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ancientmaverick posted to whatwasthatbook July 29 2014, 16:22

Fantasy series

I read this series about 15 years ago. It's a fantasy series set in a different world, though it felt a bit like early industrial-age London. The books started with a young male protagonist, orphaned, worked odd jobs including as a letter-writer for illiterate people. At some point, he meets some traveling show types and works with them. Then he meets the young female protagonist who has lost her memory, but does a show as a fortune teller. At the end of the first book, they perform for the king, and she remembers that she is the king's daughter, and that she was thrown down a well by the king's adviser as a child. Everyone thought she was dead. In the subsequent books, a war starts, and the young male protagonist becomes the leader of a roving band of guerilla fighters - it's actually quite bloody and violent, which he realizes and turns away from. I can't remember how the series ends. At one point, they fight in the streets, quite like the French students in Les Mis.

It was a great series and well written, and I'd like to find it again. There isn't a lot of real magic that I remember. Please help!
marycatelli posted to bookish July 29 2014, 13:52

Spell Bound

Spell Bound by Ru Emerson

Once upon a time, in a German kingdom that never existed, a king and his men found a count's son and villagers dealing with a witch.  He refused to let the woman just burn to death in her burning hut, but had her dragged out and officially condemned and then burnt -- which is when they learned that is was actually her daughter Ilse who had done what had alerted them.  She curses three of them, one the king, to die.

Read more...Collapse )
ext_1783211 posted to whatwasthatbook July 29 2014, 05:14

series about a girl learning life lessons because she broke her crystal ball thingy

So the first book focuses on this
ok, so cheesy as it sounds, this girl lives on this planet where people have special powers. As a young adult/teenager, she currently has this power thing over flowers. So if she's mad, the flowers turn red and stuff. She wears flower crowns so this is a frequent problem. Anyways, she goes to this school and they're going to have this coming of age ceremony or something, with these crystal balls. However, she's too curious and sneaks into the school to find her ball thingy but it breaks and the shards vanish into smoke. Now she's a bit of an outcast in school because while everyone is learning life lessons with their ball thingies she's exempt because she doesn't have hers. So she has to learn these life lessons with life because when she does, she can recover a piece of a shard with the lesson inscribed into it. And that's more or less what the series is about.

In one of the books she and her family? go to visit her aunt and uncle on a different planet. (Her's was this flowery place this planet is like a rocky/mineral kind) Apparently her aunt and elder cousin have platinum blonde hair (random fact I remember). So the main character(MC) hits off with her cousin, who dresses her up (and puts on make up?). She also replaces her cousin's flower crown with this rock/mineral one and the older cousin hugs her and says that she wishes her sister was like her. However, her younger cousin hears it and runs away. So they go to this party and at first the MC is this wallflower but after realizing that there are no flowers she feels like she can let loose without worrying about setting off fire flowers.

I believe at one point the MC and her school visit a planet full of water.
She also resists temptation to find out about her future boyfriend/husband and gets a shard that way.

Don't remember much of the other books but it ends with the MC finally learning all of her life lessons and finishes collecting all of the shards. She gets her ceremony thing, and apparently earns this special power, that everyone gets to experience when they go through their ceremonies. Apparently she's an anomaly for having both the flower power and the new one which is about seeing auras. She goes to see her parents tells them and then goes to see this old woman in a hospital ( a friend she made in some book) and then realizes that she doesn't have an aura, while everyone else does. She mentions this to a healer and saves her friend's life, since apparently no one even thought of checking her aura because people with aura problems are very rare, and normally linked to like this one planet?

I read this book series a couple years in my library but they've since vanished from both record and the shelves. It's probably been published sometime between 1990s and 2009. I think it's maybe children's fiction. Probably not young adult fiction. They weren't very long books, soft cover, mostly one color covers. If anyone can find it the book titles or character's name I'd be very very grateful.
inverarity posted to bookish July 29 2014, 01:45

Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, by Jeff VanderMeer

A writers' workshop in a book and a glorious kaleidoscopic work of art.

Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction

Harry N. Abrams, 2013, 332 pages

This all-new definitive guide to writing imaginative fiction takes a completely novel approach and fully exploits the visual nature of fantasy through original drawings, maps, renderings, and exercises to create a spectacularly beautiful and inspiring object. Employing an accessible, example-rich approach, Wonderbook energizes and motivates while also providing practical, nuts-and-bolts information needed to improve as a writer. Aimed at aspiring and intermediate-level writers, Wonderbook includes helpful sidebars and essays from some of the biggest names in fantasy today, such as George R. R. Martin, Lev Grossman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, Catherynne M. Valente, and Karen Joy Fowler, to name a few.

Advice from a Who's Who of SF and fantasy authors, lavishly illustrated.

My complete list of book reviews.
audrey_e posted to bookish July 29 2014, 01:35

19: The Handmaid's Tale

Originally posted by audrey_e at Book 19: The Handmaid's Tale
19 THE HANDMAID'S TALE Margaret Atwood (Canada, 1985)


In the near future, the narrator's country has become a dictatorship in which she only serves as a womb.

The Handmaid's Tale is a 1986 Booker Prize winner.

The Handmaid's Tale is certainly, along with 1984, the most convincing dystopian novel I've read.
Offred, the narrator, depicts a world in which the authority controls absolutely every layer of its people's (especially women) lives, and Atwood is in that regard very thorough. All the details about the narrator's daily tasks, rituals, garment are painfully fascinating, and gradually reveal past tragedies, and how major political changes unfolded.
Atwood's major strength is her ability to write thoughtful, beautifully written page-turners, and THT is no exception to the rule.
While the ending isn't as satisfying as I'd wished, it is also something I've come to expect from the author.

dorian4465 posted to whatwasthatbook July 29 2014, 00:15

Sci-fi fantasy book

Hope you can help, read a book about this guy remember he had greenish hair, that his people had been in a war with another people, his dad found him at the end of the war( dad was from the other race) made him wash with special soap that made his hair change color. The boy sets out to find more of his kind, his people have some kind of link to the sea. I know the name of the people was the name of the planet and I'm almost positive that the title was the people of ( name of the planet).Also I remember the cover had the guy, in the woods.He finds girl half a whatever he is, and half the other race and they set out together.they find an old Town? And a big stone that sends them somewhere. If anyone remembers it would be a great help I think it was made between 80-89.
me442 posted to whatwasthatbook July 28 2014, 12:06

Book About School Newspaper Column?

I read this book a few years ago maybe, and it was about a girl who had to write a column for her school newspaper, but there was another column, which a boy wrote, and she was trying to figure out who was writing it while trying to find romance. They each had names as well and I think the boy's column was called The Scoop or something? Anyway, the main character, the girl, had found love with another boy, and they found out one another was writing the columns and fought. I can barely remember the ending after that, so I'd love to read it again, but I can't remember the title or the author. Help me out?
girlygirl5000 posted to whatwasthatbook July 28 2014, 10:50

book about girl explaining the events that led to her coma

I read this book in 2013, I got it from my highschool library. I'm pretty sure the book is from the UK. I don't rememberthe girl's name but I think she was about middle school aged and she had an older brother and they lived with their father. The beginning of the book is talking about one of her neighbors from across the street? There was a teenage boy that lived there and he started to go insane after he was teased about his private parts by a very pretty girl(I don't remember any names) That girl lives with her many sisters(four or five I think) and their neglectful father. The teenager boy stopped leaving his house and stopped eating and talking and his parents tried to get him medication. I think I remember something about the main character(the girl with the brother) getting bullied for money by some of the sisters that were her age and people feared them. Also at some point I think her brother played strip poker with one of the sisters(possibly the one who made fun of the insane boy). I think the main character had a friend that was a boy and a gipsy (he may or may not have had a pink sweatshirt) I think he stole things to get by. There was something about stealing blankets or a mattress in his plot line, I think the main character was going to help. Everything is a little fuzzy but somehow the main character ended up at the insane boys house. He kidnapped her and put her in the closet where she discovered one of the sisters that had been missing for a while. The other girl ended up dying in the closet with the main character. When they found the main character she was ended up in a coma I'm assuming because of starvation and dehydration(she was in there for a long time) Then she briefly recalls somethings she hears while in the coma like her dad talking to her etc. I'm pretty sure she wakes up in the end. I hope that all made sense. I think the author was male and the cover is of a girls legs with a red skirt and black dressish shoes and black and white striped knee length socks or stockings.
forg posted to whatwasthatbook July 28 2014, 03:05

YA Novel Loner Girl Tragic family story returns to childhood home

I read this in the 90s from the library. If I type in The Loner or Loner I get tons of entries but that is the name that has stuck with me.

A young girl when she turns 18 moves out of her uncle and aunt's house who have been fostering her against their wishes. She returns to her childhood home where a tragedy has taken place, her mother is in gaol for killing her father but as the novel progresses you work out that it was in protection of her daughter the mother did it.
She tries to live a self sustaining life - she begins to breed rabbits and uses them for food and tans their skins.
A young travelling salesman strikes up a friendship with her and a possible romance but then he breaks her heart and she resolves to be forever alone.

As you see the story has really stuck with me, I remember crying often over this book. I wish I knew who the author was. I would love to reread it, please help me!
inverarity posted to bookish July 28 2014, 02:24

Warbound, by Larry Correia

Contains (a partial list): 1930s noir superheroes, samurai battle armor, magical ninjas, Lovecraftian monsters, and zeppelin pirates


Baen, 2013, 448 pages

Only a handful of people in the world know that mankind's magic comes from a living creature, and it is a refugee from another universe. The Power showed up here in the 1850s because it was running from something. Now it is 1933, and the Power's hiding place has been discovered by a killer. It is a predator that eats magic and leaves destroyed worlds in its wake. Earth is next.

Former private eye Jake Sullivan knows the score. The problem is, hardly anyone believes him. The world's most capable Active, Faye Vierra, could back him up, but she is hiding from forces that think she is too dangerous to live. So Jake has put together a ragtag crew of airship pirates and Grimnoir knights - and set out on a suicide mission to stop the predator before it is too late.

It is what it is, and it's kind of awesome.

Also by Larry Correia: My reviews of Hard Magic and Spellbound.

My complete list of book reviews.
rhiannon_s posted to whatwasthatbook July 27 2014, 22:50

Post-apocalyptic book sought

This may be the vaguest description ever. I read this book in the early 1990s, it was set in a post-apocalyptic world, and it had two groups of protagonists. One group was people from some sort of cryogenic government base who had woken up, and the other had a group of tribespeople who'd colonised the area and who hunted with afghan hounds.

That is all I got. I would love to reread it, and fill in my own blanks. Can anyone please help? Thanks in advance.
fashion_piranha July 27 2014, 17:06

Review: William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher

William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back
by Ian Doescher

Sequel to William Shakespeare’s Star Wars

After destroying the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the rebels hide on the frozen ice planet of Hoth, plotting their next move. Darth Vadar and his armies search relentlessly for Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo and the others. As the Empire closes in, Luke receives a ghostly message from his former mentor to seek a new Jedi master. Far off in the remote Dagobah system, Luke is forced to choose between completing his training or returning to save his friends from the carefully-laid trap set by the Empire.

This series is so much fun. It mimics the style of Shakespeare convincingly enough that one could almost believe his ghost was involved in the writing – but then Doescher slips in a couple of classic Star Wars quotes and you remember the modern origin of the story. It’s clearly a labor of love, though. It’s interesting to see how Doescher adapted some of the movie’s characters to suit the new medium. After all, Yoda’s unusual manner of speaking is already somewhat Shakespearean, so how can you convey the difference in this new play-version of the story? I won’t ruin the surprise, but I think Doescher found a very effective way of keeping Yoda unique.

I also really enjoy the way that non-speaking characters can be given new life via the Shakespearean soliloquy. In the film, R2-D2 can’t talk save for a series of whistles and beeps, but here he’s free to vent frustrations or rhapsodize with joy. Even minor characters, like the wampa that attacks Luke Skywalker at the beginning of the story, can be made sympathetic:

Pray know that I a wampa simple am,
And take no pleasure in my angry mood.
Though with great force this young one’s face I slam,
I prithee know I strike but for my food.

Scattered throughout the book are etching-like illustrations that mashup Star Wars and Elizabethan culture. Ever wanted to see Yoda in a great ruff collar? Here it is. You’re welcome.

Fans of the first book will eat this right up and jump right on to The Jedi Doth Return. If you haven’t yet given the series a try, go for it. It’s a lot of fun and you won’t regret it.

4 out of 5 stars

To read more about The Empire Striketh Back, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

Peeking into the archives...today in:
2013: News: Jane Austen to be face of 10 pound note
2012: The Seventy Great Mysteries of the Ancient World edited by Brian Fagan
2011: Tail of the Moon, Vol. 1 by Rinko Ueda
2010: The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood
2009: Giveaway #9: Three Chinese Stories
2008: Rahab’s Story by Ann Burton

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