August 30, 2010

It's Monday What Are You Reading ? #5

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 :
  • Dead After Dark by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love, Susan Squires and J. R. Ward
  • This Magic Moment by Patricia Rice
  • Much Ado About Magic by Patricia Rice
  • Mister Monday by Garth Nix
  • Grim Tuesday by Garth Nix
  • Drowned Wednesday by Garth Nix

What I'm currently reading : Sir Thursday by Garth Nix

Up next :
  • Lady Friday by Garth Nix
  • Superior Saturday by Garth Nix

August 29, 2010

August Blog Awards

Tina from Book Couture , cj'alhafiz from Coffee N Crackers and Deepali from Reads Everything has kindly awarded me with the One Lovely Blog Award.

The Rules:
  • Accept the award, post in on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
  • Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.
  • Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know that they have been chosen for this award.

15 bloggers I've recently started following:
  1. A Book Obsession...
  2. Book Lovers Delight
  3. Book Obsessed
  4. Books with Bite
  5. in which a girl reads
  6. Magic Faerie's Paranormal Review
  7. No Rest for the Wicked
  8. Pure Imagination
  9. Readaholics Anonymous
  10. Rundpinne
  11. Spoilers and Nuts
  12. The Book Swarm
  13. The Lost Entwife
  14. Novel Thoughts

Missy from Missy's Reads & Reviews has kindly awarded me with the Summer Blogger Award.

The Rules:
  • Thank the person who gave it to you with a link back in your post.
  • Send this on to 4 fellow bloggers who rock this summer.
  • Post a note to the bloggers through their comments to let them know they've won an award.

Here are the 4 bloggers I've had fun reading this summer :
  1. about happy books
  2. Geeky Blogger's Book Blog
  3. Ninja Librarian
  4. Paperback Dolls

Review : One Silent Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Title : One Silent Night
Author : Sherrilyn Kenyon
Reading Dates : 17 Aug - 18 Aug 2010
One Silent Night (Dark-Hunter, Book 13)
The Dark-Hunter series.
One Silent Night is another book in the Dark-Hunter series. Check out the link below for a listing of the books in the series according to reading order.
From Amazon :
While the world carries on unawares, Stryker, who leads an army of demons and vampires, is plotting an all out onslaught against his enemies—which, unfortunately for us, includes the entire human race. To avenge his sister, Stryker prepares to annihilate the Dark-Hunters. But things go awry when his oldest enemy returns. Enter his ex-wife. Zephyra. Just when he thought nothing could stop him, he’s now embroiled in a centuries old war with a shrew who gives new meaning to pain.

Book Review of One Silent Night.
One Silent Night is a book I consider boring but essential reading for Dark-Hunter fans.

Stryker and Zephyra's story was a disappointment. It started off rather promisingly with the divorced couple trying to kill each other. Unfortunately, despite their supposed bloodthirsty tendencies, the story quickly degenerates when they strike a bargain for Stryker to win back Zephyra. And almost immediately, they're both more preoccupied with getting into bed together than anything else. This sudden change was simply too amazing to be believable.

The other thing that disappointed me was the author's attempt to turn Stryker and Zephyra into some kind of hero. While I have no problems with the idea of an honourable villain, this sudden about face where their actions are rationalized as retaliation against human cruelty is too much.

However, this is another story in the series which shouldn't be missed. There are revelations galore regarding important characters such as Acheron, Nick, Savitar and the newly introduced Jared in the Dark-Hunter world. It also contains what promises to be a crucial turning point in the war between the Dark-Hunters and Daimons. All in all, a change in the status quo is definitely imminent.

My conclusion : Not to be missed by Dark-Hunter fans.

My favourite books from Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter and Dream-Hunter series so far :

Want to ...

August 28, 2010

On My Wishlist #7

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.

Here are the books I've added to my wish list in August 2010:

From Amazon:
In this touching novel for ages 10+, Lucy Christopher explores the remarkable bond between a young girl, a boy and a damaged wild bird - a relationship that will touch everyone who reads it. While visiting her father in hospital, thirteen-year-old Isla meets Harry, the first boy to understand her and her love of the outdoors. But Harry is ill, and as his health fails, Isla is determined to help him in the only way she knows how. Together they watch a lone swan struggling to fly on the lake outside Harry's window. Isla believes that if she can help the damaged swan, somehow she can help Harry. And in doing so, she embarks upon a breathtakingly magical journey of her own.

I'm the Vampire, That's Why (Broken Heart, Oklahoma, Book 1)
From Amazon:
There's a new breed of soccer mom in town-with fangs.

Does drinking blood make me a bad mother? That's the question single mom Jessica Matthews faces when she wakes from a savage attack sucking on the thigh of Patrick O'Halloran, a super-hot Irish vampire who'd generously offered his femoral artery to save her from death...only to make her one of the undead.

Jessica can't rest until the beast that did this to her is caught. Meanwhile, she's having trouble committing to Patrick (in the vampire handbook, physical intimacy costs you several hundred years of being bound together) and keeping her kids in line.

From Amazon:
Sixteen-year-old Katla has just moved from Los Angeles to the sticks of Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, she learns to her horror that she’s a member of an ancient order of women who decide to whom certain babies will be born. Add to that Wade, the arrogant football star whom Katla regrettably fooled around with, and Jack, a gorgeous farm boy who initially seems to hate her. Soon Katla is having freaky dreams about a crying infant and learns that, as children, she and Jack shared a near-fatal, possibly mystical experience. Can Katla survive this major life makeover and find a dress for the homecoming dance? Drawing from Norse mythology and inspired by The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, debut author Wendy Delsol conceives an irreverent, highly entertaining novel about embracing change and the (baby) bumps along the way.

The Replacement
From Amazon:
Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

Edward Scissorhands meets The Catcher in the Rye in this wildly imaginative and frighteningly beautiful horror novel about an unusual boy and his search for a place to belong.

The Stormchasers
From Amazon:
As a teenager, Karena Jorge had always been the one to look out for her twin brother Charles, who suffers from bipolar disorder. But as Charles begins to refuse medication and his manic tendencies worsen, Karena finds herself caught between her loyalty to her brother and her fear for his life. Always obsessed with the weather-enraptured by its magical unpredictability that seemed to mirror his own impulses- Charles starts chasing storms, and his behavior grows increasingly erratic . . . until a terrifying storm chase with Karena ends with deadly consequences, tearing the twins apart and changing both of their lives forever.

Two decades later, Karena gets a call from a psychiatric ward in Wichita, Kansas, to come pick up her brother, whom she hasn't seen or spoken to for twenty years. She soon discovers that Charles has lied to the doctors, taken medication that could make him dangerously manic, and disappeared again. Having exhausted every resource to try and track him down, Karena realizes she has only one last chance of finding him: the storms. Wherever the tornadoes are, that's where he'll be. Karena joins a team of professional stormchasers-passionate adventurers who will transform her life and give her a chance at love and redemption- and embarks on an odyssey to find her brother before he reveals the violent secret from their past and does more damage to himself . . . or to someone else.

August 27, 2010

Being gainfully employed again ...

Since I was offered employment again earlier in the month, I've been keeping my fingers crossed waiting for the official offer letter. Well, I don't have that yet but I have just received the call informing me to start work on 1 Sept. Details to be forwarded to me later.

Anyway as I've only ever worked in the one company, starting work again in another one (even a sister company) is extremely intimidating. And it will be very difficult as well to adjust back to working fix hours rather than at my own time. Right now, I'm literally learning the meaning of having a cold sweat.

Aside from the fear factor though, being employed again means less time for reading and blogging as well. How much less remains to be seen. I have been told that I will be required to travel a lot for this job so I might also occasionally disappear. Hopefully after the initial dust settles, I'll be able to work out the best balance between work and leisure.

August 26, 2010

Review : Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Title : Acheron
Author : Sherrilyn Kenyon
Reading Dates : 15 Aug - 17 Aug 2010
Acheron (Dark-Hunter, Book 12)
The Dark-Hunter series.
Acheron is from the Dark-Hunter series. Check out the link below for a listing of the books in the series according to reading order.
From goodreads :
The most anticipated story in the blockbuster Dark-Hunter series. The never-before-revealed story of the Dark-Hunter leader, Acheron. He was made human in order to escape death, but in death he was reborn a god. . .

Eleven thousand years ago a god was born. Cursed into the body of a human, Acheron spent a lifetime of shame. However, his human death unleashed an unspeakable horror that almost destroyed the earth. Then, brought back against his will, Acheron became the sole defender of mankind.

Only it was never that simple. For centuries, he has fought for our survival and hidden a past he’ll do anything to keep concealed. Until a lone woman who refuses to be intimidated by him threatens his very existence.

Now his survival, and ours, hinges on hers and old enemies reawaken and unite to kill them both.

War has never been more deadly... or more fun.

Book Review of Acheron.
Acheron's story remains a favourite of mine within the Dark-Hunter series mainly because of its main protagonist.

The mysterious and long-suffering leader of the Dark-Hunters has been a long time favourite character since his first appearance in the series. How did someone so apparently powerful and wise end up as a slave to a goddess much weaker than him ? Why would he sacrifice so much for the largely ungrateful Dark-Hunters or even tolerate Artemis' frequently cruel outbursts ? These are just a few of the questions surrounding him that got me following the Dark-Hunter series.

While the earlier books have dropped frequent hints of his past, this book answers all these questions definitively. It also gives insight into his motivations and make it easier to understand how he can at times be so forgiving while reacting rather harshly at others. As an added advantage, the story is also written in such a way so that those new to the series can read this one on its own.

Aside from Acheron himself, what I like about the book is his interactions with some of the other characters. In most of the earlier books, Acheron is usually considered ancient by those in the know. To have Savitar treat him like a youngster despite his age is often amusing and refreshing. Then, there is also his relationship with Simi. I love the way she keeps offering to help him by eating the 'heifer-goddess' and her literal adherence to his orders which frequently gets him into trouble. Most important of all is the self-belief Tory gives to Acheron. It is about time that he realizes he is more than worthy of being loved.

Another plus is Artemis's comeuppance. I love that the one to give it to her was Tory and also the way this was accomplished. Acheron deserves no less.

Last but not least is Savitar's attitude when it comes to Acheron. His altruism is in opposition to his oft spouted beliefs. This naturally leads me to speculate on his identity. I will be looking forward to having this mystery resolved and having my guesses either confirmed or refuted.

Overall, my only complaint is in the quickness which Acheron and Tory's relationship starts. It would have been more realistic if they had more time to get to know each other considering Acheron's history. Still this is one on my keeper list.

My conclusion : A book I'd recommend to paranormal romance readers.

My favourite books from Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter and Dream-Hunter series so far :

Want to ...

August 25, 2010

A-Z Wednesday : My Gal Sunday by Mary Higgins Clark

A-Z Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Reading at the Beach.

A-Z Wednesday

To join all you have to do is go to your stack of books and find one where the author's first or last name starts with the letter of the week.

First or Last Name of Author starts with "C".
My Gal Sunday
From goodreads:
Imagine Nick and Nora Charles with a taste for politics and none for gin, and you'd be pretty close to Mary Higgins Clark's Henry Parker Britland IV and his attractive young wife, Sandra O'Brien Britland, known as Sunday. Henry, possessor of an enormous inherited fortune and known as one of America's sexiest men, has just finished his second term as president of the United States and is happily retired at 44, puttering around his New Jersey country estate. Sunday, who bootstrapped her way up from a modest working-class background, is a junior congresswoman with a reputation for smarts. The two met, romantically enough, on the eve of Henry's leaving office, fell madly in love, and were married six weeks later. In this collection of four pleasantly readable stories, the sleuthing duo catch the murderer of a statesman's flashy amour, endure Sunday's kidnapping and mastermind her rescue, solve the 34-year-old mystery of the disappearance of a foreign prime minister from the Britland family yacht, and reunite a ransomed boy with his parents at Christmas.

Read my review of My Gal Sunday by Mary Higgins Clark.

August 22, 2010

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Title : Mansfield Park
Author : Jane Austen
Reading Dates : 12 Aug - 14 Aug 2010
Mansfield Park (Penguin Classics)
From Amazon:
Dependent on the benevolence of her aristocratic relatives, young Fanny Price develops into the moral center of a family gone astray and restores the tranquility of her adoptive home. Written in the full flower of Austen's maturity, this work offers an entertaining study of the interplay between manners, education, and ethics--enlivened by an amusing cast of busybodies, never-do-wells, and social climbers.

Book Review of Mansfield Park.
I enjoyed Mansfield Park well enough but I would not recommend it to first time readers of Jane Austen books.

Mainly, this is because plot wise, nothing of much significance occurs. The story itself is just a way to demonstrate certain attributes or eccentricities of the characters. Which is why I alternated between being bored and amused as the story progressed.

The most interesting parts of the story belong to the less virtuous characters which populate it. They may not be as likeable but they are definitely more entertaining. One of my favourite characters is Fanny's thrifty and mean-spirited aunt. Mrs. Norris's attempts to appear benevolent at no cost provides some of the most amusing conversations in the book.

Another favourite is Henry Crawford. Like John Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility, he is a rascal but one with the luxury of not betraying his feelings for Fanny. It is for this very reason, that I remain undecided regarding the ending of Mansfield Park every time I read it, changing my mind from believing Fanny would be happier with him or with Edmund Bertram. He certainly ranks among my favourite heroes from Jane Austen's books.

Aside from that, I've also started to notice that Jane Austen tends to recycle certain plot elements. The marriage of opposites bringing discontent, the elopement of a family member as a tribulation to the main characters and the avaricious ambitions of false friends are among the most obvious. Not that it really matters to me since what I enjoy most is her descriptions of the characters and their interactions. What about you ? What do you think ?

My conclusion : Recommended reading for Jane Austen fans.

Want to ...

Which versions of Mansfield Park below have you seen ?

Mansfield Park (1999)Masterpiece Theatre: Mansfield ParkMansfield Park (BBC, 1986)

August 20, 2010

The Book Blogger Hop #10 and Follow My Book Blog Friday #5

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted at Crazy For Books while Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted at Parajunkee's View.

Book Blogger HopFollow My Book Blog Friday

The Book Blogger Hop and Follow My Book Blog Friday are places for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new book-related blogs. Grab the button, post about the meme and follow as many book blogs as you like.
This week's question from the Hop : How many blogs do you follow?
My Answer : At present count 95. But of course there are those I visit daily and those maybe once a week.

Since I last hopped ...
New blogs I'm following :

Books read or reviewed :

Great giveaways I've signed up for :
  • Reading Angel, Pure Imagination and Candace's Book Blog are jointly hosting the Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer Giveaway which ends on 27 Aug 2010.
  • Paperback Dolls is hosting a 400 Follower Giveaway where they're giving away 3 signed books and 2 ARCs. The contest ends 4 Sep 2010.
  • in which a girl reads is letting 3 winners choose from a pile of 25 books which includes Mockingjay, Clockwork Angel, Linger and many more. The blogoversary contest will end on 19 Sep 2010.
  • Reading with Tequila is giving away books from her wish list for her 1000 Follower Giveaway. The contest ends on 30 Sep 2010.

August 19, 2010

Dream Chaser by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Title : Dream Chaser
Author : Sherrilyn Kenyon
Reading Dates : 10 Aug - 12 Aug 2010
Dream Chaser (A Dream-Hunter Novel, Book 3)
The Dream-Hunter series.
Dream Chaser is the third book in the Dream-Hunter series. Check out the link below for a listing of the books in the series.
From Amazon :
Hades doesn’t often give second chances...

Xypher has one month on Earth to redeem himself through one good deed or be condemned to eternal torture in Tarturus. But redemption means little to a demigod who only wants vengeance on the one who caused his downfall.

Until one day in a cemetery...

Simone Dubois is a medical examiner with a real knack for the job. Those who are wrongfully killed appear to her and help her find the evidence the police need to convict their killers. But when a man appears and tells her that she’s more than just a psychic, she’s convinced he’s insane.

Now the fate of the world hangs in her hands...

It was bad enough when just the dead relied on her. Now’s there’s the seductive Dream-Hunter Xypher who needs Simone’s help in opening a portal to the Atlantean hell realm to fight insatiable demons. The future of mankind is at stake—and so is her life. The only question now is: Who is the bigger threat: the demons out to kill her, or the man who has left her forever changed?

Book Review of Dream Chaser.
I found Dream Chaser to be boring and not one I'd read again except for the fact that it answers some old questions while raising new ones vital to the Dark-Hunter or Dream-Hunter world.

Because I have a predisposition to like the Dark-Hunter and Dream-Hunter series, I tried really hard to like the main protagonists but just couldn't. Xypher was much more interesting in Devil May Cry. Unfortunately, the constant “woe is me” tirade left me feeling annoyed and bored with Xypher. As for Simone, I just couldn't see what made her character unique as compared to the heroines of earlier books. Worst of all, there were plenty of times where I felt she was just window dressing. The only time when I warmed up to them was one brief moment when Simone takes Xypher shopping for clothes.

Aside from that, the story itself as I mentioned is boring. Apart from the revelation about the Dimme and Simone's father, which I already knew since this is a re-read, nothing much happens in this book that can't be easily guessed. The entire tale feels contrived, switching from one coincidence to another, in order to first bring the main characters together, then put us in touch with some old ones before finally introducing new ones. I even noticed an inconsistency in the story. Simone first meets Jaden when she overhears a conversation between him and Xypher. Yet, she doesn't immediately recognize him the next time he appears to her at the end of the book, going so far as to ask him who he is.

Most disappointing of all, is meeting old favourites like Acheron and Kat but not learning more about them or having them make any significant contributions to the story.

Still, followers of the Dark-Hunter and Dream-Hunter series should not give this one a miss. In this book, we learn what becomes of the Sumerian demons after their escape in Devil May Cry. We also learn that the youngest member of New Orlean's bear clan may not be your average shape-shifter. Most intriguing of all is the introduction of the demon broker, Jaden, who has some scheme of his own. After Acheron, Jaden and Savitar's stories are among the ones I'm most eagerly anticipating in Sherrilyn Kenyon's series right now.

My conclusion : Only for fans of the Dark-Hunter and Dream-Hunter series; not to be read on its own.

My favourite books from Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter and Dream-Hunter series so far :

August 16, 2010

It's Monday What Are You Reading ? #4

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 last week:

What I'm currently reading :Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Up next :

August 15, 2010

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

Title : The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
Author : David Wroblewski
Reading Dates : 6 Aug - 10 Aug 2010
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel (P.S.)
From Amazon :
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar's paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles' once peaceful home. When Edgar's father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm--and into Edgar's mother's affections.

Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father's death, but his plan backfires--spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father's murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.

Book Review of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.
I loved The Story of Edgar Sawtelle BUT … and there is a big BUT there; the ending left me highly dissatisfied.

The injustice of what happens at the end and some nagging questions had me wishing for a different conclusion to the story. After some earlier events in the book, I had expected recriminations but not in the way the author ends it all. Besides which no matter how I think on it, the reasoning behind Edgar's decision regarding his dogs is not made clear. All of which leaves me feeling as if the story is not done.

The other complain I have is the occasional switch to telling the story from Almondine's point of view. While seeing the tale from Edgar's lifelong canine companion is fascinating, these changes are sometimes jarring and disrupts the flow of the story. These occasions are rare however, and the additional insight we have into Almondine's thoughts make up for it. Were it not for that ending, I would already be thinking of re-reading it.

Despite that, there are still many reasons why I will pick it up again at some later time. The most important is the writing and pacing of the story. Take for example the prologue which lets the reader know early on that something terrible is going to happen. Yet a few chapters on and I was lulled into forgetfulness. This is done more than once so that each change in Edgar's circumstances is sudden and unexpected. Thus, by weaving whimsical anecdotes of the past into the present or turning the unusual into an accepted daily occurrence, the writer managed to create not only an enjoyable read but a suspenseful one.

Next are the characters in the book. Many of whom I couldn't help liking, either for themselves or the relationships they shared with others. John Sawtelle's determined machinations for the creation of the Sawtelle dogs is amusing and admirable. Gar and Trudy Sawtelle's refusal to tell the actual tale of how they met or settle on one single story, constantly regaling their son with different and fanciful accounts, is at once romantic and funny. And of course, the imaginative and introspective Edgar. One of my favourite anecdotes from the story is the time Trudy realizes that the reason her 5-year old son wanted a pocket watch for Christmas was to perform hypnotism. But she doesn't learn this or understand his reticence after receiving his gift until she stumbles over him attempting to hypnotize their dog a week later.

But that isn't all. The characters I enjoyed reading of in The Story of Edgar Sawtelle are not limited to the two legged variety. Here's an extract from the book to illustrate what I mean:
Baboo was the steadfast one. If Edgar told him to wait, Baboo waited like a stone laid upon the earth by God himself, pleased to know his job. That Baboo was charmingly literal had always been clear, but in the woods he was a pragmatist. He trotted along behind Edgar as he broke trail, sometimes sticking close at Edgar's heels, sometimes dropping back. But if more than a few yards came between them, Baboo crashed recklessly forward to close the gap.

Finally, there is the villain of the piece. Manipulative, intelligent and charming Claude. The fact that he manages to get the people around him to behave as he wants, even turning close friends or family against each other, without being blamed for it is frightening. That he can continue to do so with those who are on to him is doubly terrifying. Throughout the story, I kept holding my breath waiting for one of the Sawtelle dogs to reject him but they never do.

My conclusion : I'd recommend this to anyone who doesn't mind stories with ambiguous or sad endings.

Read another review on the book by :

At the end of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a list of David Wroblewski's picks of Canine Classics. Here are 3 books from that list that I'm interested in reading :

The Call of the WildSo Long, See You TomorrowThe Jungle Book (Unabridged Classics)

August 13, 2010

Book Beginnings on Friday : Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted at Page Turners.

Book Beginnings on Friday

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.

Mansfield Park (Penguin Classics)
From Amazon:
Mansfield Park encompasses not only Jane Austen’s great comedic gifts and her genius as a historian of the human animal, but her personal credo as well—her faith in a social order that combats chaos through civil grace, decency, and wit.

At the novel’s center is Fanny Price, the classic “poor cousin,” brought as a child to Mansfield Park by the rich Sir Thomas Bertram and his wife as an act of charity. Over time, Fanny comes to demonstrate forcibly those virtues Austen most admired: modesty, firm principles, and a loving heart. As Fanny watches her cousins Maria and Julia cast aside their scruples in dangerous flirtations (and worse), and as she herself resolutely resists the advantages of marriage to the fascinating but morally unsteady Henry Crawford, her seeming austerity grows in appeal and makes clear to us why she was Austen’s own favorite among her heroines.

About thirty years ago, Miss Maria Ward, of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income.

August 12, 2010

Empress by Karen Miller

Title : Empress
Author : Karen Miller
Reading Dates : 2 Aug - 6 Aug 2010
Empress (Godspeaker Trilogy)
Godspeaker Trilogy.
Empress is the first book in the Godspeaker trilogy. Other books in the series are
From Amazon :
When a scrawny unwanted girl child is sold into slavery, a chain of events is set in motion that will have a profound impact on all the civilized world. Hekat is taken in chains to Mijak's largest city, home of the warlord Raklion. While in his service she learns all about power, its wielding and its uses, while she cleans and serves.

Book Review of Empress.
Empress is divided into 3 parts. The first part was boring and it wasn't until Part 2 that the story became interesting for me. Overall though, I consider this to be an okay read. Not a book I'm interested to re-read, even if I am curious about what happens in the subsequent books.

The author has obviously put in a lot of work and thought into her world. This is a land where slavery is accepted and every action ruled by their god. Godspeakers are revered and untouchable except to themselves. The people's dress, custom and even their surroundings are marked by their god. But the amount of detail is also the first part's weakness. The story here becomes unwieldy and should have been told at half the length. It isn't until the second part when these details become the backdrop rather than the focus that it starts to get interesting.

As for what I found most fascinating and the reason why the story becomes interesting from the second part onwards, the reason is the same. In the first part, Mijak's god might be dismissed as nothing more than mere superstition. But from the second part onwards, it is clear that there is some other power at work in Hekat's rise. And as the story progresses, several questions come to mind regarding the nature of Mijak's god. Is their god an evil one ? Mightn't the Mijakians be listening to more than one god ? Or could there be some unseen purpose yet to be revealed ?

The reason I say this is that my first impression was that Mijak's god was a very bloodthirsty one. Notwithstanding the unending blood sacrifices which it demands of its people, it also acts to kill those opposing Mijak's unification. But the answer given to the high godspeaker Vortka, when he questions if Hekat's claim that the god demands the subjugation of the lands beyond Mijak are true, appear to be ambiguous. And most strange of all, is the answer given to Zandakar, both when it sends him to war and when it recalls him home to Et-Raklion. This dichotomy certainly has me curious.

Aside from that there is not much to recommend the story. Hekat and her youngest son, Dmitrak, I disliked. They are both arrogant, bloodthirsty and self-centered. Zandakar and Vortka are not much better either. Whatever pity or grieve they may feel, they still carry out all that is requested of them by their god.

My conclusion : This book is worth a read but it is not a keeper. If the next book in the trilogy came into my hand, I'd read it. But I wouldn't purposely look for it. I'd advise those who are interested to read it, to borrow the book rather than buy it.

  • Read an extract from the book on the author's website.
  • Read a teaser sentence from the book which I shared earlier.

August 11, 2010

A-Z Wednesday : Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon

A-Z Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Reading at the Beach.

A-Z Wednesday

To join all you have to do is go to your stack of books and find one whose title starts with the letter of the week.

This week's letter is: "A".
Acheron (Dark-Hunter, Book 12)
From Amazon:
Eleven thousand years ago, a god was born. Cursed into the body of a human, Acheron spent a lifetime of shame. But the strongest steel is forged from the fires of hell…

Acheron’s human death unleashed an unspeakable horror that almost destroyed the earth. Then, brought back against his will, he became the sole defender of mankind. Only it was never that simple. For centuries, Acheron has fought for our survival and hidden a past he’ll do anything to keep concealed. Until a lone woman who refuses to be intimidated by him threatens his very existence. Now his survival—and ours—hinges on hers, and old enemies reawaken and unite to kill them both. War has never been more deadly...or more fun.
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