November 30, 2012

Review : A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Title : A Game of Thrones

Author : George R.R. Martin

Reading Dates : 23 Oct - 3 Nov 2012

Total Pages : 835

A Song of Ice and Fire
  • A Game of Thrones
  • A Clash of Kings
  • A Storm of Swords
  • A Feast of Crows
  • A Dance with Dragons
From Amazon :
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

Book Review of A Game of Thrones.

I picked up Game of Thrones after I had caught bits and pieces of a few episodes of the series on television. It looked like it might be interesting and a part of me is glad I picked it up.The other part of me though is afraid that I’ll come to regret it later on.

The Game of Thrones is well written. The book isn’t fast paced but there is plenty of tension, intrigues and twists to keep me on tenterhooks. Boredom is the least of my worries. I can’t quite figure out what is going to happen next and why.

The characters are complex and varied too. The fact that I can keep track of who’s who is a credit to George R.R. Martin. There are characters I’d love to hate but can’t help but admire for their resourceful sneakiness. Then, there are some I love for their determination to always behave with honour but also recognize that those are the very reasons for their own downfall. And also a few that should have my sympathies but just leaves me annoyed and angry at their foolish naivete. Oh yes, I’m having a wonderful time getting closer to the Starks, the Lannisters and all their enemies and allies.

But here comes the kicker. The book and the story has me afraid, terribly afraid that the good guys (or at least the ones I consider to be the good guys), aren’t going to have a good end. How can they when even I agree with the Lannister thinking when it comes to gaining and keeping power? I don’t see how anyone can win the Game of Thrones without sacrificing at least a few of their scruples. And since I prefer happy endings, well …

So, right now, I’m in 2 minds. I want to know what happens next but I don’t want anything bad to happen to the characters I’m rooting for. In the end, I’m definitely going to pick up the books. But I’m just going to postpone it a while, get used to the fact that there is likely to be no happy ever afters here.

My conclusions :

  • Would I re-read the book ? Yes.
  • Would I want to read the next book in the series ? Yes.
  • Would I want to own my personal copy if I didn’t already own it ? Yes.
  • Who would I recommend this too? All fantasy readers.
  • For those looking to read the book, would I recommend buying or borrowing the book? I can't say yet. It would depend on how the rest of the books in the series go.

November 27, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays : Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake and Prey by Michael Crichton

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted at Should Be Reading.

Teaser Tuesdays

Share 2 teaser sentences from your current read. Be careful not to include spoilers.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

From Page 173

"We're in on the secret, aren't we, Cas? And it's taking us out of this world."
"That's usually the way it works," I say softly.

Prey by Michael Crichton

From Page 159

"They tried to make these buildings perfect," he said. "Because they're working with such small-size things. But it's not a perfect world, Jack. Never has been. Never will be."
I said again, "What kind of accidents?"

November 23, 2012

Review : Area 7 by Matthew Reilly

Title : Area 7

Author : Matthew Reilly

Reading Dates : 20 Oct - 22 Oct 2012

Total Pages : 565

Shane Schofield
From Amazon :
From the bestselling author of Ice Station, another dizzyingly fast-paced adventure thriller featuring Shane Schofield. It is America's most secret base, hidden deep in the Utah desert, an Air Force installation known only as Area 7. And today it has a visitor: the President of the United States. He has come to inspect Area 7, to examine its secrets for himself. But he's going to get more than he bargained for on this trip. Because hostile forces are waiting inside...Among the President's helicopter crew, however, is a young Marine. He is quiet, enigmatic, and he hides his eyes behind a pair of silver sunglasses. His name is Schofield. Call-sign: Scarecrow. Rumour has it, he's a good man in a storm. Judging by what the President has just walked into, he'd better be...

Book Review of Area 7.

Suffice to say that whatever I have to say about Area 7, I’ve already said in my review of Ice Station.

Area 7, like Ice Station, pales in comparison to Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves. As far as recycled plotlines are concerned, Area 7 does one worst than Ice Station. There’s even 1 scene that is nearly identical to that in Army of Thieves. I’m not sure to be amused or not, considering the fact that Army of Thieves came later in the Schane Schofield series.

As for the little boy Kevin, if he’s supposed to provide the cute factor, he fails woefully. He hardly appears in the book, and comes off as spooky when he does appear.

To sum up, this is the end of my adventures with the Scarecrow. I should have stopped while I was ahead.

My conclusions :

  • Would I re-read the book ? No.
  • Would I want to read the next book in the series ? No.
  • Would I want to own my personal copy if I didn’t already own it ? No.
  • Who would I recommend this too? Not recommended.
  • For those looking to read the book, would I recommend buying or borrowing the book? Borrow it.

November 22, 2012

Review : Ice Station by Matthew Reilly

Title : Ice Station

Author : Matthew Reilly

Reading Dates : 14 Oct - 19 Oct 2012

Total Pages : 690

Shane Schofield
From Amazon :
Anarctica is the last unconquered continent, a murderous expanse of howling winds, blinding whiteouts and deadly crevasses. On one edge of Antarctica is Wilkes Station. Beneath Wilkes Station is the gate to hell itself...

A team of U.S. divers, exploring three thousand feet beneath the ice shelf has vanished. Sending out an SOS, Wilkes draws a rapid deployment team of Marines-and someone else...

First comes a horrific firefight. Then comes a plunge into a drowning pool filled with killer whales. Next comes the hard part, as a handful of survivors begin an electrifying, red-hot, non-stop battle of survival across the continent and against wave after wave of elite military assassins-who've all come for one thing: a secret buried deep beneath the ice...

Book Review of Ice Station.

Ice Station would have been a better read with more distance and time from Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves.

About a quarter through through Ice Station, I realized that the plot and a number of the character were nearly identical to those in Army of Thieves. I had expected the fast paced and improbable action sequences appearing in Army of Thieves but not for some of the plotline to be almost a duplicate of the book.

In Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves, we had Bertie the robot supplying the mandatory cuteness factor as well as some much needed assistance. Here, we have the duo of Kirsty and her pet seal, Wendy. Unfortunately, they’re not as cute nor as reliable as Bertie. Kirsty is more annoying than cute while Wendy isn’t as helpful in fighting off predators of the human variety.

Then, there’s the obligatory traitor within their ranks. A theme similarly recurring in Army of Thieves. If their own leaders are involved , I don’t see that ending happening. Its too pat and I would have expected further damage.

No, Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves was a better rendition of Schane Schofield’s story.

My conclusions :

  • Would I re-read the book ? No.
  • Would I want to read the next book in the series ? Only because I already have it.
  • Would I want to own my personal copy if I didn’t already own it ? No.
  • Who would I recommend this too? Not really.
  • For those looking to read the book, would I recommend buying or borrowing the book? Borrow it.

November 20, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays : The Lost Hero and Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted at Should Be Reading.

Teaser Tuesdays

Share 2 teaser sentences from your current read. Be careful not to include spoilers.

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

From Page 351

"I make it. In uncertain times like these, gold is the wisest investment, don't you think? Governments fall. The dead rise. Giants attack Olympus. But gold retains its value!"

Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

From Page 394

"Cyclopes! I tell you, Stheno, when I destroy Neptune and take over the oceans, we will renegotiate the Cyclopes' labour contract. Ma Gasket will learn her place! Now, what news from the north?"

November 19, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday What Are You Reading ? is hosted at Book Journey.
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.

What I Read:

  • The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
  • The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

What I Reviewed:

What I’m Reading:

  • Prey by Michael Crichton

What I Plan to Read next:

November 18, 2012

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted at The Story Siren.
In My Mailbox

Anyone can participate. IMM is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week.


Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank's remarkable diary has since become a world classic -- a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit. In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the "Secret Annex" of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

Prey by Michael Crichton

From the Number One international bestselling author of Jurassic Park comes this classic Crichton page-turner, weaving together heart-pounding thrills with cutting-edge technology. In California, odd things are happening to unemployed scientist Jack Forman. His children tell Jack that strange men have visited the house. And Julia, his wife, isn't helping -- she acts, even looks, somehow different. Deep in the Nevada desert, in the laboratory where Julia works, things are out of control. A swarm of rogue microbots, designed to reproduce and learn, is developing with a frightening speed that has the scientists battling to contain it. Only when Jack is called in to help does he discover the shocking truth -- the microbots have been programmed to behave as predators. And Man is the prey!

Changeling by Philippa Gregory

The first book in the thrilling YA sequence, Order of Darkness. The year is 1453, and all signs point to it being the end of the world. Accused of heresy and expelled from his monastery, handsome seventeen-year-old, Luca Vero, is recruited by a mysterious stranger to record the end of times across Europe. Commanded by sealed orders, Luca is sent to map the fears of Christendom, and travel to the very frontier of good and evil. Seventeen-year-old Isolde, a Lady Abbess, is trapped in a nunnery to prevent her claiming her rich inheritance. As the nuns in her care are driven mad by strange visions, walking in their sleep, and showing bleeding wounds, Luca is sent to investigate and all the evidence points to Isolde's criminal guilt. Outside in the yard they are building a pyre to burn her for witchcraft. Forced to face the greatest fears of the medieval world - dark magic, werewolves, madness - Luca and Isolde embark on a search for truth, their own destinies, and even love as they take the unknown ways to the real historical figure who defends the boundaries of Christendom and holds the secrets of the Order of Darkness.

Amazonia by James Rollins

The Rand scientific expedition entered the lush wilderness of the Amazon and never returned. Years later, one of its members has stumbled out of the world's most inhospitable rainforest--a former Special Forces soldier, scarred, mutilated, terrified, and mere hours from death, who went in with one arm missing . . . and came out with both intact.

Unable to comprehend this inexplicable event, the government sends Nathan Rand into this impenetrable secret world of undreamed-of perils, to follow the trail of his vanished father . . . toward mysteries that must be solved at any cost. But the nightmare that is awaiting Nate and his team of scientists and seasoned U.S. Rangers dwarfs any danger they anticipated . . . an ancient, unspoken terror--a power beyond human imagining--that can forever alter the world beyond the dark, lethal confines of . . .

Altar of Eden by James Rollins

Baghdad falls . . . and armed men are seen looting the city zoo. Amid a hail of bullets, a concealed underground lab is ransacked--and something horrific is set loose upon the world.

Seven years later, Louisiana state veterinarian Lorna Polk investigates an abandoned shipwrecked fishing trawler carrying exotic caged animals, part of a black market smuggling ring. But there is something disturbingly wrong with these beasts--each an unsettling mutation of the natural order, all sharing one uncanny trait: incredibly heightened intelligence.

Joining forces with U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jack Menard--a man who shares with her a dark and bloody past--Lorna sets out to uncover the truth about this strange cargo and the terrorist threat it poses. Because a beast escaped the shipwreck and is running amok--and what is about to be born upon the altar of Eden could threaten not only the future of the world but the very foundation of what it means to be human.

[ What I spent on the books : RM 103.55 ]

November 16, 2012

Review : Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Title : Mockingjay

Author : Suzanne Collins

Reading Dates : 13 Oct - 14 Oct 2012

Total Pages : 390

Catching Fire
From Amazon :
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge...This thrilling final instalment of this ground-breaking trilogy promises to be one of the most talked-about books of the year.

Book Review of Mockingjay.

Mockingjay was an unbearably sad read for me. The ending, which all things considered is supposed to be a good one, didn’t feel like that to me. There were just too many needless and senseless deaths in Mockingjay.

If I could wish for anything regarding The Hunger Games series, it would be for a different ending. So many of the characters, including my favourite, dies brutally and tragically. And the toll that the Districts demands for ending the war is barbaric as well. Worse, when I put myself in their shoes, I can actually understand their need for vengeance. In the end, it all seems to be such a terrible waste because nothing much changes, only the role of victim and persecutor. While the good guys will not always win, I still prefer happy endings or at least endings where I can feel that most of the people got what they deserved. In Mockingjay, it seemed that the heroes suffered a fate worse than the villains.

As for Katniss’s choice for her life partner, it doesn’t come as a surprise to me. It was pretty clear to me by Catching Fire who it would be considering the way she thinks. I’m still disappointed though when she makes her choice. More than anything, it seems to symbolize that nothing changes in Katniss’s world because she lets past events dictate her choice.

To sum it up, The Hunger Games had me wanting to watch the movie while Mockingjay has me reconsidering. The story might have been good but I’d have preferred a happier ending.

My conclusions :

  • Would I re-read the book ? Yes, but not as frequent as I'd like.
  • Would I want to read the next book in the series, if there were one ? Yes.
  • Would I want to own my personal copy if I didn’t already own it ? Yes.
  • Who would I recommend this too? Young adult and dystopian readers.
  • For those looking to read the book, would I recommend buying or borrowing the book? Buy it. The series is a keeper.

November 15, 2012

Review : Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Title : Catching Fire

Author : Suzanne Collins

Reading Dates : 08 Oct - 12 Oct 2012

Total Pages : 391

Catching Fire
From Amazon :
Suzanne Collins continues the amazing story of Katniss Everdeen in the phenomenal Hunger Games trilogy.

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Book Review of Catching Fire.

I liked Catching Fire but for very different reasons than The Hunger Games.

Catching Fire had a slower pace compared to The Hunger Games and the main storyline in the beginning wasn’t very interesting. At least not to me. What kept me going were the hints of what was going on in the background. It seems strange though how nobody in Katniss’s world catches on.

The second reason I enjoyed Catching Fire was the introduction of a new character and ally for Katniss, Finnick Odair. I even thought that he would have been a better choice for Katniss as a love interest. The funniest moment in the entire Hunger Games series occurs in Catching Fire, between him and Katniss. Considering what he’s been through, I thought it wonderful that he could still keep his sense of humour and even get Katniss to lighten up. In truth, I thought that was the only time Katniss was truly happy, without any strings attached.

As for the romantic triangle between Katniss, Gale and Peeta, the whole thing just annoyed me. Rather than love, I believe what Katniss has with the 2 stems more from her survival instincts. Gale said it perfectly later on, when he comments that Katniss will chose the one she believes she can’t live without. Its also pretty clear to me who that would be considering her psychological makeup. It was also perfectly understandable considering the environment she grew up in.

A good read but Catching Fire would have been better without drawing out the tension between Katniss, Gale and Peeta.

My conclusions :

  • Would I re-read the book ? Yes.
  • Would I want to read the next book in the series ? Yes.
  • Would I want to own my personal copy if I didn’t already own it ? Yes.
  • Who would I recommend this too? Young adult and dystopian readers.
  • For those looking to read the book, would I recommend buying or borrowing the book? Buy it.

November 14, 2012

Review : The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Title : The Hunger Games

Author : Suzanne Collins

Reading Dates : 05 Oct - 08 Oct 2012

Total Pages : 374

The Hunger Games
From Amazon :
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games," a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.

Book Review of The Hunger Games.

I absolutely loved The Hunger Games. Katniss’s story was gripping and had me on the edge of my seat throughout the tale.

If I had to pick the strongest reason why I enjoyed it so much, it would be because of the suspense and tension which permeates the tale. I could barely tear myself away from the story because I kept wondering what would happen next. The question of what terrible thing was going to befall the heroine and how she was going to extricate herself from her latest predicament kept me glued to the story from beginning until the end.

The Hunger Games also has a number of pretty interesting characters, ones that you want to root for. My favourite was Rue, which also makes it kind of hard to enjoy the tale at times. Right off the bat we know that there can be only 1 winner in these survival games. And since the heroine most definitely has to be the winner, all that’s left is how and when Rue dies. Its also interesting to note that like most of the audience of The Hunger Games, I started to want Katniss to win only after she tries to give some meaning to Rue’s death. Prior to that, Katniss’s cynicism made it very hard to like or admire her.

As for the ending, while not exactly a cliffhanger, left me on tenterhooks. The Hunger Games may have ended but Katniss and her dearest and closest are definitely not out of the woods yet.

My conclusions :

  • Would I re-read the book ? Definitely.
  • Would I want to read the next book in the series ? Yes.
  • Would I want to own my personal copy if I didn’t already own it ? Yes.
  • Who would I recommend this too? All young adult and dystopian fans.
  • For those looking to read the book, would I recommend buying or borrowing the book? Buy it.

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