Friday, 31 October 2014

Review: 'Discount Armageddon' by Seanan McGuire

Discount Armageddon, by Seanan McGuire, 2012, DAW, $7.99, softbound, 352 pages. Category/Genre: fantasy. Cover: sexy. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. 

The first in a new series by the author who gave us the October Daye novels, Discount Armageddon is a new take on the urban fantasy. 

Verity Price is part of a family of cryptozoologists -- people who study, and protect humanity from, creatures whose existence has yet to be proven by science: 'monsters' such as yeti and dragons (although dragons are said to be extinct). 

Verity has a job waitressing at Dave's Fish and Strips to pay the rent -- but she really wants to be a ballroom dancer. Officially, she's in New York to document and assist the city's cryptid community. And she's doing fine at that -- until another cryptozoologist shows up. His name is Dominic DeLuca, and he's part of The Covenant, a group who believe that all cryptids should be destroyed. Verity's family broke from The Covenant generations ago and have been in hiding from them ever since. 

Then someone starts killing cryptids -- and it isn't Dominic. Add to that the fact that there may be a dragon under the city, and you have a recipe for disaster . . . especially as Verity and Dominic start to fall for each other. 

Apart from the cool fight scenes in this book, there's a lot of information on the various cryptids Verity meets, as well as a lot of humour. Particularly where the Aeslin mice are concerned. There's a group of them living in Verity's apartment, and they thrive on rituals and shouting 'Hail!' at every opportunity.

Note: strong language and sexual situations. 

If you like this one, try: Midnight Blue-Light Special, by Seanan McGuire; and the October Daye series, starting with Rosemary and Rue, also by Seanan McGuire.  

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Review: 'Murphy: Gold Rush Dog' by Alison Hart

Murphy: Gold Rush Dog by Alison Hart, Illustrated by Michael G Montgomery, 2014, Peachtree, $12.95, hardbound, 176 pages. Category/Genre: historical fiction. Cover: excellent. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. 

The second installment in the Dog Chronicles, Murphy takes us to Nome, Alaska, 1900, where abused sled dog Murphy escapes his cruel master, Carlick. All Murphy wants is a home, and maybe bacon. 

Then Murphy finds Sally and her mother, who are just arriving in Alaska. Murphy instinctively befriends the pair, and the trio become a family. 

But life in Alaska is hard; while Sally delivers mail to earn enough to stake a claim, Mama struggles to provide for the family by typing in an office. The family has no house, only a tent on the beach -- but when the snows come, they will need a house, or they will have to leave Alaska. 

Desperate to stay in Alaska, Sally takes Murphy and goes to stake a claim, facing deadly predators and storms. If she can only find enough gold to buy a house, the family can stay. But Carlick and the claim jumper he works for have other plans . . . 

This is an exciting book with history woven in, all told from a dog's point of view. More history is included in the back of the book, as well as a list of books for further reading. The black and white illustrations add further interest and are a pleasure to look at. 

For ages seven to 10. 

If you like this one, try: Darling, Mercy Dog of World War I, by Alison Hart. 

Don't forget the other stops on the tour:

Today: The 4th Musketeer

Friday: Sally's Bookshelf .

Monday, 20 October 2014

Friday, 17 October 2014

Review: 'A Local Habitation' by Seanan McGuire

A Local Habitation, by Seanan McGuire, 2010, DAW, $7.99, softbound, 387 pages. Category/Genre: fantasy. Cover: atmospheric. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. 

The second in the October Daye series, A Local Habitation finds October 'Toby' Daye on what she considers a milk run: going to Tamed Lightning (a fae County) to find out why her liege's niece, January, isn't returning his calls. Toby takes with her Quentin, a page, so he can learn from her. 

But the pair soon find out that the 'milk run' isn't as simple -- or as harmless -- as all that. There's a murder at Tamed Lightning soon after they arrive, and it isn't the first. 

No-one's talking, however. It takes some time for Toby to even find January, and even she acts like she's hiding something. To complicate matters still further, January doesn't trust Toby to be who she says she is. Her phone calls to her uncle, she says, have never been returned. 

Still more unsettling is the fact that neither Toby nor Quentin are able to read the dead's blood; as Daoine Sidhe, they should be able to gather memories from it by tasting it, but they get nothing. And the night-haunts, who normally take away the bodies of dead fae, aren't taking these. 

This is a good mystery with fascinating characters and McGuire's fluid storytelling. The fae in this series are based on real legends, but have McGuire's stamp all over them. 

If you like this one, try: Rosemary and Rue, by Seanan McGuire; Midnight Blue-Light Special, by Seanan McGuire; and for young adults, The Iron King, by Julie Kagawa -- this one's less urban fantasy, but the fae are well drawn, and there's an interesting twist to the story.      

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Review: 'Can I Come, Too?' by Brian Patten

Can I Come, Too? by Brian Patten, Illustrated by Nicola Bayley, 2014, Peachtree, $16.95, hardbound, 29 pages. Cover: very good. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. 

One day, a little mouse decides to have a big adventure: she wants to see the biggest creature in the world. 

First she finds a frog -- he isn't the biggest creature, but he wants to see who is. So he comes along. Then they add a kingfisher to their party. And on it goes, with bigger and bigger animals joining the group, until finally they go to where the river ends and find the one who is truly the biggest creature in all the world. 

A well-told story, this book has artwork that's as descriptive as the text. The animals' expressions and the way they seem to move across the page bring them to life. Children and adults alike will enjoy reading Can I Come, Too?, and every kid will wonder up until the end who the biggest animal is.

If you like this one, try: Suggestions?   

Monday, 6 October 2014

Peachtree Blog Tour: 'Can I Come, Too?'

Don't forget the other stops on the tour:

Monday (today):
Green Bean Teen Queen

Geo Librarian & Kid Lit Reviews

Chat with Vera

Blue Owl & The Fourth Musketeer

Sally's Bookshelf.

We're doing Can I Come, Too? by Brian Patten and Nicola Bayley. Enjoy some of the artwork below:

Friday, 3 October 2014

Review: 'The Wild Ways' by Tanya Huff

The Wild Ways, by Tanya Huff, 2011, DAW, $7.99, softbound, 424 pages. Category/Genre: fantasy. Cover: interesting, but not spectacular. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million.

Charlie Gale is part of the Gale family, those who can alter reality with the charms they weave. Charlie is a rare Wild Power, the extent of whose powers are as yet unrealised. She's wild in other ways, too; she has sex with her married cousin, Allie, and travels between worlds. 

When Charlie finds out a selkie rookery is endangered, she sets out to help, with the aid of Jack, a 14-year-old Dragon Prince who's finding it hard to be a normal teenage boy. But helping the selkies isn't going to be easy; Charlie's Auntie Catherine, another Wild Power, is against them. 

The second in a series, The Wild Ways can be enjoyed without having read the first book -- but we wouldn't recommend it. Huff doesn't explain certain things, at least not to our satisfaction, and one would hope she explains them more fully in the first installment, The Enchantment Emporium. Still, this proved an entertaining read, and you might do well to pick up the first one just to have more of Huff's writing to read. 

One thing we liked about this book in particular was the use of selkies as a focal point in the plot; selkies are seldom, if ever, used in modern fiction, and Huff's take on them suits the old legends. 

Note: strong language.

If you like this one, try: The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff.