Book Review: The Truelove by Patrick O’Brian

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The words “outraged platypus” appear on the third page of this book. Personally, I think that would have been a great title. However, for the title of his fifteenth installment in the adventures of British frigate commander Jack Aubrey and his physician-naturalist-intelligence-agent chum Stephen Maturin, Patrick O’Brian chose the name of a ship that doesn’t heave into view for another 200 pages and more. Oh, well. We can’t have everything. Jack and Stephen are back ... Read More »

Book Review: Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

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Book 2 of the “Enchanted Forest Chronicles” continues the story begun in Dealing with Dragons, only from a new character’s point of view. Mendanbar, the young king of the Enchanted Forest, has a problem with princesses. Everyone expects him to marry one someday, but they all seem hopelessly silly to him. He also thinks he has a problem with dragons, because suddenly whole patches of the Enchanted Forest are turning up, burned to a crisp. So ... Read More »

Book Review: Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

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Once again, in this third book of the “Enchanted Forest Chronicles,” the saga switches to a new point of view: the young, rather non-traditional, witch Morwen, who has nine cats (none of them black), and who can understand every word they say. The interplay among the cats creates a steady pulse of wry humor throughout the book, but it’s only incidental to what the story is actually about. It is, of course, another adventure featuring ... Read More »

Book Review: Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

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Daystar’s mother taught him a lot of things as he grew up, but chiefly, she taught him to be polite to people. Or at least, only to be rude when there is a very good reason. For example, when Daystar is seventeen years old, a wizard comes to visit his mother, and she melts him with a bucket of lemon-scented, soapy water. Immediately afterward, Mom hands Daystar a magic sword and throws him out of ... Read More »

Book Review: The Sorcerer’s House by Gene Wolfe

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Baxter Dunn is an educated prison parolee who has come to a small midwestern town in the hope of starting over, with nothing but a small allowance from his mother to do it with. In a somewhat ambiguous narrative that appears to be pieced together from letters to and from Bax, many of them involving his estranged twin brother, he goes from not knowing where his next meal will come from to owning a huge ... Read More »

Book Review: Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

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In Anne of Green Gables, it was delicious to see Anne Shirley grow up from a slight, bright-eyed orphan of eleven to a young woman fresh out of high school. Perhaps it was also sad, to think that all her girlish fancies and adventures were done. But they weren’t. As this second book in L. M. Montgomery’s classic series shows, the discoveries and delights, missteps and yearnings of a certain vivacious redhead from Prince Edward Island, ... Read More »

Book Review: The Glitch in Sleep by John Hulme & Michael Wexler

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Becker Drane is the young hero of this book, the first in a series titled The Seems. The Seems is the world behind our world, a place that manufactures all the bits and pieces of our reality, from gravity to the weather, from time to your sense of smell. Most of these industries operate smoothly, but now and then something goes wrong in the Seems – and when that happens, it becomes a disaster in our ... Read More »

Book Review: Litany of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe

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This book is actually two books in one volume. At the same time, it is only half of a book. Litany of the Long Sun contains the first two parts of a quartet of fantasy novels collectively known as The Book of the Long Sun. Within this first half of that greater book are the lesser titles Nightside the Long Sun and Lake of the Long Sun. The second half, for your information is Epiphany of the Long Sun, and it in ... Read More »

Book Review: Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska

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The 1965 Newbery Medal went to this very deserving book about a youngster in Spain who is being groomed to fight a bull. Everyone in the Andalusian town of Arcangel knows that Manolo will soon be ready to follow in the footsteps of his father: the late, great matador Juan Olivar. Only Manolo isn’t sure. He fears the danger, the oh-so-deadly danger of facing a thousand pounds of angry bull, complete with horns. Almost more ... Read More »

Book Review: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

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Between 1909 and 1939, Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote seven books about an imaginative, talkative, high-spirited heroine named Anne Shirley, beginning with this one. Set in the tiny years of the 20th century, in the tiny Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, on a farm near the (fictitious) tiny town of Avonlea, Anne of Green Gables is the most popular book in the series. In its first hundred years of existence, it has become firmly established as a ... Read More »