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Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

91Aw6BgBpKLBy Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Librarian

In this imaginative steam-punk fantasy, the god Kos, protector of Alt Coulumb, has died and must be revived before the city falls apart. Kos the Everburning literally keeps the city going—holding up the city’s infrastructure, as well as answering the prayers of his church and clergy. Tara Abernathy, a new intern, and her boss, Mrs. Kevarian (from the investigative firm Kelethras, Albrecht and Ao) have come to Alt Coulumb to find out how Kos died and revive him. Tara and Mrs. Kevarian are magical investigators who solve problems. They have run into a big one. Kos was murdered—who would be able to murder a god? Any why?

One reviewer suggested that if the authors Roger Zelazny, Neil Gaiman and John Grisham had collaborated on a book, something like Three Parts Dead would be the result. I’d like to add Jim Butcher and possibly Terry Pratchett to this list as well.

Will Tara, with the help of the priest Abelard and Justice Cat(herine) and the despised gargoyles, find out what happened to Kos and bring him back? Will the city survive if they can’t? Why did someone wipe the vampire privateer’s mind? Is Justice truly blind? And most importantly, when will the sequel come out?! Remarkable that this is Gladstone’s first novel.

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Eragon Series by Christopher Paolini

InheritanceCycleCoversBy Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Librarian

Christopher Paolini had an idea for a book in high school. Lucky for us all he started writing a fantasy novel featuring a young boy named Eragon who finds one of the world’s last dragons. Eragon and the dragon Saphira learn how to work together throughout the series, which enables them to fight the evil king Galbatorix. He has several setbacks, saves his village and his brother who becomes a warrior in his own right. Those of us who finished all four books (originally there were supposed to be only three) were happy to find out that Paolini will revisit Alagaesia again. If you are looking for something to read after Hunger Games, Twilight and Harry Potter, I suggest you revisit The Inheritance Cycle featuring Eragon and Saphira. The first volume is titled Eragon. Volumes two Eldest and three Brisingr followed not quickly enough for most of us waiting impatiently. The final volume Inheritance came out last fall.

Doc by Mary Doria Russell

urlBy Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Librarian

Yes, this book is about Doc Holliday. You may think you know all you about John Henry Holliday, but this fictionalized biography focuses on his early years. J H holliday was a Southern gentleman, raised on a plantation, played piano and was devastated when his mother died, so very young, from tuberculosis. Ms. Russell portrays Doc as a Southerner who desperately missed his Southern family, but needed to go west for the dryer air. He first went to Texas, and eventually worked his way up to Dodge City, Kansas, where he first met the Earp brothers. Ms. Russell researched his early years a great deal and has poignantly shown his illness, his intelligence and wit and his loyalty to friends. She used creative license in some areas, but wrote a beautiful biography of John Henry Holliday, dentist and card sharp.

Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianne Wiggins

cvr9780743258098_9780743258098_hrBy Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Librarian

Fos and Opal find each other serendipitously, since neither would have been a great catch.  Fos was nearly blinded by mustard gas in WWI, which sometimes hindered his work with bioluminescence and radium; Opal was a spinster and lived in back country North Carolina. They met while Fos was going home to watch the Perseid meteor shower on the Carolina coast.  They settled in Knoxville; Fos and his war buddy Flash opened a photographer’s shop.  On weekends, they went to county fairs and showed off the newest sensation—X-rays! They never did well in their photography business, but it wasn’t until Flash got in trouble with the law that they went bust.  Their son, Lightfoot, was their pride and joy when their knowledge led them to help form Oak Ridge.  Lightfoot tells the rest of the story, trying to figure out what happened to his parents. He finds Flash in prison, and learns more about his parents. When Flash is released, they travel together across the country. At the end, Lightfoot too, finds love serendipitously, but on the west coast.

I found this book compelling and intriguing. I am relatively new to Tennessee and knew nothing about the history of Knoxville. Fos and Opal have a great relationship. I never knew that X-rays were county fair material.   There is a fuzzy, cloudy quality to the words, partly I suspect to show how Fos saw the world. He sees how cloudy or soft light reflects on and off things and people. Luminescence in many forms plays a role throughout the book. This is a satisfying story of a loving couple living and working in the early 1900s in Tennessee, and their son who finds his way to adulthood almost alone.

The War that Killed Achilles: the true story of Homer’s Iliad and the Trojan War By Caroline Alexander.

9780670021123_custom-6a502cede7d6bcb9959048d49d9ed3377fe36778-s2-c85By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Librarian

Ms. Alexander, the author of The Bounty; the true story of the mutiny on the Bounty and The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition, has written another riveting account of an historical event, even though the Trojan War is often thought to be mythical. Alexander reveals the story part by part, giving historical background and quoting the epic in large chunks. She explains where Achilles came from, why he is the main character, and why after two millennia we still read and remember this epic poem. I would recommend this for those interested in ancient history, and even for those who are just trying to write a paper on the Trojan War. It kept my attention, and I even looked up some of the footnotes. It turns out there is evidence that Aeneas really did go to the Italian peninsula from Troy.

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

IncarceronBy Howard Shirley, Teen Library Assistant

Finn doesn’t know who his parents are, or even if he ever had any. All he remembers is waking up inside the terrible prison of Incarceron, a prison so vast it seems to be a world all of itself. Finn doesn’t know how he came to the prison. The one thing he does know, is that he doesn’t belong here, and unlike all the other prisoners, he’s certain there was a time when he wasn’t inside Incarceron. And that he must escape. But there is no escape from Incarceron. The prison sees to that— because Incarceron is alive, with a mind of its own, and eyes that watch his every move, and powers that defy understanding.

Claudia knows who her parents are (or were). She knows where she is and who she is. She is the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, the mysterious prison which no one has ever been to and no one can find, except the Warden. Claudia may not be imprisoned, but her life is far from free. Her entire future has been planned out for her, from birth on. She has been promised in marriage to the heir to the throne, to be the Queen of a rather odious future King, and the pawn of whatever power game her cold and sinister father is playing. Claudia’s desire to escape is every bit as strong as Finn’s—and to do it, she knows exactly what she needs to do: find Incarceron and fling wide its hidden, impenetrable doors, sparking a revolution.

But neither escaping from or finding Incarceron are going to be simple tasks; indeed, they may both be impossible. Because Incarceron is not what it seems to be, nor what it was meant to be, and the secrets behind it all are beyond either Finn or Claudia’s wildest imaginings.

Part fantasy, part science fiction, Incarceron is a grand adventure inside (and outside) a fantastic world unlike any other. Full of twists and turns and unexpected revelations, it’s a book that’s as hard to predict as it is to put down—you may guess some of Incarceron’s secrets, but you won’t guess them all. And unlike Finn, once you enter Incarceron, you won’t want to escape.

CALL NUMBER: YA F FIS

Recommended for all readers.

 

Advent by James Treadwell

12484258By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Librarian

Advent draws you in slowly, starting with Dr. John Faust who delves into science (and magic) and makes his famous pact. He falls for a mysterious woman, but he also covets her magic and knowledge. When she mistakenly trusts him, he steals her gifts and disappears from time. In the modern world, Gavin, a fifteen year old boy, on his way to visit his aunt, realizes that the mysterious woman who is always around him, but invisible to others, actually exists. She tells him he is the one to succeed her. It takes a while for him to realize that with the succession magic has become real. Things become dicey for Gavin, his aunt and his new friends when magic is released and walks amongst the people of a small town in Cornwall. And Dr. John Faust returns, ready to finally use his magic—for the ill of all mankind.

We know a sequel is coming because loose ends remain, plus a there is a veiled hint from Corvo (a sometimes malevolent giant crow) that Gavin will need guidance.  I enjoyed this novel; especially once I began to understand who the mysterious woman was. Linking her to Dr. Faust and the current world was an interesting idea. I haven’t felt so cold reading a book in a long time. I look forward to the next installment.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

51X-kOQpRsL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Librarian

William Kamkwamba was born in 1987 and grew up in a rural village in Malawi. His family were farmers, generally making a little extra money with their crops of corn and tobacco, but often doing without. William had to drop out of elementary school because the family couldn’t afford the school fees.   He missed going to school but was happier when he found the tiny local library (6 shelves of books, all donated from other countries.) The books Explaining Physics and Using Energy changed his world. With help from a friend and a dictionary he learned about science and invention. .He learned about wind mills and how they could generate electricity. He thought about how much electricity would help his family: his mother wouldn’t have to go two hours away for firewood if they had a way to heat water with electricity; his father could grow two crops using irrigation by pumping water with an electric pump and they could have lights in the house. He started experimenting–he built a small wind mill first. He started scrounging for materials in an abandoned lot. He often didn’t have money; sometimes his friends helped out, other times he had to work several days to be able to buy a certain parts. He finally built his first windmill at the age of 15 in 2002. Much of his village had doubts about his sanity, until he lit a car light bulb with the electricity from his windmill. Word spread quickly about his accomplishment. An article was written about him in 2006 in a Malawi newspaper and word spread quickly In 2009 he went to Ghana to talk about his windmill. He was then invited to go

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

71GXQFa+RRLBy Robin Ebelt, Reference Department

I can’t imagine living in a world where birds no longer fly, plants and animals are difficult to keep alive and the weather is even more unpredictable than living in middle Tennessee! The Reestablishment has tried to fix things but they are not being too successful. Seventeen year old Juliette has been locked up in prison and is on the verge of starvation! Now the Reestablishment wants to use her as a secret weapon!

As the plot enfolds, this dystopian/romance definitely entertains. My favorite character is Adam, the love interest, because I love the background story that connects him to Juliette. What intrigues me about this novel is the clever style in which Tahereh Mafi wrote the book. I love the way she crosses out Juliette’s initial thoughts and follows them with a more vanilla version. It is a neat way to hear the truth see what the character is thinking. The book is packed with metaphors and imagery—perhaps a bit overboard but I survived.

I would have to say that I liked this book. I’m still not completely certain of what special “superhuman” power Juliette possesses. How did she get it? How will the Reestablishment try to use it? Why does it affect some people and not others? Will she learn to control it?

I guess that’s what the sequel is for. I just hope it doesn’t veer into the comic hero genre.

Sister by Rosamund Lupton

sister-rosamund-lupton-ebook-e6e66By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Librarian

Bee (Arabella Beatrice) received a frantic phone call from her mother—her sister Tess was missing. She took a leave of absence and flew back to England to help figure out what had happened.   Bee knew her sister wouldn’t have left London being eight months pregnant. She knew something had happened to her. But no one could find a thing. She asked Tess’ married boyfriend, she found the photographer obsessed with Tess’ beauty and she found her friends. When Tess is found, the police pronounce it suicide. Bee knows that couldn’t be true and continues her investigation. The further she investigates, the more she believes her sister was murdered.

Ms. Lupton writes in the first person, which I find more direct and personal. I had to read this book for a book club, but I liked it more than I thought I would. It drew me in, kept drawing me in until I had to finish regardless of time.

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