Small Favor by Jim Butcher

This is the tenth book in the Dresden Files series that I’m reading lots of this year for my Finish the Series reading challenge.

Published: 2008

Genre: urban fantasy

Length: 541 pages

Setting: Chicago, soon after the events of White Night Continue reading

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Short Stories by M. Darusha Wehm

This is the next story included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology.

The Care and Feeding of Mammalian Bipeds, V. 2.1

Published: November, 2012 in EscapePod (you can either read or listen to the story at that link)

Genre: science fiction

Setting: someone’s home, near future

Summary: The story is told from the viewpoint of a robot that is just entering service into a family’s home. The family thinks it’s getting a house-bot, but the robot sees itself as caring for a herd of humans. It remarks on events happening within the home and thinks all is well with its herd.

Final thoughts: I remember hearing this story when it came out in EscapePod (it’s one of the short story podcasts I listen to regularly) and it enjoyed just as much now as then. It’s fun to try to figure out what the robot is referring to (the evening “chanting sessions” between the husband and wife, for example). The outsider view says everything is well with the family. The human view, which is able to interpret the situations correctly, realizes the parents are working toward a divorce and the kids are suffering as the parents constantly fight.

Title comes from: The robot is continually referring to a manual to interpret the actions of its human herd. The manual is called The Care and Feeding of Mammalian Bipeds, V. 2.1

Modern Love

Published: May 2012 in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (you can find an audio or print version of it here)

Genre: science fiction

Setting: a college town, near future

Summary: Marian is obsessed with Graeme, a barista at the coffee shop. She’s following him home after work, and watching him go to class. It’s totally creepy, until we flip to his point of view and find out he spiked one of her lattes with a custom pheromone and now she’s obsessed with him.

Final thoughts: As the story started, I thought it was just a gender-swapped version of a stalker story. Interesting to see it with the woman creeping on the guy, but not all that interesting. That thought changed when the perspective of the story changed to Graeme’s voice. He created the situation by surreptitiously drugging Marian and is happy to be the focus of an obsession. Now he’s the total creep and she’s the one being used. A totally unexpected twist that will keep me thinking about the story for a while.

Title comes from: Marian is totally in love with Graeme, but only because he got a custom pheromone created to cause the obsession.

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Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

This is my husband’s favorite movie, and he got an audiobook of the story. I decided to listen to it as well, since I enjoy Stephen King when he isn’t being scary.

Published: 1982

Genre: fiction

Length: 181 pages

Setting: Maine, it felt like the 1950s Continue reading

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Lord of the Flies by William Golding

I picked out this book for Mr. Curiosity and read it to be able to discuss it with him. He recently finished Swiss Family Robinson and thought this book might be a contemporary, contrasting take on the “stranded on a desert island” trope.

Published: 1954

Genre: YA fiction

Length: 202 pages

Setting: a desert in the Pacific Ocean, during WWII Continue reading

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Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

I saw (and loved) the movie and wanted to read the book it was based on. When there was a Kindle sale of the book, I bought it. I read it now to see if it would work for our next American History Club meeting about the space race.

Subtitle: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

Published: 2016

Genre: nonfiction science biography

Length: 267 pages of text, 368 pages total

Setting: In and around Langley, Virginia, 1940s-1960s Continue reading

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Pageant for a Crazy Man by Gerald Warfield

This is the next story included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology.

Published: March, 2013 in From the Depths (view the link in full screen to read the text free online)

Genre: short fiction

Setting: Dayton, Ohio, 1980s

Summary: A young teen-age girl is camping with her family. She is awoken one morning by a commotion in the campground. Someone has tied a man to the cross they use for the Easter pageant at the campground and “crucified” him. The man ends up dead the next morning, having fallen from a cliff.

Final thoughts: This is one of those stories that you turn the page, looking for the rest of it because that can’t be it. And, it’s not the good kind of “I want more”. This was the nothing has really happened, and I’m still waiting for the purpose of the story to show itself. I didn’t see any evidence of a science fiction or fantastical bent to the story either. Oh well, you can’t like them all. This was thematically appropriate, though, with Easter so close.

Title comes from: The campground is where locals conduct an Easter pageant annually. A deaf-mute, mentally unstable man was crucified at the campground.

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What I Will Be Reading #30: the YA version

I’ve got a few books to add to my reading list and Mr. Curiosity’s reading list. Miss Adventure does just fine finding her own books, but Mr. Curiosity needs a boost every once in a while. The first two books are from a GeekDad post on the best books from 2016:

Click Here to Start (A Novel) by Denis Markell looked interesting. It’s got puzzles, video games, and a bit of WWII to top things off – all things Mr. Curiosity loves.

The Urban Outlaws series by Peter Jay Black also looked interesting – young hackers and lots of adventure. What’s not to love, right!

And finally, Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz from a post by the Young Adult Library Services Association. They are a great source of books for Mr. Curiosity since they focus exclusively on books appropriate for older kids. In this case, the book is about a spy who is a member of the Hitler Youth. Mr. Curiosity really enjoys learning about WWII, and he’s getting to the age that he can start to get more details about the horrors the Nazis inflicted on so many people. This might be a nice introduction to that topic.

Any other good books for a young teenage boy to read? Thanks for your suggestions!

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