Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reading and other stuff

I was totally expecting to slide into a book slump after finishing Broken Wing.  Not only was Broken Wing   awesome but I've read quite a few very good books in a row.  That usually means a slump is coming.  Not so this time.  After finishing Broken Wing I jumped right into Josh Lanyon's Adrien English Mysteries.  I read about these for the first time on Kati's blog and since they peaked my interest I decided to download the first two for my e-book reader since the two in one is only $6.99 on fictionwise.  Wow.  I wasn't planning on getting too into these since it was such a drastic change in genre's etc. plus it was on my ebook reader and that just doesn't feel the same but holy moly I enjoyed these books thoroughly.  I don't care how much of an ass he is I'm in love with Jake he totally makes these books for me.  From what I've read on other blogs I think he turns into an even bigger jerk but I have faith that he'll figure out how awesome life would be with Adrien.

So anyhoo, now I've read both of those and I'm browsing through my books trying to decide what I want to read next.  I've come to realize that I really dislike the whole process of starting a new book.  I want to be in the middle of it, immersed in it not trying to figure who is who and what is what.  I just don't care for this particular stage of reading when I can't decide what I feel like or if a particular book is going to work for me etc. etc.  Oh well - if that's my biggest problem I really shouldn't complain :)

Completely off topic but happy news for me.  My lovely little ball python Corwin has come out of his winter semi-hibernation early and is peeking at me while I type away on the computer.  Last year he didn't eat from September right through to March and we rarely saw him come out of his hut on his own at all.  This year he didn't disappear until November and now he's out already :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Broken Wing - Judith James

I have to thank Kristie J for leading me to this book.  I read her review for this book almost a year ago and it's been on my TBB list for the entire time but I only just picked it up last week.  Why? I have no idea for some reason I never actually saw this book at a bookstore.  I don't know if it wasn't stocked or if it just didn't jump out at me but until I brought my wishlist to the USB store with me I just didn't see it.  Which leads me to believe that if it hadn't been brought to my attention previously I probably never would have read it - and that would really suck!


Abandoned as a child and raised in a brothel, Gabriel St. Croix has never known tenderness, friendship, or affection. Although fluent in sex, he knows nothing of love. Lost and alone inside a nightmare world, all he's ever wanted was companionship and a place to belong. Hiding physical and emotional scars behind an icy fa├žade, his only relationship is with a young boy he has spent the last five years protecting from the brutal reality of their environment. But all that is about to change. The boy's family has found him, and they are coming to take him home.
Sarah Munroe blames herself for her brother's disappearance. When he's located, safe and unharmed despite where he has been living, Sarah vows to help the man who rescued and protected him in any way she can. With loving patience she helps Gabriel face his demons and teaches him to trust in friendship and love. But when the past catches up with him, Gabriel must face it on his own.
Becoming a mercenary, pirate and a professional gambler, Gabriel travels to LondonFrance, and the Barbary Coast in a desperate attempt to find Sarah again and all he knows of love. On the way, however, he will discover the most dangerous journey, and the greatest gamble of all, is within the darkest reaches of his own heart.
Oh my where do I start??  I suppose I'll start with Gabriel since this is essentially Gabriel's story.  Let me just refer to my checklist of favourite hero traits shall I?  Wounded and tortured? Check. Reluctant Hero? Check. Alpha minus the asshole? Check. Gorgeous?  Check.  Completely devoted to the heroine? Check.  Really what more could a girl ask for from her hero??  Not much I think and I think it's obvious that Gabriel most certainly worked for me on so many levels.  I adored him even when I wanted to knock him over the head with a frying pan near the end of the book he still broke my heart.   I loved watching him slowly falling in love with Sarah and growing as he discovered he may actually be worth something after all.
And Sarah!  She is most certainly one of my most favourite heroines EVER!  Even though she did take a back seat to Gabriel in this story (it is his story after all)  I found that she was such a strong character to begin with we didn't need to follow the same character growth etc. that we normally see from both the hero and the heroine.  Sarah had already suffered her trials and she had grown from them and become the person she was prior to this story ever taking place.  Her history was what made her so perfect for Gabriel and probably the one and only person who could truly love and appreciate everything Gabriel was as well as show him his self-worth.  She also came across to me as a very realistic social rebel.  She had grown up with a close and loving family and when that was all taken from her she was released from all the constraints of polite society as she came to realize that there were far more important things than public opinion.   Put simply I adored her and her inner strength, self-knowledge and her unconditional love for Gabriel are what made the happy ending for these two possible.
Now for the story.  It was beautiful.  The first half of the book is magical and wonderful as we watch Gabriel slowly come to realize that Sarah may actually care for him and that he may actually be worth her love.  There is very little conflict for this part of the book aside from Gabriel's self-loathing but that doesn't stop him from "selfishly" falling head over heels for Sarah.   Now for most of the second half of the book there is a looooong separation.  This may bother some people but is quite frankly one of my favourite plot devices when it is done well.  I feel it was done very well in this book.  I cried for almost the entire last two chapters and it's not often a book affects me like that.
Thank you again Kristie for bringing such a wonderful book to my attention.  Now I just have to get my hands on Highland Rebel.
Rating 10/10

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Loot and Two Reads

I've spent the last week of my holidays at home reading, cooking, shopping and relaxing.  Over the past week I finished two books and picked up a few new books at the UBS.


The Secret Pearl - Mary Balogh
                                   


Blurb

Fleur. That was her middle name. The name she told the man to whom she sold herself out of desperate want. But her full name was Isabella Fleur Bradshaw, gently born and brutally expelled from her sheltered life. His name was Adam Kent, Duke of Ridgeway, the wealthiest lord in England, but scarred in war, bitterly betrayed in marriage.

She feared his overpowering physical passion. He fought to keep from loving her. They each had so much to teach each other and so much to learn... 'n a drama of desire played out on a vast estate - where a man and a woman come closer and closer to their moment of heart-pounding truth...



There really isn't much that I can say about this book that hasn't been said before in many other wonderful reviews of this book.  It's enough to say that I loved it.  Adam broke my heart.  The story was beyond romantic and although I didn't totally love Fleur I still very much enjoyed the story.






Natural Selection - Dan Freedman


Blurb


A shocking biological discovery. A previously unknown predatory species. Evolving just like the dinosaurs. Now. Today. Being forced out of its world and into man's for a violent first encounter. Weaving science and thriller in a way not seen since Jurassic Park, Natural Selection introduces a phenomenally dangerous new species that is rapidly adapting in a way never before seen A mystery. A chase. A vast expansive puzzle. A team of marine scientists is on the verge of making the most stunning discovery in the history of man. In their quest for answers, they engage a host of fascinating characters. The world's premier neurology expert. A specialist on animal teeth. Flight simulation wizards, evolution historians, deep sea geologists, and so many more. Along the way, the team of six men and women experience love, friendship, loyalty and betrayal. Together, they set off to exotic locales. Literally to the bottom of the ocean. To a vast and mysterious redwood forest. To an unknown complex of massive caves. When people start dying, the stakes are upped even further. Then the real hunt begins ....


Awww what can I say?  This book was fun - ridiculous but lots of fun.   If you like cheesy monster movies you will probably enjoy this book but just be warned you have to seriously suspend your sense of disbelief but in the end it's worth it.


Similar to most thriller novels I've read the character development seems to be sacrificed for the sake of story telling.  I've gotten used to it so it doesn't bother me as much as before but I'd really like to read a thriller where the characters were more than just space filler.   The writing style and story line make up for it though.  Even during the first half of the book when the scientists were doing little more than tracking the new creatures through the sea I was hooked.  The mystery of the new creature and the discovery of exactly what it is and what it was capable of kept me hooked.  Actually I enjoyed that part more than than the action packed second half of the book.  The second half still kept me interested but it did get a little silly and frustrating at times as the creature behaved in ways that seemed quite bizarre.  I actually think this story would have been more effective had the creature actually stayed a predator in the water rather than coming out on land but...


Anyway, it was quite a bit of fun and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good monster story - just don't take it too seriously!


Book Shopping


I also picked up the following new books this week.



Monday, February 8, 2010

Two Recent Reads

The Name of the Wind

This is a huuuuge book but it's awesomely huge.  I have to say my not being concerned with the number of books I'm reading has so far worked very well for me.  I was able to take my time with this book and really enjoy it.

Summary

My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as "quothe." Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I've had more names than anyone has a right to.

The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it's spoken, can mean The Flame, The Thunder, or The Broken Tree.

"The Flame" is obvious if you've ever seen me. I have red hair, bright. If I had been born a couple of hundred years ago I would probably been burned as a demon. I keep it short but it's unruly. When left to its own devices, it sticks up and makes me look as if I've been set afire.

"The Thunder" I attribute to a strong baritone and a great deal of stage training at an early age.

I've never thought of "The Broken Tree" as very significant. Although in retrospect, I suppose it could be considered at least partially prophetic.

My first mentor called me E'lir because I was clever and I knew it. My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it. I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String. I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them.

But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant "to know."

I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned.

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.

So begins the tale of Kvothe - from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe as a notorious magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician, and an infamous assassin. But THE NAME OF THE WIND is so much more - for the story it tells reveals the truth behind Kvothe's legend.


That isn't so much a summary as it is the introduction to Kvothe's story in the book but it really does sum everything up perfectly.

This is the first of three very large novels in Patrick Rothfuss's Kingkiller Chronicles and it's largely just backstory on how Kvothe came to be Kvothe but it's wonderful backstory.  This is most definitely a character driven fantasy novel.  There isn't a whole lot of action going on but it keeps you turning the pages constantly.  Rothfuss is a fabulous story teller.  This was one of those books that just completely pulls you in and wraps you up in the story.

I loved Kvothe.  I love him in all his egotistical self absorbed glory that has apparently gotten on a few peoples nerves I can honestly say he didn't get on mine.  If the second book was released I would gladly dive right in to another 600+ pages with him.  He is probably one of the most well written characters I've ever read and very complex.  I can't even begin to explain him but I love him but then I've always been a fan of the anti-hero and while Kvothe is pretty much just hero material at this point there are hints of a darker side in there.

There were a few slow points in the book but other than that I really enjoyed this book and I can't wait for the next book to come out.  Whenever that is...

Rating 9/10


The Marriage Bed - Claudia Dain




It starts with a kiss, an explosion of longing that cannot be contained. He is a young knight bent on winning his spurs; she is a maiden promised to another man; theirs is a love that can never be. But a year's passing and a strange destiny brings them together again.


Now he is a monk desperately fleeing temptation, and she is the lady of Dornei, a woman grown, yearning to fulfill the forbidden fantasies of girlhood. They are a couple with nothing in common but a wedding night neither will ever forget.
Eager virgin and unwilling bridegroom, yielding softness and driving strength, somehow they must become one soul, one purpose, one body within the marriage bed.




First off can I just point out how hot this cover is?  I don't normally care for half naked lovers on the covers of the books but I'll make an exception for this one.


Holy Moly - this book was intense.  In every way this book was intense the writing style had everything very short and too the point and while it took a little bit to get used to it after the flowing wonderfulness that was the style of previous book I read it really worked for this story.  The relationship between the hero and heroine is intense and a complex mix of lust/love/hate but this was far more believable lust, love and hate than what you usually find in romance novels.  There is alot of shared hurt between these two and alot to overcome.  Neither of these characters are perfect and at times you want to strangle them but it does make them real and very authentic for medieval characters.  Religon plays a big role in this story and there is a fair amount of violence but it all comes together to make a very satisfying medieval romance.  This isn't a terribly long book and I read almost the entire thing in one sitting and I was tense the whole time.  Even though I knew it was going to have a happy ending I had a hard time believing the author was going to get there with these two.


Which leads me to my one quibble with the book.  The ending completely fizzled out for me.  Maybe I was so tense through the reading that I couldn't keep it up anymore - maybe my mood just fit the tone of the book better when I started it - I don't know.  I think I wanted more angst in the ending it almost seemed too easy.    Who knows it could have been me or maybe it was the book but I do know I was dissappointed.  I'm equally disappointed to realize I traded in The Temptation a later book in the series because I couldn't get into the first time I tried.  I'm glad I pushed through my initial trouble with the writing style because I ended up really enjoying the book and now because I wasn't quite as persistant the last time I'm going to have to go out and re-buy The Temptation again.


Rating  7.8/10