Thursday, September 25, 2014

Amazingly real YA fiction

Sorry for the long delay again. My day job was consuming my life, but in a completely good way. I am up for promotion! In other good news, I have finally processed my review for the book I mentioned two weeks ago. The book releases October 9th, and I really feel it is worth the pre-order.

Althea and Oliver by Cristina Moracho

The cover makes no sense until you read the book. So this is one where you really don't want to judge it first. While my book of choice is an epic fantasy of some variety, then maybe a steampunk novel, this book rocked me. 

The pace of the novel was well suited for its intended audience. The author is presenting choices and their repercussions to the teenage market. What we do will affect what we are; not just at the time of incident, but much further down the road as well. This book is great for coping with the hard choices we don't know we have to make as youth. The good decisions can have as many pitfalls as the bad, so how do we know which ones to make? Moracho writes a beautiful tale of the agonies of making decisions and dealing with the consequences with grace. This is a story of how to move on with life when it seems like all you have is lemons, and when moving on is the best choice for the future despite how much it hurts.

This novel is certainly meant to be dramatic. There are many rough moments, but I didn't feel the need to live next to the tissue box. However, this is a book that is going to impact people in so many different ways. I connected with Althea, who doesn't have a lot of tear-jerking moments; more like gut wrenching heartache.

The ending is not your typical story book happy ending, but is so sweet and beautiful. I highly recommend this novel to everyone. Parents to understand their teenager, teenagers to understand they are not alone trying to figure out how to make decisions, and those in between just to appreciate the story.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Another zany break in the Discworld

Mort by Terry Pratchett

Mort-coverThis go around we are introduced to the world of Death and his acceptance of the apprentice Mort. Death really wants a day off. Mort has no hopes of a job in his local village as he is made from all knees. Death's strong desire to take a holiday leaves the world with an extremely morphing Mort. In the interim of a human apprentice filling Death's duty, Mort decides to save the girl he loves (though he has never actually met her). What happens to the world when Death gets be the judge not the bailiff? Things get a little sideways. And there is a showdown.

We also get to meet Ysabell, Albert, and Binky. 

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Sourcery-coverWe again enjoy the world of magic and prophecy with the lovable Rincewind. This time he must attack the issue of the eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son. And why wizards are really encouraged to live there lives cooped up in the university.

Rincewind, to never be left alone on a quest, manages to acquire Conina and Nijel (some wonderfully rag-tag barbarians) during his travels. We also get a lovely glimpse of the ever-enduring Luggage as well.

This one had some lovely themes on making our own choices versus being dominated by an authority figure.

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

Wyrd-sisters-coverBack again to the world of women's magic and Granny Weatherwax. Granny has become a part of a coven back in the Ramtops. We get to experience some more of Nanny Ogg's hedgehog gold and are introduced to Magrat Garlick. Granny's apprentice Eskarina has vanished without a trace, so she must be fitting in nicely at the university.

Pratchett must really have been going through a Shakespeare phase because the entire story is very Macbeth-ian (and even has a troupe of travelling thespians as main characters). There are also allusions to the bard's personal life and other of his greater works.

This is not one of my top Discworld novels, but I have endeavored to read the whole kit and caboodle in order.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Now you can play with what you read

Rod Duncan and Stephen Ashurst have created a new website for Duncan's new Gas-Lit series, which begins with The Bullet Catcher's Daughter. This amazing website has new material for the series, but they are hidden!

You have to play intelligence gatherer on the very cool interactive Google map of Leicester as experienced in The Bullet Catcher's Daughter. You can see the border of the Anglo-Scottish Republic and the Kingdom of England and Southern Wales. Follow the clues to get the password and unlock your glimpse into a hidden short story. More mysteries will be added as Duncan adds more short stories to the series.

It is so amazing being able to interact with the stories we love on such a tactical level. Wonderful job Mr. Duncan and Mr. Ashurst.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Holiday transportation to the 90s

For my extended weekend, I laid out and enjoyed sunshine and warm weather before it fades away to fall. I also had a great book to read. The review itself is going to take me awhile to write, as the story was heart-wrenchingly close to my own life. So many thoughts were provoked. Not many literature novels can do that to me.

What I will say for now: this book is worth the pre-order. I really mean that, it's only a month to wait and this book really will be worth it.

What if you live for the moment when life goes off the rails—and then one day there’s no one left to help you get it back on track?

Althea Carter and Oliver McKinley have been best friends since they were six; she’s the fist-fighting instigator to his peacemaker, the artist whose vision balances his scientific bent. Now, as their junior year of high school comes to a close, Althea has begun to want something more than just best-friendship. Oliver, for his part, simply wants life to go back to normal, but when he wakes up one morning with no memory of the past three weeks, he can’t deny any longer that something is seriously wrong with him. And then Althea makes the worst bad decision ever, and her relationship with Oliver is shattered. He leaves town for a clinical study in New York, resolving to repair whatever is broken in his brain, while she gets into her battered Camry and drives up the coast after him, determined to make up for what she’s done.

Their journey will take them from the rooftops, keg parties, and all-ages shows of their North Carolina hometown to the pool halls, punk houses, and hospitals of New York City before they once more stand together and face their chances. Set in the DIY, mix tape, and zine culture of the mid-1990s, Cristina Moracho’s whip-smart debut is an achingly real story about identity, illness, and love—and why bad decisions sometimes feel so good.