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  1. Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

    Friday, August 28, 2009

    Lately Sookie's vampire boyfriend, Bill Compton, has been acting pretty distant. He has been completely absorbed in a secret project and things are starting to get tense between the couple. Then he gives a vague explanation about some trip he needs to take and Sookie know's that he is telling her lies. It's only a matter of time before his boss, Eric, shows up on Sookie's doorstep telling her that not only has Bill betrayed her but that he is missing and has probably been kidnapped.

    Sookie heads off to Jackson, Mississipi. With the aid of a Were named Alcide Herveaux she mingles at Josephine's, or Club Dead as the non-vampire part of it's clientele call it, hoping to pick up on some clues on the whereabouts of Bill.

    In this third installment in the Southern Vampire Mysteries, Bill most certainly did not earn himself any brownie points in my book. He also spends a large part of the book absent, being kidnapped and all, but I never find myself missing his presence in. I did, however, enjoy the moments when Eric got to step up into the spotlight. Then there is Alcide. Sookie's list of admirers sure does seem to be growing. Sure, we have been told that she is attractive, but it can get annoying when nearly every male character that the female main character encounters is interested in her. I wasn't really all that irritated though because I ended up really liking Alcide and found the way that their relationship played out to be quite interesting.

    While still entertaining, the mysteries in Club Dead are not too hard to figure out. I thought this book to be more driven by the characters and their relationships, which, considering that I am quite a big fan of authors being sure to develop those, isn't at all a bad thing.

    There were also some good moments of humour. Notably, El- I mean Bubba (he doesn't like being called you-know-what). It helps that Harris isn't afraid to make fun of her own work. Consider, for example, her take on vampire politics as we get to learn a little more about the vampire political and social structure in this book. The queen of Louisiana. Sound kind of funny? Sookie thought so too even though the vampires take it dead seriously. (No pun intended.)

    Oh, and I finally managed to get my hands on the dvds of True Blood season one. I will post my thoughts and feelings on the television adaption at some stage but won't get into it in this review.

    It may be a little while before I get around to the fourth book in the series, Dead to the World, as I have a considerably large pile of books stacked on my bedside table and overflowing down to the floor to read before I go and spend any more money on getting more books.

    Terra
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  2. Next up I will be reading and reviewing:



    Club Dead
    by Charlaine Harris
    It's time for more Sookie Stackhouse! My review will be up shortly.



    Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
    I loved Poison Study and I am already truly stuck into this one.



    Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
    This is my "modern classic" pick for the Classics Challenge.
    It's about time that I get started on that...



    The Whale Warriors by Peter Heller
    Because I happen to quite like whales. ♥

    I will try to get into the swing of posting this every Friday, methinks. Just probably not usually at 12:30 in the morning...

    Terra
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  3. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    After spending almost a year in prison for the murder of the son of one of Ixia's generals, the day of Yelena's execution is finally upon her. But instead of being sent straight to the noose she is made an offer. Either she can go straight to her execution or she can delay her death by taking up the job as the Commander Ambrose's food taster. Yelena accepts the chance to extend her life, even if it means that she is awaiting death by some horrible poison instead of the noose. She begins training to identify deadly poisons under the guidance of Valek who poisons her with Butterfly Dust, ensuring that she does not attempt escape as she must report to him daily for the antidote. However, poison is not the only threat that Yelena is faced with. General Brazell still wants her dead for the murder of his son, a powerful magician from Sitia is after her, and she and Valek are sure that there is a conspiracy brewing within Ixia's government.

    From very early into the book I could tell that I was going to like Poison Study. For Snyder's first publication, she has carefully crafted a world and it's political climate for me to imagine without making it over complicated. I found the novel to be very well paced overall, from the spacing of events, the release of information, to the development of characters relationships. I don't really like it when an author does an "information dump". I remember when I was kid and reading books such as, say, The Baby Sitters Club novels, I would always skip the chapter in every book where we were told that "this is this character and that is that character and we are all here because..." Boring. I much prefer exploring a world alongside the characters and learning about these characters as we go and I thought that Snyder did this well.

    Poison Study hosts a diverse range of characters. Yelena, haunted by Reyad's ghost yet determined to survive, often irritating Margg, Rand prone to mood swings but sweet regardless, and of course Ari and Janco - "the power team". I found myself becoming particularly fond of Valek, subtle but powerful, and it was easy to find myself rooting for a romantic relationship between him and Yelena but with Snyder still able to keep me guessing where their relationship would develop.

    If I were to nitpick at anything, there were a few instances where I felt that some of her words of choice were a bit too modern day for her setting and seemed out of place. The other thing is that I would have liked a clearer description of the factory. Snyder's world doesn't seem very high tech but the word factory, in my mind at least, again conjures an image of something more modern which is only enhanced by the description of items being "conveyored" over to their next destination in the factory and there are "steel rollers crushing" things. "Conveyored" of course makes me think of conveyor belts although I know it doesn't have to mean that and I suppose that the rollers could be man operated but I would have liked some better word choice for clarity here.

    Overall I thouroughly enjoyed Poison Study and have already picked up the sequels, Magic Study and Fire Study, from the library to get stuck into. Go to Snyder's website to check out some of her short stories as well. The short story Powder Study, about Ari and Janco, is already available and Assassin Study, about Valek, is listed as coming soon. You can also sign up for Snyder's free e-mail newsletter for news and updates, deleted scenes, short stories, story previews, author interviews and more.

    Terra
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  4. When seventeen-year-old Beatrice "Bea" Whaley begins to have highly realistic dreams set in the Revolutionary War she is at first smitten with the idea of adventure, beautiful dresses, and romance with one rather attractive man in uniform, Alan Warren.

    In her waking hours Bea acts with drama club, hangs out with her friends, and daydreams. Not to mention that things are finally starting to look up with her long time crush, Benjamin Cato. Curious about her sleeping visions, Bea decides to do a bit of research only to realise that her dreams are historically accurate despite knowing nothing about the events in which they take place!

    Now into volume eight, I've been following the webcomic (or rather, graphic web novel), The Dreamer, since it was in it's second volume, always eagerly awaiting the next update. I knew that Innes had me completely hooked when I had my first dream about the American Revolution, despite the fact that, as an Aussie, I've never learned much about the subject. I think that my own dream was somewhat of a mish-mash of what I've picked up from The Dreamer and what I learned about the American Civil War in my senior Modern History class. Oh dear. Sadly, my dream was also not nearly as exciting as any of Bea's.

    You don't need to be a history buff to enjoy The Dreamer, but most certainly lovers of American history will adore this. One of the great things that drives The Dreamer is that Innes is genuinely passionate about the subject and has done her research well. The site blog is scattered with entries about her trips to sites of historical significance. But don't go thinking that this graphic novel is war and seriousness, oh no. Innes has struck a good balance and there are some great moments of humour in both time periods.

    The comic is complete with a well-rounded cast of characters in both 1776 and modern day America. I love them all, really, and think that Bea is a great protagonist with whom I, personally, find very easy to relate to, quite possibly because I am prone to day dreaming the days away myself.

    Click the banner below to go to The Dreamer website where you can read the graphic novel. Be sure to subscribe to the site's rss feed for more Dreamer updates! You can check out some of the fan art and videos made by the dedicated community of readers while waiting for more. Or perhaps even consider buying some of the published volumes in hard-copy.

    Terra


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  5. The Perfect Edition?

    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    I don't know about everyone else, but at times I can be very picky about what edition of a book I will choose to purchase, especially when it comes down to something that I love and want to be a long lasting edition to my collection. As a fan of fantasy, it would not be too far out there to describe Lord of the Rings as my bible. I recently decided that I would like to get a new set of the books. Picking the perfect edition, however, is proving to be quite a challenge.

    Should I get a box set with it as three separate volumes? Would all three volumes in one be better? After all, wasn't Tolkien's original vision of Lord of the Rings for it to be as one book? What are the measurements? It has to be a comfortable size for me to curl up with on the couch or in bed. Which cover is nicest? Maps would be a nice addition. I am a sucker for the illustrated editions. Hardcover would probably be preferable. Oh, and it would be nice if it didn't break the budget too...

    Decisions, decisions, decisions!

    While this set looks beautiful, but it seems more like a good display set as opposed to something that would be comfortable to sit with being 10.3 inches in height. This boxset has a sleek and clean appearance, but it's only the basics and not to mention that it is paperback. I am seriously considering this one. I do wonder if maybe it will be a little bulky though. Then there is the leather bound version complete with gold edged pages and a red ribbon place holder. Not to mention that all the different editions come with their different price tags.

    I think that I need to sleep some more on this one.

    Terra
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  6. Subscribe via email!

    Sunday, August 23, 2009

    See that text box over on the right? It wants your email address in it! Many thanks to HODGEPODGESPV for suggesting that I include an email subscription service.

    If anyone else has any ideas or tips, I more than welcome your suggestions. You can leave a response to one of my posts, or there is a comment box down on the right, or feel free to email me at terraontheshelf@gmail.com. (Please note that, unlike my blog title, the word "book" is not in the email address.)

    Subscribe! You know you want to. ;-)

    Terra
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  7. Aislinn has been raised to live by a set of very important rules:
    Rule number 3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.
    Rule number 2: Don't answer invisible faeries.
    Rule number 1: Don't ever attract faeries' attention.
    If the faeries knew of her Sight they would certainly blind her.

    However, faeries have started stalking her, but it's not because she can see them. Keenan, the Summer King, has been seeking his Queen for centuries and he believes that he has finally found her in Aislinn.

    To be perfectly honest, I had difficulty getting into this book. I didn't particularly dislike it, but I did did not really like it either.

    I didn't really feel like I got to know Aislinn enough as a person separate from these events. I found her relationship with Seth to be a necessary grounding quality though, something away from faeries, even though Seth, too, was being drawn into the situation. I also found it odd that we didn't see more of her noticing herself changing. Seeing as her Grams is also Sighted, I thought she might have cottoned on to what was happening sooner, might have noticed the changes in Aislinn, especially given what happened to Moira. Keenan, at least, seems like he has a lot of potential to be developed into a more complex character, needing to balance his own wants and desires with what he needs for the Summer Court. Beira, the Winter Queen, on the other hand, came across as a rather cliché villian, in my opinion.

    I liked Donia a lot more than Aislinn and thought a story about Donia would have been more interesting and entertaining. Or perhaps even that of Moira, Aislinn's mother. The plot was still original to me, but I still felt like I could see exactly where the story was headed from the get go. I guess my problem with this story is that everything was all too inevitable, obvious.

    This was pretty much my first foray into fairy/faerie fiction and I am not going to write faeries off just yet. I am also not going to say that I do not recommend Wicked Lovely as I do think that it does hold appeal and definitely has an audience out there. I think this may be a case of "to each his own".

    Wicked Lovely is expected to be a five part series. Ink Exchange and Fragile Eternity are already available. The fourth book, Radiant Shadows, is expected to be released in April 2010. There is also a manga available, Wicked Lovely: Desert Tales.

    Terra
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  8. Internet Problems

    Thursday, August 6, 2009

    No, I am not abandoning this blog so soon. I am merely experiencing some very annoying internet problems at the moment. Normal blogging will resume as soon as things are fixed which will hopefully be very soon. Expect my review of Wicked Lovely when I return!

    Terra
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  9. Life sure has gotten interesting for Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse ever since she started dating Bill Compton, a vampire. Most recently one of her co-workers is murdered and the body dumped in the car of local cop, Andy Bellefleur. As if that isn't enough, Sookie gets a nasty dose of poison from a Maenad. Lucky for her the Area 5 vampires are able to suck the poisoned blood from her veins. Considering that they saved her life and she had made a deal with Eric, Sookie is no one to say no when they want to loan her and her telepathic abilities to the vampires over in Area 6. Soon enough Sookie is in Dallas helping to find a missing vampire which is easier said than done when it looks like an anti-vampire group are involved and with the aid of another vampire at that.

    Compared to the previous book in the series, the second instalment to the Southern Vampire Mysteries is packed with action. Not that Dead Until Dark was at all dull, but now that the groundwork has been set, things certainly took a step up in Living Dead in Dallas.

    While I still enjoyed this book as much, if not more, than the first, there is one little thing that I would like to nitpick at. Now, I do not read these books for the romance but all the same I really do feel that the relationship between Bill and Sookie needs some better developing. It seemed like Bill only really managed to be around for the arguments and the sex. In scenes with a larger cast he has a tendency to often make like wall paper. Also, wanting sex when Sookie was injured far from endeared him to me and I would much rather that Harris had used that together time for something more substantial to help flesh out their relationship. At least we are not being asked to pretend that this is twu wuv and Sookie at least considers that while she loves Bill, she doesn't know if she is in love love with him. I did like their final scene together very much though, seeing as Bill did open up there and we did get to learn a little more about him.

    Eric, however, is definitely growing on me. Should Sookie ditch Bill for Eric though? I don't know if Eric would make a better boyfriend at all but at least he is a more interesting character at the moment.

    Another relationship that kind of bugged me, just a little, was that between Sookie and Arlene. I kind of expected some sort of tension there or at least some mention of what had happened in Dead Until Dark. Some sort of aftermath.

    What I did like was meeting the shapeshifters and it was particularly interesting to learn that not all Supes (Supernaturals) want to be made public like the vampires. The Fellowship of the Sun, a religiously orientated anti-Vampire group, was a pretty exciting addition too. Sookie is also growing more comfortable with her telepathic abilities, referring to them less as her "disability" and being more open with using them to achieve her goals. I would like to see if Barry pops again in the future as well and I thought that the Meanad was pretty original too. How many of those do you see popping up in fiction at the moment? Not many.

    The pacing of the story was also pretty good, so I did not mind so much that the Bon Temps murder story line was left behind for a good while so that Sookie could go off to Dallas. Aside from my nitpicking at the need for some more relationship development, Living Dead in Dallas is still just as fun as the first book and I will be picking up the next book in the series.

    Terra
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  10. Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody

    Sunday, August 2, 2009

    After the Great White, the nuclear holocaust from which only a few remote farming communities escaped the aftermath, there began occurrences of people being born with mutations. All mutants and any who opposed the Council were burned at the stake. However, it was discovered that some mutations were of the mind. These people were labelled Misfits and were to be sent to work on Councilfarms.

    Elspeth Gordie and her brother Jes were left orphans after their parents were burnt for Sedition. Living in one of the many council orphan homes, Elspeth attempts to keep her mental abilities secret when Madam Vega comes from Obernewtyn to seek out Misfits among the orphans. Elspeth is discovered as a Misfit, however she manages to conceal the extent of her abilities. She is sent to Obernewtyn where she works in the kitchen and on the farm and hesitantly begins to form new friendships. However something isn't right at Obernewtyn. Who is the Master of Obernewtyn? Why does Ariel hold such as high status? What are the treatments being administered by the Doctor and what have they done to Selmar?

    Isobelle Carmody is a prominent Australian Young Adult author and I really do have no idea why I never picked up any of her books sooner. I won't deny that the new book covers caught my eye and I bought the first book in the Obernewtyn Chronicles on an impulse. This first book in the series has not made me regret that impulse purchase.

    Carmody began to work on Obernewtyn when she was only fourteen and it was first published in 1987. It is not exactly long or heavy reading at 245 pages but the following books appear to get progressively longer. The book begins with a brief history of how things came to be, telling us that there was the Great White followed by the formation of the Council and their joining forces with the religious Herder Faction. While I thought that was better than having Elspeth gives us all a big history lesson, I felt that it was in little ways such as the hinted upcoming Changing and the speech given by the Councilman that Carmody gave us the best picture of the attitude Misfits and how it impacts on Elspeth and those like her. I quite liked Elspeth as a narrator. Carmody has created an interesting world without making it unnecessarily complicated and I enjoyed exploring it with Elspeth and look forward to learning more about it in the following books. In terms of her forming relationships with other characters, I thought that she was appropriately withheld seeing as in the orphan homes creating bonds could cause unwanted attention and was discouraged by the system of Changing, moving orphans around from one home to another. That said, overall I found the "good guys" to be very likeable and the "bad guys" appropriately dislikeable.

    There are other things that I would comment on such as certain moments and certain characters that I really liked but I would hate to spoil anything in this book for anyone. I'll definitely be getting stuck into the sequels sometime soon.

    Oh, and on a completely random note, spell check corrections suggested for the word 'Obernewtyn':
    • Cybernetic
    • Cabernet
    • Oberlin
    • Rubberneck
    Rubberneck? Well, I was amused... >_>

    Terra
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  11. Harry Potter Reading Challenge

    Saturday, August 1, 2009


    As if I actually need an excuse to read J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series again but Michelle's Harry Potter Reading Challenge seems like a pretty good one. The challenge runs from August 1st 2009 to July 31st 2010 with the goal to read the complete Harry Potter series:
    1. Philosopher's Stone
    2. Chamber of Secrets
    3. Prisoner of Azkaban
    4. Goblet of Fire
    5. Order of the Phoenix
    6. Half-Blood Prince
    7. Deathly Hallows
    One year seems like plenty of time to get through all seven books, especially considering that when each book first came out I would devour each within a day or two.

    Definitely looking forward to doing this one.

    Terra
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  12. I may be a little late jumping on the bandwagon for this challenge (it has been running since April and finishes at the end of October,) but I just cannot say no to reading some good ol' classics. Regardless, I have decided to dive into the Classics Challenge opting for the Classics Feast. I am even inclined to try and squeeze in one of the bonus books. So here are my choices for the challenge:
    1. Dracula by Bram Stoker
    2. The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker
    3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
    4. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
    5. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
    6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
    7. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
    Dracula is a long time favourite of mine and yet it has been far too long since I last picked it up so I look forward to revisiting it. I selected Memoirs of a Geisha over other books that I would usually pick up first because it will be something out of the norm for me.

    In case anyone is wondering, my suggestions for someone starting out with classics would be either Bram Stoker's Dracula or To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. As for a future classic, I know that it has already been said, but I really do think J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.

    Terra
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  13. Here's the latest additions to my bookshelf. Expect reviews soon!



    Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody
    I cannot believe I waited so long to read this series! Have definitely been enjoying Obernewtyn so far.




    Living Dead in Dallas
    by Charlaine Harris
    Having really enjoyed Dead Until Dark I am more than happy to start cracking open the spine of this next book in the series.



    Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
    I haven't started on this one yet, but the premise has me interested. Here's hoping that it lives up to expectations.



    Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
    I have heard positive things about Wicked Lovely. I'm not convinced yet if it will be my "kind of thing" or not but I am still more than willing to give it a try.


    Until next time,
    Terra
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