March 4th, 2013
Brandon Sanderson - The Well of AscensionBreeze shrugged. "Manipulation works so well on a personal level, I don't see why it wouldn't be an equally viable national policy."

Rise of the Evening Star - Brandon Mull

October 16th, 2012

Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon MullAt the end of the school year, Kendra and her brother Seth find themselves racing back to Fablehaven, a refuge for mythical and magical creatures. Grandpa Sorenson, the caretaker, invites three specialists -- a potion master, a magical relics collector, and a mystical creature trapper -- to help protect the property from the Society of the Evening Star, an ancient organization determined to infiltrate the preserve and steal a hidden artifact of great power. Time is running out. The Evening Star is storming the gates. If the artifact falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the world. Will Kendra learn to use her fairy gifts in time? Will Seth stay out of trouble?

Last year Kendra and Seth learned of magical creatures that inhabit Fablehaven, the sanctuary protected by their grandfather. Now, at the end of the school year, that world of magic has invaded Kendra's class at school. Who can they trust? Who can help them get back to Fablehaven? The Society of the Evening Star brought the fight to Kendra and Seth's hometown and is relentless in its efforts infiltrate the sanctuary.

I had a few gripes with the first book in this series but I have none of those same gripes again. In fact, nothing stands out to me except that this is a fun, light and entertaining book that does justice to the series and makes me want to keep reading. I look forward to book three.

Amazon

October 15th, 2012
Brandon Sanderson - MistbornKelsier leaned forward again. "But you weren't born an aristocrat. You're not noble, Vin. You don't have to play by their rules -- and that makes you even more powerful."

Eldest - Christopher Paolini

September 25th, 2012

Eldest by Christopher PaoliniEragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel rule of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesméra, land of the elves, for further training in magic and swordsmanship, the vital skills of the Dragon Rider. It is the journey of a lifetime, filled with awe-inspiring new places and people, each day a fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and Eragon isn't sure whom he can trust.

Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle back home in Carvahall -- one that puts Eragon in even graver danger.

Will the king's dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life...

The book begins in the aftermath of the great battle. Eragon has proved himself a hero and everyone wants him as an ally. He quickly learns that there is as much strategy in politics as there is in war and he cannot wait to begin his trek to Ellesméra where his training as a Dragon Rider will continue. Back home and a world away, the simple folk of Carvahall must band together to protect their own way of life because Galbatorix's thugs set out to find Eragon's cousin Ronan.

At first, the drama was so forced that Eldest was hard to read. Once Eragon was finally on his way to Ellesméra, the author found his stride and the book regained its balance. From there, this just becomes an engaging and entertaining story. The side story involving Ronan was, at times, a pleasant distraction. I was told that this book was incredibly slow, but I never felt that way. I think this book is very different from Eragon (book 1), so it is hard to say which is better; each has merit. Eldest was a fun read and kept me interested in this series. I look forward to Brisingr (book 3).

Amazon

September 24th, 2012
Brandon Sanderson - The Well of Ascension"You have to feel confident that your actions are the best," Tindwyl explained. "you have to know that no matter how bad things get, they would be worse without you. When disaster occurs, you take responsibility, but you don't wallow or mope. You aren't allowed that luxury; guilt is for lesser men. You simply need to do what is expected."

2007 Penner-Ash Oregon Syrah

September 20th, 2012

We had the 2009 on our trip to Willamette Valley earlier this year and it is, if you'll permit me to channel Jimmie "J. J." Walker, Dy-No-Mite! We have been asking around for it since we got back. Turns out that wine shop managers are familiar with it and love it, but never have it in stock; Penner-Ash just means Pinot Noir to too many people. I am not a fan of Penner-Ash Pinot, but the Syrah has my attention. And did I mention it is more affordable (than the Pinot)? We finally got our hands on the 2007, which is still good, but it might not be as good as the 2009. This bottle is a beautiful, inky purple and has well-structured, dark fruit. It's a little musty when you pop the cork, but it opens up wonderfully. This wine is good. Period.

The Emperor's Soul

September 19th, 2012

The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson

The Emperor's Soul by Brandon SandersonFrom the bestselling author of the Mistborn Trilogy and co-author of the final three books of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series comes the tale of a heretic thief who is the only hope for the survival of an empire.

Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skillful magic. Though condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor's scepter, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Despite the fact that her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor, who is almost dead from the attack of assassins.

Delving deeply into his life, she discovers Emperor Ashravan's truest nature—and the opportunity to exploit it. Her only possible ally is one who is truly loyal to the emperor, but councilor Gaotona must overcome his prejudices to understand that her forgery is as much artistry as it is deception.

Skillfully deducing the machinations of her captors, Shai needs a perfect plan to escape. The fate of the empire lies in one impossible task. Is it possible to create a forgery of a soul so convincing that it is better than the soul itself?

This book will be available on November 1, 2012.

Pre-order your copy.

September 18th, 2012
Brandon Sanderson - Mistborn

"How can you be so optimistic?" Vin asked. "You and Kelsier both."

"I don't know, Mistress," Sazed said. "Perhaps our lives have been easier than yours. Or, perhaps we are simply more foolish."

Mad River

September 17th, 2012

Mad River by John Sandford

Mad River by John SandfordBonnie and Clyde, they thought. And what’s-his-name, the sidekick. Three teenagers with dead-end lives, and chips on their shoulders, and guns.

The first person they killed was a highway patrolman. The second was a woman during a robbery. Then, hell, why not keep on going? As their crime spree cuts a swath through rural Minnesota, some of it captured on the killers’ cell phones and sent to a local television station, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Virgil Flowers joins the growing army of cops trying to run them down. But even he doesn’t realize what’s about to happen next.

This book will be available on October 2, 2012.

Pre-order your copy.

September 14th, 2012
Brandon Sanderson - The Well of AscensionWomen are difficult enough to understand, he thought, and I had to go and pick the oddest one of the lot.