Monday, May 21, 2012

Hell's AquariumHell's Aquarium by Steve Alten
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although I think the story went over and above what I expected, I truly enjoyed reading it. I let myself go with the story, and the science helped. I hope none of Alten's wildest speculations in this book could possibly be true, though. I would never set foot in the ocean (or travel on it) again, if I knew it was true!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

If You Can Talk, You Can Write, by Joel Saltzman

If You Can Talk You Can Write

Every time I loan this book to a friend, I end up having to buy my own copy.  I love it! It's good for any aspiring writer, or anyone who can't get the words to come out right. Salzman makes sure that you feel that you are not only in excellent company as a writer, but that fear of facing that blank page is perfectly normal and all you have to do is get words splashed on the page to be making progress.

I especially like his little essay on "Blah, blah, blah... GOLD!"

I highly recommend this one, and I can't wait until I find it on Kindle!

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen



I don't know why my high school didn't have us read this novel - it's a lovely book, and I found it easy to read and follow along. It's easy to see why this book has inspired so many other authors to draw from it and adapt the story to give it new spins... it's almost an archetypal "boy meets girl" story, including the wrinkles at the beginning that make them think they are all wrong for each other, when it's all just a matter of perception.

Highly recommended, to anyone that reads!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

His Majesty, Prince of Toads

This historical novel is temporarily free from Amazon.com, and I enjoyed reading it.
The characters are well-drawn, the story kept surprising me, and I found the book medium hard to put down.
I did feel that the final resolution was overly rushed, and I would have liked to learn more about what happened to the couple after they settled their differences.
Overall I'd recommend this novel for its humor, its strong heroine, and a good storyline.
If the historical facts are correct, I'm even more impressed. I learned quite a bit about marital finances and pertinent legal issues, but it didn't feel pedantic or preachy.
I would recommend this book to a friend, definitely!

**** / Four Stars

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss

This book, the first of The Kingkiller Chronicle, starts off slowly, building a solid frame for the main character's life story. 

Although the device of a framed story (the story within a story) is no longer recommended for writers today, Rothfuss makes it work.  This is not just my personal opinion, as published authors Brandon Sanderson,  Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler of the popular Writing Excuses podcast are of the same opinion.  They discourage new writers from using the device, though, because it's tricky to get it right, and when it fails, it's a doozy.

Rothfuss makes it look easy to tell a story within a story, and I'm looking forward to the next book!

Main character Kote is actually living in hiding, and he is recognized by someone who wants more than anything to collect his story. He says it will take three days to tell, which is why the subtitles of the books include "Day 1" or "Day 2 of the Kingkiller Chronicle." The large books seem like far too much to be written in a single day (even with shorthand), but for the sake of the story, I will put aside any doubts as to the stamina of the hand and arm of the Chronicler.

The story is sweeping, the main character compelling, and his story is grand in scope. It contains tragedy, hardship, opportunities lost and taken, romance, education, magic, and cleverness, among many other elements. This is a story I love to recommend to others that love to read.

I had loaned out my copy of this book, and recently found it on my friend's bookshelf.  "Are you done with this one?" I asked, and he said he was. But his mother-in-law asked for it before I could walk out the door, and now I'm waiting for it again.

To console myself, I treated myself to the Audible (www.audible.com) audiobook, which is beautifully read by reader Nick Podehl. My husband is also listening to the story, and is at an earlier place than I am, but I never mind listening to the story, wherever it is in the timeline. That says a lot about how much I like the writing, the story, and the reader!

If you are looking for a new fantasy series to try, give this one a shot. It's got good storytelling, good characterization, good action, good tragedy, and excellent readability. This is a story that sticks in your mind, and maybe even deeper.

Happy reading!



Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dune, by Frank Herbert

DUNE, a fascinating science fiction novel with elements of fantasy, is still riveting and almost impossible to put down, even 46 years after it was first published.

I first read this novel when I was in my late teens, and reading it again last week was a different experience! 25 years has made a difference!

When I first read the book, I had no perspective on the parent's feelings in the book, and that added an entire new dimension that I enjoyed tremendously. I was able to enjoy it... "on another level." ;)

This book takes a young man of 15, Paul Atreides, whose family is moving to the desert planet of Arrakis by order of the Emperor, and whose father, Duke Leto Atreides, has reason to suspect treachery upon their arrival.

Paul's mother is the Duke's concubine, never married to him for political reasons. She has been grooming her son for greatness since he was born, but she never suspected the events that would come to shape his life, nor the decisions he might make to handle them.

This is a tale of black treachery, loyalty, secret societies, long-term plans, far-reaching goals, and one road to revenge and unusual distinction. There are unexpected losses, deaths, and twists of the knife, as Herbert walks us through a world where water is wealth, and poisons are playthings.

If you've read it, or if you read it as a result of this review, please let me know what you thought of the book!

(Note: My book photo and link are not presently working. I will post it as soon as I get it fixed.)

Hiatus is history!

After months of inactivity due to various distractions, I am following the example of a good friend and getting myself in gear for NaNoWriMo by getting my daily word count up.

One good way to do that is to blog!

I have been reading, of course, but I haven't been sharing my thoughts on these books here, because I've been driven to pick up the next book right away!

That will change.  I will begin posting reviews again as soon as I get time on my home computer.

See you soon!