For my third entry in the 2006 G.I.F.T. Challenge, I read The Christmas Candle, by Max Lucado. This was a touching, short story about faith and miracles. Every quarter of a century an angel visits a candle makerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s family, touching a certain candle and miracles happen.
While very short, this was a great little Christmas story that provides more meaning to the season than the usual stories. Max Lucado remains one of my favorite authors for his style of writing and the depth and insight he gives to everyday life.
Christopher Paolini’s Eragon (Inheritance, Book 1)was a pleasant surprise. Paolini was 15 when he started writing this epic tale, and 17 when it was first published. That alone is extremely impressive. But I would have loved it just as much if an adult wrote it. Yes, Paolini obviously borrowed ideas from his favorite authors (Le Guin, Tolkein, etc.), but Eragon is definitely a different story.
Originally, I wasn’t going to read the book, even though I had heard of it. But then, I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie. I was intrigued. Boy, was I glad I did.
This is a wonderful coming-of-age story. Eragon is a young teenage boy who was raised by his uncle in a poor village. He happens upon a mysterious rock that ends up changing his life. As Eragon matures and goes off in search of two killers, he is trained by a strange old man named Brom.
I was immediately swept up in the book within the first chapter. This epic tale of fantasy and lore is not only beautifully written, but exciting as well. There are quite a few surprises along the way. And all of the characters have depth and unique personalities.
This is the first in a trilogy, Eldest being the second book that was just recently released. I plan on going out and getting it soon. And you can bet that I’ll be at the theater opening night.
The Spider Stone (Rogue Angel)was another amazing read. This series has quickly become my favorite this year. Getting off to an exciting start, Destiny (Rogue Angel) introduces us to Annja Creed. Creed is a part-time archeologist, part-time host of a tv show called Chasing History’s Monsters, and full-time adventurer.
In this third book in the Rogue Angel series,The Spider Stone, Annja is hired to find a treasure with a small stone as her only clue. From Atlanta, Georgia to West Africa, Annja is hunted by mercenaries and treasure seekers. But wielding the lost sword of Joan of Arc, Annja is a formidable force to be reckoned with.
As in the first book, the characters are all well developed. I can’t wait to see where this series takes Creed and her mysterious, occasional allies, Garin and Roux. As always, action and adventure abound in this cross between Indiana Jones and Laura Croft.
Mel Odom and Victor Milan alternately write the Rogue Angel series, under the pseudonym Alex Archer.
It seems like everyone and their brother has read and reviewed this book, but I’ll give my two cents as well. I purposefully didn’t read any details on The Thirteenth Tale, wanting to have a fresh take on it.
It was a perfect read for this Halloween season, spooky and mysterious. The story was so beautifully written, that I was captivated from the start and never once wanted to put it down. Setterfield wove a brilliant web of stories within stories, revealing parts at different times, as everything came together at the end.
I do have a few criticisms. One, I didn’t care for Margaret’s constant complaining about her dead twin that she had never known. Yes, it’s sad, but she’s now an adult and needs counseling if she’s still that wrapped up in the ghosts of her past. I guess I don’t have a lot of sympathy for such week women portrayed in books. That’s why I thought it hilarious when the doctor prescribed for her to read Sherlock Holmes, instead of her usual Jane Eyre.
My other major complaint is that Setterfield took so long to wrap everything up at the end. The end seemed to drag (the only part in the book that did). And the explaining what happened to everyone was overkill. Why would we care what happened to Judith and Maurice? I don’t remember who Maurice even was! I believe he was referred to once or twice in the story.
But overall this was a fun novel that I’d recommend to anyone who loves a good, spooky mystery.
And of course, I have to comment on last nightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Heroes episode. We finally got to see NikiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“Mr. HydeÃ¢â‚¬Â persona. And I have a new theory on Peter. (And I’m sure I’m not the only one). I think maybe he has the ability to adopt anyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s powers when heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s near them. This would explain why he could fly only near his brother. (Remember he was falling the first time he tried to fly, until he was close to Nathan in the air.) It would make for a cool twist. And it would also mean that Peter could match SylarÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s abilities, making him the only one who could possibly take him down. Since it seems that Sylar has multiple powers: mind control, healing, flight, super strength, freezing ability, etc.
Everybody Comes to the Nightside, by Simon R. Green is actually a Science Fiction Book Club 3-in-1 book including originally published: Something From the Nightside, Agents of Light and Darkness, and Nightingale’s Lament.
The Nightside books center on John Taylor, a private investigator who has special abilities that help him find things in a dark, magical place called the Nightside. My favorite passage that pretty much sums it up is from the forward in Nightingale’s Lament: “My name is John Taylor. I’ve made that a name to be respected and feared, but it’s also made me a target my whole life. I operate as a private eye, in a world where gods and monsters are real. The Nightside: the sick, secret magical heart of London. A place where dreams come true, whether you want them to or not. It’s not easy to find a way in, and it can be even harder to find a way out. I can find anything, solve any mystery. Except the answers to the dark and deadly secrets of my own past. My name is John Taylor. And if you’ve come looking for me, either you’re in trouble, or you’re bound to be.”
In the first book, Something From the Nightside, a woman comes to John to ask him to find her daughter. They must travel to the dark and magical world of the Nightside, from where John has fled. The story incorporates dark humor, suspense, and horror, all wrapped up in an eerie mystery. This is my favorite in the series so far, simply because the Nightside is such a mystery and the slow reveal is great because it’s such a new and different place.
In the second book, Agents of Light and Darkness, the Nightside is already exposed to us, so Green can concentrate more on the plot, meanwhile still introducing new, creepy places within the city. A mysterious monk comes to John to ask him to find the Unholy Grail. Angels, demons, and everyone else dangerous seems to be searching for it as well. John teams up with Shotgun Suzie, a deadly assassin who once tried to kill him, for this disturbing tale.
In Nightingale’s Lament, the third book, Taylor is hired to find a famous singer in the Nightside whose audience seems to be committing suicide after her shows. Many more creepy (and yet fun) characters are introduced in this story that either aid or try to kill Taylor along the way.
This was a perfect choice as a final RIP Challenge book. I can probably attribute some of my disturbing dreams lately to the stories in this novella. I love how it’s written in a sort of classic pulp fiction detective novel, yet very fresh and fun.
_____ Speaking of creepy, disturbing things, I was on the edge of my seat several times last night watching Heroes! Each episode keeps getting better!
Last week I stopped reading Staying Dead, by Laura Anne Gilman, halfway through the book. Not only was it extremely boring, but full of made-up magical terms with no explanations.
So, I started reading Playing with Fire, by Gena Showalter. This book is a lot more fast-paced, and has a heroin with a sense of humor. And IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m still in the middle of Everybody Comes to the Nightside.
I was hoping I’d get more reading done over the long weekend of recovering from surgery. But no such luck. Anytime I tried to read, I couldn’t concentrate or it made me sleepy.
So I ended up watching a lot of tv and movies. I watched the entire forth season of Moonlighting. Unfortunately, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the most boring season concentrating almost solely on relationships instead of actual detective work.
I also watched one of the cheesiest, SciFi Channel made-for-tv movies, written by Stan Lee (creator of many great Marvel comics), called Lightspeed. A 40-something, balding, special ops man is exposed to high levels of radiation and discovers he can run at the speed of light. Not only does he not look like the average super hero (see: balding, aging, and not exactly muscular), but the outfit he wears is just laughable. It looked like it belonged in the movie Tron. The only acting worse that the heroÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s was the villain, a snake-man, called Viper, who unfortunately had the most screen-time of anyone. In one of the last scenes he screams for about five minutes straight saying the same phrase over and over, Ã¢â‚¬Å“WhyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d you make me do it? WhyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d you make me kill you?!Ã¢â‚¬Â What was the plot? IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not quite sure. Yeah. My respect for one of the greatest super hero/comic creators of all time just dropped quite a few degrees.
On a side-note, my surgery went well. My doctor found some Endometriosis and was able to clean up most of it. Hopefully, this will take care of it for a while. Thanks for the prayers, everyone!