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Book Review – The Wee Free Men (Discworld: A Tiffany Aching Adventure) by Terry Pratchett

September 29, 2010 3 comments

Book Description:

Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense, Tiffany Aching, a young witch-to-be, is all that stands between the monsters of Fairyland and the warm, green Chalk country that is her home. Forced into Fairyland to seek her kidnaped brother, Tiffany allies herself with the Chalk’s local Nac Mac Feegle — aka the Wee Free Men — a clan of sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men who are as fierce as they are funny. Together they battle through an eerie and ever-shifting landscape, fighting brutal flying fairies, dream-spinning dromes, and grimhounds — black dogs with eyes of fire and teeth of razors — before ultimately confronting the Queen of the Elves, absolute ruler of a world in which reality intertwines with nightmare. And in the final showdown, Tiffany must face her cruel power alone….

In a riveting narrative that is equal parts suspense and humor, Carnegie Medalist Terry Pratchett returns to his internationally popular Discworld with a breathtaking tale certain to leave fans, new and old, enthralled.

I wanted to read Terry Pratchett’s latest Discworld book “I Shall Wear Midnight“, but then I found out that it was the fourth book in the YA-oriented Discworld: A Tiffany Aching Adventure series. Well, unfortunately, even though I’d practically read every Discworld novel out there, I’d kinda skipped on all the YA ones. Now, since I’m OC about things like reading all the books before in a series, I’m stuck reading all the prior books.

Book #1 is titled The Wee Free Men and it stars the very spunky nine-year-old dairymaid (and also maybe Witch-in-training) Tiffany Aching. Tiffany has made it her self-imposed mission to rescue her (actually really annoying) baby brother Wentworth from the clutches of an evil Faerie Queen. And she’s armed only with her wits, determination, a frying pan, a talking toad and the sheep-disease manual of her dearly departed Granny Aching (who may/may not have been a Witch), and oh yes, she also has an entire army of tiny rough-talking war-mongering Nac Mac Feegles (or the titular Wee Free Men) on her side. The evil Faerie Queen won’t know what hits her, right?

Now, I don’t know why I ever skipped the YA division of the Discworld series of books. But I’m damned glad I decided to read this. Tiffany Aching is who I wish I was when I was nine, she’s like the younger version of Mistress Weatherwax (my absolutely favorite witch in the Discworld series). Tiffany knows exactly who she is and what she wants to do in life, and that’s a lot for a nine-year-old kid. She’s a bit of a know-it-all and bossy besides, but I kinda always wanted to be like that 😉 Besides she kinda needed to have that personality in order to keep the little Wee Free Men (who love their alcohol a wee bit too much) in line, as she battles with the Faerie Queen on the Queen’s turf.

And what a turf it is – it’s partly the snow-covered kingdom of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” but it’s been Pratchett-ized so it’s like this nebulous and half-formed re-imagination of people’s most warped dreams and terrifying nightmares where things are half-real and half-dreams. There are monsters and challenges a-plenty for Tiffany, and there are many, many times when you will think that the Queen has won. Still, as with all the Discworld books, the action/suspense is mixed liberally with a generous helping of laugh-out-loud humor. Tiffany acts like the straight character in a movie where everyone else is a little over-the-top and ridiculous. I loved the Wee Free Men, even though it took me a little time to get used to their weird way of speaking (like Irish or Scottish?).

If I have any criticisms, it would be the frequent flashbacks with Tiffany’s Granny Aching, which while they explained a lot, also took the reader out of the story. It was okay, for one or two times, but there seemed to be a whole lot of reminiscence going on.

All in all though, I was wholly entertained with this book (it’s a fun and funny story!), and I highly recommend this one to both the young and old. I have a lot of respect for the young heroine, especially in her final showdown with the Elf Queen with a lot more than her little brother at stake. And I am so totally pumped to read book #2 in the series A Hat Full of Sky next!

The Wee Free Men (Discworld: A Tiffany Aching Adventure) by Terry Pratchett is available on Amazon as a Kindle Edition ($6.99) and a Mass Market Paperback ($6.99).

You can also get the book at Barnes & Noble for the same price.

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More Free eBooks from Barnes & Noble (Now also free for the Kindle!)

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Okay, maybe I should stop ribbing Barnes & Noble about just having one free eBook a week. They’ve released two more (aside from the one I posted about earlier) – young romance and a father-son story. So hey, Nook owners (or those with Nook apps on their PC/mobile devices), check out more freebies for you!

According To Jane‘ by Marilyn Brant is available for FREE download on the Barnes & Noble site (the Kindle version would have cost you $8.79 is now FREE!). Just click here to download!

Book Description:

In Marilyn Brant’s smart, wildly inventive debut, one woman in search of herself receives advice from the ultimate expert in matters of the heart. . .

It begins one day in sophomore English class, just as Ellie Barnett’s teacher is assigning Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. From nowhere comes a quiet “tsk” of displeasure. The target: Sam Blaine, the cute bad boy who’s teasing Ellie mercilessly, just as he has since kindergarten. Entirely unbidden, as Jane might say, the author’s ghost has taken up residence in Ellie’s mind, and seems determined to stay there.

Jane’s wise and witty advice guides Ellie through the hell of adolescence and beyond, serving as the voice she trusts, usually far more than her own. Years and boyfriends come and go–sometimes a little too quickly, sometimes not nearly fast enough. But Jane’s counsel is constant, and on the subject of Sam, quite insistent. Stay away, Jane demands. He is your Mr. Wickham.

Still, everyone has something to learn about love–perhaps even Jane herself. And lately, the voice in Ellie’s head is being drowned out by another, urging her to look beyond everything she thought she knew and seek out her very own, very unexpected, happy ending. . .

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FREE eBook – Elvis and The Dearly Departed by Peggy Webb

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, hey Nook owners (or those with Nook apps on their PC/mobile devices)! Even though it’s not Free Fridays yet, there’s a free ebook out! It’s a mystery featuring a lady sleuth.

Elvis and The Dearly Departed (A Southern Cousins Mystery)‘ by Peggy Webb is available for FREE download on the Barnes & Noble site (the Kindle version would have cost you $4.47 is also FREE!). Just click here to download!

Book Description:

They say you can’t get to Heaven without passing through the Eternal Rest Funeral Home. And no one gets into Eternal Rest without passing muster with Elvis – the basset hound who’s convinced he’s the reincarnation of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Brewing up a big ol’ pitcher of Mississippi mystery, Peggy Webb’s delightful new series is as intoxicating as the Delta breeze.

Normally, Callie Valentine Jones spends her days fixing up the hairdos of the dead, but when the corpse of local, prominent physician Dr. Leonard Laton goes missing, it’s bad for business. So Callie and her cousin Lovie (Eternal Rest’s resident wake caterer) have no choice but to go in hot pursuit of the recently embalmed, last seen bound for Vegas by way of downtown Tupelo.

In Vegas, Callie and Lovie hit the jackpot when they find the dearly departed inside a freezer owned by his showgirl mistress, Bubble Malone. But their luck runs out when Bubble decides to join her man in the afterlife. With the poisonous Laton family tree providing plenty of rotten suspects, Callie, along with some help from her basset hound, Elvis, is determined to crack this case-and have a killer singing “Jailhouse Rock” in time for her next haircutting appointment. . .

Pure southern lunacy of the best possible kind.” – Laurien Berenson

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