Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - August 30

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted each week over at One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books.

For the last few weeks, I've ended up so far off track that it wasn't even worth posting about it. I think things have started to improve now though.

Last week I read:
Jewels by Victoria Findlay: a non fiction book on ten different jewels: pearl, amber, diamond, ruby, sapphire, jet, emerald and others. It covers their history, how the gem is formed and a bit about the uses.

Nimisha's Ship by Anne McCaffrey: A nice, fun, science fiction read. One I've read a few times before, but I keep on enjoying it.

And, finally, the big one I read last week: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: Teen science fiction, and a very good book. It kept me up until three A.M.

At the moment I'm reading:
Half-Brother by Kenneth Oppel. It's a teen novel, and I'm actually not sure if I'm going to finish it. The neat thing is though, that it is set in Victoria. A place I know. Still, the book's not grabbing me.

Not sure what I'm going to be reading this coming week.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Last Chance To Win! - Hand of Isis

My giveaway ends tomorrow! If you live in Canada and want a chance to win a copy of Jo Graham's novel Hand of Isis, click here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins
Scholastic Press
Copyright: August 2010

The product description:
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.
Mockingjay is the third and final book in the Hunger Games trilogy, following on The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. It's also going to be a hard one to review without giving out spoilers. So... Off the top, I'm going to say that Mockingjay was an incredible story that kept me up until it was finished. In other words, I was reading until three A.M.

At the end of Catching Fire, Katniss was safe, as were half of the remaining tributes from the Quarter Quell Hunger Games. But, the fate of the others, including Peeta remained unknown. Well, Mockingjay picks things up from that point and keeps going as if there'd never been a break. All of the unresolved threads from Catching Fire are picked up at some point and sorted out: District 13, Katniss's family, Peeta, District 12, and of course, the Rebellion.

Even without a Hunger Games to center on, Mockingjay is a fast-paced and exciting novel to read. Although, it does rather require reading the first two books to understand this one. It's a bit different though, because there is more to it than just the action sequences. Katniss is learning about herself and how she's seen by the world of Panem, as well as the responsibilities that brings, being the Mockingjay and symbol of the rebellion. She does have some hard choices to make in this book.

There are some pretty good twists that you'll never see coming too. Not everyone is as they seem. That's a good part of what made the book so impossible to put down.

I won't recommend this series to younger teens. It's just a bit too brutal and violent. But, for older teens and some adults? Go for it. You won't be able to put it down. One thing about Mockingjay in this vein is that it doesn't glorify violence and war. It treats it as horrible, but sometimes as a necessity. The characters change because of what's going on.

A very good book, and a worthy ending to a good series.

Friday, August 27, 2010

What Would You Recommend? - Knitting & Crochet Books

This is a question I get asked all the time working in the bookstore: "What would you recommend for somebody who loved "_________"? (fill in the blank)" Usually I can come up with something, but that something can be a bit of a wild guess if it's not a book or genre I normally read. This is where you helpful people come in. If you have a suggestion, I'd love to hear it.

I'm back with the spinning wheel and drop spindle quite a bit this week (I'm usually inspired about this time of year because the spinners guild is at the local fair), and I was figuring that it's time for me to really learn to knit. I can. Sort of. Some of my friends say I've managed to invent my own stitch. But, that's not helpful for doing anything other than squares and scarves. I'm also rather curious to try out crochet - thinking it might work better for some of the stuff I'm spinning now - namely a nice merino/silk combination which is quite fine. But I don't think I have enough of the roving left to spin enough for a proper two ply yarn.

I've had luck with the Teach Yourself Visually series before - namely the one on Handspinning, so I'm rather tempted by that book for Crochet, and someone else raved about their book on knitting. Readers are often also crafters I've found, so I'm sure some of you out there have some good suggestions on these two topics. Personally, I'm looking for books that have clear descriptions (and pictures would be nice too,) of the basic stitches and the like. But, your favorite books on the subjects would be great as well. Even if it's not something I'm skilled enough for yet, I can either pass the recommendations on, or keep them in mind for later.

So, what would you recommend about knitting and crochet?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Nimisha's Ship - Anne McCaffrey

Nimisha's Ship
Anne McCaffrey
Del Rey
Copyright: 2000

The product description:
On Vega III, Lady Nimisha Boynton-Rondymense loves the challenging world of her father, Lord Tionel, owner and principal starship designer of the famous Rondymense Ship Yards. Precociously gifted, Nimisha becomes his secret assistant--and, in the aftermath of a shocking tragedy, his chosen successor at the helm of the Ship Yards.

When Nimisha takes an experimental ship on a solo test flight, something goes horribly awry, marooning her light-years from home on a planet as deadly as it is beautiful. Now the ruthless members of a rival branch of the Rondymense family are given the chance they've been waiting for: to reclaim the Ship Yards by any means necessary.

Only Nimisha's ingenious child, Cuiva, stands in their way. But for how long? For just when her daughter needs her most, Nimisha is in a precarious situation herself--and unable to help. But Nimisha has never given up in her life--and she's not about to start now . . .
Not the lastest Anne McCaffrey novel by any means, but Nimisha's Ship has remained one of my favorites since it came out. The world is a very different one from most of McCaffrey's books. The world that Nimisha lived in at the beginning of the story is very formal, stratified and rigid. But Nimisha is an interesting character, determined to do her own thing, no matter what gets in her way.

One other interesting thing with Nimisha's Ship is that it's not quite a stand alone: The book is set in the same world/universe as The Coelura, but there's no overlap between the two otherwise.

I do wish that there was a sequel to this book. Although the main points of the story are resolved quite well at the end of the story, there are enough little things that there could have been a sequel. I know I'd love to know more about the Sh'im, not to mention the mysterious emissions trails that the rescuers and explorers both found in the final pages of the story.

A perfect mix of science fiction and adventure with a cast of strong characters. No outright violence or overly gory scenes either, which makes for a nice change from some of my other favorite authors in the genre.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What Would You Recommend? - Number One Ladies Detective Agency

This is a question I get asked all the time working in the bookstore: "What would you recommend for somebody who loved "_________"? (fill in the blank)" Usually I can come up with something, but that something can be a bit of a wild guess if it's not a book or genre I normally read. This is where you helpful people come in. If you have a suggestion, I'd love to hear it.

A lot of people, especially older women really like Alexander McCall Smith's Number One Ladies Detective Agency series. I've heard good things about the T.V. series version too, although the DVD's are fairly expensive. But, once they've caught up to the latest book in the series, in this case, The Double Comfort Safari Club, what should I send them on to while they wait for the next book? Corduroy Mansions, his latest book? It's weird I know, but I've found that quite a number of people who love the Detective Agency books don't especially care for the other series of his. I have to admit that the titles are definitely clever.

Also, I've heard from a lot of people that they like his books, but they don't like mysteries in general, which cuts out a lot of what I'd suggest to them. Are there other good books/series that are set in Africa that readers of Alexander McCall Smith might like?

So, what would you recommend?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Oath Of Fealty - Elizabeth Moon

Oath Of Fealty
Elizabeth Moon
Del Rey
Publishing Date: March 16, 2010

The description:
Elizabeth Moon’s bestselling science fiction novels featuring Kylara Vatta have earned her rave reviews and comparison to such giants as Robert Heinlein and Lois McMaster Bujold. But as Moon’s devoted fans know, she started her career as a fantasy writer. The superb trilogy known as The Deed of Paksenarrion is widely judged to be one of the great post-Tolkien fantasies, a masterpiece of sustained world-building and realistic military action. Now Moon returns to this thrilling realm for the first time in nearly twenty years. The result: another classic in the making.

Thanks to Paks’s courage and sacrifice, the long-vanished heir to the half-elven kingdom of Lyonya has been revealed as Kieri Phelan, a formidable mercenary captain who earned a title—and enemies—in the neighboring kingdom of Tsaia. Now, as Kieri ascends a throne he never sought, he must come to terms with his own half-elven heritage while protecting his new kingdom from his old enemies—and those he has not yet discovered.

Meanwhile, in Tsaia, Prince Mikeli prepares for his own coronation. But when an assassination attempt nearly succeeds, Mikeli suddenly faces the threat of a coup. Acting swiftly, Mikeli strikes at the powerful family behind the attack: the Verrakaien, magelords possessing ancient sorcery, steeped in death and evil. Mikeli’s survival—and that of Tsaia—depend on the only Verrakai whose magery is not tainted with innocent blood.

Two kings stand at a pivotal point in the history of their worlds. For dark forces are gathering against them, knit in a secret conspiracy more sinister—and far more ancient—than they can imagine. And even Paks may find her gods-given magic and peerless fighting skills stretched to the limit—and beyond.
This is a re-read of Elizabeth Moon's novel Oath of Fealty, which I first read back in March when it came out. My original review is here.

Rereading that review before I wrote this one was an interesting experience, as several of the things I noted there, weren't things that came up at all when I read the book this time. For example, my comment about "hands". I didn't notice the usage at all this time. I still think the characters were all "right", and true to the previous books.

What I did notice however, were all the hints of things to come in future books such as Kings of the North. I don't think I noticed the necklace at all last time I read. Now, I'm wondering if it's going to be reunited with the rest of the set. Where are the rest of the missing Verrakai? What was going on with Korryn? and does that have something to do with the events up north? etc, etc. These are all things I don't remember wondering about on my last read. Not to mention all the hints from Elizabeth Moon's various blogs. Only seven months to wait, more or less now.

Even on a re-read, Oath of Fealty managed to keep me up late at night - doing the "just one more chapter" thing. If you like a good fantasy novel I highly recommend any of the Paksenarrion books by Elizabeth Moon: The Deed of Paksenarrion, especially.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Feeling a big guilty

A full week and no posts! Yikes! I'm sorry. I ended up in one heck of a reading slump for about a week and a half there. I think I ended up finishing only one book in that whole time.

It turned into one of those "I must read this one book" weeks (and I couldn't find the book, even though I know that I own a copy). After picking up and discarding four other books, I ended up buying another copy rather than hunting for the book some more, although, I did buy it for the Kobo E-reader, just so I wouldn't have a second copy on my shelves. At the same time, I think I've shaken the slump, as I'm reading two other books now.

The whole thing wasn't helped any by the fact that the last couple of weeks have been cooking weeks, and too hot to do anything. Ten pounds of apricots to be dealt with and the same for peaches. Oh well. At least I've got plenty to write up for Kitchen Misadventures.

None of this was helped by the fact that I didn't have regular internet access every day either. Not that that last point is likely to be changed any time in the future.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mailbox Monday - August 9

Mailbox Monday is on the move now: For the month of August, it can be found at Chick Loves Lit. However, the description is still the same: "Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists."

I think it was this past week that I got this book in the mail (Ordered it last month):
The Price You Pay
Ashley McConnell

The product description:
Colonel Jack O'Neill and his SG-1 team find themselves stranded on a primitive world where the inhabitants pay homage to the Goa'uld by providing their best specimens as host bodies for their young.

Other than that one, I bought two books this week:
Susan Cooper

The product description:

Sam Robbins is a farm boy, kidnapped to serve on HMS Victory, the ship on which Lord Nelson will die a hero's death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Molly Jennings is a twenty-first-century English girl transplanted to the United States by her stepfather's job, who's fighting her own battle against loss and loneliness.
Two lives that couldn't be more different, two hundred years apart, are linked by a tiny scrap of fraying cloth, tucked into an old book. It draws Molly into Sam's world, to a moment in time that changed history -- a frightening shared moment that holds the key to secrets from the past and hope for the future. 

The I Hate To Cook Book
Peg Bracken

The product description:
"There are two kinds of people in this world: the ones who don't cook out of and have NEVER cooked out of THE I HATE TO COOK BOOK, and the other kind...The I HATE TO COOK people consist mainly of those who find other things more interesting and less fattening, and so they do it as seldom as possible. Today there is an Annual Culinary Olympics, with hundreds of cooks from many countries ardently competing. But we who hate to cook have had our own Olympics for years, seeing who can get out of the kitchen the fastest and stay out the longest."

- Peg Bracken

Philosopher's Chowder. Skinny Meatloaf. Fat Man's Shrimp. Immediate Fudge Cake. These are just a few of the beloved recipes from Peg Bracken's classic I HATE TO COOK BOOK. Written in a time when women were expected to have full, delicious meals on the table for their families every night, Peg Bracken offered women who didn't revel in this obligation an alternative: quick, simple meals that took minimal effort but would still satisfy.

50 years later, times have certainly changed - but the appeal of THE I HATE TO COOK BOOK hasn't.

This book is for everyone, men and women alike, who wants to get from cooking hour to cocktail hour in as little time as possible.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Across The Nightingale Floor - Lian Hearn

Across The Nightingale Floor
Lian Hearn
Riverhead Books
Copyright: 2002

The product description:
One Boy, One Journey, One Dark Destiny In his palace at Inuyama, Lord lida Sadamu, warlord of the Tohan clan, surveys his famous nightingale floor. Its surface sings at the tread of every human foot, and no assassin can cross it. But 16-year-old Otori Takeo, his family murdered by lida's warriors, has the magical skills of the Tribe - preternatural hearing, invisibility, a second self - that enable him to enter the lair of the Tohan. He has love in his heart and death at his fingertips...Across the Nightingale Floor, Book 1 in the Tales of the Otori trilogy, is a stunningly powerful novel. An epic story for readers young and old. Set in a mythical, feudal, Japanese land, a world both beautiful and cruel, the intense love story of two young people takes place against a background of warring clans, secret alliances, high honour and lightning swordplay.
Across The Nightingale Floor is the first book in the Tales of the Otori, a series of novels set in a fantasy world based closely on feudal Japan. It's close enough that as the books continue, I'm finding more and more paralels with the non-fiction I've read. To date the setting, it seems to be somewhere between that of James Clavell's novel Shogun (in some aspects of the story) and other aspects are closer by far to that of David Mitchell's novel The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. Probably Lian Hearn had intended this series to be set in a fantasy time somewhere inbetween the two.

The original recommendation for this series came from one of my What Would You Recommend? posts, but I was reminded about it last week when a friend of a friend also recommended the series to me. That was what sent me to the library last week to get these, and I'm really glad I did. I finished this book the same day I borrowed it and was on to the second one right away: Grass For His Pillow.

Takeo is an interesting character to say the least. Raised in one way of life, only to find himself thrust into a second, and from there, into yet another - both times through events of great personal tragedy. It is also through Takeo that we are introduced to the magics of this world - for it is the magics that really set this series apart from "real" Japan. These are the magics of the Tribe, a secretive, ruthless people who make their livings in any way they can - including assasination.

It's the characters that make the book though. Within pages I found myself connecting to them and wishing that everything would turn out right for once. Some of them are truely the shaping force for the whole series.

Interestingly, there are several editions of these books that are listed as being Teen books, while others are classed as regular fiction. If anything, I'd say fiction or perhaps fantasy categories suit this series the best. There are some things in here that I don't quite think are teen-suitable.

Overall, I really liked Across the Nightingale Floor and its sequels.

Lords of the Bow - Conn Iggulden

Lords of the Bow
Conn Iggulden
Copyright: 2008

The product description:
The gathering of the tribes of the Mongols has been a long time in coming but finally, triumphantly, Temujin of the Wolves, Genghis Khan, is given the full accolade of the overall leader and their oaths. Now he can begin to meld all the previously warring people into one army, one nation. But the task Genghis has set himself and them is formidable. He is determined to travel to the land of the long-time enemy, the Chin and attack them there. The distances and terrain-the wide deserts, the impenetrable mountains-make it a difficult venture even for the legendary Mongolian speed of movement, but the greatest problem is that of the complex fortifications, a way of fighting wars of a settled urban population which the nomadic Mongolians had never come across. Finding ways to tackle that and keeping his tribes together in a strange environment presents another new and exciting challenge for Genghis Khan.

Not only must Genghis succeed in this incredible campaign, but he must also reconcile the restless factions among his own generals, mediate between his ambitious brothers and cope with his own reactions to his growing sons. The young warrior has become a notable and victorious military commander of thousands: he must now learn to become a great leader of peoples of many different races and religions.

Lords of the Bow is a deeply satisfying novel. It is epic in scope, convincing, and fascinating in the narration of an extraordinary story. Above all Genghis Khan continues to dominate the scene as he matures from the young boy of Wolf of the Plains to the great Conqueror.
Lords of the Bow is the sequel to Wolf of the Plains, the first book in this series about Gengis Khan. I honestly have to say that it's just as good, if not a bit better. Where that first book was about his childhood and his struggles to survive with just his mother and siblings, in Lords of the Bow, we see the period when Gengis first unites the Mongolian tribes under his leadership. And then, his campaign into China - both the successes and the failures.

It's a wider cast of characters and landscapes, all well described and vivid. At the same time, there are more viewpoint characters to show it with: Opposing Generals and kings, Gengis' children and brothers, his wives and more. On the other hand, I found with the grander field, that there was more statesmanship and big things and less of Gengis' personal life, worries and thoughts than there were in the first book.

Still a great story, just a bit different, but I definitely liked it. More than once, I found myself reading as I walked from the bus stop - not a great thing to do where there are no sidewalks. But, I had to know what happened next.

There's definitely going to be at least two more books in the series: Bones of the Hills, which is already out in mass-market paperback, and one more that comes out this fall.

Friday, August 6, 2010

What Would You Recommend? - Historical Mysteries

This is a question I get asked all the time working in the bookstore: "What would you recommend for somebody who loved "_________"? (fill in the blank)" Usually I can come up with something, but that something can be a bit of a wild guess if it's not a book or genre I normally read. This is where you helpful people come in. If you have a suggestion, I'd love to hear it.

Historical mysteries are an interesting subcategory, and one I got asked about last week. I have to admit that I know of a couple, but they're really only the best known ones, and I haven't read any of them: Peter Tremayne's series, the Cadfael books by Ellis Peters and the books by Sharon Kay Penman. These ones are all placed in medieval settings. There's only one Roman set one that I know of: the series by Lindsey Davis.

The Cadfael series of books is perhaps the most well known, having been made into a T.V. series that, if my memory's not playing tricks, starred Derek Jacobi. In terms of the other books and authors I've listed here, I've seen some comments about the Sharon Kay Penman books that say her regular historical fiction is better, but I really can't say for myself. I've not seen anything for the other two authors I've mentioned.

Does anyone know of any other mysteries set in various historical settings? And, for those of you that read them, which ones are your favorites? Which ones are historically accurate is another good question too. One that I'd find particularly key.

So, what would you recommend?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Library Loot - August 4th

Library Loot is a weekly event that celebrates libraries and the resource they are for book bloggers. This week it's hosted by Claire of The Captive Reader for the first time. Congratulations!

I have to admit, I haven't been much of a library user lately. Shame! Shame! But then, that's what I get for working in a bookstore. The books are right there, calling out for me to buy them.

Anyway, I finally got back to the library yesterday. Took out the entire Otori series by Lian Hearn. I know it was recommended over on my What Would You Recommend post on Japan some weeks back, so I thought I'd give it a try. Loving the books so far.

My bag of loot:
Across The Nightingale Floor
Lian Hearn

The product description:
One Boy, One Journey, One Dark Destiny In his palace at Inuyama, Lord lida Sadamu, warlord of the Tohan clan, surveys his famous nightingale floor. Its surface sings at the tread of every human foot, and no assassin can cross it. But 16-year-old Otori Takeo, his family murdered by lida's warriors, has the magical skills of the Tribe - preternatural hearing, invisibility, a second self - that enable him to enter the lair of the Tohan. He has love in his heart and death at his fingertips...Across the Nightingale Floor, Book 1 in the Tales of the Otori trilogy, is a stunningly powerful novel. An epic story for readers young and old. Set in a mythical, feudal, Japanese land, a world both beautiful and cruel, the intense love story of two young people takes place against a background of warring clans, secret alliances, high honour and lightning swordplay.
I've already finished this one and I absolutely loved it. Had to start the second one right away. Thank goodness I got them all from the library at once.

Grass For His Pillow
Lian Hearn

The product description:
Praised for its epic scope and descriptive detail, Across the Nightingale Floor, the first book of the Tales of the Otori, was an international bestseller and critical success, named by the London Times as "the most compelling novel to have been published this year." With Grass for His Pillow, Book Two of the Tales of the Otori, we return to the medieval Japan of Hearn's creation-a land of harsh beauty and deceptive appearances. 
Brilliance Of The Moon
Lian Hearn

The product description:
A beautiful, haunting evocation of the medieval Japan of Lian Hearn's imagination, this thrilling follow-up to Grass for His Pillow and Across the Nightingale Floor delves deeper into the complex loyalties that bind its characters from birth. Filled with adventure and surprising twists of plot and fortune, this final volume travels beyond the Three Countries, to the outside influences that threaten to intrude upon this isolated realm.
The Harsh Cry Of The Heron
Lian Hearn

The product description:
The epic conclusion to the bestselling Tales of the Otori-"one of the most thrilling new series of our time."*
The Harsh Cry of the Heron is the rich and stirring finale to a series whose imaginative vision has enthralled millions of readers worldwide, and an extraordinary novel that stands as a thrilling achievement in its own right.
A dazzling epic of warfare and sacrifice, passionate revenge, treacherous betrayal, and unconquerable love, The Harsh Cry of the Heron takes the storytelling achievement of Hearn's fantastic medieval Japanese world to startling new heights of drama and action. Fifteen years of peace and prosperity under the rule of Lord Otori Takeo and his wife Kaede is threatened by a rogue network of assassins, the resurgence of old rivalries, the arrival of foreigners bearing new weapons and religion, and an unfulfilled prophecy that Lord Takeo will die at the hand of a member of his own family.
The Harsh Cry of the Heron is the ultimate conclusion to the Tales of the Otori series that both completes the characters' lives and brilliantly illuminates unexpected aspects of the entire Otori saga. 
Heaven's Net Is Wide
Lian Hearn

The product description:
The new beginning and the grand finale of the celebrated Tales of the Otori is “rivetingly elegant” (Washington Post).

Heaven’s Net Is Wide is the prequel that reveals the full story of Lord Otori Shigeru—the figure who has presided in both life and death over the entire series, the man who represents the true spirit of the Otori Clan. The first and the last tale, it introduces readers to the strange and beautiful world of the Otori and closes the circle where it opened in Across the Nightingale Floor. Set in a mythical, medieval Japan, this epic historical fantasy of revenge and betrayal, honor and loyalty, beauty, passion, and the overwhelming power of love, has enthralled millions of readers the world over—and now, with the cycle complete, its audience will only continue to grow.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wolf of the Plains - Conn Iggulden

Wolf of the Plains
Conn Iggulden
Copyright: 2007

The product description:
From the co-author of The Dangerous Book for Boys, comes the first in the widely anticipated Conqueror series featuring Genghis Khan and his descendants. A remarkable story of heroism and adventure, of a boy who had to become a man too soon, of a family and a tribe who had to learn to win to survive. A man without a tribe was at great risk, so the young boy abandoned with his siblings on the harsh Mongolian plains had to struggle to avoid death. He survived both starvation and hostile attacks by learning remarkable leadership skills and gathering a group of outsiders like himself. Hunted and alone, he dreamed of uniting the tribes into one house, one nation. He became a great warrior. He would become father to his people. He would be Genghis Khan.
This is the first book in a very popular series. Every time a new book comes out, I see so many people coming into the store in search of it. So, I thought I'd see what it was about. Needless to say, I ended up buying all three of the books now out.

Wolf of the Plains covers Genghis Khan's childhood on the plains of Mongolia: his life among the tribes and then the years he spent with just his mother and siblings, doing what it took to keep them alive and fed. It makes for a vivid and exciting read to say the least. Given the characters and cultures, it's not overly surprising that the book gets a bit brutal in places, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a very good read.

I've noted this about other historical novels in past reviews, and it's something I like. Conn Iggulden has noted the main sources he used in the creation of this novel (and sequels), as well as some of the changes he chose to make. I find knowing about the sources gives me a better appreciation for a good, well written story.

For all that Wolf of the Plains is the first book in a series, it stands on its own very well, although I'm sure that once you've read it, you will want to go on to the next book and the ones following that.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Giveaway: Hand of Isis by Jo Graham

I absolutely love this book, and so I have decided to share it with some other lucky Canadian. I have one copy of the trade paperback edition sitting beside my computer, just waiting for a lucky winner.

Jo Graham's books are rapidly becoming favorites of mine, though it seems as though a lot of people haven't heard of them yet.

Giveaway open between August 1 and August 30 2010.

Rules for this giveaway:
  1. Open to Canadians only. This is because I'm not sure just how much postage for mailing a book is going to cost me, so I don't want to add borders and the like into it just now. Maybe on another giveaway, once I have a better idea of postage costs.
  2. I need a name and an e-mail address to alert the winner.
  3. One entry for commenting, and a second entry for being or becoming a follower, but please mention it in your comment.
The book information:
Hand of Isis
Jo Graham
Copyright Date: 2009

The jacket blurb:
Set in ancient Egypt, Hand of Isis is the story of Charmian, a handmaiden, and her two sisters. It is a novel of lovers who transcend death, of gods who meddle in mortal affairs, and of women who guide empires.

My two reviews of Hand of Isis:
Monday July 19, 2010
Thursday July 16, 2009


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