Monday, March 30, 2015

Something Wicked This Ways Comes

Today's Book Recommendation is Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.

It begins with arrival of a mysterious carnival one Autumn night. It arrives at midnight. It's ringmaster promises you your secret wishes. A calliope beckons to you with the promise of restored youth and dreams. Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois. It has come with one goal. To destroy any life touched by its darkness and mystery. Two boys discover the secrets of the carnival and with them the cost of wishes.

A timeless classic of Gothic portents this novel is one of my favorite classic fantasy novels. One review describes Bradbury's prose as dark and hypnotic. It invites you to step inside and experience the carnival right alongside the two boys. I think Bradbury is one of those authors who you might not like everything that they write, but there is such a range of stories in their cannon that there is something for everyone to enjoy. I speak as a reader who loved this novel but didn't care for his iconic Fahrenheit 451. There was something so chilling about this novel. With beats that remind me of some of my favorite Edgar Allen Poe stories.

Bradbury is definitely one of those authors that can control myth, fairy tale, and our own tendency towards nostalgia. This is a must read for any Science Fiction and Fantasy reader.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Lunar Chronicles

Today's Series Sunday Recommendation is The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

The series is a retelling and adaption of several classic fairy tales. The first installment of the series is the book Cinder. A retelling of, you guessed it, Cinderella. Cinder becomes the focal point for the series but she is joined by several important supporting characters in the following books. While each novel is focused on a particular fairy tale there is an overall plot that threads the tales together. Set in a fictional future the earth faces two problems. A terrible plague called Letutemosis and the threat of invasion from a society of people who live on the moon, a planet now known as Luna.

In Cinder we are introduced to the title character. A talented mechanic and cyborg with no memory of the accident that made her one. In New Beijing she lives with her aunt, two cousins, and also a emotionally competent robot named Iko. Besides the persecution from her aunt for her cyborg parts, such as the fake eyes that prevent her from crying, Cinder also faces the same prejudices from society as whole. Alongside the threat of the cyborg draft which decrees that any cyborg may be drafted to the King's science team who use the cyborgs to study the possibility of a cure for the disease that threats the whole world.

Then one day in the market Cinder meets Kai. A handsome young man who needs his android repaired. He also happens to the be the prince. This puts Cinder on an adventure that will ultimately lead her face to face with the terribly beautiful lunar Queen and change her life forever. Caught up in the threat of an intergalactic war Cinder must delve into the secrets of her past to save her world's future.

Cinder's adventures continue in the two follow up novels Scarlet and Cress. The final installment of the series is called Winter and it is due out in the next couple of months.

One of the things that really impressed me about this series is Meyer's control of the fairy tale elements. She seamlessly weaves in the major details and plot points of the original lore alongside her own story. She updates the heroines so they don't just sit back and let the story unfold around them. Rather they are involved in their own destiny. Each of them is resourceful, intelligent, and brave in their own right.

If you are a fan of fairy tales and perhaps even Star Trek this is definitely a series that you should investigate.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

The 100

Today's Book Recommendation is The 100 by Kass Morgan.

Set in the future, humanity has retreated from a radioactive planet to a space stations orbiting the Earth. The space stations themselves were built as a temporary respite from the toxic planet. No one seems to know when they will be able to return home. But as the population grows and resources dwindle it has come to the attention of the government that they are running out of time.

They have a solution. Send 100 juvenile delinquents to earth on a mission to recolonize. After the ship they are sent in crashes on the planet the teens are left in a world that isn't quite what they read about in their text books. They try to form a tentative community but they are haunted by their pasts and the things they have heard about each other. To survive they have to learn to work together.

This was one of those rare occasions where I actually discovered the book because of a t.v show that was based off of it. The CW has a show of the same name which I watched over the summer. I loved the show and when I reached the end of it I discovered that it was based off a novel. So, went down to the local library (you should all have a library card) and picked it up. If the show was good the book is even better. Told in chapters from different perspectives you get a real sense of the trials that one faces in a society that is dying around itself. While the majority of characters end up on earth the author does give you the perspective of someone who remains on the ship to counteract the two different overall circumstances.

You'll find that there are characters you love and some whose chapters you can't wait to get through. But, within the cast there is someone for everyone to root for. Check it out kids!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Neverwhere

Today's Book Recommendation is Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.

Underneath the streets of London there is another city. A city full of monsters, saints, murderers, and angels. It is a city of people that we see in our dreams, in our nightmares, and in our wildest imaginations.

For Richard Mayhew it is a world that he never knew existed. A world that he is thrust into through one random act of kindness. A world that is both mind boggling and eerily familiar to him. In the city of Neverwhere he will find that he has a destiny.

At the risk of giving something away I won't say too much beyond what you might find on the back of the book. Half of the fun of Gaiman's stand alone novel is not knowing the rules and the whole story. Like his other novels there are characters that you can trust and characters that you can't. Its up to readers to figure out which is which.

As a lover of London and having lived there for five months on study abroad semester I loved so much of this novel. From the references to places and underground stations that I had actually stood in. To the general english culture therein. This is my favorite Neil Gaiman novel. It is a great intro novel to his writing for new fans and a classic for those who found him years ago.

Soulless

Today's belated Book Recommendation is Soulless by Gail Carriger.

Sorry gents, this one is targeted a bit more to the ladies. A little bit of Jane Austen meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer this novel had me laughing out loud when I first read it. Meet Alexia Tarabotti a woman who is facing several social tribulations. Set in the Victorian era Alexia is a spinster, of italian descent, and oh, she has no soul. And to make matters worse she is rudely attacked by a vampire.

This scene happens in the first few pages of the novel and Alexia's commentary on the matter alone is enough to have readers laughing. Especially when Alexia accidentally kills the vampire and is more concerned about the perfectly good desserts that were ruined rather than the fact that there is a dead supernatural being on her hands. Here we are introduced to a man who our heroine refers to as maddening. The powerful Lord Maccon who also happens to be a werewolf. They soon discover that the vampire population known to them is disappearing and unknown vampires are appearing when they shouldn't. Thus begins an adventurous sherlockian adventure that will keep you turning the pages.

I am a huge fan of this time period. This novel also brings in some slightly steam punk elements. Add in a heroine that is unabashedly herself who refuses to bow to the conformity of present society and I am on board. I believe that we need heroines like Alexia in novels today. While there are moments where she gets a little whiny about her situation but ultimately sticks to her own beliefs in a way that makes those moments all the more human.

Ladies, if you are looking for a fun, romantic, thrilling read then you will definitely want to check this one out.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dorothy Must Die

Today's Book Recommendation is Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige.

What if Dorothy Gail really existed? What if she had her adventure in Oz? What if she found her way back and turned into a magic addicted tyrant? What if you were selected to defeat her?

Meet Amy Gumm, the other girl from Kansas. In Paige's novel we are introduced to Amy in present day Kansas. She has a pill popping depressed mother, lives in a trailer park, and no one at school seems to like her. Then when her mother leaves her alone in their trailer with a tornado warning Amy is transported to Oz. But its not the Oz that she remembers seeing in the movies. The residents of Oz are scared, the good witches aren't so good, and the wicked might not be all that wicked. Amy is thrown into a world where she has one mission, Dorothy Must Die.

I have seen a lot of adaptations and continuations of the Oz stories. I grew up reading the original books by L. Frank Baum. This is a world that is very near and dear to my heart. Paige takes an entirely new view on the world by taking the classic heroine and making her into the villain. Her new heroine Amy proves that while she might start out scared, she is willing to step up and do what has to be done. Paige paces the novel extremely well between introducing us to Amy, her arrival in Oz and coping with how magic does exist, her training, and her eventual mission at the Emerald City. There are some very adult themes hidden within the text of the novel too. Death, abandonment, corruption, greed, and vanity are all over the subtext of the novel.

The first installment of what promises to be a very interesting series Dorothy Must Die promises to be a chilling action packed adventure. With characters that you can simultaneously love, hate, trust, and distrust. A heroine that you can root for. And subtle nods to both the Judy Garland film and the original novels. This is not a book to be missed. I plan to pick up its sequel today. Stay tuned for my review on that one as well.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Hero With a Thousdand Faces

Today's Book Recommendation is The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell.

This required reading for anyone who wants to write. It examines heroic myths in the light of modern psychology while considering the mythological patterns and stages they evoke. As well as their relevance to our lives today. It breaks down what Campbell calls the Hero's Journey into its stages and the major plot points that those stages tend to revolve around. This examination of mythology was one of the biggest inspirations for the Star Wars trilogy. It was reported that Lucas and Campbell became very good friends. Campbell's tv series The Power of Myth was reportedly filmed at Skywalker Ranch.

I have always been interested in mythology, particularly greek mythology, and this collection was recommended to my by a teacher. As I said it should be required reading for anyone seeking to write any sort of narrative story. While you might not find all the beats of the journey in every story, you will find pieces of them.

Mythology was the first form of story telling and Campbell points out how these stories are still prevalent today. After reading this I even noticed some of the motifs in comic books. Superman would be like a modern Hercules while I would say Batman is our worlds Odysseus.

There are a lot of lessons that we can take from mythology and this book serves as a fountain of study for seasoned mythologists and newbies a like. Check it out!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Protector of the Small

Today begins the first installment of a new Sunday tradition for the blog. Instead of just recommending a book, I will pick a book series that I am familiar with to recommend to fellow bookworms and future bookworms out there.

This Sunday's Series recommendation is a young adult series, The Protector of the Small  by Tamora Pierce.

The first installment of the series is simply call First Test. Now, I should preface this review with a little information about the author. She has written two previous book series set in the world of Protector of the small. Each series is about four books long and contains a strong heroine. This is only important to new readers because these heroines make appearances as supporting characters and the events of the previous novels are alluded to or have caused some of the circumstances for the main character of the series. However, Pierce realizes that there might be new readers of the books set in her fictional world of Tortall and she includes enough information about these characters and events that you don't necessarily have to go back and read them. Although I highly suggest these.

The heroine of these novels is a young woman named Keladry or Kel to her family in friends. Like her own heroine, Alanna (Pierce's first series heroine), Kel dreams of Knighthood. Because of Alanna's deeds the King proclaimed that young women were also elligible to train for Knighthood. In all the time since Alanna no girl has taken advantage of that decree. Kel is the first. She is thrust into a world that does not believe that she has what it takes to keep up with the boys. In particular her training master is against girls becoming knights. He puts her on probation. A obstacle that no first year knight trainee, known as a page, has ever had to endure. At the end of her first year he will decide whether she will get to continue her training or if she will just be sent packing.

Kel rises the challenge. She works just as hard as the boys, she doesn't back down from their challenges, and with the help of the friends that she makes at the school as well as a mysterious benefactor Kel works her way through her first page year and proves that she isn't here to mess around.

In a world of young adult books I believe that Pierce's heroines continue to hold up against their male counterparts. They never try to be anything that they are not. They use their own strengths and develop new ones when the occasion calls for it. Kel is my favorite. She isn't aided by magic like the previous heroines, who are wonderful in their own ways, and proves that you can do anything you put your mind to as long as you work hard and have courage.

This book series might be a little young for most of my blog readers but I hope that you'll consider giving these books to the young readers in your life. Girls in particular.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Reconstructing Amelia

Today's Book Recommendation is Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.

McCreights novel begins when litigation lawyer and single mother Kate Baron is called by her daughters school. The phone call is to alert her that her daughter, a straight A student and over achiever, has been caught cheating. But, by the time Kate reaches the school she is met with the heart breaking news that her daughter is dead. A death that is pegged as a spontaneous suicide and the result of guilt over what she has done. None of this sits right with Kate and she begins an investigation into piecing the last few days of her daughters life back together in the hopes that she can figure out just what caused her daughters death.

This book can be a tearjerker at times so if you are someone who cries easily (guilty as charged here) then at the very least I recommend reading this with a box of tissues and something to act as a pick me up when you set the book aside for the night. Told from two perspectives, that of Kate post Amelia's death and Amelia's pre death, the novel is an exploration into the lives of mothers and daughters. About secrets that we keep from our parents and parts of children's lives that parents sometimes are never made part of. In this case it comes too late. The novel also tackles the subjects of bullies, how children are often pressured by outside forces to do things that they might not normally do, and about how far a mother will go to figure out the truth of her daughter.

There isn't much that I can say about this novel without giving away some of the major plot points. The joy's of mystery tales. I will say that I enjoyed this novel. I was right there with Kate wondering why her daughter would cheat and then commit suicide. Even from the beginning it just doesn't make sense. You'll be right there with Kate trying to figure out who is really telling the truth and who knows more than they are saying.

Check it out, but remember the tissues.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Ready Player One

Today's Book Recommendation is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

Set in the year 2044 the novel centers on the character Wade Watts. A young man who escapes the ugly real world via an online utopia called the OASIS. Within this virtual world lies a treasure that most of the population seeks to discover. Hidden by the creator of the OASIS the hunt promises the ultimate access to the virtual utopia. But, to find this treasure players must solve a series of puzzles to determine where it is located. Things heat up for Wade when he discovers the first puzzle. Now the race is on and there are some powerful players who want the treasure for their own purposes.

If you are a fan of online gaming, old school computer games like Pac-Man, and 80's music a la Devo, then you will enjoy this novel immensely. If you like modern games like Fallout and Skyrim, which are two of my favorite games, you will probably also enjoy this read.

The novel also examines this idea of a virtual world take over. As in our world and our day to day lives being replaced and our virtual ones becoming our main lives. Wade even attends a virtual reality school where he logs in and attends classes via a virtual reality helmet. and if he isn't in school then he hangs out with his online friends in a virtual basement hangout similar to modern day chat rooms.  The author also plays with the idea of having the ability to reinvent yourself online. That if you aren't a fan of your real life persona that you can create an entirely new and sometimes better personality for yourself online. Its a novel that while entertaining makes you stop and think.

Wade quickly proves to be a very likable character who players of the real life games he comes across will appreciate the skill of and those of us who don't can just sit back and enjoy the ride on his adventure. With a cast of other gaming characters that will give everyone someone to root for, this novel will have you turning the pages with the same vigor as a button mashing game. Plus, you might want to read it soon before the movie adaption hits theaters.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Madman's Daughter

Todays Book Recommendation YA Edition is The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd. 

This wonderful young adult novel takes the classic story The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G Wells and imagines it from the point of view of the Doctor's daughter. It begins after Dr. Moreau has been discovered and proclaimed as a madman for his experimentation on animals. While they were unable to truly prove what the doctor was up to, it caused enough of a scandal to disgrace his daughter Lydia. However, she has managed to scrap together some semblance of a normal life working as a maid. All of this changes when Lydia discovers that her father is not only alive but has continued his experiments on a remote tropical island she is determined to seek him out and find out if the rumors are true.

In the first few pages Lydia proves that she is a force to be reckoned with. She isn't afraid to stand up for herself despite the limitations imposed on her by the London society she lives in. When she arrives on the island she is reunited with a childhood companion and also saves a man adrift at sea. This gives Shepherd a love triangle to play with which might sound like typical young adult content. What makes this stand out is the back drop of her father's island which is inhabited by strange half man and half animal servants. Along with the threat of an escaped creature turned violent. Shepherd manages to weave the story of madness along side the love story with such ease that they compliment each other rather than detract.

I was instantly taken with the novel. At one point while reading I was perched on the edge of my seat and hyperventilating. Shepherd's writing had pulled my in so that I felt like I was right there on the island with Lydia and that the danger she was in was right outside my own bedroom door. The only thing more distressing would've been if someone at knocked on my door. Eeep!

It also examines some of the themes that another of my favorite novels, Frankenstein, does. A question of who is really the monster here and who is the man? Who is the mad man and who is the genius? Do good intentions justify the means? Ultimately Lydia realizes that she has to stop her father's experiments but she eventually discovers that his madness may have stretched as far as her own blood.

This chilling and gripping novel might be classified as Young Adult literature but I believe that readers of any age will find this novel engaging and will be up late with the light on reading. Enjoy my fellow book worms!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Welcome Fellow Bookworms!

Hello there!

Welcome to the blog One Book to Another.

My name is Ariel. I will be your bookworm guide on what I hope will be a lovely tour of the books the world has to offer.  The main focus of this blog is to introduce you to all of the fabulous novels and stories that I personally have come across. Now, I know that we all have different tastes. We all have different ideas of what makes a great story. If you read a review, read the book, and find that you don't like it, that's okay! After all this is just a sample of the millions of books out there. So, if you don't find something that you like here I hope that this will at the very least get you to your local library or bookstore to pick up something that you do like.

A little bit about myself. I am an actor and a writer living in Los Angeles. I moved here with my husband to be Tyler, or Ty as I often call him, after graduating from California College of the Arts with an M.F.A in writing. Now, that my credentials are out of the way lets move on. Alongside my love for reading I also enjoy running and I absolutely adore classic movies. My favorite Actress is Audrey Hepburn but I will be honest I have only scraped the surface of her marvelous body of work.

While I intend for this blog to be mostly about books I will also occasionally post about my bookings as an actress. Hence the inspiration for my blogs name. But don't worry there will always be a book recommendation alongside those. If you aren't already follow me on twitter @ACeliaCo. 

I hope you enjoy the books and its nice to meet you all as well! And don't forget "A room without books is like a body without a soul."

-Ariel