Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, #2) by C.S. Lewis

Title: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, #2)
Author: C.S. Lewis
Publisher: HarperTrophy
Paperback, 206 pages
Date Published: July 8, 2002 (Originally 1955)

Description (Taken from Goodreads)
"They say Aslan is on the move. Perhaps he has already landed," whispered the Beaver. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delightful strain of music had just floated by. And Lucy got that feeling when you realize it's the beginning of summer. So, deep in the bewitched land of Narnia, the adventure begins."

They opened a door and entered a world Narnia the land beyond the wardrobe, the secret country known only to Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. Lucy is the first to stumble through the back of the enormous wardrobe in the professor's mysterious old country house, discovering the magic world beyond. At first, no one believes her. But soon Edmund, Peter and Susan, too, discover the magic and meet Asland, the Great Lion, for themselves. And in the blink of an eye, they are changed forever.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe begins much later in time than the first story in the series. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie are the ones to journey into Narnia this time and their adventure is very different from Digory’s and Polly’s. What surprised me most about this book was how closely the movie stayed to it. I very often get angry with movies for straying from the book, but the movie was nearly all the same.

The characters come off the page, especially Lucy and Edmund. I felt like Susan was left out a bit though. Lucy and Edmund seemed to have more emotional scenes, so I was easily attached to them. The arc for Edmund was wonderful. He’s my favorite character in the movies, so I’m happy I enjoyed him just as much in the book. The magic and the mythology are rife in this installment. The religious tones are very clear, but do not overpower the story with the children at all. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Happy Eclipse Release Day!!

Happy Eclipse Day :D
 I love me some Riley

I think I'll write up a mini-review after I see the movie. (4:55 show tonight-I didn't feel like braving the midnight crowds)


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Trailer :D

In case you missed it, the new trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows premiered last night. Apparently it will be showing in front of Eclipse, so I can't wait to see it on the big screen. Enjoy!

Contests End Tonight

Today is the last day to enter both the contest for some swag, as well as the New Moon Prize Pack contest.

If you haven't entered, click the above links and make sure you do. Both end at midnight EST.

Teaser Tuesday - The Help (6/29/10)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

The Rules:
•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) or so “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

This week's teaser comes from The Help by Kathryn Stockett: 
No. I couldn't. That would be...crossing the line. But the idea won't go away.

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step. Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger.

Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women — mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends — view one another.

A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t. 

*Description taken from Goodreads 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

In the Manor of the Ghost and a Chance to Win A Kindle

Tina Pinson, author of In the Manor of the Ghost, is celebrating the release of the aforementioned e-book with quite the giveaway. She's holding a contest on her blog, where two lucky readers will win a Kindle and ten others will win her ebook.

For your chance to win, visit Tina's blog, Write Where I Want to Be. The contest ends June 30th, so head over there soon.

*Here's the publisher's synopsis of In the Manor of the Ghost:
It's the 1870's. The Civil War has long since been fought and laid to rest, settlers are still joining the wagon trains and heading west to the New Eden. The land is changing. But those who dwell in Clayborne Manor seem trapped in time.

Trapped amid the whispers of failure and sorrow, whispers of longing and defeat. Kaitlin hears them clearly at night. But who haunts Clayborne Manor? The ghost that restlessly walks the halls in the night? Or the ones that plague the minds and spirits of those residing there? Though not inclined to believe the dead can walk the night laden corridors, Kaitlin can see them clearly in the eyes of her husband Devlin, and hear them in the deafening silence of her son, Derrick.

Does she have the courage to search the past and face the ghosts? Does she have the faith to stay and direct all those who dwell In the Manor of the Ghost to the one who sets the captive free?

Book trailer:

Arson by Estevan Vega

Title: Arson
Author: Estevan Vega
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Paperback, 318 pages
Date Published: May 4, 2010

Description (Taken from Goodreads)

Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl-who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin-moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he's never had: purpose. Using what he fears the most about himself, Arson must face his consuming past and confront the nightmare that is present as he walks the fine line between
boy and monster. Dark, moody, and breathtakingly relevant, Arson, the chilling chronicle of an isolated boy with unimaginable ability, is sure to ignite the hearts and minds of a new generation. 
Arson Gable can start fires with his mind. He holds this unique power? Curse? He’s not really sure what it is. He knows it sets him apart from all the other people in his small town. Arson is alone. He lives with his grandmother whom he loves, but who doesn’t seem to love him too much. He works a terrible job with terrible people, but things start to change when a strange girl with a creepy mask moves next door. Emery opens Arson’s eyes to a world that may not be all that bad, as long as she is in it.

Arson is so completely different from anything I’ve ever read. The story is unique and interesting, but it was really the writing that held my attention the entire time. Estevan Vega has such a way with words. Whole passages blew me away and the dialogue was perfect.
He swallowed hard, succumbing to the fevers of a lonely heart, unquenchable and always longing. All Arson knew, all that seemed to matter this very moment, was that he was finally getting what he thought he’d always wanted. ~ pg. 150
The way he writes Arson, the reader cannot help but care for him. I felt an instant connection with Arson and that connection was never severed.

Everything about Arson’s life is difficult and that could easily get old in a story, but it doesn’t here. Arson’s relationship with his grandmother really stood out to me because it is so violent and so hateful, yet Arson cannot do anything but love her. She can switch from a sweet, loving old woman, to a terrifying wretch in an instant.
Her gaze was inescapable, and her mouth stuttered but didn’t speak. Each wrinkle in her face had an opportunity to manipulate and condemn. ~ pg. 96
Vega has the ability to make the characters (good and bad) jump off the page at you and you will feel like you know them on a personal level.

Emery, Arson’s new neighbor, is a spitfire. Her dialogue will have you laughing one minute, then scratching your head the next. It does the same thing to Arson. There’s something about her that made me feel lighter though; like she would light up a room with her personality. The mask that she wears adorns the cover of the book. Is it creepy? Definitely. But the mask is not who Emery is and she certainly proves that point. Arson and Emery are these two outcasts, freaks, but they band together to make something special. This is not a sweet story filled with rainbows and unicorns. I’ve seen another reviewer describe it as heartbreaking and I couldn’t agree more. Arson and Emery’s relationship blossoms throughout the story, but possible love doesn’t solve all their problems and they’re still somewhat broken inside.

I didn’t quite know what to expect when I began Arson. What I found was an incredibly well-written, devastatingly heartbreaking, yet somewhat hopeful story of a boy who can spark fires and a girl who hides behind a mask. This isn’t a supernatural thriller or even an overly creepy story. It’s set against the idea of a boy who can create fire with his mind, but the backbone of the story is the emotional pull that each character creates. You will care for both Arson and Emery. Vega has a talent for creating characters that will say so little, yet convey so much and through it all, you won’t be able to tear your eyes away from the pages.

Opening line: The lake was quiet. ~ pg. 12

Favorite line: In their world, he wasn’t alone. In their world, a freak like them–like him–could become a hero. ~ pg. 42
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Think About It Thursday (7): Comments

Image used under Creative Commons - Original belongs to Salady
Let's talk comments...

As far as book blogs go, I follow many. I read so many posts on so many different blogs in a day, but I'm a total lurker. Sometimes I read a post and there are things I plan on saying about it, but I never leave those comments.

I'm sure there are plenty of other bloggers who do the exact same thing. What I've come to realize is that the quantity of comments is not really what matters. The majority of book bloggers do not create their blog and write their reviews for others. It's nice when someone comments or gives some more insight, but it's not expected. I love getting comments and I try to respond to them. Obviously, I have a  lot of lurkers because my amount of followers keeps growing, (WOAH, when did I get 277?!!) but the number of comments isn't really increasing.

As a fellow book blogger, I am going to try to contribute more and comment more on other blogs because I know how much I enjoy reading the comments I get, as long as it's not the stupid spam comments that I need to delete four months later. I want to lurk no more!

There was never a specific reason why I chose not to comment on certain posts after reading them. Maybe I didn't feel like I could really add to the conversation or say any interesting. Still, I want to comment, interesting comment or not.

Are there any lurkers out there right now? If so, feel free to come out of hiding. We book bloggers don't bite :D

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Calling All Twilight Fans!! I Need Your Help!

Has anyone out there ever attended a Twi Tour Convention??
My birthday just passed and my mom (she's a Twilight fan, but not a 'twi-mom') and I were thinking about attending the twi-tour stop in Boston in July. I've never been to any sort of fan convention like this before and while it sounds fun, it is quite pricey. The tickets we were planning on getting cover the entire weekend and include an autograph from 7 of the Twilight stars. Photo ops and the night-time entertainment cost extra money. The tickets are $169 each and then we'd be stuck paying for the hotel as well.

I'm definitely a Twilight fan and I've gone to the Hot Topic mall tours the last two years. While I find those fun and everything, I kind of feel like a convention is for more die-hard fans. I wouldn't join in on the costume contests or any of the extras; just the signings and panel discussions with the cast.

The Twilight attendees include: Kellan Lutz (who I've met twice already)aka Emmett, Alex Meraz aka Paul , Chaske Spencer aka Sam, Bronson Pelletier aka Jared, Kiowa Gordon aka Embry, Julia Jones aka Leah, BooBoo Stewart aka Seth, Charlie Bewley aka Demetri, and Daniel Cudmore aka Felix.

So, for those who have gone in the past (and those who haven't), do you think it's worth it? Is it for more die-hard, crazy-obsessed fans or will I fit right in?

I'm not sure if I even want to go because of the price, but if others say it's worth it, I just might. If I don't go, I was thinking about getting an ereader, but I'm not really sure if I want that either.

I'm so indecisive. Help! Please

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Magician's Nephew (The Chronicles of Narnia, #1) by C.S. Lewis

Title: The Magician's Nephew (The Chronicles of Narnia, #1)
Author: C.S. Lewis
Publisher: HarperTrophy
Paperback, 221 pages
Date Published: July 8, 2002 (Originally 1955)

Description (Taken from Goodreads)
The Adventure Begins. Narnia... where Talking Beasts walk... where a Witch waits... where a new world is about to be born. On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them. But then the lion Aslan's song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia. And in Narnia, all things are possible....  
The Magician’s Nephew creates the building blocks to the entire Chronicles of Narnia series. The beginning of the magic, of this incredibly beautiful world filled with mythical creatures and heroic journeys, starts right here. The characters we know from the films aren’t in this first one, but I loved both Polly and Digory, the two children who first venture into Narnia. The story is so unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The writing style is different as well. The narrator is telling the story and even throws in little random things about how people would look and act back in that time.

The story itself is magical and, at times, breathtaking. The White Witch is a beast of a woman (as she should be), but Digory and Polly counter her very well. The creation of Narnia had to be the most astonishing thing about the story. It isn’t this complex creation, but the way it is written makes it absolutely captivating and enthralling. It is easy to see how this series has become one of the most beloved stories of all time.
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

In My Mailbox - (6/22/10)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is a list of any of the books you may have received in the past week from bookstores, libraries, authors/publishers, trades, etc.

I've been meaning to post this, but never got around to it. Not too much in the past few weeks:
The Daykeeper's Grimoire (Prophecy of Days, #1) [Signed] and a signed bookmark from Christy Raedeke through the High School Flashback Tour

For Review (already reviewed them):
Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan Richard Shickman
Zan-Gah: The Beautiful Country by Allan Richard Shickman

Seeing as how I already have a copy of The Daykeeper's Grimoire, I'm holding onto this signed copy and giving away my brand new, unread copy in the future. Keep a lookout for that contest.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Zan-Gah: The Beautiful Country by Allan Richard Shickman

Title: Zan-Gah: The Beautiful Country
Author: Allan Richard Shickman
Publisher: Earthshaker Books
Paperback, 151 pages
Date Published: September 26, 2009

Description (Taken from Goodreads)
The prehistoric saga continues in Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country, the sequel to the award winning Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure. In this story, Zan s troubled twin brother, Dael, having suffered greatly during his earlier captivity, receives a ruinous new shock when his wife suddenly dies. Disturbed and traumatized, all of his manic energies explode into acts of hostility and bloodshed. His obsession is the destruction of the wasp men, his first captors, who dwell in the Beautiful Country. When he, Zan-Gah, and a band of adventurers trek to their bountiful home, they find that all of the wasp people have died in war or of disease. The Beautiful Country is empty for the taking, and Zan s people, the Ba-Coro, decide to migrate and resettle there. But the Noi, Dael s cruelest enemies and former tormentors, make the same migration from their desert home, and the possibility develops of contention and war over this rich and lovely new land. 
Zan-Gah is no longer the fearful boy who slew a lion. He is now a man, with a wife, the respect of his tribe, and a very troubled brother. After rescuing his twin brother Dael from the clutches of a rival tribe, Zan must cope and try to quell the anger and hate that now burns in Dael’s heart. The twins are no longer the best of friends that they once were and Dael often lashes out and keeps his tribe at a distance. After a move to the Beautiful Country (the same land that the twins barely escaped years ago), Dael’s demons begin to take over and Zan-Gah’s brother will never be the same.

Much like its predecessor, Zan-Gah: The Beautiful Country explores the hostile world where war is second nature and suffering comes often. Dael continues to deteriorate and Shickman does an exceptional job delving into the young man’s psyche and displaying his most disturbing and painful thoughts. Dael has changed quite a bit from the first time we met him, as has Zan. But it is Dael who engages the audience and will force the reader to pay attention to him. Shickman is perfectly clear in describing Dael as a dangerous and rash person, but he is also clear in declaring the allure that Dael holds:
Yet there was something terribly attractive about Dael’s animal aggressiveness. ~ pg. 69
Zan remains the voice of reason and a character that is both easily to relate to and difficult to not care for. His calm, quiet, introverted personality explodes off the page in a way that is uncommon for such a docile character. Zan is able to command attention with his intelligence and his prestige, where Dael does the same through very different means. The minor characters that we were introduced to in the previous novel continue to make appearances in this story. Shickman’s prose cannot be rivaled here and I feel lucky to have read such a beautifully woven tale. He is able to take the barest of lines, and layer it with such complexity and emotion. Chul, the often-dubbed ‘stupid’ member of the tribe, has the wisdom of a thousand men. Rydl, Zan’s young friend and former wasp tribe member, is often laughed at for his oddities and incorrect speech, but his intelligence rivals that of all the members of his tribe. Shickman brings these outsider characters to life and gives them a place in the world, and that place holds a certain authority.

Fraught with tension and a looming darkness, Zan-Gah: The Beautiful Country delivers another spectacular chapter in Zan-Gah’s moving story. The battle cries that were introduced in the previous novel can once again be heard, but some drama, a good deal of love, family, and hope also take a much larger role in this follow up. Shickman once again brings a remarkably simple, yet passionate tale, set in a primitive land, to a startlingly vivid reality.

Opening line: When Lissa-Na died, Dael wept real tears. ~pg. 1

Favorite line: Dael was like a force of nature now – a wild storm, a raging river, or a trapped animal that gnaws off its own leg. He was too dangerous to befriend, and too unyielding to advise or guide. ~ pg. 70
*While this book was provided to me by Earthshaker Books, this review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - The Returners (6/15/10)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

The Rules:
•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) or so “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

This week's teaser comes from The Returners by Gemma Malley:
It is days later. I can smell it. Death. Burning flesh. It fills my nose, fills my chest, I am choking, spluttering, it is consuming me. I am screaming, screaming, screaming...

London teenager Will Hodge is miserable. His mother is dead, his father’s political leanings have grown radical, and his friends barely talk to him. To top it off, he’s having nightmares about things like concentration camps. Then Will notices he's being followed by a group of people who claim to know him from another time in history. It turns out they are Returners, reincarnated people who carry with them the memory of atrocities they have witnessed in the past. Will realizes that he, too, is a Returner. But something about his memories is different, and with dawning horror, Will suspects that he wasn’t just a witness to the events, he was instrumental in making them happen. Set in the near future, with the world on the verge of a new wave of ethnic cleansing, Will must choose to confront the cruelty he's known in his past lives, or be doomed to repeat it . . . again. 

*Description taken from Goodreads

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Title: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Publisher: Little, Brown
Hardcover, 178 pages
Date Published: June 5, 2010

Description (Taken from Goodreads)
Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by this riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the newborn vampire world she inhabits. In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.
Bree Tanner’s life was too short. At a mere 15 years of age, she died. Died and came back as a vampire. It’s too bad that her vampiric life didn’t last too long either. Her life may have been short, but so much happened to and around her during that time. As the sand in her hourglass drains, Bree comes closer and closer to the city of Forks and the characters we have all grown to love. The conclusion is one we all know, but there’s a lot more to the story than what meets the eye.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is an exciting installment in The Twilight Saga. It’s not necessarily all that exciting story-wise, but for those of us who adore the series, anything is something. Eclipse offers the briefest of glimpses at Bree, so I wasn’t positive I would even remotely enjoy this. I’m happy I did. Bree is a newborn, and as such, we get some insight into how newborn vampires act and feel. We never really had this much insight, so I was captivated with it. I’m not going to give any real spoilers away (even though this takes place during a time we have already read about, there is a lot of new stuff coming in), so I’m leaving a bunch of things out of the review.

Bree’s story is a heartbreakingly realistic (if vampires were real) look into the life of troubled teen. Her story could easily be likened to that of a teen joining a gang. A lot of similar turmoil arises. Still, there is quite a bit of humor and I really enjoyed that. Bree is easy to like and her young age made me hope for the best for her, while already knowing the outcome. Diego, another one of Riley’s newborn charges, quickly befriends Bree and their relationship blossoms. I adored Diego. His relationship with Bree is sweet, cute, adorable, and any other synonymous adjective. He also has some of the best lines in the story. Bree begins the story as quite the loner, but somehow, in 178 pages, she winds up on the front lines of battle that she really doesn’t understand. Make sure you pick this one up to find out just who Bree is and how she came to be sitting on the ground, thirsting for Bella’s blood.

It’s been so long since I’ve read anything by Stephenie Meyer and I hadn’t realized just how much I missed the Twilight world. Even without the characters we’ve all grown attached to, this novella fills a void that I hadn’t even realized was there to begin with. This just proves how vast and expansive the world of Twilight could really be. Now I just hope that Meyer finishes Midnight Sun and gives us some more stories in the Twilight universe.

Opening line: The newspaper headline glared at me from a little metal vending machine: SEATTLE UNDER SIEGE–DEATH TOLL RISES AGAIN. ~ pg. 1

Favorite line: “Super-secret ninja club sounds way cooler than the whole BFF thing.” ~ pg. 51

*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Contest to win some SWAG

As part of my birthday month, here's another contest:

One winner will receive the swag pictured above. Some bookmarks are signed.
Contest is open internationally and you DO NOT need to be a follower to enter.

Contest ends June 30, 2010.

*Contest Ended* Winners will be posted soon

Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan Richard Shickman

Title: Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure
Author: Allan Richard Shickman
Publisher: Earthshaker Books
Paperback, 148 pages
Date Published: July 15, 2007

Description (Taken from Goodreads)
The hero, Zan-Gah seeks his lost twin in a savage prehistoric world, encountering suffering, captivity, conflict, love, and triumph. In three years, Zan-Gah passes from an uncertain boyhood to a tried and proven manhood and a position of leadership among his people. Themes: survival, cultures, gender roles, psychological trauma, nature's wonders and terrors.
Zan is on the hunt for a lion. The animal attacked and killed a young girl and his clan, along with rival clans, drop their qualms with one another to dispose of the beast. When Zan single-handedly slays the animal, he is honored and revered. In his heart though, he is alone. Zan’s twin brother, Dael, disappeared a year ago and after Zan’s triumph over the lion, he sets off to triumph over the unknown land and bring his brother home. The only problem is that Zan meets many enemies and obstacles along the way. Can he find Dael and bring him home? More importantly, will Dael even want to come home?

Allan Richard Shickman has done something entirely unique in the YA community with Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure. The story takes place during a time that is impossible to fully imagine, but Shickman brings it to life with such vivid takes this unknown landscape and this unknown world and brings it to life. It is truly a one of a kind book. Shickman’s writing brings about a thrilling, at times fearful tension that builds and builds.
And their voices, combining with the percussion of their rude instruments, wrought a pitch of noise so fearful that it reached into Zan’s very entrails and bewitched the hairs on his head. ~ pg. 12
The primitive nature of Zan’s people is beyond interesting and makes for an fast-paced and exciting novel.

Zan’s story is not only entertaining, but it is absorbing. Zan’s journey to rescue is brother is based around his devotion and love to Dael. The emotion behind Zan’s entire journey never wavers and it will resonate with each and every reader. Shickman’s writing provokes such a beautiful and sometimes barren image that you will feel like you are there with Zan each step of the way.

This is story that readers both young and old will enjoy. There’s plenty of action and adventure to keep you on the edge of your seat, but the emotion in the story is also evident throughout. By the novels end, you will love Zan-Gah, you will respect him, and you will long to join him on other adventures.

Opening line: From a long distance a traveler, or some wild thing, might see within the deep and absolute blackness of night an intense orange light which looked from afar like a glowing coal. ~ pg. 3

Favorite line: It was plain to see that the landscape of Dael’s soul was charred; the wind had blown a fire through and everything living had been burnt to blackness. ~ pg. 109
*While this book was provided to me by Earthshaker book, this review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - Zan-Gah (6/8/10)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

The Rules:
•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) or so “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

This week's teaser comes from Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan Richard Shickman:
Heat-tortured, aching, and thirstier than he ever had been in his life, only one thing kept him going - the vision of the lake as he had seen t from the high rock, gleaming silver on the farthest horizon. Zan thought o f its wetness all day and dreamed of it whenever he slept, waking with his head throbbing and his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. Only the lake, only the lake could save him! ~ pg. 92

The hero, Zan-Gah seeks his lost twin in a savage prehistoric world, encountering suffering, captivity, conflict, love, and triumph. In three years, Zan-Gah passes from an uncertain boyhood to a tried and proven manhood and a position of leadership among his people. Themes: survival, cultures, gender roles, psychological trauma, nature's wonders and terrors.

*Description taken from Goodreads 

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Glass (Mortal Instruments, #3)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: McElderry Books
Hardcover, 541 pages
Date Published: March 24, 2009

Description (Taken from Goodreads) 
To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters -- never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadow-hunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadow-hunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her new found powers to help save the Glass City -- whatever the cost?
Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the final installment of the New York Times bestselling trilogy The Mortal Instruments.
Clary Fray barely escaped with her life on a ship full of demons, but her mother’s life still hangs in the balance. When Madeleine, a Shadowhunter from her mother’s past, seeks Clary out with a cure for her mother, Clary is more than willing to travel to Alicante, the City of Glass, home to the Shadowhunters. Venturing there without permission is against the Law, but sometimes Laws are meant to be broken, even when Jace agrees that she shouldn’t be there.

With the mysterious Sebastian on her side, Clary searches out the warlock who can save her mother, but she also discovers the secrets that may unlock her past. Alicante is on the precipice of a war and Jace and Clary are at the tip of it. Simon is thrown due to mistrust at his ability to walk in the sunlight and tension is palpable throughout the city. Valentine’s threats to destroy the Shadowhunter race forces an unlikely partnership between Shadowhunters and Downworlders, but will it be enough? 

Jace and Clary are different from other Shadowhunters and their unique abilities may be the key, but will they be able to stop the man they call Father? Or will their fate be something much worse?

Cassandra Clare has done it once again with City of Glass. The story starts off a bit slower than the previous two, but once it picks up, it won’t let go. Clary’s journey into Alicante provides some of the most vivid and beautiful imagery in this series. It’s also such a different atmosphere that it makes the story that much more intriguing. The war that lingers just off in the distance can be felt all throughout the story and I was diligently turning page after page, anticipating the battle.
“Just as the rebellion of the angels ended the world as it was – it split heaven in half and created hell – this could mean the end of the Nephilim as they currently exist. This is our war in heaven, vampire, and only one side can win it. And my father means it to be his.” ~ pg. 60-61

The characters in The Mortal Instruments series are well crafted and developed bit by bit, detail by detail, throughout these books. Not everyone has a lot of dialogue or interaction with Jace or Clary, but they are still real. Their presence can be felt. The death of a minor character still lingers in my mind because it lingers in Jace or Clary’s mind. The love that these characters feel for one another is so palpable and honest. Clare does a wonderful job ensuring that her characters are human and have human emotions.

Clary and Simon are a bit more distant in this installment, which is understandable with Simon’s sudden, unexpected transformation. Their relationship is strained and I kind of loved that. It allows for Simon to grow even more as a character (as if I couldn’t love Simon any more) and grow up, really.
“Now I wonder all the time how you go back after something like that. Whether we can ever be friends again, or if what we had is broken into pieces.” ~ pg. 75
They both know things have changed, for better or worse, and they are just trying to live with it. To maintain who they are and what they had in the face of a whole new world.
She felt a sudden pain in her heart, and realized with a jolt what it was. She was missing him – missing Simon. Simon as he had been. ~ pg. 320

The true action in City of Glass happens closer to the end of the book, but it works well. The unveiling of these long-hidden secrets and suspense makes the ending all that much more gratifying. The relationships are what really shine here. In a way, I feel like The Mortal Instruments series is not about angels and demons and fighting and all that stuff, but really about family. Family, in the ways that count. Not blood or upbringing, but about those that love you.
It was the one thread that bound these two boys that she loves so much, she thought, their one commonality: They both believed in her even when she didn’t believe in herself. ~ pg. 377
Obviously, there’s more to it, but I like to believe that the family aspect plays a huge role too.

City of Glass serves as a perfect closer to an epic trilogy (though we now know there will be another installment with City of Fallen Angels). There is action, love, lust, betrayal, suspense, and enough jokes to lighten what could be a heavier read than the previous two. The characters have purpose and their actions carry weight behind them. Things happen for a reason and the previous loose threads are explained. Valentine’s role as a villain is explained and the back story on the Shadowhunter race left me content. The ending felt like an ending; albeit, an ending that only came after many twists and turns. I did find it somewhat predictable, but Clare makes up for it with her ability to create characters and a story that you will be completely invested in. In other words, I still loved it.

Opening line: The cold snap of the previous week was over; the sun was shining brightly as Clary hurried across Luke’s dusty front yard, the hood of her jacket up to keep her hair from blowing across her face. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines: “I always thought love made you stupid. Made you weak. A bad Shadowhunter. To love is to destroy. I believed that…And then I saw how much you loved your mother, loved Simon, and how you’d walk into hell to save them…Love didn’t make you weak, it made you stronger than anyone I’d ever met.” ~ pg. 531-532
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.
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