Book Review: The Last Siege by Jonathan Stroud

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The Last Siege by Jonathan Stroud Recommended Ages: 12+ Three present-day teens are thrown together in the last defense of a medieval castle—each one lonely for a different reason. Emily is an only child whose schoolmates either pick on her or ignore her. Simon is the youngest child of a big, blue-collar, trouble-making family, who often gets picked on at home. And as for Marcus… well, he’s not even from the West Norfolk village where ... Read More »

DragonCon 2013 – My ultimate fan experience

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This past weekend, I was lucky enough to represent MuggleNet at DragonCon.  For those of you who don’t know (and don’t feel bad if you’re listed among that number, I didn’t find out about the convention until this year), DragonCon is “the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction & fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe!”  The convention was founded in 1987, and is held in Atlanta, GA ... Read More »

Book Review: Emma by Jane Austen

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Emma by Jane Austen Recommended Ages: 12+ This 1815 novel is the fourth of six books by the first name in English-Regency-period romantic comedy, published only two years before its author’s death at age 42. While I found it engaging and pleasurable to read, I am glad that Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility formed my first acquaintance with Jane Austen’s work, rather than this novel. Those books are so liberally seasoned with romantic ... Read More »

Book Review: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

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The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin Recommended Ages: 14+ Winner of the 1970 Hugo Award for Best Novel, this book by the author of A Wizard of Earthsea more than deserves to be in the company of such books as Stranger in a Strange Land, Dune, Foundation’s Edge, Ender’s Game, American Gods, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. It packs ... Read More »

Movie Review: ‘The Great Gatsby’ Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack

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The Great Gatsby Book by F. Scott Fitzgerald Film by Baz Luhrmann Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey McGuire, Carey Mulligan, & Joel Edgerton Rated: PG-13 English was (almost) always my favorite subject when I was in high school. I truly loved the fact that every other week I was specifically told to transport myself into, to get fully enveloped by, to really experience, a world outside of my own.See, my high school world was that of ... Read More »

Book Review: First Lord’s Fury by Jim Butcher

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First Lord’s Fury by Jim Butcher Recommended Ages: 14+ Five books ago, Tavi of Calderon was an active, resourceful, good-naturedly trouble-prone farm boy whose prospects in life were dimmed by the fact that, unlike everyone else in Alera, he had absolutely no fury-craft—that is, no control over the spirits of air, water, wood, metal, earth, and fire. While others had these powers to a greater or lesser degree—and those with the most fury-craft tended to ... Read More »

Review: 13 Curses by Michelle Harrison

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13 Curses by Michelle Harrison Recommended Ages: 12+ In 13 Treasures, a silver bracelet strung with thirteen charms serves mainly as a link between twelve-year-old Tanya and a tragically short-lived ancestor who shared her gift, her curse: the second sight, or the ability to see faeries. But other than that, the book wasn’t really about the thirteen magical objects that gave it its name. The treasures were then little more than a talisman representing the ... Read More »

Review: The Wells Bequest by Polly Shulman

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The Wells Bequest by Polly Shulman Recommended Ages: 12+ In The Grimm Legacy, we discovered the wonderful collection of fairy-tale artifacts housed at the New-York Circulating Material Depository: a place where, for a reasonable deposit (say, your sense of direction) you can check out seven-league boots. Now a new group of pages explores one of the Depository’s other Special Collections: the Wells Bequest—as in H. G. Wells, the author who pioneered science fiction. In a ... Read More »

Review: 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison

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13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison Recommended Ages: 11+ Being able to see fairies isn’t all sparkly dust and tinkly bells. Tanya has been able to see them since she was a baby, and it’s a living nightmare for her. Her parents are fed up with what they see as serious behavioral problems. And the winged creatures that visit her on moonlit nights do not bring wonder and enchantment, but threats and punishment when she doesn’t ... Read More »

Review: Doughnut by Tom Holt

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Doughnut by Tom Holt Recommended Ages: 14+ Theo Bernstein’s promising career as a physicist blows up along with the Very Very Large Hadron Collider, apparently because he moved a decimal point the wrong way. Now he has lost his job, his fortune, his wife, and even his fleabag apartment. The only work he can find is hauling cartloads of offal at a slaughterhouse, where he also sleeps because he has nowhere else to go. Then ... Read More »