Category Archives: Books

A Spell for Chameleon: Piers Anthony

The Xanth Novels, of which this is the first, are very prolific and seem to gain new additions nearly overnight.

I won’t go so far as to say that I have read all of them, but I have definitely read my fair share. Some I enjoyed more than others, and this one just happened to be my least favorite.

It is an interesting story, and I love the world that Piers Anthony has created for his novels. This particular storyline seems a little harder to get into than many of the others. Perhaps I am biased because I unknowingly started in the middle of the series and by the time I finally got back to this one it was old news.

All that being said I would still recommend it if you are looking for a lengthy, entertaining and pun filled fantasy series to read. My personal favorites in this series are a few stories in, but it is worth the time to get there! If you hate puns, don’t bother looking at these books because they are filled with punny treasures. You’ll also find goblins, harpies, demons and of course ogres.

3 Stars.

#2 Source of Magic
#3 Castle Roogna
#4 Centaur Aisle
#5 Ogre, Ogre
#6 Night Mare
#7 Dragon on a Pedestal
#8 Crewel Lye
#9 Golem in the Gears

Oh no, that’s not even close to being all of them, but if you’re interested it’s enough to get you started!

The Fairy Godmother: Mercedes Lackey

The Fairy Godmother (Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms)“In the land of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, if you can’t carry out your legendary role, life is no fairy tale….
Elena Klovis was supposed to be her kingdom’s Cinderella–until fate left her with a completely inappropriate prince! So she set out to make a new life for herself. But breaking with “The Tradition” was no easy matter–until she got a little help from her own fairy godmother. Who promptly offered Elena a most unexpected job….

Now, instead of sleeping in the chimney, she has to deal with arrogant, stuffed-shirt princes who keep trying to rise above their place in the tale. And there’s one in particular who needs to be dealt with….

Sometimes a fairy godmother’s work is never done….”

I‘m a big fan of Mercedes Lackey; I’ve read so many of her novels that I’ve started to lose track. This was the first ‘Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms’ book that I read however, and I gotta say — I absolutely love the twist on the classic fairy tale. In fact, it is less of a twist and rather a completely unique story that brings back the feelings from when you were a kid and were tempted to kiss all the frogs you saw – just in case.

It is all grown up, without feeling like a modified kids tale. There is romance of course – it’s a fairy tale! The character interaction is great and while you’re reading it you get the feeling that even though maybe your own story didn’t turn out quite the way you wanted it to – that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
It’s a good feeling, and a great story!

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Beauty and the Werewolf (coming June 2011)

On a side note you can find Mercedes Lackey on Twitter – @mercedeslackey, as far as I know it is a real account, but if I’m wrong, please feel free to let me know!

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The Warlock in Spite of Himself: Christopher Stasheff

The Warlock in Spite of Himself (Warlock of Gramarye)“Rod Gallowglass is a man of science who does not believe in magic. 

** Gramarye is a world of witches and warlocks. Of strange abilities and phenomena. A world where society mirrors Earth’s own Middle Ages, and a world headed for doom. **

Rod Gallowglass must become a part of the local fabric to save the world from both itself and external forces that threaten its existence. But to do so, he must put aside his own convictions and beliefs, and become a warlock, in spite of himself. 

A grand adventure mixing science fiction with elements of fantasy, this is the book that launched a whole series (fourteen books and counting).”

I do eventually plan to do my reviews mostly on newly published authors or those with a rather small circulation – however for the moment I’m going to focus on writing about the ones I love.

The Warlock in Spite of Himself is an amazing novel – it is technically the second in the series, chronologically – however it is where I began to read Christopher Stasheff’s books.

His warlock novels are a mixture of science fiction and fantasy, similar in the most vague sense to Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. Not in the fact that there are dragons in this novel, but rather that they focus on the settlement of a planet which, after millennia, reverts to a much more medieval way of life.

The references to the various factions of governments can be a little confusing, but if you get past it, you will discover a story that is filled with adventure, romance and subtle humour.

I wouldn’t say it is an easy read – but rather that it is for anyone who appreciates a good tale. Tall or otherwise. 

One of my all time favourite books!

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Find it on Amazon!

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A Matter of Magic: Patricia C. Wrede

A Matter of Magic“When a stranger offers her a small fortune to break into a traveling magician’s wagon, Kim doesn’t hesitate. Having grown up a waif in the dirty streets of London, Kim isn’t above a bit of breaking-and-entering. A hard life and lean times have schooled her in one lesson: steal from them before they steal from you. But when the magician catches her in the act, Kim thinks she’s done for. Until he suggests she become his apprentice; then the real trouble begins.

Kim soon finds herself entangled with murderers, thieves, and cloak-and-dagger politics, all while trying to learn how to become both a proper lady and a magician in her own right. Magic and intrigue go hand in hand in Mairelon the Magician and The Magician’s Ward, two fast-paced novels filled with mystery and romance, set against the intricate backdrop of Regency England.”

I was thrilled to discover this is one of the few books by Patricia C. Wrede available for the Kindle.

Actually, to clarify things just a little bit, this was originally two separate books that were combined into one. The two books were Mairelon the Magician and Magician’s Ward. I first read them quite some time ago, and I go back for a re-read rather regularly.

If you like stories that involve magic and intrigue you’ll like this one. There is a bit of romance, without the mush, and it was interesting enough to have me hooked from the very first page.

It is suitable for young adults but don’t toss it to the side if you’re all grown up!

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I heartily recommend this one!

Find it on Amazon

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What a Tangled Web We Weave… (Movie Review)

When I saw the preview for Tangled I knew immediately that I had to see this movie. Didn’t matter that it was meant for kids, the chameleon stole my heart in one tiny instant.
My greatest fear was that all the good bits would be in the preview – this happens far too often for my tastes.
They weren’t. As hilarious as those bits were, they weren’t even the best part of the movie! It was cute and funny with the perfect dash of “awww”! All the qualities you want to see in a Fairy Tale packed in one fantastic movie.
One of the best things about it is there is no really scary villain in this movie. She’s about as scary as Gaston in Beauty in the Beast. (So pretty much not scary at all!) Tangled would be perfect for any younger kids who have problems watching the scarier stuff.
Finally. Disney you have done it. You’ve created a movie that is as good as your classics.
I’m even going to buy this movie, that’s how much I love it!
6 Stars for Tangled!

Oh books… how I love thee.

For someone who claims to be an avid lover of books, I really don’t talk about them nearly enough. It is my goal to change that and overload you all with my rants and raves (though mostly raves) about the book world.
Timeless Books
Image courtesy of Lin Pernille

I had this wonderful plan last night which involved taking a short bath and then going to bed at an incredibly early hour. I ended up reading in said bathtub which naturally extended the duration, and I made the mistake of bringing my book with me to bed.

I blinked, and suddenly it was over two hours later.
I adore it when I can get so lost in a book that time completely loses its meaning, it is probably the best way I can express my appreciation of a story! Of course I continued to read until I found myself waking with a start because I had nearly dropped the rather large hardcover on my face. It was only then that I was willing to put the book down.
I had been under the impression, before I began the book, that I had read it before. Not so. It was a completely new experience for me, much to my delight.
The author I have been focusing on recently is Anne McCaffrey. I’ve been reading her books for years and fall in love with her over and over again. Her series about the planet Pern is particularly wonderful. I even have a few favorites which I read every year or two.
Her books, which are a delightful blend of science fiction and fantasy, are so well crafted that you have no choice but to lose yourself in the world she creates. The story of Pern spans millenia – you see not just one fragment of time but rather exactly how a world can change and evolve with the passing of years. In the beginning it is strictly science fiction – the colonization of a new world, the trials and tribulations that go along with it . But skip a few books and you find yourself in a story that boasts dragons, a lack of modern technology and humans with telepathic abilities.
You’ll cheer her heroes along their path, hold your breath because you can’t wait to find out what happens next and feel the loss of favourite characters with keen sorrow.
The first book in the series (chronologically) is Dragonsdawn, though it is by no means where I started.
As a youth I discovered a young adult trilogy which sits smack dab in the middle of the time-line. A story about a talented young woman who dares to try the impossible. As I journeyed with her I knew that these stories would be ones I would always love. I still own those three little books and even though I’m all grown up now, I don’t love them any less! Dragonsong, Dragonsinger and Dragondrums are must reads for anyone with a love for Fantasy and youthful soul.
One of the brilliant things about her books is that she doesn’t limit you to just one view of a timeline. You can read multiple stories, all of which are occurring at the same time but in different locations on the planet. It’s wonderful to catch a tiny glimpse of a favorite character from another POV when you thought that their story was over.
The stories are so detailed they could easily be the history of a planet, somewhere out there in our unending universe.
I recently discovered that she had begun writing books with her son Todd McCaffrey, I look forward to beginning them just as soon as I’m done my current selection. I plan to let you know just what I think of them and I hope I have only good things to say. It would be amazing to discover that her son is capable of continuing her legacy.
In the meantime, read a book or two of hers and let me know what you think!
As a final note, you can check my Facebook page for a link to a podcast about independent Canadian bookstores. It’s good to hear that there is still passion for books out there in our new, modern world.
Until next time!
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Currently reading: Dragonquest (Dragon Riders of Pern #2)

The Romance of Frogs

Today you’re going to learn far more about the role of frogs in fairytales than you ever thought possible.

Typically, the first image that would pop into your head when you associate frogs with romance would be the well known Frog Prince. A frog in a pond, a Princess that isn’t spooked by said talking frog, a little slime, a little kiss and VOILA a Prince for everyone! However, the story isn’t always so pleasant. In the original stories, and the one made famous by the Brothers Grimm, a little slime was perhaps one of the more attractive parts of the story. The Princess is a snotty little thing who is unwilling to keep an agreement with a frog. She disdains him, is disgusted, and there is certainly no kiss for the poor abused amphibian. Rather, it is only when the Princess throws the frog into a wall that the transformation back to human takes place. In subsequent renditions it actually manages to get worse, the Princess actually has to chop the frogs head off in order to return him to human form.

I must admit I’m alright with the fact that Disney decided to go with the more modern variation of the tale.

So there you have it folks, a ribbeting tale of Froggy Romance…

Author: Dan Brown

Everyone knows Dan Brown as the author who wrote the controversial semi-religious thriller, The Da Vinci Code. And as intriguing as it was, what about his other books? Angels and Demons the prequel to his famous book cum movie is probably the second best known.

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Regardless of the popularity of these books, I found myself enjoying one of his other books the most.
The title is Deception Point and it combines believable futuristic technology with a remarkable ‘keep you on your toes’ storyline. As well researched as his other books I would definitely recommend it for an afternoon (or evening… morning… late night…) read.

The only thing I’d say to him is he really needs to get another book out there, as it is getting harder and harder to find good, well written books that I haven’t yet read.

Common Danny Boy! Don’t disappoint the fans!