September 29, 2010

Review : Sir Thursday by Garth Nix

Title : Sir Thursday
Author : Garth Nix
Reading Dates : 29 Aug - 30 Aug 2010
Sir Thursday (Keys to the Kingdom, Book 4)
Keys to the Kingdom
The books in the series include :
  • Mister Monday
  • Grim Tuesday
  • Drowned Wednesday
  • Sir Thursday
  • Lady Friday
  • Superior Saturday
  • Lord Sunday
From goodreads :
On the fourth day there was war... Following their adventures in the Border Sea, Arthur and Leaf head for home. But only Leaf gets through the Front Door. Arthur is blocked because someone . . . or something . . . has assumed his identity and is taking over his life. Before Arthur can take action, he is drafted by Sir Thursday and forced to join the Glorious Army of the Architect. While Leaf tries to banish Arthur's doppleganger on earth, Arthur must survive his basic training, avoid getting posted to the Front and work out how he can free Part Four of the Will....

Book Review of Sir Thursday.
Sir Thursday starts off rather slowly compared to the first 3 books, but introduces plenty of new and interesting characters to the world of The Keys to the Kingdom.

What I didn't like were the bits involving Leaf. While that part of the story is important, I thought that it was a bit long drawn out and might have been better if Suzy had arrived earlier to help Leaf.

Arthur's recruitment to the Glorious Army too had an understandably slow start at least until the Piper's army shows up of course. Then, things really got exciting very fast.

What I loved reading about was how Arthur puts the advice his army brother had given him in the past to use. Both when Sir Thursday promotes Arthur and when he finally takes command of the Glorious Army. It was also interesting to note Arthur's frustrations at having to deal with impractical denizens. There is simply something amusing at having a young boy finding adults to be lacking in common sense and having to drum it into them

I also liked having Arthur finally put all the power he now commands to use as he orders the Will to mobilize all available forces from the Lower House, the Far Reaches and the Border Sea to reinforce the Glorious Army. It was just too bad that we didn't get to see any of them in action for long.

The Great Maze where the Glorious Army is stationed is also fascinating. A moving landscape which forms a part of their defensive strategy and which as it turns out can be used against them. How the Piper got a hold of the movements of the tectonic plates is certainly an intriguing question.

My conclusion : An interesting read for fantasy fans.

September 27, 2010

It's Monday What Are You Reading ? #6

It's Monday What Are You Reading ? is hosted at One Persons Journey through a World of Books.

It's Monday What Are You Reading?

Where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.

Here's what I read :

What I'm currently reading :

Up next :

September 26, 2010

Review : Drowned Wednesday by Garth Nix

Title : Drowned Wednesday
Author : Garth Nix
Reading Dates : 28 Aug - 29 Aug 2010
Drowned Wednesday (Keys to the Kingdom, Book 3)
Keys to the Kingdom
The books in the series include :
  • Mister Monday
  • Grim Tuesday
  • Drowned Wednesday
  • Sir Thursday
  • Lady Friday
  • Superior Saturday
  • Lord Sunday
From goodreads :
Everyone is after Arthur Penhaligon. Strange pirates. Shadowy creatures. And Drowned Wednesday, whose gluttony threatens both her world and Arthur's. With his unlimited imagination and thrilling storytelling, Garth Nix has created a character and a world that become even more compelling with each book. As Arthur gets closer to the heart of his quest, the suspense and mystery grow more and more intense. . . .

Book Review of Drowned Wednesday.
Book 3 is another one I loved in The Keys to the Kingdom.

Drowned Wednesday is the most amusing of the books in series so far. Arthur ends up in a number of funny situations after accepting Lady Wednesday's invitation to lunch on the Border Sea, especially as he ends up on the Moth whose crew of salvagers are more suited to administrative work.

The third book is also interesting for its introduction of the Raised Rats. The rats were once ordinary rats brought to the House by the Piper. And while they remain mortal, they are also talking, thinking rats. It was certainly fun watching how these rats proof themselves to be more disciplined and brave than most of the denizens on the Border Sea. I'm certainly looking forward to reading more of the Raised Rats in the next books.

Finally, I also like that throughout most of his adventures, Arthur never does it alone. He might try to do the dangerous stuff single-handedly, but his friends never abandon him even when he orders them too.

My sole complaint though was that we didn't get to explore more of the Border Sea. Although Arthur travels through quite a bit of it, neither he nor we get to see much of it. The idea of a sea where all lost things ends up and which can be connected to different Secondary Realms was fascinating.

My conclusion : A fun read and enjoyable read for fantasy fans.

September 25, 2010

On My Wishlist #8

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted at Book Chick City.

On My Wishlist

Do you have any books that you desperately want but haven't bought yet? The books can be old, new or forthcoming.

Books added to my wish list in September 2010 :

Brightly Woven
From goodreads:
Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him.

In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers.

Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren’t as random as she had believed—that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry.

From Amazon:
They strip her naked, of everything—undo her whalebone corset, hook by hook. Locked away in Wildthorn Hall—a madhouse—they take her identity. She is now called Lucy Childs. She has no one; she has nothing. But, she is still seventeen—still Louisa Cosgrove, isn't she? Who has done this unthinkable deed? Louisa must free herself, in more ways than one, and muster up the courage to be her true self, all the while solving her own twisted mystery and falling into an unconventional love . . .

High Stakes (Vegas Vampires, Book 1)
From Amazon:
Unlike other politicians, Ethan Carrick is a nice guy-and a hot, casino-owning vampire. And with elections coming up, he'd like to find his First Lady-if his opponent's hit men don't find him first.

From goodreads:
The Myth: Alice was an ordinary girl who stepped through the looking glass and entered a fairy-tale world invented by Lewis Carroll in his famous storybook.
The Truth: Wonderland is real. Alyss Heart is the heir to the throne, until her murderous aunt Redd steals the crown and kills Alyss' parents. To escape Redd, Alyss and her bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, must flee to our world through the Pool of Tears.
But in the pool Alyss and Hatter are separated. Lost and alone in Victorian London, Alyss is befriended by an aspiring author to whom she tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Yet he gets the story all wrong.
Hatter Madigan knows the truth only too well, and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

Princess of the Midnight Ball
From goodreads:
Galen is a young soldier returning from war; Rose is one of twelve princesses condemned to dance each night for the King Under Stone. Together Galen and Rose will search for a way to break the curse that forces the princesses to dance at the midnight balls. All they need is one invisibility cloak, a black wool chain knit with enchanted silver needles, and that most critical ingredient of all—true love—to conquer their foes in the dark halls below. But malevolent forces are working against them above ground as well, and as cruel as the King Under Stone has seemed, his wrath is mere irritation compared to the evil that awaits Galen and Rose in the brighter world above.
Captivating from start to finish, Jessica Day George’s take on the Grimms’ tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses demonstrates yet again her mastery at spinning something entirely fresh out of a story you thought you knew.

Company of Liars: A Novel
From goodreads:
In this extraordinary novel, Karen Maitland delivers a dazzling reinterpretation of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales—an ingenious alchemy of history, mystery, and powerful human drama.

The year is 1348. The Black Plague grips the country. In a world ruled by faith and fear, nine desperate strangers, brought together by chance, attempt to outrun the certain death that is running inexorably toward them.

Each member of this motley company has a story to tell. From Camelot, the relic-seller who will become the group’s leader, to Cygnus, the one-armed storyteller . . . from the strange, silent child called Narigorm to a painter and his pregnant wife, each has a secret. None is what they seem. And one among them conceals the darkest secret of all—propelling these liars to a destiny they never saw coming.

Two-way Street
From Amazon:
There are two sides to every breakup.

This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They're even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.

Then Jordan dumps Courtney -- for a girl he met on the Internet.

It's too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney's heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la -- this is Courtney pretending not to care.

But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.

Turns out, he's got a secret or two that he's not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can't get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.

The Black Jewels: Trilogy: Daughter of the Blood / Heir to the Shadows / Queen of the Darkness
From Amazon:
Anne Bishop's critically-acclaimed Black Jewels Trilogy is the saga of a young but still-innocent Queen more powerful than even the High Lord of Hell-and the three sworn enemies determined to win her and gain a prize that could be terrible beyond imagining...

Plain Kate
From Amazon:
Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. As the wood-carver's daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon, and her wooden charms are so fine that some even call her "witch-blade" -- a dangerous nickname in a town where witches are hunted and burned in the square.

For Kate and her village have fallen on hard times. Kate's father has died, leaving her alone in the world. And a mysterious fog now covers the countryside, ruining crops and spreading fear of hunger and sickness. The townspeople are looking for someone to blame, and their eyes have fallen on Kate.

Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: In exchange for her shadow, he'll give Kate the means to escape the town that seems set to burn her, and what's more, he'll grant her heart's wish. It's a chance for her to start over, to find a home, a family, a place to belong. But Kate soon realizes that she can't live shadowless forever -- and that Linay's designs are darker than she ever dreamed.

September 22, 2010

Review : Grim Tuesday by Garth Nix

Title : Grim Tuesday
Author : Garth Nix
Reading Dates : 27 Aug - 28 Aug 2010
Grim Tuesday (Keys to the Kingdom, Book 2)
Keys to the Kingdom
The books in the series include :
  • Mister Monday
  • Grim Tuesday
  • Drowned Wednesday
  • Sir Thursday
  • Lady Friday
  • Superior Saturday
  • Lord Sunday
From goodreads :
The second remarkable installment in The Keys to the Kingdom, from spellbinding bestseller Garth Nix.

Seven days. Seven keys. Seven virtues. Seven sins. One mysterious house is the doorway to a very mysterious world--where one boy is about to venture and unlock a number of fantastical secrets.

Arthur doesn't think he will ever have to return to the strange house that nearly killed him on Monday--the house that contains an entire world. But Tuesday brings new challenges--in the form of an enemy named Grim Tuesday, who threatens the well-being of both Arthur's family and his world. Arthur must retrieve the Second Key from Grim Tuesday in order to save everything--an adventure that will include stealing a Sunship, surviving a very weird work camp, befriending a bear-like spirit, fighting the void-like Nithlings, and traveling in the scary Far Reaches for the ultimate showdown.

Book Review of Grim Tuesday.
Grim Tuesday isn't as exciting a read as Mister Monday but it is still an enjoyable one.

I found the idea of the House at the centre of creation being faced with an accounting problem rather funny. Especially since there is spill over into the rest of the universe, one which affects the economy of the Secondary Realms and especially Arthur's family's livelihood. And all because the Lower House Arthur wrested from Mister Monday is supposedly in debt to Grim Tuesday.

I also liked how Arthur always finds help whenever he needs it. The Far Reaches is a terrible place and most of the denizens who end up there keep to themselves and prioritize their own survival. Even Arthur has a hard time keeping up his spirits in the bleak landscape. But he refuses to give up and gets plenty of assistance from old friends like the Lieutenant Keeper of the Front Door and Suzy Turquoise Blue as well as encountering new ones like the former Thesaurus, Japeth and the Mariner, the imprisoned second son of the Architect and the Old One.

Finally, it was also nice to see growth in Arthur's character. It would have been rather irritating if he had continued to pretend the rest of the Morrow Days would leave him alone until he was ready for them. Fortunately, Arthur realizes this won't be the case by the end of this second book and is already considering what he needs to do next.

My conclusion : An enjoyable read for fantasy fans.

September 19, 2010

Review : Mister Monday by Garth Nix

Title : Mister Monday
Author : Garth Nix
Reading Dates : 26 Aug - 27 Aug 2010
Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom, Book 1)
Keys to the Kingdom
The books in the series include :
  • Mister Monday
  • Grim Tuesday
  • Drowned Wednesday
  • Sir Thursday
  • Lady Friday
  • Superior Saturday
  • Lord Sunday
From goodreads :
Seven days. Seven keys. Seven virtues. Seven sins. One mysterious house is the doorway to a very mysterious world -- where one boy is about to venture and unlock a number of fantastical secrets. This is another thrilling, triumphantly imaginative series from Garth Nix, the best-selling author of THE SEVENTH TOWER, SABRIEL, and LIRAEL.

Book Review of Mister Monday.
I love The Keys to the Kingdom series and the world it introduces me to.

Right from the first time of reading Mister Monday, I was enchanted with the world the author creates in the series and the charm has never worn off despite re-reading the books numerous times. The mysterious Architect who imagined most of creation into existence, the living Will she left behind, the House which lies at the centre of the universe, the varied denizens of the House with their rather specialised duties and eccentricities, the different and magical modes of travel which sometimes relies on nothing more than the power of imagination and many other wonders. And the author manages to pack all of this world building into the tale without bogging down the story in the slightest.

Apart from that, I also loved the main characters in the story. Arthur Penhaligon is an infinitely likeable character. He is astute, resourceful, kind and loyal. More than once, the Will's plans go awry or are rather vague and it is up to Arthur to figure out how to save his own bacon. More importantly, Arthur is no pushover and figures out fairly early on he needs to stand his ground if he is to make his point with the manipulative Will. Including not abandoning his friends and allies whenever it suits the Will.

Then, there's the rather irrepressible Suzy Turquoise Blue. Once a mortal like Arthur, she was one of the children led by the Piper into the House and abandoned there. Suzy proofs to be a steadfast and useful friend to Arthur. Frequently risking her life and limb to help Arthur although she was initially forced into service by the Will.

Finally, I also liked the way the author poked fun at some of the affectations of our society today. For instance, one of Arthur's older siblings, Eminor, had his name changed to Patrick when he became a musician.

My conclusion : A fast-paced read with plenty of world building fantasy readers will enjoy.

September 16, 2010

Review : Much Ado About Magic by Patricia Rice

Title : Much Ado About Magic
Author : Patricia Rice
Reading Dates : 25 Aug - 25 Aug 2010
Much Ado About Magic (Signet Eclipse)
Magic Series
The books in the series are :
  • Merely Magic
  • Must Be Magic
  • The Trouble with Magic
  • This Magic Moment
  • Much Ado about Magic
  • Magic Man
From goodreads :
Lady Lucinda Malcolm Pembroke's paintings may have caused scandals in the past, but never one like this. Somehow she's painted a perfect likeness of a man she's never met-and depicted him as a murderer. Determined to unravel the mystery that is Sir Trevelyan Rochester and flee the gossip surrounding her, she assumes a disguise and escapes to a remote cottage, only to find herself face-to-face with her dashing nemesis.

Book Review of Much Ado About Magic.
Much Ado About Magic was another so-so read which I found myself largely skipping through in order to avoid the less enjoyable bits.

What I didn't like about the story was the heroine. Lucinda is a very foolish and selfish protagonist. Despite evidence to the contrary, it takes her a long time to admit that her paintings do seem to foretell the future. And when faced with the latest scandal related to her work, she runs away and leaves her family to deal with it. Later, she even refuses Trev's marriage proposal with the reasoning that she doesn't want to destroy his peace. Yet, she expects to continue on in a relationship without considering his future happiness.

The other reason I didn't like this book was Lucinda's parents. They seem more intent on hiding her away or separating her from Trev than on her happiness. The mobilization of the Malcolm and Ives “troops” would have been so much more fun if it had been done to help Lucinda and Trev instead of to hunt for and separate them.

The only thing about the book which I enjoyed is Trev who treats Lucinda as an equal. Instead of the usual posturing, he has no problems following her lead when she is more knowledgeable. Just as he expects her to follow his when he is in his element. In fact near the end of the story, Lucinda's father offers Trev help to clear his name in exchange for his staying away from Lucinda. Trev doesn't just refuse. He makes clear his choice and asks for Lucinda's decision as well. When she urges him to take her father's offer, Trev tries to understand her reasoning instead of leaving under a misunderstanding. Its nice to have the main characters show each other more trust in their relationship for a change.

My conclusion : Borrow for a read if you're looking for a paranormal romance to pass the time. Otherwise, skip this one.

Thursday 13 #3 : Romance Authors

Thursday 13

Choose a theme. Then list 13 things that fit that theme.
A sampling of the romance novels I've loved at different times and the authors I've read.
  1. Charming the Prince by Teresa Medeiros
  2. Dance with the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  3. Forbidden by Jo Beverley
  4. Genuine Lies by Nora Roberts
  5. Heart of Fire by Linda Howard
  6. Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward
  7. Miss Wonderful by Loretta Chase
  8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  9. Sharp Edges by Jayne Ann Krentz
  10. Slightly Scandalous by Mary Balogh
  11. The Gift by Julie Garwood
  12. The Hidden Heart by Laura Kinsale
  13. Ugly Duckling by Iris Johansen

Of the books on my list, the only ones I do not own are the last 3. I wonder if I were to re-read them now, would I still love them.

Charming the PrinceDance with the Devil (Dark-Hunter, Book 4)Forbidden (Zebra Historical Romance)Genuine LiesHeart of Fire (Pocket Books Romance)Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 3)Miss Wonderful (Carsington Family Series)Pride And Prejudice

Sharp EdgesSlightly Scandalous
The GiftThe Hidden HeartThe Ugly Duckling
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