Friday, April 8, 2011

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

"Alanna: The First Adventure" is book one in the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce. In it we meet Alanna and her twin brother, neither of whom are satisfied with the traditional roles they are expected to fulfill. Fortunately (and sadly) their father doesn't pay much attention to them. So Alanna manages to take Thom's place to go and study to be a knight, and he is able to go work on becoming a sorcerer.

Alanna becomes Alan as she works her hardest to become a knight. I think I'm a sucker for stories like this, because while it's not an original concept, I still loved it! Alanna faces many challenges in her journey, especially because she is naturally the smallest and weakest among those in training because of her sex.

Thom may be the one studying to become a sorcerer, but Alanna also has magical ability, and her talent with healing is strong. This becomes vital when a sickness sweeps through the castle and the Prince's life is threatened! She shows her strength of personality as she manages to manipulate her way into the sick room where she does battle for his life.

While the battle for the prince's life is a significant one, it's by no means the only most major one she will fight in this book. No, at the side of the prince she is called to fight and even greater foe. One no one could imagine they'd have a chance against.

The writing in this book is a little simplistic and at a young reading level, but it's still a lot of fun to read. My elf-sister, who recommended the series to me, says that as the series goes along it becomes more "grown-up." I'm glad, because if this is the first adventure, I'm looking forward to seeing what else Alanna gets herself into!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Judas Strain by James Rollins

"The Judas Strain" is another fast-paced action-thriller from the series "Sigma Force" by James Rollins. The Sigma Force is a covert field arm of DARPA, and they work to either neutralize or safeguard new technologies all around the world. This gets them into lots of tight situations, and this time is no exception!

The story of the "Judas Strain" traces back to Marco Polo. He and his crew encountered something deadly that they were never willing to talk about, and now it looks like that something has been unleashed on the world. At Christmas Island there has been a massive wave of death, and the most frightening part is that it looks like it was released intentionally. This could be the most terrifying biological weapon yet!

All of our old friends are in this book, and the situations they face are extreme. Commander Gray Pierce wasn't even originally involved in the situation, until his old nemesis shows up at his door step offering to help, and his parents are kidnapped to stop the two of them. Monk and Lisa find themselves in the middle of the ocean with a diabolical mastermind who is intent on destruction. And we even see our old friend Monsignor Verona from the Vatican!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Turned Upside Down and Inside Out

Did you know it's National Poetry Month? I've been writing a lot more poetry this year, so I decided that I would see how many poems I can write this month! I probably won't post most of them on here, but I'll post some of what I think are the "better" one's. I started this one last month, but edited it, wrote the last first, and changed up some stuff today, so I'm counting it. It's about my brother's fight with cancer.

Turned Upside Down and Inside Out
By Ruthie Stickney, 2011

It used to be…
That the sun shined in the day,
And the moon ruled the night.
White was simply white,
And black was the darkest color of all.
I drank coffee in the mornings,
And slept in my bed at night.

But nowadays…
The sun has taken over the night,
And now the moon rules the day.
White’s been overcome by black,
And Black has become a rainbow.
I drink coffee all day long,
And sleep whenever I can.

The world used to…
Revolve around my needs and hurts,
Others came second not by choice,
But because I had not strength to care.
Nothing left after the doctors appointments,
And the medications I had to take.
Lost in a world of one, others need not apply.

But now my world…
Is still centered around doctor’s appointments,
But they are not my own anymore.
Chemotherapy, IV’s, and follow ups,
Ambulances, ER, and hospital rooms,
Even a few surgery’s thrown in,
Watching his pain and hurting along.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wow! I read a lot of books this month!

It's April 1st - and other than being April Fools - it's also time to share my book list for this last month! I was really sick this whole last month so I got a lot of reading done... Wayyyyy to much.

In case anyone wonders - yes - I'm massively behind on book reviews. It's a chronic problem because I always have way to many things I want to do! Right now I'm both behind on writing them and posting them. Honestly? I have a big file of them going back to March of last year - I need to get on top of posting them again huh? I also have about about 30 piled up by the book case to review. Aiy yi yi. I'm working on catching up - on both of them. I have some strategies planned for blogging more regularly - and the pressure of books needing to go back to the library should get be catching up on the writing of the reviews :)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz

"Revelations" is the third book in the "Blue Bloods" series by Melissa de la Cruz. She has a rather unique take on vampires, and I've been having a lot of fun reading through the series! In these books vampires are immortal, and originally were angels. They do feed on human blood, but they have very strict rules about it, and many of New York's Social elites are actually Blue Bloods (so called because of the color of their blood).

The Blue Blood community is still reeling from the incontrovertible evidence that the Silver Bloods, their ancient enemies, are not just legends or myths and are back and killing. For Mimi, while this should be shaking her up (she was accused of being one in the last book), she's more upset over her twins infatuation with Schuyler.

Schyler, mean while, is in agony as she's torn between her love of Mimi's twin, Jack, and her love of her long time friend Oliver, who is also now her blood familiar. She's also extremely distressed because her Grandfather is off on a dangerous mission and not reporting in nearly often enough for her satisfaction.

Just like the rest of the series, this is a fast-paced, page-turning, vampire soap opera that will keep you hanging onto every word!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Across the Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories

by Garth Nix

I absolutely loved the Abhorsen trilogy, so when I saw that there was another book linked to it; I started dancing in my computer chair! "Across the Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories" is a compilation of short stories by Garth Nix. Some are more of the length of a novella, and some of them are only a couple of pages long. Only one of the stories is set in the world of the Abhorsen trilogy, but the rest made for interesting reading as well!

One thing I really liked about this book is that each story has an introduction to it where we get to hear from Garth Nix why the story was written, and some of his stories surrounding it. I guess I'm just a sucker for stories, because I like even the stories about stories!

"Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case," is the first story in this book and the one that's based in the world of the Abhorsen trilogy. I loved the fact that we got to find out more of what happened to Nick, because while he is redeemed at the end of the last book, we're left with no idea of where his life is going to go from there. The only thing that frustrated me about the story is he left me wanting even more as he hinted at a blooming romance...

There are twelve other stories in this book and they vary vastly in topic and style – which I liked. While there is a degree of his "flavor" to all of them, it's always fun to see an author who can apply his talents to a variety of subjects.

Many of these pieces (maybe all, I can't remember) have appeared before in different anthologies or other print mediums. One of them (Hansel's Eyes) I had actually read before! Two are based in Arthurian legend, one is based in Nix's homeland of Australia, and we even have a "choose your own adventure" type story in here! Readers of Nix new and old will love this anthology of his work.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

First let me say - sorry for the lack of reviews lately!
I hope to be bringing these to you on a regular basis again now :)

I've read the majority of Terry Pratchetts books, and as I do my read through by publication date, I'm enjoying coming across the ones that I've never read! "Pyramids" is one of those, and as my local library didn't have it, I had to do an Interlibrary Loan request for it!

"Pyramids" is the story of Teppic, a young man on the verge both of becoming an Assassin and a King. Both are rather respectable occupations, and in fact Teppic had been sent to Ankh-Morpork to train as Assassin precisely because it was a noble calling and one that promised to give him the best education.

In Ankh-Morpork crime is managed by the guilds for the most part. They've taken what used to be rather haphazard acts of thievery and murder, and elevated them to an art. This actually allows for a more orderly society than they had before, and I find the system rather fascinating. I rather enjoyed the first portion of the book where we learn about Teppic's early days at the school, and his eventual Assassins test.

Teppic does not get to stay merely an assassin though, the blood of Kings runs through his veins, and when his father dies, it's time for him to go home and rule the kingdom.

Djelibeybi is a small desert country. It's narrow and long, and its biggest distinctions are the pyramids that dot the landscape (and bankrupt the kingdom) and that its presence keeps its two neighbors from warring with each other. Teppic finds himself being manipulated by the high priest into creating the biggest pyramid ever in honor of his dead father. Although, if he could hear his dead father like we can, he'd realize that the last thing he wanted was a pyramid.

The only problem with this pyramid is that it's simply dangerous to build a pyramid that big. Oh not for the reasons you might expect, massive pieces of rock and dying slaves and all that, but because the pyramids actually channel time. So when this mighty pyramid is built, and not finished correctly, everything in the kingdom goes haywire. The kingdom itself disappears, the mummy's walk, and Teppic the Assassin King has to figure out how to fix it all.