Saturday, May 30, 2015
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
This has been a good reading week although I have not finished my current read yet. I'll be done this weekend and my thoughts will be up on Tuesday. I'm reading A School for Unusual Girls and it's good so far.
This past week I reviewed Murder in the Mystery Suite, a fun cozy, and also Tarza and the Jewels of Opar. I also added my COYER Scavenger Hunt sign up.
The new Mako Mermaids episodes are out (finally) and you can check them out on Netflix. I've watched a few so far and they're a riot- worth the wait. I'll be binging this week for sure.
Oh, and Wayward Pines. Love that show so far. Are you watching it? If so let's talk in the comments.
Tue: A School for Unusual Girls
Thur: Tarza and the Forbidden City
NEW ARRIVALS/ UPCOMING REVIEWS:
AROUN THE BLOGOSPHERE:
Read Me away talks about ebooks.
Watch the Avengers victory celebration from Saturday Night Live. Thor tears it up!
Have you heard all the hype about Mad Max: Fury Road? Reviews have been very good, although I thought it was kinda weird and over the top. Here are 5 reasons why The Road warrior beats out Fury Road. However, I can say it's a trip, and Charlize Theron is the true star of it. She's badass in this movie.
Speaking of Fury Road- the movie has infiltrated Amazon reviews. Here's an example.
The first big spoiler for Winds of Winter might be- is Young griff not who we think he is? Spoilers for A dance with Dragons, obviously.
Are they seriously remaking Point break? How can it be Point Break without this guy? And no Lori Petty?
Until next time...
Friday, May 29, 2015
It's COYER time again! Hosted by Because Reading, Fantasy Is More Fun, and Books Movies Reviews Oh My!, this is a summer long event where basically- you read! And share the fun with others. There are readathons, Twitter parties and giveaways- what's not to like? This year summer COYER is also a Scavenher Hunt- you can do both or just COYER. Details here.
My goals for this time are to read as many books as I can and visit a bunch of reviews as well. Also I think the scavenher hunt will be a lot of fun, and I'll be reading as many books as qualify.
I may only get a few of the scavenger hunt reads done, but it looks fun, and since I didn't do the scavenger hunt last COYER, I'm looking forward to jumping into it.
COYER is always fun and I'm looking forweard to it. Are you COYERing?
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar is the fifth of the Tarzan books by Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan is living with Jane, his wife, in Africa. THe story starts off with a disgraced Belgian officer who kills his superior and flees into the jungle, only to fall into the hands of an Arab slave trader achmet Zek. Gaining his trust, the two of them plot to kidnap Jane and demand a ransom from Tarzan, or sell her into slavery if he doesn't pay. Werper goes to Tarzan's home pretending to be a Frenchman on safari, and overhears Tarzan tell Jane that his holdings are in trouble- some unspecified financial calamity. He plans to g oto Opar, the ruined city that is the last remaining outpost of ancient Atlantis, and get more ingots, which he has used to supplement his incomes in the past. The treasure vault of Opar is filled with gold ingots, too many to count, and the bestial inhabitants of the city and their beautiful priestesses pay no heed to the vault.
Setting off, Tarzan soon arrives at Opar with his loyal tribesmen- but in typical Burroughs fashion, there is a sudden earthquake and a rock hits Tarzan, causing him to lose his memory. Ah yes, here we go. Werper, who followed Tarzan to the vault, is trapped within the city and is almost killed by the savage inhabitants, but an amnesiac Tarzan rescues him and they flee from Opar. Before their escape, however, Tarzan stumbles across the fabulous jewel vault of Opar, and takes several jewels with him- a small fortune. Werper, aware of this, then plots to somehow liberate the jewels from Tarzan- after Tarzan gets him to safety, of course!
He recalled the scene within the temple when he had lain stretched upon the sacrificial altar, while La, eith high- raised dagger, stood above him, and the rows of priests and priestessses awaited, in the ecstatic hysteria of fanaticism, the first gush of their victim's warm blood, that they might fill their golden goblets and drink to the glory of the Flaming God.
Achmet Zek, meanwhile, has taken advantage of Tarzan's absence to abduct Jane and burns their bungalow to the ground. The rest of the tale details Tarzan's adventures while amnesiac, including another run-in with La and the priests of Opar, as well as Werper's machinations. It all unfolds in typical Burroughs fashion, and Tarzan of course regains his memory (but not until almost the very end), and we get several character perspective come together at the end to wrap things up.
This was an okay read, I think if you've never read Burroughs or Tarzan it might be more interesting, or even eye opening as to how he was originally written. Like many heroes brought to the screen or popular culture, he was written perhaps more nuance, more angles, than a movie or TV can convey. At the same time, if you've read a lot of Burroughs then the plot and especially the twists and turns will feel very familiar. I generally liked the last one I read, Tarzan the Invincible, a lot more than this one- Opar featured in that story as well, and the last , ruined outpost of Atlantis is my favorite part of the Tarzan canon, so I gravitate to those that feature a visit there.
It's such an evocative place, with subhuman inhabitants and beautiful priestesses, unspeakable rites and strange cries in the humid air, an temples full of gold. The cover art by Neal Adams is a glimpse of the place, but the decriptionsmake me want to go there- the quintessential lost city in Africa. And of course the question remains- who will wind up with the famed jewels of Opar?
For more on Opar and a more satisfying Tarzan tale (for me) see my reviews of Tarzan the Invincible.
Aboce him, through the aperture, Werper could see sunlightglancing from massive columns, which were twined about with clinging vines. He listened, but he heard no sound other than the soughing of the wind through leafy branches, the hoarse cries of birds, and the chattering of monkeys. Boldly he ascended the stairway, to find himself in a circular court. Just before him stood a stone altar, stained with rusty brown discolorations. at the time Werper gave no thought to an explanation of thse stains- later their origin became all too hideously apparent to him.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Murder in the Mystery Suite is a fun cozy about a resort in Virginia that caters to book lovers. Jane Steward is a widowed mother of two who runs the place- and to drum up business she decides to have a Murder and Mayhem Week, complete with a costume ball. Guests are encouraged to come in character, as their favorite detective or sleuth from mystery literature. The event starts off well, with lots of guests, but things take a grim turn after the scavenger hunt- the winner of a rare book gets murdered, and the book is missing. Several guests have acted suspiciously, but a she tries to come to terms with this, Jane gets another surprise. Turns out she is descended from a long line of guardians- her birthright is handed down to her by her uncle after he aunt falls into ill health. This added another layer t the story- with all the libraries in the hotel, there is another one, where rare and unknown books are kept and where the Steward clan has guarded them.
I loved the literary references, anyone who's well read in mystery novels will find this delightful. The resort itself is awesome, with rooms named after famous mystery writers- the Ian Fleming Lounge, Jane Austen PArlor, etc. And libraries everywhere- when can I go to this resort?There are a few minor quibbles- the resort and Storyton Village are a little too perfect. Took me out of the story just a bit, but the idealized setting was appealing at the same time. The book started a little slow, but once I got 40 or 50 pages in it took right off. And this is a fun read, with great characters, an interesting premise and lots of literary references, old and new. I will absolutely buy the enxt book and look forward to reading more of Ellery Adams in the future. I'm definitely a fan after this one.
"Don't be silly," Jane said, giving the butler an affectionate pat on the arm. "These people are mystery fans. Readers. Bibliophiles. They're far too refined to resort to violence."
Saturday, May 23, 2015
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
This has been a good reading week- 2 weeks in a row! I started a new cozy and liked it a lot- my thoughts will be up on Tuesday. This was a good book , with great characters and an engaging setting.
I reviewed Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman, a fun mystery, and also the first (and I think best) Dinotopia book.
Next week I'll have my thoughts on Murder in the Mystery Suite as well as a classic Edgar Rice Burroughs adventure tale. I als hope to have my thoughts on Tomorrowland, if I get to see it over the holiday weekend.
It's a beautiful day as I write this on Saturday morning- sunny skies and 70's. Time to break out the flip flops and maybe a trip to the beach. Looking forward to a relaxing holiday weekend...
Happy Memorial Day to those in the U.S., and hope everyone has a great weekend.
Tuesday: Murder in the Mystery Suite
Thursday: Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar
Friday: COYER signup/ goal post
AROUN THE BLOGOSPHERE:
Rainy Day Ramblings talks about book budgets.
This is awesome. Gamer mom gives birth, goes back to game.
And this- just for fun.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Dinotopia is the story of Denison, a naturalist who is shipwrecked with his son Will on a mysterious island in the 1800's. Carried to shore on the backs of dolphins, Denison and Will find themselves in a strange land. Alone on the beach, they decide to strike inland- and are greeted by a chorus of hootings- what could it be? They soon find out, and are taken in by a band of dinosaurs. It is here where they meet Bix, a dinosaur who can speak and will, in time, become their guide and friend.
As they are taken into the interior of the island they come to a dinosaur hatchery, where they begin to learn more about Dinoptpia and discover that all the human inhabitants are descended from shipwreck survivors. They quickly learn that dinosaurs and humans coexist peacefully on Dinotopia for the most part, and that the dinosaurs bring the millenia long acquisition of knowledge and wisdom tothe partnership. Everyone on Dinotopia seems to have a role to play, where they sue their talents or skills for the betterment of all. Barter has replaced coinage, and it does truly seem like an idyllic society.
Denison and Will learn that they are expected to go to Waterfall City to register and apply their skills. Denison wants to leave the island, of course, and is not happy to learn that no one has ever done so, apparently, due to the trwacherous conditions around the island. He and Will set off, seeing some sights and visiting several towns until they finally arrive at Waterfall City. A stunning place- a city built at the confluence of several majestic wterfalls- and the intellectual capital of Dinotopia. Here denison discovers wonder after marvel- and as he acclimates himself to the great library there and learns more about Dinotopia, he loses all desire t oleave.
Will, meanwhile, aspires to be a Skybax rider, those being the brave souls soar the airways on great pterosaurs, and learns that his journey to do so wil require much training and travelling. Will and his dad eventually travel north to Treetown, a wonderful place where people live in elaborate constructed tree dwellings, and from there encounter a great citadel abocve the clouds and a city among the canyons, where Will will make his final effort to be a SKybax rider. What will their future hold for them? And what will be the ultimate fate of denison and Will on Dinotopia?
This is a wonderful book, told in the grand tradition of a framing story where the author "finds" the manuscript in a university library and brings the story to the masses- much like Edgar Rice Burroughs did. The story is told in both words and pictures, with sketches of everyday life on Dinotopia and beautiful full color illustrations. has that sense of wonder- the same feeling you get from Middle Earth or other fantasy lands where you can lose yourself for many glorious hours. A place where many of us would like to live, or visit- a place where imagination reigns. I'd go there in a shot.
Dinotopia is a fantastic book , perfect for children and adults who still have that childlike sense of wonder.
All image are copyright jamesgurney.com and are used with permission for non- commercial use only.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
The summer ball at the country house of Lord and LAdy Montfort is the event of the year- and this year is no exception. However things are going to be a little more complicated this year- Montfort's nephew has been expelled from Oxford for gambling, and is coming home in time for the ball. When he is found murdered the night of the ball, it sets off a chain of events that will turn the lives of the Montfort's- and their guests- upside down. Lady Montfort, shocked by this turn of events, slowly realizes that there are many secrets under the veneer of glitz and wealth and is forced to turn to her housekeeper, Edith Jackson, for help in solving the murder. Her son is in danger of being accused, and she fears that to leave the matter to the police will doom him.
Jackson herself runs the downstairs of the house, and is a practical woman who knows everything that happens in the house- or thinks she does. Initially shocked at the impropriety of Lady Montfort coming to her, she soon finds herself with questions of her won when two women disappear from the house- one the daughter of privilege, and the other a serving girl. Are the disappearances linked t othe murder? The inquest is initially handled by a local man, but when Scotland Yard intervenes the stakes get higher... for everyone. Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson find themselves racing against time to find the murderer and clear the name of an innocent man before it's too late.
The story is told from the viewpoints of Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson, and Lord Montfort as well. THe transitions are seamless and this is a well written debut novel. Tessa arlen obviously knows her period history, and the story is full of references and historical tidbits that serve to deepen the story. I felt totally immersed in this world of Edwardian privilege and class snobbery, and arlen explores the changes that were happening at this time as well- the sense among the elite that lifew was changing for them, and not for the better, and the societal changes happening in England at large. It's a fascinating tale that touches on the suffragette movement and the changing status of women, but it never loses sight of the fact that it's amystery first and foremost- and it's a good mystery too. Lots of clues are sprinkled throughout, and while it's possible to guess aspects of the whodunit as you go, the twist at the end threw me a bit.
I really enjoyed this book, the period destails are spot on and immersive and I loved going back in time to the edwardian era and experiencing life both upstairs and down. I was sorry to finish this book and am happy to hear that a sequel is ion the works- I'm lookingforward to seeing Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson in action again.