Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Ender Series

We've been discussing Orson Scott Card this month so much that I thought I would just do a full review on the truly amazing Ender Series. You've all had great things to say about the first one, "Ender's Game". It's an excellent intro. to this genre because it is such an easy read - likeable and interesting characters, fast-paced, unique plot and just enough "real life" mixed in with the sci-fi to keep everyone feeling grounded. I'm so glad so many have given it a go and enjoyed it.

The next book in the series is called "Speaker For the Dead", named such because a grown-up Ender has written a book about The Buggers (the alien species he battles in the first book) so that people will understand more about them. This "speaking for the dead" has become his career and he travels to many planets to learn about the lives of famous dead people and speak their history for them. He ends up on a newly colonized planet that is co-habitating with another species called "piggies". The colony is facing some serious challenges and Ender gets wrapped up in it all and ends up staying there.

This is an incredibly deep and fascinating book. What I love about Card is that he uses the genre of sci-fi as a mirror, reflecting the image of humanity in a whole new light. There may be spaceships and aliens in his books, but if you dig a little deeper you find that these are really stories about the many facets of the human soul. This particular novel deals alot with prejudice and how easy it is to hate that which we don't understand. Yet how deeply gratifying it is to find beauty in that which we learn to understand. It's an excellent book with well-rounded characters and a really cool twist at the end.

That being said, it has a very slow start. It's tough to get over the fact that Ender is all grown up and he has a weird relationship with the Hive Queen of the Buggers that takes some getting used to. Of the four in the series, I found this one to be more difficult, but very rewarding.

The next book in the series is "Xenocide". The inhabitants of the planet where Ender now lives have discovered a strange virus that is so contagious and so deadly they have been quarantined to the planet and now face possible destruction by other worlds. Meanwhile, on a planet far, far away (hee hee) a young girl has discovered she is one of the chosen "Godspoken" - near-genius intellect but plagued by voices in her head that torment her into doing strange things as payment for her brilliance. She and Ender (along with characters from book 2 and a reappearance by Valentine (yay!)) will come together to try to stop the eminent xenocide.

This books takes a fascinating look at the different philosophies mankind has for problem solving. It explores the dangers of making assumptions about others, the necessity of openmindedness as we continually struggle for peace (both inner and global), and teaches us to use compassion instead of logic when facing life's most difficult problems.

I loved this book unabashedly. It is so beautifully written and brought together - passionate, hopeful, and tragic all at the same time.

The last book in the series is "Children of the Mind" and kids, this one gets pretty "out there". I ate it up because I totally love "social commentary sci-fi" and the philosophy here is nothing short of brilliant. But it's hard to even give a synopsis of this story because it's so complex and deep. The first time I finished this book I felt completely overwhelmed by the magnamity of what I had just learned and experienced. In short, this book blew me away.

But be warned: the science fiction elements here get brutally hard-core, utilizing issues like Aritificial Intelligence and faster-than-light speed travel to pose mind-bending questions about religion and the purpose of mankind. It's intense.

So there you have it. I hope this sci-fi-challenge has introduced you to some new authors, new concepts and new philosophies. Now that you've gotten your toes in, I suggest you give this Ender series a go and I don't think you'll be disappointed.


I read Ender's Game and really enjoyed it, so I thought I would give another one of Orson Scott Card's books a chance. And I loved it! I actually liked it better than Ender's Game (gasp!). I must say that this man has many sides. He goes from fighting space aliens to fairy tale land. We are talking a sleeping princess, and evil witch, magic spells- the whole nine yards. No sc-fi at all, but a good love story with a modern day twist. I had a hard time putting it down!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ender's Game
by Orson Scott Card

I want to THANK Lauren for the AWESOME challenge this month. This Sci-Fi thing has been great. I read ENDER"S GAME and I LOVED IT. Really I am surprised because I didn't think I would...but I did. One of the best books I've read in a while. It's one of those books that made my over active imagination go in over drive...thinking about spaceships late into the night. He's a WRITER. I want to get inside that mind of his for a day. Thanks again Lauren for the GREAT, GREAT, GREAT challenge!

Monday, April 21, 2008

The "Must Read" List

For the last 6 months I have been working on reading all the books in Stephenie Meyer's MUST READ can check out the list here.
So far I've loved everyone of the books I've read on her list...she has good taste in books as well as vampires.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Great and Terrible Beauty

A Great and Terrible Beauty
by Libba Bray

This book was not Great or Terrible...more like Ok and Bad or - Nice and Disappointing, how about - Average and Mediocre or, Small and Silly. OK I am getting carried away, I feel bad, guilt is choking me, Libba if you are reading this, which I am sure you're not but if I was an author and I was reading this I would be highly offended and so on the off chance that you are reading this I'm sorry. It really wasn't just wasn't Great either. It had a lot of promise...some intriguing ideas and a good love story in the making but it just didn't fit. The characters never seemed to be consistent. One minute they were evil and rude to one another the next they were bonding over whiskey in a cave. I felt like there wasn't any payoff in the end. We didn't get to meet the villain, didn't get anywhere in our love story, and no clarity on what the book was trying to say. Sorry but not a recommendation. Skip this and read good ol' Harry Potter if you want some real magic!

The Road

Okay, here is my 1st science fiction book I have EVER read, but I have to say that I really liked this book. It was a book about the innocence and simplicity of a little boy who loves and trusts his father unconditionally. A simple but profound love they share in the most horrible of circumstances. The father in the story has no reason to believe that their situation will get any better, yet makes his son believe that every tomorrow can be better if you have hope. The end broke my heart and it is a book that I will think of often, as I think about the beautiful relationship between a father and his son.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love.

Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Start Late Finish Rich

Start Late, Finish Rich
By David Bach

Once again another audio book for my driving distraction and once again a book I enjoyed. He's great at breaking it down in common language for those of us that don't have our Master's in Finance and helps you to view your money in a whole new way... Preston and I are rolling in cash now... well, maybe we are 5 dollars richer!

French Women Don't Get Fat

French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

I like to listen to audio books while I am driving...which I find myself doing so much more of now that I am driving Preston to and from work so often. When I was checking out a new set of audio books last time I was at the library the kids had hit the end of their 6min attention spans and so I had to get some books and FAST! This book was thrown in my bag in the last instant, I am not one for diets...I really don't believe in them. I have always preferred to just eat better foods and exercise - a book or person telling me what to eat just isn't my style - but this book I actually really enjoyed! It's all about enjoying food, savoring the textures and flavors, and enjoying indulgences - THAT"S MY KIND OF BOOK!

Book Info:
Her book, French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure, in which she recommends bread, Champagne, chocolate and romance as key ingredients to a balanced diet and lifestyle, captured the imagination of an overweight world tired of yo-yo diets and became a runaway best seller around the globe in 2005. In less than six months, well over 1 million copies of the book were printed, and sales drove it to the top of the best seller charts in many countries, including the USA. A cultural phenomenon that inspired cartoons in the New Yorker and a host of imitations, it has been translated into 37 languages, and continues to be read widely. She followed up this book in fall 2006 with French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes and Pleasure, devoted to l’art de vivre (the art of living). French Women Don’t Get Fat enabled readers to enjoy a healthier relationship with food while French Women for All Seasons enables readers to enjoy a healthier relationship with life. In both, through her personal stories and illustrations, she espouses living life to the fullest by embracing quality, sensitivity, seasonality and pleasure while maintaining a healthy equilibrium.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Get your Twilight fix!

Okay, twilight fans, here is a little sneak peak of the movie that is on MTV. Personally, I was quite pleased with it. I actually think I might like it! Watching them in action made it easier to picture them in it. Here is the link:

And they cast JACOB BLACK! His name is Taylor Lautner. He is a great 15 year old-pre werewolf jacob. Now if they can just get him to look 25 by the next movie, they will be on to something. There is an entire cast list on

The Historian

by: Elizabeth Kostova
Attention Vampire Lovers:
This book I really liked. It is different than any other book I have read, but very good. It is about the search for Dracula. It mixed fiction with reality, history with modern day. The mystery of Dracula is unfolded in letters and postcards, told by a young woman who stumbles upon a strange book in her father's library. This book and the letters with it send her on a journey to uncover the origin of the book, and ultimately leads her to uncover the mystery of the legend of Dracula.


Breathtakingly suspenseful and beautifully written, The Historian is the story of a young woman plunged into a labyrinth where the secrets of her family's past connect to an inconceivable evil: the dark fifteenth-century reign of Vlad the Impaler and a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive through the ages. The search for the truth becomes an adventure of monumental proportions, taking us from monasteries and dusty libraries to the capitals of Eastern Europe - in a feat of storytelling so rich, so hypnotic, so exciting that it has enthralled readers around the world.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ender's Game

So I did it! I actually read an entire science fiction book! I picked Ender's game b/c a couple people recommended it. It is actually pretty good and has a serious twist at the end (we all love those).

The Earth is under attack and the survival of the human species depends on a military genius who can defeat the alien “buggers.” Recruited for military training, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin’s childhood ends the moment he enters his new home: Battle School.

My opinion- It is definitely science fiction, but it is mostly a coming of age/boy trying to find himself kind of book. There are ships and lasers, but the story is very human. It takes place a lot at a boy's military school, so some of the things they call each other and do to each other make the sensitive girly mom in me shudder a little, but it is overall a good read.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Great and Terrible Beauty

Okay...well, what to say. The book has a strong start that kind of sucks you in right away with a girl witnessing the murder of her mom and this mysterious magic power. I'm thinking it will be kind of a Harry Potter- a magic girl being sent off to a boarding type school in England. But it turns in to Harry Potter meets 'Lord of the Flies' and 'the Exorcist'. The book is clean as far as language, but has some serious creepy and disturbed undertones. I must note that I listened to this on CD and the lady did REALLY creepy voices for the bad character. Maybe it's not so bad reading it yourself.

And it's slightly annoying because there is a love story but it doesn't have a very statisfy ending. I know its because it's a trilogy, but still...and I have a question in the comments for those who have read the book.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Miss Smithers

This book is found in the Young Adult Section (I have started looking there since they tend to be cleaner). It really was hilarious! I found myself laughing out loud! It is about a home schooled girl living in a really small town in Canada and somehow ends up in the 'Miss Smithers' pageant. It is written diary style and she is so sarcastic and awkward that you will end up just loving her. There are a sprinkling of profanities and a few questionable things, but overall a good read.