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  • gilwilson 9:36 AM on May 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: brian catling, fantasy, vorrh   

    “The Vorrh” By Brian Catling 

    The Vorrh16071377
    By: Brian Catling
    Narrated by: Allan Corduner
    Series: The Vorrh Trilogy, Book 1
    Length: 17 hrs and 18 mins
    Release date: 04-28-15
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    Interesting enough to keep me reading, but the different points of view and different storylines, made for a frustrating book at times.

    The cyclops that was raised in the basement of a rich person’s house by a group of insectoid robots, the hunter who made a bow from the tissue and sinew of his dead partner, a blind woman healed by the cyclops, and a photographer that took grisly, at times, photos, are just a few of the interwoven stories.

    The worst part was trying to figure what time period this took place. Can’t recommend but can’t say stay away from either.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Prepare to lose yourself in the heady, mythical expanse of The Vorrh, a daring debut that Alan Moore has called “a phosphorescent masterpiece” and “the current century’s first landmark work of fantasy”.

    Next to the colonial town of Essenwald sits the Vorrh, a vast – perhaps endless – forest. It is a place of demons and angels, of warriors and priests. Sentient and magical, the Vorrh bends time and wipes memory. Legend has it that the Garden of Eden still exists at its heart. Now a renegade English soldier aims to be the first human to traverse its expanse. Armed with only a strange bow, he begins his journey, but some fear the consequences of his mission, and a native marksman has been chosen to stop him. Around them swirl a remarkable cast of characters, including a Cyclops raised by robots and a young girl with tragic curiosity as well as historical figures, such as writer Raymond Roussel and photographer Edward Muybridge. While fact and fictional blend, the hunter will become the hunted, and everyone’s fate hangs in the balance under the will of the Vorrh.

    ©2015 Brian Catling (P)2015 Random House Audio

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  • gilwilson 6:29 PM on May 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: fantasy, game of thrones, george r.r. martin, neail gaiman, rogues,   

    “Rogues” George R. R. Martin (editor), Gardner Dozois (editor) 

    Rogues25317305
    By: Neil Gaiman (contributor), George R. R. Martin (editor), Gillian Flynn (contributor), Gardner Dozois (editor)
    Narrated by: Janis Ian, Gwendoline Christie, Roy Dotrice, Ron Donachie, Phil Gigante, Julia Whelan, W. Morgan Sheppard, George R. R. Martin
    Length: 31 hrs and 18 mins
    Unabridged Audiobook
    Release date: 06-17-14
    Language: English
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    This collection of short stories has you rooting for the not-so-bad-guy. The not so honest scoundrel is the hero of all these stories. What attracted me to this collection was two specific authors; Neil Gaiman & George RR Martin, but with 21 different stories from 21 different authors, you may find a new favorite. With the audiobook you get a variety of voice actors bringing you the stories, creating that collected stories feel.

    Publisher’s Summary
    A thrilling collection of 21 original stories by an all-star list of contributors – including a new A Game of Thrones story by George R. R. Martin!

    If you’re a fan of fiction that is more than just black and white, this latest story collection from number-one New York Times best-selling author George R. R. Martin and award-winning editor Gardner Dozois is filled with subtle shades of gray. Twenty-one all-original stories, by an all-star list of contributors, will delight and astonish you in equal measure with their cunning twists and dazzling reversals. And George R. R. Martin himself offers a brand-new A Game of Thrones tale chronicling one of the biggest rogues in the entire history of Ice and Fire.

    Follow along with the likes of Gillian Flynn, Joe Abercrombie, Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Cherie Priest, Garth Nix, and Connie Willis, as well as other masters of literary sleight-of-hand, in this rogues gallery of stories that will plunder your heart – and yet leave you all the richer for it.

    INTRODUCTION: EVERYBODY LOVES A ROGUE, read by George R. R. Martin
    TOUGH TIMES ALL OVER, read by Gwendoline Christie
    WHAT DO YOU DO?, read by Julia Whelan
    THE INN OF THE SEVEN BLESSINGS, read by Roy Dotrice
    BENT TWIG, read by Phil Gigante
    TAWNY PETTICOATS, read by Ron Donachie
    PROVENANCE, read by W. Morgan Sheppard
    ROARING TWENTIES, read by Janis Ian
    A YEAR AND A DAY IN OLD THERADANE, read by Gwendoline Christie
    BAD BRASS, read by Gil Bellows
    HEAVY METAL, read by Scott Brick
    THE MEANING OF LOVE, read by Conleth Hill
    A BETTER WAY TO DIE, read by Roy Dotrice
    ILL SEEN IN TYRE, read by Gethin Anthony
    A CARGO OF IVORIES, read by Ron Donachie
    DIAMONDS FROM TEQUILA, read by David Greenlee
    THE CARAVAN TO NOWHERE, read by W. Morgan Sheppard
    THE CURIOUS AFFAIR OF THE DEAD WIVES, read by Harriet Walter
    HOW THE MARQUIS GOT HIS COAT BACK, read by Roy Dotrice
    NOW SHOWING, read by Molly Quinn
    THE LIGHTNING TREE, read by Rupert Degas
    THE ROGUE PRINCE, read by Iain Glen.

    ©2014 Random House (P)2014 Random House Audio

     
  • gilwilson 3:42 PM on August 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: age of x, , , , emily shaffer, fantasy, gameboard of the gods, mythology, , , richelle mead,   

    Audiobook Review: “Gameboard of the Gods” By Richelle Mead 

    gameboard-of-the-gods

    Audiobook Review: “Gameboard of the Gods”

    By Richelle Mead

    Read by Emily Shaffer

    Published by Penguin Audio

    Total Playing Time: Approx 16 hours

     

     

    When I became aware of this book as a potential read, the first thing I noticed was that it hit me with a triple whammy of my interests, thus making it a must read to find out what it was about.  The first thing that grabbed me was that the book is a sci-fi and I love sci-fi.  Next is that the book is a dystopian story, and I have always enjoyed a good dystopian to find out what different authors see as a possible bleak future.  The third aspect that grabbed me was that the book is the first in a series, “The Age of X” series from Richelle Mead.  If the characters are strong enough I enjoy a good fictional series because I know that I will have more stories to continue my reading enjoyment.

     

    Those were the three aspects that grabbed me enough to start listening to the book but were they good enough to keep me listening?  The fact that I’m writing this review is a sure sign that they were, If a book is not good enough to keep my attention then I just don’t finish the book and don’t write a review.  (This explains why sometimes there are long gaps of time between my reviews,  I get through parts of books only to put them down and try another.)  Richelle Mead did create a very interesting tri-fecta of features that kept me interested in this book and eager to hear/read any future books in this series.

     

    In the sci-fi aspect of this story Mead has created a future for planet Earth where we all have Egos.  In this case the Ego is really more of a smart phone that’s even smarter.
    The Ego controls communications and is synced to the media stream (internet), as well as the owner’s identity chip. Everyone is chipped in the future.  The chip is keyed to the person’s DNA and an entry in the National Registry, which contains all of their basic information. Chip readers scattered throughout the country regulate who enters secure areas and also help locate criminals and outsiders.

     

    The Dystopian aspect sneaks it’s way into the story as the characters work through the solving of a series of murders.  There is first the disease called Mephistopheles which killed off billions on the planet.  The survival of humans from this diseases is helped by genetic blending.  In other words different races are forced to interbreed.  Those that stay pure are part of the elite but they also bear the scars of the disease, which leads to the elite having to rely on plastic surgery.

     

    On top of this there is only one religion; The Secular Church of Humanity, which is basically just a voice for the government.  All other religions must be registered and prove on a regular basis that they have a purpose and admit they worship a fictional entity.

     

    Justin March is a servitor, an investigator of sorts employed by the government to investigate religious groups and supernatural claims.  Something happened to Justin that caused him to be exiled to the provinces away from the civilized RUNA (Republic of United North America).  He is called back to the RUNA to investigate a series of religious based murders.  His escort, Mae Koskinen is a Praetorian guard (the elite of the elite in world military).  After a one night stand with each other they find out their true identities and their mission together, which makes matters uncomfortable.

     

    The two find out that there is a fine line between mythology and reality and that line is encroaching on reality threatening Justin’s and Mae’s careers and lives.  Mixing space age sci-fi with mythos and fantasy, Mead has started a series that will keep you going and helping to solve the murder mystery along with revealing the forgotten gods seeking to reclaim the planet.

     

    Emily Shaffer does a superb job of performing the book.  She is able to differentiate between voices during dialog and perform the various emotions through here vocal talents, making this audiobook a very easy listen.

     
  • gilwilson 3:52 PM on July 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , brendan craddock, , faerie, fantasy, , , legends, , , new author, peter schmit, quadrivium books, sir lancelot, summerhawk   

    “Summerhawk” By Peter Schmit 

    peternew

    “Summerhawk”

    By Peter Schmit

    Published by Quadrivium Books

    312 pages

    I love reading books that are a part of a series.  Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series, Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files,” are a couple of my favorites.  With a series you have a good stable cast of characters that create a whole new world that provide a collection of readings that will last several installations.  There are some books that introduce characters and you just have to know what happened next.  These series’ provide that answer.  This book, “Summerhawk,” is one that I hope and am pretty sure will be a series providing the further adventures of Brendan Craddock.

    This book introduces Brendan Craddock a mild mannered former school teacher who has a secret.  That secret is soon revealed and it sends Brendan into a tailspin into a world of myth, magic and mayhem.  Brendan is the reincarnation of Sir Lancelot Du Lac, The Summerhawk, and with that brings eternal powers, a really cool sword and a bunch of people that want him to serve them.

    Brendan is recently divorced and his ex-wife is about to get married to the perfect man. He is so perfect that, no matter how hard he tries, Brendan can’t bring himself to even dislike the guy.  He’s even invited to their wedding, probably just for his daughter’s sake.  All Brendan wants is to find a nice quiet bar and get good and drunk.  When a barfly and her mate decide to start a fight with Brendan, he finds himself battling with supernatural powers that he has never experienced before.  As the battle ensues the other parties involved also develop a bit of the supernatural and become half human and half animal.

    Brendan soon goes to his aunt for questions, which only lead to other questions and mysteries.  When Brendan’s daughter, Genevieve, is taken away on a dark, stormy night, Brendan picks up his sword and goes through hell to the world of Faerie and Fae to recover the only stable part of his life.

    Peter Schmit has created a glimpse into another world and a cast of characters that will leave you wanting more.  I have it on good authority that this will be a series that I will be enjoying for a while.  Schmit has written such depth to these characters that as the reader I felt I already knew who they were and was ready to jump in to the adventure knowing I was in safe hands.   The world of legends borrows from the Arthurian legends but Schmit has added in his flair to make this world even more magical and full of surprises.

    Trust me on this one, this freshman work from new author Peter Schmit is worth jumping into.  Make this your next new author read.

     
  • gilwilson 3:00 PM on December 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , bbc 4, , , , , fantasy, , j.r.r. tolkien, , the hobbit   

    “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien (a radio performance from AudioGo) 

    300x300

    “The Hobbit”
    by J.R.R. Tolkien
    Full Cast Performance
    Published by AudioGO Ltd
    Running Time: 4hrs

    Okay, first off the first thing that will come to many of my loyal readers’ attention is the length of this audiobook, 4 hours. 4 hours for “The Hobbit”? that’s insane. I know, I know, but this isn’t simply “The Hobbit” audiobook. This is a performance originally aired on BBC 4 radio. The audiobook runs 11 hours or so and this one I am reviewing has been abridged to fit on a radio series format and is now being released as an audio performance by AudioGo. The movie that is about to be released is just under 3 hours, so you know some abridging is being done there as well.

    This performance originally aired in 1968 and features some special effects that are very typical of BBC effects, the voices of the goblins and trolls are very similar to the voices of the Daleks from the Doctor Who TV series, and add a bit of charm to the production. The rest of the performance is very nice to hear. I will have to admit I would have preferred cutting out the music in and music out between each half hour, but that was the original intent in this weekly broadcast so to remain historically accurate it is kept in this audiobook.

    I have read “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Ring” series numerous times in my life and love the adventures and found this audiobook/performance a great addition to my readings. In fact with the movie released I found this to be the perfect refresher before going to see the movie.

    So, if you keep in mind that this is an abridged radio series performance of “The Hobbit,” you’ll be set for an adventure with Bilbo Baggins and the Dwarves to battle the Dragon, Smaug, and simply enjoy the performance. The fun part of this performance is that for the radio production the producers/writers added in what could be taken for an extra character of “The Tale Bearer” or simply put, the narrator. The fun part is that as he is telling the story Bilbo is constantly interjecting with embellishments to the story.

    The story is still the same; Bilbo Baggins a Hobbit from the Shire is unwittingly recruited as a “burglar”, a title which Bilbo is not comfortable with at first. Bilbo is needed to assist the Dwarves on a journey to reclaim their ancestral lands and treasures under a mountain. Other than the long journey, the hazardous part is that the treasure is guarded by a dragon named Smaug and many other races from Middle Earth also wish to possess that treasure. The journey, the battles and the variety of mythical creatures all combine to make this a classic fantasy, and this performance is a great addition to the story.

    So if you are looking for a refresher in the fantasy created by J.R.R. Tolkien, a brief introduction to the story, or just a fun time, give this audiobook version of the radio performance of “The Hobbit” from AudioGo a listen.

     
  • gilwilson 7:23 PM on November 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , faery, fantasy, , , , , ,   

    “Cold Days” by Jim Butcher 

    “Cold Days” (Dresden files book 14)
    by Jim Butcher
    Read by James Marsters
    published by Penguin Audio
    Approx. 16 hours

    It was so awesome getting this audiobook in the mail. I’m a huge fan of Jim Butcher’s writing and have been waiting anxiously for this latest installment of “The Dresden Files,” featuring my favorite wizard and all around protector of humanity. I think even if Chuck Norris were a wizard Harry Dresden would still give him a beat down. Dresden is just that awesome. I mean really he’s taken on werewolves, vampires, demons, gods and the three billy goats gruff and manages to keep on for the next day.

    Okay there has been an exception to this, and I’d better approach that before carrying on with this book. If you haven’t read up to book twelve, “Changes,” you may want to skip ahead in this review because this paragraph will contain some spoilers for you. Basically at the end of “Changes” Harry Dresden dies, but what is it like when a wizard dies? In book thirteen “Ghost Story,” Dresden comes back to his hometown of Chicago as a ghost and helps fight of an evil while going all Patrick Swayze on his friends. Then at the end of that book Harry is brought back by the faery Queen of Winter, Mab, because at the end of “Changes” he agreed to serve her as her Winter Knight in order to save his daughter. So he has died but he is so awesome that he comes back to life.

    So now we are at this book, the 14th in the series, “Cold Days.” As per the usual run of any “Dresden Files” book, Harry is faced with many dangers that to any normal person, this includes you, Chuck Norris, would lead to death and the possible end of the world. Harry is now the Winter Knight and as part of his rehab, yeah after being dead he has to go through some intense life-threatening physical therapy, his life is threatened daily by Mab via poisonous spiders, fire, and just about any evil she can come up with for him to fend off. Picture Cato Fong, from the Pink Panther series always surprising Clouseau by attacking, only now make Fong a nearly evil Queen of Winter and Darkness, with unlimited power, and that’s what Harry has to contend with.

    After Harry’s physical rehab, he is assigned a couple of assistant’s of sorts. One is the Cat Sith, no he doesn’t have a red light saber, who is a powerful faerie who is dangerous, and a woman who seems to be Mab’s BFF, but may also have an ulterior motive. Harry is then invited to his own Birthday party to announce the him as the new Winter Knight. There are two simple rules at this party and other than those anything goes. The two rules are 1. No one speaks to Mab unless she says otherwise and 2. No blood is spilled. In Harry’s world, you know one of the rules is going to be broken.

    At the party Mab’s daughter Maeve tries to seduce Harry and pull him to her side, after that fails a Red Cap powry tries to get Harry angry and spill blood, but Harry manages to maintain his cool and receives his first order from Mab; Kill Maeve. So to start things out Harry has to kill an immortal (one who can’t be killed).

    Harry then is allowed to return home to Chicago and in order to find a way to kill Maeve he retrieves his wizard’s equivalent of a computer, Bob. Once he’s on the trail to find out how to kill that which cannot be killed Harry figures out he’s going to need his friends not because of Maeve but because his island, Demonreach, is about to explode and take Chicago with it. So with the help of his apprentice, Molly, his half-brother the vampire, Thomas, the faery general, Toot-toot, and more Harry has to stop a mystical island from exploding, save Chicago, avoid being killed by the Earlking and his hunt and kill an immortal. Oh yeah, and he’s only got 1 day to do it.

    As a side note and a bit of a spoiler, Harry gets to meet Santa Claus and even kicks Santa’s butt in a battle. Funny stuff and great adventure in this latest adventure from Jim Butcher. If you haven’t launched yourself into the Dresden Files yet, get on it.

    As a final note I have to talk about the reader of this audiobook, James Marsters. Actually reader doesn’t do it justice, Marsters is the performer of this audiobook. James Marsters has become a fan favorite as reader of the Dresden Files books and when he was busy with an acting gig and couldn’t do the “Ghost Story” novel, many fans were upset, including me. Marsters, is best known for his role in the television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” as the vampire, Spike. His performance in the Dresden books is way above par. He captures the character of Harry Dresden perfectly by being able to vocalize all of the between the lines stuff, such as emotion, history and even the awesome use of sarcasm and snarkiness. Not only does he portray a great version of Harry Dresden, but there are times that while listening to the book it almost sounds like a multi-cast performance with Marsters doing some great vocal gymnastics to represent each character. Thanks to Marsters, the faery General Toot-toot comes to life in full 3-D representation. He definitely adds one more plus to these already great books.

     
  • gilwilson 10:52 PM on June 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dark tower, fantasy, gunslinger, , path of the beam, randall flagg, roland, , , the dark man, the dark tower, the wind through the keyhole   

    “The Wind Through the Keyhole” by Stephen King 

    “The Wind Through the Keyhole”
    Written and Read by Stephen King
    Published by Simon and Schuster
    Approx 10.5 hours

    I thought I heard a few years ago that Stephen King was retiring. I also heard he wrote his last “Dark Tower” novel. I’m so glad he didn’t really retire, or maybe he just found that he had more stories to tell, either way, I love me some Stephen King. I’ve been a fan since way back and made it a point to read every published book by him and so far so good. Now all I have to do is keep up with his retirement.

    This latest book from the master storyteller runs in the “Dark Tower” series. For those of you who know and probably love this series, as I do, and are curious about the continuity of this installment, it fits in between “The Wizard and Glass” and “Wolves of the Calla” books, or books four and five. The neat thing about this book is that it is a story within a story within a story, let me explain; basically Roland, Eddie, Susanna, Jake and Oy have just left the Emerald City and are on their way on the path of the beam to the Dark Tower. They come to a river and as they are crossing on a ferry, the ferryman and the Billy Bumbler, Oy, alert the Ka-tet (in the Dark Tower world a Ka-tet is a group travelling with common goals, usually of spiritual nature) of an oncoming Starkblast is coming. A Starkblast is a severe storm that not only brings with it high winds but freezing temperatures that can kill any living creature not in shelter. The ferryman tells the Ka-tet they can seek shelter in the common house of an abandoned town but they have to hurry.

    They arrive in the town and are in the middle of securing the common house when the Starkblast hits. While holed up in the building, Roland tells a story of his past at the request of Jake and the others when they discover they cannot sleep. Roland’s story is one when he was just a beginning gunslinger and when his father sends Roland and another young gunslinger, Jamie, to a town that is being terrorized by a “Skin-man,” an apparent shape shifter who transforms into various animals at night and embarking on murderous rampages. As they spend the night in the town the Skin-man strikes, this time there is a survivor, a young boy named Bill, who witnessed the Skin-man viciously attacking and killing all the residents of a local farm, including his own father. Roland hypnotizes Bill to find some evidence that the frightened boy may have witnessed but is to terror-struck to remember. A clue is found and the deputies along with Jamie, the gunslinger go to round up a group of suspects that will be used as a line-up for Bill to identify. As they are waiting on the suspects Roland tells the young boy a story to help ease his fears.

    The story Roland tells is the Legend of Tim Trueheart from Roland’s childhood. A story Roland’s mother used to tell him. This story is a mix of a morality tale with a typical Stephen King Dark Tower story. 11-year-old Tim’s father was what could be called a lumberjack, his specialty was the ironwood which grew in the area and was a strong wood. Tim’s father is said to have been killed by a dragon, and after his father’s death, his father’s friend Bern Kells tricks Tim’s mother into marrying him. Bern has had a problem with the drink, but swears he no longer drinks. After the wedding it is discovered his sobriety is a lie and when he drinks he beats on Tim’s mom. When the covenant man comes to collect taxes, the mysterious man in black gives Tim a key that opens Bern’s trunk. In the trunk Tim discover’s his dad’s lucky coin which was said to have been burned by the dragon. Tim runs into the woods and meets with the dark man to find out more. Once there the man in black shows through magic Bern beating Tim’s mom after discovering the trunk has been opened. His mother is blinded by the beating and Tim now must travel along the path of the beam to find a cure for his mom. The cure is held by Maerlin.

    Each of the stories come to a close and once complete it is as though the reader/listener has gone through three separate novels. The story-telling ability of Stephen King hits an all-time high with this story that visits the strange world of the Dark Tower stories. The one thing I love about the Dark Tower stories is that they mix up olden times, times of magic, today and future times all in one smooth blending of worlds. King’s imagination is kicked into high gear with this book as he is able to blend all these worlds and deliver a story that you can’t stop reading or listening to until the very end.

    Combining, dragons, gunslingers, magic, legends, fairies, shapeshifters and strange creatures Stephen King tells a fantasy story that could only fit in his Dark Tower world.

    As an added bonus this audiobook is read by Stephen King, himself. At first I was a bit wary of the author doing the audio version. I’ve heard some author read audiobooks, and while the author may know the material to be read, and can add some insight through the vocalizations, they are rarely actors and able to portray the audiobook in a lively fashion. I am such a die-hard Stephen King fan that I was determined not to let this bother me. After listening for only a few seconds, I knew this was going to be fun. Stephen King not only acted out vocally the parts but he was even able to change-up his voice giving some very nice vocal characterizations that usually only able to be performed by the best audiobook readers. I guess I should have remembered that he did do cameos in all of the films made of his books and he did play Jordy Verrill in “Creepshow.” So yeah, King not only pulls it off, but he puts himself up there with all the professional audiobook readers.

     
  • gilwilson 4:36 PM on February 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , fantasy, , miss peregrine's home for peculiar children, , ransom riggs, , , , ,   

    “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs 

    “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”
    by Ransom Riggs
    Published by Quirk Books (2011)
    352 pages

    Okay before we start on this book I have to share some info that took place in the reading of this book. While reading this fascinating young adult fiction, I opened up a store with a friend of mine. While opening the store I started reading this book in hardcover format, that’s important and will be explained later. The store we have opened is True Hideaway Family & Gaming ( http://www.truehideaway.com or find us on face book) The central focus of the store is for gamers especially those that play “Magic; the Trading Card Game,” we have friday night tournaments and are looking at maybe doing tournaments other nights since we’ve become popular.

    We affectionately refer to our store as a “nerd store,” because it is home to all things nerdy. My part of the store is comic books and collectibles, the other aspect is we sell books (manga, reprinted pulp-fiction books, sci-fi / fantasy novels and graphic novels) as well as all the gaming materials. We even have regular “old-fashioned” board games and anyone can come in anytime and play a game. Role playing games seem to be highly popular and we have folks come in and play their campaigns. I am liquidating my old comic book collection of around 2,000 or so comics and when I sold an old “Kiss” comic from the mid-70s for $70, I decided to reward myself by finally buying a kindle.

    With my rewarded kindle in hand, I loaded up some books that are on my to-read list and took off. The first book I loaded was this book, I was halfway through the hardcover, but I thought what better way to launch than to get this “peculiar” book rolling. I am now in love with my kindle, but every so often I know I’m going to go back to a regular tree killing book, but for now, I’m a kindler.

    Okay let’s move on to this book, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” When I first picked up this book I wasn’t aware that it was a Young Adult fiction, I knew it was fiction, but the goal is for ages 13 and up. The and up is very true, this book is very well written, with a fascinating story and some great adventures thrown in that make this book perfect for all ages.

    The book was originally intended to be a picture book with the photographs that were collected by various people from bins of lost photographs found at flea markets and such. But thanks to a genius editor at Quirk Books, Riggs wrote a story based on the photographs. The photos are all peculiar in and of themselves and putting them together to form a story the author shows not only genius himself but a storytelling ability that would put any comic book writer to shame.

    The bulk of the pictures feature various weirdness of subjects; a man posing with a rock in the background looking as though he’s lifting the boulder, a young boy’s head on a dog’s body, a young girl looking as though she’s holding a flaming orb. Many of the pictures are a bit creepy and sometimes when the story behind them created by Riggs is told they can seem extremely normal or even creepier.

    The story revolves around Jacob whose grandfather had escaped Nazi invasion by fleeing to a children’s home on an island off the coast of Wales. The children are all “peculiar,” at least according to the stories from Jacob’s grandfather. There is the invisible boy, a teacher that is a bird, a strong man, a girl that floats, one that controls the growth of plants. So at times this school seems to have come out of an issue of X-men comics. But the story goes even further when Jacob witnesses the death of his grandfather at the hands of a shadowy figure. Jacob tells his story and immediately branded as suffering a mental breakdown due to the loss of his grandfather. His grandfather’s last words were to follow the loop to September 30, 1940 and find the bird. Cryptic yes, but after exploring his grandfather’s possessions he finds that the school his grandfather survived the war in exists.

    When Jacob and his father make a trip to Wales, the dark secret behind “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children” is revealed and soon Jacob must save the children and possibly the world.

    Superb creativity that will capture the attention of anyone of all ages.

     
    • gajenn 4:59 PM on February 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the review, this has been on my “to-read” list for a while!

      Like

    • Erica 3:53 PM on February 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      This sounds great! I’d never heard of the book before, i like the use of old photographs – what a great touch!

      Like

  • gilwilson 4:06 PM on October 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , bruce donnelly, circus, clive barker, , , fantasy, xanadu,   

    “The Adventures of Mr. Maximillian Bacchus and His Travelling Circus” by Clive Barker 


    “The Adventures of Mr. Maximillian Bacchus and His Travelling Circus”
    by Clive Barker
    read by Bruce Donnelly
    Published by Crossroad Press
    Approx 2 hours

    The first thing that grabbed me about this audiobook was that it was written by Clive Barker, I have always loved horror novels and Barker’s horror novels are some of the best. I knew this was a fantasy book, and was prepared for this because I have read a few of his fantasy books including the young adult fantasy series “Abarat.” What I wasn’t prepared for, once I started listening was the depth of the language and the way the story completely engulfed me. What is more amazing is that these stories were written in 1974 when Clive Barker was only 17 years old. At first listen it is an amazing book by a young author, but more to it, it is an amazing book that will take you on a magical fantastical journey in and of itself, regardless of the age of the author.

    On a side note regarding this audio book version, I think the non-emotional, straight forward read actually works. I have recently become a fan of audiobooks where the author actually acts out the book and even provides different voices for the characters, or even better yet a full dramatization with a full blown cast of actors. These types make the audiobook more of an exciting experience, but for this book, where the language used by Clive Barker is the star, the nearly monotone emotionless reading by Bruce Donnelly works. This approach took some getting used to but once the book was rolling I found myself completely lost in the language. The words used by Barker in this book flow like poetry.

    Maximillian Bacchus is the ringmaster and owner of what he considers the greatest show in the world. Traveling with a Crocodile named Malachi, a trapeze girl named Ophelia, a strong man named Hero, and a clown named Domingo de Ybarrondo. All travel in a wagon pulled by a giant “Ibis bird,” the troupe wanders from adventure to adventure.

    The book consists of four interwoven stories beginning when Indigo Murphy, the best bird handler in the world, leaves the show to be married to the Duke Lorenzo de Medici. During the feast where this announcement is made Maximillian Bacchus announces the circus will travel to the fabled Xanadu built by the Khan named Kubla. From there, the magic never stops. On the road they meet a young apple thief named Angelo with glowing eyes who tries to redeem himself by helping to find a lost girl. The troupe next rescues an orangutan named Bathsheba from what seems like the evil and opposite form of the travelling circus. The Circus then arrives at the end of the world where the people living in a town on the edge of the world are terrorized by a band of trolls. Finally arriving in Xanadu the troupe sets to perform for Kubla Khan. After the troupe performs the daughter of the brother of Kubla Khan is abducted and the sun is stolen from the sky, the Khan gives in to the sadness of the event but Maximillian Bacchus and his travelling circus volunteer to rescue the girl and bring back the light of the sun by venturing into the crystal caves beneath Xanadu.

    With magical prose and fun short stories, this is one book that is great for all ages. This would be the perfect bedtime story book, and in audiobook form would be the great travelling companion.

     
    • Filme 2:40 PM on April 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hi my friend! I wish to say that this post is amazing, nice written and come with approximately all significant infos. I would like to peer extra posts like this .

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  • gilwilson 10:25 PM on November 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , fantasy, , , , , , ,   

    “Immortalis – Part 2 of 3” Book 7 of “The Demon Wars Saga” by R.A. Salvatore 

    “Immortalis – Part 2 of 3”
    Book 7 of “The Demon Wars Saga”
    by R.A. Salvatore
    Multicast performance
    Produced by GraphicAudio
    Approx 6 hours

    The tension builds, the excitement mounts, the story continues and soon comes to a close.  It is a bittersweet emotion I feel as I just finish listening to the second of three parts that make up the final audio book in “The Demon Wars Saga” by R.A. Salvatore.  The adventures continue but I am saddened to know that there is only one more audio book left before the end of the saga.  This series introduced the world to the Ranger Elbryan, who was trained by elves to protect the citizens of Honce-the-Bear, his wife Jilseponie who was trained by a renegade monk, soon become a Saint, who taught her how to use the magic gemstones.  Bradwarden the Centaur, Bellimar Juraviel the elf who has trained rangers through the ages and many more heroes. Salvatore also introduced some great villains such as; Marcalo De’Unnero the were-tiger monk who seeks to rule the Abellican Church, Father Abbot Marquart who was possessed by the demon dactyl, Bestus Belzibar.

    In this audiobook, the son of Elbryan and Jilseponie, Adryan, who has become king through a technicality seeks to conquer the world.  Adryan was taken from Jilseponie’s womb by Lady Dasselrond, the leader of the Tu’elafar, the elves of the north, and raised as a ranger in hopes that he would save their land.  It turns out that not letting the child or the mother know of each other’s existence has stained Adryan’s view on life.  Adryan left the elves and found the renegade monk De’Unnero and under his tutelage, sought and killed to gain the throne.  Now he seeks to conquer the world.  Those that don’t bow to him will be destroyed.

    Adryan has sent emissaries to Behren to conquer the southland. The land of Behren has just found out that their religious god head was a fake, and the country is in turmoil.  Adryan hopes to take this confusion and use it to his advantage.  The problem is that Brynn Dahrielle has just freed her people, the To-gai, from Behrenese slavery, and only sees Adryan, a former friend, as another slaver.

    To exact his revenge Adryan first must destroy Lady Dasselrond and the elves.  To do so he must find Anderblok Innerness, the land of the Tu’elafar.  Dasselrond sacrifices herself to hide the land.  It can now only be found once Adryan’s blood has been spilled.  The elves are homeless without a land and seek out Jilseponie to offer their assistance in defeating Adryan.

    Jilseponie has gone to the north to aid Prince Midalis, brother to the king slain by Adryan.  Juravial finds Jilseponie and Bradwarden and offers his magicks to tie all the forces together in that they may destroy the false King Adryan.

    At the end of this audiobook the major battles begin, now I must get to the finale, but I don’t want to rush it, I’ll be saddened to reach the end of this epic saga.  But the excitement awaits.

    To make this audiobook even more exciting, it is produced by Graphic Audio.  Graphic Audio promises “A Movie in your Mind,” and boy do they ever deliver.  Superb acting and characterization by the talented voices would normally be enough, but with the original music and Earth shattering sound effects, this audio book will engulf you in the story and excitement that is “The Demon Wars Saga.”

     
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