Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sunday Post #38/ It's Monday. What Are You Reading?

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

This week was pretty quiet. I did something a little different and deviated from my reading plan, a book was calling to me and I answered. Glad I did too, it was a lot of fun. See my review of Ten by Gretchen McNeil here. So maybe I'm back on track or maybe I'll grab something else- who knows! Also I did a discussion post on  Game of Thrones- if you have read the books or watch the show, drop by and share your thoughts. My birthday is Monday and I got a Nook HD+- my first foray into the world of tablets. Actually I think the kids will probably glom it and use it more than I will. Although I will be trying Temple Run. 


 Seven Wild Sisters: A Modern Fairy Tale


Legacy of the Clockwork Key (The Secret Order, #1) Emilie and the Sky World (Emilie, #2)


This week The Huffington Post celebrated the 30th anniversary of The Breakfast Club detention with a gif party. Enjoy!

George RR Martin put out a new sample chapter from The Winds of Winter this week, and the Internet broke. Apparently a server crashed due to demand and his website was unavailable for some time. The sample is here and is called "Mercy". It's an Arya chapter (yay!), and let's just say someone gets theirs.

Speaking of Game of Thrones, io9 is asking if Arya and the Hound will be the break out stars this season? Also the show will most likely run seven seasons so are we more or less at the halfway point, regardless of when Martin actually finishes the books?

tv show gifs

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: Ten


Ten teens. Three days. One killer. That's the tagline for Ten by Gretchen McNeil and pretty much sums up the book. Meg and her friend Minnie are going to an isolated island on the coast for a party- an invite only party. One of the popular girls at school has invited them  to her parents' house on the island for a weekend of boys, booze and good times. Meg doesn't really want to go, but is there to keep an eye on Minnie, her best friend. Minnie is bipolar and a party girl, and it usually falls to Meg to rein her in when needed and keep her on her meds.

As soon as they arrive on the island things get interesting. It turns out that T.J. was also invited- the same T.J. who invited Meg to Homecoming, and who Minnie is in love with. Awkward. We find out that Meg didn't go to Homecoming because she didn't want to hurt Minnie, and she hasn't spoken to T.J. since. Some of the other guests have arrived as well, but the host of the party and the rest of the invites won't be there until the next day. A storm rolls in (yes, a storm- I know), and it's a doozy. As the partiers settle in and start drinking, some hostilities surface and it turns out some of these people have a history with each other. Fun!

Before long the storm gets worse and murderous things begin to happen. The body count rises and there are clues that someone from their past may be stalking them. Is there someone else on the island- or is the killer one of them? Before the weekend is over, there may be no one left to find out.

Ten was a lot of fun. It's a quick read with suspense that steadily ratchets up and a couple of nasty twists at the end. The big reveal was a bit farfetched for me but I still enjoyed this book a lot. The voices seemed authentically teen and the author touched on themes of acceptance, loyalty and friendship. This gave the story an emotional heft and a surprisingly deep backstory, along with a healthy dose of mayhem. Just be warned- if you read this late at night or during a storm, you may want to have a few extra lights on.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Game of Thrones discussion

I remember the first time I read A Game of Thrones. It was years ago and I had looked at the book a few times before finally picking it up. Of course, once I started it I was hooked. The Stark kids finding the direwolves really piqued my interest. I was lucky because I could read the first three books back to back. Little did I know the long wait that would be in store for books four and five. There is something about this series though, the characters and the world they inhabit, that keeps me coming back no matter how long the books take to come out.

I read the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, when it came out and read it again last year. I've taken more than a few notes so I can keep all the intrigues and subplots fresh in my mind, since the next book isa  ways away. There are so many unresolved plotlines though, so many wheels in motion, that I've thought for a while about doing a blog post to examine some of these. With season four of the HBO series approaching it seems like a good time to discuss all things ASoIaF related.

This is going to be a little spoilery, only because it's hard to talk about book five developments without spoilers! I've tried to minimize it as much as I can, and any big spoilers from A Dance with Dragons are at the bottom of the post, so you can avoid them a little easier. I know not everyone has been through the whole series yet. So feel free to jump in and let me know what you think. I'm going to throw out a few plot points and widely discussed rumors along with a few thoughts of my own.

First, the big question. Who are Jon Snow's parents? A lot of people think it is Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Hence the Song of Ice and Fire. It's interesting that the HBO show has hardly broached this idea- this could be because it's not true, but there seems to be a lot of evidence for it. Ned's memories and flashbacks alone seem to indicate something was going on at the Tower of Joy. Why were there so many Kingsguard there if only Lyanna was present? If she was carrying Rhaegar's child, however, that would certainly explain it. I'm curious as to when the show will start to hint at this. "Promise me, Ned." What did Ned promise Lyanna? Do you think Jon is Lyanna's son?

Daenerys the stormborn is a strong character with a tragic history, has arguably the best claim to the throne- and she has the dragons. The problem is, after five books she still has not set off for Westeros. What's the holdup? Personally I thoguht it was a mistake for her to settle in Meereen- yes I know she wants to "learn to rule"- but the city os bogging her down and the whole story is dragging now. This is the famous "Meereenese knot" Martin refers to, a part of the story he has really struggled with. She needs to get to Westeros like yesterday. Or is it better that she waits until the dragons are bigger? For those who have read ADwD, what did you think of the decisions she made in that book? 

Does anyone like Stannis? He has always been problematic for me. He's hard and unyielding, honorable in his own way, but brittle and likely to break before he bends, as Donal Noye put it. His alliance Melisandre has led him to do terrible things. He probably has the best claim after Daenerys'- but do his actions disqualify him? I think they do, even though I kind of like Stannis. He seems destined for a bad end, though.

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2)

What do you think of Melisandre? She seems to me to be reading the prophecies all wrong, and seems to really think Stannis is the Prince that was Promised. She is also apparently quite ruthless and we don't really know much about her, although her chapters in ADwD told us a little bit. She seems very interested in Jon at the moment... More on her below in the spoilers section.

Do you prefer the books or the show? I vastly prefer the books, partly because of things like Ned's memories referenced above. You just don't get those nuances on the show. Arya's and Jon's stories are so much deeper int he books. Jon in particular- -all the richness of his story, his relationship with Ygritte- so much more there in the books. Also I think the show gets a little carried away with the nudity and sex- yes I know the books are raw too- but HBO just seems to push it. It seems gratuitous to me. But I also think they do some things right. I thought they handled Jaqen H'ghar really well- although I missed weasel soup!


A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

Anyone else shocked by the end of ADwD? It seems to me that Melisandre may be the only one who can save Jon's life after the events of book 5. Does anyone else wish Jon had listened to Mel's warnings? He seemed very oblivious to the danger he was putting himself in by alienating so much of the Night's Watch. I like Jon a lot, but I question a lot of his decisions in the last book. Sending his allies away, holding himself apart- he didn't exactly help his cause even as he made decisions that polarized the Watch

It's striking to me how Stannis is marching on Winterfell with the mountain clans of the north, and they are determined to rescue Ned's daughter Arya. The problem is, Arya is not at Winterfell. It's Jeyne Poole, whom Theon manages to rescue with the help of Mance Rayder's spearwives. All the men dying, the snow and cold taking their toll, and Arya is not even there. Staggering.

Speaking of Arya, is anyone else alarmed by the direction her story is taking? I love her character, and my own perfect ending for this series would be if Arya and Jon meet again and are OK. At what point will she choose life and return to Westeros? I look forward to that- a lot.

Perhaps the biggest revelation in A Dance with Dragons is the return of Aegon Targaryen. Rescued from the Sack of King's Landing by Varys and sent overseas to be raised by Jon Connington, he has grown to adulthood and now is a contender for the throne. Many readers were like, where did this come from? Don't we have enough contenders already? And of course some doubt that he is really Aegon. I tend to think he is, but you never know with Martin. The Jon Connington chapters were some of my favorite parts of ADwD- I found them fascinating and enjoyed seeing the Golden Company come into the story. All these exiles from Westeros, the greatest mercenary company in the world- coming back to fight for the crown. Do you think Young Griff is really Aegon Targaryen?


This is the conundrum of the series for me. The last two books have really expanded the story, but at the same time the new plot points (in book five anyway) are really interesting. The series seems a long ways from being finished. HBO apparently intends to trim some of the subplots from books four and five, which means they will proceed even faster through the story- increasing the likelihood that they catch up to Martin before he finishes. He must be under a lot of pressure to finish The Winds of Winter. I would not be surprised if a decision is made to publish it before Martin otherwise would, just to buy himself some breathing room. That seems increasingly likely to me. Assuming, of course, that he has enough written to do that.

Who do you think should sit the Iron Throne? Who is your favorite character? Mine would have to be Arya, but I'm fond of Jon and Davos too.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sunday Post #37/ It's Monday. What Are You Reading

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

This week has been an interesting week. Reading time has been at a premium these last few weeks with my new job, but I'm fitting it in when I can. March is flying by and the warm breezes of April are not far off- the snow is melting and I can see a lot of projects that nee doing after a hard winter, but I'm feeling the optimism and hope of spring and thinking ahead to warm, starry summer nights. 

On the reading front I have a mix of newer and older stuff to read, I'm going to alternate a bit so I'm tackling some of my new books but also reading some old school stuff in the coming weeks. One thing I've noticed lately is I'm loving it when I finish a book- even if I really liked the book, there's always another one waiting I can't wait to start. It used to be that I'd finish a book and be a little wistful, especially if I didn't have anything waiting in the wings- but as a book blogger, there's no shortage of books waiting and I wanna get through 'em. The only downside is I sometimes don't remember everything about a book I just read a few months ago, or it gets jumbled with other books. I guess that's where my reviews will help me keep it all straight! Anyone else have that problem?  

Legacy of the Clockwork Key (The Secret Order, #1)


Emilie and the Sky World (Emilie, #2) Ten


The Incredibles are getting a sequel. Yay!

Lots of Game of Thrones news this week with Season 4 approaching fast. Catch the Season 4 premiere (with a dragon) pics here and a lucky blogger who attended the premiere has her thoughts here. Worth checking out.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday Tunes #8 Duran Duran

"See them walking hand in hand across the bridge at midnight"

I just love the imagery of that first lyric. I imagine a stone bridge with two young lovers and moonlight shining down, perhaps in an exotic garden... of course that's not what the song is about, but I just love the lyrics and the way the song starts. This is one of those bands where half the time you have no idea what they're singing about, but it's fun music. This one is quite the catchy tune. 


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sunday Post #36/ It's Monday. What Are You Reading?

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Another week gone by but it's starting to look like spring around here- a little bit. We've had warm days and then cold days, but the sun is out and it feels like spring to me now. I'm ready for grilling out and warm breezes. 

I picked up a few new arrivals this week, mostly old school fantasy stuff. I've found that a lot of the stuff I read growing up doesn't hold up very well, so I'm a little hesitant to go back to go back to some of these. Part of the appeal is nostalgia I suppose, either for the cover art or the story or whatever, and it will be nice to have them on the bookshelf. 

Here is some nice Lord of the Rings art from the legendary Frank Frazetta. Although I never understood why everyone is so scantily clad in his artwork... :)

The Captain America: Winter Soldier movie is getting good early buzz. Here's a new clip.

The Veronica Mars movie is out and Hypable has a nice rundown of some references you may have missed.

Pamela at Reading Is Fun Again on her Favorite Literary Tropes.

Lemon trees and fun updates over at Ciao Amalfi.

Here's a little Irish music to celebrate St. Patrick's day! Enjoy.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sunday Post #35/ It's Monday. What Are You Reading?

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Well things seem to be slowly getting back to normal around here- whatever that is. Spring seems like it may be close- we got into the 40's yesterday! Snow is melting and I can actually see yard again! 

I've been thinking about my social media use and how it ties in with blogging, and it occured to me that I really don't use Goodreads much at all. I originally thought of GR as just a review site basically, but I see the more social aspects of it as well. So if you get a friend request from me on GR that's why. I'm going to try and expand my circle of friends on there, as well as tweet more. I tend to tweet in little bursts, punctuated by periods of inactivity, so I'd like to work on being more consistent. Anyone else have that problem? 

I'm also thinking seriously again about a custom design for the blog- nothing too fancy, just something that looks better than my basic Blogger template! I don't really know design so I'm just going to have someone do it for me! If you have someone you recommend please let me know, I'm definetly interested.   


 Legacy of the Clockwork Key (The Secret Order, #1)


This story shows why domestic disputes and swords don't mix. Two men got in a fight over a woman and at some point a replica sword from Legend of Zelda came into the mix. Injuries ensued, not surprisingly!  

This is a neat story about a remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea that almost happened in the 1980's. Check out the cool concept art here and at io9.  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sunday Post #34/ It's Monday. What Are You Reading?

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

This week has been better, I actually got some reading time in. It's March 1st, can springtime be far behind?  

did manage to get some time in on Lord of the Rings Online, which I haven't played in months. Nice to get back, although some of the quests in Rohan leave a bit to be desired.