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  1. What's On the Bookshelf

    Sunday, February 28, 2010

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Go here to find out more.

    Book descriptions are from Goodreads.

    Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks:

    Logan Tom is doomed to remember the past and determined to rescue the future. Far behind him lies a boyhood cut violently short by his family's slaughter, when the forces of madness and hate swept our world after decadent excesses led to civilization's downfall. Somewhere ahead of him rests the only chance to beat back the minions of evil that are systematically killing and enslaving the last remnants of humanity. Navigating the scarred and poisoned landscape that once was America and guided by a powerful talisman, Logan has sworn an oath to seek out a remarkable being born of magic, possessed of untold abilities, and destined to lead the final fight against darkness." "Across the country, Angel Perez, herself a survivor of the malevolent death-dealing forces combing the land, has also been chosen for an uncanny mission in the name of her ruined world's salvation. From the devastated streets of Los Angeles, she will journey to find a place - and a people - shrouded in mystery, celebrated in legend, and vital to the cause of humankind...even as a relentless foe follows close behind, bent on her extermination. Meanwhile, in the nearly forsaken city of Seattle, a makeshift family of refugees has carved out a tenuous existence among the street gangs, mutants, and marauders fighting to stay alive against mounting odds - and something unspeakable that has come from the shadows in search of prey." In time, all their paths will cross. Their common purpose will draw them together. Their courage and convictions will be tested and their fates will be decided, as their singular crusade begins: to take back, or lose forever, the only world they have.

    I have never read anything by Terry Brooks before so I am looking forward to finding out what his writing is like. I selected this as my first ever Terry Brooks title pretty much purely on the fact that it was the only one of his books currently available in the library that was the start of a series and not the middle or end. Hopefully, though, it will still turn out to be a good pick.

    I am afraid that it is just the one book tonight. It has been a pretty quiet week as far as getting new books go. I bought a car on Monday (extreme retail therapy) so that means that the book buying budget is tight. But, yay! Car! Now I just hope that I pass my driving test so that I can actually drive it. Eeeek!

    Terra
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  2. Checkers by John Marsden

    Saturday, February 27, 2010

    From the Back Cover:
    She has parents, a brother, friends and a dog.
    Sometimes the dog seems like the only one she can trust.
    Her life is about to fall apart.

    The dog is Checkers.
    The book is unforgettable.

    My Thoughts:
    This was probably not the best book for me to read right now, given the events of last Sunday. However, Checkers has always been my absolute favourite out of John Marsden's stand-alone novels and I felt suddenly compelled to read it again.

    We never learn the name of the female protagonist. We know that she is in a psychiatric hospital but we do not know why. Slowly her story unravels as she writes in a notebook about the other patients in the adolescent ward and reflects on the events that brought her there. She writes about the political and financial scandal surrounding her dad's corporation and what it had to do with her beloved dog, Checkers.

    In this book Marsden explores children having adult responsibilities and blame unfairly thrust upon them through the flashbacks. In the present he explores identity and mental disorders in teens, including obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, and (male) anorexia. I always find her fellow patients interesting. For some reason I have always found Esther particularly memorable, who believes that she has an animal living in her head.

    Checkers is a very brief read. My edition is only 123 pages long. Despite being so short it draws me in each and every time without fail. It is a book that I revisit frequently and I definitely recommend it as an easy introduction to the writings of the master of Australian young adult fiction, John Marsden.

    Also Check Out:
    Hamlet by John Marsden

    Challenges:
    I read this book as part of the Aussie Author Challenge.

    Terra
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  3. Humane Award

    Friday, February 26, 2010


    Thank you Velvet from vvB32 Reads for the Humane Award.

    "This award is for ten bloggers that are kindhearted individuals. They regularly take part in my blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn't for them, my site would just be an ordinary book review blog. Their blogs are also amazing and are tastefully done on a daily basis. I thank them and look forward to our growing friendship through the blog world."

    1. What Book Is That
    2. The O.W.L
    3. Demonic Attractions
    4. My World... In Pages and Words
    5. Books and Things
    6. Escape Between the Pages
    7. The Book Nerd Club
    8. We Adore A Happy Ending
    9. The Wobbly Bookstack
    10. YA Book Queen


    Terra
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  4. The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett

    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    From the Back Cover:
    Eleven-year-old Arlen lives with his parents on their small farmstead, half a day's ride away from the isolated hamlet of Tibbet's Brook.

    As dusk falls upon Arlan's world, a strange mist rises from the ground, a mist carrying nightmares to the surface. A mist that promises a violent death to any foolish enough to brave the coming darkness. For hungry corelings - demons that cannot be harmed by mortal weapons - materialize from the vapours to feed on the living. As the sun sets, people have no choice but to take shelter behind magical wards and pray that their protection holds until the creatures dissolve with the first signs of dawn.

    When Arlen's life is shattered by the demon plague, he is forced to see that it is fear, rather than the demons, which truly cripples humanity. Believing that there is more to his world than to live in constant fear, he must risk leaving the safety of his wards to discover a different path.

    In the small town of Cutter's Hollow, Leesha's perfect future is destroyed by betrayal and a simple lie. Publicly shamed, she is reduced to gathering herbs and tending an old woman more fearsome than the corelings. Yet in her disgrace, she becomes the guardian of dangerous ancient knowledge.

    Orphaned and crippled in a demon attack, young Rojer takes solace in mastering the musical arts of a Jongleur, only to learn that his unique talent gives him unexpected power over the night.
    Together, these three young people will offer humanity a last, fleeting chance of survival.

    My Thoughts:
    I loved reading The Painted Man (also published in some places as The Warded Man). Peter V. Brett has made a fantastic debut with it. It was action-packed and fast paced right from the start. Brett takes us on an exciting journey, following the early lives of our three heroes. It could be argued that the origins of each of the mean characters is a bit cliché but I felt they grew beyond any clichés to each become interesting and well characterised people. I thought that Arlen's journey, in particular, was the tale that drew me in the most.

    In some ways this first book, in what is promised to be a trilogy, is the set up for the coming books. We see how circumstances befall normal children in this world and how these events set them on a unique path. But for a book that sets things up it is riveting and presents a new world to explore that is both exciting and frightening. If this is just the start of things to come, I am so excited to see what Brett brings us next!

    Brett's world is offers a vast array of cultures with much to explore and offers much by way of discussion of the differing roles of women and men in each of them. Some people may dislike some of the female roles presented but there was never a time when I felt that it was out of context.

    I cannot wait to read the sequel, Desert Spear, when it comes out!

    Peter V Brett also has an excellent website filled with fascinating bits and pieces including art, deleted scenes, and his own blog. Definitely go take a look!
    www.petervbrett.com

    Also Check Out:
    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss


    Off Topic:
    I am experimenting with a new format today, including a recomendation of other books I think that you would like if you like the sounds of this one. Any thoughts or feelings on the new format? Should I stick to it or keep the old one?

    Terra
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  5.    
    This award was passed on to me ages ago by Melissa at Books and Things!

    BEAUTIFUL All Things Print
    INFORMATIVE Ashley's Library
    NEIGHBOURLY Mindful Musings
    GORGEOUS Tales of the Ravenous Reader
    OUTSTANDING 25 Hour Books

    Terra
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  6. Awardathon

    Wednesday, February 24, 2010

     


    Okay, I'm pulling myself out of my emotional funk brought on by the events of the past few days and getting the ball rolling again. To do so I am going to be passing on the massive backlog of blog awards that I am yet to post about. Some of these date as far back as last September! Eeeek! Sorry guys!

    Starting tomorrow there will be an award "ceremony" here everyday until each and every last award is acknowledged and passed along. Tomorrow there will also finally be a review as I know that my review of The Painted Man is now way past due. Tomorrow I will get reading again.

    Above all, I am going to make tomorrow a good day.

    Terra
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  7. On Sunday I lost one of my best friends and a much loved member of my family. Jasper lived a long life for a cavalier and would have turned thirteen in a few weeks. I feel so lucky to have had him for all of these years and I treasure every moment, every memory. He was so friendly, loving, and gentle. While his body grew older his mind remained young and right up to the end he loved chasing lizards, barking down the side of the house at birds and other passing dogs, and always wanting to make his walks last just a little bit longer even when he was completely tuckered out. I miss his cuddles, our walks together, having him curl up beside me while I read, his love and companionship.

    Thank you for everything, Jasper. Love you always.


    Terra
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  8. Teaser Tuesdays

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010


    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
    • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

    Arlen ran through the woods as fast as he could, making sharp, sudden turns, picking his direction at random. He wanted to be sure his father couldn't track him, but as Jeph's calls faded, he realised his father wasn't following at all.

    From page 74 of The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett.

    My internet has capped and as a result has been reduced to a slower-than-dial-up crawl. As a result, I probably will not get this review up until either Thursday or Friday. Blogging is not very easy when my internet access is so slow.
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  9. What's On the Bookshelf

    Monday, February 15, 2010

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Go here to find out more.

    Book descriptions are from Goodreads.

    Inferno by Dante Alighieri
    The most famous of the three canticles that comprise The Divine Comedy, Inferno describes Dante's descent in Hell midway through his life with Virgil as a guide. As he descends through nine concentric circles of increasingly agonizing torture, Dante encounters doomed souls that include the pagan Aeneas, the liar Odysseus, the suicidal Cleopatra, and his own political enemies, damned for their deceit. Led by leering demons, Dante must ultimately journey with Virgil to the deepest level of all—for it is only by encountering Satan himself, in the heart of Hell, that he can truly understand the tragedy of sin.



    Sabbath's Theatre by Philip Roth
    Sabbath's Theater is a comic creation of epic proportions, and Mickey Sabbath is its gargantuan hero. Once a scandalously inventive puppeteer, Sabbath at sixty-four is still defiantly antagonistic and exceedingly libidinous. But after the death of his long-time mistress—an erotic free spirit whose adulterous daring surpassed even his own—Sabbath embarks on a turbulent journey into his past. Bereft and grieving, besieged by the ghosts of those who loved and hated him most, he contrives a succession of farcical disasters that take him to the brink of madness and extinction.


    The Fall of Ossard by Colin Taber
    Ossard is falling... Growing up in a city of Merchant Princes, Juvela discovers she can see what others can't. The very currents of the celestial are open to her, and that includes the truths they hide: An escalating series of unsolved kidnappings have been haunting the city-state, leaving its shadows pooled deep with innocent blood. Has Juvela been cursed with Witches' Kiss - or perhaps something worse? Yet, more is to come, for not only has she witnessed an abduction, but she will have to endure a role in the victim's ritual death. For Juvela is about to become forsaken, and that's before she learns the real truth of not just the crimes plaguing Ossard's bloody streets, but the wider world: A world at war, and governed by gods whose highest pleasure is to sup on the taste of death.


    Terra
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  10. Procession of the Dead by D.B. Shan

    Saturday, February 13, 2010

    Capac Raimi arrives in the City ready to work alongside his uncle, working as a gangster. Capac plans to make it big and it is not long before he grabs the attention of The Cardinal. The Cardinal is ruling crime lord in the City. Nothing happens in the City without The Cardinal knowing and none would dare challenge him and Capac thinks that he might just have what it takes to take over for The Cardinal. But something is bothering Capac. He has no memories prior to his arrival in the City and no tracable history, only the face of a woman that haunts his thoughts. Who is she? More impotantly, who is he?

    I had no idea what to expect when I picked up Procession of the Dead by D.B. Shan. As I mentioned when I featured it for Teaser Tuesday, it was pretty different from any other book that I have read in recent times.

    It was good in it's own right but at first did not seem like the kind of book that I would be attracted to and I was pretty slow to get into it. However, there is an excellent vein of mystery that runs consistently through the book which kept me invested enough to want to see it through to the end. These mysteries were cleverly woven into the narrative and revealed at a pace that kept me invested and I honestly do not think that I could have been satisfied to set this book down without knowing all of the answers.

    I liked the lead character, Capac, and he was accompanied by some other rather interesting sorts, especially Conchita and Paucar Wami and, of course, unravelling the mystery of The Cardinal himself.

    Dark, gritty, and set in a modern gangster environment, Procession of the Dead is subtle when it comes to the fantasy and science fiction elements so an interest in gang and crime fiction along with a love for solving mysteries might help someone to get into this book better. I for one have never been much one for crime fiction but I found the mysteries in this compelling. I have not yet decided if I will read the next book in The City series, Hell's Horizon, or not. It is a maybe for after I have worked through my already large enough to-read pile.

    Terra
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  11. Daybreakers

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Surprise, surprise. I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth. I have been busy car hunting, working, and, of course, reading. However, I did manage to find some time to go to the movies and check out the latest vampire flick, Daybreakers.

    In the year 2019 the vast majority of the worlds population have become vampires. At first glance, immortality has done little to change the world. An aversion to daylight hasn't stopped people from driving their cars, going to work. There are still the rich and the homeless. But the population is nearly starving. Rations are tight and there is only enough human blood supply left to last until the end of the month.

    Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) is a vampire and a hematologist attempting to create an artificial blood supply. He hopes that his work might alleviate the suffering of the dwindling human population. But a run-in with some renegade humans presents him with a new solution that he had not considered possible - a cure for vampirism.

    For the most part, I enjoyed Daybreakers. However, whenever I started thinking about it too hard, I just couldn't help but feel that the vampires, well, weren't all that bright. For starters, the remaining humans were declared enemies of the state after refusing to assimilate and become vampires. What would the vampires have done from the get go if there were no humans at all to harvest blood from? Even with some human blood supply from the start, the shortage was an easily forseeable problem. Why was there no earlier attempts to stop it? No breeding program. No further development of cloning technology. Meanwhile, I could have sworn that that the guns fired at one point looked kind of lasery. Am I supposed to believe that they wasted time developing laser guns instead of using the money to fund the research for artificial blood? Why do they need lasers when humans are easily killed by a normal bullet and if they need to take down a vampire all it takes is a stake? One more thing: A security system that does nothing aside from alert you to the fact that your "door is ajar"? Whose bad idea was that? Also, why do vampires seemingly not feel compelled to lock their doors when there is obvious need to?

    Honestly though, when I didn't think too much then I was able to enjoy it. I liked exploring a world where vampires were the powerful majority, not a minority in hiding, and seeing how people adapt to living in a world where the sunlight sets them on fire. These days it is definitely refreshing to see vampires portrayed as having a humane side yet without the goal of making teenage girls want to take them to prom. The plot line about Bromley (Sam Neill) and his daughter was an interesting touch which I would not have minded seeing explored further, although I know others have thought that it was a pointless addition. Perhaps it just could have been implemented a bit better. I am also a big fan of movies and books where you get to watch society crack and fall apart under the pressure of an extreme situation so I loved seeing how the vampires reacted to the blood rationing out of the knowledge of what their starvation would turn them into and seeing how what is left of their "humanity" is steadily stripped away, leaving behind something savage.

    The nature of the cure is an interesting choice and, in the very least, it is original. However, the distribution of the cure creates a vicious cycle which makes the viewer question how much good it really would do to spread it. As a result of this, I was slightly disappointed with the conclusion as the protagonists plan felt like it had been set back and they were about back at step one which made certain sacrifices and scenes of gore seem like they had achieved little.

    So, not an amazing movie by all means but good enough if you want to fill some time with gore, some cheap scares, and, of course, vampires.
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  12. Teaser Tuesday

    Tuesday, February 2, 2010


    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
    • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

    'That's why you're here, Mr Raimi. That's why you're not in the warehouse, surrounded by chalk-wielding detectives. My dream and your unusual name.'

    From pages 30-31 of Procession of the Dead by D.B. Shan.

    I started reading this book without knowing anything about what it is about. I admit, I had not heard of it until I found it in the library. It is very different to anything else I have read lately and not at all what I expected, but so far different has been pretty good. I have not finished reading it yet so hopefully the good kind of different prevails.

    Terra
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