Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Reads (2): July 21, 2012

New Reads for review and for my shelves:

Three are Goodreads First Reads giveaway wins that I have received in the last week or so. These are the next in line for reading and reviewing. :) They all look good, but I'm seriously stoked about the stories in Shadow Show!!!

Veil of Pearls by MaryLu Tyndall
The Good Dream by Donna VanLiere
Shadow Show by Various Authors!!

These four are this weekends thrift store scores that were either already on my TBR list or ones that I had heard goods things about, so picked them up when I saw them.

From top-left:
Room by Emma Donoghue
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Be on the lookout for my July reviews!

New Reads (1) 22nd July 2012

Thrift Store Scores this weekend!

Mine were,
Top row: Books from the Wheel of Time Series (I have already read books one and two). Book 3 The Dragon Reborn, Book 4 The Shadow Rising, Book 5 The Fires of Heaven, Book 8 The Path of Daggers and a boxed set of books 10-12 Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams and The Gathering Storm.

Bottom row: Star Wars EU books. Children of the Jedi, Jedi Academy Book 1: Jedi Search, The Hand of Thawn 1: Specter of the Past and The New Rebellion.

Review: Prepare by Geoffrey Germann

 Prepare by Geoffrey Germann

Book Synopsis "Prepare is a superhero story. Darren Kiel is tired of seeing many crimes in his neighbourhood and seeing peoples lives ruled and ruined by the gangs. He takes it upon himself to become a superhero so he can prevent the crimes before anyone gets hurt. Darren is initially very successful and saves many citizens from being hurt or killed. He has morals and does his best to incapacitate the criminals without seriously injuring them. Soon Darren because the target not only of the gangs but also of law enforcement who don’t care for his vigilante tactics."

Richi's Review:  In full disclosure I received a free copy of this book from the author. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to read your book and thank you for signing it as well!

The introduction to this book is very interesting; it is basically a short essay about how technology has evolved to enhance human senses. This is quite appropriate given the story (the hero uses technology to enhance his senses and abilities) but also because the descriptions in this book are extremely well written. The author takes care not to just to describe the sights of the world, but also the smells, sounds, touch and tastes too. Every one of your senses is stimulated and it is very easy to understand what is happening in the story and how it would feel to be there.

The great descriptions aren’t limited to the senses though, the descriptions of the events are also excellent it is very easy to follow them and know what is going on. They are also interesting and enjoyable to read.

The science of the story is excellent; the author obviously has a good understanding of what he is writing about. The balance between being realistic enough to be believable but fantastic enough to be interesting and superhero-like is perfect.

Most of the time when a new character is introduced we are given a short background on them. These are just the right length, long enough to give you enough to understand who this new person is, but not so long that it leaves you wanting to get back to the story. They are all well written and interesting.

Early on the hero seemed to be too powerful and unbeatable; fortunately (from a story point of view) the villains find out his “kryptonite” and with our hero vulnerable it really increases the dramatic tension. For the early part of the story (the first 80 pages or so), it is told from the point of view of the characters who encounter the hero, rather than the hero himself and we learn virtually nothing about him. This actually makes it very interesting as we want to learn more about this mysterious hero, where is abilities come from and how did he come into being.

There is plenty of action in this book; in the first 50 pages we have had three action sequences! This keeps things interesting and exciting. The book isn’t limited to action though and there are plenty of talking scenes where we get to learn more about the characters.

There is a bit of humour in the book which is nice to see.

There were a few bad points to this book; one of them was an overuse of similes. Sometimes there are several to a page, I wouldn’t say any of them were bad or didn’t make sense, just that there was too many of them for my liking.

A few of the conversations early on were a little bland and dull. But once we learn more about the hero and he starts to have more talking scenes, the conversations get much richer, and many are intelligent and thought provoking.

There were a few little annoyances such as in one point in the story we are told “The oddity of an evening gown at 7:00 AM never occurred to him (Darren)” But about half a page later Darren makes a joke about wearing an evening dress at that time of day. Another time it is a plot point that all buildings, even if they are disused, always have active fire suppressing systems (sprinklers), then later it is a plot point that a particular building does NOT have the system working.
I also thought that the second, larger gang that turns up late in the story found out everything about Darren’s life and his secret base far too easily and were too well armed and equipped.

I would have also liked to have seen more of a developing relationship between Darren and Corrine. I would liked for there to have been more background on Adam especially considering he is Darren’s only real friend and the only one who knows about his double life..

It should be noted that there is quite a lot of swearing in this book and some violence; it is probably only suitable for an adult audience.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the story is exciting and well written, and the characters are very good. The descriptions are exceptional and it is very easy to feel you are in this world. There are a couple of very minor annoyances but not enough to detract from the story.

Four and a half Superhero Cloaks out of Five!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: The Scar by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko

The Scar by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko.

Book Synopsis: "Reaching far beyond sword and sorcery, The Scar is a story of two people torn by disaster, their descent into despair, and their reemergence through love and courage. Sergey and Marina Dyachenko mix dramatic scenes with romance, action and wit, in a style both direct and lyrical. Written with a sure artistic hand, The Scar is the story of a man driven by his own feverish demons to find redemption and the woman who just might save him.

Egert is a brash, confident member of the elite guards and an egotistical philanderer. But after he kills an innocent student in a duel, a mysterious man known as “The Wanderer” challenges Egert and slashes his face with his sword, leaving Egert with a scar that comes to symbolize his cowardice. Unable to end his suffering by his own hand, Egert embarks on an odyssey to undo the curse and the horrible damage he has caused, which can only be repaired by a painful journey down a long and harrowing path.

Plotted with the sureness of Robin Hobb and colored with the haunting and ominous imagination of Michael Moorcock, The Scar tells a story that cannot be forgotten."

Date Read: December 23 to 26, 2011  
Five out of Five!

Full Review: In full disclosure, I won an Advanced Uncorrected Proof edition of this book as part of a Goodreads Giveaway.

This book is the story of Egert. He begins as a confident, somewhat cruel, aggressive, womanizing youth who is a member of the guards. One day, he kills the fiance of a woman he is pursuing and as a result is challenged to a duel by a mysterious stranger. The stranger leaves Egert with a scar and a curse that leaves him a coward. The bulk of the book deals with Egerts downfall and attempt to overcome his curse.

There is no hint that this book has been translated from another language. It is beautifully written the language is almost poetic at times. A big congratulations should go to Elinor Huntington who wrote the translation, and to Sergey and Marina Dyachenko who wrote the original story. The details are fantastic, close attention has been paid to character traits, for example, after Egert has been cursed, he has a number of habits that he has to perform to help him overcome his nervousness in a stressful situation. The descriptions of the locations and events are also wonderfully detailed and helps the reader visualize the world.

The pacing of the book is excellent. Egert goes through a number of stages during his journey and each is just about the right length. Not so short that you feel like you missed out or that he takes unrealistic jumps in his development, not too long as to become dull. Although I would like to have seen shorter chapters (each chapter is about 30 pages long) as it would make it easier to get to the end of a chapter in a single sitting.

The character of Egert is interesting, initially he is quite unlikeable but for several reasons this is okay. We know this is a story of redemption so he needs to start off with some bad traits, he is only bad for the early part of the book and he is loved by those around him so his character for the setting he is in, isn't seen as a bad person.

From reading the outline of the book I was concerned that this would be more of a romance story, this wasn't the case however. It was more of a fantasy with romantic elements in it, no more than many other fantasy novels. It was done much more intelligently than in other fantasy stories and was much more believable.

The ending is fantastic, the tension is really cranked up and you cannot stop reading because you want to find out what happens to the characters you have grown to love.

This is more of a thinking-persons fantasy story than a action adventure, which as it turns out is actually a good thing unless of course you want to read only high action stories.

The book is excellent, the story is very interesting and so very intelligently written with superb details and descriptions. With so many great qualities and hardly any problems I can confidently give this book 5/5 stars.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

New Reads: *IMM (2)

New books for my shelves! ;) I recently won these books through the Goodreads first reads giveaways. This is part of what I'll be reading and reviewing over the next few weeks :)  I'm already reading The River Witch ... ALL these books look really good.

clockwise from the top-left:
Beginning with the End by Mary R. Morgan A Memoir of Twin Loss and Healing
The Twenty by Claudia Carozza
The Cranes Dance by Meg Howrey (ARC)
The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse (ARC)
The River Witch by Kimberly Brock

..... also added to my Bookmark Collection this week!! SQUEEE!!!
Signed Bookmark and bookplate from Sarvenaz Tash author of The Mapmaker and the Ghost
Signed Bookmark and bookplate from A.G. Howard author of Splintered

I don't have either of ^those^ books (yet). But when I *do*, I am totally set up with awesome bookplates and will use & enjoy the pretty bookmarks. Sucha Happy Girl!!

I bought Switched by Amanda Hocking back in February but I finally read it in June. I bought Torn by Amanda Hocking which is the next book in the Trylle series. The third and final book is Ascend .. I really liked Switched so I'm looking forward to reading Torn.

Last but not least, the book I am TOTALLY THRILLED to have received in my mailbox this week (also a birthday book) is The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. I borrowed this one from the library last December. LOVED IT and promised myself I would get a copy for my own. This is it!
(click to read my review of The Dovekeepers)

The Dovekeepers is one of my All-Time favorite books! I completely *heart* the cover too. it is SO PERFECT for this book. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

til next time, Happy Reading!

*learn more about the IMM activity at The Story Siren

Review: The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet

I won an autographed copy of The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet from the authors website during the May 2012 ‘YAmazing Race with MGnificent Prizes’ event hosted by The Apocalypsies (at ).

This book sounded soooo interesting when I first heard about it in the January 2012 YAmazing Race, so I was very happy to win a copy. I was even happier when it lived up to my expectations of being a really great book. yay!
Also, the cover is truly amazing and one of the first things that drew me to this book, so I have to give kudos to the artist... (click here for my full review on Goodreads)

Richi read this book as well ... (click here to read his full review on Goodreads)

My husband and I each gave 4 stars to 'The Cabinet of Earths' by Anne Nesbet