Archive for October, 2012

Happy Halloween!!!!!


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We always have an opportunity to mention what else we’re reading (in addition to the current month’s selection) — here are the books people were talking about when we met on October 24th.

Libriomancer by Jim Hines    SF-F  HIN

Redshirts by John Scalzi       SF-F SCA

Cursed and Fated by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus series, #1 and #2)    PB SF-F JAC

Dodger by Terry Pratchett                Jh PRA

The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Tessa Gratton, Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff (The Merry Sisters of Fate)             TN CUR

the Ender Wiggins books by Orson Scott Card   SF-F CAR

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley    F OMA

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter      SF-F PRA

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson          SF-F SAN

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater              TN STI

the Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin          SF-F MAR

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff           SF-F KRI

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence          SF-F LAW

Changes by Jim Butcher           SF-F BUT

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German edition

We met last week to discuss Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.    As always, we had a great discussion ( I LOVE this group!!!), and a lot of thoughtful, interesting (and discussion-provoking) comments.   I’ll try to hit some of the highlights here (with aliases, as chosen by some people):

  • Hola began our discussion by saying that she really loved the book, and highly enjoyed it.  She also liked the Jewish elements she found in the story, like the names (Akiva), the mention of the aleph, and the golem, that aren’t usually found in fantasy books.  However, she said there were elements that reminded her a lot of other things, like Diplomacy of Wolves (which we just read and discussed recently), Guillermo del Toro’s movies, Underworld, etc.    We actually had a general discussion about how derivative some reader found the story (see the point about this further down in the bullet points)
  • Mike, on the other hand, didn’t like the book as much.   He really enjoyed the author’s descriptive writing stye, but found it frustrating that when he got 2/3 of the way through the story, that the story starts all over again.   He said, “It irritated the heck out of me.”   He said that perhaps a different structure to the story would have been better.   However, he did make another point, and that’s that he doesn’t think he’s the audience this book is aimed at (because this is a YA book).
  • Ed started off enjoying the book, but then said he felt like the little boy in Princess Bride; “is there going to be kissing????”  (yuck!)    Pokéthulu also said she didn’t like the romance in the book (too much buildup and then…. nothing happens).  She also struggled with the character of Karou, and said she felt Karou was too perfect.
  • Burt Macklin, FBI listened to the audiobook, and said that while the narrator was quite good, especially with the different accent, that he wasn’t wild about the book.  He saw the book as 3 acts — but then, there was no third act.  While he understood this is supposed to be a trilogy, he felt, as did other readers, that there should still be a bit of a conclusion.  He also noted that listening to it on audio make some of the more suspenseful parts feel as if they were lasting too long.
  • Menolly, who really enjoyed the book, said that she wanted a bit more about certain characters, like Razgut (and is hoping he appears in the second book).   Haley said she thought there were a lot of points in the story where the author could have given more information, which another reader agreed with — but pointed out that for her, it left loose ends that kept her reading.
  • Mike C also liked the book, and enjoyed the setting, and some of the inventive concepts, like Brimstone’s lab, and he also liked how the author wrote certain scenes, like where Karou and the three angels are on the bridge — but had the same reaction to the plot change that a few others had.  As far as characters went, he liked Karou, and especially liked Zuzana (it seemed everyone really liked Zuzana), but thought Akiva was “kind of a sappy guy.”    Hola said, on the subject of Zuzana, that she liked how realistic her friendship was with Karou, which other readers agreed with.
  • Many readers enjoyed the author’s very descriptive writing style.  One person pointed out how she liked some of the author’s concepts, and how she could easily visualize things like the chimaera.
  • The change in plot was something that a lot of people commented on.  Even  readers who really enjoyed the book overall noted that this was something they found distracting.   Nicole said she loved the book — she enjoyed the setting, the doors, the teeth, and how much Brimstone loved Madrigal so much that he brought her back.  However, she also said that the plot-jumping was an element she didn’t enjoy too much.
  • We had some general discussion about how derivative some readers found the book to be.  Many people found the book to be derivative, but some found it to be more of a problem than others did.   One person found there was too much of it that was derivative, and couldn’t get through the book all the way.   While he liked the speculation in the book, he wished they had just stayed in Prague (and that the story had been more original).  He compared this story to Neil Gaiman’s Graveyard Book, and Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, and found the book to be completely lacking.   Generally, people found the same kinds of things that this story pulled from — elements of Underworld, for example, where the lycans are the race seen as inferior, and who rise up, or elements of angel versus demon stories that people are familiar with.   Naberius pointed out that while these elements may be derivative, for the audience this book is aimed at (young adult), those readers may not have the same familiarity as older readers.  So, a book like this can introduce a reader to these elements, which (hopefully) might then lead them to looking for more stories, or even more information (on folklore, etc).  Menolly commented that for her, she likes it when she finds familiar elements in a story, especially when they are brought in with a new context.
  • Furry said that she found elements to be very derivative, which she didn’t really like, although she liked how the author explored topics like racism, and appearance-ism in a different way.

The codes given this book were: YA, ROM, MAG, LEL and MYT; the average rating was a 4.

Again, we had a great discussion.   If you have read this book and would like to leave a comment, please do so!   And also ….. the sequel to this book, Days of Blood and Starlight, will be coming to the library very soon, and multiple copies have been ordered.

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As always, just a few titles to whet your appetite …..

Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher

After the King: Stories in Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien – edited by Martin Greenberg and Jane Yolen

Bad Glass by Robert Gropp

The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt

Clockwork Angels: The Novel by Kevin J. Anderson

Daughter of the Sword by Steve Bein

Errantry: Strange Stories by Elizabeth Hand

Foundation’s Friends: Stories in Honor of Isaac Asimov – edited by Martin Greenberg

The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

The Silvered by Tanya Huff

Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey (Dragon Prophecy, #1)

The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams (Angel Doloriel, #1)

Iced by Karen Marie Moning (Dani O’Malley, #1)

The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest (Clockwork Century, #5)

Luck of the Draw by Piers Anthony (Xanth, #36)

The Rise of Ransom City by Felix Gilman (sequel to the Half-Made World)

River Road by Suzanne Johnson (Sentinels of New Orleans, #2)

Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell (Lost Stars, #1)

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I know some of you read manga and graphic novels, so here’s a smattering of the shiny new books coming to the GN section:

Girl Genius #11: Agatha Heterodyne and the Hammerless Bell by Phil & Kaja Foglio

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 1 (adapted into a graphic novel by Denise Mina)

Soulless: The Manga, #2 by Gail Carriger

The Walking Dead Compendium #2 by Robert Kirkman

Anomaly by Brian Haberlin

Fringe: Beyond the Fringe by Joshua Jackson and others

Johnny Hiro: Half Asian, All Hero by Fred Chao

The Road to Woodbury by Robert Kirkman

Wizzywig by Ed Piskor


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My colleague, Chris, passed this info on to me to give to you all —  for the next 8 days, the Humble Bundle of e-books (where you set your OWN PRICE) contains some SF-F books:  Signal to Noise, Old Man’s War, Pirate Cinema, Pump Six and Other Stories, Zoo City, Invasion, Stranger Things Happen and Magic for Beginners.    You choose what you want to pay, and split the contribution the way you want between authors, charity, or the Humble Bundle company (as a tip).   Intrigued?    Click on the link to access the site —

___________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _____________________

And here’s info about how this all works (straight from their site):

Eight works of literary genius. Humble eBook Bundle features eight masterful works from a prodigious league of award-winning authors. Name your price and receive Pirate Cinema, Pump Six and Other Stories, Zoo City, Invasion: The Secret World Chronicle, Stranger Things Happen, and Magic for Beginners. Customers who beat the average will also receive Old Man’s War and the graphic novel Signal to Noise!

Pay what you want. This collection of fantastic stories would typically cost around $77, but we’re letting you set the price!

Compatible with computers and mobile devices. These books are available in multiple formats including PDF, MOBI, and ePub so they work great on your computer, eBook readers, and a wide array of mobile devices! Please note that this is the digital debut for some of these great titles, and if you’re having any viewing or usability issues, please let us know!

Support charities and authors. Choose how your purchase is divided: to the authors, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, or the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. And if you like this promotion, a tip to the Humble Bundle would be greatly appreciated!

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Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?  (summary courtesy of GoodReads)


We’re meeting on Wednesday, October 24th at 7:00 pm in Meeting Room B — anyone and everyone is welcome!

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