Book Number 30: A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold by George R. R. Martin

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You know nothing, Jon Snow…

A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold by George R. R. Martin

A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold by George R. R. Martin

554 pages
Genre Fiction (Fantasy)
Sunday 27th July – Monday 25th August (30 days)
6 morning, 8 afternoon, 7 evening, 2 night.

This is fast becoming one of my favourite book series, and Martin one of my favourite authors…

This is the second part of the third book, and we follow Robb (King of the North), Stannis and Joffrey continue to fight over the throne, Daenerys increase her army of followers across the sea, and Jon Snow and his struggles with the Wildlings at the Wall.

As usual for Martin, there are some gruesome shocking deaths. From hereon in are spoilers – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Joffrey dies at his own wedding, which in itself was fantastic – the little idiot deserved it. But this in turn then means Tyrion is accused of his murder, and Sansa escapes with Littlefinger to the Eyrie… Tyrion goes from strength to strength, having so much rubbish thrown at him and trying so hard to get himself out of trouble, and finally snapping at the end of the book… delicious. His character is by far my favourite. He is witty, intelligent, and I really feel for him and the way he is treated throughout the series so far.

Daenerys works hard on becoming a strong leader and Queen and building her army of ex-slaves, and uncovers traitors in her midst. (I called it…) Arya travels around with the Hound and their relationship, although strange, was interesting to read. As was Jaime and Brienne’s relationship – another interesting twist. Finally, there were interesting developments at the wall, with the Wildlings beaten, Stannis coming to the Nightwatch’s aid, and Jon Snow given some interesting choices for his future.

As always, this was a great read – I love the way the story is told from different perspectives from different characters, and the story move along with loads of twists and turns. Never a dull moment in Westeros…

Next book: PopCo by Scarlett Thomas

Book Number 29: The Manhattan Projects 2: THEY RULE by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra, Jordie Bellaire and Rus Wooton

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The next Manhattan Project …

The Manhattan Projects 2: THEY RULE by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra, Jordie Bellaire and Rus Wooton

The Manhattan Projects 2: THEY RULE by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra, Jordie Bellaire and Rus Wooton

152 pages
Genre Fiction (Graphic Novel – Sci-fi)
Thursday 24th July – Sunday 27th July (4 days)
1 morning, 2 evening.

I’m still not sure about this series. I find them very dark and sinister, this one following on from the first and looking into an alternate Cold War and artificial intelligence (amongst other themes). These are very interestingly written, with great stories, and a lot that should interest me, but I find the characters so dark and cold, and the violence is just a little too stark and too much, and I just can’t quite get into this series as much as I wanted too.

I’m going to take a break from this and come back to it later in the year – and see if I can get back into the series.

Next book: A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold by George R. R. Martin

Book Number 28: You Suck by Christopher Moore

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Yay! More Christopher Moore…

You Suck by Christopher Moore

You Suck by Christopher Moore

296 pages
Genre Fiction (Fantasy)
Tuesday 15th July – Wednesday 23rd July (9 days)
5 mornings, 2 afternoons, 2 evening, 3 nights.

Following on from Blood Sucking Fiends, I found myself reading this. We go back to Jody and Tommy, now both vampires on the run in San Francisco. In the previous book, they promised the Police that Jody and her Vampire maker would leave town, but Tommy has them both bronzed. Jody turns to mist and escapes, and turns Tommy so they can be together.

What ensues is chaotic hilarity, Tommy trying to find a minion to help them throughout the day, and picking an emo-gothic girl and her gay friend, who in turn help to narrate the story; feeding off a fat shaven cat; the animals from the store turning against Tommy to help their blue skinned prostitute friend… I could go on, but I don’t want to ruin it for you!

Weird, wonderful and hilarious, not the best Christopher Moore book I have read, but that does not make it a bad book by a long stretch – it was a hard to put down, funny read. The characters are extremely likeable, and I can’t wait to pick up the last in the series.

Next book: The Manhattan Projects 2: THEY RULE by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra, Jordie Bellaire, Rus Wooton

A-Z Reading Challenge 2014 – July

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Only one new book on the list this month, but managed to read quite a few. This challenge is getting to the difficult stage now…

A: A Storm of Swords 1: Steel and Snow by George R. R. Martin
B: Blood Sucking Fiends by Christopher Moore
C:
D:
E:
F: Fables Volume 6: Homelands by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, David Hahn and Steve Leialoha
G: Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
H:
I: Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore
J:
K: Know Your Onions / Web Design by Drew De Soto
L:
M: ‘Make Good Art’ speech by Neil Gaiman
N:
O:
P:
Q:
R: Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley
S:
T: The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb
U: Unwholly by Neal Shusterman
V: Visual Aid by Draught Associates
W:
X:
Y: You Suck by Christopher Moore
Z:

TTFN,

Laura

Book Number 27: The Manhattan Projects 1: SCIENCE BAD by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra, Jordie Bellaire and Rus Wooton

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A new graphic novel series…

The Manhattan Projects 1: SCIENCE BAD by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra, Jordie Bellaire and Rus Wooton

The Manhattan Projects 1: SCIENCE BAD by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra, Jordie Bellaire and Rus Wooton

144 pages
Genre Fiction (Graphic Novel – Sci-fi)
Monday 14th July – Tuesday 15th July (2 days)
1 morning, 1 evening.

An alternative history comic looking at the Manhattan Project and the work of scientists at the end of the second World War. We follow Joseph Oppenheimer, an evil twin brother of Robert Oppenheimer who is a schizophrenic psychopath, who joins the Manhattan Projects, with other famous scientists. Between them they manage to open an inter-dimensional door, and create artificial intelligence based on Franklin D. Rooselvelt.

I am not sure about this series. I have the second volume, so I will give it a go and see how I get on, but I found this quite dark and violent. The Oppenheimer character is very weird and dark, he devours his victims to take their soul and add to his multiple personalities, and I found it quite disturbing and sinister. The other scientists are using found technology and their combined intellect to improve human life, but there is a lot of death along the way. I thought this would be a easier to get into, but I guess there is a long story going throughout.

I did like the use of colour, swapping between red and blue for some of the characters/storylines (I don’t want to spoil) and the artwork was pretty impressive. I liked the inclusion of Russians, Nazis and the threat of the Cold War, but I just found all of the characters very dark, sinister and very difficult to identify with.

Hopefully, I’ll like the 2nd volume a little more!

Next book: You suck by Christopher Moore

Book Number 26: A Storm of Swords 1: Steel and Snow by George R. R. Martin

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The next in the series…

A Storm of Swords 1: Steel and Snow by George R. R. Martin

A Storm of Swords 1: Steel and Snow by George R. R. Martin

569 pages
Genre Fiction (Fantasy)
Saturday 28th June – Monday 14th July (17 days)
5 mornings, 4 afternoons, 6 evenings, 4 nights.

Awesome next instalment of this series… if you haven’t read any of the other books in this series, don’t start here! If you have, you’ll be pleased to know that in my opinion, the series goes from strength to strength.

If you’ve not read these books, and you like fantasy, you should. They are up there with the best – I would rank J.R. R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb and George R. R. Martin as my 3 favourite fantasy writers by far. If you’ve seen the TV series you know that the story doesn’t pull any punches, and I would say there is more sex, swearing and violence in the books than the TV series.

The characters are complex and well developed, and over the course of the books there is plenty of time to keep them this way. Main characters die, and when you first pick up the books you will probably be a little overwhelmed by the amount of characters, but just let it all wash over you, you’ll remember the important ones, and Martin is very good at introducing characters and helping you remember/discover who they are. The story lines and plots are intricate and intertwined, and have kept me interested throughout, and the technique of having each chapter told by a certain character is a fantastic way of helping tell a story spread across a whole kingdom, and several years.

So, now for a little bit of spoilers… Jaime and Brienne are released by Catelyn to trade for her daughters, Robb marries a Westerling, destroying his betrothal to the Freys, and Arya meets the ‘Brotherhood without Banners’. King Joffrey decides to break his betrothal to Sansa and marry Lady Margaery Tyrell instead. Sansa instead has to marry Tyrion. Jon Snow goes beyond the Wall with the Night’s Watch and hatches a plan to spy on the Wildlings by pretending to become one of them. Daenerys is working her way through Slaver Bay freeing the slaves and building an army.

We learn more about Jaime in this book, he is less of an arrogant prince and becomes more likeable as we learn more about his choices, and he becomes more humble. His relationship with Brienne is something I particularly enjoyed throughout this book. As always Tyrion seems to be the only character with any sense, compassion and intelligence, but still ends up being ridiculed and hated by his sister and father. Arya is becoming more of a warrior and less of a ‘lady’, which I like, Martin writes some good female characters!

So, if you’re working your way through the series, this doesn’t disappoint, if you’ve not read any of these yet, start at the beginning, and enjoy!

Next book: The Manhattan Projects 1: SCIENCE BAD by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra, Jordie Bellaire and Rus Wooton

Book Number 25: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

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Lots of hype about this, so I thought I’d give it a go…

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

313 pages
Genre Fiction (Contemporary)
Tuesday 24th June – Thursday 26th June  (3 days)
2 mornings, 1 evenings, 1 night.

This book has been in the spotlight a lot recently due to the film being released, and I thought I would give it a go. I wanted something to download to my iPad for my holiday in Spain, and this came up on offer, so I thought I’d try it.

There has been a lot of hype about this, but I tried to go into this with an open mind… and I was pleasantly surprised. It was a well written book, with very likeable characters, both the two main characters are easy to relate to, funny and interesting. It was easy to pick up and get into, and difficult to put down. And it made me cry.

The story (in case you didn’t know…) follows Hazel Grace who is terminally ill with cancer. Her mother wants her to go to a cancer support group, which she does begrudgingly, but whilst there, she meets Augustus, who is in remission, through a friend of hers – Isaac. The book follows their love story… and I don’t really want to say more without spoiling it… so, if you haven’t read it and don’t want to know what happens, stop reading this review now…

Hazel is reluctant to fall in love with Augustus as she doesn’t think it’s fair to leave people behind when she dies, comparing herself to a grenade. She already feels guilty about her parents and how they will cope after her death, and doesn’t feel it’s fair to Augustus for them to have a relationship.

Her favourite book is about a young girl who dies from cancer, and the twist of this book is that it ends abruptly when she dies, and you never find out what happens to the other characters. Gus manages to organise a trip to Amsterdam for him, Hazel and her mother (throughout a “Make a Wish’ style charity) to meet the author and find out what happens to the characters left behind in the book, and over the course of the trip, Hazel and Gus fall in love, she is insulted and offended by the alcoholic author (who also doesn’t tell them what happens to the characters) and finds out that Gus’s cancer is back and that he too is now terminal.

The book follows both Gus and Hazel learning from each other – Hazel realising that it is not a bad thing that people will be left behind and sad when she dies, and Gus realising that he doesn’t have to do something huge or leave this big mark on the world to have made a difference. The end sees Gus dying, and her being surprised to see the author at his funeral. He has a eulogy written by Gus for Hazel, where he says that we all get hurt, and that we can’t help that, but we can choose who we allow to hurt us, and that he is happy he chose Hazel, and hopes she is happy to have chosen him.

The book is very sad, obviously. It’s an interesting read, as it is written from the perspective of a cancer sufferer and it doesn’t hold back. I cried a lot, there is illness, amputation, blindness and death in this book, both characters have terminal cancer and there is no miracle cure, or happy ever after. However there is hope and love and that makes the book an uplifting read, even if it is very sad.

The only thing I would say I did not enjoy about the book was the Amsterdam part and the author… the Amsterdam bits seemed a little cheesy, and out of place, and whilst I understand the role of the author and his outburst, it just didn’t feel quite right. However, don’t let this put you off, it’s a really good read. I will be reading more of John Green’s work… and possibly watching the film…

Next book:  A Storm of Swords 1: Steel & Snow by George R. R. Martin