Sunday, 29 July 2012

Rapture - Lauren Kate (2012)

 3 stars

This is the fourth book in the Fallen series by Lauren Kate, and I was underwhelmed by the conclusion to the series.

This book was written from Luce's perspective like the other books, however unlike the other books when both the prologue and epilogue is from Daniel's perspective the epilogue in this book is from the angels and nephilim's perpective (minus Cam). I didn't like this book as much as it's predecessors mainly because I thought it was kind of predictable and although I liked the ending, it didn't really have much action or suspense like the previous books where I felt I had to keep reading. My favourite character was Arianne, she was cute and loveable as always and brought some lightheartedness to the darkness that Lucinda was feeling for most of the novel. I was frustrated by the mystery that surrounded Cam, the question of who he loved, what he was going to do for the rest of eternity, and where he was during the epilogue are things that could have made the book that much more interesting, and I can only assume that Kate was setting up for a spin off series based on him, which would probably be good because I always liked his character. I recommend this series to any paranormal romance fans.

For a plot summary see Mac's previous blog.

Fifty Shades Darker - E.L. James (2011)

1 star

I read this because its prequel Fifty Shades of Grey ended on a big cliffhanger. It was no improvement from the former. Needless to say, I will not be reading the third.

Ana and Christian are both miserable being away from each other. Christian suggests a new arrangement  -  a real relationship without the BDSM - and Ana agrees. Ana starts at her new job and her boss Jack keeps trying to crack onto her. Christian take over the firm that Ana works for and fires her boss. He proposes to her and she has no answer. They go to his psychiatrist and beforehand Ana hands him a present to be opened on his birthday. His psychiatrist elaborates on why Christian is so messed up. Then one day, Christian stops replying to Ana's emails. His plane crashed and he had to hitchhike home - leaving Ana and his family worried for his life. Turns out Ana's boss sabotages his plane. They go to his birthday bash and Christian opens his present from Ana - a keyring that flashes the word 'YES.' She gave it to him beforehand to show that nothing she found out about him would stop her loving him.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin

5 stars

I watched bits and pieces of this show and liked it, and then I heard some really good reviews of this book so I decided to read it and I wasn't disappointed.

I really enjoyed this book, although I found it incredibly long (which is why I haven't posted a blog in about a month) and it's hard to power through an eight hundred page book when you've seen bits of the tv show and know what's going to happen. This book is very good , and although the television show is a pretty accurate retelling, the book has a lot more detail and makes everything a lot clearer. It is very well written, and describes the battles and deaths in such a way that explains all the details of the wounds without being too gruesome for me. My favourite character was Arya, a well written kick-ass heroine that doesn't annoy me in any way, which is very rare for a heroine in most books I read. I would recommend this book to mature readers who like really intricate fantasy.

Lord Eddard (Ned) Stark is King Robert Baratheon's oldest friend and when Jon Arryn, the King's Hand, dies suddenly Ned is given the job. While serving the King and living at court Ned looks into Jon's death and learns that Robert's children to the Queen are not his but Jaime Lannister's, The Queen's own twin. Cersei learns that Ned knows this and poisons Robert while he's on his hunting trip. When on his deathbed Robert makes Ned write out a new will naming him Protector of the Realm until his "son" Joffrey comes of age and Ned doesn't have the heart to tell him his children aren't his when he's about to die so he changes the will so it says "heir" not son. Once Robert dies Ned tries to tell people that Joffrey doesn't have any right to the title, however Cersei names him a traitor and has him taken to the dungeons. Joffrey is then named King and Stannis Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, and Robb Stark form armies to march against him. Sansa is kept in King's Landing and still betrothed to Joffrey, Arya escapes and takes the guise of a boy going to the wall with Yoren, Catelyn moves with Robb and his army, and Bran is lord of Winterfell and looking after Rickon. Joffrey orders Ned's execution against the advice of everyone on the council, including his mother, and Daenerys, the last true heir to the throne, hatches three dragons, which were long thought to be extinct.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James (2011)

2 stars

I picked this up because.... I don't really know why. It makes me feel awkward seeing little old ladies clutching this novel in their hands.  It topped best-seller lists internationally and has sold over 31 million copies - becoming the fastest selling paperback of all time, beating out Harry Potter. It started off as Twilight fan fiction (here's the link with the original names.) But honestly, the only similarities I drew were; the descriptions of the characters - Anastasia and Christian both look like Bella and Edward - and that Christian is domineering like Edward and Anastasia is subservient like Bella. The plot-lines vary greatly.

It is definitely a trashy read, but with more merit than the typical erotic romances portrayed by Mills & Boon. Despite the fact the that the main character Ana annoyed me to no end and the writing style bothered me, it was really hard to put down and I managed to read it very quickly. The New Zealand Herald got it right in saying that it "will win no prizes for its prose" but it was an easy read if you "can suspend your disbelief and your desire to ...slap the heroine, you might enjoy it." And again with The Columbus Dispatch - "Despite the clunky prose, James does cause one to turn the page."


Subbing for someone else, Anastasia interviews corporate magnate Christian Steele. She is instantly attracted to him, but also finds him intimidating. Next thing she knows, he turns up at her workplace, buying cable ties, rope and masking tape - come on Ana, use your brains! He asks her out for coffee and asks if she’s single and Ana learns he isn’t the boyfriend type.  Ana goes out drinking with her friends and ends up drunk dialing Grey, who comes to pick her up because she’s so drunk. Her friend Jose attempts to force a kiss and is stopped by Grey. Ana leaves with Grey, and wakes to find herself in Grey's hotel room with him revealing he would like to have sex with her. Grey insists that she sign a NDA so she won’t talk about what they do together and takes her to his playroom full of BDSM toys and gear. There Grey informs her that there will be no romance, only sex. Grey realises that Ana is a virgin and agrees to take her virginity without making her sign the contract. Ana and Grey later meet up to go over Ana's hard and soft limits. Ana is spanked for the first time by Christian, which leaves her both aroused and confused by the interaction. She also manages to get a job with Seattle Independent Publishing.  Ana asks Grey to punish her in order to show her how extreme a BDSM relationship with him could be. Grey fulfills Ana's request, beating her with a belt, only for Ana to realize that the two of them are incompatible and she leaves him.

The Book of Awesome - Neil Pasricha (2010)

3.5 stars

I was browsing thorough a book-store, when the spine with The Book of Awesome emblazoned along it jumped out at me. I picked it up and flipped through it. It is full of amusing anecdotes of the small things in life that makes us smile. It is based on a blog called 1000 Awesome Things which posts one awesome thing in life every weekday. It has also won 3 Webby awards.

Pasricha started the blog because at the time "if you flipped open the newspaper it was filled with the same stuff every day. The polar ice caps were melting, there were pirates storming the seas, the economy was on the verge of collapse, and there were wars going on all over the world."

One of my favourite inclusions:

“For a sperm to meet an egg it means your mom met your dad. But it's not just them. Think about how many people had to meet, fall in love, and make love for you to be here. Here's the answer: a lot. Like a lot a lot.Before they had you, none of your ancestors downed in a pond, got strangled by a python, or skied into a tree. None of your ancestors choked on a peach pit, was trampled by buffalo, or got their tie stuck in an assembly line.None of your ancestors was a virgin.You are the most modern, brightest spark of years and years, and years of survivors who all had to meet each other in order to eventually make you...Your Middle Ages Grandpa met your Middle Ages Grandma while they both poured hot oil from the castle turrets on pillaging Vikings. “She liked his grunts and he thought the flowers in her hair made her heaving bosoms jump out.Your Ice Age Grandpa crossing the Bering Bridge in a woolly mammoth fur met your Ice Age Grandma dragging a club in the opposite direction. He liked her sabertoothed necklace and she dug his unibrow.Your ancient rainforest Grandpa was picking berries naked in the bush while your ancient rainforest Grandma was spearing dodos for dinner. She liked his jungle funk and he liked her cave drawings. If it wasn’t for the picnic they had afterward, maybe you wouldn’t be here.You’re pretty lucky all those people met, fell in love, make love, had babies, and raised them into other people who did it all over again. This happened over and over and over again for you to be here. Look around the plane, coffee shop, or park right now. Look at your husband snoring in bed, your girlfriend watching TV, or your sister playing in the backyard. You are surrounded by lucky people.

The Power of One - Bryce Courtnenay (1990)

4 stars

I adore Bryce Courtenay, (as you may be able to tell from my rave about April Fool's Day.) So when I saw a copy of this book at a friend's house, I couldn't resist begging to borrow it. It's been sitting on my pile of to-be-reads for a while and I decided to take it with me on holiday. It is set in South Africa during WW2, holding a lot of incomprehensible slang. Sadly, I only found the glossary once I finished. The edition I read was a children's edition, and at the end was a note that it was only part of the story. So I shall have to read the rest one day.

Peekay is a little kid, raised by his black Nanny. His mother has mental issues and in a recession, he is sent to a boarding school. Being the only European kid, he is bullied constantly. He is given the name Pisskop - which translates to piss head in English. He tweaks it to Peekay. He is sent home one holiday and the conductor Hoppie befriends him. Hoppie takes him to watch him box, and despite being a complete underdog - he wins. This then sends Peekay onto a path to yearning to excel at boxing. He does very well at school because of the mixed classes at boarding school. He stays with his mother and makes friends with a German professor. The German professor is arrested for treason which is eventually downgraded to lack of citizenship. Peekay visits him constantly and joins the prison boxing squad. After a couple of years, he is allowed to compete. He is victorious despite his small size. He also helps prisoners get letters to their families in secret, as he knows a variety of South African languages. Because of his academic excellence he earns a scholarship to an prestigious boarding school (and this is where the young reader's edition ends...)

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Rapture - Lauren Kate (2012)

4 stars

The long-awaited finale to the Fallen series. I have been hanging out for this for quite a while. It was optioned by Disney in 2010 and is currently in pre-production. There is a lot of history behind Luce and Daniel. Foreshadowing has been planted since the first book and this book tied up the loose ends without coming up with unrealistic random conclusions. It is definitely an epic love story. An angel and a mortal cursed to fall in love with each other for millennia.

If this sounds like your kind of book, you can test the waters by reading the first 30 or so pages online:

Here's the official book trailer:

The fallen angels need to find three relics to discover the location of their fall and stop Lucifer from starting time over again. They have nine days until Lucifer finishes his fall. Luce and Daniel dive to find a halo. The other angels find a goblet. And an old friend is friend is revealed to be the third relic. They put the three together and a map appears, placing their fall in Troy. They race to Troy, and Luce discovers that she is not a mortal but an angel. She learns that Lucifer taught her to love and she left him because she fell out of love with him and in love with Daniel. She had thought that Daniel was the angel that had to pick between Heaven and Hell to balance the scale. But it is her. She chooses the same as before, as does Daniel - they choose love. The Throne acquiesces and allows them their choice. They are both made mortal, but the Throne declares they may not even meet each other in their mortal lives and will not remember anything. It then details Luce starting college as a normal girl who does not constantly see Announcers and tells of Luce's and Daniel's first encounter. The novel finishes with the Angels and the Nephilim watching over Luce and Daniel as if their story is a movie.