Saturday, January 28, 2012

BOOKS - My Reading Pile

At lot of book review blogs do this or variants thereof where they discuss what books they have waiting to be read. So I thought I would give it a try even though book reviews are only part of what I do on this blog. Anyway here is a picture of my lovely haul of books.

The Outcasts (Brotherband Chronicles 1) by John Flanagan
This is what I am currently and it is pretty great let me tell you those fans of John Flanagan know what to expect a great adventure a continuation of the idea of boy's own adventures.

Ranger's Apprentice - The Lost Stories by John Flanagan
Similar to the above really just giving out some more insight into one of the greatest series I have ever read.

Reckoning (Strange Angels) by Lili St Crow
Been waiting for this one for awhile I can remember when I first got my hands on Strange Angels 1 it was like Supernatural's kick ass little sister and it grew from there into a world with its own rich law and incredibly compelling main character.

Once I have finished these books look forward to the reviews.

What books are you guys looking forward to read that you already have waiting?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fate by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - REVIEW

Fate is the second novel in the Tattoo series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes and is published in the UK by Delacorte Press Books on the 10th March 2009

For the past two years, Bailey Morgan has lived a double life: high school student by day, ancient mystical being by night. As the third Fate, Bailey literally controls the fate of the world, but as Plain Old Bailey, her life is falling apart. She’s got a tattoo that was supposed to be temporary (but isn’t), friendships that were supposed to last forever (but might not), and no idea what her future holds after high school graduation.

Then Bailey meets the rest of the Sidhe, an ancient race defined by their power, beauty, and a sinister habit of getting what they want at any cost. Before Bailey knows it, she’s being drawn into an otherworldly web more complicated than anything she weaves as a mortal Fate.

I liked Tattoo the first book in the series so I was very interested to see how things would play out given the status quo at the end of that novel.  Now things have been moved on by two years and we see that while some things have changed a lot has stayed the same. Bailey still has the same issues with a lack of confidence and at the start of the book we are giving some gleams into the past that says that everything didn’t work out perfectly between her and her intended.

Bailey is an interesting character and one her most redeeming features is the strength she displays when it comes to anything dealing that might threaten her friends. This is in total contrast to her lack of confidence when dealing with standing up for herself. It can be frustrating but it also goes a long way to showing exactly how much she cares about her friends. The split between Bailey as a human and Bailey as a fate is also interesting it makes sense though that there should be disconnect between the two.

The circle of friends are a joy to read you can see a thread running through both books that Bailey wishes she were more like her friends as they are far more comfortable with who they are and I think Bailey can see that. They are pretty much perfect Delia the popular girl who is nice to everyone, Annabelle the brainy one and perhaps closest to Bailey in term of not fully utilising her potential and Zo the tiny firecracker who will stand in front of any threat to her friends.

The world of Sidhe is an interesting place and the lore taking elements of Greek and Celtic Mythology. The only drawback is that with a decent grasp of the lore (thank you Percy Jackson) or just paying attention to me at least the conclusion of the book seems just a little self evident and that part of it grinded on me a little but not so bad that it ruined the entire book for me.

Overall Fate has left me anxious to see if there will be a third book in the series. It is a good book about friendship and the real themes of getting older and deciding what to do with one’s life.  I can recommend Fate as a good read.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

BOOK REVIEW - My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent

This Review is part of The Soul Screamers Reading Challenge which you can find out about here.

My Soul to Take is the first book of the Soul Screamers series and is written by Rachel Vincent author of several popular YA series including the Shifters series. The book was released in the UK on the 1st of January 2011 by Mira Books.


Kaylee Cavanaugh just wants to be normal but it seems that life just won’t let her. Kaylee is affected by a strange condition, she can sense the impending death of those around her but whenever she does she can’t help but scream her lungs out. While Kaylee does her best to keep her ‘normal’ suddenly one of the most popular guys in school is taking a keen interest in her and he seems to know more about her than she does. Unfortunately just as Kaylee is getting used to having a guy interested in her girls around the school start dropping dead and she finds herself investigating the cause.


I have been reading YA for years now and I often hear about Rachel Vincent whether it be a suggestion from Amazon or just on book review sites talking about her series. I had kept seeing her Were-creature series around but never took the plunge; I finally decided to take a chance on Soul Screamers once I found the audio book version.

Let me first begin by saying that I did not start with My Soul To Take I went with My Soul To Lose which is a prequel released July 1 2009. I have a review of that available but I just thought you should know where I am coming from in my review.

There is a big change in tone from My Soul To Lose and we move into a setting I am familiar with a young somewhat unsure of herself teenager dealing with a host of issues and problems some that most teenagers deal with and other more exotic ones.

Kaylee is a likeable character with some serious character flaws but any good heroine needs to have some shortcomings to help you understand and sympathise with their character, the interesting thing that comes across in this book is how others often confront her about her character flaws and how she even examines them herself internally.

The pace of the book is very good too often in books things can jut stall and then speed up in a jerky sort of fashion that really makes it a different read. Here Rachel Vincent keeps everything moving at a consistent pace and you never find yourself bored or perhaps looking to put the book down for a break or something you always want to read a few more pages want to learn a little more.

There are some problems with the book but you can take that one of two ways. My issue with this book is that most of the characters except for Kaylee are lacking in depth to one degree or another. This is what I like to call book 1 syndrome as it can often prove difficult to properly flesh out your supporting character class and still work in a plot without boring the reader to death. In the end though after reading the book and deciding I wanted to read the next in the series I think the author chose the right amount of plot vs. character development.

I would recommend My Soul to Take to fans of Urban Fantasy/YA and especially people who like the Southern Vampire Mysteries as I see a lot of similarities in the style in which these books are written.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

BOOK REVIEW - Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Tattoo is a teen/YA paranormal book by Jennifer Lynn Barnes and was published by Delcorte Books on January 9 2007.


Bailey Morgan isn't the type of girl who shows a lot of skin, but somehow, she ends up in a dressing room at the mall with her friend Delia applying a temporary tattoo to her lower back. Never one to suffer fashion doubt, trendsetter Delia knows exactly where she wants her own tattoo: on her stomach, right where her shirt ends—can you say "midriff"? Annabelle, the quiet one, chooses the back of her neck, and tomboy Zo plasters hers on the top of her foot. The tattoos will last for three days, and Delia's sure that with them, the four friends will absolutely kill at the school dance.

Unfortunately, killing is just what someone has in mind, and Bailey, Delia, Annabelle, and Zo are in for the battle of their lives. Along with her tattoo, each girl receives a gift—a supernatural power to help them in their fight. As Bailey's increasingly frightening dreams reveal the nature of their enemy, it becomes clear to the girls that it's up to them to save the world. And if they can get Delia to stop using her newfound power to turn gum wrappers into Prada pumps, they might actually stand a chance.


The story is interesting and only the second time I have heard the term sidhe in a YA story it is nice to get a changeup from the usual wolves and vampires trend. I think the girls’ interaction about their powers is interesting especially Zo at first feeling like she has the rough end of the stick with what is almost a passive power but then you see her strength of character and how driven she is when she can make a difference. The friends feel real as does their interaction with each other and it goes a long way to making them all feel real and gave them depth.

The main reason for me checking out this book at first was the fact that I knew that it was part of a series and didn’t seem like the usual love triangle stuff that YA seems to slip into these days. What I found after the first few chapters is an engaging story different from the stuff I usually read. While it could be argued that the four friends fall into stereotypical character traits, the smart one, the tomboy, the cheerleader and the quiet modest one I am willing to put that down to the fact that it is the first book of a series and therefore we, the reader should allow for character growth in future books. I like the lore which is something that is important to me in Urban YA especially in a series and I am eager to learn more about the other world that connected to this one.

One thing I think I should warn potential readers about is that sometimes it feels that this book is aimed at very young readers and looking up on Amazon it suggested the potential target audience being 12 or so and in places it shows. It is hard to explain exactly how are but if you read a lot of YA I think it will be noticeable to you. I don’t mean the book itself is childish or the plot too simple it is just aimed at a younger audience then say a series like House of Night which has more mature themes in it.

Overall I would recommend this book as it is succeeds in the simple tenant of fiction, suck you into a world you can accept and make you interested about the fate of the characters contained within that world.

BOOKS - Happy January

I hope you guys are having a good January mine is not too bad. Just wanted to let you know about some things on the horizon. First of all I am working on a few book reviews some of which are already done, and some of them will be appearing in some book review blogs. I have done book reviews in the past and I guess I will have to keep at it until I can sort out my writing issues. I do like sharing my love of YA Fiction with my readers and others plus I think reviewing these books from a male perspective can’t help.

Just keep an eye on my blog and I will post links when any new reviews go up.
Also as you are here I might as well share what books I have been devouring lately no reviews just a quick sketch to give you an idea.

Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Urban YA)
4 young teenage girls get supernatural powers from their temporary tattoos. Oh and then they get to fight against a supernatural being of godly power.

Weapons of Choice by John Birmingham (Science Fiction)
What would happen if a futuristic navel fleet is sent back in time to the beginning of the Second World War? How would it affect the timeline to the present and beyond. How would the people from that era deal with people from the near future.

Two very different books but both very entertaining might be worth you checking out

Sunday, January 1, 2012

World of Warcraft - Update

Holy Cow I just got a personal guild bank as some bank alt wanted to get rid of theirs. Sort of annoying in that I had spent this week touting to get signatures for a guild charter I had already purchased. The Guild Name I have got now is a bit weird but it is not rude so I will stick with it for now. It is just a handy place to send off all the leather and ore I get on my main. That main on the new server is a DK which I am proud to say is at 84 and about a third of the way in.

In terms of gold generation things have not been going too bad. I already have epic flying on my DK and had made another 4k until I spent most of it on heirlooms for my priest which I hope to be the next to level to 85 though common sense that will take a little longer than it did with the DK. Though I hope to get there faster with a full set of heirlooms though I have not even started the Darkmoon Faire stuff due to not having a level 85 or any game time when it came out.

I have been slowly grinding away at the old honor and justice point managed to get 8k for season honor though most of it must have been from the previous season. I need to keep grinding away at the PVP to supplement the heirloom purchases even to fill out one character type with head, shoulders, cloak, weapon, chest and legs is going to take awhile. Then I get to do it over and over again oh joy.

When I hit 85 I will write another post on the quest to get high enough to use LFR and the shenanighans involved when I actually get into the raid. Have a good 2012 and don't drink too much.