Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Giveaway Link: Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

Born at Midnight (A Shadow Falls Novel)Tynga's Reviews is giving away a copy of C.C. Hunter's book, Born at Midnight (A Shadow Falls Novel).  On top of that, there is an awesome swag pack that will be coming along with it.

For more information or to enter click HERE!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Giveaway Link: Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler

Rage (Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Book 2)Tynga's Reviews is hosting a giveaway for Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler. 

For more information or to enter click HERE.

Giveaway Link: Simon & Schuster Prize Pack #2

Tynga's Reviews is hosting a great giveaway.  Four books from Simon & Schuster are up for grabs. 

For more information and to enter click HERE

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-Thon

Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-Thon is almost here.  It starts on April 9, 2011, just around the corner.  I wasn't able to participate last year, but can't wait to get started this year.  I'm hoping to put a major dent in my TBR bookcase and my Nook TBR shelves.

If you're interested click HERE.

Readers of all types are welcome!

Book Review: Weasel's Luck by Michael Williams

Weasel's Luck (Dragonlance: Heroes Volume Three)Weasel's Luck (Dragonlance: Heroes Volume Three) by Michael Williams

Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 347
Acquired: Prior to 1998
Book of Your Shelf? Yes
Why I have it: Part of DragonLance world/series, Reread
Series: DragonLance, Heroes (3)

Galen Pathwarder, not so affectionately referred to as Weasel, is the third son of a noble family of Solomnic Knights (think uber honorable and a bit uptight). He isn't the son his father always wanted. Instead he lies, cheats, and occasionally sets something on fire. His older brothers aren't much better. The oldest is rather stupid and is always up to no good, while the middle brother seems to be some sort of a priest or monkish type, always meditating and trying to live among the animals.

One night Galen is approached by an entity of sorts he refers to as the Scorpion. Now the Scorpion is a very foul character that only lead Galen even further astray from the path his father hopes he will someday follow. Little do any of them know that the seemingly dark path Galen finds himself now on is far more important than they can imagine.

Galen is faced with a multitude of trials as he travels through satyr and centaur infested swamps, ogres in the mountains, and curses in the castle. He handles each situation with his own version of knightly duty - namely hiding and claiming to be keeping look out. But the journey changes him along the way and he finds himself the unlikely hero several times.

Another DragonLance novel that can be read as a stand alone book. It fills in some of the history and culture of the world without directly relating to any of the other stories.


Giveaway Link: Teeth: Vampire Tales

Teeth: Vampire TalesTynga's Reviews is hosting a contest for a copy of Teeth: Vampire Tales, an anthology of vampire stories.

For more information and to enter click HERE

Giveaway Link: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel

There is a giveaway that is ending soon over at Bookin' With Bingo for the first four books in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series - and they're hardcovers!

For more info and to enter click HERE

Monday, March 21, 2011

Book Review: No One Lives Twice by Julie Moffett

No One Lives TwiceNo One Lives Twiceby Julie Moffett

Genre: Romance, Suspense
Pages: 295
Acquired: 7/16/10
Book of Your Shelf? No
Why I have it: NetGalley
Series: No

Lexi Carmichael is a geek, a computer geek to be specific, and works for the NSA. She has no love life to speak of, and doesn't find herself to be very appealing to men. But now her best friend Basia has disappeared and men seem to be lining up to help find her.

I loved the action in this story. It was fast paced and exciting. It was great to see a bunch of computer geeks in action to save the day. In fact, the computer geeks were my favorite part...except for Lexi. Now since Lexi is our main character, that poses quite a predicament. Lexi is just a little too depressing. She complains about her lack of love life, her lack of taste in clothes, and about anyone who tries to help her. She gets a bit annoying at times just because she is always talking herself down.

The action, on the other hand, is fantastic. There are so many twists and turns subtly worked into the story, and they kept me guessing up until the very end.


Book Review: The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner

The Tudor Secret (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles)The Tudor Secret (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles) by C.W. Gortner

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 352
Acquired: 2/28/11
Book of Your Shelf? No
Why I have it: ARC
Series: Spymaster Chronicles (1)

Welcome back to the Tudor court (one of my favorite places to read about). King Edward is sick and rumored to be dieing. The kingdom is in an uproar, and the regent prepares to put Jane Grey on the throne, usurping both Princess Mary and Princess Elizabeth.

Enter Brendan Prescott, an orphan raised by the Dudley family at their country estate, sent to court to serve their son Robert. But as everyone in the Tudor era seems to, they have an ulterior motive. Brendan finds himself sucked into a web of intrigue revolving around a plot to imprison and possibly execute the Princesses.

Overall, a very interesting story. The author admits to taking liberty with some of her characters and expanding on rumors that were very vague in the time. I had two big complaints. One, that there were a few contradictions in the story. People were said to have one point of view or opinion only to have it miraculously flip a couple of chapters later without any explanation. Two, the romance in the story seems to spring out of nowhere. I was very much blindsided by it. Once I paused and went back, just accepting it and moving on, it was a nice part of the overall story.

The characters grew and developed, but it was all very abrupt and made things a bit choppy. If there is a second in the series, I will probably give it a try and give the author another chance to smooth out the flow of her story.


Book Battle 2011 Announced

Fantastic news!  The theme for Book Battle 2011 has been announced over on The Shady Glade.  This year the theme is going to be .....

... Best Under-Appreciated Book.

This sounds like it could get very interesting.  The call for volunteers has been posted.  Please go check it out if you're interested!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Book Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

OutlanderOutlander by Diana Gabaldon

Genre: Fantasy, Scottish, Romance
Pages: 896
Acquired: 2/26/11
Book of Your Shelf? No
Why I have/read it: Fantasy February
Series: Outlander (1)

Claire Randall, an English nurse from the 1940's, is in for the surprise of her life. While on vacation with her husband in Scotland, she finds a strange circle of stones and somehow is transported back into 1743 Scotland. Confused and disoriented, she finds herself in the hands of a Scottish lord and his men, on the run from the English.

As Claire adjusts to her new life in Scotland, she take son the task of being nurse to the castle she now lives in. The people slowly work their way into her heart. At the same time, she desperately misses her husband and searches for a way she may be able to sneak off and use the stones to go back to her own time and place. Instead she finds herself right in the middle of a feud between the Scottish people that have taken her in and an English Corporal, that just happens to be one of her husband's ancestors.

I enjoyed the little twists and turns the story took along the way. Gabaldon was able to keep the story moving very nicely throughout the almost 900 pages, something that can't be very easy to do. There were a few sections that I did struggle through, but were important to the development of the many characters.

I was very surprised at the amount of romance that was included, and have to admit there were times I skimmed over a bit of the love scenes. There were times it seemed a bit much for the type of novel that I expected, but at the same time it didn't seem to effect my overall liking of the book.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Review: Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Book 1)Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Book 1) by Jim Butcher

Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 672
Acquired: 3/2/10
Book of Your Shelf? Yes
Why I have/read it: Fantasy February
Series: Codex Alera (1)

Welcome to Alera, a kingdom vaguely reminiscent of Rome, even some of the names sound Roman. Alera is a kingdom filled with people who can control the elements with their furies. The stronger the fury, the more powerful the person's control, some are even able to control more than one fury.

Amara is a cursor of Alera. A government official that is sent on a variety of different types of missions. Amara is a spy. During her most recent mission she stumbles into a hot bed of treason - a plot to kill the ruler, Quintus Sextus (see the Roman). A high ranking noble has allied himself with Alera's enemies.

Tavi is a special boy. Raised in the outskirts of the kingdom as a shepherd, he is very unique. He doesn't have a fury yet, unheard of for someone his age. He doesn't let that stop him for doing his work and getting into trouble. His latest trouble is more than anyone would have ever expected. He finds himself thrown together with Amara trying to stop a war.

I enjoyed the use of furies in the book. They were not made out to be all powerful being, but each one unique in personality, power, and weaknesses. The story threw a few surprise twists my way and at times was even a little political instead of all magic and fighting. The characters were just starting to show a lot of promise in their development when the book ended, so I'll have to pick up the next one to see what becomes of them.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Book Review: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R. R. MartinA Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R. R. Martin

Genre: Fantasy, Medieval
Pages: 864
Acquired: 2005
Book of Your Shelf? Yes
Why I have/read it: Fantasy February, Re-read, Group Read
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (1)

The seven kingdoms, united under one ruler, have lived a life of peace and comfort since King Robert took the throne. But nothing is ever as it seems. Within the king's court there is murder and treason, with no one aware of what is really going on. Across the seas, the last remnants of the previous royal family gather forces to reclaim their throne. To the north, the unthinkable gathers, the creatures of myth and legend that have been forgotten.

The first book in the series centers around the Stark family, the lords of the northernmost part of the kingdom, and the last Targaryens. The Starks, close friends of King Robert, are quickly drawn into the turmoil at court without realizing it. The Stark children are fascinating. I find it difficult to pick a favorite of the four (five if you count Lord Stark's bastard).

The last of the Targaryens plot revenge and invasion from across the seas to reclaim their throne. Daenarys Targaryen is one of my absolute favorite characters of all time. The Princess is soft and delicate, yet hard and proud when the situation calls for it.

I find it very difficult to describe the story without giving too much away about the characters and the plot. I admire Martin's honest writing. He does not flinch from including practices that were very common in real life medieval kingdoms: murder, execution, brothels, arranged marriages, and abuse. The way he weaves it into the story only enhances the sense of realism. Now, I don't want to scare anyone away. While the times were brutal, Martin is not overly graphic in a way some writers can be. It's there for a reason, not for only for shock effect.

The kingdom sits on the brink...on the brink of war, destruction, and invasion. But no one realizes it yet. The noble families of the kingdom are about to be plunged into a web of lies and intrigue. Even the most honorable among them will find themselves doubting those they trusted the most and doing things would have never considered in the past. The peace has lasted too long and people are growing soft, but as they say, "Winter is coming." And this one promises to be long.