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review 2018-12-02 21:55
Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar #1)
Arrows of the Queen - Mercedes Lackey

Thanks to everyone who commented on my series post yesterday - as you can see, I settled on the Valdemar series for a couple of reasons. I have a horse and fantasy loving daughter who is 22, and this series seemed like it might appeal to her, and the plot summary really reminded me of the Alanna series by Tamora Pierce, which is a favorite of mine.


Once I selected the series, I had to decide on the order. I didn't spend much time on this, although there are two possibilities: publication order and chronological order. I settled on publication order because the Heralds of Valdemar series is so beloved and seems like a good entry into the world.


Arrows of the Queen is a very fast read. There were some things that I really liked about it - Lackey doesn't waste any time getting right into the main plot, which occurs when Companion Rolan Chooses Talia (all caps are on purpose) and sweeps her away from her abusive, polygamous, male-dominated and primitive community to become the Queen's Own Herald. This did remind me quite strongly of the first book of the Alanna quartet.


I also liked Lackey's breezy, authentic writing style. Talia's self-esteem and trust issues are well-founded and make sense. Lackey refers openly to menstruation, contraception and same-sex relationships (this again reminds me of Pierce's Tortall books) which is refreshing, especially in a book of this age. The Companions are really sort of weird, but telepathic, uncorruptible blue-eyed magical horses is so obviously intended to appeal to teen girls that I'm willing to overlook the weirdness. 


There is a lot of sweetness and domesticity here, mixed in with the palace intrigue. There are flaws, too, of course - Talia is a bit too good to be true, and her ability to "cure" the princess heir of her tendency towards brattiness occurs with an ease that defies reality. That entire plot element, from the perspective of a parent, is wholly unrealistic. I don't know if Lackey had children, but a parent who is insightful enough to recognize that their child is an insufferable brat (as the Queen is, here) typically doesn't have a child who is an insufferable brat. I'm also not a fan of hitting children, not inconsequentially because it is generally not a particularly effective form of discipline, so the entire interaction in which Talia cures Elspeth of being horrible in a few weeks by swatting her bottom when she hits her servants (among other things) feels really inauthentic to me - like the sort of plotting that a teen writer would come up with to deal with an issue about which they know very little.


But, this is a book for teens, especially teen girls, and viewing it through that prism, the flaws are easily overlooked, the Collegium sounds lovely, and being Chosen as special by a magical horse would be pretty much the greatest thing ever, and it's no worse a system of government than many seen in fantasy, and better than some.  (Here I am reminded of Monty Python.  "Listen -- strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.")


I would have read the hell out of this book as an eleven year old, and I thoroughly enjoyed it at 52.

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review 2018-02-25 14:38
There Are Other Worlds Than These
The Gunslinger - Stephen King

Well. The first book in "The Dark Tower" series. Are there some issues in this book? Yes. The pacing gets a bit draggy towards the end. But the world building is really good as well as the plot in this first book. It's enough to make you want to run out and read "The Drawing of the Three" or maybe that's just me.


"The Gunslinger" starts with someone just referred to as the Gunslinger following the man in Black. You don't know what's going on between them, but you realize that the Gunslinger has no intention of stopping until he catches up with the man in Black and they will finally have a confrontation that has been a long time coming.


I think King is smart to show that you may not like the Gunslinger. He shows you early that catching the man in Black is all he is focused on. Stopping in a town that appears to be on  it's last legs, he sleeps with a woman he doesn't care about one way or the other. While there he runs into someone from his past and you realize it's probably best when the Gunslinger is indifferent, because when he's angry, that's a sight to see. But we also get to see his brutality while he is there, and you start to wonder should you even be rooting for this man. 


Besides the Gunslinger (Roland) we also have Roland coming across a Boy (Jake) that has somehow come from another world and dropped into Roland's. Roland and Jake fit together for some reason and Roland has affection for the boy, but still has no intention of not doing or using anyone to get to his goal. You start to worry for Jake and there's a pivotal scene between the two that may have you hate Roland. Or maybe that was just me. 


The writing I thought was good. It may be hard to understand some dialogue since King has the character's using High Speech at times that reads as broken English (see thankee sai). The flow as I said was good until we got to the end. Then we got a big dump of information on Roland that didn't really fit the book. It helps set the stage for "The Drawing of the Three" though so I can see why King did it that way. 


The setting of Roland's world is similar to our world in parts, but different enough. He is a descendent of Arthur Eld (similar to our world's King Arthur). The gunslingers are similar to knights, and our Roland is off on a quest. Instead of the Holy Grail though all he wants is The Tower. I loved that the world building wasn't so explicit .You are given hints and guesses about what has occurred, but thankfully no information dumps by random people (one of my pet peeves). 


The ending leaves enough for you to want to continue the series. I plan on rereading this series throughout the year in memory of my dad. He was a huge King fan, and because of him I am too. The Gunslinger was the first book of King's I read and loved. Thankee sai. 

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text 2014-08-29 17:30
Bookhaul #3

Today I'm going to show you the books I bought in the last month. 

The first thing you see is Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next door and Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. I read Anna last year on my ereader but I wanted the trilogy in paperback. I bought Anna and Lola because of the Booktube-A-Thon when you could get a discount. That's why Lola is different than the others (sigh). Maybe I'm getting an other copy of Lola in the future, but it's fine now. I just got Isla today so I haven't read that one, but I read Anna and Lola this month!


In October I want to read in a theme: horror. 172 Hours on the Moon would be a perfect book fot that, so I already bought that one. I really like the version that I bought. It has the most beautiful cover! 


The last books you see are An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, WIll Grayson, WIll Grayson and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I saw the movie in the cinema and I was impressed! So I wanted to read all his books. I read Looking For Alaska last year but I didn't like that one so much. I already started An Abundance of Katherines because I was waiting soooooo long for Isla! I'm going to read them all in September for the #johngreenreadalong. If you want to participate as well, you can join our Goodreads group here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/142021-john-green-september-read-a-long


What books have you bought recently?

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text 2014-08-08 13:19
Join the John Green September read-a-long!

The only book I read by John Green is Looking for Alaska (and I didn't enjoy that one that much) but I'm getting his boxset in August and I was like: why not reading his books together and discuss it?! I really want to read his books in September so I that's why I created this read-a-long.

You can also join if you've only read Looking for Alaska or The Fault in or Stars or an other book and want to read only one book, that's totally okay! Or maybe you want to re-read one of his books.


I'm going to read An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, Will Grayson, Will Grayson and The Fault in our Stars in that order (and maybe re-read Looking for Alaska). I will not read Let it Snow because it's a winter book and that one is not in the boxset.


I decided to announced it now so you still have time to order his books (if you need to) because I know that can take a few weeks sometimes before a book arrives. 


The read-a-long- starts from 1 September and ends on 30 September. It doesn't matter in what order you will read his books. I'm going to open discussion topics for all his books seperately when the read-a-long begins!


If you want to join the group on goodreads, go to this link: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/142021-john-green-september-read-a-long and use the hashtag #johngreenreadalong on Twitter! 


Are you going to join the read-a-long?

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photo 2012-07-31 14:37

The Complete Miss Marple by Agatha Christie is marked as the thickest book in the world according to Guinness World Records. 12 novels and 20 short stories made a sum of 4,032 pages and weight over 8 kilos!


Do you know how many crimes are committed in this outstanding mystery book? :)

Source: www.facebook.com/BookLikes
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