Thursday, January 31, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine


Bitter Blood is the 13th book in the Morganville Vampires series written by Rachel Caine. The book was released in the UK by Allison & Busby on the 6th of November 2012. Rachel Caine is a NY Times Best Selling Author and is also known for the Weather Warden series. I purchased this book.

PLOT

With the eradication of the draug, the vampires of Morganville have been freed of their usual constraints. With the vampires indulging their every whim, the town's human population is determined to hold on to their lives by taking up arms. But Claire Danvers isn't about to take sides, considering she has ties to both the humans and the vampires. Throwing an unwanted complication into the mix a group of ghost hunters invade Morganville and find a lot more than they were looking for.

WHY I BOUGHT THIS

Morganville Vampires is in my top five favourite book series so there was never any doubt that I would be taking the time to check out the newest instalment of that series. I was even lucky enough last year to get my copy of Black Dawn signed and met Rachel Caine. Morganville Vampires is one of the few series that maintains itself at a set level and each instalment doesn’t let you down. Also Claire is one of the most impressive female protagonists I have ever read a strong but believable lead.

WHAT I THOUGHT

Decisions, decisions, decisions that seems to be an overwhelming theme at the conclusion of this book. But before I go into that let me get the usuals out of the way this is not the book to begin with if you are coming to Morganville Vampires for the first time, start with Glass Houses there is so much plot, lore and character development that takes place over the more than dozen books that came before this. If you came to the series at this point you would be mostly at sea but still thoroughly entertained by the end of it.

To be honest I am glad to see the back of the Draug storyline because it was just so dour and depressing I like to see how the characters interact with just the normal spectre of the Vampires being in control. Of course this is a more pressing situation and we get to see a lot more from the human side which is a definite plus. In previous books they were sometimes the nameless mass but this time we meet several of the humans of Morganville and learn a fair bit about them.

The fabulous four are all here and accounted for some of their choices might seem controversial or at least debatable but I can accept the choices they made at this point but I reserve the right to talk about it in later instalments which I am very eager to get to.

Claire is great as usual but I agree with many in the book who accuse her of caring too much for everyone else, thinking about her compared to say Sookie Stackhouse and you can see the difference between them as Sookie is very much about her own survival.

Shane is still angry despite taking steps in the right direction he is similar to Claire in that he has a poorly defined sense of self survival, his rage is like a legacy left by his father and at times he seems to hate it or love it depending on the circumstances which in Morganville is usually pretty extreme all along the line.

Michael and Eve are an interesting situation I understand that  they love each other though to me it always seems a little fast on Michael’s side of the relationship but is true love enough of a reason to put your friends in such direct danger of assassination I don’t know if I can get behind them but I can understand where they are coming from.

Myrna oh wow we learn a lot more about him and get a glimpse into his past. He has a lot more layers than I initially thought when we first met the mad inventor. I hope there is space to learn more about him before the end of the series.

Bitter Blood shows us that even 13 books in Morganville Vampires is still cooking like a newborn vampire in the Texas sun.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

20 Days of Gold Making - WHEN DID YOU START GOLD MAKING & WHAT TRIGGERED IT?



My random responses to 20 days of Gold Making by Nev. Because I am a lazy writing and there is no way I was going to manage 20 articles in 20 days. You should go read her stuff here and here. There is even a centrallisting of everyone taking part in the challenge.

A little background I have been playing since the launch of Burning Crusade after spending a few months regularly visiting a friend who slowly explained to me the basics of the game. I really started to go down the gold making road when my connection started going south and things like raiding where no longer an option.

Image taken from WoW Official site media section

I loved playing WoW but I was forced to go solo for most things as my connection meant that I couldn’t even do 5-man content without letting the rest of the team down.  So I started just doing the dailies whenever I logged on and did things like the Argent Tournament for the sake of completion.

My first ideas were trying to flip things like linen and wool that I had kept on my bank alt who had her own personal guild for storage. Eventually I started looking at Gold Making Blogs and I got the bug from there.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: The Bat by Jo Nesbo


The Bat is a detective novel written by Jo Nesbo featuring the first appearance of Harry Hole. The book was translated by Don Bartlett and released on the 11 October 2012 by Harvill Secker. Despite being the 1st novel in the Harry Hole series this book was released in English after several other books in the series.

PLOT

Norwegian police officer Harry Hole is sent to Sydney by the Royal Norwegian Police Directorate to serve as the Norwegian attaché for the Australian police's investigation into the murder of a young female Norwegian B-celebrity, Inger Holter, who was residing in Australia. 

Why I read it?

I had heard a lot of things about Jo Nesbo mostly "the new Stieg Larsson" and I really loved the Millennium Trilogy. At least here in the UK Jo Nesbo has been on posters at bus shelters and in train stations for a couple of years at least (that is how I find books often). With all that I thought it was worth checking out, in the back of my mind I knew that for some reason they started translating the books part way through the season so I guess it was lucky that I decided to start when the first book became available.

What I thought

That was a hell of a read. This pretty much sums up my thoughts after getting through the first instalment of the Harry Hole series. The book cannot be described as an easy read but it is definitely exciting. Harry Hole is a very flawed man and investigator you compare him to someone like Alex Cross whose demons are a lot more understated if ever mentioned the difference is stark. That doesn’t mean you should not try The Bat it means that you should be prepared for a darker take on the detective story.

Should you be willing to try I think you will be rewarded for the effort. The story is engaging and takes us on a tour of the darker side of Sydney and the darker side of human nature. My only issue is that the Sydney police team that Harry works with throughout this book seem to lack in the way of characterisation especially when compared with the other characters we meet.

That is only one issue though and on a whole it doesn't get in the way of the story. Harry Hole is an interesting take on the detective novel  and a gritty one at that, if you think you are up for the challenge.



Thursday, January 17, 2013

WORLD OF WARCRAFT - Do you use a Banker Alt/Guild? When did you start doing that and why?


20 DAYS OF GOLD MAKING

This article is part of Nev's 20 days of gold making you can click on the link above to find out more and participate yourself.

Banker (CHECK) 



I in fact do both of these to help both my gold making and to generally keep my items from overwhelming me. It is hard to remember exactly when I made my first bank alt I am guessing it was either slightly before Wrath of the Lich King or very early on. I had always been told by the person who introduced me to WoW to keep everything white quality and above and after getting two characters to maximum level I decided to follow another one of his rules and use a banker. It seemed like a strange idea to me drag a level one from the starting area to whichever city is closest and park it there outside the AH but after awhile it made sense and after a couple of weeks of using it I would never go back. Before bank alts I was vendoring or destroying a lot of stuff which I didn’t really need to.

Personal Guild (CHECK)




I had been wanting to get a personal guild for awhile as once again my bags were getting too full to properly keep in any sort of order I finally bit the bullet and sat in Orgrimmar on my level 2 Blood Elf and spent the 3 evenings gathering the signatures (yeah it took THAT long even at 100g a signature for those who wanted it). The great thing about personal guilds is Tabs so I would probably recommend you leave getting one until you have a few thousand gold to spend on getting a few Tabs up and working.

I would recommend that anyone who is starting to take their gold making seriously whether to support other avenues or just to have gold to buy new shineys.



Why should I?

So depending on the size of your realm this might be a little bit of work, will it be worth it? Yes and let me tell you why.

If you’re playing with two or more max level characters you can easily find yourself with your bags full of seemingly rubbish items (especially since MOP dropped) sending off the none BOP stuff to an central alt makes staying on top of it easier.

If you’re on a limited time budget logging on few characters to manage your auctions on each of them can drain time better spent elsewhere like endless dailies for reputations. Send all that stuff to a central banker and they can manage the processes every two days instead of daily and you always know where to go should you spot the price of something jump and you can get in on the profits.

Final reason why is that with a central alt you can spoil them with fun clothes and accessories so you can strut around the Auction House looking like the player you are.

Friday, January 11, 2013

CHRISTMAS TIME A LITTLE BIT LATE


I didn't get anything at Christmas (ha don’t feel sad for me) but I did make some orders for stuff I wanted and now I can share some actual details about what I got instead of a load of generalities. I ordered three books only two of which have arrived The Hunters by John Flanagan, Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine and Social Suicide by Gemma Halliday.

As well as a certified book geek I do love my video game consoles even though even as I write this I have never actually played on an Xbox 360 or a PS3. I have turned on and tested the Xbox with the only game I bought for it so far Final Fantasy XIII. The Xbox 360 seems to be working ok but there are a few signs that it might be on its last legs I won’t know for sure until a proper test but I can confirm that Xbox is really, really loud.



As well as the Xbox 360 I also managed to pick up a Sony PSP 3000 both of which came in under £90 total which for someone on as limited a budget as me was pretty good to say the last. The Sony PSP I have had for a few days and it is great, quite an improvement on the old fat PSP I had before which went kaput.


So all in all Christmas wasn’t that bad except for the horrible news about the job interviews the previous week. I am hopeful for things happening this year.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

GIVEAWAY – 30 DAYS OF BOOKERY

No that is not me doing a Giveaway but someone else so read on for the details.


So I was checking out my friend’s Book Blog and she alerted me to this crazy giveaway to celebrate the release of City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster. Here are some details about the book which is released on the 5 February 2013.


Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.

Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life. 

You can either check this post by Miriam Forster at her Blog or read on for details.

Or read on for the details.

Starting on Sunday, January 6th, Miriam Foster is going to give away a book a day. Some will be adult, some will be young adult, some will be middle-grade. Some will be books that came out in the past year, some will be books that aren't out yet. Some will be hardbacks, some will be ARCs. But she will give away at least one book a day for 30 days.
Here's how it works.

--Every day Miriam Foster will post a new book giveaway.

--Each individual giveaway will last one week.

--All single book giveaways will be international. Multi-book ones will be US only.

--ON THAT DAY'S POST you'll enter by leaving a comment. You get:

+1 entry for commenting (commenting is mandatory to enter)
+1 entry for sharing on Twitter or Facebook
+1 entry for following the blog
+1 entry if you've never won a contest here before
+1 entry for adding up your own points

(Winners will be chosen randomly Maximum five entries on each contest.)
But wait, there's more!

If you blog about the 30 Days of Bookery, you get an automatic +1 to every giveaway on the blog that runs during that 30 days. Your post must:

-have a link back to this post.
-state the reason for the contest (to celebrate the City of a Thousand Dolls release!)
-include a picture of the City of a Thousand Dolls cover.
Leave the link to your blog post in the comments section of this post and you'll get an automatic entry to every giveaway for 30 days.

And yes, there is still more!!

Author Miriam Foster will also be wandering Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook for those thirty days and giving away random books over there. Those giveaways will be unannounced and quick, so if you're interested in them, you might want to head over to her official blog and follow her in any way you can.

So there you have it. 30 days of book giveaways.



Monday, January 7, 2013

World Of Warcraft - BOOM HEADSHOT


So yes I am still playing World of Warcraft and at the moment and strangely enough having fun all thanks to levelling my hunter alt. Aren’t hunters grand? Mists of Pandaria definitely suits the hunter playstyle much more than say a Frost specced Death Knight which is how I did things on my main. The thing with DKs is that they are pretty good at staying alive UNTIL they pull too many mobs which is something that happens a lot in MOP to all classes nevermind a class and spec that depends on AOE to really throw down the damage.


Anyway I have got most of the Factions up to Revered now so that makes for less grinding hopefully which is especially good now that I am up to 89. I have decided to try at least to go PVP on this character but we will see how things work out.

Enough talk about alts let us talk about the AH

So the Darkmoon Faire is back in town and I for one have done my preparation with 8 decks ready. So that sounds promising right? Until you take a look at the prices for the Relics and notice that they have dropped by 50% in price if not more in some cases. That is compared to the last DMF not the prices between.
As of writing this I sold two of them for a little over 20k. A disappointing amount to be sure so it looks like I am going to have to hold onto them until after DMF and attempt to price gouge like a good little goblin.

The only thing that is really selling well for a decent profit is Living Steel and week by week I can see the profits going lower and lower. Gems on my server are a joke with no raws over 30g and only the cuts that take weeks to sell going north of 100g. Gold is a lot harder to come by in this expansion and not just because it is still early in the expansion.

What are you making your gold from?

What aspects of the game are you currently enjoying?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Heist Society


Heist Society (Heist Society #1) is a book released on the 1st September 2011 in the UK by Orchard. It was written by Ally Carter a New York Best Selling Author known for the Gallagher Girls series and it is the first of the Heist Society series. The ISBN number is 1408309556. I purchased this novel.


PLOT

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her to the Louvre...to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie travelled to Austria...to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own - scamming her way into the best boarding school 
in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. 

But now her dad's life is on the line, and Kat must go back to the world she tried so hard to escape...

WHY I BOUGHT IT

I had previously read Gallagher Girls #1 but I have to say that it was not to my taste it seemed more like a kid’s book than a YA but when I saw that Heist Society was also written Ally Carter I thought it I would take a look especially given the plot premise it sounded like a winner to me.

WHAT I THOUGHT

Heist Society is a great book indeed I would think that if you’re a fan of the Gallagher Girls you would be more than happy with this first instalment of Heist Society. The story centres around Katrina Bishop and her initial efforts to strike out her own and leave the family business, which is thievery. Unfortunately her life away from her family doesn’t last long and she is soon drawn in to the biggest caper of her life.

The book is pretty large in scale and reminds me of shows like Leverage but on an even bigger scale. The characters jet all over the world and the feel couldn’t be more removed from reality it is a wonderful escape from all things mundane.

The characters are well defined and interesting Katrina seems strong and very hostile to the idea of coming back to the family but we see some real growth and we understand at least a little of the complex history which drove her away in the first place.

Hale reminds me of leading men from old radio plays like The Shadow, he is just so charismatic when you’d think a rich seemingly aimless playboy would be a lot less likeable. The rest of the cast are just as engaging but I will let you meet the rest of them for yourself.

Overall Heist Society is an exciting first book in the series about a group of likeable globe-trotting junior thieves, now how often is a book like that likely to come around? It is definitely worth checking out.
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