Archive for June 2011
1945: A German bomber flies over Iceland in a blizzard; the crew have lost their way and eventually crash on the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest in Europe. Puzzlingly, there are both German and American officers on board. One of the senior German officers claims that their best chance of survival is to try to walk to the nearest farm and sets off, a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist. He soon disappears into the white vastness.
1999, mid-winter, and the US Army is secretively trying to remove an aeroplane from the Vatnajökull glacier. By coincidence two young Icelanders become involved–but will pay with their lives. Before they are captured, one of the two contacts his sister, Kristin, who will not rest until she discovers the truth of her brother’s fate. Her pursuit puts her in great danger, leading her, finally, to a remote island off Argentina in search of the key to the riddle about Operation Napoleon. (From Amazon.ca)
I really enjoyed this book because of its’ action sequences. There’s quite a few chase scenes, several fighting scenes, and you can’t leave out interrogations! so I flew through this book eagerly and thought it was pretty good. What I really thought was well done, was the translation job. Most books that have been translated have a tendency to be haphazard, and at times certain passages have to be read a few times over to get the gist of it. With this book there is no problem and the writing is clear, concise,and easily readable.
I had a hard time trying to like Kristin. It’s not that she’s not likable she’s just, there for the story I suppose. I guess the action is just so intense that you don’t really care about characters and development so no attachment is formed to any characters in the book. It also bugged me a lot that her ex boyfriends are lying about for convenience. Really??? an ex boyfriend would lend you his car without asking what you’re going to do??? how is that even possible with a main character that seems to have barely any feelings at all?? I understand how she came to rely on Steve, it looked as if he still had feelings for her. However with her other ex, it just felt like he (and his car) was conveniently there to get the plot going. It’s a little too good to be true for me.
The storyline is good, with enough suspense and action to get you going. The pace is actually quite quick and reading through the book will take no time at all. The main mystery and the ‘what if’ plot that’s central to this entire novel is interesting. What was a little irritating was trying to figure out what it was. It was almost every time Kristin and Steve were getting closer to knowing the secrets, the characters they were questioning suddenly clammed up and refused to talk further. It was frustrating and I was almost tempted to skip the pages just to find out what the big secret was.
Once it was revealed, and you got to the ending, it left you thinking; “Could it be possible?”. I thought that was a perfect way to end the book! my mind was all dizzy with all that fast paced action, and yet it got me thinking as well. It certainly was an adrenaline rush with a great ending. Do pick this book up if you feel like an action packed book with a very curious ‘what if’ to certain points in history. (Those who are into the Second World War might enjoy this.)
I give it an 8 out of 10.
The cover caught my eye for this one. It’s pretty, yet simple.
Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove longs to break free from her respectable life as a Victorian doctor`s daughter. But her dreams become a nightmare when Louisa is sent to Wildthorn Hall: labelled a lunatic, deprived of her liberty and even her real name. As she unravels the betrayals that led to her incarceration, she realizes there are many kinds of prison. She must be honest with herself – and others – in order to be set free. And love may be the key… (From Amazon.ca)
I could not help but feel so angry for Louisa. She dealt with such a great injustice against her, I could hardly believe the outcome of the story. She’s definitely a very strong character especially with the odds not in her favor. I liked how she’s portrayed as not a typical Victorian English woman. She was more of a tomboy and wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps. Unfortunately she just happened to be born in the wrong century. I liked how she didn’t think she acted any different, and in fact thought the ‘girly’ girls were just odd because they did not share the same interests as she did.
Of all characters I loathed Tom. I really did. He was spiteful, horrible, cruel, and he deserved a whole lot of pain than he got. I’d have to say he’s one of the most hated characters I have ever encountered so far in a book. Phyllis was also another character I did not care for, and although her ending was a little more satisfying than Tom’s, I thought she didn’t really receive her proper come uppins.
Overall, the plot was good and very well written. I thought the writing did a good job in capturing how it felt to be in an asylum during the Victorian Age. It’s bleak, and depressing, and situations could potentially get worse should you become ‘uncooperative’. It’s an eye opener, and horrible to read because the reader is aware of Louisa’s mental health, but also reading on how she got there in the first place is shocking and horrifying.
As for the romance in this book, it may not be for everyone, I sort of figured who Louisa would be with and it’s predictable. Some argue why is this even necessary. True, but also realize that without the love, Louisa might not have been strong enough to endure what she had to go through and it was what kept her going.
This was an eye opening read, and although dark and bleak throughout most of the book, there is a good satisfying ending. It shows how they used to think back then, and what was the norm and what was not. It’s hard to read without feeling some sort of anger but it’s also a satisfying read because Louisa is one of the strongest characters I have ever read so far. To have gone through what she had, would have taken a lot of strength both mentally and physically.
I give it a 10 out of 10.
Today’s question is: “When did you realize reading was your passion and a truly important part of your life?”
- Oh wow, that’s a great question. Reading was always a part of my life, ever since I was little. My parents would read to me as a child to improve their English. Eventually it would be me correcting them when a word was mispronounced my mom was a huge reader. She would buy me books from Scholastic when I was a kid and read them with me. (I recall having to carry a huge pile of books from school – she ordered them not me, but I read them anyway) As I grew older, we both would take massive amounts of books from the library. Eventually I started having to buy books for her at the thrift store, she’d run through those like water! My dad reads, but not as much. He’s more of a poetry kind of reader. He still loves to read as well, although our tastes differ greatly. I noticed I had a great passion in books when I noticed everywhere I was I had to have a book with me. I noticed whenever I went to libraries or book stores I’d spend hours there and it would have a calming effect on me – especially on bad days. Books are a way for me to escape and I love every minute of it.
I’d have to say, I give my parents a huge thanks for introducing me a great passion for reading and books.
Thanks for coming! here, have some cheesecake
Note: It’s a good idea to read The Hunchback Assignments first before reading this one.
Transforming his appearance and stealing secret documents from the French is all in a day’s work for fourteen-year-old Modo, a British secret agent. But his latest mission—to uncover the underwater mystery of something called the Ictíneo—seems impossible. There are rumors of a sea monster and a fish as big as a ship. French spies are after it, and Mr. Socrates, Modo’s master, wants to find it first. Modo and his fellow secret agent, Octavia, begin their mission in New York City, then take a steamship across the North Atlantic. During the voyage, Modo uncovers an astounding secret. (From Goodreads).
I enjoyed the first book, and I enjoyed this one even better. This one rather focuses more on Modo and Colette (another spy but for the French) aboard a submarine. The addition of Griff into the story- who makes a perfect creepy villain, also made the book a great read.
What I enjoyed the most out of the story is the underwater city. I absolutely loved that part! the descriptions, the overall feel to it was so rich in description and was easily pictured. It was like reading a description of the lost city of Atlantis. The book has a certain ‘Captain Nemo’ feel to it because of the adventure at sea but the intrigue is what sets it apart and that’s where Griff comes in and provides a spectacular role. He does make a chilling villain despite this book meant for children, I have read nasty villains before, but this one fits perfect for the target age audience.
I thought Colette and Modo made a great team! they worked great together – it’s an interesting contrast to what you see with Octavia and Modo (where they bicker at times – which is cute) but Colette seems to be the more calm, mature type character whereas I see Octavia as a small explosive firecracker (for lack of a better terminology!). I’m actually liking the fact that Octavia does really care about Modo, as she does show how she really feel throughout the book.
I’d have to say, I think the only thing I did not really like is the late entrance of the Clockwork Guild. I thought they were going to be in the book for longer but no, so it was just a little disappointing. I was hoping there would be more of them hanging around (Well, Griff doesn’t really count. Sort of. I was hoping for more of Miss Hakkandottir.)
This was a great follow up to the First Hunchback Assignments. I did recently grab the third one; Empire of Ruins and am hoping it will be just as good! This series has to be one of my favorites of Children’s Fiction.
I give it 9.5 out of 10
France, 1585. She is the youngest and most powerful of the “Sisters of Faire Isle,” women known far and wide for their extraordinary mystical abilities. Skilled in healing and able to forecast the future of those around her, Miri Cheney has returned to her ancestral home to take refuge from a land devastated by civil war–and to grieve for her family, driven to exile. But she cannot hide from the formidable new power threatening to seize control of France from the dread “Dark Queen,” Catherine de Medici–a diabolical woman known only as the Silver Rose. Miri has no choice but to turn to the one man she distrusts as much as she desires: Simon Aristide, the charismatic witch-finder who is now himself the hunted, and who has reluctantly made an unholy pact with Catherine. Miri must defy throne and family to save all that she loves most–and command a future greater than she could ever imagine. (From Amazon.ca)
This was an interesting story! I’m glad to see a new threat introduced besides The Dark Queen herself. It’s also nice to see Miri finally ‘grown up’ and I enjoyed watching her character develop throughout the three novels. She still maintains a bit of her naivete, yet most of it is gone because of what went on between her and Simon in the previous book.
I was so glad to see Martin Le Loup was back for this book! I loved him as the comic relief, and he gets even more comical when he squares off with Simon. The pace of the novel was good and the mystery behind The Silver Rose was also well done. I was hoping to see the return of the older two Cheney sisters, but it seems Miri is just the main feature for this book. The plot has a more paranormal magical feel to it, it’s still in a historical setting, but you don’t really see famous royalty as much as before. I suppose the book was to take a break from the usual setting, to give the series a good break and to try something new. It’s good because not only does the plot take a turn for the more interesting, but a new setting is nice to see.
I liked seeing Miri and Simon together. There is a lot of tension and passion between the two of them. The reader does not feel that much intensity between Miri and Martin but they’re also nice together as well. It’s hard to choose between Martin and Simon as they both have their good qualities, but it just seems Martin is the more fun of the two men. His charm and his ability to get a laugh or a smile from the reader just seems to come naturally.
There was only one thing I did not like: there was a love scene, but what annoys me is during that particular point in the book the characters were being followed with the intent to kill or harm. Yet the couple in question feel it’s all right to take the time to do the deed. This is what I can’t stand. Really? couples do that? when they’re in danger they feel the need to do the horizontal dance and not care there’s a band of men ready to kill them? why? is that necessary? we already know they’re in love what’s the point?! it just annoyed me and I don’t like seeing this in novels I’m reading. To me, this does not make sense. All this aside though, I did enjoy reading this book. The ending opens more possibilities for future books which I will pursue. I have become too attached to the characters to just give up (plus, I’d really like to know what’s in store for Le Loup!)
It’s a great book and written with the same quality of writing as the other two, so fans will not be disappointed. Those just getting started would also enjoy reading this although it would help at least reading The Courtesan. Characters from the previous book are carried over to this one.
I give it an 8 out of 10.
Today’s question is: “How many books are currently in your To-Be-Read (TBR) Pile?”
- I remember this question was asked before. I didn’t have much at the time. Then somehow it grew at a very high alarming rate and just looking at it makes me happy because I know I’m not going to run out any time soon, but also makes me cringe because at this rate I’ll probably “get around to it” sooner or later. So, honestly, I can’t even begin to count.
What about you guys? there’s lemon cake for all!!! oh and Happy Father’s Day!
Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia’s led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it’s revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Kiernan, and the only life she’s ever known. Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins – long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control – she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl. Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor’s history, forever. (From Amazon.ca)
I’m so glad I read this book. It got me back into reading the Fantasy genre which was certainly lacking. What can I say, but that I really enjoyed reading this book. The fantasy isn’t heavy handed, it’s light, and the magic system is simple and easy to understand. The background history and information of the setting is mentioned throughout the book so the reader isn’t left confused but with a general understand on the layout of the land.
I was upset when Sinda learns of her origins and is sent away. What in the world was that about??? it’s like they just casted her out like an overused toy. That got to me! and what’s even worse is Sinda just walks along with it. I realize she’s really powerless to do anything, but she could have at least put up a fight. The main issue I had with her as a character was her tendency to hesitate, at the wrong times. She was just wishy-washy at times and it got frustrating. Keep in mind, I did like her though, it was just this part of her character that just did not go well with me. Throughout the book she did develop into a stronger person and I enjoyed reading her relationship with Philantha. Philantha is an interesting teacher, although the way she teaches is different than what you might expect from other magic users. I certainly took a liking to her the moment she decided to take Sinda under her wing, Philantha wasn’t afraid of what others thought of her. That was admirable, but in a sense I think that gave Sinda a bit of a backbone to grow.
I fell in love with Kiernan. I absolutely loved him as a character. Some characters you just fall for. This is one of them. Not only was he such a great friend, but even after arguing horribly with Sinda, he still managed to forgive her. I fell for him when he came to find her. That just hit me and I thought to myself this guy has just become awesome in an instant. Kiernan and Sinda did make such great friends, of course naturally as the story progresses, you can feel the chemistry between the two of them grow and although obvious of the outcome, it’s still nice to see the two of them together.
The plot of the book was good although the mystery and intrigue did not happen until you read further into the story. It wasn’t bad as you’re literally set up with a good slap in the face in the first chapter. The pace of the book was steady although you do experience a bit of a lull when Sinda is with her Aunt. Yet it’s a welcome lull to what’s in store for the reader throughout the later half of the novel. The ending was also really good yet I can’t help but wonder if there is going to be a sequel with this one. If there is, I would not hesitate to pick it up. I would love to read more about Sinda, and about Kiernan of course!
This book was a decent read with a simple and easy to understand magic system, a nice well written fantasy world with characters that aren’t overly complex but not the most simple either. Perfect for YA readers who want a decent story, with subtle fantasy that isn’t over done.
I give it a 7/10.
Ok the image didn’t work when I copied and pasted…hrm. No problem! today’s question is an awesome one!
“WHO IS THE ONE AUTHOR THAT YOU ARE DYING TO MEET?
“On a sunny Wednesday morning in October, a day that would mark the end of one life and the beginning of another, I found out my grouchy next door neighbor was the walking dead. When you turn around expecting to see something familiar, and instead see something else altogether, it takes a little while for your brain to catch up with your eyes. I call it the ‘Holy Crap Factor.’
Forced to flee his home and family, twelve-year-old Will Ritter falls in with the Undertakers-a rag-tag army of teenage resistance fighters who’ve banded together to battle the Corpses. (From Goodreads)
***Possible spoilers. You’ve been warned***
This book stood out for me. Unlike most zombie books I’ve read, where zombies have run amok and the world breaks down, here in this book, the zombies are quite different. They’re portrayed as what seems like a race from another dimension, and infiltrating Earth for their own purposes. It’s still unclear on where they came from, but I really did like this part of the book. It’s different, and it’s what sets itself apart from the usual zombie plot. It’s an interesting combination of zombies and The Body Snatchers which makes it all the more different and fun to read.
The action starts off with a bang in this book, and it’s continuous, with several pauses in between for a breather (and to read up on more information). The Undertakers, are really just a bunch of children who help other children who are called “Seers” because they can see through the façade in which the corpses are hiding behind. Again, this is a different idea that I have not read before, and could be compared to the Lost Boys from Peter Pan. They’re all split into different groups, each child sent to do important tasks for The Undertakers to thrive and survive. It’s well organized, and yet they’re still just kids, so obviously there’s a childish aspect to their organization as well. The plot is fast paced, and the pauses in between don’t drag or carry on for long.
I had a love and a hate for Will. I liked him because he had attitude and courage, yet at the same time, it’s that same attitude which annoyed me. There were just times when I wished he would shut up but Helene helped out with that (she got him good too). Yet I did like his ingenuity and his quick thinking helped a lot during the course of the book. The one character I did not care for, and thankfully, she did not make much of an appearance was Maria. Oh my, she was useless. All she did was cry, whine, or scream. Argh. I am just glad she wasn’t featured much in the book. The other characters are good and well written but are rather two dimensional since Will is really the center of the book.
The ending was great! and naturally there’s still a few unanswered questions in the book. I’m guessing this is going to be a series judging by the ending, so I am hoping it’ll come out soon, as I’m really looking forward to it.
This book audience inteded for this book does lean towards boys, younger girls might like this because of strong female characters like Helene and Sharyn but I think it’s a perfect read for all ages. It’s an interesting and different take on zombies and body snatchers. I say pick this up for a great action packed read!
I give it a 9/10
Note: Thank you Sourcebooks for providing me a review copy of this book!
It is best to read this mystery series in order starting with: Medicus and Terra Incognita, but it’s also fine just on its’ own – there is some background information you need but it’s not wholly necessary to understand the plot in this novel.
At long last, Gaius Petreius Ruso and his companion, Tilla, are headed home to Gaul. But with Tilla getting icy greetings from Ruso’s relatives, a family member having mysteriously drowned at sea, and the whole Ruso household teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, it’s hard to imagine an unhappier reunion. That is, until Severus, the family’s chief creditor, winds up dead, and the real trouble begins… (From Amazon.ca)
I enjoyed reading the first two and it seems with each book I’ve read from Ruth Downie, they improve each time. Although I found the first two a little on the dry side at times, Persona Non Grata was different. I was more interested in the book, and felt myself turning the pages a lot more quickly than the first two in the series.
I really had to sympathize with Gaius. Not only does he always get the short end of the stick in life, but you can’t help but laugh at his predicaments because things just seem to go from bad to worse when he’s around. His family isn’t the most supportive either but they were such a fun read and there was more than one moment where I found myself chuckling out loud. (Try reading Gaius and his fight with his brother oh my, that was a good laugh.)
There is more of a development in the relationship between Gaius and Tilla. I like how their character development is never quite finished but they develop enough so the reader is satisfied with the way they are throughout the novel. I enjoyed reading about both of them in this book much more. There’s more feeling and emotion between the two. I love how Gaius just wants to take care of Tilla, but she goes out on her own anyway. I like her independence and her strength. The two really do compliment each other nicely.
I enjoyed the plot. Suspects were great and each had a good motive. I was kept guessing although I did have a hunch about the last third of the book. Nevertheless I did like how the book ended and there was more action mentioned to make the plot more exciting and the pace was faster. It was also interesting to note, that early Christians are introduced into the story. I thought that was well done and it did give the plot a much more historical feel to it. When it comes to historical accuracy, I liked it and it seemed pretty accurate to me. Downie’s descriptions are well written and the setting is pictured clearly. I believe she does provide an Author’s Note at the back to explain certain inconsistencies and provides more information.
I do wish there was more to the ‘Dramatis Personae’ at the beginning of the book. It is a little hard to keep track of all the characters (Gaius has a family that could rival The Brady Bunch) plus the suspects, plus other secondary characters. It’s a lot to figure out and I thought the list of characters in the beginning could use a little more clarification.
To fans of Gaius, it’s a great book. I absolutely enjoyed this and the way the book ended paves the way for much more to look forward to. I believe the change of setting is what helped a lot for this book (and quite possibly the series). It’s a great addition to this series, and I’m looking forward to the next one. Ruth Downie just gets better and better with each book!