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Monday, 30 April 2012

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)
Author: Robin LaFevers
Title: Grave Mercy
#1 His Fair Assassin
549 pages
Published 04/03/2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Plot
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf? Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others. Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Review
It's a vibrating tale of a killer novice's adventures during the fifteen century whose abbey raise nuns as her to take care of Britanny's duchy. I found this story gripping and well-written.

The story begins with seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

The principal character grip us with her sad story and, how studying she gets years later, be settled in the abbey. Early, she receives an assignement and she demonstrates to be a perfect pupil who follows the abess's orders without asking questions. But her nature will split while her assignements increase. The reason will be a man called Duval who will stand in her way, turning the easy things, difficult to her.

I have enjoyed the different characters developped in the book because each and everyone of them do their duty perfectly.

My favourite characters have been Madame Hivern and her son, Fran├žois, who at the beginning of the story showed some signals of troublemakers (the argument between the family due to the crown, something typical in many books) but, in the end, they give pleasant surprises to the reader.

The story focuses on the future reign of Anne, Duval's sister, in the duchy of Britanny and how the suitors to marry her fight for her and, specially, for the power. Only the interests of the population will be what dominate in the story and they will make us realize the maturity that the future twelve-year-old duchess shows.

One aspect I found a little disappointing was the relationship between Ismae and Duval that finally we can witness, but it is there, in the air.

I would recommend this book because you can find love stories, war, family and political squabbles and theater not being anything what it appears.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Author Spotlight: JULIE KAGAWA

About Julie Kagawa:
Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn�t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.

When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.

To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dogtrainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full-time.

Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian Shepherd who is too smart for his own good, and the latest addition, a hyper-active Papillon puppy.
Julie's latest release:

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Book 1 of the Blood Of Eden series
Genre: urban fantasy

About The Immortal Rules:
In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.
Source: Info in the About The Immortal Rules was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10215349-the-immortal-rules on 09/04/2012.

Series of books written by Julie:
Blood of Eden series
The Iron Fey series
The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten series

Author Link(s):
Julie Kagawa

Book Link(s):
www.theironfey.com
GoodReads

Publisher Link(s):
Mira Ink
Mira at Facebook

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Review: HAMMERED

Hammered by Kevin Hearne
Book 3 of The Iron Druid series

Genre: urban fantasy

About Hammered:
Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.

One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.
Source: Info in the About Hammered was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9595620-hammered on 24/07/2011.

Review:
This book displayed the same story telling quality which hooked me to this series in Book 1. Plus there is humour between the lines which never fails to perk up my interest and make the pace faster. This book also showed the same cohesive story structure that was seen in the other books in this series which always earns a lot of kudos with me. I am the kind of reader who likes it better if the story has a coherent structure as opposed to a mish mash of scenes glued together by the same theme and somebody slapped an ending to. Speaking of endings, this book ended with a good resolution to the story, but not so much for the trilogy. Although this is the third book in what they marketed as a trilogy, this book is not a conclusion to that trilogy. However, we already know that there are three more books coming in this series, so we can safely ignore the "trilogy" that they attached to these books in the beginning. Plans obviously changed. And I, for one, am glad of that change because it means more books for me to enjoy!! Right, the ending of this book might have given a good resolution to the story but it also tantalizingly left hints and pointers to the next book in the series which left me in tenther hooks and can't wait for bloody next year! *sigh* And this is what I really don't like about serieses.

Empirical Evaluation:
Character Development = 5
World Building = 5
Plot = 3
Story = 3.5
Pace = 4
Ending = 3.5
Story Telling Quality = 5

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 cherries


Books In The Iron Druid Series:


Book 1: Hounded publication date: 3 May 2011
Book 2: Hexed publication date: 5 June 2011
Book 3: Hammered publication date: 5 July 2011
Book 4: Tricked publication date: April 2012
Book 5: Trapped publication date: December 2012
Book 6: Hunted publication date: 2013

Monday, 23 April 2012

World Book Night at Treorchy

Just got home from giving away World Book Night books at Treorchy Library. What a wonderful experience!! So unlike the last years' WBN where the reception of the books was "apprehensive". Today, people welcomed the opportunity to read with a smile!! I attribute this mostly to the wonderful enthusiasm of our librarian! She posted WBN posters and told people about it way in advance before the actual event. Then she provided teas and coffees. And there were four other WBN givers there and we got to chat a little bit. It was a very nice experience indeed!! So a huge thank you to our dear librarian, Angela and to everybody who came to participate in the WBN event at Treorchy library!!
Thank you to the Treorchy Library for hosting the World Book Night in our neck of woods!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

THE IMMORTAL RULES Book trailer

Wishlist:

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Book 1 of the Blood Of Eden series

About The Immortal Rules:
In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.
Source: Info in the About The Immortal Rules was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10215349-the-immortal-rules on 30/03/2012.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Review: PRIMEVAL (SEASONS 1-3)

Primeval
TV show produced by Impossible Pictures for ITV.
Seasons 1 to 3 DVD box set

About Primeval:
Primeval is a rip-roaring, special effects-laden thriller in which the past, the present and the future collide.

When evolutionary zoologist Nick Cutter discovers prehistoric creatures alive and well in the present day the natural world is turned on its head and humanity faces a threat to its very existence. Unexplained anomalies are ripping holes in the fabric of time, allowing creatures from the past, and the future, to roam the modern world.

The series aims to capture the imaginations of everyone; a family show with a fresh and modern feel. Suddenly the world we thought we understood has changed. Nothing is certain. What kinds of relationships emerge in this shared world of secrets and suspense? What sort of creature can you next expect to see? Where will the next anomaly appear and what on earth will come out of it? So many questions but only one thing is sure, in Primeval the past is as real as the present and it’s just an anomaly away.

Primeval attracted 6.4 million viewers when it was first broadcast on ITV1 in a primetime slot on Saturdays in 2007 and the second series went on to achieve the same high level of viewers. Its success has also been demonstrated internationally, distributed to more than 80 countries, the series became the second biggest show ever and continues to perform above the slot average in Germany on Pro7.

Prepare for more explosive action as Primeval bares its newly sharpened teeth in an extended run of ten episodes due to be broadcast in on ITV1 in the UK in early 2009.

Starring: Douglas Henshall, Jason Flemyng, Andrew-Lee Potts, Lucy Brown, Hannah Spearritt, Laila Rouass with Juliet Aubrey and Ben Miller. Featuring Ben Mansfield and Belinda Stewart-Wilson. Producer: Tim Bradley. Executive Producers and co-creators: Tim Haines and Adrian Hodges

An Impossible Pictures production for ITV and Pro7. Distributed by BBC Worldwide. www.impossiblepictures.co.uk

Series one: 6 × 50’
Series two: 7 × 50’
Series three: 10 × 50’
Source: Info in the About Primeval was taken from http://www.primeval.tv/ on 02/12.2011.

Review:

I like the English accent. And it seems that the producing studio has at least invested in 3D animation software in their cinematography which I really, really like because then it looks very good on the screen. Unlike the previous English TV series I bought just before Primeval's DVD box set which was Merlin. Merlin looked like it was filmed in the 70's. The camera people and director might have been talented but it could not compete with advanced cinematographic software. So I probably be looking forward to more shows produced by Impossible Pictures in the future, i.e., Here Be Dragons.

Some of the scenes were not very logical, i.e., Helen's escape scene from Lester's clutches, keeping plots logically inline with time paradoxes, etc. And the fact that these anomalies seems to be happening only in England. The explanation for the show's premise did not allow for the fact that the anomaly can only show in one country... It is supposed to show up everywhere... so, it happening only in England is not logical. However I do really like the idea of a "time-space distorting anomaly". It's like Star Trek all over again. That bit appealed to the scifi/fantasy geek in me!

What I find annoying though is the fact that they changed about 50% of the main cast halfway through Season 3. That, I didn't like. I think one of the main staying power (among other things) of Star Trek TNG is that the entire main cast remained the same throughout its several years of running until the end finale. Primeval lost a bit of it's "staying power" with that change of cast.

Overall I like the premise of the show and the professional cenimatographic effects but I didn't like the change of cast and some rather weak plot.

Empirical Evaluation:
Cinematography = 5
Character development = 4.5
Story itself = 4
World building = 4.5
Plot = 3
Acting = 4

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 cherries


Trailer:

Monday, 16 April 2012

LORRAINE PASCALE: Home Cooking Made Easy

Lorraine Pascale: Home Cooking Made Easy

About Lorraine Pascale: Home Cooking Made Easy:
TV chef Lorraine Pascale, author of the phenomenal bestseller Baking Made Easy, is back with her second cookery book -- this time packed with simple and delicious recipes for relaxed home cooking that go far beyond baking. The queen of cookery is back with 100 scrumptious and seriously easy recipes, from cosy soups and roasts to delicious autumnal breads, in this beautifully photographed second book to accompany Lorraine's BBC2 prime time four-part autumn cookery series.
Source: Info in the About Lorraine Pascale: Home Cooking Made Easy was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12758243-home-cooking-made-easy on 25/02/2012.

Review:
I don't usually buy and read cook books. I am good at eating but not at cooking, kind of girl. Cooking and me have a love-hate relationship ever since I understood the concept of a kitchen. More of hate than love. Hate on cooking's part and love on mine. *sigh* Then I came across this cook book. At work we have this book people who leaves books and little things samples for us to browse and you can order them cheaply. I started reading this book and I found it interesting plus I thought I could do it even with my love-hate relationship going on. The instructions looked easy enough. Doable. So I thought I'd give it a try. Anyway, I started following it and to my surprise, I actually produced delicious food!! And edible to boot!! Wonders of wonders!! Plus, it did not take me a day and year to cook. How about that? The cooking instructions are as easy as they looked at first glance and the ingredients are accessible to me as they can easily be bought at the supermarket. And that is important to me because unavailability of the ingredients talked about in the cook book frustrates me to kingdom come and is usually a very good deterrent for me stay away from that cook book ever again and stear clear of anything written by that chef. So if you are like me whose culinary skills is challenged, then this book will help you as it has helped me. I still am challenged, culinarily speaking, but now I can actually produce edible food which would not poison me or anyone eating what I cooked. If this book was meant to help people cook better food quicker, it certainly has succeeded with me!

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 cherries

 
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