Fantasy, Young Adult

Howls Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

A fan of Studio Ghibli and more specifically the work of Hayao Miyazaki, I picked this up purely out of deep respect for the film adaptation so many have come to love. What I wasn’t expecting was to become so enthralled in the life of Sophie Hatter that I would laugh out loud, cry, and dream as she experienced the fear of a great looming castle, the wizard who ate young girls hearts that called it home, and her kindred relationship with a demon that amounted to so much more on page than just “may all your bacon burn”. All of this amounted to a brilliant and unique coming of age story set in a fantastical world with such ties to reality that even the most skeptical reader could find a foothold.
It’s not often I find a book I would recommend to all but this is one. Now off to scavenge up some copies to pass off on unsuspecting friends and family. As for you I highly recommend you head over to the library and pick up a copy, it’s a quick and fun read that will stay in your heart even if “a heart is a heavy burden”.



Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett

The witches return to Lancre where Magrat quickly gets caught up in the preparations of her engagement to Verence, the King. When circles start appearing in crops and plants all over Granny Weatherwax Nanny Ogg are very concerned about the Lords and Ladies breaking back through into Lancre. A concern that become more pressing when they discover that a group of young witches has been going up to the stones at night to dance, borrowing power from the Lords and Ladies to play at being witches. Meanwhile some of the wizards from the university are on their way to Lancre for the wedding, Archchancellor Ridcully waxing poetic about a striking young woman he knew there in his youth. And a group of men from the village have been given a play to perform for the wedding entertainment that the find rather embarrassing.
Sir Terry weaves together plotlines and layers of meaning humourous thread and pun-derful rivets. AKA, this book, like all of his work, is great.


Literary Fiction

The Tour by Jean Grainger

This was a wonderful light story that was very entertaining. It was about a tour group going through Ireland and their tour guide. I really want to go to Ireland so it was interesting to me to hear about all the tour stops as well as I enjoyed the character’s stories and the reasons they were all taking the trip.



Stoneskin by K B Spangler

I like this book because it looks at magic in a completely new way. It talks about the day to day stuff and about shipping lines, the unglamorous things that a civilization couldn’t live without. The Deep, what they call magic in this universe, is very much alive and chooses certain people to be it’s Witches (people who can communicate with it.) But the older Witches do not acknowledge that it has a personality because so much of intergalactic life is based around using the Deep that they cannot let it be unpredictable.
Tembi Moon, later Tembi Stoneskin, is the youngest Witch ever to be chosen by the Deep at 8 years old. An older Witch named Matindi who hates how most Witches use the Deep, helps Tembi hide for many years. Eventually though Tembi makes a mistake and gets caught and taken to Lancaster, a school for teaching Witches how to control the deep. Tembi is horrified to learn that they use the Deep for everything; for cleaning, to avoid walking, for the toilets, and no one else seems to understand why it bothers her except Matindi.
Now one of the core rules of Lancaster and the Witches is that the Deep must never be involved in war, but there is a genocidal war going on in the Sabenta system and the Deep has some strong feelings about it. If only it could communicate in a way that didn’t involve so much guesswork from it’s Witches.
I like the way this book talks about consequences that get ignored in most stories of magic and space travel. I also really like the way it successfully melds Fantasy and Science Fiction. I love the way Spangler creates characters, and I can hardly wait for the rest of the series to come out!



Living High: An Unconventional Biography by June Burn

A fabulous memoir by a woman who helped homestead a small island in the San Juans. Hers is a delightful and cheerful voice, describing the truly unconventional lifestyle her husband and she lived with their two boys. They were happiest when not holding regular jobs and living on almost no money at all for a year at a time. They traveled extensively, by foot, mule, covered wagon, and a car set up with a singing stage. What an adventure they had!



You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost) by Felicia Day

Felicia Day. Writer and the lead actor of the amazing web series “The Guild.” Video game addict. Target of Gamergate. Violin prodigy. And More. This is her Memoir. I listen to the audio book, which she narrated herself. It was amazing. She has great comedic sense and a good grasp of language. She talks about her strange childhood and her introduction to computers and the internet. She talks about how when she started doing doing the quirky female who loves computer games thing it was still fresh, she basically created the trope! She talks about how serious of a struggle getting out of her gaming addiction was and about the realities of being an overlooked actor in Hollywood. She talks about her struggles with anxiety and how she didn’t acknowledge it until it started making her physically sick. She also talked about making “The Guild” and the problems getting it funded and written, but also how it helped her. I really enjoyed this and that usually zone out when it comes to nonfiction.