Saturday, 15 June 2013

Review: A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Published By: Spectra
Publication Date: August 16th 2005
Source/Format: Purchased/eBook
Page Count: 864 Pages
Series/Novel: Book #1 in A Song of Ice and Fire
Find on Goodreads

Synopsis: 
Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty. The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.

Review:
I have heard so much about this series! Everyone was always talking about the tv show, Game of Thrones which is based on these books and so many people have asked me have I had a chance to check the show out or read the books yet and my answer was always no. I wasn't sure if I would like this story if I'm perfectly honest. It's not usually what I'm into. But I decided to give the tv show a chance first and I fell in love straight away. So of course, I decided to check the books out. 

I thought this was a fantastic book. It was very similar to the tv show too, maybe with a few more minor details here and there, but basically the exact same, which I liked. There is so much going on in this book, with the very long chapters, each told from the perspective from different characters. Speaking of characters, there are SO many in this series. Wow! What did George R.R. Martin say? Did he say there's over 140 or so in the entire series? That absolutely blows my mind! I definitely admire GRRM for being able to create such a huge number of personalities and have them interact and give them emotions and dept. It's such an incredible thing to be able to do. 

If you have seen my review of Lolita, you will see how I said I hate the type of writing and narration Vladimir Nobakov gave off. But it was completely different with this book, even though I honestly though the writing would be similar. But no, I was proved wrong. It's super simple to read and understand and you get dragged in from the very beginning. I spent my days dying to be able to pick this book up again to see what happens next. 

Overall, I loved this book. I regret not reading it sooner and I will definitely be reading the entire series soon. I highly recommend! 


Monday, 25 March 2013

Review: Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Published by: Vintage
Publication Date: October 28th 2010
Source/Format: Purchased/Paperback
Page Count: 240 Pages
Series/Novel: Book #1 in Warm Bodies
Find on Goodreads | Buy from The Book Depository

Synopsis: 
'R' is a zombie. He has no name, no memories and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows - warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can't understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.

This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won't be changed without a fight..

Review:
I only heard about this book after I watched the movie. I was book shopping with one of my friends and I just happened to see it on a book shelf. I loved the movie so I had to pick up of a copy of the book. I really enjoyed reading this one. The story is face paced, it gets straight to the point without dragging it out and adding pointless facts, which is always a great thing! It's also not your typical zombie story where all they do is kill and infect people. Of course, there was a lot of killing but it wasn't just that.

The character development was fantastic, mainly with the main character 'R'. At the start, he's a lost zombie, he doesn't remember anything about his human life and all he does now a days is spend his time walking around an airport full of other zombies, always staying still, not moving forward in life. Until he eventually meets Julie. Julie is there in the airport on Patrol with some other human beings. R's group of zombies attack the humans and R ends up killing Julie's boyfriend, eating his brain. When a zombie eats someones brain, they see flashbacks from their life, living vicariously through their victim, if you will. R sees all the precious moments Perry had with Julie and he is instantly intrigued. He decided then that he has to protect her. So they brings her back to his 'home' in the airport. And this is where the story begins!

If you have seen the movie, you pretty much know what happens. There wasn't much difference between the two. Maybe just three or four things but the movie was very, very similar to the book. There was definitely a lot of action too. If you think this is just a soppy love story between a zombie and human, you're wrong. And if you're unsure whether or not you should read it because of that, I assure you, there's lot's of action and adventure, as well as teen romance and friendship. It pretty much has everything! 

This is definitely one of the best books I have read this year so far and I'm super excited about the sequel. Sadly, it's still untitled and in the works and the expected publication is sometime next year. But I will definitely be reading that! Watch this space! 


Sunday, 24 March 2013

Author Guest Post: David Schmidt

David J. Schmidt is a freelance writer and accomplished nudist living in San Diego, CA.

He was conceived in a fireworks factory at some point between 1970 and 1985. After a gestation period of unknown duration, Schmidt was born to the world of Man, only to be swiftly adopted into the world of Beast some days later. The pack of wolves that raised Schmidt during his formative years was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour by U.S. President George W. Bush, shortly after he delivered his fated “Mission Accomplished” speech.

A self-described "Huguenot", Schmidt has received various recognitions for his charitable contributions toward the preservation of Peyronie’s Disease. In 2004, he was granted knighthood by the Basque Republic, becoming Sir David J. Schmidt for the following three years. The title was stripped from him by the United Nations Council on Fallacious Royal Families in 2007.

Schmidt lives with his beloved ex-wife of 14 years, his two cats, and his indentured servant.
 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
David has been kind enough to offer to do a guest post here at Night Sky Reviews to celebrate his book 'Pirates of the Danube' being completely free to download to your ereader for Saturday and Sunday (23rd + 24th of March). Here's what he had to say:

“Hikaru kumo o tsukinuke furai a wei.”

-Japanese folk saying. Translation: “Rice must be cooked just right—neither too hard nor too soft. This is the manifestation of perfection.”

I’ll be frank with you, dear reader—I am an avid collector of bad literature.

I am a literary crap enthusiast. Like the young Joseph Smith in upstate New York, I take my proverbial shovel in hand and head out into the woods, searching for those golden tablets of text that are a cut above the rest. There is a unique quality to exceptionally bad writing: if it crosses a certain threshold, it suddenly becomes immensely fun to read. I feel that the scale of “good to bad writing” is not a continuum; rather, it is horseshoe shaped, with good and bad nearly meeting at the bottom. Some books are so bad that they are able to jump that synapse and cross over into Awesome Territory.

One such book was a little gem I stumbled upon last year titled “Leave the Wine Glass Lay”. A friend of mine met the author in person—he came to her unannounced, like the Angel Moroni, to tell her about his literary opus. The author assured my friend, with a self-important air about him, that his book would be “the next big thing”. She went online and checked the book’s description on Amazon—and then immediately sent me an e-mail marked urgent, with a link and the comment, “you have to buy this book”.

As soon as I read the Amazon synopsis of “Leave the Wine Glass Lay”, I knew that I had struck gold.

Three things stuck out to me:

1.    The modifier “all kinds of” is used twice in the first paragraph of the description. The main character, a powerful wizard, has “all kinds of magical powers” and encounters “all kinds of characters”.

2.    By the second paragraph, we already have a full fledged cluster-eff of pronouns.
“He befriends a 10-yr-old child, Laden, who finds the Evil Wine Glass at the seashore and invites him and his family to dinner along with his friends.”
Whose family? Whose friends? Which he is who? Zuh?

3.    The author went to the trouble of writing a quote of recommendation for himself. Unfortunately, he couldn’t think of anybody to attribute this quote to. All we have, at the end of the book’s description, is this:
“This story is unlike any other and author Jackie O Brien is truly unique by writing this story.”

I should note: that quote is also on the back cover of the book itself. In the print version, however, the author was nice enough to add some quotation marks—but still no person to whom the compliment is attributed. The punctuation itself appears to beg of us, “Come on, guys, honest, somebody said that. Look—there’s punctuation marks around it!”

That’s right, dear reader—I purchased this book.

And it was worth every penny. It truly was so bad that it became amazing. Where to begin? Well, how about at the beginning. Seriously, the first sentence of the book already has major verb tense confusion:

“I am the wizard Translucence and the year was 1503.”

The punctuation is devil-may-care and haphazard, as are the spelling and grammar. “Its” and “it’s” are used interchangeably, as are “they’re”, “there” and “their”. At several points throughout the book, the author appears to have forgotten what he’d already said—or lost the ability to scroll up on his word processor—and inserts sudden interjections like, “oh, but did I mention”, and “oh, I forgot to say such-and-such”. Some words are inexplicably capitalized, only to be written lowercase later in the text.

The descriptive language is just as avant garde in nature. This is one of my favorite quotes:

"Another enchantment, I instantly thought as the veins on my neck puffed in horror."

I have no idea what “neck veins puffing in horror” looks like, but I imagine something akin to a bullfrog when threatened.

And the story itself. Oh, dear, sweet Lord, the story. It jumps around, introducing plot developments suddenly and without warning. The entire thing appears to have been written in one sitting, the author overcome with the white heat of drunken inspiration. “Leave the Wine Glass Lay” truly jumps the gap between good and bad, moving with Nietzschean boldness into that netherworld beyond good and evil.

But oh, did I mention that “Leave the Wine Glass Lay” wasn’t the initial book I came here to discuss, dear reader? No, the book that truly makes my neck veins puff up in horror is none other than “Fifty Shades of Grey”.

* * * *

The above-quoted Japanese proverb illustrates the ideal of perfection—something that walks that delicate balance between hard and soft, undercooked and overcooked—in Japanese culture. It is my opinion that the same principle applies to something that is of poor quality. For writing to be truly bad, it can’t be overly bad, like Jackie O Brien’s book of wizardly adventures. His book is too bad to really even be considered bad, in my opinion. Nay, I believe that truly bad writing must be just bad enough to frustrate the reader without amusing him/her.

Enter “Fifty Shades of Grey”, stage left.

The most infuriating thing about the entire “Fifty Shades” trilogy is that it walks that delicate, Japanese line of balance and equilibrium. It is not nearly good enough to be worth reading. However, it is not quite bad enough to be entertaining. “Fifty Shades” is just bad enough to be truly bad writing—drab, poorly constructed, unsophisticated. Its badness is, well—grey.

I am reminded of M. Scott Peck’s description of evil as “gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring”. [People of the Lie, p. 264.] And of C. S. Lewis’s depiction of Hell as a gray, drizzly English city with nothing particularly interesting about it. True evil is not exciting or interesting—it is uncreative and pedestrian.

Perhaps more infuriating than its mundane badness, however, is the fact that people pay money for “Fifty Shades”. At least “Leave the Wine Glass Lay” has been left “laying” on the shelf. E. L. James’s erotica stories have become a cultural phenomenon, sparking a mini-industry of merchandise, knock-offs, parodies, late night talk show references, and even involving the participation of Gilbert Gottfried.

Well, if you can’t beat them, join them. 

I decided to climb on board the sticky, dubiously-stained bandwagon of the “Fifty Shades” phenomenon and write a satirical work of my own. My book, “Pirates of the Danube”, is not a direct parody of the S & M trilogy per se, however; rather, it is an homage to an entire genre of rambling romance-erotica tales. It is part “Fifty Shades”, part Harlequin romance, part “Leave the Wine Glass Lay”, and 100% awesome.

And it will be available for free this weekend. See below for details.

-David J. Schmidt

*One note on the Japanese proverb quoted above:
I wasn’t able to find the actual folk proverb, so I just inserted a quote from the opening credits to the Japanese cartoon Dragonball Z instead. But I swear, that proverb about properly cooked rice exists somewhere in Japan—a real Japanese man told it to me once, while he shared a bottle of vodka with me in southern Russia. But that’s a different story for a different time.



David J. Schmidt is the author of the satirical romance novel, “Pirates of the Danube”, as well as its sequel, “The Baron Rides Again”. The former, “Pirates of the Danube”, will be available on the Kindle store for free this Passover / Palm Sunday weekend, March 23 and 24.
[quick link: amzn.com/B009479CH2 ]

Schmidt has received various recognitions for his charitable contributions toward the preservation of Peyronie’s Disease. In 2004, he was granted knighthood by the Basque Republic, becoming Sir David J. Schmidt for the following three years. The title was stripped from him by the United Nations Council on Fallacious Royal Families in 2007. Schmidt lives with his beloved ex-wife of 14 years, his two cats, and his indentured servant. He can be reached via his blog, www.donguero.blogspot.com or via email at thebaroninsideyou@gmail.com

Author Links:

Friday, 22 March 2013

Follow Friday #20

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by parajunkee and Alison Can Read. This week's question is:

What is your guilty pleasure as far as reading? It is a genre, or is it a certain type of book?

Okay this might sound a little strange but my guilty pleasure is Villains. Not only in books, but with movies and tv shows too. I ALWAYS end up falling in love with the bad guy in stories. The majority of them usually end up being far more interesting than the main character(s) themselves and I really can't get enough of them. If there's an awesome villain in a story, I will more than likely end up loving it! 

What about you? What's your guilty pleasure? Let me know in the comment section if you're a new follower and I shall return the favor. I only follow people via GFC though, sorry! Happy Friday everyone :)

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #6

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the question is: 

Top ten books I had to buy but still haven't read

  1. Paper Towns by John Green: Being a big fan of John Green, naturally I bought this because I needed to complete my collection of his books. I still haven't gotten around to reading it yet!
  2. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill: I bought this one because of the movie. Still sitting on my bookshelf untouched.
  3. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo: Same reason as above, also because the cover is GORGEOUS.
  4. Dracula by Bram Stoker: Again, it is one of the limited edition covers so I had to have it.
  5. Glitch by Heather Anastasiu: I have wanted this book ever since I read the synopsis for it before it was released. I bought it the day it came out but I still haven't even opened it yet.
  6. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia: Okay, so this one isn't too bad since I only bought this book like a month ago. Again, for the movie.
  7. The Maze Runner by James Dashner: I have wanted this for so long because of the postivite reviews I have been hearing. I looked it up and decided I wanted it. But none of my bookstores had it in stock for the month I was looking for it, which made me want it more. Eventually I found it but it's still gathering dust on the bookcase.
  8. IT by Stephen King: I have both the paperback and ebook copies of this so I really don't know why I haven't read it yet. I'll get around to it.. eventually.
  9. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  10. Basically the entire Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris (except the first book, I have read that one). I bought them all at once with gift vouchers I received for Christmas but they're still sitting on my bookcase untouched. So many books, so little time!

New Releases: Clockwork Princess

This week's most anticipated newly released book is none other than Cassandra Clare's 'Clockwork Princess'. This is the third and final book in The Infernal Devices trilogy.

If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it? The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose. Passion.  Power. Secrets. Enchantment. Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy. (from Goodreads)

Personally, I am SUPER excited about this release! I fell in love with the first two books in the series and have been waiting over a year for this beauty. And today is finally the day! In Ireland, it's officially the 19th of March, which means today is the release date. Sadly, I don't think I will be near a book store for the rest of the week so I think I may have to purchase the ebook edition. If you're a fan of The Infernal Devices, are you looking forward to getting your hands on this installment? What do you think will happen? Let me know your thoughts!

Find it on Goodreads | Pre-order from Amazon | Buy from The Book Depository

My reviews for other books in the series:
Clockwork Angel | Clockwork Prince

Sunday, 10 March 2013

The Fall of Five Cover Reveal!

I am delighted that Lorien Legacies fans are finally getting some information about the fourth book in the series by Pittacus Lore. So far, we have learnt that the title will be The Fall of Five, we have gotten the synopsis and now we finally have a book cover! Are you ready? Drum roll please.. 

Ta-da! What do you all think? Personally, I love it! I have no idea what the bugs are about though.. anyone have any ideas? The Fall of Five hits book stores August 27th 2013. You can pre-order it here.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Follow Friday #19

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by parajunkee and Alison Can Read. This week's question is:

Confess your blogger sins! Is there anything as a newbie blogger that you've done, that as you gained more experience, you were like - oops? 

I'm trying to think of a few but my mind is blank. I think the only thing I did was accepting every single review request given to me, even though I had about 50 books on my TBR pile already. I think new bloggers get super excited about people asking them to review their work, so I jumped at the chance. I know better now!

What about you? Let me know if you're a new follower in the comments and I shall follow you back. Happy Friday, book lovers!

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Review: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Published by: Everyman's Library
Publication Date: March 9th 1993
Source/Format: Hardback/Purchased
Page Count: 335
Series/novel: Stand alone novel 
Find on Goodreads | Buy from The Book Depository

Synopsis:
When it was published in 1955, Lolita immediately became a cause célèbre because of the freedom and sophistication with which it handled the unusual erotic predilections of its protagonist. But Vladimir Nabokov's wise, ironic, elegant masterpiece owes its stature as one of the twentieth century's novels of record not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author's use of that material to tell a love story almost shocking in its beauty and tenderness. Awe and exhilaration–along with heartbreak and mordant wit–abound in this account of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America, but most of all, it is a meditation on love–love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.

Review:
I heard a bit about this book a few years ago, but nothing really grabbed my attention. A few weeks ago, I noticed that the movie adaptation was showing on tv so I decided to give that a go, to see if I would like it. Afterwards, I was dying to read the book. So naturally, I began looking up reviews on goodreads to see what everyone else thought about the novel. There are so many mixed reveiws, it's crazy. A lot of people have completely different views and takes on the main character, Humbert Humbert, and what exactly the point of the story is and many people generally telling other people off for having an opinion that differs from theirs. I just want to say: everyone has their own opinion and there is absolutely no need to put others down and say that they're wrong just because their opinion differs from yours. You may have enjoyed this book, they mightn't have. It doesn't mean they're wrong or "too immature to understand it".

I'm going to start off by saying that it took me just under a month to read the entire book, which is so out of character for me. I usually end up finishing books in a week, maybe less. I just couldn't keep my concentration with this story. Don't get me wrong, I thought the basic plot was brilliant and original, definitely interesting, but the story seemed to drag out a lot, including pointless facts that had nothing what so ever to do with the actual storyline. I feel like the book would have been more interesting if that was the case. 

The writing was magnificent to say the least. Nabokov's wordplay was brilliant and I thought that added to the story. The only thing I disliked about this was the constant, random French words thrown in the middle of sentences? I don't speak French so I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about half of the time. I wouldn't have minded much if every so often he spoke in French, but it was every few sentences.. it didn't make any sense to me, and quite frankly, irritated me. This was one of the main reasons I had to keep putting the book down.

I have also seen in reviews that people have said that Humbert completely manipulates the readers and makes them feel sorry for him. I completely understand this. At times, I did feel sorry for him but the majority of the time, I strongly disliked him. What he did to Lolita is sickening and I just can't seem to feel sorry for him because of that. A lot of people have also said that Lolita seduced him and she's to blame for what H.H did to her. This genuinely shocked me. The girl is 12 years old! She did not seduce him in any way. Yes, she may have been overly friendly with strangers and trusting of them, but that doesn't mean she asked for what happened to her. 

I honestly don't think I will be reading this book again. It dragged out, bored me about 60% of the time and I ended up forcing myself to finish it. Maybe in the far future on a rainy day, I might give it another go but for the mean time, I think I'll stick with watching the movie. 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Stacking the Shelves #16



Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted over at Tynga's Reviews. It's all about sharing the new books that you have added to your shelves during the week. They can be anything from books you purchased, got from the library, received as a gift, books you won, ARCs or even eBooks.
This week I received:


Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever. Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them. In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness." Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire. When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House. While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years. Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead. Not just another zombie novel, Warm Bodies is funny, scary, and deeply moving.

Movie adaptation mania this week for me! So far, I have seen the movie for Warm Bodies and I loved it so I'm super excited about getting started on that book. The other two are still on my TBR pile/TBW list! What books did you all receive this week?