Monday, 16 January 2012

Book Blogger Confessions is a new bi-weekly meme hosted by Tiger @ All Consuming Books and Karen @ For What it's Worth Reviews.

Have you ever had reading/blogging slumps? How do you work through them or work around them?

I have been in a reading slump for most of December that has now led into January. Every time I pick up a book I get as far as maybe 5 pages lose interest and place it down which I doubt has anything to do with the quality of the books themselves because the few I have picked up have been In the Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane, Enclave by Ann Aguirre, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, and Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent which have all received positive reviews and which are all books I have been greatly interested in but am not at the moment. My conclusion is that I have read too much paranormal/speculative fiction in a row and am burned out and need something different like a contemporary to get me out of it since going on the usual reading hiatus hasn't done much good.

Do you have any good contemporary YA recommendations?

Posted on Monday, January 16, 2012 by Sandy


Friday, 13 January 2012

Hounded by Kevin Hearne

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

I have read books about faeries, many of them staying true to folklore and few of them including specific characters right out of Irish mythology like the Morrigan but never had I read a book that shed light on other aspects of Irish mythology like Tir nan Og and the Tuatha de Danann. I have also never, though I suspect there are novels out there, read a book where the main character was a druid.

Siodhachan O Suileabhain or Atticus O’Sullivan as he is known to almost everyone in current modern times is a witty, twenty-one century old druid living in Tempe, Arizona with his Irish wolfhound Oberon. He enjoys hunting for Big Horn Sheep in his down time though never able to catch them, making googly eyes at the local bartender. And making sure that the Irish God of Love Aengus Og never finds him because if he does love would be the last thing Aengus wants to give Atticus since he stole a very special sword from him centuries ago and has refused to give it back ever since.

In this book the action starts from the very first page where the reader gets to see right away the consequences Atticus has had to face ever since he stole from Aengus Og and we see that for the most part Aengus’ persistence has been more irritant than danger since the fae he sends to defeat Atticus do little more than give him a flesh wound. This attack however is just the beginning of a much bigger threat and after a visit from the Morrigan - the Irish Goddess of Death Atticus knows that Aengus’ who has never tried to retrieve the sword personally before may indeed be serious about repossessing it this time.

This story was an action packed and entertaining read filled with a whole host of witty, dangerous, ancient, badass, funny, and interesting characters who range from witches to werewolves, Irish Gods to a mind-speaking wolf hound and Ancient Druid to vampires. The writing was fresh, had me laughing in almost every chapter and was both fast pace and full of charm. I enjoyed Kevin Hearne’s different take on the many familiar supernatural creatures I have come across in previous paranormal and urban fantasies but I especially enjoyed his version of the figures and deities of Irish mythology which I admit I did not know very much about before reading Hounded. The only down side to this lovely novel was that although it starts off strong soon after it reaches a hitch in pace. There was a need for some background information for readers to understand Atticus’ current situation and I thought that part was slow and found myself being distracted as I read it. However, if you can get past that little blimp then I recommend this to all fans of urban fantasy because you will indeed enjoy it.

Posted on Friday, January 13, 2012 by Sandy

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Thursday, 5 January 2012

Book Blogger Confessions is a new bi-weekly meme hosted by Tiger @ All Consuming Books and Karen @ For What it's Worth Reviews.

The first question is:

How has the "job" of book blogging changed your reading habits? Both pro and con.

The Good: I read a lot more books now, much more than I used to which means I have a read a lot of great books that I may have never heard of before because blogging and all the things that come with it have kept me up to date with upcoming books and author news.

The Bad: I am easily influenced a lot more by other people's opinions since I follow so many book blogs and have friends on goodreads so although other people’s opinions have saved me from wasting my time on a bad book it may have also prevented me from reading a book I was initially interested in that I might have found to be good.

Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2012 by Sandy


Wednesday, 4 January 2012

There is one word that describes this show “Fun” but since this word alone is not an adequate description I will say a few more. Merlin is an enjoyable, retelling of the Legend of King Arthur told through a different perspective. There are the familiar stories of the Knights of the Round Table, the Lady of the Lake, and the Sword in the Stone but in previous adaptations where the stories are often told from Arthur’ s point of view – the great king to be, Merlin is told from the point of view of the great wizard to be, hence the title.

Often portrayed as a wizened mentor with long, white hair and a matching long beard the Merlin (Colin Morgan) we first see walking casually down a road towards Camelot is actually a gangly, young man with plenty to learn in both magic and life. The former might be more difficult however because although Merlin has been sent to the city of Camelot in the hopes of keeping him safe through proper guidance we quickly learn that anyone who is caught practising magic is executed because magic in Camelot has been banned by the King, Uther Pendragon (Anthony Head), Arthur’s father. Still, not doing any magic at all is virtually impossible for someone who has been able to do it since he could walk, especially when there are many others who choose to use their magic to try and bring an end to Uther, Arthur and Camelot, a goal Merlin cannot allow to happen because it his destiny to ensure that Arthur (Bradley James) becomes the great king he is meant to be who will one day restore magic to the land. Is this a lot of pressure to bestow on one young man? Don’t worry, Merlin has help from his guardian Gaius (Richard Wilson) the court physician and a thirty-foot talking dragon (voiced by John Hurt) who likes to give advice in the most cryptic way imaginable which our main man likes to ignore more than follow. 

"One day people won't believe what an idiot you were."

Filled with familiar characters shown in new ways Merlin is a show brimming with fantastic actors, fast paced story lines that tend to wrap up in the span of one or two episodes and is a mixture of serious drama and wonderful humour. The show, I also believe does a great job of showing how the characters we see in Season 1 become the characters we have heard about from the legends, we get to see how each character grows and changes and by seeing their journey the audience has no problem believing that a bully can become a great king, a servant girl a queen, or a naive but loyal young lady become a powerful and evil sorceress. However, despite these high notes I will say that the show Merlin is not perfect because although it is completely enjoyable and entertaining and one of my favourite shows on TV it does have its short comings which I think is due to the inconsistency in writing. To truly enjoy Merlin I am often forced to suspend disbelief in the case of plot holes and out-of-character moments, simple things that could be avoided if more time was spent on polishing out scripts would make this series more than just a fun time but really fantastic but I will say the show improves with each season as does its popularity and cannot wait for Season 5 to be released later this year. Which may indeed be the final season; I am not sure how I feel about this yet.

Posted on Wednesday, January 04, 2012 by Sandy


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Unwelcome (Archangel Academy #2)
Unwelcome by Michael Griffo

Archangel Academy is more than a school to Michael Howard. Within its majestic buildings and serene English grounds, he's found friends, new love, and a place that feels more like home than Nebraska ever did. But the most important gift of Archangel Academy is immortality. . .

Life as a just-made vampire is challenging for Michael, even with Ronan, an experienced vamp, to guide him. Michael's abilities are still raw and unpredictable. To add to the turmoil, the ancient feud between rival vampire species is sending ripples of discord through the school. And beneath the new headmaster's charismatic front lies a powerful and very personal agenda.

Yet the mysteries lurking around the Academy pale in comparison to the secrets emerging from Michael's past. And choosing the wrong person to trust—or to love—could lead to an eternity of regret. . .

Michael Griffo is an award-winning writer and one of six playwrights whose career will be tracked by until 2010. He is a graduate of New York University, has studied at Playwrights Horizons and Gotham Writers Workshop, and has written several screenplays.

Unwelcome was a good book, I find that it shows not only the wickedness in people that hate you but also the wickedness in people closest to you. In this story you are able to see that even people who love you can betray you without even knowing or by doing it unwillingly. It shows that even as you shower someone with hatefulness they can still find love and even with secrets their love can grow. If people would learn from their problems they would be able fine each other and love each other better.

I think this book was a little slow in the beginning and that that the main character is not really learning anything useful. I also believe that the father of the main character is a little uneven. I am hoping that these books get better over time.

View all my reviews

Posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2012 by Reeshe

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