Saturday, August 27, 2011

Missing London

Randomly missing London as I stayed up after sahur this morning to finish reading Midnight Riot (a.k.a. Rivers of London) by Ben Aaronovitch. Reason? The book was set in London, with Covent Garden playing a major role. I could just imagine the scenes that took place there since Covent Garden was a short walk from Uni and a good place to while the time away during breaks. Plus, I could do some grocery shopping at the Tesco Metro. It also provided a pleasant shortcut to Chinatown when I was in search of Asian foodstuff. *sigh* I'm missing my student days D:

Back to the book - I love it. I'm the kind of person who loves trivia, especially if it's presented in an interesting manner (hence my love of the TV show QI). This book definitely fills the criteria. Random trivia is thrown at the reader every other page and it's done in a way that does not detract from the story at all. Quite a few pop culture references also popped up all over the book; the ones regarding Dr. Who stood out the most (which is not surprising considering Ben wrote the script for several episodes LOL).

I like that magic and science are closely linked together in this book. The hero, Peter Grant, even tried conducting experiments regarding magic and science with interesting results. Peter is an interesting hero. He's nerdy, which explains the experiments, and cheeky, which makes him endearing. He also has difficulty focusing on 'proper' policing work, which led him to almost being relegated to desk duty in the first place.

While I have the US version (Midnight Riot) since it was released earlier, I prefer the title Rivers of London because I think the rivers were much more prominent in the story than the rioting. Perhaps the title was changed in the US to avoid it sounding like a historical book on London's river.

Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic. Synopsis & image from Goodreads

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Thursday, August 25, 2011

This Week's Giveaways

Stumbled upon three great giveaways this week. The prizes are interesting enough to make me put in the effort to promote them on this blog for extra entries LOL

First up is Missy's 1000 Followers Giveaway, ending August 22nd.

Missy's Reads & Reviews

There are going to be FIVE themed prize packs that you can choose from. It's up to you how many you'd like to enter to win, so enter just one... or a few... or all of them! Each one has a specific theme and all the books in the prizes will come brand-spanking-new from Book Depository, which makes each and every one eligible to be INTERNATIONAL.

The other two are giveaways on specific books.

The Fairytale Nerd is giving away a pre-order copy of Julie Kagawa's The Iron Knight. Contest ends October 1st.

Once Upon A Prologue is giving away an ARC of Half-blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Contest ends in 7 days.

Try your luck out with these giveaways. Who knows, you might just win a book (no one can resist free items right? :P)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I So Wanted To Like Them

Have you ever put a high expectation on a book based on its synopsis and reviews, but in the end be disappointed when you read it? I recently experienced that when reading two books, both I wanted so much to like. The synopses and reviews looked so promising, but in the end, I couldn't finish one and speedread through the other to get to the end. The two titles I'm talking about is Rachel Ward's Numbers and Julie Kagawa's The Iron King.

First, Numbers - the book I couldn't finish reading.

Whenever Jem meets someone new, no matter who, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head. That number is a date: the date they will die.
Burdened with such an awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. But while they’re waiting to ride the Eye Ferris
wheel, Jem notices that all the other tourists in line flash the same number. Today’s number. Today’s date. Terrorists are going to attack London. Jem’s world is about to explode! - cover & synopsis from goodreads

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

The synopsis held so much potential, right? I mean, it's something you would expect from a manga/anime storyline (remember Death Note?). I was excited to see someone had written something exciting like that in book form.

However, it was a disappointment *sigh*. I can't relate to the main characters - Jem and Spider. Suffice to say, they are both annoyingly stupid. They are the main reason I stopped reading the book. I can only stand stupidity so far... In fact, I couldn't even comment much on the terrorist plot because I stopped reading before I reached the part where the author explained what happened (if she eventually did).

Perhaps I started reading the book with the wrong expectation. I expected the book to be a thriller/mystery about teenagers trying to stop terrorism acts. I obviously did not expect to read pages and pages of teenage angst and rebellion. Totally put me off reading the rest of the series.

Now, the second book that I wanted to like - The Iron King.

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart. - synopsis & cover from goodreads

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

My problem with this books is actually the same as Numbers - I can't stand the main characters Meghan and Ash. Meghan is depicted as loyal to the point of stupidity I would say. She also can be an idiot most of the time. I can't help but feel that she's the one at fault for her own troubles. Ash meanwhile has the personality of a paper D: Boring~ And can be questionably stupid as well.

However, the story has excellent supporting characters - Puck and Grimalkin. They saved the day with witty comebacks in my opinion (Grimalkin reminds me so much of the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland). Kagawa also fared better in expanding upon the central theme of the story - the idea of faery/magic/imagination versus technology/science and how they evolved together to create something new and scary. The world she built is interesting and full of promises.

I would probably try reading the next book in the series - The Iron Daughter - before I decide to drop the series or not. I would love to see how Kagawa expands the story further and see whether Meghan and Ash can turn to be likable characters.

One outstandingly good thing about both books are the covers. In fact, the whole Iron Fey series has beautifully eye-catching covers. I'm tempted to buy them just because they would look nice lining up the shelves LOL.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

More Giveaways

Found two more giveaways that seems interesting. Note though that most of the blogs I follow mostly revolve around young adult (YA) books since those are what I'm interested in at the moment. Plus, they seem to hold giveaways more often than other book blogs LOL

First is the 280+ Followers Giveaway from Talk in A Whisper. Three winners can choose any book from Amazon or Book Depository (no idea up to what value though).

The other giveaway is from The Girl from The Ghetto. 5 winners will receive a book from the blogger (random book though). Check out the titles you could win at her blog.

So if you fancy the chance to get some free books, just enter those giveaways. Really, they are a great way to save money, especially since Syawal is just around the corner eh?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I'm not sure if anybody noticed, but if you scroll down, you will see on the right hand side there is a section called giveaways where I put buttons of blogs currently hosting giveaways. Entering them are actually a good way to obtain books for free and most of the blogs are very generous.

In fact, one of the most generous giveaways I've seen is currently going on at Gripped Into Books. There are five prize packs to be won and eight winners will be chosen. Check out the prizes here. The best thing is the giveaway is international i.e. Malaysians can enter :D

Monday, August 08, 2011

Books Read in July

I actually read a lot of books in July, but did not take the time to write the reviews. Kept track of them through Goodreads instead. Anyway, here are some of the titles I read last month:

Hourglass by Myra McEntire
I enjoyed reading this. At first, I thought Emerson's ability to see dead people is in the same vein as The Mediator series. But boy, was I wrong. It's in fact a different power altogether. I love the twists in this story and am definitely looking forward to the sequel. Though I have to say, this book has one of the weirdest cover I've ever seen.

The Death Instinct by Jed Rubenfeld
If you've read the controversy about Tiger Mothers (specifically the book The Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother), you'd probably be surprised that the writer's husband actually wrote this psychological mystery. It's definitely interesting reading about a terrorist act (is it really?) in the early 1920s. There are several subplots going on at the same time that will keep a reader entertained. Though the heroine did annoy me sometimes with her secretiveness, it didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the book.

The Iron Druid Chronicles #1 Hounded and #2 Hexed by Kevin Hearne
This series has got to be my favourite read in July. Kevin Hearne has managed to create such a captivating hero. Atticus is a 2000-year-old druid who still looks in his twenties. Throughout the two books, he made friends and enemies with various gods, vampires, werewolves and witches. I have a weakness for witty dialogues, and these books are full of them. Wacky characters are also peppered throughout the book -- his elderly Irish neighbour who accepted Atticus's explanations calmly, his other neighbour who owned a greanade launcher, his ex-barkeeper apprentice... and so much more. The books were definitely difficult to put down once I started reading.

The Vanishing of Katarina Linden by Helen Grant
I love this book and even recommended it as a gift. I love Helen Grant's descriptive writing; she described the town scenery and festivities clearly that it made me feel like I was there. Oh, this book has one of the most arresting opening sentence I've ever read: "My life might have been so different, had I not been known as the girl whose grandmother exploded."