Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Clash of Kings [Martin]

Book: A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2)
Author: George R.R. Martin

Review: (this review contains major plot spoilers) The Seven Kingdoms are in turmoil. After King Robert dies, his young, sadistic son Joffrey Baratheon ascends the throne. Meanwhile, Robert's brother (Renly and Stannis) also claim the throne while Robb Stark is now King of the North. Meanwhile, Jamie Lannister is still a prisoner, Arya has escaped King's Landing and is en route to the wall disguised as a boy, Sansa is being held and abused as a hostage at King's Landing, crippled Brandon is discovering he has some special abilities and Jon Snow searches for answers beyond the wall. Dany continues to nurture her dragons..that no one in King's Landing knows about yet. I cannot wait to see how that will unfold! 

I really enjoyed this book and finished it in a few days. My older brother played Risk when I was young and I felt like I was reading about a game unfolding on the pages. I could not wait to find out how the war unraveled. 

My favorite character thus far is Tyrion, who (in this book) acts as the Hand of the King (for Joffrey). His wit and intellect make him such a dynamic character. I will say I am not a fan of Catelyn Stark and her sections are the toughest to get through. I heard a major character dies in the next book and I'm really hoping it is her. Brandon Stark's sections were also a tad drawn out but I feel like he'll be a major player as the series continues. 

Overall-loved it!!!

Grade: A-/B+

Through My Eyes [Tebow & Whitaker]

Book: Through My Eyes
Author: Tim Tebow with Nathan Whitaker

Review: 'Through My Eyes' is a memoir of sorts written in the first person by former Florida quarterback (and current 3rd string quarterback for the Broncos), Tim Tebow. While I lived in Gainesville for several years, I never attended a game and don't follow SEC football. That being said, as a former college athlete myself, I appreciate hard work and a competitive spirit.

I am skeptical when someone Tebow's age (early 20's) writes a memoir-how much can one person really experience in such a short time that warrants a book? Other than sports accomplishments...not too much. Anyway-My husband told me "everyone" told this kid he wouldn't be successful and he proved everyone wrong by accomplishing all these things. Well-after reading the book, I disagree with that sentiment. Tebow and his siblings were all home-schooled but very active in sports. When he was in high school, the coach did not want to play him as a quarterback so his parents shopped schools until they found one that agreed to play him (they moved into an apartment so he lived in the district). In summary-he was a competitive kid, successful basketball, baseball and football high school athlete, excelled at the University of Florida where he won the Heisman and lead the team to 2 National Championships. While he describes off-season workouts that I really enjoyed learning about, several pages (seemed like almost half the book) were dedicated to extreme detail about college football games (maybe someone more into football would appreciate those sections). He is extremely religious and while he comments multiple times that he is flawed, he shares very few personal stories. There are a few exceptions-notably a section about his family dog that I found endearing.  

If you are an Evangelical Christian (Tebow is very resonant in his faith) and football-you'll probably love this book. I found certain aspects entertaining (I keep telling my husband about the workouts, they sound so brutal yet intriguing) and I appreciate Tebow's competitive spirit and work ethic. He seems like a generally nice person and I wish him the best. It wasn't the most engaging read, but not the worst. 

Grade: C+

Succubus Revealed [Mead]

Book: Succubus Revealed [Georgina Kincaid book#6]
Author: Richelle Mead

Review:  (this review contains plot spoilers) Seattle succubus Georgina is finally in a relationship with author Seth. When she unexpectedly gets a job transfer to Vegas, can their relationship survive the long distance? Or is the transfer Hell's way of trying to get Georgina out of Seattle for another reason? With the help of Roman and Hugh, Georgina finally figures out what is really happening. 

I've been excited about this book for awhile now and read it in one sitting. While I loved the final interaction with Georgina and Carter, the rest of the book was predictable and just 'okay.' I'm sure most fans of the series guess the big twist several books ago so there was no big reveal. I was hoping Georgina herself would be the one to figure it out, but alas, she didn't. Overall, I was disappointed but I like that Mead left the door open for a spin-off series with several of the secondary characters. I would love a series about Carter!

Grade: B-

Bloody Bones [Hamilton]

Book: Bloody Bones [Anita Blake #5]
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton

Review: When Anita and Larry travel out of town to raise a 300 year old zombie to settle a land dispute, their job quickly becomes complicated. Some type of supernatural being is killing locals and they must work with vampires, werewolves and fae to figure out the truth.

This book strongly featured Jean-Claude who is my favorite Anita 'suitor' thus far.  I'm not a Richard fan-I just don't find him attractive in physical description or feel they click together. Anyway-I loved the inclusion of Larry, the overall strong and interesting story line, as well as the character progression we see with Anita. In the previous books she sees human and vampires very black and white-in this book, she starts to question her previous mindset and evolve. Great read!

Grade: B+

The Lunatic Cafe [Hamilton]

Book: The Lunatic Cafe [Anita Blake #4]
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton

Review: When several lycanthropes go missing, the leader of the werewolf pack wants Anita to investigate what is happening. Unfortunately, Anita's boyfriend Richard is in a power struggle with said leader which complicates matters. Throw in a jealous Jean-Claude and Anita's bounty hunter friend who she must keep from killing Richard and Jean-Claude, and we have a delightful read that once again builds from the previous book. My only complaint with this installment was the relationship of Anita and Richard from the previous book to this one. They seemed to go from a few dates to an exclusive, serious relationship. It didn't feel authentic and I don't understand the attraction as they have very little in common. Otherwise, fun read.

Grade: B

Circus of the Damned [Hamilton]

Book: Circus of the Damned [Anita Blake #3]
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton

Review:  In book 3 of Hamilton's popular vampire hunter series, our favorite necromancer, Anita Blake, must work with Master Vampire Jean-Claude to resist another vampire who wants her as his human servant.  She also meets an attractive teacher Richard (who also happens to be a werewolf) and we meet Larry, a fellow college student/necromancer who Anita is training/mentoring.

This was a fun, light, easy read. Amazingly, each book so far has been slighly better than the previous installment. I like a series that builds! 

Grade: B