Monthly Archives: October 2012
Dark, unexpected, and vivid
In the small English town of Pagford, everyone knows everyone else’s business and privacy is a luxury. When Barry Fairbrother unexpectedly dies, the town is left with much unanticipated circumstances. A casual vacancy, as it is known on the town’s Parish Council. The town has been going through a long term political struggle over who is responsible for the costs of supporting the poverty stricken area, the Fields. Fairbrother was an ally of those who wanted to maintain support for the Fields, and with his death, the two opposing sides square off. The politics of the Parish Council only set the stage for the book. The turmoil is the stage for the real story about the variety of people who call the town home and their daily struggle in life.
When the isolated town’s main source of gossip, the Parish Council message board begins to receive anonymous posting revealing some of the characters deepest and darkest personal secrets, a town already struggling with the death of one of their biggest personalities must reconcile their own places in Pagford. There are a multitude of characters in this book and at times it is hard to follow, but through the course of the book their diverse personalities, personal hardships, familial loyalty, and relationships are explored. What follows is a well told story that reaches the underbelly of society and the dark truth of its residents. Abuse, drugs, rape, teenage hormones, and sexual affairs are some of the few topics explored in the interwoven stories of the characters.
This book was a struggle for me to start and I am still undecided about the end. The book really seems to not have a point to the plot, other than an exploration into the lives of the town’s residents, but I cannot declare that I did or did not enjoy the book. Overall I am still undecided, and I think readers will also be torn. If you are seeking another Harry Potter phenomenon, you will be highly disappointed. This is a book for adults and the topics inappropriate for young adults and children.
In Thomas K. Carpenter first dystopian novel Gamers, in the Gamers Trilogy, he has created a futuristic society where LifeGame is all that matters. LifeGame is an ultra-realistic virtual reality video game where players score points for doing regular things, like brushing teeth and cleaning their room, to higher points for passing tests and solving complicated mathematical and physics problems. The top 15 boys and girls will make it to the University and get good jobs, but those whose scores fall below the line must settle for the jobs that no one wants.
Gabby DeCorte is a naturally skilled gamer. Her life revolves around trying to keep her LifeGame score up to guarantee her place at the University and dealing with typical high school drama. Everything from mean girls, controlling parents, and boys, to insuring her best friend Zaela makes University with her. Unfortunately, Zaela lacks the natural ability of her best friend, so Gabby must constantly use her natural gaming talent as well as her extraordinary hacking skills and to insure her best friend’s success.
In this re-envisioned society, the Greater States of America (GSA) is competing to stay a prominent world power, and the future of society depends upon developing the best students, the LifeGame winners. Gabby soon finds herself paired with a group known as the Frags. A group determined to undermine the GSA, and prove that those who don’t make it to University, don’t get undesirable jobs, but permanently disappear. The Frags need Gabby’s help, but with all the new revelations, Gabby is not so sure what is the truth and what is virtual reality, or who to trust.
Carpenter does a great job of setting the stage and creating characters that readers can relate to. Gamers is a fast read, with a creative plot, unexpected twists, and an intriguing premise. Readers not familiar with phrases such as noob, and DoT, may miss some of the humor, but it does not distract from the storyline. Overall, Gamers was a surprising good read, despite the bland cover art.
Disclaimer: This book was received directly from the author.
Giggles will accompany both parents and children alike in this whimsical book. Begin by pressing the yellow dot, and then follow the instructions. By pressing, shaking, tilting, and blowing on the pages, readers will embark on an imaginative journey filled with color.
Although very simple, Press Here is not only fun, but educational, using repeated words, children can practice following instructions and learn directions like left and right.
Recommended for readers age 2-5.
A space mission is getting ready to leave, and everyone is excited. Along with all the astronauts, six mice will get to go on the mission as well. Meteor is the smallest of the mice, and he really wants to go on the mission so he has been working really hard. When it is time to decide, five of the biggest and strongest mice are chosen, but because of his hard work so is Meteor.
During the space mission the key to the control panel gets stuck in a crack. None of the astronauts can get it out, but Meteor is small and wants to be helpful. Will Meteor save the mission?
Mousetronaut is perfect for the budding astronaut with striking illustrations and a fun storyline. Written by Astronaut Mark Kelly, Mousetronaut is inspired by one of the mice on his first mission in space aboard the Endeavour in 2001. Included at the end of the book is a brief afterword by Mark Kelly that includes a brief history of the space program and life as an astronaut.
Here is a picture of the 2001 Endeavour’s Crew