Half Bad by Sally Green – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / June 18, 2014

Half Bad by Sally Green tells the story of Nathan who is the son of a white witch mother and a black witch father.  In Nathan’s world, black witches are hated and feared and Nathan’s parentage makes him a pariah, someone to be caged and studied.  To make matters worse, Nathan’s 17th birthday is approaching by which time he must receive three gifts and the blood of a family member – or die. The story starts off with Nathan in a cage and trying to escape before flashing back to recount his earlier life.  The story is told primarily in the first person present, almost stream-of-consciousness – with some diversions off to the second person when Nathan is trying to distance himself from what is going on, such as during torture.  The narrative style is deliberately simplistic to reflect Nathan’s lack of book learning. What I liked The narration.  I LOVED the audio narration of Half Bad, which was done by Carl Prekopp.  Written as it is in the first person present, the narrator IS Nathan, and it’s as if the protagonist himself is speaking.  This is emphasised by the simple, informal language. My heart rate did shoot up during…

Separating audiobook reviews from ebook reviews
Miscellaneous / May 17, 2014

As my regular readers may have noticed, I review books in both ebook and audiobook format.  I thought it might be interesting to split these off for those of you who have a preferred format. eBook reviews can be found here.  Audiobooks reviews are here.  The full review listing is available on the homepage. Enjoy.

Oathbreaker’s Shadow by Amy McCulloch
Book Reviews , eBook reviews / June 1, 2013

I received a free review copy of Oathbreaker’s Shadow via Netgalley.  Oathbreaker’s Shadow is a young adult fantasy novel by Canadian writer Amy McCulloch.  It tells the story of Raim and how he falls foul of his society’s taboo against pathbreaking.  A key part of the novel is Raim’s friendship with the young heir to the realm.

Dipping my toes back into Android
Tech Reviews / July 20, 2012

Those of you who have read my blog know that I am an Apple fangirl, and that I had been very disappointed in my brieftime with the Kobo Vox ereading tablet. That had been my first experience with Android, and although I was very disappointed in the Kobo Vox, I realised that was due to the tablet itself not the operating system. I really liked the 7 inch size of the Kobo Vox, and I had been considering a more general Android 7 inch tablet. I had been seriously considering the Galaxy 2 tablet, but then I heard about the new Nexus 7 and was blown away by the presentation and reviews. Just looking at the specs of the Kobo compared to the Nexus I can tell already my experience is going to be completely different: Kobo Vox: Operating system custom Android 2.3 CPU 800 Mhz Storage capacity 8 GB Memory 512 MB RAM Display 7″ multi-touch FFS+ multimedia display; 1024 x 600 resolution Nexus 7: Operating system Android 4.1 Jelly Bean SoC Nvidia Tegra 3 (T30L) CPU 1.2 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 with additional low-speed companion core,[1] GPU 416 MHz Nvidia GeForce ULP with 12 cores Memory 1 GB…

Graceling by Kristin Cashore (spoilers)
Book Reviews , eBook reviews / June 16, 2012

I would love to say I loved this book, and indeed there was much I did enjoy about it.  I found the main characters to be engaging and well written.  The world building I thought was excellent. I enjoyed reading it and will certainly read the sequel, Bitterblue. What really let the novel down in my opinion was the poor pacing.  I felt too much time was spent on the wrong things.  For example we seem to spend several chapters wandering around in the snow with Katsa and Bitterblue and yet the final confrontation with Leck, to which the entire book has been leading, is over within half a page or so.  This left me feeling somewhat cheated.  In addition, this confrontation occurs still some way from the end of the novel; I kept expecting another twist, not setup for the next novel. I also felt the author missed some golden opportunities to explore some interesting themes, such as how do those who have grown used to power cope when they are powerless?  It is touched upon briefly, but I would have welcomed a deeper exploration of these. Having said that, I think these are things the novelist will become…

Kobo Vox – Update
e-Reader Reviews / June 9, 2012

I've had a day to play around with this now, and at this point I'm unlikely to keep it.  As I mentioned in my initial post, my main use for this would have been as a multi-platform e-reading tablet.  From what I've seen, it's going to struggle to fulfill that purpose, for me at least. What I liked The inbuilt functions seemed to work fairly well.  The main Kobo app is almost identical to the one on the iPad and works in much the same fashion.  I tested the Email, YouTube and Zinio apps, and again, all of them worked reasonably well.  My existing content downloaded to the machine with no trouble.  I also found the capacitive touchscreen to be reasonably responsive, which was a criticism I'd read in other reviews. I particularly liked the Kobo widget which brings your currently being read content right to your home screen. Being used to iOS, it took me a little time to get used to Android, but it wasn't that difficult.   You also can't really argue about the price – $169 is a pretty good deal – if you're prepared to accept the limitations.   I also really liked the 7…

Checking out the Kobo Vox
e-Reader Reviews / June 8, 2012

As I received a nice tax rebate today, I decided to check out the Kobo Vox 7 inch e-reader Android tablet.  For the Canadians amongst you, FutureShop is offering $10 discount. Now, it’s possible I will return it before the return period expires; the reviews I’ve read and seen on YouTube have been rather negative – sluggish, unresponsive machine, poor quality build – but I will see for myself. I am not expecting it to be comparable to the iPad – Apple’s tablet has a dual-core Apple A5X custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip with quad-core graphics and 1GB of RAM compared to the Vox’s 800 Mhz processor and 512 RAM – and of course with at least $400 difference in price, you wouldn’t expect them to compare.  I intend using them for different purposes.  I expect my iPad to remain my go to tablet of choice, and the Kobo to be purely e-reading based.  The main advantage I’m hoping to get from the Vox is that I will be able to read books from all three of my main sources – Amazon, Kobo and the local library – on one e-reader sized device. This will also be my first experience with Android….

The Serpent’s Head: Revenge by Julian Malins – Review
Book Reviews , eBook reviews / June 7, 2012

The genre of political thriller is not one I read particularly often, and it usually has to have a very interesting premise for me to pick it up in the first place.  This one did catch my attention: what could happen if wealthy and influential individuals lost a loved one in a terrorist attack and had the means, motive and opportunity to take personal revenge? The first half of the novel introduces the protagonists, describes the initial terrorist incident which sparked the titular revenge, while the second half follows its setup and first stages of execution.  One thing I found detracted from the novel slightly was the abrupt end.  I understand this is the first in a two book series, and it felt as though the ending was neither a tied up ending nor a lead in to book two.  I found the characters to be well developed and in general sympathetic – at times it was all too easy to forget that what they are planning will cost the lives of many innocents in the name of personal revenge.  The author does very well though in the way he describes their grief to gain the reader's empathy. The descriptions…

Thoughts on Game of Thrones Season 2 – Book 2 and Season 2 spoilers
Miscellaneous / May 22, 2012

I was motivated to write this entry today following the news that GoT screenwriter Bryan Cogman has left Twitter. He explains that this is due to negative backlash on some of the creative decisions made by the team.  I can respect Mr. Cogman's decision and am sorry that the feedback he received was phrased in a negative and hurtful way.  As a fan of both book and TV adaptation, I would like to share my thoughts.   One of George R.R. Martin's strengths as a writer is in his characterization.  The multiple point of view structure of the novels allows him to populate his world with characters as varied as a young tomboy, a young Queen coming to grips with her newfound power and a smart dwarf who wears his armour in his mind and for us to get to know and love them.  Each of these characters has a well thought out story arc with its own emotional beats, and following these characters on their respective journeys is one of the pleasures of reading A Song of Ice and Fire. HBO has brought together a fantastic cast and crew to bring these characters to life, and it has been a…

April/May reads
Reading Roundup / May 6, 2012

This last couple of months I've got through a few good books, and rather than reviewing each individually, I decided to write a post discussing all of them.  On the fourth of May no fewer than four new releases were downloaded to my Kindle, so I am happy I had a week off work to read them all. Fair Game – Patricia BriggsThis is the next book in the Alpha and Omega series, and it was the usual enjoyable Briggs fare.  Anna and Charles are interesting characters and it's fun to see their development.  I was particularly interested in the end game changer – I understand it's impacting the Mercy Thompson series, too.  I had been surprised that Briggs was planning a new Mercy book.  I'd felt the character had come to the end of her story, but this will add a new dimension.  I look forward to Frost Bitten next year I gave Fair Game four stars. The Iron King – Julie Kanawa.This is an ebook I borrowed from the library.  A Young Adult novel, it is the usual tale of modern teen finds she has an undiscovered past and hidden powers, finds herself in a fantasy world.  It's…