Moving House…Again……

To cut a long story short, we are having to move house again, even though we only just did so in March last this year! Since around August things have been really stressful, which is one of the main reasons why I have just not been writing in the blog. I have not abandoned it, but when there are so many things going on, (which I won’t go into detail here, because I don’t want to look back through the blog in a years time and see a string of negativity after negativity….) I just don’t feel like writing in it. For the same reason, I’ve not been posting much in my general blog either, or found the energy to work on my other websites such as the Star Wars fan fic ones, and I’ve only been doing bits here and there on the fanlistings just to keep them listed over at the fanlistings.org. I’ve also not been giving the challenges any attention at all and just reading books as I feel like reading them. I probably won’t sign myself up for as many next year. I am hoping that the next couple of months will at least resolve some of our problems and that things will be better in the coming year… One can only hope, I suppose. I’ve got through the Dinosaur Hunters by Deborah Cadbury and I am currently reading the Hobbit. Yay! The reason why I chose to read the Hobbit is that I want to refresh my mind for the release of the Unexpected Journey in December. It has been a long time since I last read it and over Christmas last year I read the graphic novel. It is one of my favourite books and will no doubt the film will be one of the high points in what has been a crap year for me (the others would be getting Jaffa our new dog and going to Crufts).

Oh and just incase I forget, or don’t get time to wish it, but Happy Halloween everyone!

Yay…

I just found out that the new Dresden Files book is out in November. Excellent. I wasn’t expecting it to be out until next year, and having caught up with them, it seems like an age since Ghost Story was out. There are sadly, few books that I look forward to coming out these days, but happily, the next Harry Dresden is one of them…

An Update…

I know I’ve not posted in ages, but I have been distracted a lot lately because of health issues that my partner has (I’m not going to elaborate, because I’m so fed up of them that I don’t want them staring at me in the face the next time that I log on here) and other things….

Anyway, I’ve read Kelley Armstrong’s book 13 since the last time that I posted. It was OK, but I think I was expecting more from it and because of the scope of the book, it seemed like there could have been another one in there, especially because there could have been scenes from the POV of other characters that could have made it a better read. However, having said that, Bitten is now being made into a TV series! I’m not sure when it is going to come out, but I hope that we get to see more stuff about the Werewolf Pack, and that the characters that are only marginal or secondary will be allowed to be developed, which can be done with a TV Series, especially if it goes on for a long time, and there will be more characterisation, etc, than can happen over the scope of a TV series than can happen in a film and even if Kelley Armstrong never revisits the Otherworld for a full blown, real novel again, at least the characters are still alive in some form and the story can continue.

I’ve also read some Wind in the Willows books because after reading Watership Down, I wanted to go back to some of my old favourites. As well as the original book by Kenneth Grahame, there are a further four by Duncton Wood and Wolves of Time author, William Horwood. My favourite of these has to be The Willows at Christmas, though I did enjoy reading the others, but because of the things that were happening with my partner at the time I was reading them, I don’t think I got into them as well as I could have done, so I’ve not reviewed them because the review wouldn’t be fair.

I got hold of a copy of Gillian Hick’s Vet on the Loose, which is the prequel to her book, Vet Among the Pigeons. It was a good read, and one I quickly got through, beginning with her time as a Student Vet and through her first year in practice. I quite enjoyed it because it reminded me of some of time at collage and I had to sympathise with her experiences at a stables because I found that I didn’t get on with horsey people either (the animals are OK, and I am sure that there are some wonderful horse people around, but my experience has always seem to be with the bad ones!).

I enjoyed catching up with Carrie Vaughn’s latest Kitty book as well, which I thought was one of her better ones, so as you can see that even though I’ve not done much in the way of posting reviews, I have been busy reading.

At the moment I am reading Mercedes Lackey’s Fairy Godmother. I kind of like the retelling of fairy tales and after reading Dennis McKeirnan’s Once Upon a…. series a few years back, I decided to give these ago. I’ve only got the first in the series so far. It is an enjoyable read, but the story could have been a bit more tightened up I think and could have done with a bit more conflict than it has, but it’s a fun read and nicely written, so I can’t grumble on that score and it is nice to read something that is a bit light, especially with the mood that I’ve been in recently.

Last but not least, I managed to get hold of Star Wars: X-Wing Mercy Kill this week (a book I’ve probably been waiting ten years for!) and the new Temeraire book, Crucible of Gold. I will probably re-read the X-Wing books before I read Mercy Kill, so that I can remind myself of some of the things I’ve forgotten about so over the next few weeks, expect a Star Wars fest if I feel like posting. I might wait until I’m more in a mood to, though, and I am looking forward to reading Crucible of Gold. Dragons and X-Wings in the next few weeks….Yay.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

As I’ve been a bit disappointed with a lot of the books that I’ve been reading lately, I decided to read one of my old favourites! (Rogue Squadron, which I had started reading, has some how been put away, and I don’t know where! So I decided to skip it and read this instead). It is one of the few books that I’ve read more than once and because it had been a long time since I last read it, I decided a few months ago that I wanted to re-read it and so bought a new copy of it (my old one is at my brother’s house). What do I like about Watership Down? To be honest, I’m not really much of a rabbit person, especially when it comes to the pet variety, but Watership Down left me with an affection for wild rabbits. I did come across someone on Good Reads complaining about the use of wild flowers as names for rabbits in the book and that it was a problem because they didn’t know any of them. Good grief… as a teenager, one of the reasons why I liked Watership Down was because it introduced me to the names of wild flowers, and made me want to look them up in a field guide so that I knew what they looked like. Much better than reading a rather shallow Urban Fantasy book where the main character was obsessed with designer brands that I’d never heard of, much less cared about. Wild flowers at least, are worth preserving and they are something which I love seeing whenever I’m in the countryside. The book also reminds me of the many times out walking my old Border Collie Laddie, because I used to take my Wild Flower Field Guide with me and of course, the book made me notice things which I would otherwise have missed. If you don’t want to learn more about nature after reading Watership Down, then there must be something wrong with the reader. Watership Down is also one of those books that made me want to write fiction for myself because of its lovely construction, especially the vivid descriptions which have remained fresh in my mind since the first time that I read the book. There is really only one thing wrong with re-reading a book, especially one which you have read multiple times already, and that is the fact that it can’t really surprise you anymore – you know what’s going to come up – but it is not as bad as re-watching a film which you know so well that when you re-watch it, you aren’t really watching it – because of that, I don’t tend to re-watch my favourite films all that often. Reading it felt like going back to a familiar place but wasn’t so tried that I didn’t want to revisit it again. One problem I have found with the book is that I want to know more about the rabbits’ adventures because there were the background story of some of the characters that could have been fleshed out a bit more, and I could have read it if it had been twice as thick, but I suppose that what happens when you know a book too well. My favourite part of the book has got to be the bit when Bigwig is in Efrafa, and he, along with Hyzenthley and Blackavar are probably my favourite characters in the whole book, though I do like Hazel and Fiver, as well. I enjoyed reading the book so much that I have ordered Tales from Watership Down and will be reading that as soon as it arrives. It has also put me in the mood to read The Plague Dogs, another novel by the same author. One of the things that I like about Richard Adams’ writing is that even though Watership Down is supposed to be a children’s book is that adults can get into it just as well, and he does not skimp on description like a lot of children’s authors.

My Rating:

A couple of E-book Reviews

I sometimes buy e-books for my computer if they are short stories and novellas and as my collection has quite a number of books now, i decided to read a couple of them today. The first is a Juliet Marillier story and the second, Hunting Kat, one of Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers short stories.

Twixt Firelight and Water by Juliet Marillier

This took me a couple of hours to read at the most. I quite enjoyed it, detailing how Ciaran was rescued from his mother and the mystery of the Raven, Fiacha. My only complaint with this book is that I would have liked it to have been fleshed out into a longer story, for it was there. It had the same magic as the original trilogy, which the new ones seem to lack. A beautiful short story.

My Rating:

 

Hunting Kat by Kelley Armstrong

In this story, Kelley Armstrong takes a different look at the typical teenage vampire. The story is quick, entertaining and full of action. It is another one of those short stories based on her YA books. If there were more writers like Kelley Armstrong around than the current crop writing stories for YA then the genre would be a lot better than it is.

My Rating:

Book Sale

I’m having a clear out of my Star Trek and Buffy books on Greenmetropolis. My main reason for this is that we do need to make a bit of extra money, but for each book sold, part of it the money from each sale will be going to the Dog’s Trust Charity (normally I would have kept it with the Woodland Trust because that is the charity which the site was initially set up for, but pet animals, particularly dogs are having a hard time lately because of the economic problems, and as we’ve also recently acquired a rescue dog, I thought that they needed the help a bit more than wild creatures do at the moment…)

Here is my GM profile if you are interested. Because of the postage costs, I will only be able to send books to people in the UK.

Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

The Sevenwaters Series by Juliet Marillier is one of my favourite series and I was looking forward to reading this one. It does not fail to be a good read, but I found that I didn’t enjoy it as much as previous installments. I thought that there was too much retelling of past events in the series, particularly of the book, Son of Shadows and it is only in the last hundred pages or so that the story takes off, and nothing much really happens in the book. In the previous book, Heir to Sevenwaters, Cathal is the son of a fey lord who Sibeal’s sister, Clodagh saved from his father and who now threatens their newly born children. This is a subplot to the story and I can’t help but think that it is a book that fills in the gap for the next book in the series, or that it should have been a novella or short story. As the main character, Sibeal, is a druid in training, I expected the book to be more adventurous than it was, and there is quite a lot of telling rather than showing what happens in the book, particularly around the character, Felix. It is quite interesting in the fact that there is some focus on druidry in the book, and that part of it I liked, and I also liked the story of Svala (in fact, I think that the book should really have been about her, rather than about Sibeal and Felix…). In spite of its short comings though, the book is readable and Juliet Marillier does have a lot of skill as a writer, I just think that the story could have been more engaging than it was.

My Rating:

Books This Week

Yep, it’s been a while since I did a Books This Week feature. Why is that? Well, I’ve not really been buying new books regularly for a while now, in part, because my to-read pile is astronomical and we don’t have much spare cash these days. Almost as soon as money comes in, it’s going out again! I don’t mind that too much, though, because it gives me motivation to read more of the books that I should have read ages ago and haven’t. I have one book this week, and that is a Star Wars book, Scourge, by Jeff Grubb. I was in Waterstone’s today and came across it. I thought it would be an interesting read and so decided to give it ago. As I’ve not read many Star Wars books for ages, I think this will be my next read, after Seer of Sevenwaters, which I am reading at the moment. Though I suspect that I will be more interested in the Mercy Kill excerpt at the back of the book. I was a bit disappointed when I saw that Mercy Kill is set in the Fate of the Jedi era (I was hoping that it was a continuation where the X-Wing series left off after Solo Command, but it’s not. However, it does look like it will flit between eras, so I may like it. I just hope that if Michael A. Stackpole writes another X-Wing book that it will concentrate on the New Republic Era because the novels after NJO just don’t do it for me… I am tempted to read the X-Wing books now in preparation for reading Mercy Kill, because it won’t be long now before it is released!

The Seven Deadly Sins of Reading (taken from Bookish Hobbit)

GREED: What is your most expensive book? What is your least expensive book?

I have quite a few biology text books which are quite expensive. I bought one, the Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids more out of interest (at full price) so I suspect that is my most expensive book, or it might be The Dinosauria or
The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs which were between £40 – £50 each. There is probably a textbook that is more expensive than that, but because it was required reading, it probably doesn’t really count! I also do have a copy of The Lord of the Rings which is worth £50, but I only paid £20 for it.

My least expensive is a Star Trek book I got about Seven of Nine, which was  free!

WRATH: Which author do you have a love-hate relationship with?

Kelley Armstorng, maybe? Her earilier stuff from Bitten to No Humans Involved I loved, as I do the Nadia Stafford books, and the Darkest Powers Trilogy and of course, the Subpress book, Hidden. But some of her more recent stuff I’ve not enjoyed as much, partly because she concentrates too much on extra stuff these days which I think means that sometimes it feels like there is something missing in her main books and also because she has too many projects on the go at anyone time.

GLUTTONY: Which book have you deliciously devoured over and over again with no shame whatsoever?

I think it would have to be Watership Down by Richard Adams, The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann, Michael A. Stackpole’s X-Wing series and The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. It has been a while since I read these books, but they are the ones which I’ve read over and over again!

SLOTH: What book have you neglected to read due to laziness?

I have several which I think could fall into this category. The one which stands out most I think must be Stan Nicolls’ Orcs. I’ve had that book a number of years now and haven’t got round to reading it, even though I’ve meant to read it on several occasions!

PRIDE: What book do you most talk about in order to sound like a very intellectual reader?

I suspect it would have to be The Lord of the Rings, or maybe Tolkien in general….

LUST: What attributes do you find most attractive in male or female characters?

I think I am attracted to characters which I can relate to, either in their background or what they like. Though is probably doesn’t count because the character was based on a real person, one of my crushes at the moment has got to be Callum Buchanan from All Creatures Great and Small – the guy’s love of wildlife means that I must like him. In Star Wars, I think Kyp Durron, even after all these years makes me swoon! So for me to like a character, they must have a tragic past in some way, because I can relate to that, but be redeemable if they go off the rails, or those that stand up for their beliefs in some way. Worf the Klingon from Star Trek the Next Generation/Deep Space Nine, Wolverine from the X-Men, Quinlan Vos from the EU Star Wars literature, Marcus Cole from Babylon Five, Harry Dresden and Qui-Gon Jinn from Star Wars all fall into this category. I like characters with a Nordic origin as well. Even though I am probably attracted to the rebels on the side of good, or those trying to do the right thing, I am not attracted at all to down right nastiness and I also don’t like characters that are an ass by being too good which then look down their noses at other characters – I think Scott Summers, though a good guy, would fall into that category… or even the young Obi-Wan Kenobi…

ENVY: What books would you most like to receive as a gift?

After getting the Hardback edition of Hidden from Subpress, I think it will have to be any book of authors that I enjoy reading that have had a limited edition of their main work published by them – The Dresden Files would be such an example. Come on, these books are brilliant, they deserve to be presented in a manner that they deserve, not in those cheap, horrible bound paperbacks that fall to bits after the first few readings of them. I think A Song of Fire and Ice also comes under that as well – even after being careful reading it, my copy of A Game of Thrones has started to look worn just because it took so long to read it…

A Game of Thrones – finished at last…

I must confess that what made me read this book was the TV programme. Around this time last year, I noticed that there was a big fuss over A Song of Fire and Ice (I didn’t even know that it had been made into a TV series) and because I’d got fed up of Urban Fantasy and the usual suspects, and needing a decent read, I decided to get it, and I am glad that I did. Most of the new fantasy writers in the past three or four years do not impress me much – I have tried their books and couldn’t get into them, either because I didn’t like the book or because I didn’t think that it brought anything new to the genre. Having already read most of the books by the authors that I’ve read in the past (with only their new paperback or hardback to read) finding a “new” author that I like has become almost impossible. What makes it worse, is that quite a few of the authors that I do like haven’t had a book published in ages (Jane Welch being one of those….), take an inarguably long time to get a new book published (Jean M. Auel, William Horwood and J.V. Jones can be considered guilty of this…) or if they happen to be American, their books aren’t published over here (even Simon Green’s books can be difficult to get hold of…), leaving me with the choice of books which I’m not interested in or ones that I’ve already read and so I decided that A Song of Fire and Ice would be worth a look. I am glad that I did. It has brought back all the things that I have been missing fantasy. Complex plots, loads of characters to like. I think my favourite characters in the series are Arya, Jon Snow, Eddard Stark, Lady Stark, Brandon Stark and Danerys. My only complaint, though this is one reason why I also love the book is that it takes an inarguably long time to read! It is not the kind of book you want to read when you have a large pile of them to get through and although I really do want to continue with the series, I might hold off for a while as I get through my other books. I only wish that the series had come to my attention before being made into a TV series, because it makes me feel like one of the Twilight/Vampire Diaries/True Blood crowd….).

My Rating: