Sunday, January 30, 2011

Book Review: The Legend of Huma by Richard A Knaak

The Legend of Huma (Dragonlance: Heroes)
The Legend of Huma (Dragonlance: Heroes) by Richard A. Knaak

8.The Legend of Huma by Rihard A. Knaak

Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 379
Acquired: Prior to 1999
Book of Your Shelf? Yes
Why I have/read it: Part of DragonLance world (rereading all)
Series: DragonLance, Heroies (1)

Huma is a knight of legend among all the races of Krynn. He came from humble beginnings, fought through great challenges, and finally faced the dark goddess herself and a way. This is finally the telling of his story, the true story, without all the gloss and shine the ages have placed on it over the years.

Huma is a knight of order dedicated to honor, truth, and loyalty. Known throughout the world for following their strict code. As the Queen of Darkness herself begins a war to conquer to world, nothing seems to be able to stop her. The knights fight valiantly to hold her back, but are losing ground little by little. As what must be the final battle approaches all seems lost. But Paladine, the god of good has a little something up his sleeve, but only if Huma can pass the tests put before him to test not only his mind and body, but his soul. And he must be willing to give up much to save the world.

I love this entire series, and this story has long been one of my favorites. It can be read independently of the rest since it is more of a history than a continuation of the world. The story is face paced and full of surprises, even to someone who has read it before. There is love, betrayal, respect won, and strange friends made. It is full of dragons, magic, knights, and the ever present battle of good vs evil.


Book Review: A Separate Country by Robert Hicks

A Separate Country
A Separate Country by Robert Hicks

7. A Separate Country by Robert Hicks

Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 419
Acquired: 10/3/2009
Book of Your Shelf? Yep
Why I have/read it: Group Read that I didn't have time for originally
Series: No

Eli Griffin has been given a special task by General Hood. A task that will take him deep into the Hood family's history and open a whole can full of mysteries and intrigue. General Hood and his wife, Anna Marie, have both written their histories down and we follow their tale as Eli reads through it, with the occassional jump back to the "present" as we see the effects their stories have on the man.

General Hood is not a good man and has done things that lead to the deaths of many people. This is his story and how he comes to terms with his past and tries to make up for what he has done. While I did not like General Hood in the beginning, he seemed to be a callous and cruel man, by the end he had earned, at least, my respect. Respect for accepting the consequences of his actions and learning from them. Respect for trying to change his life.

I'm a little at a loss as to what to think of Anna Marie. I had a very hard time relating to her as a woman, mother, or wife. She seemed to be constantly trying to overcome something within herself, something similar to selfishness, that she could never quite master. This seemed to hang over her head too often to allow me as a reader to get too close.

Eli Griffin, the main narrator, was an odd man, and I'm still not quite sure what to think of him. He changes and grows in ways that are surprisingly familiar, but I can't seem to put my finger on why.

I enjoyed reading the book, but there were times I had to put it down, especially near the beginning, because the scenes were a quite disturbing. They were there for a purpose, and the book wouldn't have been the same without them, though.


Book Review: Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney

Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition)
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition) translated by Seamus Heaney

6. Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney

Pages: 215
Acquired: January 2011
Book of Your Shelf? Nope
Why I have/read it: Group Read
Series: No

The heroic tale of the warrior Beowulf and his fights against three monters. A "modern" translation of the Old English poem, it was very easy to understand. The translation flowed smoothly for the most part, and was easy to follow and really get into the story. The only complaint I have, is that there were times the rhythm seemed a bit off and it pulled me out of the story.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book Review: Her Dearest Sin by Gayle Wilson

Her Dearest Sin (Harlequin Historical)Her Dearest Sin (Harlequin Historical) by Gayle Wilson

5. Her Dearest Sin by Gayle Wilson
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Harlequin
Pages: 304
Acquired: 2001ish
Book of Your Shelf? Yes
Why I have/read it: Part of a large collection I received as a gift, TIOLI
Series: Harlequin Historical, Sinclair Brides (3)

Pilar and Sebastian Sinclair meet on very strange circumstances. She is trying to steal his clothes so that she can run away from her guardian/fiance. Needless to say, since we are just starting the story, she gets caught, he gets accused of trying to help her, and her guardian Julian Delgado is very angry.

Sebastian and Pilar meet later, of course, and all sorts of crazy things happen. All of which make Julian even more upset. (Julian is not very nice.)

I really liked Pilar, and she was written in a way that allowed to reader to understand her actions even when they seemed to go against what she should do. Sebastian on the other hand, was a bit of an arrogant first. He slowly changes and learns and becomes a better man.

Not too bad for a Harlequin. The story and setting were very interesting without too many hot and heavy scenes.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Giveaway Link: Incarceron and Sapphique

SapphiqueIncarceronBookin' with Bingo is hosting yet another great giveaway.  This time it is for the books Incarceron and Sapphique by Catherine Fisher.

For more information and to enter click Here.

Book Giveaway: Young Adult Series

The Capture (Guardians of Ga'hoole, Book 1)Bookin' With Bingo is hosting a giveaway for the first three book in the Guardian's of Ga'hoole series.

For more information and to enter click HERE.

Giveaway Link: Chelsea Cain Trilogy

Bookin' with Bingo is hosting a giveaway for the Chelsea Cain mystery trilogy:  Heartsick, Sweetheart, and Evil at Heart.

For more information and to enter click HERE.

Giveaway Link: Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag

Secrets to the GraveBookin' With Bingo is hosting a giveaway for the book Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag.  This looks to be quite a page turner.

For more information and to enter click HERE.

Giveaway Link: Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani

Viola in Reel LifeBookin'With Bingo is hosting a giveaway for the book Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani.  This book has gotten great reviews and I hope to have a chance to read it soon myself.

For more information and to enter the contest click HERE.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Review: Love and War edited by Margaret Weis

Love and War (Dragonlance: Tales)Love and War (Dragonlance: Tales) edited by Margaret Weis

4. Love and War edited by Margaret Weis
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 365
Acquired: Prior to 1999
Book of Your Shelf? Yes
Why I have/read it: Part of DragonLance world (rereading all), Third in a series, January 2011 TIOLI
Series: DragonLance, Tales #3

A book of short stories guessed and war, and occasionally both at the same time. Most of the stories were entertaining and a few were quite nice to read.

I would not recommend this book/series as a place to start if you have not read any other DragonLance books, as you may not recognize the people or events. This would greatly take away from the stories. However, if you have read a few and you would like a quick peak into the characters' lives before and after their novel worthy deeds, I'm sure you would enjoy this.


Book Review: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

Amber Spyglass #3 His Dark MaterialsAmber Spyglass #3 His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

3. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 518
Acquired: 2/27/2010
Book of Your Shelf? Yes
Why I have it: Third (final) of a series
Series: His Dark Materials #3

Lyra and Will are back and still trying to find a way to Lyra's father, Lord Asriel. Lord Asriel's war is fully underway, but the final and decisive battle is still to come. Lyra and Will meet Mary Malone, a friend made in Will's earth, in yet another version of the world. (The jumping around sounds much more confusing that it actually is in the book.) Mary must help them find a way to understand dust and save all the worlds in existence.

Lyra is a character I will always love. She is so realistic to me it's frightening. Will is a bit to steadfast for my taste...almost too stubborn and to be real at times.

I hate to say too much about the plot and ruin it for people who have not yet read the first two. This was a fantastic end to a series. I was sad to see it stop, but completely happy about the way it did. Not all the strings were tied off nice and neat, but that's life, messy. All the plot lines were wrapped up in a way that allowed the characters to have resolution and a continuing purpose beyond the end of the story.

The twists and turns were numerous, but all made sense as they occurred. They were also spaced out in a way that made the story seem more real and believable.


Giveaway Link: A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer

A Heartbeat AwayA Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer

Tutu's Two Cents has written a fabulous review of this book, and is hosting a giveaway for a signed copy of the hardback book.  Deadline to enter is Feb 15. 

Head on over and check it out.  For details click HERE!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Giveaway Link: The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig

The Orchid Affair (Pink Carnation)Passages to the past is hosting a great give away for The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig.

Click HERE for more information or to enter the contest.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Review: Dragon's Knight by Catherine Archer

Dragon's Knight (Harlequin Historical)
Dragon's Knight (Harlequin Historical) by Catherine Archer
Genre: Romance

Pages: 297
Acquired: 2001?
Book of Your Shelf? Yes
Why I have it: Part of large collection received as gift
Series: Brotherhood of the Dragon Book 2

Aislynn Greatham's brother has gone missing. He left many weeks ago on a strange mission and no one has heard word from him since. Desparate to find him Aislynn writes to one of his best friends , Jarrod Maxwell, to see if he would be willing to help. The two of them, along with a family knight for chaperone, strike out on the slimmest of clues to try and find where her brother has gone.

Aislynn Greatham is a "typical" medieval daughter to me. Obedient to her father in just about everything. Betrothed and happy about it for a political reason. She didn't seem to have much to her at first. She never really has too much more to her character, but a hidden strength and love for her family is revealed as she travels with Jarrod to find her brother.

Jarrod Maxwell has a grudge against the world. An illigitimate child of a noble and a war camp follower, he feels that the world does not accept him and that he has no place, other than that of friend to Aislynn's brother. He jumps at the chance to help his best friend and tries his best to deal with the sister that has been sent along with him. Jarrod was a fantastic character. He grows and develops with every page. He changes from a cold, hard man to a man that has learned to love and forgive by the end of the story.

The story seems to be a typical romance. Boy meets girl. Girl and boy don't like each other. Something dramatic happens and they fall in love.


Book Review: The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, Book 2)
The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, Book 2) by Philip Pullman

The second book in His Dark Materials Trilogy was not nearly as well written as the first. Lyra has crossed over into another world where she meets Will, from yet another world. At first the jumping around was a little confusing, but I think that helped me understand how Lyra felt. Being in a place that is so similar to home, yet at the same time completely different.

Lyra is the same loveable brat that she is in the first book. We see how she has developed as a character a little bit. She has learned that her actions have consequences, and they are not always what she expects them to be. We also meet her new friend, Will. This book is more a tale about Will's quest than Lyra's. The world they meet in is haunted by strange creatures that seem to feed off people and they uncover an artifact with strange powers that no one really understands.

This book seems to be more of a transition book. Things needed to happen in order to continue the story, but I just didn't find this part to be nearly as interesting as book 1 or 3.


Book Review: The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

The Demon Trapper's Daughter
The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Pages: 340
Acquired: 12/31/10
Book of Your Shelf? No
Why I have it: ARC (February 2011)
Series: Demon Trappers Book 1

Riley Blackthorn is an apprentice demon trapper. She's allowed to capture level one demons, the least violent and dangerous variety. When things go horribly wrong during what should have been a standard trapping, Riley discovers the demon's not only know her name, but are working together (which has never happened before in all of trapper history). While recovering from the strange encounter, a much higher level demon murders her father and leaves Riley alone in the world. Riley is more determined than ever to become a Master demon trapper so she can track down the demon that murdered her father and remove him from the world.

Riley is a spunky teenager that has a lot to deal with. She lives with her father in near poverty, in a society that doesn't seem to value it's youth anymore. As Riley struggles to make ends meet after her father's death and still continue to her trapping studies, she meets many people. Some that are determined to help, and some that are determined to see her fail.

The world is supposed to be set a few years in the future (2018 according to the book description), but this is never really mentioned in the story. There are several other things that are not necessarily explained that I hope will unfold as the series progresses. For example, why the demons are suddenly more plentiful. Even without this knowledge readily apparent in the story, I loved following Riley as she uncovers where her future is heading.

If you are an urban fantasy fan, and enjoy demons, necromancers, good guys and bad guys, with a bit of mystery thrown in, then this is a great start for what could be a new top series.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Review: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1)
The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1) by Philip Pullman

Lyra has always been adventurous and it has led her into several awkward predicaments, but she is about to stumble into her greatest adventure yet. An unknown force, known only as the Gobblers, has been stealing children. Rumors abound about what happens to the stolen children. When one of Lyra's friends is taken, she decides that she must go find him.

Her quest takes her across the world from the city of Oxford to the swamps where the gyptians live and finally in to frozen north of Svalbard. Here she discovers the awful truth of what the Gobblers are really doing, and it's worse than anyone had imagined.

Lyra's adventures are beyond belief and fantastic. While she can be quite an obnoxious brat at times, you can't help but fall in love with her and her friends. Her friends are varied but loyal. There's just something about the girl that they can't resist wanting to help. The story is written in a way that draws you into her life and had you rooting for her the whole time.


Book Review: The Magician of Hoad

The Magician of Hoad
The Magician of Hoad by Margaret Mahy

The Magician of Hoad is the story of a boy, Heriot, a boy that is discontent with his place in the world, has always seemed to not fit in. Then one day he finds out that he is actually so much more than he expected. He is a magician, but not just any magician. He is to become the official Magician of Hoad.

But the boy, realizes quickly that he does not want his destiny to be determined by his new title. He wants to be the man he decides he wants to be. He realizes that his powers can be a dangerous thing and that some people would stop at nothing to control them, and if they can't, they would destroy them.

Ultimately this seems to be a coming of age story. Heriot spends his life trying to find out who he really is and what he is really supposed to do. He realizes that neither of these have answers that anyone can give him but himself.


Book Review: Millie's Fling by Jill Mansell

Millie's Fling
Millie's Fling by Jill Mansell

After reading Perfect Timing, I knew I had to try another of Jill Mansell's books. I'd heard great things about Millie's Fling and it didn't disappoint. Millie is in a rut. A job rut, a boyfriend rut, and she needs some change. Little does she know that change will come about with her decision to speak to bestselling romance author, Orla Hart. Orla immediately takes Millie "under her wing" and sets about trying to find the perfect man for her....and while she's at it, she's going to write a book about Millie's romantic woes and hopefully the finding of her perfect guy.

Millie's roommate and best friend, Hester, is having her own romantic problems as well. With a boyfriend far away for work and a past crush coming back into town, she is torn as to what she should do. Throw in handsome eligible bachelors of every sort and things start happening. But will Millie be able to find the man of her dreams?