Science Fiction Picks

This month I chose something that’s a little older to share.  One urban fantasy, and one high fantasy series.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Storm Front

Harry Dresden’s Yellow Pages ad reads:

Harry Dresden–Wizard
Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations.
Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, no-one else does what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things — and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a — well, whatever. There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get… interesting. Magic. It can get a guy killed.

In Fantasy reader circles, Harry Dresden is sometimes known as ‘the other wizard named Harry’.  Storm Front is the first book in a series of 15 books (so far) detailing Harry’s adventures with magic in the city of Chicago.

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

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The book starts off with the lives of Rand, Perrin, and Matt, three young men in a small village at the end of the road.  Evil takes notice of the village, and one of the three will become the Dragon, destined to save the world, as well as destroy it.  What follows is a high adventure, complete with good vs. evil, magic, a bit of a love story, and close escapes.  Robert Jordan excels at world building, so the setting of this fantasy epic is very vivid.

The Eye of the World is the first book of the Wheel of Time series, a 14 book series.

Weekend Picks

With questionable weather upon us this weekend, we’re taking this as an opportunity to feature two of film’s most memorable pessimists:

Travis Bickle, is a taxi driver running the hardest routes of New York City. Jep Gambardella, is a resident loafer and King of Rome’s nightlife. Both are in search of purpose somewhere between the inconstant beauty and wretched squalor of life.

Taxi Driver

A mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a teenage prostitute in the process.

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La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty)

For decades, journalist Jep Gambardella has charmed and seduced his way through the glittering nightlife of Rome. Since the legendary success of his only novel, he has been a permanent fixture in the city’s literary and elite social circles. But on his sixty-fifth birthday, Jep unexpectedly finds himself taking stock of his life, turning his cutting wit on himself and his contemporaries.

Academy Award Winner – Oscar, Best Foreign Language Film, 2014 .

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Weekend Picks

This Book Has Pictures! | Safari Honeymoon

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Far from the comfort and safety of their condo, a couple explore the wild in Jesse Jacob’s Safari Honeymoon. Surrounded by slithering, slimy, bizarre and dangerous creatures, and the only things keeping them at bay is their trusty guide.

“Jacob’s art blew me away when I first opened the book. As I began reading I kept seeing more and more details tucked away in the corner that I would have to give my full attention. Jacob’s captures the cute, terrifying and unsettling with his pen in a way that won’t let you put the book down.” -Drew

Jesse Jacobs was born in Moncton, New Brunswick, but now draws comics from his home in London, Ontario. In 2009, his books Small Victories and Blue Winter were short listed at the Doug Wright Awards for Canadian Cartooning.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

New monthly reviews from Joanne, our mistress of mysteries!

ghost fieldsThe Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths

The sixth book in the Ruth Galloway Mystery series sees Ruth, a forensic archaeologist, called to a construction site whose crew has unearthed a downed WWII plane with the pilot still inside.  Of course, nothing is as it seems and when two people are attacked during separate incidents, the simple explanation concerning the discovery of the plane becomes much more sinister.  Readers who aren’t familiar with this series need not worry about catching up with the characters – the author fills us in on their background without being too repetitive for her seasoned readers.  I particularly like the humour that she brings to her characters and found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion.  If you enjoy this book, do go back and read the series from the beginning.  You won’t regret your decision.

 

 

checkedoutvietsChecked Out by Elaine Viets

What attracted me to this book was that it takes place in a library and involves the group who fundraise for it – The Friends of the Library.  Since I work in a library and belong to our Friends of the Library, I wanted to see how the fictional institutions matched up to the real thing.  Helen and Phil, husband and wife PIs, are hired by the Flora Park Library and the ultra-rich Coakley family, respectively.  Helen, under the guise of a library volunteer, searches for a missing John Singer Sargent painting, supposedly slipped into a book that later was part of a large donation of books to the library.  Phil, working as a gardener on their estate, has been hired to find the expensive necklace that the Coakley’s gave to their daughter on her birthday and which went missing the very evening of.  When someone connected with the library is the victim of a hit-and-run, Helen realizes that shelving books can be a very dangerous pastime!   Viets introduces a cast of characters both likeable and detestable and does a good job of throwing in the occasional red herring.  On a personal basis, I would say that my library is heavy on the likeable “characters”.

Weekend Picks

Set to star in Beetlejuice 2, Winona Ryder was welcomed back by the media this week… but when exactly did she ever leave?

Girl, Interrupted

Based on Susanna Kaysen’s best-selling memoir about her 18 month stay as an adolescent girl in a New England psychiatric hospital in the 1960’s.

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Reality Bites

The irreverent portrayal of the harsh realities of life after college captures the misadventures of Lelaina, an ambitious TV production assistant, and her relationships with her sarcastic roommate, Vickie, friends Sammy and Troy, and an ambitious video executive, Michael.

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Weekend Picks