Good Books and the Random Movie

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31 July 2007

Movie: Inside Man

Inside Man is a bank robbery thriller. Or is it?

Dalton Russell (Clive Owens) is a criminal mastermind who plans the perfect bank heist. Detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) is the hostage negotiator who tries to stop him without jeopardizing the lives of the hostages. To make things more complicated, the owner of the bank hires power broker Madeleine White (Jodie Foster) to make sure something in his safety deposit box stays hidden.

This is a great thriller with a surprising twist to the typical bank robbery movie.

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30 July 2007

Love Rules

Love Rules by Marilyn Reynolds is about diversity. It is part of Marilyn's True-To-Life series of books about teens.

Lynn and Kit have been best friends since they were eleven. They share everything. Or Lynn thought they did until Kit tells her that she is a lesbian.

After a slow start, Lynn realizes that she needs to stand up for Kit and everyone else who is picked on by the homophobic and racists kids on campus. They both join the GSA (gay straight alliance) to try to make Hamilton High a safe place for its students.

Reynolds, Marilyn. (2001). Love Rules. Buena Park, CA: Morning Glory Press.

YA. Lesbian.

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27 July 2007

Beka Cooper: Terrier (Beka Cooper #1)

The Beka Cooper books are a change from the rest of Tamora Pierce's books that take place in and around Tortall. She has taken a break from mages and knights to tell the story of a Tortall Legend -

Rebakah Cooper, George Cooper's six-times-great grandmother, is a Provost's Guard, known as a Provost's Dog. She is the first in her family to join the Dogs. In this first book - Terrier - she has just graduated from her training to become a Puppy to to veteran Dogs.

Beka has chosen to work in the Lower City, a place she grew up in until she was eight. A place most would be afraid to work. Luckily for her she is assigned to two the best Dogs in the district - Mattes Tunstall and Clara Goodwin.

Pierce, Tamora. (2006). Terrier. New York: Random House.

YA. Fantasy.

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25 July 2007

Tamora Pierce – YA Fantasy Goddess!

I have now read most everything that Tamora Pierce has published. She has quickly become one of my favorite authors. After blogging about 23 of her books, I thought a summary was in order. I HIGHLY recommend you read her books!

Tamora has two sets of books – those that take place in Tortall and the surrounding countries and those that take place in and around Emelan.

One of the great things about the Tortall books is that once you get attached to the characters in the first series, and you finish reading it, you get to see those people in the future books of Tortall. The main character in the first series – Song of the Lioness – shows up in each of the three series that follow. This is true of the Immortals series, Protector of the Small and Daughter of the Lioness. Her newest book in the Tortall collection is Terrier. It is the first of three books that take place 200 years before the beginning of Song of the Lioness. (There are also plans for Tamora to create a book or two on the early years of Numair and the coming of age of Maura of Dunlath – both introduced in the Immortals series.)

Song of the Lioness
Alanna: The First Adventure
In the Hand of the Goddess

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
Lioness Rampant

The Song of the Lioness books follow the life of Alanna of Trebond who disguises herself as her brother “Alan” so she can enter school to become a knight.

The Immortals
Wild Magic
Emperor Mage
The Realm of the Gods

When Daine, Veralidaine Sarrasri, applies for a job to help with the horse of the Queen’s Riders, it is discovered that she has a wild magic that allows her to talk to animals.

Protector of the SmallFirst Test
Lady Knight

Ten years after King Jonathan VI proclaimed that women could become knights, Keladry of Mindelan applies as the first to attempt it. She will be the only girl in 200 years to go to knight school other than Alanna the Lioness who snuck in disguised as a boy.

Daughter of the Lioness
Trickster’s Choice
Trickster’s Queen

Alanna’s daughter Alianne (Aly) of Pirate’s Swoop, does not want to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a lady knight. She wants to follow her father into the spy business. But the gods may have a path already chosen for her.

A Tortall Legend, Beka Cooper


These books take place 200 years before the Song of the Lioness series. Only Terrier is currently available. Beka Cooper is a “Puppy” with the law-enforcing Provost’s Guard, known as the Guard Dogs.

Numair Chronicles, Arram Draper
Tempest and Slaughter

Arram Draper, a powerful though young mage, travels across the Inland Sea to attend magic school in the Carthaki Empire. 

The Circle books revolve around four friends – Sandry, Tris, Daja and Briar – and their teachers. They each have very powerful magic that does not fit into the usual categories.

Sandry – Lady Sandrilene fa Toren – is the niece of the Duke of Emelan and has tread magic; she is a stitch-witch. She discovered her magic after being locked in a dark room and using her magic to keep a light going for days.

Tris – Trisana Chandler – is from the merchant class and has weather magic, everything from lightening to earthquakes. Her family passed her from house to house each time she lost her temper and released tornados or lightening.

Daja Kisubo is a Traveler (those who collect things from the artists and travel to sell them to merchants) and has metal magic. She is the sole survivor of a shipwreck that killed her family.

Briar Moss is a street rat who has plant magic. As he was being sentenced to a life of hard labor for his third conviction for stealing, he is rescued to Winding Circle.

Circle of MagicSandry’s Book
Tris’s Book
Daja’s Book
Briar’s Book

In the Circle of Magic books the friends come to Winding Circle School and learn to control their magic. In the first book, Sandry weaves their magic together making them stronger than most any other mage around.

The Circle OpensMagic Steps
Street Magic
Cold Fire

In the Circle Opens books the friends are separated from each other. Briar, Daja and Tris are traveling with their teachers to learn more of the world and their magic. Sandry has stayed behind to care for her uncle. Each of the four get their first students in this series.

Circle ReforgedThe Will of the EmpressMelting Stones (2008)

After spending a couple of years apart from each other, the four meet again in Emelan. They are not as close as they once were, but when Sandry is called to her lands in Namorn by the Empress she asks Tris, Briar and Daja to accompany her. In The Will of the Empress, they will either have to learn to work their magics together once again or they may not survive.


Tamora Pierce is a great fiction writer. Her books are adventurous, well-written, and believable. Though I love and recommend both series’ I like the Tortall a bit more.

Start reading them today!

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22 July 2007

Trickster's Queen (Daughter of the Lioness #2)

Trickster's Queen is the second book of the Daughter of the Lioness books by Tamora Pierce. Aly has made it through the summer in the Copper Isles. Her wager with the Trickster god has been fulfilled, but she has decided to stay and help bring about the prophesy of the Raka -

"In a time of fear, the One Who I Promised will come to the raka, bearing glory in her train and justice in her hand. She will restore the god to his proper temple and his children to her right hand. She will be twice royal, wise and beloved, a living emblem of truth to her people."

The Balitang family is no longer exiled to their country estate. They are requested by the new king (a four year old) and his regents in Rajmuat. But along with returning to the capital they may be putting themselves back in harm's way. Aly will have her work cut out for her as the spymaster of the coming rebellion.

Pierce, Tamora. (2004). Trickster's Queen. New York: Random House.

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21 July 2007

Trickster's Choice (Daughter of the Lioness #1)

Trickster's Choice is the first of two books in Tamora Pierce's Daughter of the Lioness. This series is another that takes place in Tortall and comes after the Protector of the Small series.

Aly is the daughter of the King's Champion, Alanna the Lioness and George Cooper of Pirate's Swoop. She is sixteen and her parents are pressuring her to decide what she will do with her life. The one things she wants to do, they disapprove of - she wants to be a spy like her father.

Aly would make a great spy. She began her training right out of the crib. With a father who is the former King of the Rogues, she has had an excellent teacher. But, of course, her parents do not want her to put herself in harms way.

After an argument with her mother, Aly decides to go sailing. She plans to visit a relative until her mother's month of leave from the war with Scanran is over. During her solo voyage down the coast to her relatives, she is captured by pirates.

She is taken to the Copper Islands and sold as a slave. Aly takes this kidnapping in stride. She calmly plans her escape, thinking that it will prove to her parents that she can take care of herself.

But as residents of Tamora Pierce's books know, when one of the gods become involved, nothing goes according to plan. She makes a wager with the god - Kyprioth, the Trickster - to protect two noble sisters through the summer. Will she be able to keep them from harm? Will the Trickster release her if she succeeds?

Pierce, Tamora. (2003). Trickster's Choice. New York: Random House.

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19 July 2007

Movie: Prey for Rock and Roll

Prey for Rock and Roll is the story of a rock band, well, it’s really about the lead singer. Jacki has known since she was twelve that she wanted to be a rock star. She learned how to play the guitar and started a band. Now, on the eve of her fortieth birthday, she is wondering if she will ever make it big, if she should keep trying, and if she quit, what would she do with her life.

When I think about this movie, I don’t find in it the aspects of a film that usually earn the label “good” or “great.” But at the same time it is a compelling story written by a woman about her own life. It feels true to the characters. If you like punk rock, some of the songs are catchy. And if you like Gina Gershon because you saw her in Bound you MUST see this movie!

Staring Gina Gershon, Drea de Matteo, Lori Petty, Marc Blucas. Written by Cheri Lovedog.

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18 July 2007

Protector of the Small

Protector of the Small series by Tamora Pierce. This series follows the Immortals series.

First Test - Kelandry of Mindelan is the first girl to apply to become a page since King Jonathan lifted the ban on girls becoming knights ten years ago. Kel is determined to follow in the footsteps of her hero - Alanna the Lioness. But when Alanna became a knight, very few of her fellow students knew she was a girl. What extra challenges will Kel have to face being the only know girl to attempt it?

Page – This second book of the series covers the rest of Kel’s time as a page. She has to prove herself again at every turn. There are those whom it seems will never accept the fact that she is doing well in her knight training. Once she becomes a squire will there be a knight brave enough to choose The Girl?

Squire –The legendary Lord Raoul has chosen Kelandry to be his squire. As the Knight Commander of the King’s Own as her sponsor, she will have many opportunities to learn the ways of knighthood. Kel will also have a role to play in the relations of the Yamani delegation who are coming to Tortall for the betrothal of Prince Roald. After four years will Raoul she will either be ready to face the Ordeal, or nothing can prepare her.

Lady Knight – Kel has had nightmares since she went through the Ordeal of Knighthood. She knows part of her destiny, but not where or when it will happen. In the mean time she doesn’t have much time to figure it out. Tortall is at war with Scanran, the country to the north. Now that she is lady knight, where will her commander place her? In the heat of battle or out of the way of the real fighting?

Pierce, Tamora. (1999). First Test. New York: Random House.
Pierce, Tamora. (2000). Page. New York: Random House.
Pierce, Tamora. (2001). Squire. New York: Random House.
Pierce, Tamora. (2002). Lady Knight. New York: Random House.

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12 July 2007

Shatterglass (Circle Opens #4)

Shatterglass is the final book in Tamora Pierce's The Circle Opens quartet. These four book follow the Circle of Magic quartet and precede The Will of the Empress. All feature Sandry, Tris, Briar, and Daja.

Shatterglass is the story of Tris in the country of Tharios. Though the name sounds Greek to me, it is a country more like India in that it has a very rigid caste system. The people are divided into five classes plus the untouchables - the prathmuni. The lowest caste is largely made up of performers or yaskedasi.

While Tris's teacher Niko is at a convention, Tris wants to spend time in the glass-blowing part of the city. Tharios is famous for its glass. On her first day on the street of glassmakers, she see a man create a beautiful creature - a living dragon of glass. The man, Keth, was a gifted glassblower until he was struck by lightening. Now his ideas never come out how he wishes. Tris is quick to step in and try and teach him about his new magic, brought on by the lightning strike.

Pierce, Tamora. (2003). Shatterglass. New York: Scholastic.

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10 July 2007

Cold Fire (Circle Opens #3)

Cold Fire is the third book in the Circle Opens quartet by Tamora Pierce. This one is about Daja.

Daja and Frostpine are in Namon for the winter staying with friends. While there Daja sees one of the daughters of the family they are visiting use magic. Of course she will become her teacher... and her twin sister's teacher as well. When one twin has magic the other does as well.

However, along with teaching, learning how to ice skate so she can get around town, and studying with local smiths, Daja befriends a man - Ben - who is the town firefighter. She has never known anyone without fire magic who fought fires. But now she will have time to get to know him as they work together to find an arsonist.

Pierce, Tamora. (2002). Cold Fire. New York: Scholastic.

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08 July 2007

Street Magic (Circle Opens #2)

Street Magic is the second book in the Circle Opens series by Tamora Pierce. This one follows Brair and Rosethorn in the land of Chammur.

While they are in Chammur, Brair discovers a girl who has stone magic. He tries to find her a teacher. He also has to protect her from the street gangs that rule the city.

As the city is caught up in a vicious gang war, Briar and Evvy must learn to control her magic and use it at the same time.

Pierce, Tamora. (2001). Street Magic. New York: Scholastic.

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06 July 2007

Magic Steps (Circle Opens #1)

The Circle Opens series by Tamora Pierce follows the Circle of Magic series, featuring Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar. In the Circle of Magic books the four became friends and learned how to work together. In this series, the Circle Opens, they will be apart for the first time since meeting. Tris, Daja and Briar are traveling with their individual teachers. Sandry stayed in Emelan to look after her uncle, Duke Vedris, after a heart attack.

Magic Steps opens with Sandry at the Duke's Castle. She has been there for a while helping her uncle with the running of the country - and to make sure he takes it easy. One day while Sandry is riding with the duke, she sees a boy dancing magic.

Sandry is shocked to find out that as the mage who discovered the boy, she is to become his teacher. And she has to balance her time between helping the boy, Pasco, helping her uncle, and now being caught up in a murder mystery. Someone killed a merchant and left clues that only someone who sees magic can follow...

Pierce, Tamora. (2000). Magic Steps. New York: Scholastic.

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04 July 2007

The Realm of the Gods (Immortals #4)

The Realm of the Gods is the final book in the Immortals series by Tamora Pierce.

Daine and Numiar soon find themselves in a place where they cannot help their friends in Tortall fight against the invading armies. They are swept into the realm of the Gods.

The greater Gods do not have time to send them back and the lesser Gods do not have the power to do so. But at the same time Daine keeps catching glimpses of what is happening to King Jonathan and is desperate to return to his aid.

In order to get home they must travel through the world of the Gods, a dangerous place for any mortal. If they can reach the Dragonlands, the dragons may take them home.

Will they make it to the dragonlands? Will they get home in time to help defend Tortall from the evil Ozorne?

Pierce, Tamora. (1996). The Realm of the Gods. New York: Random House.

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03 July 2007

Emperor Mage (Immortals #3)

Emperor Mage is the third book in the Immortals series by Tamora Pierce.

Daine is sent to Carthak as a part of the Tortallan peace delegation. She is sent as a good-will ambassador who will look at Emperor Ozorne's sick birds. After the trouble Tortall has had with Carthak in the past, she is less than excited about the journey.

What she does become excited about is the fact that Carthak, as a part of a different continent than that of Tortall, has different animals. Animals she has never even heard of before.

But will her awe of exotic species keep her occupied and out of trouble or is someone going to make sure that she is a the middle of any trouble that arises?

To make matters more interesting, Daine has developed a new and strange power. Is it possible she can wake the dead?

Pierce, Tamora. (1995). Emperor Mage. New York: Simon Pulse.

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