Thursday, September 17, 2015

Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark

Plumdog  The irresistible illustrated diary of one very special London dog--the perfect gift book for dog lovers of all stripes (and spots!)
Hello. My name is Plum and I'm a whoosell--a whippet mixed with Jack Russell and poodle. I especially like swimming, leaping, and croissants, and my favorite fragrance is fox poop. I live with Emma, an illustrator, and Rupert in London.

Over the last year, I've been keeping a diary. Emma helped with the pictures, but the words are all mine.

Since 2012 Emma Chichester Clark has been delighting followers with her blog Plumdog, which records the adventures, discoveries, wry observations, and social engagements of her dog, Plum. Now Plum's best pages are collected in this beautiful little storybook volume, which will delight anyone who has ever loved a dog.

This is an entertaining “picture book” for adults told in diary for from the viewpoint of a dog, Plum. It can be easily read in one sitting and features beautiful drawings and delightful observations from the canine world as well as from the human world. Although most of diary entries are suitable to read to kids, some of them have a curse word or two, which is why this is a book best suited for adults looking for a different, fun read before bed.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount CharCarolyn's not so different from the other human beings around her. She's sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for.

After all, she was a normal American herself, once.

That was a long time ago, of course—before the time she calls “adoption day,” when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father.

Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible.

In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn't gotten out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient Pelapi customs. They've studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power.

Sometimes, they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.

Now, Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library—and with it, power over all of creation.

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her.

But Carolyn can win. She's sure of it. What she doesn't realize is that her victory may come at an unacceptable price—because in becoming a God, she's forgotten a great deal about being human.

In all honesty, I started this book with doubt that I would enjoy it. I am not a huge fantasy reader and world-building tends to bore me, which is why I was wary about a novel that, although it takes place in our world, has a pretty thorough universe of its own. 

The beginning is slow, with introduction to characters that are not particularly likeable. It reminded me a bit of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, which I truly disliked. So the book and I did not begin on the right foot. All of that to say, however, that from about the middle of the novel onward, I fell in love with it. Once the narrative took off, I just couldn’t put it down. It kept me reading long into the night until the very end.

So, yes, it requires a bit of patience when starting it, but it is worth the effort. From the ending, I sincerely hope there will be a sequel.