Archive for September, 2015

Like September, October is another big month for book releases.  Here are a few of the ones about which I am most excited.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard – The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan.  This, along with Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Quest and Marissa Meyer’s Winter are among my most anticipated books of the later half of 2015.  For those of you who don’t know, Sword of Summer is the start of a new series by the author of the Percy Jackson series which, this time, focusses on Norse mythology.  Riordan’s books are always funny, engaging and exciting and I have no reason to suspect this one will be any different.  Knowing what I know of the Norse pantheon, the opportunities for high jinx seem limitless.  

Sword of Summer will be released on October 6th and I have it preordered in both Kindle and Audible versions.

Also on October 6th Brandon Sanderson is releasing another book.  Dang, that guy is prolific.  Does he actually sleep?  This month it’s the turn of Shadows of Self, the sequel to his Alloy of Law, a steampunkesque novel set in his Mistborn world.  I love the world Sanderson created in the Mistborn trilogy and Alloy of Law, and I’m more than happy to plunk down my hard earned cash for this.

I have preordered Shadows of Self in both Kindle and Audible formats.  Incidentally, as usual, Michael Kramer is narrating the audiobook, which is a plus point for choosing this version.

Next up I have a couple of novellas in series I have been following.  These are The Favourite from Keira Cass’s The Selection series, released on October 12th and Born to Endless Night, the next in the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy series of novellas which comes out on October 20th.  Both of these should be fun additions to my library.  

October 27th sees the release of The Outlandish Companion Volume II by Diana Gabaldon.  I am slowly making my way through the Outlander series – currently dropping in and out of book four, Drums of Autumn.  It goes without saying that I am in love with the Starz series.  I found the Outlandish Companion Volume I to be a wonderful, insightful addition to my Outlander library and I fully expect Volume II to be the same.  As it deals with books five – eight it may be some while before I actually dip into this.  Spoilers about I am certain.

The Outlandish Companion Volume II should hit my Kindle download queue right on schedule.

If I am being perfectly honest, though, the chances of my actually reading anything – or achieving much of anything in general – over the next couple of weeks are virtually nil.  This is because today sees the release of Lego Dimensions, the new toys-to-life gaming system from Lego and Travellers Tales games.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with toys-to-life, it means that you have to buy a physical toy for it to appear in the video game.  Combine this with Lego and your starter pack comes with a set of Lego bricks and minifigures which you have to physically put together to go through the game.  Previous Lego/Travellers Tales games have been purely virtual.  Now I’m no hard core gamer chick, but I do adore the Lego games.  I still giggle like a naughty schoolgirl at the image of Lego Boromir being shot by a garden rake!  

Lego Dimensions sounds absolutely awesome.  The idea is that the worlds of the Lego multiverse are colliding.  You are led through the adventure by Batman (from the DC Comics Batman Lego games), Gandalf (from the Lord of the Rings Lego game) and Wyldstyle (from the Lego Movie and video game) and you visit each of their homeworlds.  However, Lego Dimensions brings in a whole lot of new franchises to the genre – Back to the Future.  Ghostbusters!  Doctor Who!  The Wizard of Oz!  It should be pointed out that, to unlock more than a taster of these new franchises though, you do have to shell out hard cash over and above the initial cost of the starter pack.  Previous games allowed you to unlock characters and abilities with in-game currency.  But hey, if you’ve secretly yearned to see The Doctor drive the Batmobile through Minas Tirith this is your game.  

I am especially excited for Doctor Who, although that upgrade pack isn’t available until November.  It seems that the Travellers Tales team has added some really awesome things in this – you can play as each and every regeneration of The Doctor, including the War Doctor!  The TARDIS interior changes to reflect the current incarnation you’re playing and if you lose all your Lego lives, your character regenerates as the next Doctor.

As I say though, release day for the main game was today.  I’d preordered mine from Amazon, but, to quote Vernon Dursley, there’s no post on Sundays so I will not receive it until tomorrow.  And because I am scheduled to work very long days at the beginning of the week, I’m not going to be able to start playing it until Thursday.  Dang.  That Amazon box is going to sit and taunt me for the next few days.

Ah well.  I shall return to blog some more at some point.

Let me know if you are excited about any of these releases.

This last couple of weeks I’ve read some great and some not so great books.  Here they are.

Reading roundup – September 16th 2015The Martian by Andy Weir
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: R.C. Bray
Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
Genres: Sci-Fi
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne’s rating:

five-stars

Now sci-fi isn’t my usual fare, especially where there is more emphasis on the science than the fiction, but The Martian has been getting so much buzz lately that I decided to check it out.  Within a few minutes of listening I was hooked by Watney’s situation; abandoned on Mars, has to use his ingenuity to survive in an inhospitable environment until rescue can come.  Written as it is in a first-person journalistic style this is a perfect book for the audiobook medium, and R.C. Bray did a wonderful job of bringing Mark to life.  Mark is a very witty and engaging protagonist and it is very easy to root for him.  Weir did a fantastic job of explaining the various challenges Mark encounters and his solutions in a way that was easily comprehensible to someone like me who is not science minded.  The story of Mark’s plight and his attempts to secure his rescue was very appealing on a human level.

I gave The Martian five stars out of five.

Reading roundup – September 16th 2015Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton
Series: Agatha Raisin #1
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Penelope Keith
Length: 6 hrs and 26 mins
Genres: Mystery
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Evelynne’s rating:

four-stars

I picked up Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death some while ago when it was the Audible deal of the day.  It caught my eye because it was narrated by Penelope Keith, a favourite actress of mine. 

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death is the first in a series of mystery novels about a retired London PR executive who moves to the English Cotswolds and solves crimes.  I must admit it’s not my favourite mystery series.  As a protagonist, Agatha is distinctly unappealing.  She is the kind of woman who thinks nothing of using a disabled parking space because it’s convenient, or in this case, presenting a store bought quiche in a competition as her own baking.  Her interactions with those around her are generally abrasive and self-centred.  I suspect that later on in the series she may become more likeable, but for this book, she wasn’t the pleasantest person to spend time with.  The mystery was fun.  I’m generally useless at predicting whodunnit, so I can’t say how clever it was.

What I did very much enjoy was the narration.  Growing up the UK, Ms Keith was a staple of comedy TV – The Good Life and To the Manor Born.  Check them out if you’ve not seen them.  She has over 45 years’ experience in television, theatre and radio, and it shows in her witty and competent handling of the narration.  

I gave Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death three stars out of five, but the narration merits five stars.

Reading roundup – September 16th 2015William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge by Ian Doescher
Series: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars #3
Also in this series: The Empire Striketh Back, The Jedi Doth Return
Format: eBook
Pages: 168 pages
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy
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Evelynne’s rating:

three-half-stars

The Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge is the last in Ian Doescher’s retelling of Star Wars in Shakespearean language. These are very clever, but my enjoyment of them reflects my enjoyment of the source material.  I did not enjoy the prequel trilogy nearly as much, and so I’ve not enjoyed the adaptation to the same extent.  The original trilogy is deliberately based on the Monomyth which gives it an epic feel, perfectly suiting it to a Shakespearean adaptation.  The prequel trilogy seems more based on special effects which doesn’t pass so well in a Shakespearean setting.

Also, when R2 started channeling Elsa from Frozen saying he should let it go and that the heat never bothered him anyway, I found that a little too distracting.  Your mileage may vary.

I gave The Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge three and a half stars out of four.

Reading roundup – September 16th 2015Queen Song by Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #0.5
Format: eBook
Pages: 45 pages
Genres: Epic Fantasy
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Evelynne’s rating:

three-stars

I very much enjoyed Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen, so I was keen to pick up the novella Queen Song set in the same world.  I found it very disappointing.  It had none of the great worldbuilding of the main novel and, to be perfectly honest, I found the book just depressing.  I am still very much looking forward to Glass Sword, book two in the series.

I gave Queen Song three stars out of five.

That’s all for this week folks.  See you next time.  Happy reading!

five-stars