Monday, March 2, 2015

Material Witness by Vanetta Chapman

Material Witness by Vanetta Chapman - 319 pages

Material Witness - Vannetta ChapmanTragedy strikes on the opening night of the Fall Crafters Fair when a woman is killed in the parking lot of Daisy’s Quilt Shop, and the only material witness is one of Melinda Byer’s boys. The investigation takes a more bizarre turn when detective Shane Black becomes convinced the killer was actually after Callie.

This time it’s a madman loose in the largest crowd of the year, and he’s looking for something or someone. If they can’t figure out what, one of Deborah and Callie’s close circle of friends may be next. Masked identities, antique quilts with hidden messages, an Amish boy whose handicap makes him stronger, one brave dog, and a possible hidden treasure … this time it’s nonstop action, danger, and a dash of romance.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Xenocide by Orson Scott Card

Xenocide by Orson Scott Card -- 592 pages

In volume three of the Ender Quartet, stakes are raised even higher than before. The survival of humans, piggies, buggers, and even the descolada virus are all at risk, as well as Andrew's adopted family.
The descolada adapts at a terrific, almost intelligent rate, and overcoming it is becoming harder and harder. The one person who might have the knowledge to combat the virus, swears that it is intelligent and won't hear of it's being harmed.
The fleet of ships sent out to destroy Lusitania have suddenly disappeared, and as one girl named Gloriously Bright investigates, the life of Jane, and ultimately all the creatures of Lusitania are being threatened.
The buggers are ready to get themselves, and the piggies, off of Lusitania before the lost fleet comes to bomb them, but they cannot exist without the descolada virus, and taking it with them may kill the rest of humanity.

As usual, Card's sci-fi hypotheses are mind blowing if you slow down and take the time to understand them. The characters are well developed, and the story is complex. This is my first time reading this novel and was left breathless several times.

A Wedding for Julia by Vannetta Chapman

A Wedding for Julia by Vanetta Chapman - 336 pages

julia, comprJulia Beechy is so stunned, she can hardly breathe. Her mother’s announcement that she must either marry or move from the family home upon her mother’s imminent death catches Julia by surprise. How can she leave the only home she has ever known? What about her dream of opening her own Plain cafĂ©?

When Caleb Zook offers support, comfort, and a solution, Julia is afraid to accept it. Can she marry someone she barely knows? Is it the right thing to do? Is this God’s plan for her future?

Caleb thought his time for marrying was long past, but he feels a stirring in his heart he cannot shake for this beautiful, forlorn woman. Amid the circumstances of this life-altering decision, the people of Pebble Creek weather the worst storm to hit Wisconsin in the last hundred years. Where will Julia and Caleb be on the other side of it?

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Song of Susannah by Stephen King

The Song of Susannah by Stephen King  544 pages

The Dark Tower VI; Song Of Susannah is a pivotal installment in the epic saga. It provides the key to the quest that defines Roland's life. In the next part of their journey to the tower, Roland and his band of followers face adversity from every side: Susannah Dean has been taken over by a demon-mother and uses the power of Black Thirteen to get from the Mid-World New York City. But who is the is the father of her child? And what role will the Crimson King play? Roland sends Jake to break Susannah's date with destiny, while he himself uses 'the persistence of magic' to get to Maine in the Summer of 1977. It is a terrible world: for one thing it is real and bullets are flying. For another, it is inhabited by the author of a novel called 'Salem's Lot. Song Of Susannah is driven by revelation and by suspense. It continues the Dark Tower seamlessly from Wolves Of The Calla and the dramatic climax will leave readers desperate to read the quest's conclusion.

Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke - 220 pages

I thought this was the first book in the graphic novel series having misread the title as "The Legend of Zita the Spacegirl".  I was wrong.  It is the second book.  While I wasn't sure how Zita became lost in outer space it was a fairly easy story to pick up.  This volume tells of a robot who tries to take over Zita's life and how Zita becomes a space criminal because of it.

I found the book fun to read.  In fact, I think I will probably go back and read the first book and then the third before waiting for the fourth to be published in two years.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King

Dreaming Spies: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes by Laurie R. King --- 331 pages

 The adventure begins on a cool spring afternoon in Sussex. Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes have just returned home from Lisbon to find a peculiar addition to their garden: a distinctive stone they last saw in the Imperial gardens in Kyoto.

The stone reminds them of  another adventure one that ended tragically. On their way back from India, en route to San Francisco to sort out Russell's family affairs, the couple encounters a young Japanese woman who asks their help in foiling a blackmailer. Only after Russell and Holmes agree do they discover that the blackmailer's target is the Prince Regent Hirohito of Japan.

The most entertaining part of the book consists of Russell and Holmes' up close and personal encounters with daily life in the rural villages of 1924 Japan, as they travel the Nakasendo Road up the Kiso Valley, from the town of Arima to the village of Mojiro-joku, in the guise of Buddhist pilgrims.  Also interesting are the descriptions of the Bodleian Library and its librarians in Oxford.

The seventeenth century itinerant poet and master of haiku is frequently invoked in these pages, as is Shakespeare's Sir John Falstaff of Henry the Fourth and Fifth, and the English poet Matthew Arnold, whose "dreaming spires" of Oxford become the punning title of this book in a sly reference to the Japanese speaker's difficulties in pronouncing the letter "r" in English.

This is the thirteenth book in the Mary Russell series, but chronologically this one fills the previous gap between The Game (No. Seven), and Locked Rooms (No. Eight) and it;s immediate sequel, The Language of Bees (No. Nine).

Click HERE to read an interview with Laurie R. King in the San Francisco Examiner.

Click HERE to view the book trailer for Dreaming Spies on Youtube.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Information Doesn't Want to Be Free by Cory Doctorow

Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age by Cory Doctorow --- 162 pages

Science fiction author, journalist, blogger and Internet activist Cory Doctorow has promulgated his Three Laws for the Internet Age:

First Law: "Any Time Someone Puts a Lock on Something That Belongs to You and Won't Give You the Key, That Lock Isn't There for Your Benefit."

Second Law:  "Fame Won't Make You Rich, But You Can't Get Paid Without It."

Third Law: "Information Doesn't Want to Be Free, People Do."

In this book, in his own inimitable fashion, Doctorow presents his arguments for the benefits of a free and open digital culture.

Click HERE to read the Boston Globe review of the book.

Click HERE to listen to an interview with Cory Doctorow on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."