Good Books and the Random Movie

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27 August 2014

Deepsix (Priscilla Hutchins #2)

Deepsix by Jack McDevitt is the second book in his science fiction series featuring pilot Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins.

The planet Malevia III is about to be destroyed. There is a gas giant barreling toward it that will cause it to break up and become space dust. Scientists have begun to arrive to watch the once in a millennium event and collect data that they will study for years to come. But when a scan of the planet shows a building with a tower on the planet that was thought to be free of sentient beings, the Academy searches for a ship that can arrive in time to get some pictures and samples from the ground.

Priscilla Hutchins is in charge of a ship that is returning to Earth from Pinnacle - the only other planet found to have a sentient race. She is asked (told) to make a detour. And, as she has on of the few people who survived a brief survey of Malevia III 20 years before, take him to the surface to explore in the few weeks the planet has left. Hutch is not an archeologist but has worked with them for twenty years and has a love of discovery.

Randall Nightingale will never forget his first trip to Malevia III. He lost most of his team when they were attacked by local wildlife. Since then he has become the scapegoat for what went wrong with that expedition and ridiculed in the media by author Gregory MacAllister (who is on a cruise ship headed to watch the destruction). He has been keeping a low profile on Pinnacle and is ready to retire to Scotland.

McDevitt has created a great character in Hutch. His stories are fantastical but plausible. And his worlds are fascinating. The Priscilla Hutchins series is great science fiction - start at the beginning and read them all.

McDevitt, Jack. (2001). Deepsix. New York: EOS.

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15 August 2014

Another 365 Days (365 #2)

Another 365 Days by K.E. Payne is the sequel to 365 Days - a book in diary format about a high school girl in England.

Clementine Atkins continues her schooling while dealing with her first real relationship. She and her girlfriend Hannah have been going out for a while. She lost her best friend over it - Alice admitted that she wanted to date Clem and couldn't watch her with Hannah. Now, with the new year, things will be mixed up.

When Hannah starts to spend too much time with someone else, Clem gets jealous and they fight. This is the year they take the tests that will help determine their futures - either more high school or off to college. And someone Clem had a major crush on has finally figured out the Clem exists - what rotten timing.

Payne has created an accessible character with who readers will identify. The book it full of humor, trying times, and the angst of being a teen in a world where you are different. Great lesbian YA novels.

Payne, K.E. (2013). Another 365 Days. New York: Bold Strokes Books.

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10 August 2014

The Darkest Minds (Darkest Minds #1)

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken is the first book in her Darkest Minds series about a virus that creates psychic abilities in children when they hit puberty.

When the government started to notice the ability of some children to either control electricity or move things with their minds, all kids who showed symptoms were collected and taken to camps. After that the restrictions on child birth grew until it was all but illegal to become pregnant.

Ruby was taken to a camp when she turned ten. She didn't know where she was going or why. During registration she was asked what color she was - each separate ability was labeled with a color: blue, green, yellow, orange and red. The blue and green were seen as slightly less dangerous. Ruby didn't know anything about the colors, but convinced the doctor she was a green because she didn't want to be like the mean kid with an orange mark on his back.

Now, years later, a sound the camp uses to disable kids in times of trouble causes Ruby to black out. She wakes in the hospital. She is told the frequency was created to weed out yellows and oranges hiding as greens.

A rebellious faction that is fighting against the government wants to help her escape the camp. They don't tell her what she will have to do in return.

Bracken has created a fascinating dystopian series. There are many sides and complexities that Ruby will have to fight her way through to find her true friends.

Bracken, Alexandra. (2012). The Darkest Minds. New York: Hyperion.

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02 August 2014

The Book of Life (All Souls #3)

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness is the third book in her All Souls trilogy.

Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont have just returned from 1591 London to present day. Diana is a witch and a time walker. Matthew is the vampire with whom she is in love. When she needed a place to study magic with a strong teacher, he picked the year and location and she took them there.

When they return not all is as it was. The search for a book now called Ashmole 782 by the Bodleian Library at Oxford - where Diana was researching when she met Matthew - has fueled an almost war between vampires, witches and daemons.

If Matthew and Diana can find the three missing pages torn from the book, the spell and information within will be revealed. They also have to deal with the Congregation because the ancient covenant says that creatures should stick to their own kind. And they will have to deal with an old enemy of Matthew's who he thought was dead - an enemy who wants to capture Diana.

Harkness has created a great fantasy trilogy. It is well thought out, epic in scope, and completely believable. Any fans of fantasy, history, adventure, paranormal creatures, or just good story telling will devour this series. 

Harkness, Deborah. (2014). The Book of Life. New York: Viking.

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