Sunday, 27 July 2014

Shout-Out: The Buried Life by Carrie Patel

The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation - Recoletta's top-secret historical research facility.

When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, lest they fall victim to not only the criminals they seek, but the government which purports to protect them. Knowledge is power, and power must be preserved at all costs…

Out July 29th

Friday, 25 July 2014

Blast From the Past: The Seventh Princess by Nick Sullivan

This is the first fantasy book I remember reading (I’m not counting picture books).  The story starts out in the real world with Jennifer on a bus to school, worried about the homework assignment she hasn’t finished.  When the bus changes into a carriage she becomes Princess Miranda, the only living daughter of a sick king.  Meanwhile the kingdom is under the command of Duke Rinaldo, who immediately strikes Jennifer as evil and cruel.

The book made such an impression on me when I read it that years (and years) later, after I’d graduated from university, I went searching for it.  I found it at a used bookstore (it’s long out of print) and reread it.  I was delighted to find that the book held up remarkably well.

There are harpies in the book, which was so delightful to find, especially since I love(d) Greek mythology and they're so underused in fantasy despite being interesting and horrifying creatures.

It’s a fun adventure story and a great introduction to fantasy for young readers if you can find a copy.  

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Shout-Out: Premonitions by Jaime Schultz

It's the kind of score Karyn Ames has always dreamed of —enough to set her crew up pretty well and, more important, enough to keep her safely stocked on a very rare, very expensive black market drug. Without it, Karyn hallucinates slices of the future until they totally overwhelm her, leaving her unable to distinguish the present from the mess of certainties and possibilities yet to come.
The client behind the heist is Enoch Sobell, a notorious crime lord with a reputation for being ruthless and exacting —and a purported practitioner of dark magic. Sobell is almost certainly condemned to Hell for a magically extended lifetime full of shady dealings. Once you're in business with him, there's no backing out.
Karyn and her associates are used to the supernatural and the occult, but their target is more than just the usual family heirloom or cursed necklace. It's a piece of something larger. Something sinister.
Karyn's crew and even Sobell himself are about to find out just how powerful it is… and how powerful it may yet become.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Video: Kid Snippets "The Wand of Universal Power"

If' you've never seen Kid Snippets, you're in for a treat.  The stories are told by kids and acted by adults.  This is a 4 part fantasy story.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Book Review: Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal

Pros: gut-wrenching scenes, interesting situation, fun characters

Cons: they’re helped a surprising amount 

Vincent and Jane head to Murano to try to make their verre obscurcie with a local glassmaker.  But their ship is waylaid by pirates and things go downhill from there.

This is the fourth book of the Glamourist Histories, and is a great continuation.  The couple fall upon bad circumstances and must work hard to regain their former standing.  As with the other books there’s a personal mystery that glamour is used to solve.

There were some gut-wrenching scenes in the book as the characters deal with what’s happened.  
Despite the grimness of their situation both the protagonists and some of the people they encounter have fun personalities and mostly upbeat attitudes.

I did question the intricacy of some of the plots Vincent and Jane come up with to return their property, especially considering the number of people who offer to help them.

This is a fun series and a great book. 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Shout-Out: SynBio by Leslie Alan Horzitz

Scientists now have the capacity to hack into DNA the same way that hackers can infiltrate computer systems, manipulating organisms by inserting new DNA or exploiting genetic mutations that can trigger fatal heart attacks or induce bipolar illness or Alzheimer's. These biohackers as they're known can perform their experiments in their kitchens using equipment purchased for next to nothing on eBay.
Most of these biohackers are like Seth Stringer in Cambridge, MA who's made a name for himself exploring the frontiers of genetic manipulation. He's young, brash, ambitious and obsessed with his work. but also a little naïve. When his former professor Marcus Adair holds out the possibility of coming to London and going to work for an international pharmaceutical company called Chimera, he jumps at the chance. He can make good money and cement his relationship with his girlfriend, who has misgivings about his future prospects as a breadwinner. He fails to realize until too late that the principal business of Chimera isn't the manufacture of generic drugs but the production of lethal genetic products for well-heeled clients. This will then be used to assassinate or debilitate presidents, prime ministers and CEOs using their own DNA against them - a method that not only makes it difficult to identify the perpetrator (a cold virus can deliver the engineered DNA) but makes it almost impossible to determine that a crime has been committed in the first place.