May 30, 2010

The Neverending Story

The Neverending StoryTitle : The Neverending Story
Author : Michael Ende
Reading Dates : 27 May - 30 May 2010

Book Summary of The Neverending Story.
For those unfamiliar with Michael Ende's The Neverending Story, never having seen the movie or read the book, it starts with a very unhappy young boy stealing the above book from Carl Conrad Coreander's bookstore. Bastian Balthazar Bux then proceeds to hide in his school attic and read the book. He finds more than he bargains for in reading the story of Atreyu's adventures while searching for a cure to heal the Childlike Empress of Fantastica. Bastian becomes a part of the story and becomes the saviour of Fantastica. The tale however does not end there for Bastian has his own set of adventures before he manages to finds his way back home .

Book Review of The Neverending Story.
Well, first off I must say that I enjoyed the first half of the book more. This is not to say the second half was no good, just that it was not as exciting. Atreyu was a pathfinder on an quest  to save Fantastica while Bastian, whether he knew it or not, was a lost boy with a great deal of imagination and power.  There is an urgency to Atreyu's story which is missing in Bastian's wanderings. If you do not know the story, Bastian's travels will appear simply like aimless meandering until the mystery of his disappearing memories is explained.

Still, there are many reasons to love this book. The first is as explained by Bastian is the idea of a story that never ends. Anyone with a passion for books will have at one time or another grieved the ending of a wonderful story. Saying goodbye to a character with whom you have shared many adventures can be as difficult as saying farewell to a beloved friend. But alas, the story does end and we have to bid adieu to Atreyu, Falkor and Bastian. At least for the time being.

The second is Fantastica's strange and wondrous denizens. As the story unfolds, you find familiar creatures such as witches, ghosts, vampires, elves, dwarves, centaurs and more. But there are also many more less recognizable like the rock chewers, wind giants, headfooters, four-quarter trolls, blondycats and others. There seems to be no limits to the writer's imagination.

And last but not least, The Neverending Story is also a story about love and responsibility.  Either loving yourself or learning to love others. We learn by watching what Bastian goes through in Fantastica. At the start, Bastian seems intent on using his wishes to make himself into another person but by the end he learns the value of being himself, faults and all. Also wanting to gain the admiration of others and refusing to listen to  honest advice of his friends, Bastian in his misguided attempts to help often ends up causing disastrous consequences both for himself and others. At the end of the tale, Bastian shows how much he has changed by owning up to the theft of the book and apologizes to the bookstore proprietor.

I'm glad I didn't miss this one. What about you ? Have you read the tale or watched the movie and what did you think of it ? Let me know.

May 28, 2010

The Book Blogger Hop, Book Beginnings and The Friday 56 (May 28)

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted at Crazy-for-Books.
In the spirit of the Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING!!

Well, I'm off.  Leave me a note, if you're dropping by.

Book Beginnings is hosted at Page Turners.
Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading. If you like, share with everyone why you do, or do not, like the sentence.

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende :
This inscription could be seen on the glass door of a small shop, but naturally this was only the way it looked if you were inside the dimly lit shop, looking out at the street through the plateglass door.
Is there anyone who doesn't know or remember this story? Not a great beginning, unless you know where it leads.

The Friday 56 is hosted at Storytime with Tonya and Friends

  • Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
  • Turn to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
  • Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
  • Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende :
That region, as Atreyu knew, was the home of bark trolls. These, as he had been told, were giants and giantesses, who themselves looked like gnarled tree trunks.

May 27, 2010

Night Pleasures

Night Pleasures (Dark-Hunter Novels)Title : Night Pleasures
Author : Sherrilyn Kenyon
Reading Dates : 25 May - 27 May 2010

The Dark-Hunter Series. Night Pleasures is the 2nd book in Sherrilyn Kenyon's paranormal romance Dark-Hunter series. Check out the link below for a listing of the books in the series according to reading order.

Book Summary of Night Pleasures.
Accountant Amanda Devereaux wakes up from a visit to her sister's home to find herself handcuffed to a 2000-year old Greek General. Mistaken for her twin sister, the powerful sorceress who has only ever wanted a normal life now finds herself falling for a bad-ass vampire.

Kyrian of Thrace isn't too happy either. In return for an Act of Vengeance against his enemies and traitorous wife, he's been resurrected as a Dark-Hunter; a part of the goddess Artemis's army of the night, protecting humans from the things that go bump in the night. The last thing he needs is a human girl slowing him down, especially when he could so easily fall for her.

Of course, Amanda and Kyrian get their Happy Ever After even with Amanda's own twin being a vampire hunter and an evil demi-god vampire hunting the both of them.

Book Review of Night Pleasures.
I've got mixed feelings about this book. I started off being disappointed and ended up enjoying it reasonably well. The reason being there were less of the parts which I found annoying as the story progressed. 
What did I find annoying ? Well, here's a sample to illustrate :
His shoulders were incredibly broad, with sculpted muscles that promised strength, speed, and agility. His pecs and arms were every bit as well-formed and tight. 
Nothing wrong with that you say. This is a romance novel after all. Well yes, but it gets tedious when the same theme is repeated every few pages. I get it already. He's incredibly gorgeous and she's wonderfully sweet. There's no need to keep telling me that.

That is not to say the book is without its saving grace. I loved both the humor and the way the author has woven Greek mythology into vampire folklore. In Sherrilyn Kenyon's New Orleans, you find eccentric characters like the Dark-Hunter Talon who believes its funny to stake his own mailbox while hunting the vampire-like descendants of Apollo, the god of plagues.

The writer also has left a nice hook near the end to keep readers interested in finding out what is going to happen next :
Before she vanished, she leaned forward and whispered  the answer in Acheron's ear. He went cold with the news as she twinkled into mist.

An interesting enough read to warrant continuing with the next book.

Related Links.

May 25, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (May 25)

teasertuesdays31Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Night Pleasures (Dark-Hunter Novels)My teaser is from Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon :
Amanda was one step away from the hallway when she heard the voice in her head telling her to run. Before she could blink, the lights went out and someone grabbed her from behind.

May 24, 2010

Harpist in the Wind

Title : Harpist in the Wind
Author : Patricia A. McKillip
Reading Dates : 22 May - 24 May 2010

The Riddle-master's Game (Fantasy Masterworks)
The Riddle-Master's Game Trilogy. Harpist in the Wind is the 3rd and final book in Patricia A. McKillip's The Riddle-Master's Game trilogy. The books in the trilogy include :
  • The Riddle-Master of Hed
  • Heir of Sea and Fire
  • Harpist in the Wind

Book Summary of Harpist in the Wind.
Hoping for answers to the riddle of his destiny as the Star-Bearer, Morgon and Raederle journey to the broken city of Lungold. There, the surviving wizards Morgon freed from Ghisteslwchlohm's compulsion are gathering. Burying their dead and preparing either to avenge themselves upon the Founder  of Lungold or die trying. 

Morgon wins the battle against the Founder but is in turn defeated by the shape-changers. He escapes and manages to hide himself.

Drawn back into battle by the riddle Raederle brings him, Morgon prepares once again to fight. Treading into the domain of the High One, Morgon crosses the realm in order to gain the power of land-law. It is also the power of an Earth-Master. And the only thing which would give him enough power to battle other Earth-Masters. For that is what the shape-changers are.

Travelling with Morgon is Raederle and the blind wizard, Yrth, who had crafted both the Star-Bearer's sword and harp a thousand years ago. Unbearably touched by Morgon's kindness to his tormentor, the High One breaks his long silence. Both in the incarnation of Deth and Yrth, he has always been by Morgon's side. He reveals that the Star-Bearer is the land-heir promised to him thousands of years ago by his own dead son.

In the meantime, unknowingly drawn by the High One to the place of his birth, the land-rulers start to gather with their people. Miners, farmers, vesta and wraiths join the remnants of the Ymris army  in Wind Plain to end the war against the Earth-Masters.

In the end, Morgon inherits the High One's land-rule during the height of battle and wins back the realm from the Earth-Masters. To prevent them from further mischief, he binds them to Erlenstar Mountain.

Book Review of Harpist in the Wind.
There isn't enough I can say about Harpist in the Wind specifically and The Riddle-Master's Game in general. I love the way the author describes the use of wizardry and land-law in the High One's realm. There is the battle in Lungold, Morgon's flight from the shape-changers, his learning of land-law and final battle in Wind Plain. Reading the words crafted by Patricia Anne McKillip, it is difficult not to fall in love with her world and the people living in it. And on another level, learn to see and love the beauty of our own world. Here is a sample taken from the time Morgon first sets out to learn the land-law  :
"He let his brain become stone, rich, worn, ponderous. He drew all knowledge of it into himself, of its great strength, its inmost colors, its most fragile point where he might have shattered it with a thought."

Besides this, there's also Morgon's actions taken at the start of this third book. Similar to J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, the writer has Morgon gathering an army of ghosts to protect the land he loves. What is different and makes it better for me, is that Morgon uses love and understanding to gather his army. The dead kings and warriors of  An come and pledge themselves to him not out of a past broken promise but because they understand his pain and need.

Finally, there is the message woven into this tale. The Earth-Masters and the Founder of Lungold seeking power and knowledge destroyed themselves by their thoughtless use of their gifts. Disregarding the effects of using their powers indiscriminately, the Earth-Masters destroyed their own children and their cities. The Founder's quest for more power, ended with him bound by the one he sought to enslave. It is the Star-Bearer, valuing love above power, who wins through by refusing to yield the lives of those he cares for.

Oh, this is one of those books that is truly well worth every cent I paid for it.

Related Links.

May 23, 2010

A Year in Blogging (Part 1)

Looking back, I've just realized that very soon it'll be a year since I first started blogging. So, this is just a short recap of the books I've read and blogged about since I first started out so long ago.

Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)My first post was written while I was finishing my Harry Potter books the second time around.

Then, there was the Stephen King marathon starting with The Talisman. By necessity, there were some occasional breaks for a change of pace.
Stephen King Black House & The Talisman The Dark Tower Boxed Set (Books 1-4)Nightmares & Dreamscapes

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Paperback Boxed Set (Books 1-3)
Septimus Heap Box Set: Books 1 and 2After King I had a hankering for something with a little more happier endings. Thus, Percy Jackson and Septimus Heap came to play.

Came across a few vampires in The Noble Dead then, but my fascination was short-lived.
Sister of the Dead (The Noble Dead)
Dhampir (Noble Dead)

Finished 2009 with the tried and true, hoping for a Happy Ever After, but time and distance does change one's perspective.
Come the Spring (Clayborne Brothers)For the RosesThe Clayborne Brides: One Pink Rose / One White Rose / One Red Rose (3 Books in 1)

May 22, 2010

The Book Blogger Hop (May 21)

Hosted by Crazy For Books - this is what its about:
In the spirit of the Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on!  This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!  So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list below!!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun!  This is a weekly event!

Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.

If you start following someone through the Hop, leave a comment on their blog to let them know!  Stop back during the week to see other blogs that are added!  And, most importantly, the idea is to HAVE FUN!!

The Hop isn't just for you to throw your link in there and not visit any other blogs.  It's all about networking and finding new blogs that are of interest.  So, in the spirit of the Hop, try to make some time to visit other blogs and don't post your link if you are not planning on visiting other blogs in the Hop that week.  This is a weekly event, so if you don't have time this week, that's fine!  We'll see you next week!

Thanks for visiting my blog. Please feel free to look around. Similarly, I'm hopping around visiting other book blogs.

Heir of Sea and Fire

Title : Heir of Sea and Fire
Author : Patricia A. McKillip
Reading Dates : 21 May - 22 May 2010

The Riddle-master's Game (Fantasy Masterworks)
The Riddle-Master's Game Trilogy. Heir of Sea and Fire is the 2nd book in Patricia A. McKillip's The Riddle-Master's Game trilogy. The books in the trilogy include :
  • The Riddle-Master of Hed
  • Heir of Sea and Fire
  • Harpist in the Wind

Book Summary of Heir of Sea and Fire.
Raederle of An's 2 year wait for the Prince of Hed ends in sorrow when news comes that the land-rule of Hed has passed from Morgon to his brother, Eliard. Believing Morgon dead or mad and needing answers, Raederle and a few of those who loved Morgon make the perilous journey to Erlenstar Mountain hoping for answers from the High One.

Only as they near their destination, news comes that Morgon has been seen alive but terribly changed by his year of imprisonment and torture.  Bent on vengeance, Morgon is pursuing Deth who had betrayed him to Ghisteslwchlomn, the Founder of Lungold.

As Raederle chases after Morgon, she realizes that she is a part of the riddles surrounding Morgon for she is descended of the shape-changers seeking to end the Star-Bearer's life. In the end, Raederle mistakenly brings about Deth and Morgon's meeting while trying to protect Morgon from his enemies.

"They were promised a man of peace." Echoing the earlier words of the dead children of the Earth-Masters, Deth stays Morgon's final blow. Now, Morgon and Raederle must try to unravel the maze of riddles before them.

Book Review of Heir of Sea and Fire.
The Heir of Sea and Fire starts off rather slowly and it isn't until Raederle's initial reunion with Morgon that the story takes off. Raederle's journey to Erlenstar Mountain is not as interesting as Morgon's. Although there are a few difficulties, there is none of the sense of danger which accompanied Morgon's travels. Raederle is in possession of more survival skills with her magic than Morgon at the start of the story. But, we do not truly get a sense of the full scope of her abilities until her flight from the shape-changer and most notably when she seeks to protect Morgon from the Founder of Lungold. So, be patient and wait. It's worth it.

Also while this second book tells of Raederle's adventures, it is also Morgon and Raederle's love story. In the first book we know that Morgon and Raederle are friends, but their feelings are only hinted at. Morgon won Raederle's hand by accident rather than design. However, here we witness the lengths to which the both of them go to in order to protect each other.

Although he doesn't appear until near the end and very little is mentioned of what was done to him in the past year, the author manages to make us feel Morgon's pain. And we understand why the land-rulers in the High One's realm close their borders to Deth immediately after meeting Morgon.  And we see the price the Prince of Hed has had to pay for a destiny he never wanted and sympathize with his desire for vengeance.

'Morgon, an agony breaking into his face, screamed at him in a voice that must have reverberated through the black caverns of Erlenstar Mountain, "What is it you want of me?"'

This is definitely a must read.

Related Links.

May 21, 2010

The Riddle-Master of Hed

The Riddle-Master of HedTitle : The Riddle-Master of Hed
Author : Patricia A. McKillip
Reading Dates : 18 May - 20 May 2010

The Riddle-master's Game (Fantasy Masterworks)
The Riddle-Master's Game Trilogy. The Riddle-Master of Hed is the 1st book in Patricia A. McKillip's The Riddle-Master's Game trilogy. The books in the trilogy include :
  • The Riddle-Master of Hed
  • Heir of Sea and Fire
  • Harpist in the Wind

Book Summary of The Riddle-Master of Hed.
Leaving the tiny, peaceful island of Hed to claim the bride he won, Morgon finds instead enemies trying to kill  him because of the stars written on his face. Attempting to solve the riddle of his destiny, the Prince of Hed finds himself crossing the realm of the High One and traveling further from Hed than any of her land-ruler ever has.

'Earth. Wind. The great war destroyed us. So we were promised a man of peace.' With these words and many more such puzzling hints, Morgon finds himself the unwilling participant of a destiny written more than a thousand years before his own birth. A destiny that started with a long forgotten war which destroyed the Earth-Masters which ruled the realm before any of the land-rulers came to be.

Hoping that the High One who is also the last of the Earth-Masters will have the answers, Morgon travels with Deth to Erlenstar Mountain. All he finds is instead betrayal and despair.

Book Review of The Riddle-Master of Hed.
I've lost count of the number of times I've read The Riddle-Master of Hed, but I do know I fall in love with the book every time I read it. And every time, I promise myself I'll be reading more of Patricia A. McKillip in the future.

Reading The Riddle-Master of Hed is like reading a beautiful fairy tale. The world the story is set in is where a farmer challenges the ghost of a long-dead riddle-master and wins both a bride and a crown. One in which the men who inherits the rule of the land become a part of the very land itself. One in which the land-rulers unhesitatingly pledge all they have to help a stranger they have just met. One in which the knowledge and lessons of the past are taught through riddles. Both the world Morgon sees and the people he meets as he travels with Deth, the High One's Harpist, from Hed to Erlenstar Mountain are equally lovely that you can't help but wish to see it all again.

Related Links.
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