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Downton Abby Meets Jane Eyre in After the War Is Over by Jennifer Robson

October 23rd, 2016 No comments

Cover of After the War is OverThe thing that lingered with me long after I finished After the War is Over is the stark image of a country slowly knitting itself together after the devastation of World War I. Here is the States, World War I is usually glossed over in our high school history classes. I don’t ever remember truly absorbing how terrible this war was and how some of the greatest casualties were the soldiers who limped back from the battlefield alive but suffering from deep emotional wounds in a time when PTSD was barely understood and even more rarely accepted.

Against this rich backdrop, Charlotte Brown is a middle class girl who is determined to fight for the impoverished. Charlotte Brown is idealistic, focused, kind, hard-working and will always, always, always do the right thing without a second thought. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have an ironic or cynical bone in her body, and this makes her about as bland as a weak cup of tea.

Fortunately, Jennifer Robson spices up her story with a Bronte-appropriate love story. Despite her best efforts, Charlotte finds herself drawn again and again to Edward Neville-Ashford, Earl of Cumberland. Edward is handsome, rich, and so blue-blooded that the Queen would approve. He also comes back from the war irreparably broken…and that has nothing to do with his missing leg.

Robson’s attention to detail as she paints a picture of the first year after the end of World War One is fascinating. She shows us the difficulties soldiers face as they try to transition back into civilian life and takes on PTSD in a time when “Cowardice” was still extremely misunderstood. The connection between Charlotte and Edward is undeniable, and the challenges they overcome together almost make me like Charlotte…almost.

Robson is a world-class talent, and it is testament to how well she constructed this book, that I didn’t even realize it was the second book in a three-part series until after I had finished it! While this book would probably be categorized as a historical romance, it will definitely appeal to any reader who wants to learn more about the early 1900s as well as any Downton Abby fan. I am definitely going to pick up the first book in the series, Somewhere in France.

Cinderella is an Android! – My Book Review of Cinder

August 23rd, 2016 No comments

Cover of Cinder by Marissa MeyerCinderella has come a long way from being the timid little servant I remember from my Disney-soaked childhood. In Cinder by smash hit author Marissa Meyer, our heroine isn’t exactly relegated to singing sweet melodies to her animal friends while she mournfully sweeps and cleans. Instead, “Cinder” is a well-known mechanic in New Beijing, where she fixes broken net screens and reboots burned out robots. Scratch the “timid” from her personality, and while we’re making changes, I should mention that Cinder isn’t exactly human, either. There’s a reason she knows her way around wires, circuits, and computer chips.

Cinder’s world is anything but a fairytale. Meyer takes us into a future that is slightly more technically advanced than our own but crippled by a terrible, incurable plague. Also, there are those pesky Lunars on the moon, led by an evil Queen intent on taking over the earth.

None of this is really Cinder’s business, until handsome Prince Kai stops by her mechanic booth requesting help to repair his robot…a robot that holds some very big secrets. This meeting lights the candle of a growing romance that Cinder refuses to recognize. She knows the prince would despise her if he ever realized what she really was.

If you’re wondering where the evil stepmother comes in, don’t worry, she’s there, and she throws plenty of wrenches into Cinder’s life, least of all forcefully volunteering her stepdaughter for plague research…of which none survive. The research, conducted at the castle, because…uh….uh….because, allows Cinder to bump in Kai again (and again) and also paves the way for some big discoveries about Cinder’s shrouded past.

Cinder is a fun, fast-paced adventure. Meyer’s world is unique but somehow instantly recognizable. We may be in the future, but her characters face age old trials and tribulations (though Cinder’s struggle with her too-small android foot is a bit of a unique situation). I found myself immersed in this story and made it easily to the end, even if I had some WTF moments along the way…like, if Cinder’s stepmother refused to buy her a new, correctly-sized android foot, then why wasn’t her android leg and android hand also extremely small?

I was also flummoxed by the fact that Prince Kai, always so burdened with the need to protect his people, would somehow think it was a grand idea to pack half the city into the castle for a ball…in the middle of a rampant, highly contagious plague! I’m not sure if New Beijing has a version of the CDC, but if they do, I’m pretty sure that idea would be quashed in a second.

Cinder’s biggest failing in my opinion, however, is a lackluster cast of characters. The evil Lunar queen is pretty much just completely and utterly evil for no discernable reason except that perhaps evilness is in vogue on the lunar surface. Prince Kai, as well, seems to have less personality than Cinder’s spunky robot friend, Iko. His sole character feature seems to be that he’s a decent guy.

Despite these hiccups, Cinder offers readers a unique twist on an old story that, overall, I enjoyed reading. As soon as I was done, I promptly placed the next book in the series, Scarlet, on hold. I’m looking forward to the continuation of Cinder’s adventures and to meeting a new character, Scarlet.

Rating: Four Stars

Who Should Read: Perfect for teens who enjoy a strong heroine who prefers rumpled, oil-stained clothes to gaudy dresses and who occasionally loses her body parts.

Book Review – The Amulet of Samarkand by Johnathan Stroud

June 16th, 2016 No comments

Cover: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan StroudMagicians walk the streets of London, summoning demons to assist them in their endeavors as they rule benignly over the commoners of London…or at least this is what the young boy Nathaniel is told when he is thrust into the care of the middling magician Arthur Underwood as Underwood’s apprentice.

The djinn Bartimaeus has a different take on the situation. With sarcastic wit aplenty, he describes the poor plight of demons who are forced into slavery at the behest of their masters who use their power to cower the commoners into submission.

The paths of Nathaniel and Bartimaeus cross when Nathaniel, seething from a public embarrassment at the hands of hotshot magician Simon Lovelace, summons Bartimaeus in an effort to seek revenge. Nathaniel order Bartimaeus to steal a treasured token from Lovelace, the Amulet of Samarkand. Little does the boy know that this act will drag him and his skeptical djinn into a massive and dangerous conspiracy that reaches into the highest levels of the government.

Author Johnathan Stroud gives us a fresh new magical taste of London, but not all is what it seems. The magicians who proclaim their greatness are greedy, paranoid, and arrogant. The spirits they summon come in a variety of flavors, but Bartimaeus is certainly more than the wisecracking, cruel, and viscous demon that Nathaniel assumes him to be.

Speaking of Bartimaeus, he is now officially my favorite demon of all time. His sharp wit threads the book with refreshing humor, adding an extra shine to his adventures with the taciturn and often angry Nathaniel. Stroud performs a unique dance, smattering Bartimaeus’s first person narratives with a steady stream of footnotes. They take a little getting used to at first, but then they become a natural part of Bartimaeus’s story.

Though one could argue that this book is written for a YA or even Middle Grade audience (though the vocabulary seems far more advanced than most middle graders could handle), it will easily delight adults as well. Nathaniel is a complicated character who hovers right on the line between hero and anti-hero. A part of me always wanted to root for the young boy who felt so stepped upon, but it was also easy enough to see how dangerous he could become as he gave into his anger, his ambition, and his pride. Likewise, Bartimaeus is far more complicated than he or Nathaniel are willing to admit. Beneath his jokes and jabs is a spirit who has seen civilizations come and go throughout the ages, and he doesn’t hold out much hope for London.

The Amulet of Samarkand is a fascinating book filled with multi-layered characters, a simmering plot, hilarious wit, and some deep questions to consider for the next book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy, the Golem’s Eye.

Five stars!

Book Review of The Rosie Project

April 24th, 2016 No comments

Cover -- The Rosie ProjectDating is awkward, messy, and most damning of all – inefficient. Don Tillman is not a man who likes to waste his time. See: his stringently mapped out daily schedule which provides no room for deviation. Don jumps to the natural conclusion that rather than waste him time dating from an unknown pool of women, he will simply design an extensive scientifically valid survey that will efficiently filter out women who do not possess the characteristics of an ideal life partner.

Thus starts to Wife Project.

Author Graeme Simsion does the literary world a solid by bringing Don Tillman to life. We readers spend the story looking out through Don’s highly organized, logical, and entirely socially inept perspective. See: Don calmly explaining why his high-tech cycling jacket is far superior to the sports coats required at a fancy restaurant and should thus be accepted.

Simsion presents us with a fresh worldview from the mind of an individual with Asperger’s but never turns Don into a stereotype. He is simply Don, and it didn’t take long for me as a reader to begin cheering him on, groaning when he failed to pick up an obvious social cue, and watching with great curiosity as he navigated a world where people again and again failed to act logically.

When a young bartender (not barmaid) named Rosie comes into the picture, Don quickly dismisses her as a wife candidate, but something intrigues him about her. Without quite knowing why, Don agrees to lend her his expertise as a genetics professor as they search for Rosie’s biological father.

The Father Project soon usurps Don’s concentration from the Wife Project as he and Rosie find themselves fibbing, slinging drinks, and jetting across the world to solve the mystery. Don begins to notice that the barmaid possesses some likable qualities.

The Rosie Project is a romantic comedy turned on its head. Don is just about the least sexy knight in shining armor that you can imagine, but the chemistry between him and Rosy is real. Simsion is an extremely talented author who manages to mine great humor from his main characters without ever denigrating them.

If you’re like me, you’ll quickly fall head over heels for The Rosie Project.

Why You Need to Care About What’s Going on in America’s Most Violent and Hopeless Neighborhoods; My Review of Ghettoside by Jill Leovy

March 18th, 2016 No comments

Cover -- Ghettoside by Jill LeovyI picked up Ghettoside, because I wanted to try and understand why crime was so rampant in certain neighborhoods across the country. Was it poverty? Gangs? Drugs?

Ghettoside, by Jill Leovy took me across the the train tracks and into the living rooms within the ghetto as well as inside the police station where detectives work unrelentingly to solve the black-on-black murders that almost never make the news.

Leovy tackles the tragic statistics of black-on-black murder head on and digs into the causes that have turned small enclaves in Los Angeles into festering dens of gang activity, crime, suspicion of the police, and a heavy sense that the rest of the outside world doesn’t care.

Leovy’s greatest talent is her ability to humanize those who call the ghetto home and those who try to make it a little safer by putting murderers behind bars. We meet dedicated detectives, kids who join gangs for the protection they provide, prostitutes who risk their lives to testify in court, and broken-hearted parents who lose their children.

I couldn’t stop reading Ghettoside. Every page pulled me deeper and deeper into a place within my own country (actually, my own state of California) that I know so little about. The primary story of the murder of a black police detective’s son drives the plot forward, but truly Leovy’s deft portraits of the people who live and serve in the ghetto that stuck with me long after the last page.

This book was enlightening. I walked away with a much greater sympathy for the people trapped in the ghetto, incredible respect for the officers who serve these areas, and a better understanding of the highly complex problem of violence that requires the attention of a nation to fix.

Ready Player One Review: A Must-Read For Anyone Who Grew Up In The 80’s, Loves Videogame Culture, Or Who Always Roots For The Underdog.

February 10th, 2016 1 comment

Book cover, Ready Player OneThe world is a crappy place in 2044. People are starving. Indentured servitude is a thing. Murders are so common they barely make the news. The one escape is the Oasis, a massive virtual reality world teeming with possibility. Within the Oasis, a clever avatar can gain power, prestige, and just about any ability they can imagine.

In the real world, Wade Watts is a chubby, shy, and impoverished orphan trapped in “the stacks.” In the Oasis, however, he is Parzival, dedicated Gunter. Both Wade and Parzival have one singular purpose in life. They will find Halliday’s egg.

Five years in, most people assume that Halliday’s egg is a fantasy. When co-creator of the Oasis, James Halliday died, he hid the egg somewhere within the Oasis, trapped behind three gates that can only be opened with three keys. The one who finds the egg, earns Halliday’s massive fortune, and – even more valuable – control of the Oasis. For five years the first key remained hidden, that is until an avatar’s name finally hit the scoreboard. That name was Parzival.

When Wade discovers the first key to the gate, the race is on to find Halliday’s egg. Wade will have to use all of his cunning not to mention his encyclopedic memory of 80’s pop culture to stay ahead of his fellow gunters, as well as Innovative Online Industries, a merciless business enterprise that is willing to find the egg (and take control of the Oasis) at any cost.

Ready Player One was a constant and enjoyable adrenaline rush. Author Ernest Cline does a fantastic job of creating a believable and fantastic world, where reality and fantasy merge so deeply that the line is hard to distinguish. The Oasis springs vividly from the MMORPGs today, and is kind of like World of Warcraft mixed with Second Life mixed with Cline’s own imagination. The fact that these kids of the future are steeped in 80s trivia just adds to the fun. The clash of past and future works in dazzling fashion.

The exciting plot and engaging characters of Ready Player One is worth the read on its own. Wade is a sympathetic character, and it won’t take you long to start seriously rooting for him to somehow outsmart the well-moneyed and malicious IOI. However, there is a lot more to this novel if you want to dig deep. Cline challenges us to consider the risk of giving into the siren’s call of technology as a cure-all and of ignoring the decline of our real world in the process.

A must-read for anyone who grew up in the 80’s, loves videogame culture, or who always roots for the underdog.

Book Review of The Book Thief

January 28th, 2016 No comments

Cover of The Book ThiefDeath has a lot on his plate, especially in the 1940s as Europe erupts into war. And yet, every once in a while, Death gets distracted. One of those distractions is Liesel Meminger, a young girl who lives with foster parents in a small town outside of Munich. Liesel is a strong-willed girl who discovers the beauty and the power of words after her caring foster father, Hans, decides to teach her to read. Liesel is also a thief. Her first stolen treasure is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, snatched from the snow besides her brother’s grave.

As Liesel grows, reads, plays soccer, collects laundry, and avoids kissing her best friend, Rudy, the guns of war begin to erupt all over Germany. A promise Hans made many years ago leads him and Liesel to keep a very dark and dangerous secret, one that could save a life or put theirs in jeopardy.

Author Markus Zusak has woven a rich tapestry of words, images, and social commentary all bundled together into a few years of Liesel’s life. His ability to create complex characters and force them onto morale precipices in such a dangerous and uncertain time keeps The Book Thief moving at a good pace.

However, Zusak has a tendency to get drunk on his own words, swooning into melodramatic cascades of contemplation and constantly interrupting the story with special asides – some of which add substantially to the story and others that are as annoying as flies landing on the page.

Still, I can’t help but give this book five stars for the brilliant cast of characters Zusak created, for the intimate German town he built, and for ringing a good many tears out of me at the end.

Book Review of Dreamland By Sam Quinones

January 14th, 2016 No comments

Cover of Dreamland

Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

Last year, I started seeing news stories popping up about middle class kids in the middle of the country dying of heroin overdoses. It didn’t make any sense. I always associated heroin with crime-infested urban areas in the 70s.  How could it possibly be ending up in the veins of cheerleaders, football players, and college kids who grew up on Main Street?

Dreamland gave me the answer. Author Sam Quinones, a veteran journalist, dug into this story and what he found was both fascinating and depressing. Dreamland takes readers down a peculiar journey were two potent forces – big pharma and a novel new take on drug dealing – inadvertently collide. The results created a massive plague of addiction and death across the country. People got hooked on OxyContin and then switched to the potent, readily available, and cheap black tar heroin which was streaming across the border from a single small county in Mexico.

Throughout the book, Quinones gives readers a series of heartbreaking vignettes. We meet the confused and devastated parents of dead kids, young Mexicans for whom heroin dealing represents the only path out of poverty, and the small circle of police officers, drug rehab workers, coroners, and judges who fought to bring a voice to this mostly silent plague.

Dreamland was fascinating in the same way of an oncoming train wreck. I wanted to look away…but somehow I just couldn’t. Quinones is a masterful storyteller who follows a complex, sometimes bizarre web of people and circumstances. This isn’t just a book about junkies, dealers, and the people trying to stop them. It’s a book about circumstances. Quinones links the heroin epidemic to the decay of middle America, to the privilege and boredom of today’s youth, to the masterful and manipulative marketing campaign of Purdue Pharma, and a legacy of shame and embarrassment that kept parents from speaking out about their children’s problems.

Dreamland answered my questions about why kids were dying of heroin overdoses in America and gave me so much more to think about. If you can excuse the inappropriate pun, I was hooked from start to finish. I saw an ugly side of America, but one we can’t afford to ignore any longer.

(Note: Links in this post are Amazon affiliate links.)

The Ten Best Books I Read in 2015

January 11th, 2016 2 comments

One of my favorite blogs of all time is Wait But Why written by the indomitable and endlessly hilarious Tim Urban. Recently, Tim wrote a post called The Tail End, in which Tim depresses the hell out of all his readers by calculating how many occurrences of a given activity they have left in their life. Example – Tim is 34 and, optimist that he is, uses a 90-year life expectancy for his calculations. That means, he’s got 60 Superbowls left and 15 more presidential elections. He also calculates roughly 1,220 Chinese takeout meals. Then Tim goes deep. Realizing that he visits his parents about five times a year and assuming they both also live to 90, he calculates that he’s got only about 300 visits left with them optimistically. One take on the article is to realize how precious your time is and spend it with the people you love. (Cue willowy violin music).  The real point, however is – holy crap, I don’t have that many books left in my life!

I read, on average three books a month. I work out, eat healthy, and floss every day (okay, almost every day), so I have a shot at making it to 90. That gives me just 2,160 books left to read in my life. That may seem like a lot, but consider that in 2013 Forbes estimated that up to 1 million books are published each year…and that’s on top of all of the books that are already floating around.

In other words, you and I need to start being more picky about which books we decide to spend our precious, precious time with! No more trying to drag our eyes through War and Peace out of stubborn pride or sticking with something that is okay because we’re too lazy to find something else. The best way to find awesome new books? Recommendations from people you trust.

With that in mind, here’s a quick list of the ten best books I read in 2015.  Any one of these would be well worth your limited and valuable time. (Note: It was hard enough culling this list down to ten. I’m not going to stress myself out by trying to rank them. They’re listed in alphabetical order.)

Cover -- All the Stars in the SkyAll the Stars in the Sky, Book 3 in the Until the End of the World Series

Author: Sarah Lyons Fleming

Genre: Dystopian, New Adult, Zombies

The Gist: In the third and final book of the Until the End of the World series, Cassie is determined not to lose anyone else she loves. She and her small band of survivors are on the run from ever-growing mobs of Lexers (AKA zombies) as they desperately search for a new sanctuary.

Why I Love It: Sarah Lyons Fleming has a gift for writing extremely real characters. Cassie feels like my best friend throughout the series. She’s a kick-ass kind of girl but also thoughtful and awesomely sarcastic. Her setbacks and tragedies are my own, but luckily so are her triumphs! If you want to give this book a try, start at the beginning, with Until the End of the World. At the time of this writing, the book is FREE! No excuses.

 

Cover of DauntlessDauntless, Book 1 in the Lost Fleet Series

Author: Jack Campbell

Genre: Science Fiction, SciFi Military

The Gist: John Geary wakes up from survival hibernation to discover that 100 years have lapsed and he is now revered as a hero by a society that has been mired in constant war during the entirety of his Rip Van Winkle routine. When a massive offensive charge ends in crushing defeat, Geary must take the reins and use some of his old-school knowledge to get the battered Alliance Fleet back home before his enemies, including some within his own fleet, succeed in destroying him.

Why I Love It: Sure, the characters are a little flat, and John Geary is an utter Boy Scout, but the rip-roaring plot makes up for the lack of character subtlety. This is popcorn in word form, and it’s oh-so-good. I gobbled up all six books in The Lost Fleet series and loved every minute of it.

 

Cover -- Dragonfly in Amber

Cover — Dragonfly in Amber

Dragonfly in Amber, Book 2 in the Outlander Series

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction, Highlanders

The Gist: An accidental tumble through a magical set of stones takes Claire Randall 200 years into the past and into the muscly and delicious arms of the enigmatic highlander, Jamie Frasier. In book two of the Outlander series, Claire and Jamie travel between Scotland and France in a desperate bid to prevent a disastrous battle that will forever destroy the highland clans.

Why I Love It: I’m not usually one for mushy, mushy romance, but author Diana Gabaldon has an amazing gift for capturing even the smallest detail in the most fascinating way. She cooks up multi-faceted characters who caper through a plot that never slows down. The solid, passionate bond between Jamie and Claire provides the foundation for this endlessly enjoyable tale. Give yourself plenty of time to savor this book and make sure to start at the beginning with book one, Outlander.

 

Cover, One SummerOne Summer: America, 1927

Author: Bill Bryson

Genre: Non-Fiction, American History

The Gist: Author Bill Bryson proves that some years are just special. 1927 was one of them. Bryson weaves a fascinating tale stitched together by Charles Lindbergh’s groundbreaking flight across the Atlantic. Bryson takes us through Babe Ruth’s quest for the home-run record, to prohibition, and the introduction of The Jazz Singer with his signature humor and eye for the absurd.

Why I Love It: I love history not for the huge, big events but for the people who make them happen. Bryson sucked me right into 1927 with his trademark narrative voice that can paint a scene in vivid colors and make you laugh the whole time. You will be transported.

 

 

Cover, ShogunShogun, Book 1 in the Asian Saga Series

Author: James Clavell

Genre: Historical Fiction, Adventure, Ancient Japan

The Gist: When English pilot John Blackthorne washes up in feudal Japan, he must learn fast how to survive in this alien culture built on honor, obedience, and rigid ritual as he becomes a pawn in an epic battle of wits, deceit, and blood.

Why I Love It: Up for an epic adventure? Then you’ve come to the right place. Author James Clavell pulls off a stunning achievement in crafting this fascinating, intricately detailed novel that brilliantly clashes two very different cultures against each other. This is one of those amazingly rare books that changed the way I see the world. (See how jealous I got of Clavell’s talent after reading this book.)

 

Cover, SoullessSoulless, Book 1 in the Parasol Protectorate Series

Author: Gail Carriger

Genre: Paranormal, Steampunk, Vampires, Werewolves

The Gist: Being soulless is the least of Alexia Tarabotti’s worries. Not only is she uncomfortably independent-minded and unmarried at the advanced age of twenty four, but she is also, embarrassingly, half-Italian. When a rogue vampire oversteps all rules of social etiquette to try and make her a snack, Alexia is caught up in the middle of a grand supernatural conspiracy, one that will force her to work in tandem with the loud, shaggy, handsome werewolf, Lord Maccon.

Why I Love It: Let me try and count all the reasons that I love this book. Strong-willed heroine? Check. Uppity British manners? Check. Werewolves and vampires running around in cravats? Oh, you betcha! Author Gail Carriger gives us a delightful protagonist, some seriously steamy romantic tension, and a fascinating supernatural take on London. I couldn’t stop myself from reading every book in the Parasol Protectorate series back-to-back.

 

Cover, Spring ChickenSpring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying)

Author: Bill Gifford

Genre: Non-Fiction, Health, Science, Aging

The Gist: Getting old and dying sucks, which is why people have tried from time immoral to cheat this seemingly inevitable process. Author Bill Gifford explores humanity’s quest to stay young forever, examining historical efforts to beat aging and explaining the latest and greatest developments in this field.

Why I Love It: I’ll admit it, growing old is not something I particularly want to do, including the part where I spend my days telling and retelling the epic story of that time the dryer broke and how I was on the phone with the Sears service technician for two hours. TWO HOURS! Didn’t he know it was time for my nap? Bill Gifford weaves science and history into an informative and understandable story that manages to be amusing the entire way through. I listened to this book as an audio book, and it was a fascinating driving companion.

 

Cover, The MartianThe Martian

Author: Andy Weir

Genre: Science Fiction

The Gist: Mark Watney has a problem. That problem is Mars. Specifically, the fact that he is on Mars, accidentally abandoned by his crew that are now on their way back to earth. With unrelenting determination, endless MacGyver-like tricks, and an indefatigable sense of humor, Mark will find a way to survive…or die trying.

Why I Love It: I want to marry Mark Watney. The Martian is filled with his journal entries as he tries to survive on a planet that is constantly trying to kill him. I was instantly sucked into his plight, rooting for him despite the seemingly hopelessness of his situation. Author Andy Weir does a “stellar” (har, har) job of crafting a believable story filled with intricate details that are (usually) understandable to all the non-rocket scientists reading it.

 

Cover, Writing From the HeartWriting the Heart of Your Story

Author: C.S. Lakin

Genre: Non-Fiction, How-to, Authorship

The Gist: Author C.S. Lakin offers up this short but powerful guide that shows authors how to craft a story with heart, feeling, and depth.

Why I Love It: In a self-publishing world that sometimes seems obsessed with figuring out how to write faster and pump out more and more books, Writing the Heart of Your Story is a refreshing book that focuses on the craft. Many of Lakin’s lessons are not new, but she has a way of making them feel profound. This was my favorite writing book of the year. If you’re not an author, you are grudgingly allow you to skip this book.

 

 

Cover, XenocideXenocide, Book 3 in the Ender Quintet

Author: Orson Scott Card

Genre: Science Fiction

The Gist: One little planet in a vast solar system could hold the key to finally discovering a way for different sentient creatures to live peacefully together. Too bad the Starways Congress sees Lusitania as a perilous threat and is intent on destroying it. Ender and his small circle of friends and family work against the clock to stop the oncoming Armada, figure out how to control descolada virus, and keep the peace on a very divided planet.

Why I Love It:  Okay, so my “Gist” for Xenocide doesn’t even come close to giving this book its due. I can’t say much more than read it! Even if you don’t normally pickup science fiction, read this book. Along with Shogun, this was the only other book I read this entire year that reached all the way into my soul and left it changed forever. This book is about more than aliens and spaceships and faraway planets. It’s about how we treat those who are different than ourselves and our potential as a race. So, you know how I was all like, “Read this book!” I lied. You really want to start with book one in this series, Ender’s Game. Read that. Then Speaker for the Dead (book two)…and then read Xenocide.

 

So, there you have it, my book recommendations lovingly placed into your keeping. I hope that I can be the instigation for a little soul soaring, big belly laughs, and maybe even a few tears wrung out for characters in their greatest times of need. Remember, your final book tally is a finite thing. Recommendations are a gift, and I hope you’ll spread the love by recommending your favorite books to your reader friends, family, and acquaintances. Happy reading!

Teeny Tiny Note: All of the Amazon links in this blog post are Amazon Associate links. That means if you use the link and make a purchase on Amazon, I get a teensy commission. I only use Amazon Associate links when I am already planning on linking to Amazon. The links do not affect my opinion or my book recommendations.