Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Gentleman Bastard series #3 - Locke Lamora in The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

Rating: 3.5/5
One line Summary: Read this one anyway, just don't bother getting the hardback.

As I begin this third book in the Thorn of Camorr series, I am tamping the lid down on a stomach full of excitement and butterflies. This is a Locke Lamora book - the LATEST ONE! - and one where we finally get to meet the girl who brought him to his knees.

I have high expectations. From the previous books, I know The Republic of Thieves will have lyrical prose, high adventure and fast-paced action. We left the last book on a cliffhanger; Locke is slowly and painfully dying, his best friend's life saved at the cost of his own. They are broke and in a new city with no resources and a ticking clock on the length of their lives.

I wonder if they are setting us up for deaths - Jean, Locke's. "No one wins all the time", the author tells us early on. 


I'm sorry to say that this third installment did not live up to the promise of the first two. It's one of those situations that happens to any great author - George R R Martin had a stutter in his series, Robert Jordan had sucky mid-series books in spades (think books 8, 9 and 10 of the Wheel of Time). I may have had lofty expectations to begin with! But this book really threw me for a loop - I took nearly 6 months to finish this review because I DID NOT WANT TO WRITE a bad review of this wonderful series.

The first 100 pages is great, wonderfully paced, and starts right where the last book ended. And then it starts to meander, and you wonder where the author is going with this. Sadly, the plotlines get sillier, and Sabetha's story doesn't revive it any. The plotlines are over two different times - you have Sabetha and Locke while they were thieves together in Camorr, and then now, when Locke is dying and Sabetha is just self-absorbed and touchy.
I missed the scheming action and the -rug-pulled-from-your-feet fast jobs they pull in each book! Where did it go? And why replace that wondrous heist story with some lame-ass love story that never really comes to the point?

The prophecy at the end sets up nicely for the next book The Thorn of Emberlain - 
Three things must you take up and three things must you lose before you die: a key, a crown, a child. You will die when a silver rain falls. 
Disclosure: I requested and received an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review. I guess they got one :)
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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Review and should you preorder - Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things

The book: Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things
Grade: A-
Why i Picked it up: A fellow Goodreads member mentioned that the NetGalley catalog had an excerpt of a different book that I am eagerly anticipating. The first story featured in the catalog was Ms. Voigt's captivating excerpt of Mister Max.

Why i Finished it:
Each chapter's title's in the eGalley looked interesting and I began to wonder how Max, a 12-year old who has misplaced his parents, would live independently with only his 'Grammie' (grandma) supporting. Soon enough, he is rewarded for locating a missing kid and that begins a career in detecting and not-so-incidentally in fixing his client's lives.
There is also an underlying mystery - where are his parents? Does his father's farewell letter have a second hidden message? When will he be reunited? And when he is, will that be a good thing?

Blurb:
Newbery medalist Cynthia Voigt is back with a rollicking mystery in three acts!
     Max's parents are missing. They are actors, and thus unpredictable, but sailing away, leaving Max with only a cryptic note, is unusual even for them. Did they intend to leave him behind? Have they been kidnapped? 

     Until he can figure it out, Max feels it's safer to keep a low profile. Hiding out is no problem for a child of the theater. Max has played many roles, he can be whoever he needs to be to blend in. But finding a job is tricky, no matter what costume he dons.

     Ironically, it turns out Max has a talent for finding things. He finds a runaway child, a stray dog, a missing heirloom, a lost love. . . . So is he a finder? A detective? No, it's more. Max finds a way to solve people's problems--he engineers better outcomes for them. He becomes Mister Max, Solutioneer.

     Now if only he could find a solution to his own problems . . .
Quote:
"So. They had sailed without him. His heart hit bottom. He had well and truly missed the boat. But what boat headed for what destination? And why had he been lied to about the time?"
Source: NetGalley
If you want a second opinion, here is another reviewer's thoughts
Finally, to help you decide, you can find the excerpt in the Buzz Books 2013: Fall/Winter collection published by NetGalley.
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Monday, October 15, 2012

Do our blog writing skills improve? And some KingKiller Chronicles segues

There's a long winded built-up to this question, so bear with me.
I was describing to my colleague at work how I spent most of this weekend sleepless due to a) Baby and b) Reading Patrick Rothfuss.

Now, I've read both of Patrick Rothfuss' books before (The Name of the Wind & The Wise Man's Fear). I've written about The Wise Man's Fear 
If you are new to these names, they are books 1 and 2 of the KingKiller Chronicles. These books cover Day One and Day Two of the narrative, and Day three (or Book 3: The Doors of Stone) ought to be released in the next couple of years.*


(Aside) This wait for the third book is quite exciting, actually! There is quite an enthusiastic set of  Tor readers over at Jo Walton's re-read on Tor.com. Lots of theories being discussed!

* We dare not name a date, for Rothfuss is infamous for missing publishing deadlines. Current Goodreads site for Day Three in the Chronicles shows nothing, and it was reporting 2020 at one point to throw cold water on us eager readers.
P.S. Mr. Rothfuss' hilarious take on the goodreads readers who like to "review" books before they are out - http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/327213074


Yet I really can't do the book justice. Trying to make a summary of the plot or storyline is an exercise in futility, as I realized when explaining to my colleague why he should read Rothfuss. It also seems like I've had this problem before - When I last wrote about The Wise Man's Fear , I actually didn't do a full review! Just trying to goad people into reading does count though, right?

This brings me to my point - do our blogging skills improve over the months and years we blog? I know we all HOPE they do, but without critical assessments, does pure practice result in improved writing skills?

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays 52# :Phillippa Gregory's The Lady of the Rivers

It's been a YEAR of Teaser Tuesdays! Well, actually, it's been longer than that, since I missed out on many weeks. Still, I've now posted FIFTY TWO weeks of Teasers and mini-reviews!

*does a happy dance at chair*

The book I'm reading on my commute is a Philippa Gregory novel from my library. A friend recommended a long time ago. Quoted from Page 56, Chapter Castle of St. Pol, Artois, Spring 1433.
"He lets it come and then he pulls back the covers of the bed, ignoring me as I tuck my bare feet out of sight, and he holds out his hand and drips a few drops of red blood onto the sheets.I stare at them as the stain spreads, feeling utterly ashamed, thinking that this is my marriage, that starts with my husband's blood, with a lie."

Really Mini Summary:
I'm wondering why I never read her earlier! I like women-centric books (yes); I like historical novels (yes) and courageous heroines (so far, yes!). The beginning chapters has Joan of Arc post her crowning of the King of France, when she is being derided as a heretic and witch. Our heroine, a young Duchess, must navigate some extremely political shoals to survive as a potentially powerful woman in a strongly male-centric world.

First time visit? Check out photos of most beautiful US public librariesJohn Updike's rules for reviews, and a question of whether hardbacks are dying.
My current, slightly weird reading list

Let me know if you follow this blog, I'll follow back! 

***
To join into the TT fun, visit the link below!
Teaser Tuesdays
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
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Monday, September 3, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions #1: Un-Following a blog

The lovely bloggers at http://www.fwiwreviews.net/ are hosting a meme: Book Blogger Confessions.
This week's question - 
How do you follow blogs?  Do you use Google Reader?  Are you on an e-mail list?  Are you more apt to follow people who have less followers?  Would you follow a blog to enter a contest?  What makes you unfollow a blog?


I decided to reply to this meme only because it coincided with what I was doing this very morning - pruning my Google Reader list. I don't do this often, but every 6 months or so, I go through blogs that haven't updated in the last 6 months to a year, and delete them.
You'd be surprised by how many blogs enter this dry, arid update-less zone.
I follow blogs only on GFC (Google Friend Connect), which pulls all the feeds into my Google Reader. These, along with some authors’ blogs and webcomics, make up my early morning reading.
I am not on any email list for blog updates. That seems like an unnecessarily cumbersome way to read. I do get Goodreads updates via email, and some reviews there link to blog posts.
I don’t have a preference around following people who have less followers, but I have a reciprocity policy:
“Follow me, and I follow back”. This does mean that a lot of blogs I follow are in the 200 to 500 follower range.
I used to follow blogs to enter contests, but now I just enter contests hosted by blogs I follow! *grins*
The only reason I would ever unfollow a blog if they haven’t updated in 6+ months.


A great question, thanks to the hosts FWIW and Midnyte Reader for inspiring this post!
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Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer Releases I'm into currently

A friend recently asked me what I'm reading next, and I was stumped! I couldn't articulate (without sounding REALLY weird) the many books I'm currently in the middle of/anticipating starting:


  • The Monkeewrench books by Mother-Daughter duo P.J. Tracy has a new one out: Off the Grid. I usually find these books chilling and gripping but this time it hasn't grabbed me and made me see killers around the corners.
  • I'm re-reading Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive #1: The Way of Kings. The first time I read it, I was just speed reading bits to get back to my one favorite character (Kaladin) and I don't really remember a good half of the book
  • I will probably read one or two of the Wheel of Time books again, to set me up for the Jan 2013 release of WOT #14 (the final book)
  • Going through Terry Pratchett's The World of Poo in bits, and imagining reading that aloud to  my son when he is 3
  • A friend passed on the Phillippa Gregory books a long time ago, PLUS I just borrowed one from the library, so I really ought to read that next


What you reading now? And what is next?
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Monday, August 6, 2012

Book Review: It's a Mom! by Shefali Tsabary

Grade: B+/A in parts
The latest book I've read is not the one I'm about to review. However, this book I'm reviewing is one that I've found myself quoting and reading aloud to all my new-mom friends. 


Why I picked it up: Yes, I'm a new mom and a book lover, so I've discovered the Parenting section in my library.


Why I finished it:
The book "It's a Mom!" dwelt on the sometimes conflicting emotions a new parent has - you have this awesomely cuddly bundle of joy, but you also need a break from being with a baby 24x7. Most of the advice is for a new or expecting parent, right up to the toddler age-group.


Plus: I related with the thought that you completely lose your "self" identity when you become a parent. I also laughed out loud when browsing through it in the library - because the examples/stories are so true! People DO give you unwanted advice, everyone guilt-trips you if try new parenting ideologies, and you will guilt-trip yourself.
I've tried to unsuccessfully discuss babies learning independence, not wanting to feed my baby Cerelac (or store-bought baby food) (this one I won), and more.


Minus: The author doesn't quote from any studies of parenting methodologies, or scientific research, all the "How To" advice is solely from her experience. I wished there had been more substantial citing. 


I'd Recommend this to: New Moms and Dads only - not expecting parents.


Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2352113.It_s_a_Mom_
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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ebooks and Sheldon Comics!

The brilliant Sheldon comic creater, Dave Kellett, writes an interesting post on whether libraries lending ebooks is the beginning of the end of publishing.
It certainly is the end of publishing as we know it...
Read it here!


And if you aren't up to reading, here is a comic version that conveys the idea!
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Book Blogger Hop - July 20th to 26th

Welcome to my stop on the Book Blogger Hop!


Q: What’s the ONE super-hyped book you’ll NEVER read?
The most polarizing question I've seen here yet! I haven't done the hop in a while (thanks to being busy with my new born baby) but this question just pulled me right back in!


I'd have to say the Twilight series is my "never gonna read" point. I haven't the slightest bit of interest in reading them, though I LOVE paranormal/fantasy/space fantasy books (Ilona Andrews, Brandon Sanderson, Patricia Briggs, Bujold, ..tell me when to stop!). You name it, I've probably read it or started the series.
Still, Twilight just rubs me the wrong way. Apologies to the Twihards out there! 



Leave a comment and let me know if you follow as I like to follow back.
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Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

The Book: Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
Grade: A (or maybe A+?)
A Must Read Chef/Writer
Why I picked it Up: 
A good friend of mine, and a fellow book-lover, suggested I read 'Blood, Bones & Butter', and then made certain I would by pressing her copy into my hands.


Why I finished it:
The rarest of books - one that makes you get off the page and into the online world so you can find out more about the author. One that makes you want to read more words by her, so  you look for a blog or an interview or anything Gabrielle has written beyond those on this NYT Bestseller of a book.


The Story:
Gabrielle's unplanned journey into the world of being a professional Chef and Author, starting with her family's annual large-scale sheep-roast dinner parties while growing up. She marries, has kids, sojourns in Italy every year, yet remains lonely and disaffected in turn. Somehow, we can all identify, I think.


Quote:
It's hard to cook for kids, and when something doesn't appeal to them, instead of saying a polite 'no thank you', they instead break into a giant yuk face and shriek "ewww" right in front of you, as if you had no feelings at all. There wer moments that summer when I felt more distressed by a nine-year-old's disgust with a fleck of basil in his tomato sauce than I had in the entire previous decade when ostensibly more serious failures had occurred. 
More:
Gabrielle's restaurant Prune 
Book and Author Website
A very detailed and accurate review at The Age - The reluctant chef stars
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