REVIEW: The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde

REVIEW: The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande VeldeThe Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde
Pub: Scholastic (2002), Paperback, 116pg
Filed under: Fantasy, Fiction
Source: Library
Buy it: Amazon (affiliate info) | Shelve it: Goodreads

four-starsfour-starsfour-starsfour-stars

Vivian Vande Velde is whimsically clever in her six recreations of the Rumpelstiltskin story. With divine humor, she reveals the absurdity of the fairy tale. The book is coy, innovative and alluring. What was with that bizarre fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin? Why would a miller claim that his daughter can spin straw into gold? Why would the king believe him? And why would a odd little man that can spin straw into gold do so in exchange for a tiny gold ring? The story is just silly. In an attempt to make sense of it all, Vivian Vande Velde retells this wayward fairy tale, providing six alternative takes on the classic account. All six are woven into rich chronicles - all of which are far more intriguing and revealing than the original tale.

Now that I work in a elementary school library, I try to keep track of which books kids check out most often, so I can read them myself and become more familiar with the collection. The Rumpelstiltskin Problem was VERY popular a few weeks ago1, so I snagged a copy and read it one afternoon. And then…

April’s book for #SFFWomen book club is…

Oh my gosh I am so behind on everything with blogging and internet and books! So sorry about the delay, y’all. ancillary justice

April’s book for #SFFWomen book club is Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie! It’s a scifi novel that’s picked up tons of awards, including (deep breath) Hugo Award for Best Novel (2014), Nebula Award for Best Novel (2013), Locus Award for Best First Novel (2014), Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Novel (2014), British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel (2013), Philip K. Dick Award Nominee (2013), John W. Campbell Memorial Award Nominee (2014), James Tiptree Jr. Award Nominee (2013), The Kitschies for Golden Tentacle (Debut) (2013).

It’s also gotten lots of buzz online for having a diverse cast and because the protag comes from a culture where they don’t have the same sort of gender identity as we Earthlings do. Everyone gets called “she,” basically. I’m so excited! Especially after reading Renay’s review about it.

Here’s what it’s about:

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.
Once, she was the Justice of Toren – a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.

Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.

More info: Goodreads | Amazon

The blog discussion will go up Friday April 24th and the Twitter discussion will have to be moved to MONDAY April 27th, as I will be out of town on the Sunday we’d usually have it.1 Btw, Saturday April 25th is the 24 Hour Readathon— I encourage all y’all to sign up for it as it’s a lot of fun!

REVIEW: Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran

REVIEW: Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara GranClaire DeWitt and the City of the Dead (Claire DeWitt Mysteries #1) by Sara Gran
Pub: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2011), eBook, 273pg
Filed under: Fiction, Mystery
Source: Scribd
Buy it: Amazon (affiliate info) | Shelve it: Goodreads

four-starsfour-starsfour-starsfour-stars

Sara Gran has written a novel about an unprecedented private investigator named Claire DeWitt. Destiny, it seems, has chosen Claire to be a detective, planting a copy of the enigmatic book Détection in her path as a teenager. Claire has grabbed this destiny with both hands but fate has been cruel. Twenty years later detection is her religion and Détection is her Bible.

Now she is summoned to New Orleans, because someone has heard she is "the best," to search for an upstanding citizen lost in the miasma of Katrina. The battered and beggared New Orleans, second only to Claire, is the star of this story. Thus the title.

I wanted to read this book because of a blogger!1 I didn’t really know anything about it except that it’s a mystery with a really cool cover! Turns out that part is true, but it is ALSO a very trippy book with magical realism elements and/or massive hallucinations.

The New Orleans in this book is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. It’s broken and terrible and not mending at all. It’s like the ultimate noir location, except with swamps and AK-47s instead of smoky streets and six-shooters.2

But! Claire is a totally unreliable narrator and she hangs out with criminals for a living, so her perspective is completely skewed. And fictional New Orleans is not reality New Orleans! So I DO still want to visit it. Just not in the company of anyone like Claire. And then…

REVIEW: Bellwether by Connie Willis

REVIEW: Bellwether by Connie WillisBellwether by Connie Willis (Read by Kate Reading)
Pub: Blackstone Audiobooks (1996), Audiobook, 06:30
Filed under: Contemporary, Fiction, Humor, Romance, Satire
Source: Bought
Buy it: Amazon (affiliate info) | Shelve it: Goodreads

two-starstwo-stars

Pop culture, chaos theory, and matters of the heart collide in this unique novella from the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of Doomsday Book. Sandra Foster studies fads and their meanings for the HiTek corporation. Bennett O'Reilly works with monkey-group behavior and chaos theory for the same company. When the two are thrust together due to a misdelivered package and a run of seemingly bad luck, they find a joint project in a flock of sheep. But a series of setbacks and disappointments arise before they are able to find answers to their questions—with the unintended help of the errant, forgetful, and careless office assistant Flip.

I have no idea why I thought this was a scifi novel, expect that most of Connie Willis’ other books are scifi so I just assumed this one would be, too. I mean, look at the cover! It totally looks like a SFF book, right? Only it’s not. It’s a satire about pop culture with some romance thrown in.

Y’all, I really wanted to like this book. But I didn’t. I didn’t like it AT ALL and I really should’ve DNF’d it except that the audiobook was only about 6 hours long and by the time I realized I hated it I was 2 hours from the end, so I felt obligated to finish it. And then…

REVIEW: Mystery Society by Steve Niles and Fiona Staples

REVIEW: Mystery Society by Steve Niles and Fiona StaplesMystery Society by Steve Niles and Fiona Staples (Illustrator)
Pub: IDW Publishing (2010), eBook, 132pg
Filed under: Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Mystery, Sci-fi
Source: Scribd
Buy it: Amazon (affiliate info) | Shelve it: Goodreads

three-starsthree-starsthree-stars

Nick Hammond and Anastasia Collins are the Mystery Society - and bring new meaning to "underground cult" status! Stealthily avoiding the authorities, this skulduggery duo spend their time and money righting wrongs committed in the world's underbellies.

I read this because of Memory! She mentioned it in a post a while back and the title drew me in. Also, I adored Fiona Staples’ art in Saga and I wanted to see more of it. Plus, secret societies investigating paranormal happenings are definitely my jam, especially when they’re run by a power couple with interesting hair.

That said, I unfortunately didn’t like Mystery Society as much as I wanted to. It’s too short! It tries to pack a lot of plot into a tiny amount of pages and it didn’t work out that well. And then…