The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith – Review
Book Reviews , eBook reviews / October 1, 2014

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith follows the mystery surrounding the disappearance of writer Owen Quine.  Strike and Robin are hired by Quine’s wife to find out where he has gone.  As Quine was on the point of publishing a new novel thinly disguised as a tell-it-all peak at the world of London’s literati, the suspects in his disappearance soon add up. I have to admit I wasn’t feeling very inspired when writing this review.  That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book – I did – but I feel I have very little to add to my review of the first Cormoran Strike novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling.  In other words, if you enjoyed the first, you will almost certainly enjoy the sequel.  As in its predecessor, I enjoyed the writing style and the brisk pace set by Rowling. What I liked The developing friendship between Strike and Robin.  I found myself a little frustrated by their misunderstandings, but that was only because I felt invested in their relationship. I appreciated the fact that they both really respect and appreciate one another.  This continues to be explored and deepened in this second book.  I liked that their relationship remains platonic…

Deviation by Christine Manzari – Review
Book Reviews / September 22, 2014

Deviation by Christine Manzari is the first in an independently published YA dystopian trilogy. In Manzari’s world, following a devastating terrorist attack the US government set up the Sophisticates program of human genetic engineering to produce smarter, faster, better soldiers in the war on terror.  The Sophisticates are divided into two groups, the Vanguard who are the intellectual ones, groomed to be the country’s next leaders and the Mandates who are those designed to be physically strong.  We follow the story of teenager Cleo, who is the product of such engineering as she learns more about the truth of her conception. I really enjoyed this novel.  I felt it was well written with an interesting protagonist, intriguing setting and good character development. What I liked Good concept well executed. The basic concept of the genetic engineering was very well done and interesting.  There was the added interest of Cleo’s special abilities and what that means for her.  I look forward to seeing where Manzari goes with this in future books. Nerds vs jocks.  It was an interesting take that our protagonist who was raised as a Vanguard suddenly finds herself in a school for Mandates.  There is some fun exploration…

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Review
Book Reviews , eBook reviews / September 17, 2014

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is the first in a loose trilogy of contemporary, cutesy young adult romance novels.  It is followed by Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After.  It tells the story of Anna Oliphant who is spending a year studying in Paris at the fictional School of America in Paris.  She makes friends and has a romance with Etienne St Claire a young Londoner also studying at the school. What I liked The setting.  I adored the setting.  The school sounded fantastic and I loved Anna’s and Etienne’s strolls through Paris.  I’ve only spent a couple of days in Paris myself, and I would have liked to have spent more. Perkins really brought out the sense of the city in her writing. The character development.  I loved seeing how Anna grew in self confidence during her stay in Paris.  The Anna at the end is a very different person from the one who spent her first evening in the school crying into her pillow with homesickness.  I also felt that the development was earned.  Her experiences in Paris and the friends she makes there allow for such a…

The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Back – Review
Book Reviews , eBook reviews / September 15, 2014

In my recent reading roundup I mentioned that I felt The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black is a poor man’s Harry Potter.  I stand by that opinion.  It is almost impossible to read The Iron Trial without comparing it to Rowling’s masterpiece. Let us review;  a young infant born towards the end of a magical war is the sole survivor of a massacre which leaves him motherless and with a physical mark of the attack.  There may or may not be some shenanigans involving souls.  This massacre is the prelude to a decade of truce.  Eleven or twelve years later, the young boy starts to attend magic school where he becomes best friends with a boy and girl, and makes an enemy of another rich and arrogant student.  He is taught by a kindly if eccentric Master and they have lots of adventures.  The one with the power to defeat the enemy has been revealed to the wizarding world.  There is a confrontation at the end, and it seems the enemy may not be as dormant as he seemed.  Heck, the story even closes with the protagonist in the infirmary having a heart to heart with said…

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / September 8, 2014

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks is the third and penultimate in his Lightbringer series following on from The Black Prism and The Blinding Knife.  It continues the story of Prism Gavin Guile and his illegitimate son Kip and their attempt to stop the Seven Satrapies from collapsing under the pressure of the Color Prince and his new gods. My impression of this book was that it was very much a middle book – concentrating more on positioning the characters for the final assault.  It concentrated more on character development than moving the plot forward.  While there were a couple of eyebrow raising moments for me, but nothing compared to the couple of WTF?!? moments of the previous books.  That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. What I liked The magic system.  For this series Weeks has created a wonderfully developed magic system.  I usually consider Brandon Sanderson the master of magic system development, but with this colour-based system Weeks could give him a run for his money.  In essence, Weeks’ magic system works in the opposite manner to a candle.  A candle takes a physical substance – wax – and converts it into light.  Weeks’ magic users (drafters)…

Reading Roundup – 29th August 2014
Book Reviews , Reading Roundup / August 29, 2014

So, I’m back from my vacation at last!  I didn’t read a whole lot – I spent time with family – but I did get through a few things.  My review of Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Assassin was published yesterday – go check it out if you like slow burning character driven epic fantasy. I also finished the Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet.  It had been on my TBR list for a while, but I found it slow going because I had been watching the YouTube video series in sync with the book.  I gave up on that and breezed through the book.  I thought it was an excellent companion to the web series, and enjoyed reading it very much.  The trouble is, it’s spoiled me now for The Austen Project series of modernisations of Austen’s works.  The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved are just so cleverly written and adapted, nothing else can come close. [book-info] One book I picked up this week and breezed though was Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods.  This is written from Percy Jackson’s point of view and in it he tells the stories of the Greek gods in his own inimitable style.  It was…

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Final Update
Book Reviews / August 13, 2014

[challenge-progress for=”Realm of the Elderlings” bg=”black” font=”white”] [book-info title=”Fool’s Fate – Canadian Audiobook” author=”robin-hobb-2″] Progress: Fool’s Fate 100% complete. Challenge 100% complete Today I finished Fool’s Fate, the final book in the Tawny Man trilogy and the last of the five books I was reading in my Realm of the Elderlings challenge. I was right in my prediction yesterday that the section I read today was very much a wrap-up.  Other than the expected resurrection of the Fool it was all about ensuring that the good guys were recompensed for their heroism.  Fitz gets his Molly (sigh), Dutiful gets his Narcheska, Tintaglia gets her Icefyre and they all live happily ever after and raise lots of children. The scene with the Fool and the Rooster Crown wasn’t as I’d remembered it.  It was a beautiful scene, but it doesn’t quite reach Perrin and his Hammer for epicness.  The secret of the Rooster Crown was very Fool-like.  Some readers have wondered why Fitz didn’t learn the secret of the Fool’s gender during this whole process, but I  easily understand why he didn’t even consider breaching the Fool’s trust in this manner. The writing of the Fool’s character development with his resignation…

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 18
Book Reviews / August 12, 2014

[challenge-progress for=”Realm of the Elderlings” bg=”black” font=”white”] [book-info] Progress: Fool’s Fate 71% complete. Happy book birthday to Robin Hobb and Fool’s Assassin which was published today!  The Kindle and Audible version hit my download queues overnight and I had to exercise great strength of will not to dive in immediately but to complete my reread of the Realm of the Elderlings series first.  Actually, that reminds me; those of you who have read Fool’s Assassin, please would you let me know in the comments if it contains spoilers for the Rainwild Chronicles?  Thanks!  I was also exceptionally pleased that Fool’s Assassin is Whispersync for Voice enabled.  Yay!  It’s one of those services that you don’t think you’ll need or use, until you have a book/audiobook combo without it. Speaking of audiobooks, after my whining yesterday about the North American version of Fool’s Fate not being available until the end of the month I was astounded to find it available on today.  Mutter, mumble grumble.  I wish I’d known that before I bought the UK version.  I gave in and completed my collection.  I am used to the Audible app and prefer using it to the music app for audiobooks….

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlngs Update 17
Book Reviews / August 11, 2014

[challenge-progress for=”Realm of the Elderlings” bg=”black” font=”white”] [book-info] Progress: Fool’s Fate 50% complete. OK, confession time.  I was disappointed that Brilliance Audio isn’t releasing Fool’s Fate in audiobook format in Canada until later this month so I used an iTunes UK gift voucher from my parents to pick up the book from iTunes UK.  The narrator is different – Nick Taylor rather than James Langton – and I would have preferred to have had them all the same.  Still it does mean if I don’t quite finish in time I’ll be able to finish the book during my coach trip on Friday. I may still pick up the North American one just so I have the set. This was another hard slog of a section, mirroring the hard journey our intrepid hero undergoes to reach the dragon Icefyre’s icy lair.  Lots of being cold, miserable, and hiking through treacherous snow and ice.  We’ve finally arrived at our destination, so hopefully things will start to happen soon. Only a couple of things to note: we still don’t know who our antagonist is yet.  We’re half way through the final book of the series!  It’s becoming more strongly implied that it’s the…