Right Hand by Lilith Saintcrow

Description:

"Dante Valentine, Necromancer and bounty hunter, just wants to be left alone. But the Devil has other ideas.

The Prince wants Dante. And he wants her now. And Dante and her lover, Japhrimel, have no choice but to answer the Prince's summons. And to fulfill a seemingly simple task: become the Devil's Right Hand, hunt down four demons that have escaped from Hell, and earn His gratitude.

It's a shame that nothing is ever easy when it comes to the Devil. Because of course, he doesn't tell Dante the whole truth: there is a rebellion brewing in Hell. And there is a good chance that Lucifer is about to be pushed off the throne.

But Dante is getting really tired of being pushed around. And this time, she might be angry enough to take on the Devil himself..."

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this urban fantasy featuring necromancer/bounty hunter Dante Valentine. I especially liked the way she worked with Japhrimel and others to find the renegade demons in time. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Saint City Sinners.

Date read: 10/6/2008
Book #: 72
Series: Dante Valentine, #3
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Urban Fantasy

ISBN-10: 0316021423
ISBN-13: 9780316021425
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2007
# of Pages: 432
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Friday, November 14, 2008

Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages by Mark Abley

First sentence:

"An old man watches a milky ocean roll in to the shore."

Description:

"Mark Abley's journeys among the speakers of languages at the brink take him to aboriginal Austalia, to American Indian reservations and to elderly Canadian speakers of Yiddish, as well as to places where the languages are fighting back: Wales, the Faeroe Islands, the Isle of Man. He examines the forces - from pop culture to creoles to globalisation - that threaten to wipe out 90 per cent of languages by the end of this century. And he pays tribute to such unfamiliar tongues as the Amazonian language last spoken by a parrot, the Caucasion language with no vowels, and the South Asian language whose innumerable verbs include gobray (to fall in a well unknowingly) and onsra (to love for the last time)." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a very interesting book about language and culture. I especially liked the chapters about the Isle of Man and the Yuchi Indians.

Date Read: 10/5/2008
Book #: 71
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Nonfiction

ISBN-10: 009946022X
ISBN-13: 9780099460220
Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd
Year: 2005
# of Pages: 280
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Island by Victoria Hislop

First sentence:

"A cold wind whipped through the narrow streets of Plaka and the chill of the autumnal air encircled the woman, paralysing her body and mind with a numbness that almost blocked her senses but could do nothing to alleviate her grief."

Description:

"On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother's past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more.

Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone's throw from the tiny deserted island of Spinalonga -- Greece's former leper colony. There she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters, and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion. She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip. . ." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a very moving and poignant book about family and adversity. I liked interactions of the characters and how Alexis learns about her mother's family and why her mother Sofia never talked about them until now.

Date read: 9/23/2008
Book #: 70
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0755309510
IBSN-13: 9780755309511
Publisher: Headline Review
Year: 2005
# of Pages: 473
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip

First sentence:

"Morgon of Hed met the High One's harpist one autumn day when the trade-ships docked at Tol for the season's exchange of goods."

Description:

"Long ago, the wizards had vanished from the world, and all knowledge was left hidden in riddles. Morgon, prince of the simple farmers of Hed, proved himself a master of such riddles when he staked his life to win a crown from the dead Lord of Aumn.

But now ancient, evilforces were threatening him. Shape changers began replacing friends until no man could be trusted. So Morgon was forced to flee hostile kingdoms, seeking the High One who ruled from mysterious Erlenstar Mountain.

Beside him went Deth, the High One's Harper. Ahead lay strange encounters and terrifying adventures. And with him always was the greatest of unsolved riddles -- the nature of three stars on his forehead that seemed to drive him toward his ultimate destiny." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this fantasy featuring Morgon, prince of Hed, who seeks the truth about the stars on his forehead and the destiny that awaits him. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Heir of Sea and Fire.


Date read: 9/21/2008
Book #: 69
Series: Riddle-Master #1
Challenge: Naming Conventions Challenge
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fantasy

ISBN-10: 0345288815
ISBN-13: 9780345288813
Publisher: Del Rey
Year: 1976
# of Pages: 222
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Friday, October 17, 2008

Signals of Distress by Jim Crace

First sentence:

"Both men were en voyage and sleeping in their berths."

Description:

"In the winter of 1836 the Belle of Wilmington is wrecked off Wherrytown. The Captain and his American sailors flirt, drink, brawl, repair the damage to their ship. . .and inflict fresh damage on the town. Another visitor marooned far from home is Aymer Smith, a man brimming with good intentions both for the Belle's black slave cook Otto and for himself, a virgin and a blunderer in search of a wife.

Amid the haunting, monumental landscape and a wealth of characters that rival Dickens's most enduring creations, the hopes and hazards of the Old World are pitched -- unforgetably -- against the New." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a poignant and thoughtful book. Aymer Smith reminded me a little of Eugene Henderson in Saul Bellow's Henderson the Rain King. Both characters try so hard to do the right thing, and often their efforts make things worse. I liked the interactions between Aymer Smith and the townspeople of Wherrytown and the American sailors.

Date read: 9/18/2008
Book #: 68
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0140276106
ISBN-13: 9780140276107
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 1994
# of Pages: 276
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What's in a Name? Challenge

Annie is hosting this interesting challenge. Between January 1 and December 31, 2008, participants must read 1 book in each of 6 different categories. Below, I will list the six categories and their respective books:

1. A book with a color in its title: The Red Room by Nicci French -- finished 1/12/2008
2. A book with a first name in its title: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susannah Clarke -- finished 4/25/2008
3. A book with a weather event in its title: Night Frost by R.D. Wingfield -- finished 6/27/2008
4. A book with an animal in its title: Top Dog by Jerry Jay Carroll -- finished 7/14/2008
5. A book with a plant in its title: Nathaniel's Nutmeg by Giles Milton -- finished 7/17/2008
6. A book with a place in its title: Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 by Andrea White -- finished 9/4/2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Falling Sideways by Tom Holt


Description:

"From the moment Homo Sapiens descended from the trees, possibly onto their heads, humanity has striven towards civilization. Fire. The Wheel. Running Away from furry things with more teeth than one might reasonably expect—all are testament to man's ultimate supremacy. It is a noble story and so, of course, complete and utter fiction. For one man has discovered the hideous truth: that humanity's ascent to civilization has been ruthlessly guided by a small gang of devious frogs. The man’s name is David Perkins, and his theory is not, on the whole, widely admired, particularly not by the frogs themselves, who had invested a great deal of time and effort in keeping the whole thing quiet." -- from the publisher



My thoughts:


While I found parts of this book amusing, especially David's interactions with the clones and the frogs, I felt that the storyline was repetitive at times and was sometimes hard to follow.

Date read: 9/14/2008
Book #: 67
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fantasy

ISBN-10: 1841491101
ISBN-13: 9781841491103
Publisher: Atom
Year: 2005
# of Pages: 416
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lords of Light by Steven Spruill

First sentence:

"I have done all I can to make sure no one but me will ever read this diary."

Description:

"At twenty-five, Dr. Jenn Hrulska is a promising resident in neurology. Her beauty and warmth draw people to her, and yet she chooses to be alone - for her white doctor's coat hides a vampire's body. Jenn is a hemophage: she must feed on blood, or she will die. She has managed to defy her genetic compulsion to kill and a millennium of lonely life stretches ahead of her.

Then a charismatic young doctor named Michael Avalon steps into her life. Helpless to resist her powerful and growing feelings for him, Jenn tries to convince herself she could survive when, inevitably, she loses him. But when Michael reveals an astonishing truth about himself, he gives Jenn the greatest hope of her life, and draws her into a war between two families - the rulers of darkness and the lords of light - which threatens the extinction of her kind . . ." - from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book featuring hemophages (vampires) and angels. I especially liked the interactions between the angel Michael and the hemophage Jenn and between the angel Uziel and the hemophage Chemosh.

Date read: 9/10/2008
Book #:
Challenge: TBR Challenge 2008
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Dark Fantasy

ISBN-10: 0340708123
ISBN-13: 978-340708125
Publisher: New English Library
# of pages: 308
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Non-Fiction Five Challenge 2008

Non-Fiction Five Challenge 2008

When: May - September 2008
Hosted by: "Thoughts of Joy"
What: Read five non-fiction books. At least one should be in a genre different from the others - for example: 4 memoirs, 1 history



My choices (in no particular order):

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What an Animal! Challenge


What an Animal! Challenge

When: July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009
What: Read at least six books that feature either an animal in the title, an animal on the cover, an animal that plays a major role, or a main character that is or turns into an animal.


My list:

Rider at the Gate by C.J. Cherryh

Description:

"Rider at the Gate is the first in a two-book series chronicling the existence of human colonists stranded on a planet whose only native life forms are linked by telepathy, sending sensory images to one another enhanced by powerful emotions. One of these species, the "nighthorse," befriends the humans, and together they form a bond of mutual protection--the nighthorses guard their riders against the planet's mind-clouding predators, while the humans provide them with food and shelter. Once matched, the two experience a companionship more profound than either has ever known before. The story continues in Cloud's Rider."-- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this story which featured people and horses who can communicate with each other using images. I especially liked the interactions between Guil and his horse Burn and between Danny and his horse Cloud.

Date read: 9/9/2008
Book #: 65
Challenge: Celebrate the Author Challenge, Initials Reading Challenge, Summer Reading Thing Challenge
Series: Nighthorse, #1
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: SF

ISBN-10: 0446603457
ISBN-13: 9780446603454
Publisher: Aspect
Year: 1996
No. of Pages: 496
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Friday, October 3, 2008

Chunkster Challenge 2008


When: January 7 - December 20, 2008
What: Read at least 4 books. Each book must be at least 450 pages regular type or 750 pages large text. See more information at the link above.


My picks

Tad Williams. The Dragonbone Chair (768 pp.) -- finished 2/9/2008
Susannah Clarke. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (846 pp.) -- finished 4/25/2008
Simon R. Green. Deathstalker Rebellion (519 pp.) -- finished 8/18/2008
A. A. Attansio. Wyvern (693 pp.) -- finished 8/29/2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 by Andrea White

First sentence:

"What chance did Stephen Michael have of winning his Toss?"

Description:

"It's 50 degrees below zero.

The wind and snow blow so hard, you can't see your hand in front of your face. Your heating fuel is nearly gone, and so is your food. How do you survive?

Five fourteen-year-olds face this desperate situtation on a deadly journey in Antarctica. It is 2083. They are contestants on a reality TV show, Antarctic Survivor, which is set up to re-create Robert F. Scott's 1912 doomed attempt to be the first to reach the South Pole.

But in 2083 reality TV is not just an act. Contestants literally relive -- or die during -- the simulations of events. Robert Scott and his team were experienced explorers and scientists, but their attempt to reach the Pole proved fatal. What chance does the Antarctic Survivor team have?

This action-packed, riveting adventure-- full of fascinating, direct quotes from Scott's journals and other accounts of the expedition -- is both a heart-wrenching drama from the past and a disquieting glimpse into the future." -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

At first I wasn't sure if I would like this book as I thought the premise was cliched. However, soon I found myself enjoying the story as the young teens face many challenges both in Antarctica and back home. I liked the mix of historical events (Scott's expedition) and current events in a future where television ratings determine everything.

Date read: 9/4/2008
Book #: 64
Challenge: What's in a Name? Challenge
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: YA/Adventure

ISBN-10: 006055455X
ISBN-13: 9780060554552
Publisher: Eos
Year: 2005
# of Pages: 318
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing Page