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Archive for November, 2013

The House of Hades

By: Rick Riordan

9780141339191

Heroes of Olympus Bk 4

Percy and Annabeth are trapped in Tartarus, their only hope is to journey across the land of the dead to the Doors of Death. This will perhaps be the most testing and brutal of all trails they have gone through. To make matters worse monsters are regenerating at an increased rate and none of them like the demigods, in fact Percy and Annabeth are the reason quite a few are in Tartarus in the first place. Still they have each other and that will get them through much and then there is Bob, a surprise addition to their team, and one that could just tip the balance.

On the surface Jason, Hazel and the others are trying to get to the House of Hades so they can be at the doors to help Percy and Annabeth. This is not turning out to be as simple as flying there. Gods and monsters are doing everything they can to stop them. Hazel discovers that Hecate has a plan for her, Frank fights his fears of his parentage and comes into his own and Nico faces up to his deepest secret. Will all that be enough, with the God’s being split between their Greek and Roman selves,  and the Roman demigods determined to attack Camp Half-Blood? Gaia must be stopped but is that even possible with the team split up this way?

An awesome action filled instalment of the Heroes of Olympus series. Percy and Jason are still obviously leaders but it is not all about them. Percy and Annabeth have a real partnership and together they are much stronger than could be expected. So much of this adventure hinges on Hazel learning new skills and how to have faith in herself and Frank stepping up to be the son of Mars that he is. Frank’s story arc in this is one that builds slowly but reaches an awesome crescendo and it is going to be interesting to see where he goes in the next book. Nico’s torment is something we finally have some light shed on and it is so sad in some ways, you just want Nico to be able to move through it, it too is something that we are left wondering about. Leo too gets the chance to have some growth in a rather unexpected way (but I’m not giving any spoilers).

The pace never wavers and as such this book like those before it is hard to put down. The world Riordan creates is varied, full of the familiar and unfamiliar, and it blends together seamlessly. It seems totally fine that one minute the heroes are using magical and advanced technology and the next it’s all swords and flying horses. These books are addictive, the blend of action and mythology often leaves me wanting more.

Recommended.

Publisher: Puffin Books

Published: 08 October 2013

Format: Paperback 565 pages

Categories: Fantasy, Mythology

ISBN 13: 9780141339191

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page.

Vampire Academy – Movie Trailer

So this is happening early next year and I know there are plenty of fans of the books.

So here is the teaser trailer:

And the full trailer can be found here.

 

The Journey

I received my copy from the publisher.

9781922077615

By : Coral Tulloch

Bernard wants some plum jam on his freshly made crumpets. This seems like a simple thing but it leads him to Mr Pip, who starts him on the most amazing journey to a place called the Pole of Inaccessibility. He meets some strange and interesting creatures (Pickle Lights) and people (the Cook). He hears some interesting stories, (how the Pole of Inaccessibility came to be). Ultimately Bernard reaches the end but it’s not what he expects, though he finds out more than he realised when he gets back and talks again to Mr Pip.

The whole tale is intriguing, it draws you in. Bernard comes across as open and friendly, you are more than willing to go on the journey with him. The world created by Tulloch is textured and interesting. In fact in some ways some of the characters are the sort you would like to spend more time with. This is a wonderful story told in a fascinating and interactive way. All throughout there are little games, puzzles and even recipes to try. To get the full experience you need to have paper, dice, markers and a coin. (Some of the recipes require adult supervision.) A great choice for someone who finds sitting still and just reading a little difficult.  Also, and this could just be me, the wonderful illustrations seem to scream at me to colour them in and somehow that feels okay with this book due to the interactive aspect of it.

Publisher: Walker Books Australia

Published: 01 November 2013

Format: Paperback 128 pages

Categories: Fiction, Interactivity

ISBN 13: 9781922077615

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page

Being a Book-a-holic

So here’s the thing, I don’t think I’ve really done a post like this before but I figure now is as good a time as any.

It should be quite obvious to anyone that I am a book-a-holic. It’s not a secret, not even a little bit of one. I unashamedly love reading, books and well all things booky, though sometimes films from books make me a little crazy, in a bad way.

Books though are no different from any other fandom. Those of us who love some authors can have fan girl or fan boy moments. One of my first was when I worked my first Matthew Reilly book signing; I asked when I could get my book signed and was told just add my book to the pile for the store – my response ‘no you don’t understand I will be meeting him,’ and that’s how I ended up working my first signing.

It was AWESOME!

Since then I have worked a few. I have also been fortunate enough to network with some of my fave authors and as such have met some.

Marianne de Pierres is truly lovely and such a generous lady with her time for fans and bloggers.

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This year I met Raymond E Feist – whose book Magician I read when I was 11 or 12 and loved it so much I read bits of it by torchlight when I was supposed to be asleep.

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I also got to meet Michael Pryor, who is a wonderful and fascinating conversationalist. I loved every minute of my time with him, just talking writing, processes and what ever else took our fancy.

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I have also met Jay Kristoff, who writes the Lotus War books. I even stayed in the same hotel as Jay this weekend just gone, how spun out was I? A bit.

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The thing is though for me these things are as cool as meeting the movie and tv show stars I get to meet at SupaNova and similar cons.

Fandom is an awesome thing and authors love to meet their fans and get positive feedback. You know I’ve gotten to witness some wonderful moments of fandom over the years and I don’t think fanboys and girls should ever be ashamed to put their hand up to acknowledge their fandom. Sadly I have seen some terrible things said in the name of fandom. There is never any time you should think a writer owes you, don’t ever tell them how to do their job. They don’t report to you.

(If you noticed that there are a couple of book covers instead of pics of me with the author it’s because sometimes it really isn’t appropriate to ask.)

And for heavens sake if there was something you thought wasn’t great, you don’t need to lambast them for it. They make their writers choices, you make readers ones. I will say though, I love meeting writers and don’t begrudge the fact that they like to do things other than writing. This topic is a whole other thing really so I’ll leave it there. I prefer to focus on the positive.

I love the places authors can take me to. I love to sink into their worlds and I love to meet them. Sure my ‘I love your work’, is unlikely to stand out amongst the others but each one counts. I think there is a Authors Appreciation Day, and if there isn’t there should be.

Also, next year I will be going to an event just to meet one of my other all time favourite authors- the incredible Tamora Pierce, and man will I ever be a fan girl. I’ll be the one with a bag of books for her to sign and if she only signs one well that will be fine because I will have gotten to say ‘wow I love your stuff and recommend it to as many people as I can’.

So if you haven’t already read anything written by these authors I’ve mentioned, do yourself a favour and do so.

School Bully Beware

scholastic-reader-level-2By: Kate Ledger

Illustrated by: Kyla May

Twin Magic Series bk 2

Lottie and Mia are twins, but in some ways they are very different, that doesn’t make their bond less strong. In fact Lottie and Mia have a secret when they whisper a secret charm the twins get super powers. They need them this day at school when the new kid Max starts to do things that make him seem like a big bully.

This is a very sweet story with a good heart. Lots of colourful, fun pictures complement the text, which is simple to read. This is a great choice for beginning readers who will enjoy the story of twins with superpowers and find something to talk about with adults regarding the bully part of the story.

Publisher: Scholastic Inc

Published: 01 November 2013

Format: Paperback 32 pages

Categories: Reading Scheme, Twins, Superpowers

ISBN 13: 9780545480260

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page.

The Will of the Empress

the-will-of-the-empressBy: Tamora Pierce

Winding Circle is a long way away for our four mages, at least it is time wise and now they are all back together they find they can’t go back to the way things were. They all experienced things they don’t know how to share and this causes rifts between them. Then Sandry’s uncle asks the others to accompany her on a journey to Namor. It is a journey the reluctant Sandry has to go on because she needs to check out the lands that provide her income.

The problem is that Namorn is ruled by an Empress who is not used to people saying no to her and Sandry has no intention of getting married to the Empress’s choice and settling down to become a tool for the Namorese court. They quickly discover though that the trap isn’t just for Sandry, the Empress wants all of them to become her pets and she already has powerful mages in her employ to ensure her will is never thwarted. The Circle though is not without it’s own power, that is if they can remember what drew them together in the first place and if they can put aside their worries and start working together once again.

What a great read. This is a return to loved characters, ones that have changed and it is good to see characters go though changes like these ones have. The paths they travel on are difficult, the choices they have to make are weighty and the sort of things that would leave a mark on your soul, it is good to see an author give us characters who have changed as a direct result of their choices and actions.

More than any of them Sandry longs for things to go back to the way they were. She missed her family immensely and despite her words to them, never wanted them to go. She however is the most secure in her place, finically and status wise. She will always belong and the others don’t have that kind of security. None of them are without means though, Daja and Briar are very finically well off as their magic provides them with unique products they can sell for a tidy profit. Tris struggles with acceptance more than the others in that her magic is stranger, even more powerful, and with her new ability she is convinced everyone will think less of her.

Pierce has given us a very detailed and thus easy to visualise setting. The realism that shines through here assists in keeping us grounded in the four’s story. It is the breaks in the friendship that are what make this story so strong. We all know what it is like to fall out with friends or family, (or most of us do), it is a battle of wills and a learning curve of give and take. Pierce handles all this skilfully. The Empress is a master manipulator who has power to back herself up. She is a spoilt brat in many ways and it is nice to occasionally see those cracks in her persona. The way the four young mages work through what has gone before and what is happening now is an interesting journey and the overarching story is one that allows us to see how each of these youngsters have grown.

Once again Pierce has created a wonderful adventure within a fantastic world.

Highly Recommended.

Publisher: Scholastic US

Published: 01 October 2008

Format: Paperback 550 pages

Categories: Adventure, Fantasy, Magic

ISBN 13: 9780545074551

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of the page

Melting Stones

melting-stonesBy: Tamora Pierce

Evvy has been an apprentice stone mage for four years now. She really doesn’t want to be on another journey with her mentor, Rosethorn but she finds herself accompanying her and Dedicate Myrrhtide, a water mage, to the Battle Islands. Something is causing the plants and animals to die and it is up to Rosethorn and Myrrhtide to find out what, it is Evvy’s job just to listen and learn. Evvy isn’t so good at the keeping quiet though and she soon discovers something important. With the help of her friend Luvo (a living stone heart from a mountain) she knows it is up to her to help save some ungrateful people from total destruction.

Evvy is a wonderful character, rough around the edges and hard as the stone she is attuned to.  She isn’t so good with people and that makes her an interesting character in a context where dealing with people is important. The environment of the Battle Islands is detailed, and layered. Pierce gives wonderful descriptions of the land and how the different inhabitants interact. The village has tensions all of it’s own that contribute to the overall emotion of the situation. Rosethorn tempers Evvy and if you’ve read the other Circle books you know this is a slight turn around as Rosethorn is usually the most abrupt. The introduction of Luvo is interesting because he adds some weight and age to the tale, he is a solid centre for Evvy and a great source of wisdom.

A wonderful stand alone book that Pierce’s fan will enjoy. I will say this fits best into the YA category though a good reader 10+ would also be okay with it.

Recommended.

Publisher: Scholastic US

Published: 01 August 2010

Format: Paperback 312 pages

Categories: Fantasy, Adventure

ISBN 13: 9780545052658

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page

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