Monday, June 29, 2015

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Title: The Warrior Heir

Author: Cinda Williams Chima

Published: Hyperion, 2007

Pages: 426

Series: Book 1, The Heir Chronicles

Summary: Before he knew about the Roses, 16-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohio town of Trinity. Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high schoolers. Then one day Jack skips his medicine. Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than ever before. And it feels great - until he loses control of his own strength and nearly kills another player during soccer team tryouts.

Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself: he is Weirlind, part of an underground society of magical people who live among us. At their helm sits the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing The Game - a magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death. The winning house rules the Weir.
As if his bizarre heritage isn't enough, Jack finds out that he's not just another member of Weirlind - he's one of the last of the warriors - at a time when both houses are scouting for a player.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I have had this book sitting on my shelves for four years so I figured it was high time I got around to reading it.  I picked the book up and was instantly drawn in by the prologue.

Unfortunately, after the prologue it took me a while to get back into the story.  I believe this was mostly due to the fact that the writing style is quite unique and not what I had expected, so it took me a little bit to get used to the book.

Jack is supposed to be sixteen but really I thought he was about thirteen or fourteen, I think this is because the book has been written in such a way that it appears more suitable for a younger audience but I did feel like it made some things weird.  There isn't any sex scenes or anything but there would be mentions of people having been together, in this subtle way that made it more awkward than anything.  I just didn't understand why it was mentioned if the target audience of the book don't need to know about it.

The story itself is actually really interesting, and once I got into it I was intrigued and wanting more.  I did find, after a point however, things started getting a little slow again.  It was sort of up and down between interesting parts and parts that weren't overly exciting.

I feel that overall I enjoyed reading The Warrior Heir.  One thing I kept in mind was that this was Cinda Williams Chima's first novel so hopefully the next book will be an improvement.  That being said, I am interested in reading the next book in the series to see what happens next.

Friday, June 26, 2015

When You Are Old: Early Poems and Fairy Tales by W. B. Yeats

Title: When You Are Old: Early Poems and Fairy Tales

Author: W. B. Yeats

Published: Penguin, 2014

Pages: 336

Summary: A specially compiled edition for the Penguin Drop Caps series, When You Are Old will include the most accessible, best-known poems by W.B. Yeats from his early years that made the Nobel Prize winning writer and poet popular in his day.  The volume will include all the major love poems written most notably for the brilliant yet elusive Irish revolutionary Maude Gonne. Recalling Yeats’s 1890s fascination in  aestheticism and the arts and crafts movement, selections will draw from the first published versions of poems from works such as CrosswaysThe RoseThe Wind Among the ReedsIn the Seven WoodsThe Green Helmet and Other PoemsResponsibilitiesThe Wild Swans at Coole, and Michael Robartes and the Dancer. A selection Irish myths and fairytales including “The Wanderings of Oisin,” a Celtic fable and his first major poem, represent his fascination with mysticism, spiritualism and the rich and imaginative heritage of his native land.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I'm slowly working my way through the Penguin Drop Caps series and when it comes to decide which one to read next I felt like reading some poetry and so I did.  

I really enjoyed reading the poetry of W. B. Yeats.  It's written so wonderfully.  I generally, would read a poem and then just sit for a few seconds and let it sink in.  I took my time with this book because really you have to.

There is one play in this book and I felt as though while I thought it was interesting, I'm not the biggest fan of reading plays so while it was interesting, it would be better to see being performed.

The fairy tales however, were really good and I loved the way Yeats writes.  His writing is really descriptive and I just found it to be really enjoyable to read.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading through When You are Old and this is definitely one of the better Penguin Drop Caps so far.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Murder in the Kitchen by Alice B. Toklas

Title: Murder in the Kitchen

Author: Alice B. Toklas

Published: Penguin Classics, 2011

Pages: 96

Summary: Alice B. Toklas describes her life with partner Gertrude Stein and their famed Paris salon, which entertained the great avant-garde and literary figures of their day.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Murder in the Kitchen is part of the Penguin Great Food series, featuring excerpts from various books to do with food.

Alice B. Toklas was the cook and partner of Gertrude Stein.  Together they had a house where they hosted several artists and writers such as Picasso.

Alice B. Toklas had a really interesting life and this book has snippets of stories from her life.  Interspersed with these stories are recipes she collected and created throughout her life.

The recipes themselves sounded really good and there were a few of them that I wouldn't mind trying. 

I really enjoyed reading Murder in the Kitchen and my only complaint is that there wasn't enough of it.  Luckily, this is an excerpt from Toklas' book, The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook so I imagine I will be checking that out eventually.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Embers & Echoes by Karsten Knight

Title: Embers & Echoes

Author: Karsten Knight

Published: Simon & Schuster, 2012

Pages: 480

Series: Book 2, Wildefire

Summary: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! Ashline Wilde may have needed school to learn that she is actually a reincarnated goddess, but she’s ready to move beyond books. She leaves her California boarding school behind and makes for Miami, where she meets a new group of deities and desperately seeks her sister Rose, the goddess of war. But she’s also looking for love—because even though her romance with Cole had to be snuffed, Ash is a volcano goddess—and she doesn’t get burned. (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: After reading the first book last year I was extremely excited to read the next book.  I finally picked it up and for the most part I'm glad that I did.  I'm kind of kicking myself for not picking up this series sooner.

I did find the beginning to be a bit slow but once I got into the story a bit more I found myself hooked and at one point, I kept reading telling myself I would just read to the next chapter.

Things are definitely getting interesting in the second book in the trilogy.  Generally, when reading trilogies I have major problems with the second books because they always tend to consist mostly of filler, rather than any exciting content.  Thankfully, with Embers & Echoes this wasn't the case.  There was the overarching plot but there was also a little bit of side plot with this one that kept the book interesting.

I feel like the Wildefire series is a really good YA series as it's different to the majority of series' out there.  The only issue is that it doesn't get nearly enough attention.  It's funny, action-packed and highly entertaining.

I am definitely looking forward to reading the final book in the trilogy, Afterglow.  The second book ended with things getting very interesting.  I do feel as though I know the outcome of the next book but you never know, I could be wrong.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Devil's Only Friend by Dan Wells

Title: The Devil's Only Friend

Author: Dan Wells

Published: 16 June 2015, Tor

Pages: 272

Series: Book 4, John Cleaver

Summary: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! The Devil’s Only Friend picks up one year after I Don’t Want to Kill You, with John still struggling to deal with the horrible things that happened in the first trilogy. On the plus side, he’s working with a group of FBI demon hunters, but on the down side, that’s not actually a plus side: he’s spent his whole life trying not to think about killing, and now it’s his job. He feels trapped, he feels desperate, he feels his control slipping away, and then…well, I’d better not say anything else. There’s a war brewing between humans and monsters, and John’s trapped in the middle, and it’s not going to end well for anyone.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:   After reading the first three John Cleaver books last year, I was a little worried that there would be no more books in the series.  However, Dan Wells announced that there would indeed, be more books and so I have been sitting, patiently waiting for the chance to read this book.  Needless to say, when I saw it on NetGalley I just had to request it and was extremely excited when I was allowed to read this books.

The Devil's Only Friend is just as amazing as the other three books in the John Cleaver series and I was engrossed in the story from page one.  I managed to read through the story in a few hours because I didn't want to put it down.

I feel that as we continue on in the series we learn more about the withered and that just makes it all the more interesting.  Also, the whole story line of this book was highly interesting and I felt as though I learned quite a lot.

I find it hard to say too much about this book because it is seriously good and if you haven't read any of the series yet, then I highly encourage you to pick up the first book because it is so amazing.  I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

Source: Netgalley for review

Monday, June 1, 2015

I Return, with a list of books I Read in May

Given that I have a thesis to finish I wasn't expecting to get a lot of reading done.  For May, I read more books than what I had expected but less than what I wanted to read which is fair enough given that in reality I would love to read all the books, which just isn't going to happen.  Anyway, I thought I would do a little wrap-up of the books I read in May.