Monday, July 24, 2017

The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander, 180 pages

In the imaginary land of Prydain, where "evil is never distant," Prince Gwydion faces dangers more threatening than have ever been dreamed of. It has become imperative that the Black Cauldron, chief implement of the evil powers of Arawn, lord of the Land of Death, be destroyed.
For each of the warriors chosen to journey to Arawn's domain, the quest has special meaning. To Ellidyr, the youngest son of an impoverished king, it means a chance to satisfy his bitter longing for fame. For Adaon, beloved for his gentleness and bravery, the quest is an omen whose significance he dreads to discover. And to Tara, Assistant Pig-Keeper, the adventure seems a glorious opportunity to wear his first sword, and be a man among men.
In this story, filled with great sacrifice and great adventure, each warrior fulfills his destiny in ways entirely unforeseen.

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander, 190 pages

Taran is bored with his Assistant Pig-Keeper duties, even though his charge is none other than Hen Wen, Prydain's only oracular pig. He'd rather be doing something more heroic, like making swords and learning to use them.
When Hen Wen escapes and Taran goes after her, he finds himself farther from home than he's ever been. Soon he begins to realize that heroism is no easy task. With the dreaded Horned King on the loose and King Arawn gathering the forces of evil, Taran must look past his own dreams to warn the population of Prydain-before it's too late.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore, 479 pages

The Curies' newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty and the wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.
Hundreds of girls paint watch faces amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" are the luckiest alive-until they begin to fall mysterious ill.
But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects and the women's cries of corruption. As the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America's early twentieth century and a groundbreaking battle for workers rights that will echo for centuries to come.
Written with a sparkling voice and breathneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminate the inspiring young women exposed to the "wonder" substance of radium and their strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombings, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
I really enjoyed this book. It was fascinating and kept me engrossed the whole time.

The Ladies' Lending Library by Janice Keefer, 355 pages

It is August of 1963, the year of the Taylor/Burton film epic Cleopatra, showcasing a passion too grand to be contained on the movie screen. The women of the Kalyna Beach cottage community gather for gin and gossip, trading the current racy bestsellers among themselves as they seek a brief  escape from the predictable rhythms of children and chores. But dramatic change is coming this summer as innocence falters and the desire for change reaches a boiling point, threatening to disrupt the warm, sweet, heady days and the lives of parents and children, family and friends, forever.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? by Edward Gorman, 280 pages

Local Iowans and the national press corps crowd the front yard of Roswell Garst's farmhouse in Black River Falls. Gathered this Monday in September 1959 for the much-publicized visit of Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev, many brandish signs shouting BETTER DEAD THAN RED. The next day that slogan assumes a prophetic truth for Richard Conners, a high-profile leftist political writer. He turns up dead at the office of fledgling lawyer and private investigator Sam McCain with a hammer and sickle painted on his forehead. Everyone surmises Conners was killed for his politics...but McCain is not so sure.
This isn't my favorite series, but isn't bad. I think what I find off-putting is how much the author wants you to know when it took place because every page seems to have some pop culture reference from that time or such. I get it, Elvis was a singer at that time, let it go!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fellside by M. R. Carey, 486 pages

Fellside is a maximum-security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. It's not the kind of place you'd want to end up. But it's where Jess Moulson could be spending the rest of her life.
It's a place where even the walls whisper. And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess. Will she listen?
This was written by the same author of "The Girl With All the Gifts". I was thinking it would be along the same lines but was really different except for the fact that it was dark, depressing, and not really a feel good ending. I want to see what Rebecca Dudley thinks of this book knowing how much she liked the other.

The Sixth Gun, Volume 1: Cold Dead Fingers by Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt, 170 pages


In the passing shadow of the Civil War, defiant Confederate General Oleander Hume waits to be let loose, too evil and warped to die, too mad with bloodlust to let go of his black magic.

He hungers for his lost and most precious possession, an ancient weapon of foreboding doom. Having fallen into the hands of an innocent girl, this last and most powerful of six revolvers is the key to unlocking unstoppable power.

But before General Hume, with his wicked bride and four twisted horsemen, can summon an army of undead to claim what is his, in his path stands Drake Sinclair--a gunslinger playing with cards close to his chest.

However, Sinclair is no white knight and is himself on the hunt for the six guns...

This is one that I would have never picked up except for the fact that it was this month's book for Comics and Cocktails. It was different, dark but an interesting read. I'm tempted to read the next one.