• October 2014
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I finally got some of the Chrestomanci novels and had a chance to read them. They are published towards young adults and are some very good fantasy books. I think a lot of adults miss out by avoiding the younger readers section because they think people might think them odd if they read them.

These books are fun and in a really interesting world. I’ve noticed in a lot of Jones’ books that she keeps parallel worlds as a constant. This one too has parallel worlds in which some are linked. The Chrestomanci is a position held by a very powerful enchanter whose job is to keep fellow magic users from abusing their power and trying to rule over those who don’t have magic ability.

The both books below are actually two books in one, with volume 1 containing Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant. Volume 2 contains The Magicians of Caprona and Witch Week. All four are very good, with the last two switching up the type of heroes and plot, which in my opinion is a very good thing. A series stagnates if it just reuses the same old plot over and over. There is a third volume in the Chrestomanci series but I don’t have it yet. I’m planning on getting it as well as a few other books of hers.

Pictures found here and here.

Doh, I haven’t posted anything since September. >< I’ve been so busy lately, but still manage to read almost every day. I’ve had these books at the house for several years because I heard good things about them when I was living in Louisiana, and her Sookie Stackhouse novels are set in a small town right outside of Shreveport Louisiana.

The world is just like ours except that a few years ago the Japanese invented a blood substitute, which has allowed the vampire community to come out “of the coffin” and announce their prescience to the world since they no longer need to feed on humans to survive.

The books are about a woman in her early 20s who is a telepath, which she refers to as a impairment, since it makes life pretty difficult, and relationships more so. Two years after the vampire’s announcement, Sookie meets her first vampire, Vampire Bill. I lol’d when I read that. XD Anyways, she can’t “read” Bill so she totally falls for him and I don’t blame her. So that’s the start of the first book, and they are a mystery book because she solves crimes by using her ability and Bill’s help.

I haven’t read a mystery book since I was a kid, but I don’t know if Encyclopedia Brown books count… XD I’ve read the first 4 and have the 5th through 7th on the way in the mail. I really enjoyed them; I find the characters very detailed, nicely written, plus when she talks about places in Shreveport I know where most of the places are. ^^ I also think the art for the books is pretty fun.

Pictures found here.

Shojo and Shonen are the two most known forms to us in the states, but there are several other types. Seinen is for adult males and Josei is for adult women. Manga is pretty popular here in Japan with all ages, and whenever I go to a ramen shop during lunch time, I’ve always seen guys in business suits eating their ramen with one hand while reading a manga in the other XD Much like you’d see a businessman here eating lunch and reading a book/novel here.

There is also a type for very young children called Kodomo (which is the word for child), and there is one that I LOVE! It’s called Chi’s Sweet Home, the episodes are about 3 minutes long each and are so funny and cute ^^ But I’m kinda getting into Anime with this one, cause I really haven’t had the chance to read any Chi. XD But it is soooooooo cute and happy and sweet!
Chi's Sweet Home
Found image here.

I think a really fun form of written media is Manga. For starters I’ll break down some of the basic forms and go from there.

Shojo is the term for material aimed at young girls, usually with an adolescent/teenaged girl as the protagonist. Many of the manga have romantic themes, but it’s not always the case. One of my favorite animes/manga is Azumanga Daioh, written by Kiyohiko Azuma, who also wrote another manga I love Yotsuba&!. Azumanga is usually thought to be aimed at girls, but it is just a happy light-hearted comedy about girls in highschool, with no real romance involved so I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as a shojo. There is however a little bit that examines a crush on one of the characters.

My favorite manga is Fruits Basket, written by Natsuki Takaya, which does have a love story. It’s about a girl who unwaveringly loves her friends and centers around a family afflicted with a curse of the junishi (the Chinese 12 animal zodiac).

Another awesome shojo manga I love is Ouran High School Host Club, which plays out in at a high school for really rich kids. The really like the theme, which is that it doesn’t matter how someone looks, dresses or how odd they are, everyone still needs/wants to be loved.
Azumanga Daioh Fruits Basket
Yotsuba& Ouran High School Host Club
From left to right, top to bottom: Azumanga Daioh, Fruits Basket, Yotsuba&, and Ouran High.

Pictures found here, here, here, and here.

Another Star Wars series that I enjoyed was the Black Fleet Crisis, written by Michael Kube-McDowell.  I liked the character development of Leia, who comes to realize that she can’t do everything as President of the Republic.  Luke’s out searching for this planet he got informed his mother was from, and still might be on (but those who’ve watched the movies know that it can’t be true, but when these books came out that story arc hadn’t happened yet.) But it was actually a trick by this woman who wanted his help and he found a group of force users that use the force totally differently then anyone in the Jedi Order had heard of; they called the Flow.  Han ends up being in charge of a huge fleet of ships and has to fight off an attack by some left over Imperials.

Image found here.

Speaking of Young Jedi Knights, I liked that series.  It’s written by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta.   A couple friends of mine who read it didn’t really like it, but I thought it was pretty good.  Though the last book in the series felt like it left things hanging, I’m guessing it was planned to go further, but by that time the New Jedi Order was coming out.  I haven’t had a chance to read that series yet, but I really want to.  Lots of stuff happens that deeply affects the Star Wars universe, including the death of a key character from the movies.

The main characters in this series are the son and daugher of Han Solo and Leia Organa-Solo, Jacen and Jaina who are twins, Chewbacca’s nephew Lowbacca, and the daugher of the Prince and his new bride in the previous book I talked about, Tenel Ka.  It’s an obvious attempt to get younger readers into the Star Wars universe, and I thought it was a pretty good one.  Though some of the moralizing bits are a bit “after-school special-ish” XD  Good stuff though, and nice quick reads.

Image found here.

Here’s a huge list of books XD  I haven’t read near all of them, but for a while I kept up fairly well.  Then there was a huge surge of books after the Prequels started coming out and I couldn’t keep up.  XD  I’ll go over them one book/series at a time since this could get rather long lol.

Well, let’s see, out of the ones I have read I like The Courtship of Princess Leia, written by Dave Wolverton the most.  This book takes place shortly after the Return of the Jedi, and Leia is offered the hand of a Prince whose star system wishes to join the Republic.  Han goes crazy and thinks he wins a planet during a sabacc game, but it turns out it’s a scam.  But he kidnaps Leia and runs to the planet he “won”, which is Dathomir. I thought the world Dathomir, where most of the story takes place is pretty cool, as are the Force Sensitive peoples who inhabit it.  I also like the fact that in the Young Jedi Knights series they include the daughter of the Prince and the women he falls in love with there (she’s force sensitive).  Force Sensitive means that they have Jedi powers, but they’re not trained as Jedi.

Image found here.

He’s well known for writing a series called the Shannara series.  I read about 6 or so from that series so far.  Its good stuff, but I recently started another series by him called the Word & Void.  It’s modern day and is really well written.  I just looked it up on Wikipedia, and it says that this series is actually a prequel to the Shannara books.  That’s pretty interesting, but I haven’t read the book that is supposed to link them, it’s called The Genesis of Shannara.  I do actually have one of his later Shannara books on tape, K and I listened to it on a trip two years ago.  Pretty cool, I liked how he uses ruins of older civilizations as areas in his novels.  I guess that makes sense then that he then merges the current world to a post apocalyptic world with the later fantasy world.

 

Pic found here.

Don't Panic!
Found image here.

Adams wrote “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”, which I’m sure a few people have heard of since it got made into a movie recently. I haven’t actually seen the movie yet, and don’t plan to, my hubby saw it and said it was so-so. Anyways, the books…HHGTTG is the first in the 5 book series that spans millennial and is all about Life, the Universe and Everything.  It’s basically a satirical view of the world, that in my opinion is second to none.

The five books in order are “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”; “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe”;”Life, the Universe and Everything”; “So Long and Thanks for All the Fish” and “Mostly Harmless”.  Oh, and there is a sort of 6th book in the series, it’s called the “Salmon of Doubt”, it was published after Adams passed away, and contains a bunch of material he wrote but that hadn’t been published.

The series basically follows Arthur Dent, a pretty average human (though a little dense), through all these events that he just kind of goes through.  Much the same way that life picks most of us up and carries us along whether we were ready for it to or not.  Some of the other characters are a fellow human Trillian McMillan, Ford Prefect an alien friend of Arthur’s,  Zaphod Beeblebrox, a two headed alien who was once the President of the Galaxy, and Marvin, a depressed robot with the intelligence of 50,000 humans.

My favorite is “The Restaurant”, because he tells about how humans came to inhabit the earth, and also where Dent learns how to fly.   I’ll tell you the secret to flying: Jump at the ground, but miss.  ^^

This series I consider a must read by all sci-fi fans and non-fans alike…you’re truely missing out on a chance to get to know the human race a bit more if you don’t read these books.

Oh, one of the very first computer games I ever played was the HHGTTG text adventure, which you can now find hosted online on a number of sites.  I recommend the BBC hosted one, they’ve given it a fun face lift but it’s still the same old game.  Check it out here.  For those of you who have never played a text based adventure, you type in the command, like in the beginning you’re in a dark room, you might want to try to get out of bed first, by typing “get up” (don’t type the ” “).  Then since it’s dark in the room, try “turn on the light”.  I reccomend the BBC one cuase they’ve got a nice little this is how you play the game section.  I will say, I never managed to beat the game till I got a guide XD Text based adventures are some of the hardest and most frustrating games I’ve ever played, but sooooo addicting XD  ZORK ftw!

Compilation HHGTTG
Image found here.

This is one of the more popular publications of the book. It’s hard bound in a bible-like style, it contains all 5 of the books.

My husband introduced me to his writing several years ago.  Most of what he writes takes place in the land of Midkemia, and he has greatly detailed on most of the entire world through the many books he’s written about the world.  The 1st book that he wrote about the world, and the one I recommend reading first is Magician: Apprentice then the Magician: Master.  These are the first two books in the Riftwar Saga.

You can tell Feist really loves his characters, he really gives them a lot of depth of personality.  Many of the books of the world are about Pug, an orphan who becomes a great magician.  But the stories actually cover centuries of time, and Pug is still alive in them all.  I’m not gonna give that away, very interesting stuff ^^  But some of the books are about other people whom run into Pug at some point or other and their stories overlap, while the main focus of the book is still on the main characters, not Pug.

Magician, found at wikipedia

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