Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Finds & Quotes from The Wise Man's Fear

Posted by Simcha 5:42 AM, under ,, | 3 comments

Friday Finds

Hosted by Should be Reading

I've recently started spending more time on Goodreads, hanging out in groups and chatting with other book lovers. Thanks to some of the new people that I've met there I've added a whole bunch of new books to my TBR pile.  

If you've read any of these books tell me what you thought of them.


The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

The body you are wearing used to be mine.

So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, THE ROOK is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.


Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine, Kiri Moth

Come inside and take a seat; the show is about to begin...

Outside any city still standing, the Mechanical Circus Tresaulti sets up its tents. Crowds pack the benches to gawk at the brass-and-copper troupe and their impossible feats: Ayar the Strong Man, the acrobatic Grimaldi Brothers, fearless Elena and her aerialists who perform on living trapezes. War is everywhere, but while the Circus is performing, the world is magic.

That magic is no accident: Boss builds her circus from the bones out, molding a mechanical company that will survive the unforgiving landscape.

But even a careful ringmaster can make mistakes.

Two of Tresaulti's performers are entangled in a secret standoff that threatens to tear the circus apart just as the war lands on their doorstep. Now the Circus must fight a war on two fronts: one from the outside, and a more dangerous one from within.


Double by Jenny Valentine

When the sixteen-year-old runaway Chap is mistaken for a missing boy named Cassiel, his life changes dramatically. Chap takes on Cassiel's identity, gaining the family and friends he's always dreamed of having. But becoming someone else isn't as easy as he hoped—and Chap isn't the only one hiding a secret. As he teeters on the brink of discovery and begins to unravel the mystery behind Cassiel's disappearance, Chap realizes that he's in much deeper danger than he could have imagined.


This isn't the kind of book I would normally have any interest in reading since I've had my fill of teen vampire stories but a review that I read (unfortunately I can't remember where) convinced me that this books is different and that I should give it a try. I hope they are right.

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier, Sarah Rees Brennan

Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn't mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It's up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity

On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.

Acclaimed authors Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan team up to create a witty and poignant story of cool vampires, warm friendships, and the changes that test the bonds of love.

After all, you can't just steal a life and expect to get away with it.

Book Quotes : The Wise Man's Fear


It's been a couple of months since I finished reading Patrick Rothfuss's The Wise Man's fear and I still haven't gotten around to writing the review. The truth is that I can't think of what to say other than "this book is awesome and you'll love it, unless you didn't like The Name of the Wind (Bk 1), in which case you won't want to read this one either."  So in the meantime, while I try to find the right words to express how much I really loved this book, I'll share with you a few of my favourite quotes from it.

- It is as they say: a heavy purse makes for a light heart

- No man is brave that has never walked a hundred miles. If you want to know the truth of who you are, walk until not a person knows your name.

- It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and he'll look for his own answers.

- Death was like an unpleasant neighbor. You didn’t talk about him for fear he might hear you and decide to pay a visit.”

- I knelt and opened up my lute case. Moving the lute aside, I pressed the lid of the secret compartment and twisted it open. I slid Threpe's sealed letter inside, where it joined the hollow horn with Nina's drawing and a small sack of dried apple I had stowed there. There was nothing special about the dried apple, but in my opinion if you have a secret compartment in your lute case and don't use it to hide things, there is something terribly, terribly wrong with you.

- I walked across the polished marble floor and sat on a red velvet lounging couch. I idly wondered how exactly one was supposed to lounge. I couldn't remember ever doing it myself. After a moment's consideration, I decided lounging was probably similar to relaxing, but with more money in your pocket.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Some Youtube Awesomeness from Felicia Day

Posted by Simcha 7:12 PM, under | 2 comments

I've never spent much time on Youtube but it looks like that is going to change because I just came across a video that is pure awesome, and which is part of Felicia Day's Youtube channel (which I also just discovered), Geek & Sundry.

This video is the first of a series in which kids tell stories which are then made into short movies by professional filmmakers, often with hilarious results.

I absolutely love this idea, which really encourages children to use their imaginations and create original stories, after which they can see them brought to life. This is also a really interesting look at how children perceive the world; which details they find important enough to focus on, and which are given barely a mention.

Scary Smash by Gerald

The second story, Goth Boy, is told by 8 year-old Cici, and you can find that video here

But this is not the full extent of the wonders that Geek & Sundry has offer. Patrick Rothfuss recently announced on his blog that he will also be doing a show for Geek & Sundry in which he will be talking about books and storytelling with other people in the biz, kind of like a panel at a convention (which I have never been to, but I've heard are really fun).

And since we are talking about Patrick Rothfuss, if you are a fan then you'll enjoy this video of him and John Scalzi performing a skit based on Scalzi's new book Redshirts.

With all of this awesomeness going on online there is a real danger that I might never get off of the computer.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Flying Dutch by Tom Holt

Posted by Simcha 7:14 PM, under ,, | 3 comments

This past weekend I was in the mood for something light and fun to read but I had nothing on my own bookshelves that fit the bill so I went to my neighbours' house to raid theirs. With my neighbour's recommendation I came away with Flying Dutch by Tom Holt which looked like it would suit nicely. Plus a comment on the cover comparing the book to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy helped seal the deal.

Jane Doland's uneventful life as an accountant for the National Lombard Bank gets a jolt when she comes across a 400 year old insurance policy that has yet to be paid out. Stranger yet, it appears that the owner of the policy is still alive and that the world's economic stability depends on the bank buying his policy back. Curious as to who this long-living policy owner could possibly be Jane sets out to track him down and in the process gets roped into the biggest adventure of her life, largely thanks to her poor sense of smell.

Captain Julius Vanderdecker and his crew have been sailing the world's oceans for the past 400 years all because of a drunken mistake that led them to drink an immorality elixir that they thought was beer. Immortality might not be so bad if they weren't all forced to remain permanently on the ship due to the elixir's side-effect, an unbearable smell that makes it impossible for them to be around other people. But every seven years the smell subsides for a month allowing the captain and crew to enjoy a brief stint on land before being forced back on their ship.

But the sudden hope that there may be a cure for the smell has Captain Vanderdecker searching of the elixir's creator, which brings him in contact with a very determined accountant. Also mixed into the story are secret conspiracies, a frustrated journalist in search of a scoop and an immortal cat. 

The story is based on the legend of the Flying Dutchman, or perhaps on the opera, The Flying Dutchman, which is based on the legend. Truthfully I don't know much about either of them so I can't say how they compare to this story by Holt.

There were a lot of characters, which got to be a bit confusing, and I did feel like the story could have benefited by paring the cast down somewhat. The romance was also rushed as the two characters appear to fall in-love after only having known each other for about a day. But these seem to be regular characteristics of humorous fantasy,  or at least of the books that I've read, so I wasn't particularly surprised. 

I also didn't get a lot of the jokes but I suspect this is because I'm not that familiar with British culture and humour (I had once watched an episode of some British TV show and I didn't get any of the jokes then either).

Reading Flying Dutch was an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours even though it was no Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (now that book is funny, even if you're American). But it was a fun, lighthearted read that suited my mood and introduced me to the legend of the Flying Dutchman, which I'm now curious to find out more about.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Scifi & Fantasy releases: Week of July 22

Posted by Simcha 4:46 PM, under | 7 comments

This week's New Release list is pretty short, which I have to admit is a bit of a relief for me since having my kids home for summer vacation has me too wiped out to spend time composing lists. I might even be too tired to read (yes, the situation is that drastic). I remember the days when summer vacation was a time that I actually looked forward to *sigh*

Now if I could find that magic book that would keep my kinds enthralled enough to stay out of mischief. 

Hope you guys are having an enjoyable summer full of good books to read and plenty of time to read them.


Science Fiction 

Jack Glass
Adam Roberts
Publisher: Gollancz
Release Date: July 26 (UK)

Jack Glass is the murderer. We know this from the start. Yet as this extraordinary novel tells the story of three murders committed by Glass the reader will be surprised to find out that it was Glass who was the killer and how he did it. And by the end of the book our sympathies for the killer are fully engaged. Riffing on the tropes of crime fiction (the country house murder, the locked room mystery) and imbued with the feel of golden age SF, JACK GLASS is another bravura performance from Roberts. Whatever games he plays with the genre, whatever questions he asks of the reader, Roberts never loses sight of the need to entertain. JACK GLASS has some wonderfully gruesome moments, is built around three gripping HowDunnits and comes with liberal doses of sly humour. Roberts invites us to have fun and tricks us into thinking about both crime and SF via a beautifully structured novel set in a society whose depiction challanges notions of crime, punishment, power and freedom. It is an extraordinary novel.


Trinity Rising (The Wild Hunt, Bk 2)
Elspeth Cooper
Publisher: Gollancz
Release Date: July 26 (UK)

The future holds nothing but blood and death . . . and Teia fears there is nothing she can do about it. Her clan is riding to war, but her secret, untrained gift of foretelling has shown her they are riding to their doom. If she cannot turn them from their course, her only hope of saving them will be to betray them to their sworn enemies.

Gair is mourning his past . . . but there is no time to dwell on his grief or hunger for revenge. Pursuing an artefact from the Founding Wars, he travels deep into the hostile southern deserts. As religious tensions erupt into bloody violence around him, he must make an impossible choice: save innocent lives or sacrifice them in the hope that thousands more can be saved later.

And all the while, his grip on his powers is failing.

Urban Fantasy 

Thirteen (Women of the Otherworld, Bk 13)
Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Release Date: July 24

A war is brewing—the first battle has been waged and Savannah Levine is left standing, albeit battered and bruised. She has rescued her half brother from supernatural medical testing, but he’s fighting to stay alive. The Supernatural Liberation Movement took him hostage, and they have a maniacal plan to expose the supernatural world to the unknowing.

Savannah has called upon her inner energy to summon spells with frightening strength, a strength she never knew she had, as she fights to keep her world from shattering. But it’s more than a matter of supernaturals against one another—both heaven and hell have entered the war; hellhounds, genetically modified werewolves, and all forces of good and evil have joined the fray. 

Dragon Justice (Paranormal Scene Investigations #4)
Laura Anne Gilman
Publisher: Luna
Release Date: July 24


In my time with PUPI, formally known as Private, Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigations, I've seen a lot. Learned a lot. And not all of it's been good. But what we do-make people accountable for crimes committed with magic-is important work.

Still. Even I need to take a break every now and again. Or so I've just been told (ordered).

So hey, vacation. Maybe I'll finally figure out what's going on with the "special bond" between me and the boss man, Benjamin Venec. Venec seems to like that idea-he's invited me down to join him on a jaunt to Philly. But no sooner do I arrive in the City of Brotherly Love than we're called in to look at a dead body.

And that's when life gets really complicated....

In my time with PUPI, formally known as Private, Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigations, I've seen a lot. Learned a lot. And not all of it's been good. But what we do-make people accountable for crimes committed with magic-is important work.

Still. Even I need to take a break every now and again. Or so I've just been told (ordered).

So hey, vacation. Maybe I'll finally figure out what's going on with the "special bond" between me and the boss man, Benjamin Venec. Venec seems to like that idea-he's invited me down to join him on a jaunt to Philly. But no sooner do I arrive in the City of Brotherly Love than we're called in to look at a dead body.

And that's when life gets really complicated....

Young Adult

Dave Freer
Publisher: Pyr
Release Date: July 24

The smallest thing can change the path of history.

The year is 1976, and the British Empire still spans the globe. Coal drives the world, and the smog of it hangs thick over the canals of London.

Clara Calland is on the run. Hunted, along with her scientist mother, by Menshevik spies and Imperial soldiers, they flee Ireland for London. They must escape airships, treachery, and capture. Under flooded London's canals, they join the rebels who live in the dank tunnels there.

Tim Barnabas is one of the underpeople, born to the secret town of drowned London, place of anti-imperialist republicans and Irish rebels, part of the Liberty—the people who would see a return to older values and free elections. Seeing no farther than his next meal, Tim has hired on as a submariner on the Cuttlefish, a coal-fired submarine that runs smuggled cargoes beneath the steamship patrols, to the fortress America and beyond.

When the Imperial soldiery comes ravening, Clara and her mother are forced to flee aboard the Cuttlefish. Hunted like beasts, the submarine and her crew must undertake a desperate voyage across the world, from the Faeroes to the Caribbean and finally across the Pacific to find safety. But only Clara and Tim Barnabas can steer them past treachery and disaster, to freedom in Westralia. Carried with them—a lost scientific secret that threatens the very heart of Imperial power.


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