Saturday, July 2, 2011

Little Brother (fiction)

Another Sneak-In Saturday, with one of my favorite books which has crept onto bestseller lists before I could get my recommendation to you!

This chilling near-future USA tale has won numerous awards, including 2009 John W. Campbell Science Fiction Novel of the Year, and is included on many best books lists for young adults.

Through 6 July 2011, you can download the mp3 audiobook of Little Brother FREE at SYNC's site (2 free YA audiobooks each week all summer - yay!) with free Overdrive listening service, no DRM restrictions.

Or you can have Little Brother delivered free by e-mail (the whole book, in 139 chunks) through the fabulous Daily Lit service on the schedule you select (stop and start as you wish, have the next chunk delivered now, etc.)!

And any time you can download a text-readable version of Little Brother FREE here, with the author's permission and blessing. Yes, really! Cory has found out that folks read his books and short stories online/on screen, then go buy the print books or eBooks (he's right - that's what I did).

Of course, you can pop down to your local library or indie bookstore to get it, too!
Don't miss Little Brother! Stay free!

Book info: Little Brother / Cory Doctorow. Tor Teen, 2008. [author's website] [publisher site] [book trailers one and two]

Recommendation: When terror attacks strike San Francisco, Marcus and his friends were skipping school to play a high-tech search game. Getting past the school’s ever-present cameras and snooper-computers had just been a game, too, but the authorities think those technogeek talents may connect the teens to the attacks. Although Darrell was stabbed during the panic following the bombings, Homeland Security detains them for days without their parents’ knowledge.

When the friends are released, but Darrell is nowhere to be found, Marcus vows to use his technical talents to strike back against intrusive security surveillance in every neighborhood, constant wiretapping, and increasing loss of citizens’ personal liberties. Hundreds of others join him online to fight against the “Big Brother” tactics being used to monitor everyone in the city.

But the pressure is on - Why is his social studies teacher replaced with someone who lectures that the Bill of Rights only applies sometimes? Why don’t the US newspapers report about the chaos in San Francisco? Will Marcus be able to keep up the fight for freedom of speech while staying a jump ahead of the authorities and still keep his friends safe? A cautionary tale with a techno-twist. (One of 5,000 books recommended on Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fun Friday!

Welcome to Funny Friday, kicking off a long holiday weekend in the USA and the Ultimate Blog Challenge (31 posts in 31 days!) all in one fell swoop!

Sneak peak at titles rumored to be on board for future Fun Fridays: The Red Blazer Girls in The Ring of Rocamadour and also The Vanishing Violin, crafty fun At Home With Handmade Books, and a little undead versus living battle in graphic novel Ghostopolis.

Be sure that you've asked your local library or indie bookstore for these recent BooksYALove fun favorites (click title for full recommendation):

Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity, by Dave Roman - school in space, dinosaur racing, spies = a graphic novel series with a great future!

I Love Him to Pieces (My Boyfriend is a Monster #1), by Evonne Tsang; art by Janina Gorrissen - Baseball, egg-babies, flirting, and a zombie plague! This graphic novel is set in St. Petersburg (be careful on your way to the beach this weekend!) and is first in a series.

Smile, by Raina Telgemeier - yes, you can live through braces, junior high, and high school to come out smiling on the other side! Autobiographical graphic novel with heart.

Cinderella: Ninja Warrior, by Maureen McGowan - choose-your-own-adventure meets fairy tale in this kicking twist on the classic (ninjas! magic! secrets! the worst evil stepmother ever!); first in series.

Kat, Incorrigible, by Stephanie Burgis - mix the straightlaced traditions of Regency England with some irrepressible magic and you'll find Kat in the middle of it, trying to 'save' her siblings from their unhappy futures. Spunky Kat also has to deal with a stick-tight magic mirror, a too-proper stepmother, and a daring bandit on the woods road...

Fish, by Gregory Mone - Pirates, treasure-hunters stealing from pirates, maps and puzzles, and a pirate-to-be who refuses to fight anyone! Such a cast of characters, such a prize - if they can keep it!

Have a fun Friday, and happy reading!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Time Quake (Gideon Trilogy #3) (fiction)

Time travel meets alternate history in the final volume of the Gideon Trilogy, and it's a doozy!

So we have the fabric of time tearing apart while Lord Luxon (that rat!) tries to manipulate history in his own favor.

But what's happening to Kate and Peter? Where's Gideon now? And the Tar Man? If the time quakes don't stop, the world that we know may shatter!

Be sure to read Time Travelers (#1 recommended here) and Time Thief (#2 recommended here) before you start this roller-coaster tale of time ripples so you can enjoy every bit of the wild ride!

Book info: The Time Quake / Linda Buckley-Archer. Simon & Schuster, 2010.
[author's website] [author interview] [publisher site] [book trailer]

Recommendation:Returning to 18th century England on a duplicate time machine, Kate and Peter try to unravel the snarl of events that their unintended time travel has caused. Kate’s hold on the present (whatever year she’s in) grows more and more tenuous as the multiplicity of universes created by each time travel event start to collide. Their search for the Tar Man and Lord Luxon takes a dangerous turn and may separate the friends forever!

When the original time machine fell into Lord Luxon’s amoral hands, he all too quickly saw its potential for exploitation. Taking “undiscovered” 18th century masterpiece paintings into the 20th century brings wealth, but the Tar Man’s employer is looking for power so he travels to New York City to try his hand at changing history…

Could Lord Luxon’s purposeful damage to key events in the American Revolution truly change history? Can Peter and Gideon keep Kate from fading away entirely? Will anyone ever get back to their home time?

Time quakes muddle past and present, hurtling the friends toward the possible end of our universe as the trilogy races toward its heart-stopping conclusion (443 pages in paperback). (One of 5,000 books recommended on Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Time Thief (Gideon Trilogy #2) (fiction)

For world Wednesday, let's travel to England and to two different centuries!
Traveling into the future might be quite fascinating - if one were prepared. As 21st century folks, we have some guesses about the technological marvels that future times may have. But what of a vicious rogue transported from the 1760s right into the heart of modern London? From public hangings to cellphones and police helicopters?

And where's Peter? Kate moves heaven, earth, and stubborn grownups as she tries to rescue her friend. Gravitational time dilation, time warps...whatever you call the aftershocks of people transported out of their own time, things are getting really messy in our space-time continuum!

Noted scientist Stephen Hawking thinks that time travel to the future is indeed possible, so "never say never!" This is the 2nd volume of The Gideon Trilogy, which began with The Time Travelers (yesterday's feature book) and ends with The Time Quake (tomorrow's feature).

Book info: The Time Thief / Linda Buckley-Archer. Simon & Schuster, 2008.
[author's website] [author interview] [publisher site] [book trailer]

Recommendation:Two people cling to the time machine, roaring into the 20th century. But one is a notorious 18th century villain who pushed Peter away from his chance to return home! Kate is furious and refuses to let her friend be left in 1763, despite their families’ efforts to keep her safe.

Now the Tar Man is loose in modern London, trying to wrap his horse-and-buggy experience around the concepts of automobiles and traffic lights. Of course, policemen are always the same in any century, despite changes in uniform and chase techniques (flying machines? how can that be possible?), and the Tar Man finds ways to elude them as he worms his way into the criminal underworld.

The time machine inventors are trying to create another one while other authorities hunt for the original to destroy it. Kate and her scientist father rush to rescue Peter before it’s too late, but the wrong setting sends them to the wrong year!

Can Kate find Peter in 1792? Will their 18th century friend Gideon be able to help? Is there any way to get the Tar Man out of their time and Peter back into it?

Second volume of the brilliant trilogy, The Time Thief races down the interconnected paths of an 18th century villain and 2 teens from modern England. If the snarl of time loops is cut, what will happen to them all? Stay tuned for volume 3, The Time Quake! (One of 5,000 books recommended on Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Time Travelers (Gideon Trilogy #1) (fiction)

Time travel...what if it were possible? Of course, there are rules which every time travel tale must follow, or the world as we know it would go poof!

This is the first book in a trilogy known in the UK as Gideon the Cutpurse (as you'll see in the UK booktrailer), so named for the friendly, ahem, liberator of excess worldly possessions who helps out Kate and Peter when they are whisked into the 17th century by a rogue antigravity machine.

Quite the adventure for our two present-day teens, thrown back into a world where electricity is an experimental novelty, and death by disease, misadventure, or sheer bad luck is just an everyday occurrence.

Will they get back to our time? Let's check on The Time Thief (Gideon Trilogy #2) tomorrow, shall we?

Book info: The Time Travelers / Linda Buckley-Archer. Simon & Schuster, 2007.
[author's website] [author interview] [publisher site] [UK book trailer]

Recommendation: Peter would not have been transported back in time if his father hadn't chosen business over their trip together -- again! Who knew that his visit to the English countryside in the 21st century would wind up in the 18th century?

Kate and her family are nice, their farm with the sheep and horses is very country, but it's not the same as a day spent with his dad as Peter's mom continues her work far away in the U.S.A. Even the research lab where Kate's dad works is a bit interesting, like the antigravity machine they use to search for "dark matter".

When Kate's dog gets spooked, Peter and Kate chase her through the lab...and into nothingness! They awake in 1763 to see a ferocious man trying to carry off the antigravity machine on his cart -- then he comes after them! They escape from the Tar Man through the woods and meet Gideon Seymour, who may be able to help them retrieve the antigravity machine and make their way through 18th century England without letting anyone else know that they came from the future.

In the meantime, the police and their parents are searching for the pair in 20th centure Derbyshire, with few clues and dwindling hope. A phantom image of Kate in old-fashioned clothes appears at her school -- she has partially returned as she slept! Now the race is on to recreate the antigravity machine's effects in the 20th century.

Bandits and horses, corsets and three-cornered hats, hanging and royalty -- Peter and Kate must cope with everyday life in the 18th century as they try to get the Tar Man to give back their only way home while keeping thir friend Gideon out of his evil clutches.

First in a brilliant trilogy, The Time Travelers takes you with them into 18th century England -- can everyone get home again? Followed by Time Thief and Time Quake. (One of 5,000 books recommended on Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Infinite Days (fiction)

No sparkly, baseball-playing vampires in this book which hearkens back to the original vampire tradition with bloodlust and cruelty. But there's a price to be paid for this blood-transmitted immortality, as these vampires lose their sense of touch over time, rather like being encased in glass (not the usual vampiric super-senses).

So Lenah becomes human and rejoices in the life and loveliness of the mortal world, until... You knew there had to be an "until..." to make the story work, right? Conflict, struggle for power = some things never seem to change, whatever world you're in, so hang on for a wild ride as Lenah starts living as a modern teenager and trying to stay alive, too.

Release date for the sequel, Stolen Nights, has been pushed back to June 1, 2012. Maizel notes on her blog "As my editor says, second books are always the most difficult. And she is 100% right." Hmmm...wonder how early you can pre-order a book?

Book info: Infinite Days / Rebecca Maizel. (Vampire Queen, Book 1) St. Martin's Griffin, 2010. 336 pg paperback [author's website] [author's blog] [publisher site] [book trailer] [Italian book trailer]

Recommendation: Vampires lose sense of touch over time. Lenah, a 500-year old Vampire Queen, longs to be human again and to truly feel, after centuries of ruthless hunting and feeding, viciously cruel hunting and feeding.

But the ritual for returning her humanity is hidden and difficult, involving true sacrifice by another vampire, the most selfish of all creatures. Even more difficult would be hiding her new mortal status from the vampires she created, who will then view her as new prey, rather than their leader. So she starts a 100 year hibernation, while Rhode, who made her a vampire and loves her for eternity, finds the ritual’s instructions and steals her body from the English crypt in the 99th year.

Waking up on a New England morning, Lenah sees sunlight for the first time in almost 600 years and realizes that Rhode has helped her become human again, even as he dies in the daylight. Now she must cope with the technology which developed as she slept, along with all the teen tensions of a private high school. Finding friends and relationships, realizing that machines now can capture music, enjoying food and breezes and the sea, Lenah learns about life and new love, even as she tries to ignore the calendar days moving toward her supposed awakening from hibernation.

Will the other vampires find her here? Are her friends at school in danger of losing their lives? Their mortal souls? Did Rhode’s sacrifice buy her time to truly live or merely months before her doom? First in a new series. (One of 5,000 books recommended on

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The contents, not the container

Terry Border makes weird things - Bent Objects, to be exact. And he concocted this still-life at the behest of his publisher. Yep, a book publisher asked for a sculpture that showed eReaders zooming way beyond printed books... anyone else see the 'huh?' in that??

Of course, it is the contents of books that we crave - the drama, the emotion, the relationships, the information, the humor - and sometimes the container doesn't matter at all.

If I'm looking for a map of the Lewis and Clark Trail, I don't care if it's online, in a National Park Service guide, or in a library book.

I've read numerous books in bite-sized pieces delivered to my email by Daily Lit, as Advance Reader Copies through NetGalley, and in whole works through Project Gutenberg (and have even helped proofread some new digitizations there).

But our brains just don't read text on the screen the same way that they read text on a page, according to researchers, as Thomas Larson notes in his overview of several recent books and studies on the two methods of reading.

I still love print books best for fiction, curled up in my chair, with a cat or two on my lap. No batteries to run down, no cords or mice (sorry, kitties), no overheating (laptops can be lapscorchers). The tactile experience of turning the pages of a book contributes to our reality of the reading experience.

I like real.