Friday, November 26, 2010

Book Blog Hop

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Happy Thanksgiving all! I stuffed my face and enjoyed hanging out with my family. Life is good.

Question this week:"What is your favorite book cover?"
Answer: For this one, I had to go through my librarything and goodreads to pick one out. I don't pick a book unless I like the cover ysee :P

Upon further review, I think I have to go with, much to my chagrin, Elfland.



I made it extra big so yall could see why I thought it was so beautiful. Unfortunately, I found the book to be lacking.Still, can't beat Kinuko Craft.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

3 comments

I feel like I'm supremely late on the uptake with this series. Originally, I was going to read this book for a challenge, but I didn't finish it in time. I had bought it forever ago from a used book store and I was happy to finally read one of the books I already own. 

Ever since her parents were killed in a car accident when she was five, Elena Michaels has longed for a normal family life. Smart, beautiful, and engaged to be married, Elena hopes to fulfill that dream when disaster strikes. Not only has her fiancé lied about his secret life as a werewolf, but he's made her one, too. She has no choice but to join him at Stonehaven, the upstate New York home of an elite pack of werewolves.

In an attempt to break away, she moves to Toronto to lead a normal life. Working as a journalist, Elena now lives with her new architect boyfriend, works out in the basement gym of their high-rise apartment, lunches with girlfriends from the office, and once a week, at four in the morning runs naked and furred through a downtown Toronto ravine, ripping out the throats of her animal prey. But when a band of outlaw werewolves threatens the Stonehaven pack, Elena's feral instincts drive her back there to join the defense. What follows is a war for territory, for pride, and ultimately for Elena herself.


I'm afraid this review will be awfully short. Despite sleeping until 10am this morning, I am still exhausted from the last few weeks...and I've taken Benedryl which knocks me for a bloody loop.

In any case, this book wasn't bad. I haven't read many vampire or werewolf books, so I can't say that I know how it rates next to other books of the same variety. I'll be honest, there was a little too much description of wolf fighting and playing for my tastes. It just got sort of dull after awhile. I understand the author was probably trying to build a relationship between the characters, but the fact remains that wolves don't have the depth of expression that humans have and it got rather routine.

I liked Elena all right. The first half of the book I wasn't crazy about any of the characters. They just seemed too smug and cookie cutter. At the end, when worlds collide, as it were, I found myself finding Clay far more endearing. It was like a switch turned on and all of a sudden he was trying to be likable or something. Still, the characters lacked soul for the most part. I felt like half the book was spent explaining stuff.

Also, the explaining got old after awhile. I felt like there was lost of background information, but not much reason for it. Pointless stories. I guess it was to flesh out the characters, but I would have preferred current actions to speak for themselves.

Overall, the book was sort of choppy and generic. I liked it, and there was lots of promise in this book... but I'm not in a hurry to read the next.

Bottom Line
Overall Rating: 3 / 5
Buy or Try? Try
More? 1 / 12 in the Women of the Otherworld series...different characters
Content
Plot: 2 / 5
Setting: 3 / 5
Characters: 3 / 5
Style 
Pace: Middlin' to Fast 
Descriptiveness: Prose
Fantasy factor: Magical Realism

Amazon.com link

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Elena Michaels seems like the typically strong and sexy modern woman. She lives with her architect boyfriend, writes for a popular newspaper, and works out at the gym. She's also a werewolf. Elena has done all she can to assimilate to the human world, but the man whose bite changed her existence forever, and his legacy, continue to haunt her. Thrown into a desperate war for survival that tests her allegiance to a secret clan of werewolves, Elena must reckon with who, and what, she is.




My Teasers: "If you decide to leave, have Clay drive you to Syracuse."

"Yeah right," I said. "I'd be more likely to get to the airport by thumbing a ride with the local psychopath."

-Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, pg 49

Monday, November 15, 2010

Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn

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In comparison with the last book I read, this one flew by. It took me less than 48 hours to finish it. I find that I read books that I enjoy pretty quickly, despite whatever school mess is also due. 

Zoe Ardelay receives astonishing and unwelcome news: she has been chosen to become the king’s fifth wife. Forced to go to the royal city, she manages to slip away and hide on the shores of the mighty river.

It’s there that Zoe realizes she is a coru prime ruled by the elemental sign of water. She must return to the palace, not as an unwilling bride for the king, but a woman with power in her own right. But as Zoe unlocks more of the mysteries of her blood — and the secrets of the royal family — she must decide how to use her great power to rise above the deceptions and intrigue of the royal court.


Before Troubled Waters, I had read all of Sharon Shinn's Samaria books and enjoyed them very much. Again, Shinn creates a world that is very original and complex, just as I found Samaria to be. I found the world to be the most enchanting part of this book, actually.

The magical system is based on the 5 elements, although Shinn combined two different ideas of the elements. Generally, one hears about earth, fire, air, water and aether (soul) as the 5 elements, the Classical elements. The Chinese have another system: earth, water, fire, metal, and wood. It seems that the author combined these two...her elements are earth, fire, air, water, and wood. I found that to be somewhat confusing, merely because I have trouble understanding the Chinese system to begin with.

One of my absolute favorite elements was the quasi-religious system in the novel. At the temples, there are barrels full of coins marked with different blessings. When a baby is born, their parent is to ask 3 random people to pull blessings from the barrels. These will be the child's blessings through their life. Zoe's are Beauty, Love, and Power. There is a great side story in the book where a man asks Zoe for help pulling blessings for surprise twin girls. If you are in need of guidance, you pay a tithe and pull some blessings from the barrels that will give you direction. Certain blessings are tied into the different elements, but anyone can have any blessing, regardless of their affinity.

The book reminded me very much of Maria V Snyder's Poison Study. Both writing styles seem similar, and the depth of the novels are about the same. While Shinn's world is very fleshed out, I found the characters to be less so, and the story to be somewhat simplistic. I stop short of calling them all two dimensional because the supporting characters were all very different and the story certainly kept me reading. However, I found I was able to accurately predict how the story would go most of the time. There were twists, but I could identify when they would occur, and make an approximation of what would happen. 

Zoe has a love interest, and I felt that their love for each other was somewhat out of the blue. There was zero development of a relationship besides a lot of arguing. Zoe is a likable heroine, but a very predictable one I'm sorry to say, and I did not find her to be a very realistic character either. The supporting characters were well developed and interesting, but I got very little feel for Zoe other recklessness and impulsivity with absolutely no regret for any of her actions. Somehow, there are never any repercussions either.

The end was terribly abrupt and seemed thrown together. Huge event happens, but it's in the last 50 pages or so of the book. In the last 3 pages, 90% of the loose ends are tied together in a pretty bow. It was just really strange, because the book spends all this time building up, and the ending was just terribly rushed. It was almost like the author was gearing up for a trilogy or series, but then decided not to write the rest and just cram the next book or two into the last few pages.


That said, I really enjoyed this book. I really didn't mind any of the previously mentioned issues as I was reading. I was aware of them, but they did not impede my enjoyment. I had a really hard time putting it down because it was so exciting and entertaining. It was very refreshing to enjoy a book after the debacle of the last two I tried to read. 

Reading back, my analysis seems pretty critical, but I would highly recommend picking this book up. I'm sad there's not more than one book in this world. If you're looking for something deep, insightful or dark and realistic, look elsewhere. If you're looking for a fun, light, absorbing read, Troubled Waters is a great place to start.


Bottom Line
Overall Rating: 4 / 5
Buy or Try? Buy (I would read this again for sure)
More? Standalone
Content
Plot: 3 / 5
Setting: 5 / 5
Characters: 3 / 5 (for all the varied characters)
Style 
Pace: Middlin' to Fast 
Descriptiveness: Prose
Fantasy factor: High Fantasy

Amazon.com link

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Angelslayer: The Winnowing War by K Michael Wright

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The problem with obscure books is it's next to impossible to find a decent cover image. Nonetheless, I found one. I find the cover to be a little over the top, but I'd never heard of this author before and that doesn't happen very often with fantasy novels.

Set amidst an eerie and distant future, this novel tells the story of Etlantis-the mother city built in the shadows of Mt. Arom-and the possible end of the world. Believing in their right to rule the planet, the people of Etlantis sent ships to hunt the Western Seas. In them were the Nephilim-sons of Angels who had become addicted to human flesh and blood through the curse of Enoch. In the wake of their terror, the earth's human population has neared extinction. Unless the survivors can band together to destroy the monsters that ravaged their home, the end is all but certain. Featuring an imaginative range of characters and concepts, this is a harrowing vision of the line between heaven and earth.

I don't know about you, but I still don't get it the gist of the story from that description. Not to mention in my copy, it's partially covered up by a label. Still, everywhere I turned, it seemed like there was a positive review of Angelslayer, so I gave it a go.

I'm sure you noticed my last review was a full month ago. I've renewed this book 3 times, and I incurred a 20 cent fine. But I was determined not to put two books in the "could not finish" pile in a row...regardless of how slowly it dragged and how very much I wanted to read something else. Needless to say, this will be a short review because I spent way too much time trying to read this book already.


The writing style is very flowery. The scenes are gory. The cruelty and mutilation exhibited by the bad guys is...nauseating. Truly nauseating. And I'm a nurse. There are people who are drawn and quartered (and still alive and talking), nearly decapitated, drained of blood so it can be made into fine wine, stripped of all organs, bones etc and still alive, dead but kept alive by demons for organs...it's a horror book, really. Pure and simple. The story was confusing at best, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out who was fighting for whom and why they were fighting in the first place. I skimmed the last 200 pages or so, at least.


I think people who like Guy Gavriel Kay a lot might like this book. Also, people who like really gory horror or long drawn out battle scenes. I just did not enjoy it.




Bottom Line
(I am trying hard not to get wrapped up in the frustration of it taking so long to read and be objective)
Overall Rating: 1.5 / 5 
Buy or Try? Try
More? 1 / ? It's supposed to be a series. We'll see.

Content
Plot: 1 / 5 (lul whut?)
Setting: 2 / 5 (again, whut?)
Characters: 2 / 5 (Some weren't so bad I suppose.)
Style 
Pace: Slooooow.
Descriptiveness: Poetry
Fantasy factor: High Fantasy
 
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