Showing posts from September, 2013

The Godborn (Forgotten Realms: The Sundering, Book Two)

The Godborn (Forgotten Realms: The Sundering, Book Two) Paul S Kemp, 2013 New Release! I received an electronic copy of this book via Netgalley for review. Premise: Dungeons and Dragons is coming out with a new edition next year. This series of books (each focused on a different set of characters) take place during the in-world adjustments necessary so that the abilities of the characters in the novels will match the adjustments to the rules of the game. Insert eyeroll here. Okay, remember how I said that the first one of these books wasn’t a good jumping on point? This one is worse. Now, my reaction is probably partially due to the fact that rather than starting with a bit of poorly-remembered background on the characters, I had nothing going into this one. However, these books were not only offered to Netgalley reviewers, they were specially   promoted to them , so it’s Wizards of the Coast’s own PR department’s fault if new readers are reviewing these. This book was

Archer's Goon

Archer's Goon Diana Wynne Jones, 1984 Premise: Howard's family's life is normal. His dad's a writer, his mom teaches music, he and his sister are in school. One day he comes home to find a Goon in the kitchen, and Howard has to figure out what his dad's arrangement with the town council has to do with all the odd goings-on... This is actually the first book by Diana Wynne Jones I have read, and it was an absolute delight! This has a tone and style reminiscent of my very favorite children's books. The characters are balanced nicely between larger-than-life and sweetly grounded. As more and more of the powers behind the town are revealed, things get complicated and dangerous, but I can't see it being too scary for any but the youngest readers. The style is simply fantastic. Howard's young perspective lends itself to both sly asides on his parents' behavior and matter-of-fact observations on ridiculous events. I think just enough of the supe

Rendezvous With Rama

Rendezvous With Rama Arthur C. Clarke, 1973 Hugo Winner - 1974 Premise: First it looked like a spark. Then a comet with an odd trajectory. Once observers realized what the object was, it was almost too late to divert the ship Endeavour to take a closer look. The crew of the Endeavour are in for a truly unique experience. This was delightful. It's one of the ‘hardest’ SF tales to come up in the ranks of the Hugos so far, but Clarke does a brilliant job surrounding the scientific theorizing with human characters and human concerns. I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say that the object designated Rama is a spaceship: source, destination and purpose unknown. The crew have to figure out how to explore the alien structure thoroughly and quickly, because they are unable to alter its course and they must break away by a certain deadline. The captain also has to balance the reality before his eyes against the sometimes-contradictory orders coming from Earth. W

60 hikes within 60 miles: Seattle

60 hikes within 60 miles: Seattle Andrew Weber and Bryce Stevens, 2006 This is a very different sort of review for me, but I've probably read this one book more over the past few months than any other. The premise is just what it says on the front: 60 hikes within a hour or two drive from the city. I wanted a book for suggestions for day hikes to do on the weekend, and this fit the bill beautifully. The front of the book has an easily referenced map of all the hikes and a series of great lists to narrow down your search. For example, if you're looking for a short hike with a waterfall, or maybe a less well-known hike with good bird-watching, or a long hike to an overlook, you can quickly cross-reference the lists to get some options. The actual hike descriptions are clear and thorough. They include information about facilities, parking, height gain, distance, the primary features and difficulty are restated here, and there is both a map and a description of the nota