Thursday, April 30, 2015


by Alethea Kontis

Story summary: After having a book each about the adventures of two of the Woodcutter sisters, Sunday and Saturday, we continue down the line (in reverse age order) to Friday. As in "Friday's child is loving and giving". And this is kind of cheating, but I'm going to quote the Goodreads summary, because it's been too long since I've read this and I don't feel like trying to remember the details and summarize it myself:
"When Friday stumbles upon seven sleeping brothers in her sister Sunday’s palace, she takes one look at Tristan and knows he’s her future. But the brothers are cursed to be swans by day. Can Friday’s unique magic somehow break the spell?"
Sequel to Enchanted and Hero.

Why You Should Read This:
  • There are so many fairy tales, all integrated into a big mess of fairy tale goodness.
  • There is a large, boisterous family of seven brothers. Great fun. I love large families.
  • It's a nice contrast in tone to Hero, the previous book.

And Why You Shouldn't:
  • Maybe there are actually too many fairy tales for one book.
  • The romance is of the "instant" variety.
  • There is not enough Thursday. (Never enough Thursday.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

This Is How You Die

ed. by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki !

Why You Should Read This:
  • It's an even more brilliant sequel to the awesome collection The Machine of Death.
  • So in a similar fashion, it is original, and thought-provoking, and twisty, and awesome.
  • But there's also more inventiveness, more world-building, and more science!

And Why You Shouldn't:
  • It's all about death, so obviously somewhat dark and creepy. Frankly, that's actually a selling point for me, but it could be an issue for some.
  • And...nothing else really. It's an awesome book.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Opening to God: A Guide to Prayer

by Thomas H. Green, S.J.

Why You Should Read This:
  • A practical, insightful, interesting introduction to the spiritual life.
  • It's for beginners (meaning ordinary practicing Catholics, not brand new converts), but it has a depth that is refreshing considering the number of simplistic, schmaltzy books.
And Why You Shouldn't:
  • If you're not Catholic, you might find it hard to stomach/understand/enjoy. Obviously.
  • If you are SO Catholic that you've moved beyond such a beginner's stage. Considering how useful I found it, having been a practicing Catholic for my whole life, and someone who knows her Faith pretty darn well--I think it would still be helpful to most people. (Specifically those in the first age of the interior life, which I'm assuming is most people.)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Casting the Gods Adrift

by Geraldine McCaughrean

Story summary: In Ancient Egypt, a young boy and his brother are taken under the wing of the new Pharaoh Akhenaten. But his father, devoted to the old gods, is not at all happy with this new pharaoh's new single god. Young Tutmose has to choose between family and his experience of the new pharaoh's new Faith.

Why You Should Read This:
  • Interesting look at what it would have been like to live in such a time of drastic change in Ancient Egypt.
  • Awesome illustrations.
  • Surprising depth in the familial relations for a book for such young readers.

And Why You Shouldn't:
  • It really is for children. I almost didn't count it on my reading count, because it's so short.
  • You could possibly read a pro-relative-truth stance into it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Machine of Death

ed. by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki !

Why You Should Read This:
  • The awesome premise: there is a machine that can tell, from just a sample of your blood, how you are going to die. It doesn't give a date or specifics, just a slip of paper upon which is printed in block letters the words DROWNED or CANCER or OLD AGE or CHOKED ON A HANDFUL OF POPCORN.  But it's frustratingly vague: OLD AGE can mean dying of natural causes, or being shot by a bedridden man in a botched home invasion.
  • Which such an unusual and interesting premise, there is plenty for the various authors to play off of. Different kinds of deaths, different meanings and varying degrees of vagueness, and different reactions from different people. Great field for originality, the study of human nature, and scientific musings.

And Why You Shouldn't:
  • It's fairly dark. Again, not surprising considering the central premise. This is actually a bit of a bonus for me, most of the time, but I can see it would throw some people off.
  • Personally, I found a few too many stories to have a "male gaze". In other words, there were quite a lot with hot girlfriends and sexualized women. Or at least this was an impression right after reading it. Upon skimming through it again for this review, I found many, many of the stories enjoyable and not really many examples of this. Maybe I exaggerated the number of unenjoyable ones because that kind of story really isn't my cup of tea.