Brown - Book Reviews

***** - Excellent
**** - Good
*** - Okay
** - Bad
* - Terrible
+ - Half-star

The Art of Amy Brown
Amy Brown
Chimera Publishing
Nonfiction, Art
****

DESCRIPTION: Amy Brown compiles many of her faery- and fantasy-themed watercolor images in this full-color collection. Each image has a brief annotation.

REVIEW: If you like Amy Brown's work, you will enjoy this book. The introduction by Charles de Lint and the afterword by Amy Brown are very brief, leaving almost all of the book's 160 pages dedicated to the artwork. Unlike many artists, Brown varies the poses and appearances of her subjects significantly; there's not just one "Amy Brown faerie" in different poses, but a wide variety of faeries, each with a distinctive look and personality. One big weakness is animal anatomy, followed by occasionally peculiar or weak perspective, but I'm really not one to talk about art weaknesses. Overall, I like her colorful and imaginative works, plus the fact that she actually gave the art game a shot and came up a winner.

You might also enjoy:
Fabulous Beasts (Malcom Ashman, Art - Ashman illustrates all manner of fantastic animals)
Myth & Magic: The Art of John Howe (John Howe, Art - A collection of Howe's popular artwork)
Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book (Terry Jones, Fiction - Brian Froud illustrates a tale of pesky fairies)
The Encyclopedia of Things that Never Were (Michael Page and Robert Ingpen, Fiction - Enyclopedia of fairies, fantasty worlds, and other impossibilities)
DragonArt Ultimate Gallery (J. "NeonDragon" Peffer, YA? Art - A collection of the noted fantasy artist's works)
How to Draw and Paint Fairies (Linda Ravenscroft, Art - How to create imaginative faeries of your own)
Michael Whelan's art books (Michael Whelan, Art - A collection of the popular artist's paintings)
Animals Real and Imagined (Terryl Whitlatch, Art - A gallery of the noted artist's work, including animals real, extinct, and imaginary)

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The Boys in the Boat
Daniel James Brown
Viking
Nonfiction, History/Sports
*****

DESCRIPTION: 1930's America was a far cry from the bustling, prosperous country it was a mere decade before. Between the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, millions had lost their livelihoods and their homes. To succeed took an extra helping of grit. Joe Rantz was no stranger to hardship and abandonment when he came to Seattle's University of Washington, barely scraping the money together for the education he hoped would lift him from poverty and allow him to marry his sweetheart. Earning a seat on the university's lauded eight-oar rowing crew might be his only way to stay in school. But grit alone doesn't win races. It takes something more, something he long ago gave up on: trust in his fellow man, in the other boys in the boat. Little did he know that the journey beginning in the waters of Lake Washington would eventually lead him halfway around the world, to the 1936 Berlin Olympics and a race no sports fan would ever forget.

REVIEW: The closest I normally come to sports is firing up my Wii; in reality, I'm about as athletically literate as a sea slug, which also is an apt simile for my athletic aptitude. Had this book not been a gift, I likely wouldn't have picked it up, despite the local interest. I soon found myself utterly absorbed. Brown deftly establishes the setting, painting a detailed picture of the 1930's Northwest and the greater world of rowing - both of which were equally alien to me. With Joe Rantz as the primary focus, the story takes on a personal aspect, demonstrating how sports in general and rowing in particular are about much more than raw strength or physical skill but the personalities and mindsets of the athletes. Other people, of course, play a large part in the almost unbelievable story of nine working-class West Coast boys rising to international stardom, each with their own tales to tell and hardships to overcome. The perfect crew isn't so much assembled as evolved, a learned synthesis that rises above individuality. Races unfold in grueling real-time, with triumphs often almost immediately upset by greater failures and obstacles. Meanwhile, the propaganda machine of Nazi Germany seizes the opportunity to present a false, friendly face to the world at large, to pacify the international stage and discount tales of oppression and murder and a re-awakening military. One sees uneasy parallels between the propaganda and spin-doctors beguiling the populace, local and foreign, in the 1930's and modern times. The whole book works as a biography, a historic narrative, and a gripping story in its own right. I'm trying to think of a downside to it, a nit to pick, but - aside from some occasional name confusion among the many peripheral players - I can't think of one. Any sports-based book that's interesting enough for someone like me to stay up late on work nights reading it earns its five stars.

You might also enjoy:
Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen, Fiction - A nonagenerian reminisces about his days as a veterinarian for a train circus)
Seabiscuit: An American Legend (Laura Hillenbrand, Nonfiction - A crooked-legged racehorse became the greatest news story of the American Depression of the 1930's)
Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938 (R. A. Scotti, Nonfiction - The tale of a 1938 hurricane that devastated the American East Coast)

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Darth Vader and Son
Jeffrey Brown
Chronicle Books
Fiction, Comics/Media Reference/Sci-Fi
****+

DESCRIPTION: Darth Vader, disciple of the evil Emperor Palpatine, lord of the Sith, master of the Dark Side of the Force... and single parent to a four-year-old boy named Luke. Cartoonist Jeffrey Brown imagines the life Luke could've led, and the father Vader could've been.

REVIEW: This fun little collection is clearly the work of a dedicated fan, riddled with references to the first six films and the pre-Disney franchise as a whole. (At one point, Vader offers his picky-eater son C-3P0's breakfast cereal, a real tie-in product.) Vader does his best, though he faces some awkward moments as Luke does what kids do best: irritate his elders. It's enjoyable, and short enough not to overstay its welcome.

You might also enjoy:
Galaxy Quest (Terry Bisson, Fiction - The washed-up cast of a cheesy old sci-fi series meets aliens who think it was all real)
Vader's Little Princess (Jeffrey Brown, YA? Comics - A cartoonist's take on Vader as a single father)
Children Make Terrible Pets (Peter Brown, YA Picture Book - A bear wants to keep a human boy as a pet)
Monsters Eat Whiny Children (Bruce Eric Kaplan, YA Picture Book - Two whiny kids are abducted by a hungry monster)
Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: A Brewster Rockit, Space Guy! collection (Tim Rickard, Comics - Sci-fi humor)
Spaceballs (1987 movie DVD - The Mel Brooks parody pits space rogue Lone Starr and man-dog Barf against evil Lord Helmet in the struggle to rescue Princess Vespa and save the planet Druidia)
Star Wars Trilogy Episodes I-III (Blu-ray + DVD) (DVD collection link - The "prequel" trilogy, chronicling the rise Anakin "Vader" Skywalker and the fall of the old Republic in a galaxy far, far away)
Star Wars Trilogy Episodes IV-VI (Blu-ray + DVD) (DVD collection link - The "original" trilogy, following young Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance as the fight the evil galactic Empire and Darth Vader)

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Vader's Little Princess
Jeffrey Brown
Chronicle Books
Fiction, Comics/Media Reference/Sci-Fi
****+

DESCRIPTION: It's tough enough being a single dad. It's worse when you're a Sith lord trying to juggle galactic domination and obedience to the Emperor with a Jedi daughter and her twin brother. Cartoonist Jeffrey Brown imagines more fatherly mishaps as Darth Vader takes on a rebellious young Leia.

REVIEW: More fun from Jeffrey Brown. Unlike his previous book (Darth Vader and Son), this one tackles teen issues in addition to childhood tea parties. What's a father to do when confronted with a scruffy-looking scoundrel of a boyfriend or a daughter's inappropriate evening wear? (One of my favorites features a perplexed Vader trying to comfort a distraught Leia about her latest love life drama - what is "I know" really supposed to mean, anyway?) A fun diversion for fans of the franchise (particularly the pre-Disney franchise.)

You might also enjoy:
Galaxy Quest (Terry Bisson, Fiction - The washed-up cast of a cheesy old sci-fi series meets aliens who think it was all real)
Darth Vader and Son (Jeffrey Brown, YA? Comics - A cartoonist's take on Vader as a single father)
Children Make Terrible Pets (Peter Brown, YA Picture Book - A bear wants to keep a human boy as a pet)
Monsters Eat Whiny Children (Bruce Eric Kaplan, YA Picture Book - Two whiny kids are abducted by a hungry monster)
Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: A Brewster Rockit, Space Guy! collection (Tim Rickard, Comics - Sci-fi humor)
Spaceballs (1987 movie DVD - The Mel Brooks parody pits space rogue Lone Starr and man-dog Barf against evil Lord Helmet in the struggle to rescue Princess Vespa and save the planet Druidia)
Star Wars Trilogy Episodes I-III (Blu-ray + DVD) (DVD collection link - The "prequel" trilogy, chronicling the rise Anakin "Vader" Skywalker and the fall of the old Republic in a galaxy far, far away)
Star Wars Trilogy Episodes IV-VI (Blu-ray + DVD) (DVD collection link - The "original" trilogy, following young Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance as the fight the evil galactic Empire and Darth Vader)

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Children Make Terrible Pets
Peter Brown
Little, Brown Books
Fiction, YA Picture Book
****

DESCRIPTION: Lucy the bear finds the cutest thing in the woods: a human boy. Though her mother warns her that they make terrible pets, Lucy just can't let little Squeak go!

REVIEW: We had more down time at work today; I read this while waiting for things to start back up again. A fun little book, it confirms what many a parent likely already knows. Lucy has to learn the hard way that just because something's cute doesn't mean it's meant to be a house pet. The illustrations are simple and fun, matching the story perfectly.

You might also enjoy:
Chloe and the Lion (Mac Barnett, YA Picture Book - An author's attempts to tell a story are interrupted by his illustrator and his heroine)
Shark vs. Train (Chris Barton, YA Picture Book - Two toys, a shark and a train, vie for victory in numerous contests)
Dragon (Jody Bergsma, YA Picture Book - A peaceful prince meets a furious dragon)
Me and My Dragon (David Biedrzycki, YA Picture Book - A boy wants a pet fire-breathing dragon)
Darth Vader and Son and Vader's Little Princess(Jeffrey Brown, YA? Comics - A cartoonist's take on Darth Vader as a single father)
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher (Bruce Coville, YA Fiction - A boy buys a dragon's egg from a magic shop, never expecting it to actually hatch)
The Knight and the Dragon (Tomie DePaola, YA Picture Book - A knight who has never fought a dragon challenges a dragon who has never fought knights)
Hatching Magic (Ann Downer, YA Fiction - A modern girl encounters a medieval wizard's lost pet wyvern)
You Don't Want a Unicorn! (Ame Dyckman, YA Picture Book - A boy learns that unicorn friends have many disadvantages)
Monsters Eat Whiny Children (Bruce Eric Kaplan, YA Picture Book - Two whiny kids are abducted by a hungry monster)
I Want My Hat Back (Jon Klassen, YA Picture Book - A bear searches the forest for his missing hat)
This Is Not My Hat (Jon Klassen, YA Picture Book - A little fish steals a little hat)
The Dragonling series (Jackie French Koller, YA Fiction - A young boy finds a newborn dragon, forever changing two worlds)
George Grove and the Dragon (LJ Lawry, YA Fiction - Three South London boys find and raise a hatchling dragon)
E-mergency! (Tom Lichtenheld, YA Picture Book - When the letter E injures herself, someone else must fill in)
All My Friends Are Dead and All My Friends Are Still Dead (Avery Monsen and Jory John, Fiction - Picture books about people who can't seem to make friends)
This Is a Moose (Richard T. Morris, YA Picture Book - A director's attempts to film a nature documentary are thwarted by uncooperative animals)
Meet the Dullards (Sara Pennypacker, YA Picture Book - The Dullards struggle to raise their children in the safest, most boring manner possible)
Dragons Love Tacos (Adam Rubin, YA Picture Book - How to befriend dragons, one taco at a time)
There Are Cats in this Book (Viviane Schwartz, YA Picture Book - Three storybook cats need help to play)
There Are No Cats in this Book (Viviane Schwartz, YA Picture Book - Three storybook cats want to visit the real world)
The Dragon that Ate Summer (Rebecca Seabrooke, YA Fiction - A boy finds a little blue dragon in his mother's garden)
Where The Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak, YA Picture Book - Sent to bed without supper, an unruly boy imagines himself King of the Wild Things)
How to Raise and Keep a Dragon (John Topsell, Joseph Nigg "editor," YA Fiction - A guide to choosing and caring for your new pet dragon)
Sir Toby Jingle's Beastly Journey (Wallace Tripp, YA Fiction - An aging knight sets out on one last quest to seek his fortune)
The Dragon Machine (Helen Ward, YA Picture Book - A young boy starts seeing dragons everywhere)
Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct (Mo Willems, YA Picture Book - Everyone in town loves the friendly Edwina, save a know-it-all boy who insists she's extinct)
Bolt (Two-Disc Deluxe Edition + Digital Copy) - (2008 movie DVD - A lost dog and a stray cat find their way home)

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The Curious Garden
Peter Brown
Little, Brown Books
Fiction, YA Picture Book
****

DESCRIPTION: In a dreary, dark city, curious Liam discovers a weedy tangle of a garden... and a curious garden discovers the city.

REVIEW: Another quick read during a slow stretch at work - a sadly ironic one, given recent actions intended to reverse protections for the environment and national lands, but I digress. Inspired by a real-life reclamation effort on an abandoned stretch of elevated train tracks in New York City, this is a story of one boy helping nature, and nature helping the boy - and, in turn the whole city. It's a quick, inspiring read.

You might also enjoy:
The Journey trilogy (Aaron Becker, YA Picture Book - A girl's magic red pen allows her to enter and explore a world of wonders)
The Trouble with Dragons (Debi Gliori, YA Picture Book - Destructive dragons take their world for granted)
A is for Activist (Innosanto Nagara, YA Picture Book - An alphabetical guide to activism, free thinking, and standing up for what matters)
The Egg (M. P. Robertson, YA Picture Book - A boy discovers a dragon's egg in the hen-house)
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend (Dan Santat, YA Picture Book - Tired of waiting for his human child to claim him, an imaginary friend heads for the real world)
The Most Magnificent Thing (Ashley Spires, YA Picture Book - A girl just can't get her latest project to work right)
Sector 7 (David Wiesner, YA Picture Book - A young artist meets a playful cloud)
What Do You Do With an Idea? (Kobi Yamada, YA Picture Book - A child befriends a little idea, and helps it grow big)

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The Wild Robot
Peter Brown
Little, Brown Books
Fiction, YA Sci-Fi
****

DESCRIPTION: A hurricane, a sinking ship, and a cargo crate washed upon the shore of a remote island... thus begins the story of Roz the robot. Activated accidentally by a curious otter, she finds herself alone in the wilderness, surrounded by animals, with no apparent purpose but that which she discovers for herself. As she learns the languages of beasts and the ways of nature, Roz becomes more than a mere metal tool - and when she hatches a gosling, she becomes a mother.

REVIEW: This is an odd, fast-reading tale, a science fiction fable of sorts, with more going on beneath the surface than the simple storytelling language indicates. As a robot, Roz was programmed to learn and adapt to help humans - but, without humans and a clear task before her, she becomes much more than her makers intended, even as she teaches the animals to become more than instinct and habit have made them. Around the edges are hints of a global warming devastated future, more fully revealed by the migration of her goose "son" Brightbill. When civilzation tries to reclaim its wayward creation, the climax reveals just how much Roz and her friends have changed - a promise, perhaps, of a future beyond humanity. The end is a little bittersweet and a touch inconclusive, and the characters felt a little simple now and again, but overall I liked it enough to give it the benefit of the doubt with a full Good rating.

You might also enjoy:
The One and Only Ivan (Katherine Applegate, YA Fiction - Taken from the wild as a baby, the gorilla Ivan lives in an American shopping mall)
Sky Coyote (Kage Baker, Fiction - People from the future create immortal cyborgs from our ancestors to manipulate history for profit)
The Iron Giant (Ted Hughes, YA Fiction - A boy discovers a giant robot near his small New England town)
Pax (Sara Pennypacker, YA Fiction - On the eve of war, a boy and the fox he raised must find their own ways in a harsh world)
City (Clifford D. Simak, Fiction - A collection of nine tales chronicles the twilight of humanity and the rise of the Doggish race)
The Iron Giant (Signature Edition) (1999 movie DVD - A boy discovers a giant robot near his small New England town... is it merely a lost traveler, or a threat?)
Wall-E (Single-Disc Edition) (2008 movie DVD - An eccentric robot survives alone on a pollution-devastated Earth)

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Red Rising
(The Red Rising trilogy, Book 1)
Pierce Brown
Del Rey
Fiction, Sci-Fi
****+

DESCRIPTION: In a future where humanity has spread throughout the Solar System, a new social order based on genetically-modified races holds sway. The Golds reign supreme, with their godlike bodies and altered brains, while Pinks provide pleasure, Greens deal with technology, Coppers man the sprawling bureaucracy, and more... all Colors ranking above the lowly Reds, toiling at the bottom of the empire. Sixteen-year-old Darrow, like most of his fellow Reds in the mines of Mars, believes that his sweat and blood and abbreviated lifespan will buy a better future as the helium-3 he risks life and limb to extract terraforms the hostile surface. His wife Eo feels differently, but Darrow refuses to listen. His father, after all, hung for such beliefs. But then the Golds cheat his clan from their earnings and take Eo's life, leaving Darrow with nothing but pain and rage. It is then that he's contacted by the notorious Sons of Ares, a group painted as cold-blooded terrorists by Gold-sponsored propaganda. Mars, it turns out, was terraformed generations ago; the Reds toil in ignorance for the profit of others, and everyone Darrow ever loved will die for the same lie if nothing is done. The Sons offer Darrow a chance at revenge, not just against the people who hung his wife but against Golds across the system. To do it, he has to shed his Red skin at the hands of a rogue surgeon, joining the enemy ranks to learn their ways and destroy their empire from the inside. But life as a Gold is about more than arrogance and privilege, as Darrow finds himself enrolled at the prestigious Martian Institute and learns just how complicated war, loyalty, and even love truly are beyond the mines of Mars.

REVIEW: In the vein of The Hunger Games, with a touch of Metropolis and Lord of the Flies, this tale deftly transports the by-now familiar formula of an underdog taking on the corrupt Establishment into a future based on the Roman Empire. Darrow doesn't start out to be a hero, fully convinced that the system isn't rigged and that the reason he and his Lambda clan haven't prospered is entirely their own fault for not striving as hard as the Gammas, who somehow perpetually win the Laurel bonuses of motivation in their monthly contests. His wife Eo (though only sixteen, short lives lead to lower marrying ages among Reds) seems more a symbol than a person, a born martyr designed to give Darrow the final push towards revolution. He quickly learns that, despite innate cleverness and an all-consuming determination to destroy the murderers of his wife, he's far from ready to take on the complicated above-ground world, let alone his enemies. Even with intensive training, he makes several costly mistakes as he struggles to keep his wife's dream of freedom for Reds alive while maintaining his cover (and saving his own skin) in the crucible of the Institute. Other characters add depth and complication to what could've been a fairly flat, Color-stratified world. He finds loyalty and treachery, beauty and ugliness, and more in many unexpected places. The crucible of the Institute pits him against other Gold-born youths seeking advancement in the highly competitive ranks of the elite, in vicious games watched over by graduates like idle gods, gods who are not averse to tipping the scales now and again in a supposedly impartial test of student capabilities. Here, he must learn to see Golds as more than a monolithic entity to be hated, even as he learns how they turn their own kind into tools of ambition. By the end, Darrow has become someone he almost doesn't recognize, finding new and unexpected reasons to fight a system so thoroughly corrupt that even Golds live in fear of their own kind. The story starts quickly and maintains a good pace throughout, permeated with action and wonder and cold-blooded calculation. A tendency to use brutality to women for shock value cost it a full fifth star, but overall I found it an exhilarating and interesting read, if an often dark one. I'll be looking for Book 2 soon.

You might also enjoy:
Wolfwing (Ruby Andrews, Fiction - An alien-hybrid gladiator escapes a New Roman Empire prison planet with two other criminals, discovering a plot that threatens the known galaxy)
My Sons Will Eat Today (Debra Borchert, Fiction - In Revolutionary France, a carpenter's widow struggles to feed her family amid turmoil)
Wild Seed (Octavia E. Butler, Fiction - An immortal predatory spirit encounters a powerful shapeshifter/healer in Africa, leading to a centuries-long power struggle)
Ink and Bone (Rachel Caine, YA Fiction - In an alternate near-future, a son of book thieves applies to join the Great Library that controls the global flow of information)
Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow (Orson Scott Card, YA? Fiction - Child prodigies are trained to fight interstellar invaders)
The Supernaturalist (Eoin Colfer, YA Fiction - In a polluted future, an orphan boy's near-death experience allows him to see invisible parasitic beings)
The Hunger Games trilogy (Suzanne Collins, YA Fiction - In a dark future, a girl becomes part of a deadly televised "sport)
The Expanse series (James S. A. Corey, Fiction - Humanity's colonization of space is disrupted by a remarkable discovery and dangerous conspiracy)
Deathstalker (Simon R. Green, Fiction - An outlawed lord in a galactic empire becomes the unwilling head of a revolution)
The Shadow Children sequence (Margaret Peterson Haddix, YA Fiction - In a totalitarian future, third-born Luke's very existence is illegal)
Metropolis (Thea von Harbou, Fiction - A wealthy son of privilege faces the sin and slavery his father created in building a utopian, machine-dominated city)
Dune (Frank Herbert, Fiction - The interstellar human civilization relies on life-extending spice from desert Arrakis)
Starflight (Melissa Landers, YA Fiction - Teen orphan Solara and spoiled son of privilege Doran become entangled with a peculiar starship crew in a cross-galaxy race against multiple enemies)
Arabella of Mars (David D. Levine, Fiction - In an alternate Regency era where sailing ships ply the solar system, a girl faces adventure and danger to save her family from a scheming relative)
The Prince (Niccolo Machiavelli, Nonfiction - A 15th-century treatise on the nature of power)
Bitterwood (James Maxey, Fiction - In a world where dragons have enslaved humanity, an embittered dragonslayer may doom his own people with his quest for vengeance)
The Unwanteds (Lisa McMann, YA fiction - A brutal dictatorship culls creative teens, who find refuge in a hidden magical sanctuary)
Cinder (Marissa Meyer, YA Fiction - A teen girl cyborg, hated by her stepmother and society, stumbles into a plot that might enslave the prince and destroy her world)
The Seventh Tower series (Garth Nix, YA Fiction - A well-born boy discovers the dark secret of his people's shadow-slaves and light magic)
The 2099 series (John Peel, YA Fiction - A boy in the future discovers a threat to global civilization)
The Dragon Round (Stephen S. Power, Fiction - After mutineers set their captain adrift, he finds a chance at vengeance with a hatchling dragon... a plot that spirals beyond his control)
Red Mars (Kim Stanley Robinson, Fiction - The epic tale of Mankind's colonization of Mars)
The Mistborn trilogy (Brandon Sanderson, Fiction - A bleak, ash-covered world suffers under an immortal tyrant's thousand-year reign)
The Bartimaeus series (Jonathan Stroud, YA Fiction - An alt-modern world's power structure relies on enslaving spirits to subjugate the non-magical masses)
The Iron Dragon's Daughter (Michael Swanwick, Fiction - Abducted from Earth as a girl, a slave in a Faerie iron dragon factory seeks escape and revenge)
Rex Rising (Chrystalla Thoma, YA Fiction - In a dystopian world, parasites twist humans to suit their needs)
The Pit Dragon Chronicles (Jane Yolen, YA Fiction - A slave boy on a colony world steals and trains a pit-fighting dragon to buy his freedom)
Starchaser - Legend of Orin (1985 movie DVD - The animated tale of a future slave-boy who discovers the truth about his people's plight in the mines, and a plot to destroy an interstellar empire)

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Wish You Were Here
(A Mrs. Murphy Mystery, Book 1)
Rita Mae Brown (and Sneaky Pie Brown)
Bantam
Fiction, Mystery
***

DESCRIPTION: Crozet, Virginia is a typical small town, with a history dating back to the Civil War (and beyond) and a full host of colorful residents. In Crozet, everyone knows everyone else's business... or thinks they do. The postmistress, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen, has a tabby (Mrs. Murphy), a Welsh Corgi (Tee Tucker), and a bad habit of skimming postcards that come through her small office. Ultimately, it may be a life-saver. When residents start turning up dead, she recalls that each received a mysterious postcard of a gravestone with the morbid message "Wish you were here" on the back.
Everyone has secrets, even in a small town. The question is, who has secrets worth killing for?

REVIEW: I guess I'm just not a mystery fan. The actual mystery part was lackluster, and spelled out fairly obviously about halfway through. The characters were more interesting to read about, though not by a great margin. All in all, a fair story. I don't intend to read any more in the series, though.

You might also enjoy:
Sherlock Holmes: The Breath of God (Guy Adams, Fiction - Holmes investigates a mysterious murder tied to the occult Order of the Golden Dawn)
The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (John Joseph Adams, editor, Fiction - Modern authors revisit the classic detective in new, sometimes strange adventures)
A Study in Scarlet (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Fiction - An eccentric genius named Sherlock Holmes pursues a killer in 19th-century London)
The Sign of the Four (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Fiction - Holmes pursues a ruthless killer meting out vengeance for a long-ago betrayal)
The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Fiction - Watson and Holmes investigate a death linked to a family curse)
The Valley of Fear (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Fiction - Holmes investigates a murder with ties to both Professor Moriarty and the American coal fields)
The Sherlock Holmes collections (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Fiction - Short stories featuring Sherlock Holmes)
The House of Silk (Anthony Horowitz, Fiction - An aging Dr. Watson writes of Sherlock's darkest, most controversial investigation)
Moriarty (Anthony Horowitz, Fiction - After Sherlock and Moriarty's presumed death, an American inspector and a Scotland Yard detective rush to stop a new criminal mastermind)
Bunnicula (Deborah and James Howe, YA Fiction - Suspecting a new pet of vampirism, a housecat and his canine friend investigate)
The Ghosts of Belfast (Stuart Neville, Fiction - A former IRA killer seeks justice for the twelve ghosts haunting him)
The Detective Guide Book (Albert John Peebles, Nonfiction - A guide to basic detective work)
felidae (Akif Pirinçci, Fiction - A cat solves a deadly mystery in his new home)
The Experiences of Loveday Brooke, Lady Detective (Catherine Louisa Pirkis, Fiction - A late-1800's lady detective investigates crimes in and around London)
Ruby in the Smoke (Phillip Pullman, YA? Fiction - An orphaned girl in Victorian London suspects foul play in her father's death at at sea)
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series (Alexander McCall Smith, Fiction - Precious Ramotswe solves mysteries in Botswana, Africa)
Three Bags Full (Leonie Swann, Fiction - Irish sheep investigate the death of their shepherd)
Girl Waits With Gun (Amy Stewart, Fiction - Based on real-life events, a woman in 1914 New Jersey must protect her sisters from a vengeful factory owner)
The Crimson-Eyed Dragon (D. M. Trink, YA Fiction - A teen boy discovers secrets tied to a silver dragon statue from an antique store)

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Dragon World
Rob Brown
Brown Trout Publishing
Nonfiction, Art/Poetry
***+
Dragon World

DESCRIPTION: In the fantastic realm of the Dragon World, all manner of dragons live, swim, play, fight, dance, and dream. Rob Brown's rhyming story annotates a collection of illustrations featuring dragons big and small, nasty and nice.

REVIEW: I suppose I could've called it a picture book, but it's really more of an art gallery; the story, which appears in half-lines per page, does little but give a rough structure and order to the paintings. Brown's illustrations are striking, colorful, and imaginative - everything a dragon should be. Some of his pictures feel a bit off, and the "story" (told in rhyming verse, a couple of words per double-page spread) is largely irrelevant. Still, it does spark the imagination, and can be enjoyed by dracophiles young and old.

You might also enjoy:
Dragon Art (Graeme Aymer, Nonfiction - A celebration of the dragon in modern fantasy art)
Dragoncharm (Graham Edwards, Fiction - Two dragons undertake a quest to save their species, before the rise of mankind)
Dragonhenge and The Stardragons (Bob Eggleton and John Grant, Fiction - The illustrated story of ancient dragon mythos and interstellar descendants)
The Trouble with Dragons (Debi Gliori, YA Picture Book - Destructive dragons take their world for granted)
Step Inside Dragons (Gaby Goldsack, Nick Harris, and Richard Jewitt, YA Picture Book - 3D pictures describe dragons)
Tell Me a Dragon (Jackie Morris, YA Picture Book - Everyone has their own unique dragon)
Dragons Love (Stephen Parlato, YA Picture Book - Dragons love many wondrous, imaginative things in the world)
The Dragons are Singing Tonight (Jack Prelutsky, YA Fiction - Fanciful poems about dragons of all kinds)
The Art of the Dragon (J. David Spurlock and Patrick Wilshire, Art - Interviews and an art gallery celebrate the dragon in contemporary fantasy art)
The Woodland Folk in Dragonland (Tony Wolf, YA Picture Book - An evil gnome uses a poor dragon for revenge, putting their worlds on the brink of war)

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