Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mini Reviews 2

The rest of my overdue mini reviews as promised.

The Queen's Curse - Emma Harrison (Charmed)

Read for 10 10 10 Challenge. Paige has met her Prince Charming. Literally. Problem is he's from a magical community and has to marry a magical being by his birthday or all the non magical beings in his world will die. He has fallen in love with a non magical girl but is willing to put that aside to save his world. Can Paige live with their deaths, marry the Prince or find another alternative. ***

Living with the Dead - Kelley Armstrong

Read for 10 10 10 Challenge. Robyn is a normal woman until she is wrongly wanted for the murder of her boss. Luckily her friend Hope and her boyfriend Karl are on hand to help out. They are more than they seem, Hope is a half demon who feeds on chaos and Karl is a werewolf thief. The person responsible for the murder is a clairvoyant and part of a magical commune trying to hide from the Cabals. Dark and compelling. *****

Buffy 8 v7 - Joss Whedon

Read for 10 10 10 Challenge. The penultimate graphic novel in the latest series of Buffy which carries on from where the television show finished. The identity of Twilight is revealed finally. This was pretty rubbish to be honest. The cover gives away a major plot point and I was really unimpressed. *

Cosmic - Frank Cottrell Boyce

Read for 10 10 10 Challenge. A tale of Liam, an 11 year old from Liverpool who looks much older than he is. He manages to get on a spaceship as the responsible adult with a group of children which gets into trouble. Hillarious! *****

Lamb - Christopher Moore

Read for Mariel's Challenge. The gospel according to Biff, Christ's childhood pal. What to say, it's excellent and follows Biff and Christ from infancy to the time of Christ's death. I gave it to my husband to read after I was done and I think he enjoyed it even more that I did. *****

Picture Perfect - Cameron Dokey (Charmed)

Read for 10 10 10 Challenge. The Charmed Ones attend the opening of Mural House which was a landmark building inhabited by artists with a troubled history. A love affair went wrong and William disappeared with Isobella dying not long afterwards. On discovery of a hidden mural by Isobella a new evil is released and it is up to the sisters to stop the killings. ****

The Other Hand - Chris Cleave

Read for 10 10 10 Challenge. The back of the book says not to tell anyone about the story suffice to say it involves a refugee and a couple she met in Africa. It was ok, nothing great though. **

Frostbitten - Kelley Armstrong

Read for 10 10 10 Challenge. Elena and Clay are werewolves and are sent to Alaska to track down a fleeing young rogue werewolf and investigate some potential wolf killings. Things become very complicated very quickly with wolves from Russia and something else lurking in the woods. *****

The Eternal Kiss - Various

Read for Short Story Challenge. A selection of short stories all about vampires. My favourite was The Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black. It;s about a girl who has been infected with the vampire virus. She is trying not to drink human blood for the required number of days to stop from becoming a vampire. A guy comes to her for help as his sister and her boyfriend have disappeared. ****

Derik's Bane - MaryJanice Davidson

Read for 10 10 10 Challenge. Novel about the werewolves from the Queen Betsy books. Derik is becoming an alpha and fighting with his pack leader. He is sent on a mission to save the world by meeting up with the reincarnation of Morgan Le Fey. Problem is they have instant chemistry so he may not be able to complete his mission. ****

Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things - Ted Naifeh

Read for 10 10 10 Challenge. Recommended by Darla D, this is a gothic graphic novel where Courtney Crumrin moves in with her parents to her spooky grandfathers house. Very similar to the Nightmare and Fairy Tales series. ****

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mini Reviews

So yes I'm mega behind updating my blog. Again! I figured I would just do some mini (really mini reviews) until the end of this year just to get back up to date and then start blogging again regularly in January.

Shakespeare's Trollop - Charlaine Harris

Read for Cozy Mystery Challenge. The fourth Lily Bard murder mystery where one of Lily's clients is found dead in the woods. It looks like a crime of passion and she was known to be a little free and easy with the love. On investigating it looks like it may have been staged. ****1/2

Lucinda, Dangerously - Sunny

Read for the Series Challenge. The second book about the Demon Princess Lucinda. Great dark fantasy similar to Anne Bishops Black Jewels series. Someone is after Lucinda and she must protect her new family of mixed beings. ****

Dancing Girls - Margaret Atwood

Read for the Short Story Challenge and 10 10 10 Challenge. A series of short stories by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. Each one follows a different person and is a short snap shot into their life. Some are narrated by men but all feature women in a prominent role. ***1/2

The White Cat - Holly Black

Read for the RIP V Challenge. The first in a new series for adults which is set in our world but as if magic was real and people who are able to use it are called curse workers. Cassel is part of a family of curser workers but doesn't have magic of his own. He did a terrible thing asa child which he can barely remember and the events come back to haunt him. *****

Shakespeare's Counsellor - Charlaine Harris

Read for RIP Challenge. The final in this murder mystery series where Lily Bard finally starts seeing a counsellor for her rape, but one of the other members is found murdered and she starts to unravel the mystery. *****

Undead and Unfinished - MaryJanice Davidson

Read for the RIP V Challenge. The newest Queen Betsy book which sees the series back on form. Betsy and her sister Laura go to hell to learn more about the Book of the Dead and Laura's heritage. Lots of secrets are revealed when they meet their future selves and it ends with an excellent twist. ****1/2

Ruined - Paula Morris

Read for the RIP V Challenge. A ghost story set in New Orleans in the Garden District. I bought it while I was on holiday there and loved reading all about places I had been. Suspense with lots of twists, definitely recommended. ****

Wicked Lovely - Melissa Marr

Read for the 10 10 10 Challenge. The first in a series of urban faeries. Aislinn has always been able to see faeries but pretends not to so they don't bother her. Faeries are dark and dangerous and the Summer Prince Keenan decides that Aislinn is his new Bride and destined to help him become King. Many have gone before her and haven't been the one so have become the Winter Girl. Problem is Aislinn is in love with a mortal and doesn't want anything to do with the fey. *****

Brody's Ghost v1 - Mark Crillly

Read for the RIP V Challenge. A manga about a young bum who meets a ghost one day. She needs his help to move on and to help get over his ex girlfriend. An excellent mix of East meeting West. ****

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents - Terry Pratchet

Read for 10 10 10 Challenge. What happens when a cat and a bunch of mice can talk and become conscious in the same way humans are? This fun novel! Bits of the Pied Piper and Pratchet's usual wit. ****

The Harp of the Grey Rose - Charles de Lint

Read for 10 10 10 Challenge. The first book published by CDL. Fantasy novel where a young man falls in love with a mysterious new girl. She isn't what she seems and is taken away by an evil being. He follows after the girl and a whole new adventure begins. The story evolves beyond the typical fantasy fare, but wasn't one of my favourites. ***1/2

Monday, November 01, 2010

The RIP V Challenge has just finished held again by Carl V with full details here. I decided to read a minimum of 4 books over mystery, horror, dark fantasy etc and I met my quota. What I haven't done yet is get around to writing any of my reviews. It's been a busy few weeks with travelling and then starting a new job, but I be back on top of things (hopefully) by the middle of this month. Anyway, back to the challenge, I read the following specifically foe the challenge and will put up reviews soon :

1. The White Cat - Holly Black (horror, fantasy)
2. Shakespeare's Counsellor - Charlaine Harris (mystery)
3. Undead and Unfinished - MaryJanice Davidson (urban fantasy, vampire chicklit)
4. Brody's Ghost v1 - Mark Crilley (ghost story manga)

I also read a few other books during the challenge that cross over to other challenges :

5. Undead and Unwelcome - MaryJanice Davidson (urban fantasy, vampire chicklit)
6. Shakespeare's Trollop - Charlaine Harris (mystery)
7. Lucinda, Dangerously - Sunny (dark fantasy)
8. Ruined - Paula Morris (teenage fiction, ghost story)
9. Wicked Lovely - Melissa Marr (teeenage fiction, dark fairy tale)
10. The Queen's Curse - Emma Harrison (Charmed tie-in novel)
11. Living with the Dead - Kelley Armstrong (urban fantasy)
12. Buffy 8 v7 - Joss Whedon etc (horror graphic novel)

Of the four books I read specifically I really enjoyed them all, but at a push would say I enjoyed The White Cat the most. It was Black's first adult novel and I liked that it still had teenage characters but was nice and dark. I'm looking forward to the second book in the series coming out. Of the other books I read I really enjoyed Wicked Lovely, Living with the Dead and Ruined. I bought Ruined while in New Orleans and it is set in one of the cemeteries there which I had visited in the Garden District which made it seem more real somehow. I can't wait for next years...!

Friday, October 08, 2010

At Heathrow airport and am off to New York for a couple of days for comicon. Then on to New Orleans where I plan on seeing Chris from Stuff as Dreams for a few more days. Finally off to Arizona to see Jehera and the Grand Canyon and back home on 19th.

Good luck to everyone doing the readathon and if anyone is going to comicon email me as I am all on my lonesome.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 285
Series : #7 Queen Betsy
Format : Urban Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : Vampire Series Challenge

Betsy is back and still the Queen despite multiple efforts to kill her. This time the Ant turns up which is made more annoying as she is a ghost and only Betsy can see her. Usually she has some task to help the ghost perform before they can move on, but in her usual annoying style the Ant refuses to tell her what that is.

The main story follows the Fiends though. They have gotten out and have become conscious again because Garret has been feeding them his blood secretly. They are not happy bunnies though and blame Betsy for their treatment despite her trying to explain that she has in fact saved their lives multiple times. They want her dead (what’s new) and are powerful and violent enough to possibly pull it off. Also Detective Nick Berry is also not helping by deliberately putting her in danger trying to find some rogue cops who are killing the criminals that have been let off for lack of evidence. Nick wants to catch them by conventional means, rather than murdering them even if they are guilty.

This is the first in a new plot arc and I am still stunned by the ending. Not one but two of my favourite characters seem to be gone and I keep thinking that Betsy can save them but it seems not possible. It was funny, but it did have a lot more depth to it than the previous ones in the series. I’m wondering what scrapes Betsy will get herself into next.

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 236
Series : #8 Queen Betsy
Format : Urban Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : Vampire Series Challenge

After the ending of Undead and Unworthy Betsy and Sinclair need to travel to meet with the werewolves to discuss some political issues. They take baby John with them, but there is a strange vibe with the werewolves. The pack leader doesn’t seem to notice him or be aware of his existence and another seems really angry he is there. Betsy is being held accountable for the events of Undead and Unworthy and has to answer to the werewolf council. This of course doesn’t go as well as planned, but Betsy goes along with it out of a sense of guilt.

Meanwhile back at the mansion, Mark is home alone with Tina until Betsy’s half sister Laura (the daughter of the devil. No really) pretty much moves in. She has always rebelled against her mother by teaching Sunday School etc, but she is predicted to cause the end of the world. Strangers start showing up at the house having followed a star and they want to worship her. Mark tries to help but sets Laura off on a whole new tangent and perhaps the end of the world isn’t so far away now…

The series has begun a new story arc with the last book and in comparison to the first set they are a lot more serious. I’m not sure yet if this is a good or bad thing. What I really loved about the early ones were how funny and frivolous they were. The light hearted elements are still there, but they are fewer now and the focus is more on the storyline than the pithy putdowns and banter. I did like it overall and I will definitely keep reading them, but I do miss the earlier tone.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 246
Format : Teenage Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

Rosa is in high school and has moved with her family from Edinburgh town centre out to the surrounding countryside. Her younger brother has asthma and when the traffic increased around their old house their parents decided that the move away was needed. Her brother is a little favoured over her, but as Rosa loves him she doesn’t let it upset her. She tries to put a brave face on things so as not to upset him and tries her best to settle in to the new house.

She explores the area and keeps seeing a strange boy about her age and a strange tumbled down old house that once would have been very grand. She is drawn to him but he seems to keep ignoring her. She also finds a pack of tarot cards when she is unpacking some of her parents boxed for them. Her mother doesn’t believe in fortune telling and goes white when she sees them which makes Rosa very curious indeed. It emerges that her mother has a secret past which Rosa is determined to uncover. Rose also has a gift for reading the cards which both interests and scares her.

This was a fun tale. I liked Rosa, her family and her friend Clara who is very bookish. On the downside the language changed quite a bit with seemingly random Scottish words thrown in a bit inconsistently. I read tarot myself and was a bit disappointed in the way there were portrayed with them ultimately causes upset and unease. Shame really as I really liked the premise of the story and the way it unfolded.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 128
Format : Fairy Tale Non Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

I first came across this book on the recommendation of Nymeth at Things Mean a Lot a couple of years ago. It’s a collection of essays by fairy tale and fantasy author Jane Yolen. It looks at the place of folklore, mythology and fairy tale in the development of children as well as adults. There were a few quotes that really stood out :

“Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.”

Which continues “While an occasional reader manages to get through those early years without contact with a book, most of us who are afflicted by literitis (that’s the medical term) get it early. Its symptoms are an inability to go by a bookstore without stopping in, a passion for late night reading, wrinkled skin from bathtub books, tendonitis from typing, large bottoms from all that sitting, and squinty eyes.”

Yolen also eludes to the beautiful view from the Manhattan apartment she grew up in, but that she never enjoyed it as she was always curled up with a book in her own fantasy world rather than the one outside. Another part of the book I liked was where Yolen compared the different versions of the same story (for example Snow White and Cinderella) in synopsis with the different variations. You get to see the older, more violent versions and see how they have changed over the years, the readership has changed and the effect of Disney. Shame Yolen doesn’t seem to like Disney at all, I like his versions as well as the blood and guys tales. I think it’s ok for both to exist, as long as people don’t just go down the Disney route.

There were a few great recommendations for novels to read which I am looking forward to seeking out. I also really enjoyed Yolen’s style of writing as I haven’t read any of her non fiction before. It felt at times like a conversation with lots of personal anecdotes and stories. I didn’t agree with everything she said, but it made me think and question my beliefs and why I have them which is always good.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 480
Series : #31 Discworld
Format : Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : Series Challenge 2010

This follows on nicely from Going Postal. Moist von Lipwig returns with a new challenge. He has been getting bored running the post office as things are running very smoothly. He has even taking to breaking in when darkness falls! Vertinari gives Moist the chance to work running the bank. He has to defer to a dog though when the former owner dies and the dog has the majority shares. The problem is the members of the great banking family the Lavishes all want to be in charge and Moist is definitely in their way.

Meanwhile Adore Belle Dearheart is off looking for the fabled golden golems and things take a very interesting turn when the results of her diggings arrive in Ankh Morpork. The usual side characters make small cameo’s like Angua, Carrot, CMOT Dibbler and DEATH. It is mostly led by new characters though apart from the wonderful Vetinari who I still think deserves his own novel.

This was lots of fun and sees Pratchett on fine form. I like Moist and Adora as characters and it was good to see someone else besides me want to emulate Vetinari! I loved how Cosmo’s story wrapped up and it will be fun to see which characters are in the next Discworld book. Plus the new Tiffany Aching novel is out soon. I wonder if this will be the next one to be made into a television adaptation.

Rating : 1.5/5
Number of Pages : 480
Series : #32 Discworld
Format : Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : Series Challenge 2010

The wizards take centre stage for the part of this tale where the Unseen University has to put together a foot-the-ball team as part of a behest. There are lots of teams around the city and they play by dangerous rules where the crowd gets involved. The Patrician uses his usual manipulating skills to set up his own rules in the end and the university take on a team full of shady characters just out of the tanty (prison) mixed with legitimate players. Ridcully is concerned as the former Dean has joined a new university and claims to be their Archchancellor and as everyone knows there can only be one.

The other storyline revolves around Glenda (a cook in the University who runs the night kitchen), her apprentice Juliet, Trevor Likely and Mr Nutt (work with the candles). Juliet is beautiful and becomes a model of micromail made by the dwarves (she has to wear a fake beard). She defers to Glenda who is like a big sister to her. Trevor’s dad used to be a famous foot-the-ball player and he has sworn never to play despite his talent and he falls hard for Juliet. They support opposing teams though so it’s a little Romeo and Juliet. Mr Nutt is another mystery and is labelled a Gnome but is something completely different it turns out.

I wanted to like this book but I really didn’t. I don’t like football so the general plot didn’t appeal to me. Plus the final match is commentated on kick by kick. Reading it was even more dull than watching a football match. I don’t really like the wizards and the only character I really warmed to was Glenda. The puns were pretty rubbish and I so nearly abandoned finishing it so many times which is nearly unheard of for me. I know there are a lot of die hard fans out there, but this was definitely a miss for me.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

My Gran who I love dearly and is my favourite person in the world has just moved into a nursing home. I'm sad and happy at the same time. Happy as I don't have to worry about her hurting herself alone at home but sad as it's where she will be now until she dies.

Anyway my mum and I have started to sort through her house and began with her books. She has some beautiful ones and my mum bagged a signed Rudyard Kipling first edition with beautiful illustrations as well as a first edition Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens with plates not pictures by the wonderful Arthur Rackham.

I found The Little White bird by JM Barrie which is a lovely second edition. I also discovered Gullivers Travels with Arthur Rackham illustrations. It's not the plates like my mum found but is sill beautiful.

My real treasure was finding a first edition, numbered and signed copy of A Fairy Garland illustrated by Edmund Dulac. It's in amazing condition and is a collection of fairy tales translated from the French. I can't wait to read it and will make sure it stays in the family.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Rating : 5.0/5
Number of Pages : 448
Series : Companion to Oryx and Crake
Format : Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

This novel is set alongside Oryx and Crake with events leading up to the predicted Waterless Flood. Adam One leads the peaceful group The Gardeners who do not eat meat and work for the preservation of the land in a time where science and technology rule. Gene splicing it everywhere and people often get there looks changed as well as creating new animals like liobams (lions that have qualities of lambs). We meet Toby who works for SecretBurger (who knows what meat is in the burgers) looking for an escape from her sadist boss Blanco. Adam One rescues her and although she begins not believing the philosophy of The Gardeners, she makes a life with them and becomes a respected member and teacher (she has a good knowledge of herbs and medicines).

We also meet Ren, a young girl growing up with The Gardeners after her mother ran off with Zeb leaving her father behind in one of the scientific projects. Ren is an innocent little thing and we meet her when she works in Scales and Tails, a high end sex club. We see the paths that both women’s lives took them before and after the flood. We also see Crake before he becomes Crake and Snowman and it was fun figuring out which of the amazing cast of characters they would turn out to be.

Typical Atwood style of writing with the story jumping around in time and alternating between Ren and Toby as storytellers. I cannot tell you how much I loved this book. I got really into Oryx and Crake and thinking back I can’t decide which one of the two I like best. The characters were well rounded and I really wanted things to work out for the two very different women. Ren who manages to stay innocent despite where her life takes her and Toby who stays strong against all adversity. The ending was as annoying as Oryx and Crake with it ending seemingly mid story. I can only hope this means Atwood will come back to it and write a third novel at some point.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 217
Format : Fiction Anthology
Reason for Reading : Short Story Challenge 2010

A fresh collection of short stories from Ali Smith. The first story was definitely my favourite and looked at the form of short stories set with a cancer patient as the backdrop. There is a new expensive drug that could help lots of women, but as it’s expensive is not readily prescribed by doctors. The other one that really stood out was what happens when a woman is shopping in a supermarket and when she turns back to her trolley there is a toddler in it who calls her Mummy and everyone assumes is hers. I love how she deals with the situation.

I like how most of the stories feel like they could actually have happened in Smith’s real life. She is excellent at blending reality with fantasy. Unfortunately they didn’t grab me as much of some of her other collections and stories so I wouldn’t recommend this for your first dip into Ali Smith’s world.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 248
Format : Teenage Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

Tara and Suraj live in a small village with their father and stepmother. Their grandfather was the village healer but he disappeared shortly before a stranger turned up saying has more power than anyone else. Their mother went after their grandfather so their father remarried a cruel woman who treats his children like slaves while he does nothing but watch. The final straw comes when she tries to poison them both so Tara takes her brother and they run away to try and find their missing family members.

People from the village have been going missing and it all seems connected to the stranger. He seems to have an unnatural influence over the people and has a pulsating third eye in the middle of his forehead. He is bent on trying to destroy the siblings as only their bloodline can defeat him. Other people have been going missing from the village and other local places, something sinister is definitely going on.

Tara was a great character and has to undergo a series of trials throughout the novel which she comes through fantastically. I loved the Indian setting which made a change from many teenage fantasy books. It was set up nicely at the end for a sequel and I can definitely see myself spending time back in this world.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 197
Format : Teenage Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

Sandra is seventeen and is out of control. She has ditched her more stable, hard working friends including her boyfriend and is having casual sex with multiple partners (hence the parental advisory sticker on the front). She’s distancing herself from her family and is still recovering from her dad moving to America and leaving her behind.

One night she is out with a guy when she stumbles into a tramp. He takes a shine to her and when she runs from him, he chases her. Suddenly her whole world is different as she has been changed into a dog. Soon it emerges that this is not the first time the tramp has changed someone into a dog and it happens whenever he gets angry. She meets other humans-turned-dogs who keep trying to get her to forget her humanity and embrace her inner dog. She begins to lose herself until she sees missing posters with her picture on them and decides to go back and visit her family. From there she has a choice to make, will she stay with them or give in to her more animal instincts.

I really liked this novel and I was in two minds whether I wanted her to stay a dog or change back into a human girl. The reader is kept guessing as well as to how it will end and I keep changing my mind if it was the ending I wanted or not! It was told really well and despite the fact that she got turned into a dog it was still somehow completely believable. I will check out some more of his novels, Junk seems to be rated pretty high.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 260
Format : Teenage Fiction, Fairy Tale Novel
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

A look at Beauty and the Beast where the Beast is a Persian Prince. He is making an offering of a camel but she is not pure. He decides to go ahead with the sacrifice anyway as all of the preparations have been made and there are no other camels they can use. As a result he is cursed to be killed by his own father and transformed into a lion.

He first tries to live as a lion and travels to India. He tries to fit in with a couple of different prides but he doesn’t really understand the laws of the lions. He has his own mind but in a different body. He is chased away on more than one occasion and is lucky to still be alive. From there he travels to France and the story becomes more traditionally Beauty and the Beast when a man finds the castle where he has been living and in exchange for his life he promises to being his youngest daughter to live with the Beast.

I wanted to like this but it didn’t really grab me. It was like reading two completely different books that had been sandwiched together. I know it’s a fairy tale, but I still wanted to be able to believe in the story and the characters and I really didn’t. My favourite was the little fox cub who got a very raw deal I felt poor thing. One thing I did like though was all the Persian detail and the glossary at the back of the book. A lot of research clearly went into writing it and it’s a shame it felt so short and glossed over.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 217
Series : #28 Charmed
Format : Teenage Fiction, Witchcraft Novel
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

The three Charmed Sisters are all in need of a holiday and Paige is desperate to get them away from the Manor for a few weeks. She wants to visit Salem and Massachusetts and eventually the Piper and Phoebe agree so they set off with Leo and baby Wyatt as long as they can spend some time on the beach. Of course nothing runs smoothly and when their flights are delayed and they follow some bad directions which leads them to stay the night in a motel in a sleepy little town.

There is a mystery surrounding the town and the motel. The owners granddaughter is prone to fits and something magical seems to be at work. Plus the sisters are not sure that her grandmother is mistreating her. Not one to shy away from a problem they all follow different routes of investigation that lead them to the nearby Mystic Knoll which magnifies power. They find out the truth behind the towns stories about the motel owners which include a bad witch who cursed her daughter and many of the townsfolk before she died. Can the Charmed Ones stop the curse from coming into effect before the granddaughter is lost forever.

Lots of drama and excitement it was nice to have an adventure away from the Manor and San Francisco. It was good to meet a character who didn’t believe in magic despite being literally surrounded by it! I like the play on taking a superstition and making it truly magical and hidden behind a wall of science.

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 152
Series : #29 Charmed
Format : Teenage Fiction, Witchcraft
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

The Charmed Ones are back and this book is set shortly after baby Wyatt is born. Piper is a new mum and wants to have it all. Spend time with her son, run P3 and be the eldest sister of The Charmed Ones. Something is going to have to give though as there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all three. Luckily Paige’s new temp job is at a day care centre so Wyatt can spend some time there and still have his aunt to take care of him leaving Piper some time to go back to work.

When Wyatt comes back from day care he won’t sleep or eat and keeps throwing tantrums. Other parents remove their babies and toddlers from the centre and Paige begins to suspect Piper’s worries about Wyatt might not be paranoid guilt from not spending her time at home with him. Could the babies have been switched and if so why and by who. No one messes with The Charmed Ones and definitely not their children…

This was fun, nothing too exciting but it was good to have one in the series where the bad guy isn’t one of the guys the sisters are dating. It’s so fun seeing how much the sisters have grown. Phoebe is now working as an advice columnist, Paige is focusing on her temp jobs and Piper has completely transformed into the ultimate earth mother. I really miss the show and it’s always fun to revisit with a new story.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

RIP V Challenge

Yay the fifth RIP Challenge hosted here by Carl V at Stainless Steel Droppings is here. I'm so excited as I love this challenge and the fairy tale Once Upon a Time one he hosts. I am signing up immediately for Peril the First which means reading at least 4 scary books (mystery, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, gothic, horror, supernatural) throughout September and October.

Carl makes it easy by letting you leave open your book list and not having to decide in advance. I have a whole pile of books to choose from that I might read. My pool of books (very much subject to change) is looking like :

* Silver Borne - Patricia Briggs
* Mona Lisa Awakening - Sunny
* Blood Rites - Jim Butcher
* The Strain - Guillermo Del Torro
* 20th Centuary Ghosts - Joe Hill
* From s Whisper to a Scream - Charles de Lint
* The Awakening - LA Banks
* The Good, The Bad and the Undead - Kim Harrison
* Living with the Dead - Kelley Armstrong
* The Sandman - Neil Gaiman (need to catch up with this series in general)

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 208
Series : #8 Death Note
Format : Manga Novel
Reason for Reading : To continue with the series

Light has taken on the role of L and is now battling L’s protégés Near and Mello. Near is in charge of the SPK, a special task force in the pay of the American President. Mello on the other hand rules a band of mafia and mercenaries based out of the USA as well. Mello’s group has captured Light’s sister and it us up to him and his father to get her back without revealing the identity of L or Kira.

The usual gang are working on the Japanese task force and it becomes a case of Light’s team working with Near but still trying to find out his real identity so they can kill him. Both teams are after Mello who gets his hands on a Death Note and a new Shinigami that turns up. Misa continues to be in the story, but very much in the background.

The usual mental Olympics as all three try to out manoeuvre each other. I haven’t really warmed to Near or Mello yet but it’s interesting to see the opposite paths they have taken to try and achieve the same goal. They are battling to prove which of them is the best by bringing down Kira, while Kira is trying to defeat his two new enemies.

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 233
Format : Erotic Fiction
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

Rachel is a slave who reads tarot for her Master. To do this she needs to blank out all other thoughts and feelings and this is done by a mixture of pleasure and pain. She has never lied to her Master but when a slave trader named Pearl arrives she deliberately misinterprets the cards as she is worried that Pearl will cause chaos to her and her Masters world. She keeps drawing the same three tarot cards, The Lovers, The Tower and The Devil. Pearl brings some new slaves into the mix who have body modifications that mix the grotesque with the beautiful and sensual.

Meanwhile Rachel spends illicit time with her Master’s brother who has always had a thing for her. He wants to buy her and add her to his own stock and there seems to be some genuine feelings between the two amid all the bondage and pleasure parades. Not all is as it seems and Rachel in her arrogance believes she knows the motivations of her Master, his brother and Pearl but in truth nothing is as it seems.

This is slaves and masters in the erotic fiction variety of course and this is very focused on domination, submission and humiliation. Some of it was very sexy but other parts just made me say ewww. The sex was constant but there still managed to be a decent story running through it. I would say it was written for women to read rather than men just because of the language and descriptions. Oh and I hate the cover, the woman looks like a transvestite.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 330
Format : Non Fiction Biography
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

A collection of columns for various magazines (all seem to be British) written by direction and comic author Kevin Smith. Some were written after Chasing Amy, others while Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back begins it’s casting and others while Jersey Girl is being filmed. They aren’t technical in focus, more Hollywood gossip and Smith’s musings along with a couple of emails from people who love or hate him along the way.

He’s very self deprecating and doesn’t hold back adding personal stories for example about his sex life with his wife and her wanting to get a nude portrait painted of herself. Some of the casting meet and greets with actors and actresses were really interesting and it was good to see his take on people like Shannon Elizabeth, Selma Blair and Eliza Dushku.

Some of it is a little too much information. There is a section on his bowel movements after being put on a weight loss pill and some of the crude references made even me blush! If you are offended easily stay away, there is a lot of bad language and sexual references, but it’s mostly tongue in cheek (no pun intended!) and supposed to be funny (which it was). I love his films and his comics and would definitely read more of his musings and podcasts.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rating : 5.0/5
Number of Pages : 265
Format : Teenage Fiction Gothic Horror
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

The latest teenage fiction novel from Brit author Marcus Sedgwick. This is his take on a gothic novel and I couldn’t put it down! Rebecca and her father move to the country for the summer after there is some media controversy over his involvement in a police case. In the sleepy town Winterfold, which is slowly falling into the sea, she meets the troubled Ferelith.

In between the modern storyline we are taken back in time to a Priest in the 1700s who is seeking the secret of life after death. A Doctor from France moves in to the Hall in town and the two put their heads together to come up with a series of horrible experiments to try to communicate with the dead and find out if there really is life after death and what it is like if so. The Priest fears for his mortal soul as he can picture Hell in great detail, but his imaginings of Heaven are lack lusture and seem fake to him.

The story jumps between the two sets of tales as they interweave. The narrative moves from Ferelith to the unnamed Priest to a look at Rebecca and they slowly all converge across the centuries. Ferelith is such a sinister character and when I finished reading this in bed I have to admit to flicking to the end to check how it ended. I was scared I would have nightmares and wanted to see it turned out ok! Very naughty I know and I can’t remember the last time I did that. It’s my favourite of his books yet and I can’t recommend it enough. Subtly building I really felt for Rebecca and there were still so many questions buzzing around my brain long after it ended.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rating : 5.0/5
Number of Pages : 208
Format : Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

Jane Hayes has a problem, she is secretly obsessed with Mr Darcy from Price and Prejudice. She is in her 30s and single when her great-aunt dies who was quite well off. Her aunt knew of her predilection and instead of leaving her money, leaves her a holiday in an English country manor where everything is set up as in Regency England.

At the manor there is another guest and Jane can choose her name as well as what age she wants to be. She sticks with her own identity and is excited to meet the actors playing the ladies and gentlemen at the manor. Included is Mr Nobley who plays the pride filled Darcy role. Jane can’t settle into her role and is attracted to the out of bounds gardener (ladies don’t associate with the help). Can she let go and be swept away in the story, or will she keep her walls up and not really enjoy the experience.

I loved this so much! Such a fun idea for a story and although the ending was a little cheesy, it was just what I wanted. It’s very different to her other fairy tale Bayern books, but that’s just the mark of a great writer that they can turn their hand to different styles. No one is quite what they seem and at the end the true characters emerge in a really fun climax.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 511
Series : #1 Chronicles of the Icemark
Format : Teenage Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : Challenge with Mariel

Thirrin is a young (14 year old) warrior Princess who will lead her people after her father dies. She has grown up educated in the art of war despite her young age and it is all she lives for. She lives in Icemark which is a small kingdom in the North which has harsh winters. A mighty Southern empire (Polypontian empire based on the Romans) threatens the safety of the country and it is up to Thirrin to save her people. She has the help of Oskan, a powerful male witch who could go dark.

She discovers allies in unusual places. First there are the wolf people when she takes a chance and spares the life of one who turns out to be their ruler. The wolf people then lead her to the vampires in the Land of the Ghosts and to the giant snow leopard’s in the far north. The problem is will her allies reach her before her enemy defeats them and will they keep to their promises.

This was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to the second book in the series. I really warmed to the characters and especially loved the spoiled cat Primplepuss. Likewise I really liked the snow leopards and the differences in their impulses and the way they reacted to situations.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rating : 5.0/5
Number of Pages : 207
Series : #3 Lily Bard
Format : Cozy Mystery
Reason for Reading : Cozy Mystery Challenge

Lily returns to her hometown for a week before Christmas for her sisters wedding on Christmas Eve. She has just started seeing detective Jack Leeds and isn’t sure quite where things stand. Due to her dark past she has a lot of trouble getting close to people and has determined not to ask anything of him. She does take the plunge and ask him to spend Christmas Day with her when she returns to Shakespeare which he accepts.

When she gets to home things are much as she left them. Her family still find it difficult to be around her, but her sister in particular is making a real effort. Lily is out of her depth having to dress up for various dinners, showers and the wedding itself where she is the maid of honour. Problem is that people are starting to die. First the local doctor and his assistant are brutally killed in their office and it looks like it was by someone they knew. More bodies begin to follow and it all seems to be linked to an unsolved case from 8 years ago. Jack turns up to work on the case and there are three main suspects, one of which is Lily’s prospective brother-in-law. They need to solve the case in 3 days before her sister marries Dill.

This was by far the best in the series so far. It kept me guessing right until the end as you don’t really know which of the three men is responsible for the murders and previous crime. Again there is lots of character development and I really like both Lily and Jack. Plus spending time with her family and old friends was interesting to see how her life was completely thrown in the air after her horrendous ordeal. I can’t wait to read the next one.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 256
Format : Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

Duncan is obsessed with American musician Tucker Crowe. He was best known for his album Juliet Naked which is allegedly about his affair with model Juliet. Shortly afterwards he was visiting a club to see some bands perform when he suddenly left and disappeared from the public eye not writing so much as a note since. The online community Duncan is part of has dedicated vast amounts of time to discussing Crowe’s disappearance and when a new version of Juliet is released it sends the little community into overdrive.

Duncan’s partner Annie doesn’t take to the new demos and it puts even more of a strain on their relationship. She posts her own review for the community to read after Duncan writes one that praises it sky high. Hers is less complementary. Unbeknownst to Duncan she receives an email from Tucker and after a couple of questions it seems to be genuine. From there begins a friendship that spans the globe and destroys many of the preconceived ideas and stories about Tucker as Annie gets to know the real story in secret.

This was a look at relationships, music and parenthood. The usual dry wit you associate with Hornby. I like that the story switches between the three characters narrating, mostly Annie and Tucker, so you get to read their own different takes on the situations that arise. The ending was lovely and just what I secretly wanted without being cheesy or corny. I can’t wait to see what Hornby writes next.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 177
Series : Prequel to Peter Pan
Format : Children’s Fiction, Fairy Tale Novel
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

This was written after Peter Pan but is a prequel. There is lots of information and anecdotes about Kensington Gardens in London as well as the story of Peter Pan and how he came to be the boy who never grew up. There is a story about how prospective parents ask the birds for a child and that is why children think they can fly as they were born as baby birds.

Not all of the stories feature Peter Pan, the first half is a series of short tales about the different sights in the gardens and some of the children who have visited. It also talks about Barrie’s visits with the children to the gardens and I am ashamed to admit that while I have been living by London for nearly 10 years I still haven’t been to the gardens. I really must go and see if the monuments and sights have changed much since Barrie’s time.

This was beautifully illustrated by Arthur Rackham with over 50 full colour illustrations plus many pen drawings and this was how I found the book even existed. It was funny, sweet and makes a lovely collection to anyone’s library.

A couple of illustrations from the book :

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rating : 1.5/5
Number of Pages : 119
Series : Companion to 100 Strokes of the Brush
Format : Erotic Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

The follow up to One Hundred Strokes of the Brush when Melissa has grown up a little. She revisits some previous relationships and the narrative jumps around a little. She seems desperate to have a baby but when she miscarries it spells the end of her relationship as well. Not must of the erotic and sensual aspects of the first book, this is more inwardly focused on what Melissa thinks and feels.

I didn’t really like this. The first one was very sensual and I really warmed to Melissa. In this one I just found her really self absorbed and annoying. Luckily it was a short book or I would have tossed to aside and not bothered to finish it which is pretty much unheard of behaviour for me.

New Blog

I thought I would set up a second blog to use as a journal. I wasn't sure if two would be too many to manage, but after some thinking I decided that I do want to keep my reviews seperate from my general randomness. The link is

This blog will continue as usual and I am nearly caught up on my reviews and should reach my goal of being completely up to date by the end of next month. I've also been keeping on top of my google reader finally.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 128
Series : #2 Y the Last Man
Format : Graphic Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge 2010

Yorick and his friends are still being pursued by the Amazons which unbeknownst to him includes his sister. They are also being pursued by an Israeli squad with a secret commander. The group are forced to jump off a train and all reunite in a sleepy town Marrisville, Ohio. The town has a secret it is keeping hidden from the rest of the world and when the trio discover it, it provokes mixed responses and emotions.

The Amazon’s finally catch up with them and there is a showdown between Yorick and his sister. The art is nothing too exciting, but good enough to tell the story and serves its purpose. This is a story driven rather than artistic driven series from Vertigo.

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 168
Series : #3 Y the Last Man
Format : Graphic Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge 2010

Yorick may not be the last man for much longer. Out in space is a spaceship with three astronauts, one a woman and two men. They need to land back on earth and the question is will whatever wiped out all the men work on them or has it moved on/deactivated. No one knows or understands what killed all the males (apart from Yorick and his monkey of course) so they are going to have to risk a landing and hope for the best.

Yorick hates being the last man and is very hopeful that the two men will survive the landing and be able to take on the mantle of repopulating the world’s men. A Russian lady joins the team who made a couple of brief appearances in the second book and I really liked her. The Israeli squad also catches up with them and some more storylines are closed and new paths open up.

This series keeps you guessing with lots of twists and turns, I will definitely be reading more in the future. I love the ideas behind it and the character development so far has been really good.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 208
Series : #5 Tarot Cafe
Format : Manga
Reason for Reading : Manga Challenge 2010

Pamela is slowly becoming the main focus of the series and in this instalment she travels to Scotland to try and find out more information about her past. She uses a perfume that lets her relive her memories, but this is at a cost as she is forced to relive the negative and painful ones so she is stuck in a nightmare. It is up to her friends to help her, but can they get to her in time.

As always the artwork is stunning and I was mesmerised by the drawings. It continues straight from the end of volume 4 and I cannot wait to see what happens next as we are drawn further and further into Pamela’s life and her past.

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 192
Series : #6 Tarot Cafe
Format : Manga
Reason for Reading : Manga Challenge 2010

The penultimate volume in the series and it is the first one that has one continuous storyline running through it. Pamela is still learning about her past and trying to understand the work of fate. We get to discover it with her and learn about the characters right along with them. Meanwhile, Alecto delivers a surprise to Pamela which startles her. We get to learn more about Ash and his back story with some new surprises there too.

Lots of unexpected twists and it ends on quite a cliff hanger. Only one more to go and then I will have to say goodbye to Sang Sun-Park’s beautifully crafted world.

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 192
Series - #7 Tarot Cafe
Format : Manga
Reason for Reading : Manga Challenge 2010

Sadly this is the final instalment in the Tarot Café series although there is a short novel I haven’t yet read. This follows Pamela exclusively as she travels into Hell to finally confront Belial in his castle Pandemonium. She takes such a risk to save Belus who is dying back in London and she wants to end her contract with Belial once and for all.

There are some old and new characters as she travels to the heart of Pandemonium including Harlequin (I seem to be reading lots of stories with Harlequin in them lately), Chiron and some of the characters she has helped with her readings. She travels through some of the levels of Hell including Diss to get to the final confrontation where there are a few more surprises in store for Pamela which change everything.

This was much more horror than fairy tale in contrast to come of the earlier collections. I felt the series could have had more instalments and the ending was a little rushed, but then again it’ always nice to find a shorter manga series and overall I really loved it. The art was stunning as always and I definitely recommend this series even if you haven’t read any manga before.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rating : 2.0/5
Number of Pages : 312
Format : Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

The narrative alternates between Roseanne’s personal testimony as she approaches one hundred and Dr Grene who runs the asylum where she was placed a number of years ago in her twenties. Roseanne tells her life story growing up with a mother who was also committed after her father died. She gets married to a Catholic despite being a Protestant in Ireland during dangerous times of unrest. There is a priest who does what he thinks is best for Rose, but his motives are questioned.

Dr Grene has his own problems. The home is being demolished and he is approaching retirement. There is not enough room in the new building for all of the patients and recent press forces him to look at if any of the patients were wrongly committed. Rose’s case is intriguing and he begins to try and question her to see if he can make alternative arrangements. Her version of events differs somewhat from those recorded in the old files.

I was very disappointed by this novel. There is a big twist, but the problem was I guessed the twist in the first couple of chapters and was annoyed that it was so simple and I was correct. I am not sure I would read more by this author as things stand.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


So I finally got a new iPhone recently which I have already downloaded lots of apps to. One is a blogger app and basically I'm seeing if it works! I at least included a photo of me and Eris caught snoozing a few days ago. I can't believe how big the kittens are now, but they are one now so technically not kittens anymore...

Looking forward to a fun weekend. My dad just turned 60 and me and my sister have a fun day of celebrations planned. I won't say here as he is sneaky enough to try and spoil the surprise. Tutt tutt.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 245
Series : Canongate Myth Series
Format : Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

Another in the Canongate Myths series and this time it is Phillip Pullman taking on Christianity. It is a retelling of the life of Jesus Christ with the twist that Jesus and Christ are actually twin brothers. It begins with their conception and the idea is proposed that their father is a boy from the village posing as an angel. This is left up to the reader to decide and from there the boys grow up with very different personalities.

Lots of key events from The Bible are described but with the two boys taking on different characters. It goes right through to the death of Jesus on the cross and his resurrection as Christ and puts a whole new spin on some of the most famous stories ever told. It addresses some of the issues with the way the stories of Jesus were recorded and how they are open to misinterpretation.

It was an interesting read and it’s a shame so many seem to have got bogged down in whether it is blasphemous or not. Being part of the myths series rather than in the religious section along with copies of The Bible and Qu’arn etc, I feel that it is irrelevant whether people are offended or not. It’s Pullman’s fictional take on the stories as an artist and author and it poses some very interesting questions like many good books. It’s not anti-Christian, but it is very clearly anti-Church. Sometimes you do have to wonder though has Pullman written this just to live up to his reputation of being controversial as obviously he knew the types of response such a novel would elicit.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 448
Format : Fantasy Anthology
Reason for Reading : Short Story Challenge 2010

A collection of short stories, a follow up to Smoke and Mirrors, by acclaimed Fantasy author Neil Gaiman. I won’t go through each story, just the ones that I particularly enjoyed. The first was A Study in Emerald that matches Sherlock Holmes with Cthulhu myths. Everything is twisted around in this excellent detective story. How to talk to Girls at Parties was a fun look at what happens when two human teenagers stumble into a party filled with
women not quite of this world. Teenage angst with a sci fi twist.

The Problem of Susan is a tale I had often wondered about myself and it was interesting to read Gaiman’s take on what happened to Susan after the events of The Last Battle. She isn’t taken by Aslan as she is too into fashion and make-up. Harlequin Valentine was another dark and fun tale looking at love and is included in a Lisa Snellings-Clark book inspired by her artwork. The final tale is a novella which catches up with Shadow after American Gods finishes. American Gods is my favourite Gaiman book and it was a lot of fun catching up with him again. A strange tale, but one that will stick in my mind for some time to come.

There were a couple of stories I had read before in other collections, but for the most part they were all new to me. I read Smoke and Mirrors about 8 years ago and I don’t remember enjoying it as much as this set. There were a couple I didn’t take to, but overall a fun and freaky read. Everything you would expect from Gaiman.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Joker - Brian Azzarello

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 128
Format : Teenage Graphic Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge 2010

A one shot graphic novel after the Joker is proclaimed sane and let out of Arkam Asylum. Jonny Frost is sent to pick him up and quickly gets drawn into his world which clearly is not sane! Since his stink in Arkam the city has been split between the various mobsters and crime bosses and the Joker has nothing. He has returned to claim what is his and he isn’t of the mind to ask nicely.

A whole host of villains turn up in the story including Harlequin, Penguin, Riddler and Two Face/Harvey Dent. Batman is always in the background and only appears at the very end. The Joker makes comment though that he is always watching from the shadows. He leaves behind him a wake of death and destruction and Jonny who narrates the tale gets sucked further and further in to the madness.

Dark and very well drawn. Excellent story and I loved the twisted ending which I won’t spoil here. A classic and you don’t need to be a Batman fan or have read any of the other graphic novels to enjoy this. Although perhaps, enjoy is not the right word…

Hellblazer : Dangerous Habits - Garth Enis

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 160
Format : Graphic Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge 2010

A one shot story of Constantine. Enis was wondering what to do with Liverpudlien John Constantine who has been to hell and back. Literally. He fights demons and is a poor mans magician and con man who although he doesn’t do bad will not be going upstairs when he finally kicks the bucket. Unfortunately that day may not be too far away now.

Enis has the radical idea of killing Constantine. He has always been a chain smoker and after coughing up blood and bits of his lungs, he finally goes to see a doctor and is diagnosed with late stage, terminal lung cancer. He runs various scenarios in his head and visits the few “friends” (human and otherwise) he has left alive before coming to the conclusion that there is nothing he can do. Instead he devises a plan that just might work, a way to preserve his life and miss out on an eternity being tortured in hell. Problem is he has to die first.

The film with Keanu Reeves was based partially on this graphic novel so I knew portions of the story. This however was much more explicit, dark and dangerous. Very gripping but best not to read it right before bed like I did as it may give you nightmares!

Saga of the Swamp Thing v1 - Alan Moore

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 176
Series : #1 Saga of Swamp Thing
Format : Graphic Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge 2010

The first volume of Alan Moore’s take on Swamp Thing. In the introduction he gives an overview of the previous comics that introduce Swamp Thing and his origin story as scientist Alec Holland who works on a plant growth promoting “bio-restorative” with his wife. His experiment is sabotaged with a bomb and he is blasted into the swamp covered in his own untested bio-compounds. And thus The Swamp Thing is born and he acquires a group of confidants including Abby Arcane, neice of his one time nemesis.

In the first few panels of Moore’s version, he literally takes Swamp Thing apart and recreated him. He kills the character and reinvents his own in a fantastic twist. Once he has established his own version of events which tie in with the previous comics, he is free to begin his new tale.

This was a dark comic and one of the best I have read in some time. I can definitely see why this is a cult classic. Written back in the 80s it looks like Moore has finally returned to the series and the collected volume two is out later this year. I loved the end twists and can’t wait to see what Moore has in store for the characters next.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 178
Series : Twilight Series
Format : Teenage Fiction, Urban Fantasy Vampire Novel
Reason for Reading : Vampire Series Challenge

A Twilight novella set during the time of Eclipse. We follow Bree Tanner who is a new vampire, part of the new born army that attacks the Cullens in Eclipse. We learn how she was turned and see her trying to survive her second life in a nest of cruel and violent newbies. Bella never really acts like a newborn in Breaking Dawn so it was interesting to spend time with a group of them and see why the Cullen’s are so wary of turning her and surprised with the results.

She does manage to make a friend in Diego, but unfortunately it doesn’t last as he gets in the way of Riley and Victoria’s plans. Watching her trust and get close to someone was so sad knowing it was all going to end in tears. Reading about some of the kindness between the other newbies acts of violence, killing and destruction was like a balm. Bree also befriends Fred who has the talent of being able to repel the other vampires and Bree can hide in his aura. He is the only one to make it out alive so perhaps Meyer will write another novella to continue his story.

It came out just before Eclipse in the cinemas which was excellent marketing. It’s quite sad reading it as you are drawn into Bree’s life and you know how the story ends and it isn’t happy… I actually enjoyed this more than I was expecting, perhaps because it was a bit darker than the other Twilight books. I was glad Bree found some happiness in her short second life. This was a fun visit back to the Twilight world with a twist.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 187
Format : Non Fiction Anthology
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

This is a collection of myths and folktales featuring the moon from around the world. They are abbreviated versions from a variety of different cultures and traditions. The book has sections on the different moons throughout the year (eg. Hare Moon, Harvest Moon) and tales that correspond. Some feature the Man in the Moon and why there are dark spots, others are the various creatures and deities linked to the moon.

It was a lovely collection and introduction to myths and legends and I will definitely be following up on some of them and tracking down the original source material. It was good to read outside the usual Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Celtic and Norse tales. There is a companion volume called Sun Lore which I am looking forward to reading this year.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 320
Series : #10 Sookie Stackhouse
Format : Urban Fantasy Vampire Novel
Reason for Reading : Vampire Series Challenge

Sookie is back for book ten in the series that spawned the excellent tv show True Blood. This one focuses on the different family relationships of the various characters mostly concerning Eric. His maker (the Roman Appius Livius Ocella) arrives with his “brother” who causes a stir when it is revealed he is a famous character from history (don’t worry I won’t spoil it here).

Claude moves in with Sookie after Amelia moves back to New Orleans. She also has to look after a young family member and help him begin to come to grips with his talents. Tension is running high in the two natured community as the government is trying to make them all register which is upsetting the were’s in particular.

It’s a little lighter than the previous novel which made a nice change and was one of my favourites so far. I enjoyed looking at the different relationships. It’s less graphic on the sex and violence compared to some of the previous books in the series and you would need to read the earlier books to really appreciate this one. I can’t wait for the next in the series and see what Sookie and the gang get up to next.