Book Review: Mercury Falls by Robert Kroese

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I first became a fan of Rob Krose, also known as “Diesel,” when he was writing a side-splittingly funny blog called Mattress Police. He was also more or less the landlord of Humor-Blogs.com. When he took a hiatus from blogging to promote his first novel, it came as a crushing blow to me. I really depended on the laughs his writing gave me. So I took some consolation when Diesel selected me to receive a free ... Read More »

Book Review: One Thing’s Needful by Alan Kornacki, Jr.

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In Book 3 of the “Thy Strong Word” trilogy, I learned that many of the reservations that led me to give Book 2 a less-than-enthusiastic review were really the result of Middle of a Trilogy Syndrome. Character arcs and dramatic vectors that seemed to want more development in that book, get it in this one. I don’t know if what I’m saying right now is to repair harm that my previous review did, or to ... Read More »

Book Review: E. Nesbit

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Edith Nesbit wrote around the turn of the 20th century, and she is sort of the godmother of modern fairy tales. The type of children in her stories are typically the sort who have governesses (or at least cook and the housemaid looking after them), and who go out in the country during the summer holidays. In those days, in middle-to-upper-crust London society, parents evidently didn’t spare much time for their kids, who also did ... Read More »

Book Review: A Great and Mighty Wonder by Alan Kornacki, Jr.

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The Sunday after I told my regional bishop (while walking in disgust out of a parish meeting) that I was resigning from the clergy roster of our church body, I was supposed to serve as a substitute preacher for the author of this book. The first phone call I made was to give him the bad news that he would need to find a “substitute substitute” on really short notice. He is evidently a forgiving ... Read More »

Book Review: Finn MacCool and the Small Men of Deeds by Pat O’Shea

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Even after reading this book, I am somewhat surprised to find it packaged as a reader for small children. Slender, richly illustrated (by Stephen Lavis, in the edition I have), and laid out in big, square pages, it looks like a bedtime story, or a book for Read-Aloud Time in a first-grade classroom. In a lot of ways, this makes perfect sense, since it is a light-spirited fairy tale. What’s surprising is the level of ... Read More »

Book Review: Love Divine by Alan Kornacki, Jr.

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My policy as a book reviewer has evolved over the past decade. Whereas at one time I was nearly always open, if not thrilled, when offered a free copy of a book to discuss on my column, I have grown increasingly picky. I have almost reached the point of drawing the line at self-published works. Even that rule, however, wouldn’t have saved me from a recent fiasco in which I printed out a pre-publication PDF ... Read More »

Book Review: The Grey Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (Editor)

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Originally published in 1900, this book is part of Lang’s 12-book series of “Fairy Books of Many Colors.” It contains 35 stories from Lithuania, France, Greece, Libya, Italy, Poland, Serbia, Bohemia, Turkey, and other lands, translated and adapted by several gifted women in Lang’s circle of family and friends. It also boasts 59 exquisite illustrations by Henry Ford (the British one, not the American). Those who have followed the Many-Colored Fairy Book series to this ... Read More »

Book Review: The Borrowers books by Mary Norton

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In the 1950s Mary Norton wrote The Borrowers and followed it up with four sequels: The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Afloat, and The Borrowers Avenged. If you’ve only seen the movie, starring John Goodman and Jim Broadbent, you may be in for a surprise. The books are about as different from the movie as it could possibly be, without changing the concept altogether. In both, however, the title characters are very little people who live inside the walls and under the ... Read More »

Book Review: Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

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Dean Koontz is an author I haven’t delved into. In my mind, I class him with Stephen King – as a horror writer. But a couple of nice readers suggested that I try Odd Thomas. Their description of the book suggested to me that it was at least as much a mystery and a fantasy as a work of horror. So I thought I would give it a try. Well, come to find out, it really ... Read More »

Book Review: The Second Siege by Henry H. Neff

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Book 2 of the “Tapestry” quartet continues with Max McDaniel’s second year at the Rowan Academy, a school for magically talented teens somewhere on the east coast of the U.S. I have already noted that Rowan has as much in common with Hogwarts as almost any school for magic. In this book, however, the apparent similarities between the two schools take a backseat to the intriguing differences between them. Not that we get to see much of ... Read More »