Thursday, June 20, 2013

78:120 The Shield Maiden by Michael 'Tinker' Pearce and Linda Pearce

A Foreworld Sidequest.  A short story of Sigrid who is a Shield Maiden during her first battle and what she discovers about herself and her talents.  Set in what is basically Viking times.  I have no other knowledge of this universe and bought this because a relative of a friend wrote it and I admit to liking to support friends and their relatives.  Sue me.  I didn't expect to be as drawn into it as I was considering I had no familiarity with the world but it was written so that it wasn't necessary.  There is some backstory going on that I think would explain some other things that were side plots of this particular story and I'm intrigued enough that I have put the first couple of actual books from this series onto my wishlist.  If they are as well written as this, I will be a very happy reader.

Page count: 67p/19,821p ytd/164,221p lifetime

77:120 A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

The first book in A Song of Fire and Ice series.  In a land where summer can last for years before winter takes hold for a comparable time, summer is coming to an end and winter is coming.  Creatures are massing in the North the likes of which are only remembered in legend.  Meanwhile, in the south, the House of Targaryen has recently been overthrown as Kings of the 7 Kingdoms by Robert Bartheon who wed Cersei Lannister whose brother was foresworn when he took the head of the previous king.  Now the King's Hand, Jon Arryn, is dead and King Robert feels the need for someone who is completely loyal to only him and not the Lannisters so he chooses his boyhood friend Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfall in the North.  What Eddard discovers about his predecessor's demise may doom his whole house because when you play the game of thrones, you either win or you die.

Ok, I'm behind the times in reading these but at the same time I don't regret it as now I don't have to wait years between books until I get past the 5th in the series.  I do agree that this was incredibly well-written, very detailed and descriptive (at times I wish it were less so), the characters engaging even when they aren't particularly likable, and the plot intricate.  I've got a book or two that I need to read before I can start the next one but you can be sure that I'll be reading it soon because I have to know what happens.

(and no, I haven't seen the show yet as I wanted to read the books first but now I can at least watch the first season)

Page count: 674p/19,754p ytd/164,154p lifetime

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

76:120 History of US Vol. 7: Reconstructing America by Joy Hakim

Middle-School US History.  Deals with the time following the Civil War but not just the Reconstruction of the South but also what was happening in the west, the strides in innovation and inventions, woman's rights, the start of the temperance movement, the rising racism against the Chinese as well as the blacks.  It was nice to hear more about the country during that time than just what was going on in the South which seems to be the more typical way of presenting that time period.

Page count: 183p/19,080p ytd/163,500p lifetime

75:120 The Angel's Kiss: A Melody Malone Mystery by Justin Richards

A story in the Doctor Who universe, supposedly being read by Amy Pond during the episode "The Angels Take Manhattan".  In the episode tho, it seems to be telling the story of what is happening to them before they actually experience it and that is not the case here.

Melody Malone is really River Song (or Melody Pond if you prefer), who has somehow gotten stuck in 1920s New York and has taken to being a detective to try and figure out what is going on with the Angels.  She is sucked into a mystery that has more than Weeping Angels for her to figure out tho.

I wanted to like this book.  I LOVE River Song and you could hear her sass in this but that was all there was to it.  Her brains seemed to be almost completely missing until something slapped her so hard across the face that she couldn't possibly miss it.  Sorry but River Song is smart.  Yes, she is sassy and flirtatious but she has a brain and I missed hearing that from her character.  In all, this is a short story that didn't get the time and attention to detail that it truly deserved and what I would expect from a Doctor Who novel or even novella.  This is the second actual novel tie-in that they've done and I've been disappointed with both which is a shame.

Page count: 80p/18,897p ytd/163,317p lifetime

74:120 101 Things You Didn't Know About Irish History by Ryan Hackney

Little snippets detailing various historical pieces of Irish culture and history dating from pre-history to late 1980s.  Some of them I did know and many of which I knew part of but not all of.  Still, nice and concise little chunks of history, seemed to be well researched, and presented in an easy to read format.

Page count: 259p/18,817p ytd/163,237p lifetime

73:120 Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

A coming of age story set during a world-wide apocalypse.  Julia is enjoying the morning after a sleepover with her friend when the news comes down, the world is starting to slow.  The days start growing longer as do the nights.  Gravity is affected while birds, whales, and crops are slowly dying off.  While all this is going on, Julia is dealing with the typical teenage angst of having a best friend one day and then not the next day, does that cute guy I like like me too, and what is up with seeing my dad over at my piano's teacher house when he's supposed to be at work.

I wanted to like this one.  I typically like dystopian and apocalypic fiction and I thought the concept of the Earth slowing and the results of that well done in that it was believable the types of problems that would be coming about both biological as well as behavioral and societal.  The problem was, I don't like teenage angst and drama.  I lived through it once and that was enough.  I now have my own teenagers and have to watch it on a daily basis.  I read to escape it, not deal with more of it and there was just too much of it.   Do I think that were a teenage girl actually living through it would sound like that in a diary?  Yeah, probably.  But I wouldn't want to read said diary for that exact reason.

Page count: 289p/18,558p ytd/162,978p lifetime

Saturday, June 8, 2013

72:120 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

The end of the Millennium trilogy.  Salandar is in the hospital recovering from her father's attempted murder of her.  Her father, Zalachenko, is in the hospital recovering from the multiple wounds he received at her hands as she tried to kill him (after crawling out of her grave with a bullet in her head).  The agency that has been tidying up Zalachenko's issues for decades is back in the hands of those who are not afraid to shirk from what they feel must be done to cover everything over, including putting Salander back into psychiatric custody for life.  Her only true ally is Blomkvist who is stopping at nothing to dig up everything he can to prove how her rights and life have been violated over and over again at the hands of the "Zalachenko Club".   Between the two of them, and with Salander under house arrest at the hospital, manage to gain enough allies and find enough information to sink this operation and turn the wheels of justice to those who orchestrated this whole thing and away from Salander?

Nice conclusion to the trilogy.  I read the other two last year and it was nice that it was easy to dive right back into the world but yet there wasn't a heavy-handed attempt to fill in all the backstory.  Little bits did come out but really as it fit into the story, telling other people who wouldn't have known.  Very fast paced and well wrapped up.  In all, I really enjoyed the series and would recommend it wholeheartedly.

Page count: 563p/18,269p ytd/162,689p lifetime