27 November 2010

First Rider's Call

Book 2 in the Green Rider Series.

Karigan can no longer ignore the Rider's call.  Blackveil is rising.  Evil, untamed, wild magic is spreading and effecting the kingdom.  The wall is failing.  The Green Rider's are loosing control of their own magic.  Everyone feels themselves spiraling out of control.  Karigan begins seeming the first rider Lil, and through their combined connection, much of the past is uncovered.  Can the Rider's rally and save the kingdom before all is lost to the evil magic of Blackveil?  Can Karigan survive the past, the present, and the future? 

Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: 8-12
Pages: 639

25 November 2010

Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants

Professor Poopypants is very smart and a great scientist but everyone keeps making fun of his name.  Ultimately it drives him insane and he tries to take over the world.  Captain Underpants must save the day, which of course he does. 

I am aware that many parents don't like these books.  It shows disregard for authority and of course the potty mouths.  However, I don't know how you all were as kids, but let's face it, that kind of stuff was hilfreakinllarious when we were kids.  At least they were when my brothers and I were growing up.  Yup, it drove my folks nuts but it was just too funny.  This is a kids book.  There is nothing wrong with the word poop.  In fact, if parents weren't so freaky about saying the potty words, kids probably wouldn't find them so funny. The book made me laugh.  It made me remember being 7 or 8 and just joking around with my little brothers.  Anything that can make a child laugh and read, well, that's a good book for kids.

Genre:  Adventure
Grade Level: 2-5
Pages: 135

21 November 2010

Green Rider

Karigan G'ladheon is running away from school, heading home in the hopes of beating that letter of suspension home to her father.  Along the way, a Green Rider crosses her path.  Fryan Cobblebay is impaled with two black arrows, a message worth his life still to deliver.  Karigan, without thought, agrees to carry on his mission--afterall, who can deny the dying?  This one decision leads Karigan along a path she never dreamed of.  She must find the strength within herself to fight everything in her path.  Can she get the message to the king in time?  Will she make the right choices and rise to be The Green Rider?

This is a coming of age book in alot of ways.  You have a young girl whose spirit never allows her to rest.  She fights for the "weak" against nobility at school, which leads to expulsion and her consequent journeys.  Through it all she denies that she is a green rider, but her will to do all she can to fulfill her promises brand her as one.  Karigan must truly find within herself what she is made of and in the end choose the path her life will take.

Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: 7-12
Pages: 450

17 November 2010

The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica: The Dragon's Apprentice

Book 5 in the Imaginarium Geographica series by James A Owen.

I don't recommend a series very often, but I have to say that the artistry with which these books are woven, is extraordinary.  If you are a fan of fantasy (from past to present), you would love these books.  Owen takes famous author's throughout history, and weaves them throughout his series in a manner that shows you how they gained their main inspirations to many of their tales, and what is amazing is that it doesn't come out stilted.  The entire series flows so well.  It truly is an amazing series, and I personally, can't wait for another.

The Dragon's Apprentice:  The strands of history have finally come undone with the final collapse of the Keep of Time.  Rose, John, Jack, and several more companions must travel to the archipelego and on through time, in hopes of finding the one with the answer-"the dragon apprentice".  It is a charismatic weaving of past and "present" and the importance of the children of the earth to be able to make choices, whether for good or ill.  Will the companions find the answers they seek?  Will time be put back in order?  Find out in the latest installment of the Imaginarium Geographica.

Genre:  Fantasy
Grade Level: 7-12 (Young Adult)
Pages: 376

13 November 2010

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist / Unitarian, Irish / Italian / Octogenarian / Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women's Lib/Republican, Mattachine/FourSquareGospel feel it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme. -Ray Bradbury

There is probably no single thing that you could do that would guarantee I read a book, but to ban it. I believe very strongly that the right to read, the right to think, is ours alone--no state, no RELIGION, no person, has the right to tell me what to think.  That is mine.  I have a brain, and I will use it.  That does not mean that you are incapable of sharing what you think as well.  However, if you have the right to think and share than so do I, and just because you believe your ideas are better than mine, it does not allow you to suppress or censor mine.  In fact the church has claimed that "although the book may appeal to gullible persons who rise to such bait like trout to a fly hook, serious readers who want to understand Latter-day Saints and their history need not waste their time on it".  I find this statement so personally insulting, that if I could I would punch the sayer in the mouth.  You're entitled to your own opinion and me to mine, and thanks to the extensive list of sources in the book, it really wouldn't take long to find out if what is written in fact, fact.

I was raised LDS.  All my life I spent trying to please others.  Within my little realm of books, I found a space of peace.  No one judged me there, I was free to think, to act, to become anything I wanted to be.  All through teenagehood and adulthood I have struggled with depression.  I had to flip into my 30s before I was truly willing to say, "Ruth, why are you so unhappy?"  The answer was so very simple, but it has changed my whole world.  I was hiding in my books, but I was living everyone else's expectations of me.  I was not true to me.  There was nothing wrong with being me!!  I no longer ascribe to any religion.  I find them all to restrict reason; they tell the masses if you are not happy it is because there is something wrong with you.  Sometimes, I think that is true.  However, if you are truly being true to yourself, you can find peace.

When my husband told me about this book and told me that the LDS church had told it's members not to read it.  I had to.  It was that simple.  No one tells me what I can't read.  Plus, I had to know--what was the church so afraid of?  If it is an incorrect telling of history, that is easily researched.  If it is based on fact, why do you not want your history known?  No matter how bad it is, history is there.  Our dealing with it shows are true character.

Now all that said, I will say that Krakauer's presentation is threaded with highly emotionally language, that could be taken the wrong way.  However, his facts, I find minimal to no fault with.  Those that I questioned are simply ones that I had never heard of so I asked around.  The fact is when it comes to LDS history, most members to receive a honeyed version, and if too much fact is revealed, you can count on the fact that you won't be teaching very long (this happen to both my father and brother).  Quinn (a former BYU professor, excommunicated for publishing a book on Joseph Smith) argues "A so-called 'faith-promoting' Church history which conceals controversies and difficulties of the Mormon past actually undermined the faith of Latter-day Saints who eventually learn about the problems from other sources."  I truly believe that is true.  Deal with your past, wrestle with it, accept it.  Your past does not necessarily define who you are today.

Krakauer's book deals with issues of faith, primarily that of Mormonism and it's fundamentalist off shoots.  The primary example of fundamentalism and it's dangers is seen through the story of Dan and Ron Lafferty.  The history of Mormonism is dealt with, it's very beginnings up until about John Taylor's passing.  Polygamy is discussed mainly as the dividing factor, at least the primary dividing factor. 

I will say that if you are "very" Mormon, you will probably hate this book.  If you hate Mormon's you'll probably think "ha ha, I KNEW it!!"  So this is a book, I would actually have to recommend, to NEITHER of those groups.  This is for someone who can truly think objectively, not just about Mormonism but about organized Religion as a whole.  These histories and spin offs are not owned solely by Mormons. 

Genre:  Non-Fiction
Age Group:  Adult
Pages: 399

"Both revelation and delusion are attempts at the solution of problems.  Artists and scientists realize that no solution is ever final, but that each new creative step points the way to the next artistic or scientific problem.  In contrast, those who embrace religious revelations and delusional systems tend to see them as unshakable and permanent. . .
Religious faith is an answer to the problem of life. . . . The majority of mankind want or need some all-embracing belief system which purports to provide an answer to life's mysteries, and are not necessarily dismayed by the discovery that their belief system, which they proclaim as "the truth," is incompatible with the beliefs of other people.  One man's faith is another man's delusion. . . .
Whether a belief is considered to be a delusion or not depends partly upon the intensity with which it is defended, and partly upon the numbers of people subscribing to it."
Anthony Storr--"Feet of Clay"

I do ask with this particular book that if you desire to comment, you do so without hate or anger.  If you do not agree with me or with Krakauer, that is totally your right, and expressing that is your right as well.  However, I believe that even when people do not agree, they can be capable of doing so amicably.  Thank you.

08 November 2010

The Last Apprentice: Rise of the Huntress, Book 7

Book 7 in The Last Apprentice Series.

The county is under attack, Bonny Lizzie has escaped the Spook's prison, the Spook's home and library have been obliterated by enemy soldiers.  The Spook and his apprentice, Tom Ward, and Alice must flee the county.  They take refuge on the island of Mona, but peace doesn't last for long.  Locals despise refugees and a Spook, his apprentice, and a witch are far from welcome.  Soon Bonny Lizzy emerges on the island as well.  She takes over Greeba Keep and begins to terrorize and kill in order to gain ultimate power.  Will the Spook and his apprentice be able to defeat the mighty Lizzy?  Will the power she has and that which she finds, finally put an end to the Spook?  Find out in the latest installment of the Last Apprentice.

Genre:  Supernatural Fiction
Grade Level: 3-7
Pages: 436

06 November 2010

Ranger's Apprentice: Halt's Peril; Book 9

Book 9 in the series, and yes I have read the 8 before.

Tennyson and his "followers" have fled Clonmel, leaving a dead king and many swindled and murdered people in their wake.  Halt, Will and Horace, are hot on his trail.  Halt is immortal, a legend, and when he obtains a mere scratch in their confrontation with the Geneovesan assassins, nothing is thought of it.  Poison quickly brings the search party to their limits, both physically and emotionally.  It is a delicate balance to save Halt's life, and still save the kingdom.

Genre: Fiction
Grade Level: 6-12
Pages: 386

03 November 2010

Remember Little Bighorn: Indians, Soldiers, and Scouts Tell Their Stories

National Geographic publication, written by Paul Robert Walker.

For those of you who don't know Little Bighorn is the last battle of one Lt. Col. otherwise known as General Custer.  The story is told from different angles, siting diaries and oral tradition passed down through the generations.  The pictures and photographs only enhance the telling.  This is such a sad point in our history, at least for me, and it makes me so very angry how greed compelled a "noble" nation to attack and destroy those who were here first!!  The way the Native Americans were treated makes me very angry, so this was indeed an emotional read for me.

Genre:  American History
Grade: 3-8
Pages: 61

02 November 2010

Of Numbers and Stars: The Story of Hypatia

Hypatia was an extraordinary woman.  Born in ancient Alexandria, as a woman in a normal family she would have never even learned to read and write, but born to a man, an academic, like Theon she would grow into a woman who would change her world.  Her father believed that women should be educated just as men.  Hypatia became extremely learned in all disciplines, but mainly followed the same path as her father as a mathematician and philosopher. 

This is a short account of her life, done in picture book format, so it is not an extensive biography.  However, it is a great introduction for children to the life of this extraordinary woman.  The author provides her sources at the end of the book for adults. 

Genre: Biography-Juvenile Literature-Ancient Greece
Grade Level: 1-3
Pages: 32

Gold Dragon Codex

Book 7 in Series.

Harfall is a prosperous barony or at least it use to be.  Protected by a Gold Dragon, enchanted, the barony prospered and then the dragon disappeared.  Lazuli, an evil Blue dragon came instead and gutted the barony.  Desperate to save what he can the Baron Camiel is willing to sacrifice himself.  However, Sandon, the baron's son, will rise up and learn about his family in ways he never imagined, and he will find the courage to save them all. 

Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: 3-6
Pages: 245

01 November 2010

Silver Dragon Codex

A life in the circus is all Belen can remember.  The last five years of her life are all she knows.  Then one day a white robe wizard appears and declares her not only a dragon in disguise, but a murderer.  Belen must discover the truth of her past if she is to answer these charges.  With the help of her friends Jace, Cerisse, and Ebano, she discovers her true self and what she must do to repair what has been lost.  Along the way they all learn more about themselves and what is truly important in life.

Genre: Fantasy
Grade: 3-6
Pages: 240