Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Eldest is Here!

Eldest, the sequel to the bestselling fantasy Eragon, was released today. It's a thoroughly enjoyable book, and much better than Eragon.

Click here to read my review of Eldest

Friday, August 19, 2005

Another new book: The Land of Elyon, Book 2

Good news for fantasy fans! New books are coming fast and furious this month. The latest new release is Beyond The Valley Of Thorns, Book 2 of The Land of Elyon series by Patrick Carman. The first book, The Dark Hills Divide, tells the story of a girl named Alexa Daley, who lives in a city (actually a series of cities) entirely surrounded by walls. When Alexa tries to find a way outside the walls, she discovers that the city is in danger. With the help of several talking animals, Alexa must solve a mystery and save the city. In the new book, the walls are down, but the danger isn't ended, as Alexa finds herself involved in a new battle.

Also, don't forget - only 4 more days until the release of Eldest, the sequel to Eragon!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

New books in Deptford Histories and Molly Moon series

New books have been recently released in both the Deptford Histories and the Molly Moon series:

  • The Oaken Throne is the second book in the Deptford Histories series, a prequel to the wonderful Deptford Mice trilogy, a slightly dark fantasy series by British author Robin Jarvis.

  • Molly Moon returns in Molly Moons Hypnotic Time Travel, the third book in the popular Molly Moon series.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Goblet of Fire to be rated PG-13

It's official: the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie will be rated PG-13. It's a shame that Warner Brothers couldn't tone it down a bit, because now a lot of younger Harry Potter fans won't be able to see it. But, to be fair to Warner Brothers, the source material is pretty graphic. I mean, there's not much you can do to tone down Wormtail cutting off his hand.

The larger problem, or course, is that the last three Harry Potter books are much more intense than the first three. As much as I love the Harry Potter books, I think that this was a mistake on JKR's part. A lot of younger kids are getting interested in the series, especially since the wonderful Jim Dale audiobooks enable kids who are too young to read them to enjoy them. But, kids who can handle books 1 through 3 may not be able to handle books 4 and up, and parents are faced with a choice of denying their kids the books until they get older, or allowing them to read material that may disturb them.

I know that J.K. Rowling didn't intend this, and probably couldn't have foreseen the problem. But in retrospect it's obvious that the first books are kids books that can be enjoyed by adults and teens; the later books seem much more appropriate for a teen or adult audience. As Harry grows up, so are the books.

The release date for the movie in the U.S. is November 18th.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell wins Hugo Award

I love being right. I've been telling everyone how great Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is, and now the World Science Fiction Society has awarded it the Hugo award for best novel! This is not a children's book, but many teens will enjoy it.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A Reviewers Life

Maybe I'm not cut out to be a reviewer. Sure, it's great to get free books from the publishers (especially when we get them in advance of the publication date!) And it gives me a warm feeling to write a good review and know that I'm helping both the readers and the author. But...there's a down side, too, which is having to write a negative review.

I have a Baby Blues cartoon taped up on my bookshelf. Zoe is reading a book and her dad asks how she likes it. "It's terrible!" she replies. Her dad asks why she is still reading it, and she answers, "If somebody went to the trouble of writing a book, the least I can do is read it."

That pretty much sums up the reason I have trouble writing a bad review. Somebody wrote the book; somebody spent days and weeks and months and maybe years poring their heart and soul into the book. How can I criticize the book without hurting that someone? I remember saying once that I could never be a manager because I could never fire someone or give a bad performance appraisal. "Sorry, Fred, you just aren't doing a good job." How could I ever look someone in the eye and say that? Writing a bad review is kind of like that.

And yet, as a reviewer, I have a duty to the people (that's you!) who depend on my reviews. I've read a couple of books lately that I just didn't like, and some of them were praised highly by other reviewers. If I don't give my honest opinion, how can you, the reader, make an informed decision, based on all the opinions, about where to spend your time and money? So, I'll just have to brace myself and write an honest review, in the gentlest way possible.

A reviewers life is hard. Now, don't you feel sorry for me? OK, I'm off to read my advance copy of Eldest so that I can review it for you. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Warriors: The New Prophecy #2: Moonrise

Fans of Erin Hunter's wildly popular Warriors series will be happy to know that Moonrise, the second book of the Warriors: The New Prophecy series, is now available.

Buy Moonrise from Amazon.com