Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review: Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R R Martin


5 stars for A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire book 1) by George R. R. Martin.

I enjoy thoroughly, this long joyride of 2088 kb in kindle edition which translates to 864 pages in paperback.

A Games of Thrones is an epic masterpiece of fantasy. A splendid tale spun in a vividly real world with well drawn characters set in an intricately complex yet coherent plotting. There is much bloodshed, cruelty and death, nevertheless compelling.

It is most fascinating to watch Martin's characters grow and mature, particularly Stark's children, who stand as centre of attention in the book.

For fans who have watched A Game of Thrones Season 1-4, reading of this book is still highly recommended to fully appreciate the finer details. For those planning/intending to watch the drama series (myself included), it is recommended to start off with reading the book to gain in-depth first insight to the inner voices of the various characters.

Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition
Publication date: 1 Aug 1996

*** Favorite quote 1 ***

When I was a boy, it was said that a long summer always meant a long winter to come.
This summer has lasted nine years, Tyrion, and a tenth will soon be upon us.
Think on that.

*** Favorite quote 2 ***

Winter is coming, and when the Long Night falls, only the Night's Watch will stand between the realm and the darkness that sweeps from the north.

*** Favorite quote 3 ***

Stone was a bastard's name in the Vale, as Snow was in the north, and Flowers in Highgarden; in each of the Seven Kingdoms, custom had fashioned a surname for children born with no names of their own.

*** Favorite quote 4 ***

A man of the Night's Watch lives his life for the realm.
Not for a king, nor a lord, nor the honor of this house or that house,
neither for gold nor glory nor a woman's love, but for the realm, and all the people in it.
A man of the Night's Watch takes no wife and fathers no sons.
Our wife is duty.
Our mistress is honor.
And you are the only sons we shall ever know.

~ A Game of Thrones
George R. R. Martin

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Map of the Seven Kingdom and Winterfell,
each represented by its Sigil.

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

*Blurb from author's website*

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rock of Cashel


The beautiful Rock of Cashel with its amazing surroundings - One of Ireland's most spectacular archaeological sites.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: Alone (The Girl in the Box #1) by Robert J Crane


3 stars for Alone (The Girl in the Box Book 1) by Robert J. Crane.

Alone is an entertaining and decently well written Young Adult sci-fic fantasy, but it lacks originality and is too predictable. The story starts out promising but frizzles out along the way as the female lead character traps herself in circles, running between the Directorate and what used to be home.

Though I finish reading the entire book, I am not sure if I like the ending, which seems a compilation of sorts, yet lacking the grasp in understanding of the construction. There is potential for improvement in subsequent books in the series, so I may strive on. Perhaps..

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication date: 16 Apr 2012

*** Favourite quote ***

Most people are trapped in their towns, or their jobs, or their way of life.
We go through life in our little boxes until we find ourselves in the
last one, buried in the ground.”

~ Alone
Robert J. Crane

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Sienna Nealon was a 17 year-old girl who had been held prisoner in her own house by her mother for twelve years. Then one day her mother vanished, and Sienna woke up to find two strange men in her home. On the run, unsure of who to turn to and discovering she possesses mysterious powers, Sienna finds herself pursued by a shadowy agency known as the Directorate and hunted by a vicious, bloodthirsty psychopath named Wolfe, each of which is determined to capture her for their own purposes...

*Blurb from Goodreads*

At time of posting, the ebook edition is available for free download.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie


4.5 stars for Arranged by Catherine McKenzie.

Arranged is a smart, down-to-earth and entertaining romance novel that puts a contemporary twist on old-fashioned ideas about marriage. It makes me happy and laugh but also angry and sad as I root for the heroine to find the true love she longs for.

As the story unfolds, the unconventional method of seeking a life partner engages and keeps me going to unravel the thrill of finding out who this mystery significant other will be. And just when I think I have it figured out, the author delivers the perfect unexpected twist that keeps me glued to the story right to the end.

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition
Publication date: 15 May 2012

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Anne Blythe has a great life: a good job, good friends, and a potential book deal for her first novel. When it comes to finding someone to share it with, however, she just can’t seem to get it right.

After yet another relationship ends, Anne comes across a business card for what she thinks is a dating service, and she pockets it just in case. When her best friend, Sarah, announces she’s engaged, Anne can’t help feeling envious. On an impulse, she decides to give the service a try because maybe she could use a little assistance in finding the right man. But Anne soon discovers the company isn’t a dating service; it’s an exclusive, and pricey, arranged marriage service. She initially rejects the idea, but the more she thinks about it-and the company’s success rate-the more it appeals to her. After all, arranged marriages are the norm for millions of women around the world, so why wouldn’t it work for her?

*Blurb from author's website*

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review: Dirty Angels (Dirty Angels #1) by Karina Halle


1.5 stars for Dirty Angels (Dirty Angels book 1) by Karina Halle.

Dirty Angels is a dark rmance about a good girl and a very, very bad man, about drug cartels set in Mexico with drug use, violence, abuse, too steamy sex, bad language and sexy Mexicans.

I do not enjoy reading about rebuffed past loves and finding new love in another standalone. To me, at least in fiction, the man will always be in love with his first love; unforgettable! irreplaceable! from some deep hidden recesses of his mind. Any other girl will just feel like a cheap substitute.

The author drops an unexpected bombshell when she reveals having cooked up the concept of Javier's book when she has just finished writing On Every Street. This means that, at that point in time, the author has already decided that Javier is not the man for Ellie!

One can tell that Karina Halle is a very polished and seasoned writer just by picking up any of her books to read. However, I do not care for Dirty Angels, and I am definitely going to give the rest of "Dirty" series a pass.

Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
Publication date: 15 Jun 2014

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For Luisa Chavez, a twenty-three year old former beauty queen, a better life has always been just out of her reach. Sure, she’s had men at her feet since she was a young teenager but she’s never had the one thing she’s craved – security. Having grown up in near poverty, her waitressing job in Cabo San Lucas can barely let her take care of herself, let alone her ailing parents. Every day is another unwanted advance, every day is a struggle to survive.

When Salvador Reyes, the depraved leader of a major Mexican cartel, takes an interest in her, Luisa is presented with an opportunity she can’t afford to pass up. She’ll become Salvador’s wife and exchange her freedom and body for a life of riches – riches she can bestow upon her deserving parents. But Luisa quickly finds out that even the finest wines and jewels can’t undo the ugliness in her marriage, nor the never-ending violence that threatens her every move.

Soon, Luisa is looking for an escape, a way out of the carefully controlled life she’s leading. She finally gets her wish in the worst way possible.

As it is, being the wife of Salvador makes her an ideal target for rival cartels and there’s one particular man who needs Luisa as part of his cartel’s expansion. One particular man whose quest for power has destroyed lives, slit throats and gotten him out of an American prison. One particular man who will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants.

That man is Javier Bernal. And he wants Luisa. He wants to take her, keep her, ruin her.

Unless she ruins him first.

*Blurb and image from author's website*

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Review: Murder of Crows (The Others #2) by Anne Bishop


4.5 stars for Murder of Crows (The Others book 2) by Anne Bishop.

Murder of Crows pretty much picks up from where book 1 Written In Red leaves off. This story is phenomenally well written with well developed and defined characters. We are introduced to some new characters, a new type of humans, the Intuits, and how the blood prophets came into being. However, I get confused over the introduction of new Earth natives characters from many other regions besides Ferry Landings', hence the half star short.

All in all, I am really glad that there is no cliffhanger in either book. Both books are written with an intriguing beginning of a brief history in this Urban Fantasy world and then work their way to a climatic ending.

Publisher: Roc
Publication date: 3 Feb 2015

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After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murders of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside's shape-shifting leader—wonders whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or of a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

*Blurb from author's website*

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Friday, July 4, 2014

Review: The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes


4.5 stars for The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes.

In all its originality, the author spins a beautiful, heartwarming yet unusual romance about a single-parent mum and a man whose vacation home she happens to clean.

The story is filled with snippets of light humor that makes me laugh out loud, yet sob in silence all the same when that same humor comes at the expense of another's agony.

Publisher: Penguin
Publication date: 31 Jul 2014

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One single mum
With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it’s hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn’t. Because you have to . . .

One chaotic family
Jess’s gifted, quirky daughter Tanzie is brilliant with numbers, but without a helping hand she’ll never get the chance to shine. And Nicky, Jess’s teenage stepson, can’t fight the bullies alone. Sometimes Jess feels like they’re sinking . . .

One handsome stranger
Into their lives comes Ed Nicholls, a man whose life is in chaos, and who is running from a deeply uncertain future. But he has time on his hands. He knows what it’s like to be lonely. And he wants to help . . .

One unexpected love story
The One Plus One is a captivating and unconventional romance about two lost souls meeting in the most unlikely circumstances.

*Blurb from author's website*

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