Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Year's Best Fantasy edited by David G. Hartwell

First sentence:

"I am sunning myself on the west terrace when Gilyan comes."


"Tales as deep as legend and as new as dawn.

Acclaimed editor David G. Hartwell has gathered a harvest of shimmering beauty and powerful writing in this inaugural volume of the very best fantasy from the last year. Established masters rub elbows with rising stars in this outstanding collection of short stories rich with imagined land and finely etched, unforgettable characters. Travel to distant realms--and around the block--with stories by:

Terry Goodkind
Nicola Griffith
Nalo Hopkinson
George R.R. Martin
Robert Schekley
Michael Swanwick." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this collection of short stories. Some of my favorite stories were George R.R. Martin's "Path of the Dragon" which gave some insight into Daenarys Targaryen and Sherwood Smith's "Mom and Dad on the Home Front," which illustrated what parents go through when the children have otherworldly adventures.

Date read: 6/30/2010
Book #: 40
Challenges: TBR Challenge 2010, Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fantasy

ISBN-10: 038081840X
ISBN-13: 9780380818402
Publisher: EOS
Year: 2001
# of pages: 490
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Trammet

First sentence:

"I was born on 31 January 1979 -- a Wednesday."


"Daniel sees numbers as shapes, colours and textures and can perform extraordinary maths in his head. He can also learn to speak a language fluently from scratch in a week. He has Savant Syndrome, an extremely rare form of Asperger's that gives him almost unimaginable mental powers, much like the Rain Man portrayed by Dustin Hoffman. But he is virtually unique amongst people who have severe autistic disorders in being able to live a fully independent life." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a very interesting book about Savant Syndrome, synesthesia and autism. I liked Tammet's accounts of learning Icelandic and memorizing the number pi up to over 22,500 digits.

Date read: 6/22/2010
Book #: 39
Challenge: A - Z Challenge 2010
Rating: 3*/5 = good

ISBN-10: 0340899751
ISBN-13: 9780340899755
Publisher: Hodder
Year: 2006
# of pages: 284
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page

Friday, June 11, 2010

Total Recall by Sara Paretsky

First sentence:

"The cold that winter ate into our bones."


"For private eye V. I. Warshawski, the journey begins with a national conference in downtown Chicago, where angry protesters are calling for the recovery of Holocaust assets. There, a slight man steps forward to tell an astonishing story of a childhood shattered by the Holocaust. . .a story that has devastating consequences for V.I.'s friend and mentor, Lotty Herschel.

Lotty was just nine when she emigrated from Austria to England, one of a group of children saved from the Nazi terror just before the war. Now, stunningly, it seems someone from that long-lost past may have returned. With the help from a recovered-memory therapist, Paul Radbuka has unearthed his true idenity. But is he who he claims to be? Or an imposter who has usurped someone else's history. . .a history Lotty has tried to forget for over fifty years? Desperate to help her friend, V.I. digs into Radbuka's past. And as the darkness gathers around Lotty, V.I. struggles to decide whose memories of a terrible war she can trust, and moves closer to a chilling realization of the truth--a truth that almost destroys her oldest friend." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a good mystery with the past of the Holocaust affecting the events in the present. I liked how V.I. gradually learned about Lotty's past.

Date read: 6/9/2010
Book #: 38
Series: V.I. Warshawski, #10
Challenge: A-Z Challenge 2010
Rating: 3*/5 = good

ISBN-10: 0440224713
ISBN-13: 9780440224716
Publisher: Dell
Year: 2001
# of pages: 524
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sleepers by Lorenzo Carcaterra

First sentence:

"I sat across the table from the man who had battered and tortured and brutalized me nearly thirty years ago."


"This is the true story of four young boys. Four lifelong friends. Intelligent, fun-loving, wise beyond their years, they are inseparable. Their potential is unlimited, but they are content to live within the closed world of New York City's Hell's Kitchen. And to play as many pranks as they can on the denizens of the street. They never get caught. And they know they never will.

Until one disastrous summer afternoon.

On that day, what begins as a harmless scheme goes horrible wrong. And the four find themselves facing a year's imprisonment in the Wilkinson Home for Boys. The oldest of them is fifteen, the youngest twelve. What happens to them over the course of that year--brutal beatings, unimaginable humiliation--will change their lives forever.

Years later, one has become a lawyer. One a reporter. And two have grown up to be murderers, professional hit men. For all of them, the pain and fear of Wilkinson still rages within. Only one thing can erase it.


To exact it, they will twist the legal system. Commandeer the courtroom for their agenda. Use the wiles they observed on the streets, the violence they learned at Wilkinson.

If they get caught this time, they only have one thing left to lose: their lives.

Sleepers is the extraordinary true story of four men who take the law into their own hands. Brilliantly written, it is a searing portrait of a system gone awry and of the people--some innocent, some not so innocent--who must suffer the consequences. At the heart of Sleepers is a sensational murder trial that ultimately gives devastating, yet exhilarating, proof of street justice and truly defines the meaning of loyalty and love between friends. Told with great humor and compassion, even at its most harrowing, Sleepers is an unforgettable reading experience. It will leave you breathless." -- from

My thoughts:

This was a very intense account of brutality and courage. Not everyone made the right decisions, but all faced hardships straight on.

Date read: 6/5/2010
Book #: 37
Challenges: TBR Challenge 2010, Celebrate the Author Challenge 2010
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre; Memoir

ISBN-10: 0345404114
ISBN-13: 98034504114
Publisher: Ballantine
Year: 1995
# of pages: 370
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page