Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage

by Sydney Padua

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • What if Lovelace and Babbage, inventors of the first computer, didn't die young and disappointed respectively? What if they actually built their computer, and when on to have thrilling adventures with it after that?
  • This is the subtitle (and how could you not like a book with a subtitle like this?): "With Interesting & Curious Anecdotes of Celebrated and Distinguished Characters Fully Illustrating A Variety of Instructive and Amusing Scenes; as Performed Within and Without the Remarkable Difference Engine"
  • It's a graphic novel! But with so many footnotes and endnotes that it's basically a normal book! But the footnotes are way better than a normal book cause they're so funny and interesting!* Cause history is weird, man.

And Why You Might Not:
  • It purposefully goes off into an alternate universe, with historical inaccuracy. I love this aspect, but it's one of the only possible things I could think of that you might not like.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Woman in the Wall

by Patrice Kindl

Story summary: Anna is so shy that she hides in the secret rooms she built in the walls. She does this for so long that her family forgets about her, assigning her memory to foolishness and youthful playfulness. But she is very much alive, growing and changing and falling in love.

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Growing up
  • Learning self-confidence
  • People are better than you think they are

And Why You Might Not:
  • It's a strange little book. The fantasy elements are only really present at the beginning and are quite small, but they're weird. Why are they there at all?
  • The main character herself is obviously a little on the odd side as well.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Miss Pym Disposes

by Josephine Tey

Story summary: Miss Pym was only going to stay a day. The frightfully early morning bells of the girls' boarding school were far too loud, the food was too healthy to be appetizing, and she had her academic parties to get back to. But as the girls ingratiate themselves with her, she stays longer and longer. And senses more and more that something is not right...

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Lovely and light and cozy and creepy all at once. Definitely atmospheric--and in the exciting sense, not the boring, long-description sense.
  • It's more of a character study than a mystery, really.
  • Passes the Bechdel test with flying colours.

And Why You Might Not:
  • You may be looking for a typical mystery, and since nobody dies till right near the end, you would be disappointed.
  • In fact, nothing much really happens at all till near the end. Though I'm almost completely ok with this (the ending may have seemed a bit abrupt), since it's still really interesting and gripping.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Caves of Steel

by Isaac Asimov

Story summary: Basically a normal mystery story, but with humanoid robots and space colonization and strange, massive mega-cities and other futuristic developments.

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • How would the general population treat robots? What if someone actually died, and you knew a robot was involved somehow? There are some interesting speculations on such politics and human reactions in the future.
  • SciFi mystery combo! Double the genre points!

And Why You Might Not:
  • The futuristic advances and changes were a little ordinary, especially for a millennium in the future.
  • I didn't become attached to any of the characters, though that might just be me (for reasons I discuss below).

Friday, March 11, 2016


ed. by Deborah Noyes

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • If you're looking for short, dark, and creepy, this is it.
  • There are stories by some great fantasy authors such as Neil Gaiman and Garth Nix.

And Why You Might Not:
  • There's nothing really new or exciting in this collection.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Ink and Bone

by Rachel Caine

Story summary: Burners of books, hoarders of books, preservers of books, eaters of books. The world is now all about books and the flow of information, with the Great Library of Alexandria on top. You'd think that would be a good thing, wouldn't you?

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • BOOKS!!!
  • Schools for learning cool things!!
  • Relationships slowly growing from enmity to friendship!
  • And excitement and adventure and romance and mystery and conspiracy and all that.

And Why You Might Not:
  • It's hard to judge some of the aspects of this book until we see how it turns out in the sequels.
  • There is a important gay relationship present, if that bothers you.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Voice of the Lost

by Andrea K. Höst

Story summary: This is a direct continuation of the first book, The Silence of Medair. Thus any detailed summary of the story is going to involve major spoilers for that. So I'm just going to say: think the first book, with all its fantastical world-building and 500-year-old backstory, except more personal and romantic.

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Some subtle relationships from the previous book are revealed. Definite pay off for getting through the (to me) slightly less enjoyable first book.
  • There is lots of interesting pondering of ethical questions.
  • New worlds, new races, new cultures.

And Why You Might Not:
  • It's a continuation of the first book, and you really can't read it at all without having first read The Silence of Medair.
  • It's a lot more romantic than the first book, which is actually a plus for me because I like the romance better in the second book than the first. But if you don't like the second-half romance better, it's going to be seriously annoying how much time is spent on it.
  • Not everything is resolved properly. Kind of bothersome, that.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

by Brandon Sanderson

Story summary: Evil librarians plotting to take over the world! An epic search for a bag of sand! Amazing skills gained in tripping and breaking things! 13-year-old warrior girls with grumpy attitudes! And maybe even young adventurers being tied to an altar made from outdated encyclopedias and sacrificed to the dark powers?

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • The humour!
  • The meta!
  • The strange gadgets!
  • The mysterious happenings!

And Why You Might Not:
  • It's definitely for a younger audience than Sanderson's other books I've read. Although it was still very enjoyable, this made it slightly harder to read for me.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Silence of Medair

by Andrea K. Höst

Story summary: Medair was sent on a mission of great importance, to save her country from invaders. But upon returning, she finds that 500 years have passed, and the invaders are now integrated with her people. How will she now keep her oath to her long dead emperor? Can she free her country from invaders without slaughtering thousands of innocent descendants? How should she use the weapons of great power she found on her quest? And who has discovered her secret and why are they chasing her?

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Such a great idea for a story!
  • And such a great way the interesting back story is slowly revealed.
  • Also some interesting moral predicaments.

And Why You Might Not:
  • I found most of the characters and relationships too distant to relate to. This might be just personal, though.