June 22nd, 2014



#33 J.R.R.Tolkien 'The Children of Hurin'. (narrated by Christopher Lee)
I guess, Lee and Tolkien are a perfect fit. A powerful tale, told along the lines of old Nordic legends. I must admit, though, I've never really become engrossed.

#34 Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson 'Towers of Midnight' (Book 13 of The Wheel of Time).
Still determined to finish the series. I've really liked this installment. However, I am on the last book now and that one really drags with too much battle detail.

#35 Priscilla Royal 'Tyrant of the Mind' (Medieval Mystery 2)
I think, I am becoming addicted to this series. Just what I like: interesting characters and a decent plot. Plus the fact that prioress Eleanor and brother Thomas are working together.

And with new books from Diana Gabaldon, Laini Taylor and Terry Pratchett, I know what I am reading next.
  • cat63

Books 90-98 for 2014

90. The Charing Cross Mystery by J.S. Fletcher. 203 pages.

A young barrister witnesses a man’s death on the underground and gets involved in the investigation which follows. Not sure the police would have let him get as involved as he does in the real world, but an entertaining read all the same.

91. Carbonel, The Prince of Cats by Barbara Sleigh. 152 pages.

Splendidly well-written children’s book about a girl and a witch’s cat. Quite a few authors of books for adults could learn a thing or two from Sleigh.

92. Beautiful Joe by Marshall Saunders. 186 pages.

Supposedly the autobiography of a dog, this is actually a tract about kindness to animals, inspired by Sewell’s Black Beauty. Not as good as that classic, but interesting, if only into the insight to the attitudes of the time and place it’s set in.

93. Skin Game by Jim Butcher. 403 pages.

Another slice of magic and mayhem with the inimitable Harry Dresden. As usual I can’t say much about the plot without flinging spoilers in all directions, but this is once again an immensely enjoyable book with plenty of twists and turns as our wisecracking wizard gets into enough hot water to provide baths for all the residents of Chicago….

94. The Ides of April by Lindsey Davis. 324 pages.

I was a huge fan of Davies’ Falco series, despite not liking the ending of the last one very much, so I was keen to try this, the first book about Falco’s adopted daughter, Flavia Albia. I liked it, but not as much as the Falco ones - it’s almost as though she’s trying to do the same series over again with a female protagonist, but not quite. And I guessed who the murderer was long before Albia got there, which I almost never did with the Falco books. Good enough that I’ll happily read more in the series though.

95. One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey. 246 pages.

Second in the 500 Kingdoms series. Young Princess Andromeda is a bookworm and skilled researcher, but sadly unappreciated by her mother Queen Cassiopeia. And when her mother finally does put Andromeda’s skills to use the result is not at all what the Princess had hoped for - and looks set to cost her life….

Entertaining and engaging if nothing truly outstanding. The title is perhaps a touch misleading though - the eponymous knight is certainly important to the plot, but not the central figure by a long chalk.

96. A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs by Ellis Peters. 174 pages.

Fourth in the Felse family series, although it was the first of them I read originally and the one which inspired me to read the others. Still the best of them so far, I think.

An archaeological investigation into a tomb in a Cornish seaside town sets off a chain of events with fatal consequences.

97. Death in Ecstasy by Ngaio Marsh. 208 pages.

Fourth in the Inspector Alleyn series. This series is definitely improving as it goes on and this investigation of the death by poison of a follower of an offbeat religion is, as also the best in the series so far.

98. Manna from Hades by Carola Dunn. 247 pages.

First in a new series from the author of the Daisy Dalrymple books - this one is set in Cornwall in the 1960s and features an older protagonist, Eleanor Trewynn and her neice, DS Megan Pencarrow.

Didn’t grab me as quickly as the Daisy books, but pleasant enough that I’ll read the next in the series.

As a Pratchett fan, it amused me that Megan’s DI was named “Scumble” - he didn’t seem to be made of “mostly apples” though :).
Briana and Aunty Tara

Books 17 & 18 - 2013

Book 17: Awaken by Meg Cabot – 343 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera knew that by accepting the undying love of John Hayden she'd be forced to live forever in the one place she's always dreaded most: the Underworld. The sacrifice seemed worth it, but now her happiness and safety in the realm are threatened. The Furies have discovered that John has broken one of their strictest rules and revived a dead soul. If the balance of life and death isn't restored, both the Underworld and Pierce's home on Earth will be wiped out by the Furies' wrath. Pierce has already cheated death once ...can she do it again?

This is the final book in Meg Cabot’s Hades and Persephone retelling trilogy. It had a plot, I’ll give it that, but it felt pretty weak. There was some stuff involving the god Thantos (God of Death, if my memory of Greek mythology is okay), and Pierce’s cousin, and after all the angst of her stalker boyfriend, John Hayden, in the first book, Pierce seems quite okay with his behavior and happy to wander off into a happy ending with him. There is revenge on the horrible popular kids who bullied Pierce and her brother, and defeat of the Furies who have possessed various people throughout the series, namely Pierce’s grandmother. I really didn’t get much out of the series, which disappointed me, because I really love the Persephone and Hades myth and really wanted to like this trilogy, but it read like any other angsty teen novel with misdirection and confusion and silly arguments. Overall, I think Meg Cabot writes adult books much better than teen ones…or I’m just too old to appreciate teen fiction anymore.

17 / 50 books. 34% done!

6464 / 15000 pages. 43% done!

Book 18: Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan – 375 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Waverly, Kieran and Seth are in a race against time - and with the future of humanity hanging in the balance, there's no room for mistakes... After a desperate escape from the enemy ship, Waverly has finally made it back to the Empyrean. The memory of home has been keeping her alive for the past months... but home is nothing like she left it. Forced to leave their captive parents behind on the New Horizon, she's returned only to find that Kieran has become a strict leader and turned the crew against Seth. What happened to the Kieran she thought she knew? Now Waverly's not sure whom she can trust. And the one person she wants to believe in is darkly brilliant Seth, the ship's supposed enemy. Waverly knows that the situation will only get worse until they can rescue their parents - but how? Before they have time to make a plan, an explosion rocks the Empyrean, and Seth and Waverly are targeted as the prime suspects. Can they find the true culprit before Kieran locks them away... or worse? Will Waverly follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk? Now more than ever, every step could bring them closer to a new beginning - or a sudden end. "Spark "is book two in Amy Kathleen Ryan's thrilling young adult science fiction series Sky Chasers.

This is the second book in the Sky Chasers trilogy about a two starships travelling across the universe to relocate a group of humans to a new world. After their parents were killed by the adults of the New Horizon, the children of Empyrean are left to fend for themselves and work out how to save the small contingent of parents still alive and held prisoner on board the New Horizon, as well as unravel exactly why their parents were taken in the first place and what can be done to get revenge. In true Lord of the Flies fashion, its as much the internal fight for power that almost undoes these kids. Kieran has got the role of leader, a role he believes he deserves, and Seth is in hiding. Caught between the two of them is Waverly, Kieran’s former girlfriend who has separated herself from the growing religious fervor Kieran is preaching to the children. Meanwhile, Seth believes someone has gotten aboard the ship, but has no way of communicating this to Kieran, without revealing himself.
This is a complex young adult novel, filled with interesting ideas about power, religion, belief, love, revenge, violence and legacy. The adults on the New Horizon have some pretty questionable morals, but it also becomes clear that the adults on the Empyrean did too, which raises some concerning questions about why these people were chosen to seed a New Earth. The kids, unfortunately, seem to as much products of questionable parenting, as they are of their situation. The ending of the book opens up a really difficult situation, so I’m looking forward to seeing how Ryan resolves it. Definitely stronger than the average young adult novel.

18 / 50 books. 36% done!

6839 / 15000 pages. 46% done!

Currently reading:
-        The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown – 509 pages
-        The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of the Iliad by Caroline Alexander – 277 pages
-        A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the Sixth: The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket – 259 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – 290 pages