Touchstone - Melanie Rawn

February 21st, 2012

Touchstone by Melanie RawnCayden Silversun is part Elven, part Fae, part human Wizard -- and all rebel. His aristocratic mother would have him follow his father to the Royal Court, to make a high-society living off the scraps of kings. But Cade lives and breathes for the theater, and his troupe is something very special.

The four of them intend to enter the highest reaches of society and power, but not the way Cade's mother thinks they should. They'll be the greatest players of all time, or die trying.

Come experience the magic of Touchstone: wholly charming characters in a remarkably original fantasy world. You'll never want to leave.

Cayden and two of his childhood buddies are looking for the missing piece to their theater troupe when a charming, though difficult-to-tolerate, elf asks for a tryout. Fortuoutously for them all, he is just what they need. Together, the four young males seek to become the greatest performers the kingdom has ever seen.

This book fell short for me. The story begins without laying any foundation; Touchstone is the first book in a new series, but it starts off like it is the continuation of some other story and no recap is given. The plot is shallow at best and the author writes descriptively about things she should skip and skips things about which she should be descriptive. The story jumps ahead whimsically and is difficult to follow.

At the beginning there were a few pieces of wisdom from Cade's old teacher. I thought they were beautifully written and poignant. There were three of them in the first few chapters. I was excited that there would be more. No dice.

I wanted to like this book, but I did not.

Amazon

February 20th, 2012
Michael Connelly - Trunk MusicBosch had never liked Las Vegas, though he came often on cases. It shared a kinship with Los Angeles; both were places desperate people ran to. Often, when they ran from Los Angeles, they came here. It was the only place left. Beneath the veneer of glitz and money and energy and sex beat a dark heart. No matter how much they tried to dress her up with neon and family entertainment, she was still a whore.

The Official Joomla! Book

November 23rd, 2011

The Official Joomla! BookThe Official Joomla! Book is the authoritative, and comprehensive Joomla! reference for every administrator, developer, designer, and content manager. Distilling the unsurpassed experience of two long-time Joomla! contributors, it teaches exactly what you need to know, through practical example sites and crystal-clear explanations.

If you're new to Joomla!, you'll learn how to make your sites more flexible, feature-rich, visually attractive, and useful. And whether new or experienced, you'll learn how Joomla! really works, so you can fully leverage its power whenever you're ready. You'll also get to know the Joomla! community by hearing from twelve community members through in-depth interviews, and you'll learn how to participate in the Joomla! project in ways that make sense to you.

The Official Joomla! Book covers everything from installation to usability, templates to extensions. The authors explain each key concept conversationally, helping you learn to help yourself and confidently gain control over Joomla! and the sites you build with it. they also present chapter-length application case studies for business, non-profits, and education. You'll learn to

  • Plan sites effectively before you start building them
  • Create production sites quickly while avoiding common mistakes
  • Install and configure Joomla! for maximum efficiency
  • Create and edit content for your Joomla! site
  • Customize and work with Joomla! templates
  • Work with extensions: components, modules, plugins, and languages
  • Efficiently administer Joomla! sites
  • Participate in the Joomla! community as a user and contributor

Joomla! is one of the most popular open-source CMS (content management system) packages available, and it is powerful. The selling point for these CMS tools is that you can run a fully professional website without needing to know how to actually code the site yourself; you do not need to know html, php, java, etc. as Joomla! does that all for you. You do, however, have to know how to use your CMS and they are pretty involved, so that is why you buy the official guide.

This book takes you all the way from when your idea to start a site is born through installing the package to running it like a professional. The key for readers will be repetition. You will have to keep this book by your side as a reference guide while you build your site and probably as you generate your first few weeks or months worth of content.

In all honesty, I felt that the book was a little too advanced for me, at times. There were terms and acronyms used that I could either try to figure out in context or look up online. This did not happen often, so still think that this book is helpful and a valuable resource.

I believe that Joomla! is a very good CMS package, and one that I want to know how to use better. And this, The Official Joomla! Book is a very good guide to help me.

Amazon

November 22nd, 2011
Charles Baxter - The Feast of Love - 17Every relationship has at least one really good day. What I mean is, no matter how sour things go, there's always that day. That day is always in your possession. That's the day you remember. You get old and you think: well, at least I had that day. It happened once. You think all the variables might just line up again. But they don't. Not always. I once talked to a woman who said, "Yeah, that's the day we had an angel around."

Micro

November 15th, 2011

Micro by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

After Crichton's death in November 2008, Preston (The Hot Zone) was drafted to complete the work Crichton had begun on this novel.

Micro by Michael Crichton and Richard PrestonThree men are found dead in the locked second-floor office of a Honolulu building, with no sign of struggle except for the ultrafine, razor-sharp cuts covering their bodies. The only clue left behind is a tiny bladed robot, nearly invisible to the human eye.

In the lush forests of Oahu, groundbreaking technology has ushered in a revolutionary era of biological prospecting. Trillions of microorganisms, tens of thousands of bacteria species, are being discovered; they are feeding a search for priceless drugs and applications on a scale beyond anything previously imagined.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, seven graduate students at the forefront of their fields are recruited by a pioneering microbiology start-up. Nanigen MicroTechnologies dispatches the group to a mysterious lab in Hawaii, where they are promised access to tools that will open a whole new scientific frontier.

But once in the Oahu rain forest, the scientists are thrust into a hostile wilderness that reveals profound and surprising dangers at every turn. Armed only with their knowledge of the natural world, they find themselves prey to a technology of radical and unbridled power. To survive, they must harness the inherent forces of nature itself.

This book will be available on November 22, 2011.

Pre-order your copy.

November 14th, 2011
Spoon Fed by Kim Severson

What a waste of time, all that measuring myself against other people. The only ruler that matters is the one I pull out at the end of the day. Did I do my best? Did I tell the truth? Was I helpful to my fellows?

And, did I make something good to eat?

The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield

November 10th, 2011

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane SetterfieldReclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author's tale of gothic strangeness -- featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire. Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

A woman is chosen, seemingly at random, to write the biography for England's most cherished and most mysterious author. Margaret comes to live with the secretive Vida Winter to chronicle the series of unlikely and hard-to-believe situations that shaped her into the woman and the prolific storyteller that she became. She hears tales of twins, ghosts, love affairs, missing parents and more. The journey on which Ms. Winter takes Margaret is heart-breaking and wondrous. They are secrets that the world is waiting with bated breath to hear, but secrets that might need to be kept.

This is a bizarre little book, but one I really enjoyed. I found the plot to be very creative and unlike anything I've read before. I am always glad to read something so different. Some of the events described were surprisingly aggressive, which I'm not used to, but I was able to adapt. The one thing that I cannot deny was the power in Diane Setterfield's writing; it was awesome. She wrote poetically and emotionally and that is how I adapted to the stories told; good writing can transform just about anything into something worth reading about.

Admittedly, it took me a very long time to get around to reading this book. I tell myself that I do that to distance myself from the recommendations I receive so my expectations aren't too high, but sometimes the plot just sounds so droll. I do not want to raise your expectations to a level where they cannot be met by this book, but I enjoyed it and I hope you do too.

Amazon

November 9th, 2011
Christopher Paolini - Eragon - 172"People have an annoying habit of remembering things they shouldn't."

The Alloy of Law

November 2nd, 2011

The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel by Brandon Sanderson

The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel by Brandon SandersonFresh from the success of The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson, best known for completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time®, takes a break to return to the world of the bestselling Mistborn series.

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.
Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.

One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn, who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

This book will be available on November 8, 2011.

Pre-order your copy.

November 1st, 2011
The Finkler Question by Howard JacobsonIt was only when he waved goodbye that it occurred to Treslove that his old friend wanted company. Libor was right - Finkler was seeking love. A man without a wife can be lonely in a big black Mercedes, no matter how many readers he has.