Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Woman Who Rides Like A Man { Song of the Lioness #3 }

Title: The Woman Who Rides Like A Man
Author: Tamora Pierce
Ideal Age Range: 9-12
Mass Market Paperback: 304 Pages
Blurb: “Let her prove herself worthy as a man.”  Newly knighted, Alana of Trebond seeks adventure in the vast desert of Tortall.  Captured by fierce desert dwellers, she is forced to prove herself in a duel to the death- either she will be killed or she will be inducted into the tribe.  Although she triumphs, dire challenges lie ahead.  As her mythic fate would have it, Alanna soon becomes the tribe’s first female shaman- despite the desert dwellers’ grave fear of the foreign woman warrior.  Alanna must fight to change the ancient tribal customs of the desert tribes- for their sake and for the sake of all Tortall.
Synopsis: The Woman Who Rides Like a Man chronicles Alanna's first year as a Knight of the Realm. She travels to the south of Tortall and joins a tribe of the desert people, the Bazhir, where she ends up besting their Shaman and must teach three youngsters how to control their magic to become the Tribe's Shaman so that she may continue her journeys. While she is in Southern Tortall, Prince Jonathan comes to the Bazhir where the Voice of the Tribes is dying.  The Voice of the Tribes wants Jonathan to become the new Voice when he is gone so that the Bazhir will finally become one with Tortall.
My Rating:(★★★★1/2) I really love The Woman Who Rides Like A Man, I like how Alanna has matured and has become the person/character that I adore and respect so much.  She encompasses all the awesome traits and honors that becoming a Knight has taught her but she also holds so much of herself intact in the way she handles things and I love the fact that she is such a character that stays true to herself. One of the things that people get in an uproar about Tamora's books is the fact that Alanna has multiple sexual partners. In the four books she has 3 men in her life. They say that she is promiscuous and all sorts of other things.  People say that her books teach girls that it's okay to have sex with anyone. I am not sure how they come across with that, but whatever. I think that her books at most spread the thought that safe "protected" sex is the smart way of doing things if you want to finish your training in whatever you dream of becoming someday. I certainly didn't go out and have sex with just anyone just because I read these books, I think that it helped me to decide that safe protected sex is the way to go because I didn't want to have babies when I was only 17.

In any case, I don't see how a fictional book would really have an adverse effect on young adults because teenagers are teenagers and they're going to be curious about sex no matter what you tell them and to have them be protected and to be responsible about it seems the smart thing to me.
Quotes: "There's plenty more fish in the sea than Prince Jonathan," he told her softly. "And this particular fish loves you with all his crooked heart."

☆«·´`·.¸★☆★¸.·´`·»☆
My Rating System:
★ = didn’t like it
★★ = it was ok
★★★ = liked it
★★★★ = really liked it
★★★★★ = it was amazing
© demureconnoisseur/ Stacy Grey

Sunday, July 25, 2010

In the Hand of the Goddess { Song of the Lioness #2 }

Title: In the Hand of the Goddess {Book 2: The Song of the Lioness Quartet}
Author: Tamora Pierce
Ideal Age Range: 9-12
Mass Market Paperback: 288 Pages
Blurb: “I don’t want to fall in love.  I just want to be a warrior Maiden.”  Still disguised as a boy, Alanna becomes a squire to none other than the prince of the realm.  Prince Jonathan is not only Alanna’s liege lord, he is also her best friend- and one of the few who knows the secret of her true identity, but when a mysterious sorcerer threatens the prince’s life, it will take all of Alanna’s skill, strength, and magical power to protect him-even at the risk of revealing who she really is….
Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, Alanna’s second adventure continues the saga of a girl who dares to follow her dreams- and the magical destiny that awaits her.
Synopsis: In which the next four years of Alan's life go by, where she trains as a Squire to Prince Jonathan (Dreamysigh) and learns what is like to be a female AND a squire at the same time. George Cooper becomes more of an interesting character ( ! ) And the Ordeal of Knighthood looms near the end of the book. Of course, many other things happen as well like the Tusaine/Tortall War, and she receives Faithful and the Ember from the Goddess, etc!
My Rating:(★★★★½) )

I love the character development of Alanna in this book.  The growth of her relationships with Jonathan and George Cooper, the King of the Thieves was a good addition to the story. I love Faithful.  I enjoyed reading about Alanna exploring her maidenly side when her menses arrive, and Cooper’s reaction to her being a girl.  I also liked how she reacted and grew during the Tusaine war, and the friendships she made there, no matter if they happened to be short lived or not.  Mrs. Pierce seems to be well rounded with her creating her characters, whether they are main characters or background, they always have a spark of life about them that makes them easy to imagine.
Quotes: "So? He was stupid. If I killed everyone who was stupid, I wouldn't have time to sleep." Alanna- In the Hand of the Goddess

☆«·´`·.¸★☆★¸.·´`·»☆
My Rating System:
★ = didn’t like it
★★ = it was ok
★★★ = liked it
★★★★ = really liked it
★★★★★ = it was amazing
© demureconnoisseur/ Stacy Grey

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Alanna: The First Adventure { Song of the Lioness #1 }

Title: Alanna: The First Adventure
 {Book 1 of the Song of the Lioness Quartet}
Author: Tamora Pierce
Ideal Age Range: 9-12 years
Mass Market Paperback: 216 pages
Synopsis: A set of fraternal twins in a fictional world called Tortall switch places so that they can fulfill their dreams of becoming a famous Knight of the Realm for the sister and to become one of the most powerful sorcerers for the brother, Thom.  The book follows Alan, as she is now known, through her first four years at the Palace as a Page on the first part of her path to becoming a Knight. It tells of how she meets the Prince's group of friends and they become her own, and how she overcomes her disadvantages of being small and her fear of her magic, along with fighting a mage borne illness and some ancient, powerful creatures that are bent on doing her and her Prince harm.
My Rating:(★★★★★) ( I may be biased ) Okay, here's the thing. I read these first when I was in middle school. Basically they were only a few years old then. I still have the paperback copies that I begged my Mom to get me. I've read this whole series of books at least a dozen times. They are, in fact, my favorite books.  Yes, I am a 28 year old whose favorite books are written for the demographic now known as Tweens.
My.  Favorite.  Of. All. Time.

I may be a little ridiculous, but in all seriousness, I even reread them recently just to see if I still really really loved them, and I found out that I do!  I find Tamora Pierce ultimately entertaining and the fact that a lot of her books have strong female characters that happen to be the kind of characters that I love to imagine myself as doesn’t hurt.
Plus, her books are fantasies, which equals AWESOME to me. Throw any mixture of magic, horses, and swordsmanship into the pot and you've got me! Hook, line and sinker!
Her books happen to be pretty short because they are from the time before Harry Potter where publishers found that Young Adults/Teens/Tweens CAN read books longer than 300 pages! So, obviously with a smaller amount of pages there is going to be less description, but I don't need everything described to me, that's why I have an imagination!
I love that these books set up the foundation of why Alanna is the way she is, there is great character development throughout the four books and you see the characters grow as you read.  That’s rare in Young Adult books I’ve found.  These books are not stereotypical and they are phenomenal at teaching or at least instilling the desire to be “Knightly”, in my experience.  They definitely encouraged me to look outside the normal adventures of a pre-teen.  So, instead of only playing softball and learning dance, I was also interested in reading about/learning about castles and medieval life, jousting, and what chivalry really meant.
These books opened the doors for me.  Into my love of fantasy books and highflying sword bearing adventure tales.  I’ll always love them for that!
Happy reading!
Quotes: Coram (to Alanna): Watch your saddlebags. There are some here as would steal their own mother's teeth!
George: Who, me?

☆«·´`·.¸★☆★¸.·´`·»☆
My Rating System:
★ = didn’t like it
★★ = it was ok
★★★ = liked it
★★★★ = really liked it
★★★★★ = it was amazing
© demureconnoisseur/ Stacy Grey

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Harpist in the Wind { The Riddle-Master of Hed #3 }

Title: Harpist in the Wind
Author: Patricia A. McKillip
Ideal Age Range: Young Adult
Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
Blurb: Though Morgon the Riddle-Master was reunited with his beloved Raederle, his purpose in life and the reason for the stars on his forehead remained a myster. All around him, the realm shook with war and disaster as mysterious shape-changers battled against mankind. Without the missing High One, Morgon must assume responsibility for all his world. After leading an army of the dead to protect his island of Hed, he and Raederle set out for Lungold, where the wizards were assembling against the evil Ghisteslwchlohm. And behind them came Deth, the crippled harpist, Morgon's friend and betrayer. But Lungold was only the beginning ofthe quest that would lead him to the truth of ancient struggle and the fate of the High One, until at last he could solve all mysteries and know his own awesome destiny!
My Rating:(★1/2 This book took me almost two months to finish that almost never happens.  I didn't like it. All of that time to find out this one answer to this one riddle drove me crazy.  I am so glad I am done reading these books! :(
I normally love Patricia A. McKillip. But these books were not something that I liked, I dreaded reading them and it took me forever and it NEVER takes me that long to read books. I refused to give up. And now I'm done and I never have to read them again.  And that makes me excited.
The fact that it makes me excited that I don’t have to read a set of books again kind of makes me sad as well.  My husband kept asking me why I didn’t just put them down and not finish them if I didn’t like them so much, but I kept responding with, “I’m more than halfway, I can’t just not finish them!
I would recommend reading either The Forgotten Beasts of Eld or The Changeling Sea if I were to recommend a Patricia A. McKillip book to anyone.  Those are two of my favorite books by her, which is why I thought I would like The Riddle-Master of Hed trilogy, alas it was not meant to be.
This is one of those times where I might say, “but don’t take my word for it,” because my opinion goes against multiple awards that this series has won and many many other reviewers who loved these books.
Just not my cup of tea I suppose! Onto bigger and brighter things, I’d say!
Quotes: "Night is not something to endure until dawn. It is an element, like wind or fire. Darkness is its own kingdom; it moves to its own laws, and many living things dwell in it."
Similar Titles: The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip, The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip, Heir of Sea and Fire by Patricia A. McKillip

☆«·´`·.¸★☆★¸.·´`·»☆
My Rating System:
★ = didn’t like it
★★ = it was ok
★★★ = liked it
★★★★ = really liked it
★★★★★ = it was amazing
© demureconnoisseur/ Stacy Grey

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Heir of Sea and Fire { The Riddle-Master of Hed #2 }

Title: Heir of Sea and Fire
Author: Patricia A. McKillip
Ideal Age Range: Young Adult-Adult
Mass Market Paperback: ~ 200 pages
Blurb:  “By the vow of her father and her own desire, Raederle was pledged to Morgon, Riddle-Master of Hed. But a year had passed since Morgon disappeared on his search for the High One at Erlenstar Mountain, and rumors claimed he was dead.
Raederle set out to learn the truth for herself, though her small gift of magic seemed too slight for the perils she must face. The quest led through strange lands and dangerous adventures. Only her growing powers enabled her at last to reach Erlenstar Mountain. And there she discovered what she could not bear to accept.
Accompanied by Deth, the High One's Harper, she fled. And behind them came a pursuer whose name was Morgon, bent on executing a grim destiny upon Raederle and Deth.
Her only hope lay in summoning the Hosts of the Dead, led by the King whose skull she bore . . .”
Synopsis: Raederle goes on her own quest in search of Morgon, her betrothed, who won her by answering the one riddle that would win her set by her father.  Along the way she uncovers her own ancestry and her own magic.
My Rating:(★★1/2) I was severely pissed off that this book was from a different point of view from the first one and that it didn't start right where the first one left off, and that you didn't figure out the end of the first one until almost the end of the second book. It was only less irritating in the fact that Raederle was a more interesting character to me than Morgan. 
 I won’t bore you with the reasons why I read the book, because I didn’t even like the first one, let’s leave it with the fact that I’m stubborn and had started it and could not just leave it after the first one ended at a to be continued type ending.  Not that this second book was any better.  I would have been a much happier camper had the set of books I had was an omnibus of all three books together so I didn’t feel totally jerked around by the author.  I reiterate that I normally love this author too, as I said in my review of The Riddlemaster of Hed.
Quotes: "Is there a riddle on the master lists that permits the wise man to revenge?” –Heir of Sea and Fire

☆«·´`·.¸★☆★¸.·´`·»☆
My Rating System:
★ = didn’t like it
★★ = it was ok
★★★ = liked it
★★★★ = really liked it
★★★★★ = it was amazing
© demureconnoisseur/ Stacy Grey

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Riddle-Master of Hed { The Riddle-Master of Hed #1 }

Title: The Riddle-Master of Hed
Author: Patricia A. McKillip
Ideal Age Range: Young Adult-Adult
Mass Market Paperback: ~ 227
Blurb: Long ago, the wizards had vanished from the world, and all knowledge was left hidden in riddles. Morgon, prince of the simple farmers of Hed, proved himself a master of such riddles when he staked his life to win a crown from the dead Lord of Aum.
But now ancient, evil forces were threatening him. Shape changers began replacing friends until no man could be trusted. So Morgon was forced to flee to hostile kingdoms, seeking the High One who ruled from mysterious Erlenstar Mountain.
Beside him went Deth, the High One's Harper. Ahead lay strange encounters and terrifying adventures. And with him always was the greatest of unsolved riddles -- the nature of the three stars on his forehead that seemed to drive him toward his ultimate destiny.
Synopsis: In this book there is the Prince of Hed, Morgon who went to school to become a Riddle Master.  Little does he know that he was meant for greater destinies of which include winning the most beautiful maiden in the realm and finding the meaning of the three stars on his forehead, but all he wants to do is rule Hed alongside Raederle.
My Rating:(★★) I got so incredibly tired of Morgan fighting against his "destiny" and then going through with the next step of the journey despite being against his predestined path to Erlenstar Mountain to see the High One. Back and forth. Then it ended with a "To be Continued" Moment. It made me so angry!
I feel bad that I didn’t like this book, actually.  Because I adore so many of Patricia A. McKillip’s other books.  I loved The Changeling Sea and The Forgotten Beasts of Eld.  I can’t figure out why I didn’t like this one and I love her other books.  Maybe one reason is that there really weren’t any riddles for the reader to solve.  Just reading about Morgon’s will he won’t he pandering to his colleagues and travel companions.
I do like Patricia A. McKillip’s descriptive story telling, but in this book it just made the story seem like the background and you were supposed to be paying attention to the scenery instead of the story arc.  Distracting.
I know lots of people enjoyed this book, along with the entire series and though I did truck on through the other two books, I didn’t much like them.
Quotes: "If you have no faith in yourself, then have faith in the things you call truth. You know what must be done. You may not have courage or trust or understanding or the will to do it, but you know what must be done. You can't turn back. There is now answer behind you. You fear what you cannot name. So look at it and find a name for it. Turn your face forward and learn. Do what must be done.
-Deth to Morgon, Prince of Hed-"

☆«·´`·.¸★☆★¸.·´`·»☆
My Rating System:
★ = didn’t like it
★★ = it was ok
★★★ = liked it
★★★★ = really liked it
★★★★★ = it was amazing
© demureconnoisseur/ Stacy Grey

Wizard's First Rule { The Sword of Truth #1 }

Title: Wizard’s First Rule
Author: Terry Goodkind
Ideal Age Range: Late teens-adult
Mass Market Paperback: 576 Pages
Blurb: A legend begins.  In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, Richard Cyper encounters a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, in his forest sanctuary.  She seeks his help…and more.  His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence.
In their darkest house, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword-to invoke within himself something more noble.  Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed..or that their time has run out.
This is the beginning.  One book.  One Rule.  Witness the birth of a legend.
Synopsis: Richard Cypher is a run of the mill Woodsguide.  At least that is all that he is in his own mind, but he is to become much more.  He will become the legendary Seeker of Truth, bearer of the Sword of Truth and save the world from Darken Rahl who seeks to destroy everything that Richard has ever known, beginning with facilitating the death of his father.
Joined by the Wizard, Zeddicus Zul Zorander and the beautiful Confessor Kahlan Amnell they depart upon a journey against time and against the greatest dark wizard there may have ever been.
My Rating: (★★★★1/2I have to be honest, I have heard about the Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind for awhile and resisted picking them up.  But I finally succumbed when I finished watching all of the seasons that are available of the television show that are based off of the books, Legend of the Seeker.
I am sad to say that I think that my reading ability has gotten lax, or maybe it’s the fact that I’m pregnant and find it harder to concentrate for long periods of time right now, but I seem to be reading slower than I used to.  I remember being able to zip right through books the length of Wizard’s First Rule in several hours.  I am pretty sure I was capable of reading and comprehending at about 100 pages an hour.  Not anymore!
I finally finished reading Wizard’s First Rule in about 5 weeks.  It was late back to the library.  But I did really like it!  And I enjoyed comparing it to the quite mediocre television series (even though I love the television show, I know that it’s not an A rated show), I liked seeing how the characters were portrayed in the book, and I loved everything in the book ten times better than I like them in the show.
I think that my favorite part of the book was while Richard was with the Mord-Sith, Denna.  It was interesting, and full of the psychology of a Mistress-Pet relationship.  And though it is fiction, it does shed the light on the fact that with the right kind of persuasion even the strongest of people can be broken.
Wizard’s First Rule had the right amount of action, romance, magic, and questions to be answered to pique my interest so that I keep reading the books, and I’m happy to be reading a new author that I can enjoy so much!
Quotes:  “Wizard's First Rule: People can be made to believe any lie, either because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it's true.”

☆«·´`·.¸★☆★¸.·´`·»☆
My Rating System:
★ = didn’t like it
★★ = it was ok
★★★ = liked it
★★★★ = really liked it
★★★★★ = it was amazing
© demureconnoisseur/ Stacy Grey

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

Title: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
Author: Stephanie Meyer
Ideal Age Range: Tween/Teen
Hardcover: 178 pages
Blurb: I watched his body change.  He crouched on the roof, one hand gripping the edge.  All that strange friendliness disappeared, and he was a hunter.  That was something I recognized, something I was comfortable with because I understood it.
I turned off my brain.  It was time to hunt, I took a deep breath, drawing in the scent of the blood inside the humans below.  They weren’t the only humans around, but they were the closest.  Who you were going to hunt was the kind of decision you had to make before you scented your prey.
It was too late now to choose anything.
Synopsis: This novella by Stephenie Meyer tells the story of the teenager Bree Tanner and her short life after death as a vampire.  We met her for a brief period (very brief) in Eclipse.  This story tells of what happened with the vampires that Riley and Victoria “recruited” to join their army of newborns and how she was quite different from the others even though it didn’t help her much in the end.
My Rating:(★★I am not upset that I read this book, but I am glad that it was only a novella and that Stephenie Meyer hadn’t tried to make it into a full length novel, because there really wasn’t that much substance to the story to carry on that length of tome.  There wasn’t that much to it, and it really didn’t take me long to finish the book.  Her writing is very easy to read, almost too easy sometimes, almost like it’s missing something, but the ease of the read makes it entertaining in any case.
If you don’t want to have to engage your brain too fully in order to understand what’s going on in this story, you really don’t have to, it’s easy to follow along without really trying.
My final verdict would be that although I didn’t find much to not like about it, I feel like the world could have lived without it being published and not missed out on anything.
Quotes: “Super-secret ninja club sounds way cooler than the whole BFF thing.”
☆«·´`·.¸★☆★¸.·´`·»☆
My Rating System:
★ = didn’t like it
★★ = it was ok
★★★ = liked it
★★★★ = really liked it
★★★★★ = it was amazing
© demureconnoisseur/ Stacy Grey

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Movie VS Book
Title: Twilight // Twilight
Year Released: 2008 // 2005
Directed By / Written By: Catherine Hardwicke // Stephenie Meyer
Winner: The book!
Reason: Other than eye-candy in the form of vampire boys, the movie really had hardly anything to hold up to the book. And I only gave the book 3 stars. When I heard the quotes from the book out loud, spoken by a glittering immortal, I blanched. They sounded so horribly corny as they tumbled from his molded lips. I just sat there in astonishment.
I did, however, enjoy the soundtrack. It made the movie so much more entertaining and fun to watch! I honestly think it’s one of the better movie soundtracks that I own, and that’s saying a lot because soundtracks are my favorite type of CD to buy.
I don’t mind Robert Pattinson in the role of Edward, I think he did a pretty decent job. I am not sold on Kristen Stewart. At all. I don’t know why, there are times when I just think she doesn’t really care about the character that she is playing and then other times I just don’t think she can act. Period.
I think the actor that plays Bella’s father, Charlie, is great. I think that he is my favorite out of the entire movie, one of my favorite parts of the movie is when he’s cleaning his gun and Edward wants to formally introduce himself to Bella’s father.
I already put my thoughts down about the book earlier today. So, I won’t recount them here because that would be a waste of everyone’s time, including my own!
What did you think of the Book VS the Movie? Did you like one better than the other? If so, which?
My Movie Rating: (★★)
☆«·´`·.¸★☆★¸.·´`·»☆
My Rating System:
★ = didn’t like it
★★ = it was ok
★★★ = liked it
★★★★ = really liked it
★★★★★ = it was amazing
© demureconnoisseur/ Stacy Grey

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