Tag Archives: 5 lightning bolts

Book Review: Darksolstice by Sam Llewellyn

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The second book of Lyonesse concludes this most unusual variant of the Arthurian legend, based on the folklore of the author’s native Isles of Scilly, off the southwest tip of Britain. It follows up on The Well Between the Worlds, which seemed such an engaging and original work of fantasy that I had read half of it before I realized that the resemblance between its characters’ names and figures associated with King Arthur was more ... Read More »

Book Review: Alien on a Rampage by Clete Barrett Smith

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Alien on a Rampage by Clete Barrett Smith Recommended Ages: 12+ In his second summer at the Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast, David (formerly “Scrub”) Elliott expects to enjoy his time with Grandma, his sweetheart Amy, and a houseful of extraterrestrial tourists. But things get off to a disappointing start, and get worse from there. First, he suspects that the new alien handyman is up to no good. But far from being able to convince anyone ... Read More »

Book Review: Rise of a Hero by Hilari Bell

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Rise of a Hero by Hilari Bell Recommended Ages: 13+ The legend says that the great hero Sorahb will return when his country has need of him. If ever Farsala needed a hero, it is now. The Hrum Empire has destroyed its army and taken possession of most of its major cities. They still have most of a year to meet their deadline, when they must either subdue all resistance or abandon their plan to ... Read More »

Book Review: Aliens on Vacation by Clete Barrett Smith

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Aliens on Vacation by Clete Barrett Smith Recommended Ages: 12+ “Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast” is the name of the series, as well as the place young David “Scrub” Elliott finds himself visiting over the summer between sixth and seventh grade. It isn’t that Scrub is into science fiction, so much. His main interest is basketball. He would rather be back in Florida, trading insane dares with his best friend and training for the all-star team. ... Read More »

Review: Railsea by China Miéville

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Railsea by China Miéville Recommended Ages: 12+ I’m just going to come out and say this. It’s Moby-Dick, only without the boring bits. Well, no. What I just described would be an 80-page novelette. This is a full-size book, filled wall-to-wall with thrilling action, squirm-worthy tension, weird discoveries, and warm, appealing characters. Also, instead of water, the ocean in this version of Moby-Dick is a seemingly endless landmass filled with merging, splitting, tangling, and criss-crossing ... Read More »

Book Review: The Idiot by Dostoevsky

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The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky Recommended Ages: 14+ Published in a series of magazine issues in 1868-69, this is one of the masterpieces by the author of Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. It made me laugh a great deal, but it is not a comedy. Its climax is mysterious and chilling, but it is not a thriller. Dickensian in its large cast of vividly colorful characters and in its satire on the society ... Read More »

Book Review: The Sign of (the) Four by Arthur Conan Doyle

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The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle Recommended Ages: 12+ The second book of the Sherlock Holmes canon was first published in 1890 under the five-word title The Sign of the Four. Since then, it has often been republished under the four-word title The Sign of Four. The confusion actually originates in the book itself, in which both phrases are used interchangeably. Although Holmes did not really become a hit until Conan Doyle ... Read More »

Book Review: The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan

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The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan Recommended Ages: 12+ In Book 2 of the “Kane Chronicles,” the Texas-based author of the “Tres Navarre” mysteries cleverly uses hilarious, romantic, magical, and thrill-packed entertainment to educate young adults about ancient Egyptian mythology. He’s very sneaky that way. But we’re not surprised, since he did the same thing with Greek mythology in the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series. Ditto Roman mythology in the “Heroes of Olympus” ... Read More »

Book Review: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo Recommended Ages: 13+ Published in 1831 in French, under the title Notre-Dame de Paris, this book has been made into an opera, a ballet, several stage plays, two musicals, and at least fifteen films, including TV and animated versions. One conclusion I could draw from this is that it’s a very popular tale, and so there is a good chance that you already have some idea of ... Read More »

Book Review: Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

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Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy Recommended Ages: 14+ If I had read Anna Karenina after this book, it would have cheered me up. Hardy’s last novel, written in 1895, stirred up such harsh criticism that its author never wrote another novel, although he lived until 1928. In me, listening to the audio-book while driving a sales circuit of convenience stores in rural Illinois, it stirred up feelings of failure and disappointment in life. The ... Read More »