Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Book Review:Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case by Garh Nix

Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case by Garth Nix (Harper Collins: UK, 2005)
12 and up

This novella is set in the same world as Abhorsen Trilogy that Nix wrote previously found in short story collection titled Across the Wall. Nick Sayre, a boy who lives in Ancelstierre, is recovering from his last encounter with magic, and his uncle takes him to Department Thirteen. Department Thirteen is an intelligence section of the government, which wants to question him about magic. While there Nick runs into a creature that is locked in a case. Nick knows that it feeds off of free magic that lives on the other side of the wall. He also knows that the creature is still alive, and only waiting for enough energy to get back home. Nick knows he his in trouble when the Department Thirteen agents start acting strangely around him. Nick finds himself in another predicament, which forces him to face the magical creature head on to protect the people around him.

Once again I loved this book on account of it's setting; It has a classic British feel to it that I adore. Nick Sayre is an interesting character that has lots of political connections in his world, and so is a bit prideful, but is a decent kid that understands that danger of the creature and bravely tries to protect people from it. I think that this is a good story on it’s own, but it probably disappointed fans of the series because they probably wanted to see more of their favorite characters, like Lirael, Touchstone, or Sabriel. I’m still trying to decide if the ending should be classified as a Deus ex Machina or not. The ending was unsatisfying to me in the way that, I didn’t get to see Nick achieve his goals, though the story implied that he would. Still, I loved reading more about Ancelstierre and the magic system. Certainly, this book is a fun read for Garth Nix fans.

As, a note people should probably be aware that Across the Wall is a collection of short stories along with the Novella, and one short story in particular is completely unappropriate for children, and not something that I'd read because of moral considerations. Each story is prefaced with an introduction of where it was previously published and other random information. So, the story can be easily identified and avoided this way, but parents(not to mention readers) may want to be careful and aware.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Spring Fantasy Celebration!

Spring Fantasy Celebration!

Alright, starting Monday we are going to have a SPRING FANTASY CELEBRATION! There are flowers and sunshine and that makes me happy. So, to celebrate I’m going to highlight one of my favorite fantasy authors….Garth Nix. In honor of Spring and my love for Garth Nix novels I shall post every day!

Monday: Review of Old Kindgdom Trilogy
Tuesday: Book Cover Madness
Wednesday: Book Review of Across the Wall
Thursday: Review of the Keys to the Kingdom Series
Friday: Kick off of Friday's weird lists.

There will be a contest on Friday! I will be giving away a free book. My books have been stored at my parents house for several years, and I need to get rid of some of them, and I thought to myself, it would be fun to give them away on my blog! So, this is my first offical blog giveaway! Details will be forthcomming.

Book Review: The Abhorsen Trilogy (Old Kingdom Trilogy) by Garth Nix.

Trilogy Review
The Abhorsen Trilogy (Old Kingdom Trilogy)
By Garth Nix
This series take place in two lands, which are divided by a heavily guarded wall. One land, Ancelstierre, is set in a WWI historical time period and the other land, which is equivalent to a medieval fantasy setting. In the Old Kingdom or medieval fantasy setting things have been declining for centuries. The Royal family has been defeated, charter stones that keep magic balanced are broken, and dead creatures roam the land, controlled by powerful necromancers. There is one, who is called the Abhorsen, who must put these dead to rest, forever.

Is the daughter of the Abhorsen and she is currently being schooled in Ancelstierre until she is ready to return to the Old Kingdom and take up her role as Abhorsen in Waiting. Yet, she discovers that her father has traveled into death, and is trapped there. She needs to find him and bring him back to the land of the living before his soul becomes forever corrupted. She sets out on a journey to find and save her father, but soon realizes that while he is gone that she is the one responsible for keeping the Kingdom safe from dead creatures and their evil controllers, Necromancers. She meets Touchstone along the way and they must both find a way to keep their country from falling into ruin.

Lireal is a daughter of the Clayr, who just does not fit in. The Clayr have always secluded themselves in the cold mountains, where they gaze into the future, and try to keep the Old Kingdom safe from many arising dangers. She hasn’t received the sight yet, and feels that she is not apart of the small seer community. In the process of time she finds her place as an assistant librarian, in the largest, oldest library in the Old Kingdom. It is more than a simple library, but a complex labyrinth of hallways, and niches. Some that often have nefarious creatures, protecting or being protected. She finds a magical dog, who becomes her loyal companion; together they explore the dangerous and restricted parts of the library. During one night of exploration Lireal finds her true path and must set out into the world to find a young man in a reed boat. Soon Lireal finds out that her country is on the verge of destruction, but a powerful and Ancient free magic creature. She, as the new Abhorsen in Waiting, must help prince Sameth to stop the creature from being released.

Prince Samth discovered that his friend Nicholas is in a lot of trouble. Originally from Ancelstierre he believes that all the magic in the Old Kingdom can be explained by science. This gets him into trouble when a mysterious guide named Hedge helps him to set up a magical experiment. Little does Nick know that he is unwittingly letting an ancient creature escape, a creature which will destroy the entire world. He also doesn’t know that Hedge is a necromancer of the worst kind and his workers are dead hands. It is now up to Prince Sameth, his cousin Lireal, and her disreputable dog to save the world from this destroyer before it is too late.

I absolutely adore this trilogy! I usually like a lot of characterization in the books that I read. This series has just enough characterization to have round and interesting characters, and so that kind of bugs me, but it is the concept of the entire world that I love. There is the Old medieval fantasy Kingdom and the historical WWI era modern land, and the problems that happen when magic and science in the worlds try to interact. Then there is the land of the dead and Nix fleshes out his underworld so that it feels like an entirely different land. It is unique and new in Danteish type fashion, where it takes concepts from the traditional underworld scene and adds a whole bunch of creative imaginative new stuff. It is the world building talent that really makes him one of my favorite authors. Go read it!

Cool thing is that Nix recently announced that he plans to write two more books in the same world. Also, there are tentative plannings to make Sabriel into a movie. Go read the authors website to find out more info, and some links to read his fiction on-line for free.
Author’s Website:

Monday, April 21, 2008

Book Review: A Love Like Lilly by Kay Lynn Magnum

A Love Like Lilly
By Kay Lynn Magnum
Jamie’s life changes when her grandmother dies. Her grandfather is sad and depressed, and Jamie misses her grandma. One day she goes to help her grandpa clean out the house only to discover an old photo album from the depression. She learns that her grandpa worked in the CCC’s and is only too willing to talk about his experiences. When Jamie learns that her grandfather is dating another widow, seriously, scarcely three months after her grandmother's death, she sets out to interfere, and maneuvers he way into staying at her grandfather’s house for the summer. Instead of stopping her grandfather from dating by distracting him with their newly started oral history project about the CCC’s and meeting her grandmother, and her hostile attitude. Jamie learns lessons about loyalty, friendship, and love.

I ended up enjoying this book, although not as much as The Secret Journal of Brett Colton, and When the Bough Breaks. I ended up loving the characters in Jamie’s grandfather’s stories as much as the main characters in the novel. The stories that her grandfather told were fun and entertaining. I also love how the main character, Jamie, was growing and discovering herself in this novel. Though, I was disappointed that in the beginning of the novel the flashbacks to her grandfather’s CCC days were poorly transitioned, and the conversation very info dumpy. Yet, if you read further the transitions grow stronger and smoother, and the story gets more interesting. This, for me, was a decent read. Though I recommend that if you are going to pick up a Kay Lynn Magnum book then go for her other two books first. (They are both wonderful!) For diehard fans of Brett Colton this book has an adorable cameo of him in it.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Linkity Linkity Link

So my friends I redesigned my blog for spring. I had a lot of fun changing it over. I got the template from this fun blog called cute blogs. I thought the idea was cool and so I tried it out.
Go Visit.

The Statue of Athena is from the National Archelogical Museum in Naples, if you ever go to Pompeii do not leave Italy until you go here! It has all the mosaics and frescos from Pompeii in there. Plus, a bunch of georgeous statues from the Villa of the Papyri in Hereculeneum. It also has a few of the Papyri scrolls there too. Anyway, I saw this statue there last year and fell in love with it. So...hence the blog design.

Thirdly, J. Scott Savage is doing a blog tour, and I would like to let you all know about it for very self interested reasons. I get a free ARC if I do. Plus, I get an extra book to give away in a contest. Then there is the fact that I'd get to do a Q&A blog with the author himself. Is that not cool enough to blog about? I surely think it is! So, go to his blog to find out the details of how you can participate too! Link. Oh, look! I just finished reading his first book House of Secrets two weeks ago and wrote up a review this weekend. Enjoy! (I promise the timing was in no way planned. I read the book for the winter reading challenge.)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Book Review: House of Secrets by Jeffery S. Savage

House of Secrets
Jeff Savage
Shandra Covington returns back to her Grandmother house because she left it to Shandra in the will. She arrives in town to apprise the house, and hopefully learn more about her elusive past. When exploring the old house she finds a dead body. She reports to the police and finds herself accused of murder. When Shandra is acquitted of all charges she determines to solve the mystery and digs up the town’s old secrets. Shandra discovers more and more about her mother and her grandmother as the longer she hangs around the town. She is excited to find out information about them even when their story brings her pain.
Yet she isn’t out of danger. The citizens of the town have theories about the body that was found in the house. Rumors and theories start spreading around, and Shandra is determined to find the truth. When she learns who the killer is she may not survive long enough to tell what she knows.
I liked this book. I thought it was a good read and really got into the story. Occasionally, I was jolted out of the book because Shandra’s characterization felt strange to me. Sometimes she acted too girly when my impression of her was more tomboyish. Other than that I really liked it. The series kind of reminds me of Lynn Gardener’s Gem series, and it is kind of funny they have several similarities. Both main characters have disappeared fathers for instance. I guess beyond that not much is similar except for the fact both are small, spunky, first person woman narrators. Not my favorite read of the year, but still it is an engaging mystery read with a few surprising twists. I actually did not guess the killer, which made me happy cause I like to be surprised.

First Impressions: Counting Stars by Michele Paige Holmes

Counting Stars By Michele Paige Holmes.
Jane was hoping for a date---maybe even a boyfriend. What she wasn't expecting was Paul Bryant's completely original and sincere pick-up line: Hi. I'm Paul. I have terminal cancer. My wife was killed in a car accident, and I'm looking for a woman to raise my children.It was never Jane's plan to fall in love with a dying man and his two infants. But her seemingly simple decision to date someone outside her faith leads to one complication after another. With the stakes this high, is choosing to help Paul a choice to be alone forever?And how can Paul feel so confident that this woman---who's never managed to keep a checking account for more than six months---should be the one to raise his children?How can something that seems so unbelievably insane feel so completely right?Sometimes love is found in the least likely places, and the greatest blessings are discovered while counting stars. (back liner of book)

Alright, I totally adored this book. I haven’t been liking a whole lot of romance novels lately, but this book was so awesome! I picked up the book and couldn’t put it down. I love how the conflict is so fantastic, yet still so real and relatable. The main character is easy to identify with, and completely charming. I love how the author shows that she is a romantic diehard through and through. I also love her sister! She’s classic. All the characters are wonderful in this story. I also love that the creepy side love interest character totally becomes fleshed out and interesting at the end. Something I really didn’t expect. I totally rooted for this book when I heard it was nominated for the Whitney award. I really wanted this great book to win because I loved it so much! So, I was delighted to find out that Counting Stars took the Whitney award home this year. I highly recommend this sweet and well-written book to all. I can’t wait to read the sequel.
Blogger's Note: This post concludes the First Impression series. I don't have anymore, so I'll try to add new interesting things on Fridays. Thanks!