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New Publishers, New Books, New Year!

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

How quickly time passes sometimes. It’s hard to believe that it has been nearly two whole months since last I posted something, and it is not for lack of nothing to say. The month of November was plagued with essays, projects and exam preparations, while December… well, aside from exams, it really wasn’t all that busy, but my brain has a tendency to shut down for a few weeks following that taxing exam period 🙂 That does not, however, mean that my love of books and reading them has waned in the least! I have many new books to share with you all, but first, I have some BIG NEWS!

A dear friend of mine has recently started his own publishing company, which you should know as fellow book lovers is a pretty big deal in the world of literature. Its official launch is in January, but you can already get to know a bit about them by visiting one of the following web locations:

Drawn Forth Publishing - Stirling, Ontario Drawn Forth Publishing: Books for a Better World

Facebook: www.facebook.com/drawnforth

Website: www.drawnforth.org

Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrawnForth

Whoever said that literature was a dying art was greatly mistaken, for it is alive and well so long as there are skilled writers with limitless imaginations, and publishers willing to give them the opportunity to share them both with the world. I’d like to wish them the best of luck, and I hope all of you lovely BookNerds will do the same.

Now on to the next bit of news!

As I am sure I have mentioned time and time again – to the point where you guys are probably sick and tired of hearing it but I’ll probably keep mentioning it anyway – I am a bit of a slow reader. I like to take my sweet time while I read, which means that months can pass and I’ll still be on the same book. However, that hasn’t stopped me from building up my reading collection, providing me with even more books that I’ll be able to enjoy as I’m sitting in my rocking chair, poking the ceiling above me with a broom every time the upstairs neighbors get a little too rowdy.

One of the new books I purchased is actually one I had been meaning to get my hands on for quite some time, but I could never seem to find it. Although thinking back, I’m sure I could have found it on Amazon and ordered it in no time, but I’ve never been a big fan of online shopping. I like to go out and physically see and feel the things I’m going to buy, so that there’s less of a chance of me wanting to return them later on for whatever reason. Fortunately enough, I succeeded in finding the one I was looking for…

Good Omens Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

So many people have accused British humor as being dry, lifeless and just the kind of humor that goes right over your head. Well to those people, I say go buy any of the books written by Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman, and tell us what you really think. This book is witty, clever and at times I literally feel like my side is going to split because I’m laughing so hard! I never thought a book about angels, demons and the anti-Christ could be so wonderfully funny, but I guess that’s what happens when you get two of the worlds most brilliant authors working together.

On top of finding this little treasure, I also received the best birthday present one could get; an entire book series! Admittedly, I had never even heard of the series before, but after reading the first couple chapters of the first book, I felt guilty about my ignorance, as it is just so bloody amazing…

mistborn-trilogy Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

Just another fantasy book? I think not. Sanderson has a way of making every character relevant to the story, even if they only make a five second appearance. The protagonists are very multi-layered, making it hard to tell whether they’re the good guys or the bad guys, but either way you can’t wait to see what they do next. I’ve always had a hard time finding books that had a good, strong female character, who doesn’t immediately become a damsel in distress as soon as a handsome, muscular man appears. Vin is an excellent female heroine, one whose strength lies in her ability to read situations and react to them in a way which benefits her, without being annoying or too full of herself. Then there is Kelsier, the kind of male protagonist who you can’t help but be on his side, no matter what horrible thing he does. I’m only two chapters in, and already I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble they get into next!

  So many books to read, yet so little time to read them in. I guess I’ll just have to keep doing my best, and perhaps stop buying books for a little while so I can catch up on the ones I already have… nah! I’ll come up with a much better new years resolution than that. Speaking of new years resolution, I would love to know what my book loving followers have in mind regarding their vows for the new year! If you feel like sharing, feel free to do so in the comments below. I’ll try to get things started, as soon as I can figure out what my new years resolution is going to be 😉

That’s all for today. For my next post, I’m hoping to get a bit more insight into the up and coming publishing company Drawn Forth, in order to give you guys more details as to what kind of services they will be providing, and possibly even point some of you up and coming writers in their direction. Until then, bundle up nice and warm next to the fireplace, and happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

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Book Review: Return to Tyendinaga

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

Many days have passed since my last post, and my excuse for that can be summed up in one word: University. Try as I might, I can only split my attention in so many directions at once, and this blog has the unfortunate pleasure of being pushed to the bottom of my priority list. This does not, however, mean that my presence in the online literary realm is doing to disappear anytime soon, for if there is one life lesson University has taught me, it’s that life is better spent doing the things we love than begrudgingly doing the things we hate. Of course, that’s just the idealistic side of me talking, which always sounds good in my head but doesn’t always apply itself practically … but that’s a discussion for another day.

So, as I’m sure you’re all aware by now, I am what you would call a ‘slow reader’. I like to think of myself as a ‘detailed reader’, but I won’t deny the fact that I take my time when I read. This of course means that the frequency with which I post new book reviews is akin to, let’s say, the time it would take a person to print a full length novel using a dot matrix printer. It also doesn’t help that I have a tendency to give in easily to the little voice inside my head which is constantly chanting “buy more books!”. I suppose that little voice could be telling me to do worse things, so perhaps I should be thankful ^_^

Between my workload, my attempt at a social life, and the constant unpredictability of life, I recently managed to finish reading a novel, one which is very different from anything I had ever read before. In recent years, I have found myself more and more drawn towards the realm of non-fiction literature, which is rather humorous seeing as I used to scoff at the mere mention of ‘non-fiction novels’. I suppose it could be a journalistic influence, placing me into a mindset which see’s the value of real life heroism that I was all but blind to before. After reading this most recent novel, I found myself to be in a state of awe, for there really is no limit to what human beings can accomplish when their belief is strong enough.

ReturnToTyendinagasm Return to Tyendinaga: The Story of Jim and Melba Loft, Baha’i Pioneers by Evelyn Loft & Patricia Verge

stars-4

Let me just start by saying that this book is based on a religious orientation, more specifically that of the Baha’i Faith, but it is not restricted solely to those who share those beliefs. There is much to be gleaned from these types of novels, whether you believe in God, science, or simply in your own existence. This book, for instance, is the story of Jim and Melba Loft, a married couple from the mid 1900’s, who sacrificed so much and went to great lengths for something which they believed in both heart and soul. It’s essentially a compilation of quotes, letters, photos, and a retelling of events based on what those who knew the Lofts could recall from their brief or lengthy encounters. Theirs is a story of hardship, loss, redemption, love and change, at the heart of which is their new found belief in something bigger than themselves.

That’s all for today. I have already started reading another novel, so you can probably expect another review before the end of the year 😉 Until then, I will try to continue posting as often as possible, and as always, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

J.K. Rowling New Mystery Novel No Longer a Mystery

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

Fame can make people do some crazy things, but is it really that crazy for J.K. Rowling to want to stay out of the spotlight for a little while?

It was recently discovered that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling managed to sneak below the media radar by taking on a new pseudonym for her newly published book “The Cuckoo’s Calling”. The book was published in April, but it was only recently that suspicions grew concerning Robert Galbraith, the supposed author of this mystery novel, and certain similarities between his writing style and that of a certain fantasy author.

After having a couple of specialists analyze the writing, they were able to compare it, with a great deal of accuracy, to Rowling’s writing style. When they brought news to those who worked on her behalf, she had no choice but to come clean. According to Time Entertainment, Rowling made the decision to do this “because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience!”

So, what is this new novel about?
CuckoosCallingCover The Cuckoo’s Calling is a mystery crime solving novel, which centers around the ‘apparent’ suicide of a supermodel, and the struggles of Detective Cormoran Strike as he tries to not only solve this case, but also to finally earn himself a decent living as a private detective.
 
I have yet to read this novel myself, but if I do decide to pull out my chapter’s gift card, I won’t be purchasing it just because it happens to be written by one of my all-time favourite authors. I have a soft spot for mystery novels, which is evident by my almost weekly posting about another one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s masterpieces. What Rowling did was show that it’s not so easy to make it in the publishing world, at least not right away, and how people will buy books only because they were written by someone famous and already known to all.
 
 
What do you think?
 
 
Whether you have read her new book or not, I’d like to know what you think about Rowling writing a novel under a pseudonym, and keeping it quiet from not just the media, but her devoted fans. Personally, I see nothing wrong with it, but that’s just my opinion.
 
 
That’s all for today. I have been rather lax in my writing lately, but I will strive to post on a more regular basis for the remainder of the Summer. So until next time, happy reading!
 
 
Cheers,
 
 
BookNerd

Book Review: The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

If you’re like me, then you can hardly keep yourself composed and calm when thinking that the third season of Sherlock is waiting just on the other side of the Summer break. This fall, the secret to Sherlock’s survival shall finally be revealed, and we shall see what new and exciting mysteries await or crime solving duo.

In the meantime, here is a look at yet another one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original masterpieces which inspired the creation of this modern day spin on the classic. This one is much shorter than all the previous works of his I have presented to you, not that any of them are all that long. These are the kind of stories that would appear in the daily newspaper, allowing for only so much detail in such a limited space.

This story is from chapter 7 of ” The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 2009″, and it is called The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle. The following is my interpretation of the story, and may contain some spoilers which I apologize for in advance.

carbuncle_title

stars-5

While most people spend the Christmas holidays preparing feasts, purchasing gifts and adorning their pine trees with decor, Sherlock Holmes, not being most people, spends his holidays much the same as he spends any other day; solving a mystery. The case he is currently working on is not entirely unrelated to the season, although it seems like nothing more than a strange waste of time in the eyes of dear old Dr. Watson. Coming home to 221B Baker Street, Dr. Watson discovers Mr. Holmes examining a rather tattered old hat, which he is later told belonged to someone who had gotten himself into a bit of a scuffle with some ruffians. Just as you would expect, Sherlock believes wholeheartedly that everything they need to identify the owner of this hat, and what exactly he had gotten himself into, could be deduced from this single piece of evidence. What was seemingly a waste of effort and time soon became quite the mystery when a small, blue diamond was discovered in a frozen turkey recovered from the scene of the crime, seemingly belonging to the man who also owned the hat. This, of course, was not just any diamond; this was the Countess of Morcar’s blue carbuncle! What could that man have been doing with the jewel? Were the people who attacked him after the jewel as well? Is this how Watson and Holmes will spend their entire Christmas Holidays?

This story is another classic example of what makes Sherlock Holmes such a memorable character. Dr. Watson is still unable to grasp the way in which the cogs move within the mind of his detective friend, although that doesn’t stop him from trying to apply his own deductive skills. It’s also a classic example of how something which most people would overlook, like a ripped up old hat, could actually be a big clue to an entire series of events pointing to a much greater plot. This one would definitely make a nice holiday episode of the BBC show Sherlock, but we’ll just have to wait and see how that modern twist of this classic series is going to unfold.

That’s all for today. If you’ve read this book already, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below. Also, feel free to leave any of your own book reviews or recommendations in the comments on the Book Recommendations from You page. Life is full of books waiting to be read, so until next time, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

Nothing Like Starting Your Day With …. A NEW BOOK!

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

It’s been so long since my last post on here, you probably assumed that I fell into a black hole, got lost inside a laboratory, befriended a strange cube covered in hearts, and went stir crazy because the cake was a total lie! Rest assured, I am safe and sound, and there is cake a plenty ^_^

The reality of the situation is that I have been working really hard to get my two other blogs up and running, which I have been partially successful in doing. My News blog – MyInquisitiveCerebrum – is ready for viewing and following, although knowing me there are bound to be hundreds of changes made in the near future. For the time being, though I am fairly content with the results. My other blog – The Nerdtastic Life – is still in its initial stages, and probably will be for the next couple of weeks; you never realize just how busy your summer will be until it gets here, and then all that free time fly’s right out the window.

To welcome myself back, and as a present for all of you avid readers, I present to you yet another book which I have decided to add to my collection. Okay, I wasn’t exactly intending on purchasing another book, but when it’s only five dollars and sitting on the shelf right in front of me …. how could I resist? Unfortunately, I’m currently in the process of reading two books simultaneously, so I probably won’t get around to  it for quite some time. In the meantime, though, here is a brief synopsis of the book and what previous reviewers have had to say about it!

12book The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Legend Begins…

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks” – strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess – Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine – much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals. When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins the cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice…

Reviews

“At once a scholar’s homage to the Illiad and a startilingly original work of art by an incredibly talented new novelist” – Ann Patchett

“Mary Renault lives again! Ravishingly vivid” – Emma Donoghue

“I loved this book. The language was timeless, the historical details were slipped in perfectly.” – Helen Simonson

“Miller’s prose is more poetic than almost any translation of Homer” – Guardian (UK)

I have always been a big fan of the legends and heroes which were bred out of Ancient Greece. I once did a project for the science fair which was all about comparing how ancient civilizations explained certain natural phenomena, like the sun and rain, and how we explain those same phenomena today with science. It proved how creative the mind can be when it seeks an explanation for something which they would otherwise not have due to their limited knowledge of the world or ways to observe it.

If you have read this book already, feel free to leave your thoughts on it in the comments below, but do try to avoid any spoilers if possible. Also, feel free to check out my News blog and even follow it if you find a news story which interests you. I look forward to hearing what you guys have to say, and until next time, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

Review: The Man with the Twisted Lip

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

First off, I would like to congratulate Mr. Chris Hadfield on his safe return after spending five months at the International Space Station. He has become somewhat of a celebrity, right up there with Neil Armstrong, but fame is not all that him and his fellow astronauts sought. No, their main task was to perform a series of tests in order to measure the changes in their bone density, nutrition levels and other similar effects directly related to prolonged stays in space. If we ever hope to set foot on mars, we have to be able to counteract such effects, which makes this information highly valuable. With his return, however, we probably won’t see any more astronauts trekking through space for the next few years, but that just means plenty of time for the space engineers to do what they do best; take what we have and make it better.

And now for my own personal review of the sixth story in my Sherlock collection; The Man with the Twisted Lip.

The%20Man%20with%20theTwisted%20Lip_0

stars-4

After a distraught Mrs. Whitney stumbles into the home of Dr. Watson, he sets out to find the ladies husband, who seems to have wandered off somewhere to indulge in a batch of opium. It wasn’t long before he found Mr. Whitney, pale and incoherent, sitting more or less alone in a pub. After sending him home in a cab, who should Dr. Watson also encounter but his friend Sherlock, disguised as a decrepit old man with an opium pipe in his lap. And then off they rode from their, the confident Sherlock leading a rather confused Watson as he blindly follows the great detective on yet another quest. Funny enough, this quest will lead them right back to the opium den in which Dr. Watson had located Sherlock that very evening, for he wished to look into a crime involving someone elses husband and coat pockets loaded with pennies and halfpennies. What does all of this add up to? You’ll just have to read and find out, but I can assure you that it will be quite thrilling adventure. This is one of the first stories which introduces Dr. Watson’s wife, if only very briefly, showing that his life does not revolve solely around Sherlock and his crazy quests. You also get a look at just how far Sherlock is willing to go to solve a puzzle, even if it means deceiving his best and only friend.

That’s all for today. As always, I encourage you to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below, and until next time, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

Review: The Five Orange Pips

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

In case you haven’t already heard the news, although I’m sure you have if you spend any time at all on the internet, NATHAN FILLION has been recently added to the guest list for Ottawa Comiccon! Thanks to that, there will now be  Firefly panel/Q&A! It just keeps getting better and better, and there are only five days left until the big weekend. I hope you’re all as excited as I am ^_^

And now we move on to today’s review of Sir Arthur Conan Doyles’ mystery masterpiece; The Five Orange Pips.

The Five Orange Pips

Five Orange Pips

stars-5

A mysterious envelope. The initials K.K.K. Five orange pips. A man dying under odd circumstances …. what does this all add up to? A case interesting enough to attract the attention of Sherlock Holmes, of course. Mr. John Openshaw was quite distraught upon entering 221 B Baker Street, and Sherlock even more so upon hearing his story, for he could not believe the man had not come for his expertise sooner! After the judge and jury claimed the deaths to be unrelated to these suspicious messages, Sherlock was determined to blow their simple minds, as well as the lid on this case. By combining all of the available evidence, Mr. Holmes was able to deduce that Mr. John Openshaw, as well as his deceased family members, have all fallen victim to the vindictiveness of the Ku Klux Klan society. Mr. Openshaw only has to choices; to change his ways or flee the country. You’ll just have to read and find out whether Holmes and Watson are able to protect him from either fate by seeking out the culprits and putting an end to their terrorizing ways. Quite a bit of this story is reflected in the BBC Sherlock episode “The Great Game”, where Sherlock is sent on a kind of scavenger hunt after receiving a phone call, followed by five beeps (pips). My favorite aspect of this story is that it gives some insight into the kind of information Sherlock values most, according to his best friend Doctor Watson :

Philosophy, astronomy, and politics were marked at zero, I remember. Botany variable, geology profound as regards the mud stains from any region within fifty miles of town, chemistry eccentric, anatomy unsystematic, sensational literature and crime records unique, violin player, boxer, swordsman, lawyer, and self-poisoner by cocaine and tobacco. Those, I think, were the main points of my analysis.” (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, p.110).

Another thing about this particular story which fascinates me is that although they solve the mystery in the end, the man whom they were charged with protecting did not come out of things alive. It shows that although he may be a genius, Sherlock is by no means perfect, adding a dimension of realism to his character. All in all, though, a satisfactory tale.

That is all for today. As always, feel free to leave any thoughts or questions in the comments, and if you have any books you would like to recommend, visit the “Book recommendations from You” page in the above menu and leave the title, author and a brief summary in the comments. I hope you are all taking advantage of this lovely weather – perfect for perching up in a tree with a good book – and until next time, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd