Monday, January 30, 2012

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

Title: Alanna: The First Adventure
 {Book 1 of the Song of the Lioness Quartet}
Author: Tamora Pierce
Ideal Age Range: Ages 11 and up
Audiobook: 5 hours and 17 minutes (4 CDS)
Narrated by: Trini Alvarado
Synopsis: Call it fate, call it intuition, or just call it common sense, but somehow young Alanna knows she isn't meant to become some proper lady cloistered in a convent. Instead, she wants to be a great warrior maiden--a female knight. But in the land of Tortall, women aren't allowed to train as warriors. So Alanna finds a way to switch places with her twin, Thom, and take his place as a knight in training at the palace of King Roald. Disguising herself as a boy, Alanna begins her training as a page in the royal court. Soon, she is garnering the admiration of all around her, including the crown prince, with her strong work ethic and her thirst for knowledge. But all the while, she is haunted by the recurring vision of a black stone city that emanates evil... somehow she knows it is her fate to purge that place of its wickedness. But how will she find it? And can she fulfill her destiny while keeping her gender a secret?
With Alanna: The First Adventure, veteran fantasy author Tamora Pierce has created a lively, engaging heroine who will charm middle-school readers with her tomboyish bravado and have them eagerly searching for the next book in the Song of the Lioness series. Like Brian Jacques's tales of Redwall, this popular quartet is an entertaining fantasy series for younger teens. --Jennifer Hubert (From
My Rating:(★★★★★) I can’t remember if I have ever listened to an audiobook before listening to Alanna: the First Adventure by Tamora Pierce.  I think I tried listening to The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien but didn’t get very far on it.  I borrowed this audiobook of Tamora Pierce’s from the library and I was thrilled to be surprised that I loved it as much as reading the book myself!
Trini’s voice and her ability to flow from one accented voice to another to clearly distinguish between characters was fabulous, and soothing at the same time.
I had actually forgotten just how many “favorite” parts of Alanna’s story I have!  I mean, I was chuckling out loud as I was listening to the parts that I enjoy, like when Alanna finally fights Ralon, or when she escapes into the city for George’s help when she starts turning into a girl. 
This is coming from the girl who has read and re-read Ms. Pierce’s Alanna books multiple times!  If you missed my earlier review of Alanna: the First Adventure, it is HERE.
I would definitely recommend listening to the audiobook of this title, and I can’t wait to borrow In the Hand of the Goddess tomorrow when I go and volunteer at the library!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Feature & Follow

Welcome to the Demure Connoisseur's little niche on the interwebz!

Questions of the week: Which book genre do you avoid at all costs and why?

Answer:  Horror mostly.  I'd have to say that that it's not that I really avoid it at all costs but it's more like I have so many books of the genres I do like on my to be read pile that I just don't want to delve into a genre that I'm pretty sure that I won't like.  I'm sure you know what I mean.  :)

Happy Reading All!


Title:  Shatterglass
Author: Tamora Pierce
Ideal Age Range: Middle School/ Young Adult
Mass Market Paperback: 357 pages
Copyright Date:  March 2003
Blurb: Kethlun Warder was a gifted glassmaker until his world was shattered in a freak accident.  Now his remaining glass magic is mixed with lightning, and Tris must teach him to control it (if she can teach him to control his temper first).  But there’s more at stake than Keth’s education.  With his strange magic, he creates glass balls that reflect the immediate past and expose the work of a murderer.  If he can harness his power properly, he’ll be able to see the crimes as they take place.  Keth and Tris race against time, and the local authorities, to identify a killer who’s living in plain sight.
My Rating: (★★★★)  I picked up my copy of Tamora Pierce’s Shatterglass at my local Half Price Books for $1.00.  I always rescue Tammy’s books from the clearance shelves if I see them there, even if I already own 2 or 3 copies of the book.  I, however, did not own a copy of Shatterglass, and it is the last of The Circle Opens quartet that I had yet to read, so I was incredibly happy to get it for such a steal.
Tris is probably my least favorite of the Emelan Ambient Mages that star in The Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens quartets, she is a weather mage and has a brusque personality.  However, I felt that her character grew on me as I read Shatterglass, underneath her gruff exterior was the meat of the person that her adopted brother and sisters had grown to love, and I found myself to be just like them.  She is a rescuer of lost animals, and a protector of orphans, and a just and stubborn teacher.
I found that Shatterglass held hints of what was to become the world of Beka Cooper in Terrier, Bloodhound, and Mastiff.  There were whispers in the use of winds in Shatterglass and the plotline of a serial killer on the loose.  It was heralding the next books that Tamora was to be working on, it seemed to me anyway.
I enjoyed the magic in the story, and the development of the teacher/student relationship between Kethlun and Tris, and the unfolding chase of the serial killer kept me turning the pages.  Overall I was generally pleased with my choice of book to read after I was so disappointed with Nightshade by Andrea Cremer. 
I’m looking forward to reading Mastiff which is also sitting on my To Be Read pile, but I’m not sure it’s going to be my next reading choice.
I definitely think that if a reader enjoys any other books by Ms. Pierce, that they would most certainly like Shatterglass.  I think the only thing I found, as a negative of this series of books was that it was slightly formulaic.  Each book had the general idea of each mage discovering a new mage, being forced to become said person’s teacher, and a mystery to be solved.   That was a questionable negative in any case since a lot of series’ are like that, aren’t they?
Happy reading all!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Title:  Nightshade
Author: Andrea Cremer
Ideal Age Range:  Young Adult
Mass Market Paperback: 452 Pages
Copyright Date: 2010
Blurb:  Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers.  But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known.  By following her heart, she might lose everything-including her own life.  Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?
My Rating:  ()

I’ll start out by saying that I borrowed this book from my collector mother, several months ago, and I was recommended it by one of my friends.  I finally finished reading it last night, and I’m glad to be done reading it.  I have to be honest and say I didn’t like it, but I can see how so many people like it, no, love it. 

I don’t find any fault with the writing, actually.  It wasn’t difficult to read but I did have a really hard time getting into it.  Maybe it just didn’t call out to me to read it?  I thought that the last half of the book was a lot more interesting and full of action than the first half, which made it easier to finish.  I liked the usage of enemies of the supernatural kind that authors don’t have a habit of using lately, giant spiders, incubi, succubae and wraiths.  Instead of the usual vampires or zombies.

I also thought the world building was pretty well done, it was believable and I appreciate the attention to detail about how the boarding school worked and the supporting characters.  Even the other students that have no names were a bit interesting in their fear of the Guardians.

I didn’t like the main character.  She is supposed to be an Alpha, but she doesn’t really seem like she has any real power over her pack, which, I suppose is explained later in the book, but it really frustrated me up to that point that she was seemingly more of just a figurehead.  I also thought she came across as a horny teenager a lot of the time, and maybe that’s just because I’m a little older than the “target audience”, but I don’t normally have a problem identifying with young adult novel characters.

But maybe that is the underlying problem as to why I didn’t like it?  Maybe I’m growing out of Young Adult Paranormals.  Say it isn’t so!  I felt the same way, if I remember correctly, about Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.  It could be a pattern.

I’m torn as to whether or not I will pick up the second part of this series, Wolfsbane.  I had to make myself finish Nightshade but I hate it when books end with a cliffhanger of sorts.  So, even though I rated Nightshade as a 1 star (didn’t like it), I think I am definitely in the minority here, and if you like Young Adult Paranormals with a love triangle, then I’m sure you’d appreciate Andrea Cremer’s concoction.

I’m off to read something else now, Happy Reading Y’all!