Thursday, December 1, 2016

Collision of Worlds by Lincoln Cole

Just finished this second book in the Graveyard of Empires series! I'm happy that I read it soon after I finished the first book, because I suspect that if I left too much time between the two books, I would have another "The Grace of Kings" and "The Wall of Storms" problem where I couldn't remember the main characters for the first few chapters.

Collision of Worlds continues the saga, with a few more pieces moving into place for a huge, explosive ending (which will probably be in a later book). Traq, the kid that we meet in the previous book (the boy that Argus discovers) exhibits more powers. Argus doesn't get as much airtime in this book, but his co-worker, Vivian, does and I really find her character interesting! She has no idea how to raise a child, reading tons of books to compensate, and it leads to her doing some very unorthodox things. Moms may not approve of her.

Maven and Alyssa, the twins in a never-ending battle move their rivalry one step up by betting the lives of Jayson and his teammates. Darius doesn't really appear much, but from Maven's section, I got a much better sense of how the Union operates. And they really, really don't seem much better than the Republic, like I suspected in the first book.

And for the Kristi and her ship - sadly, Kristi and Abigail do not appear as much. Instead, more airtime is given to develop Abdullah, her second in command. And while Abdullah didn't really make that big an impression on me in the first book, (sorry, but Kristi totally overshadowed him) I did remember him and so his enlarged role wasn't as big as a surprise to me.

Two "new" characters are Jim and Oliver. They basically first appeared at the end of the first book, and I totally didn't expect them to start playing a big role. But I find that I quite like their storyline too - Jim's struggles to fit in with the upper class, and his tenuous friendship with Oliver was oddly captivating. And for the record, I find Jim a lot more sympathetic than Oliver, who's more practical and money-minded.

If you liked the first book, you will probably enjoy the second. The cast of characters largely stay the same, with the difference being the amount of page space given to each individual character. I still haven't decided if there's a side that I want to root for, and I look forward to finding out more and more about this world.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a free and honest review.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Teaser Tuesday - Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

This week, I briefly contemplated not doing a Teaser Tuesday. I finished a book on the train, and I was like "should I write a review? Should I do a teaser from a book I already finished?" and was in two minds about the whole thing. Then I saw Wendy's post at Literary Feline and she recommended quite a few amazing sounding books that I've never read (I'm continually reminded that as much as I think I've read, it's still not that much).

I went to the library's ebook app to search for it, and I found two of them! So I borrowed one immediately and favourited the other. And tada, I have something to share. My teaser is from the first two lines of Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni: 
"They say in the old tales that the first night after a child is born, the Bidhata Purush comes down to earth himself to decide what its fortune is to be. That is why they bathe babies in sandalwood water and wrap them in soft red malmal, color of luck."
The author's name looked familiar, so I looked her up on Goodreads and I found out that she wrote Before We Visit the Goddess, which I loved. So I have really high hopes for this book!

What about you? What are you reading this week?

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jenn of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read 
  • Open to a random page 
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, November 28, 2016

A World of Curiosities by John Oldale

A World of Curiosities sums up each nation covered at least one page (with Hong Kong/Macau and Taiwan getting their own pages), though which countries get an in-depth report seems to be arbitrarily decided. While I have no idea if this really covered every country on the planet, it did cover a lot of them. And it was a fact book, so it took me some time to finish (never mind how interesting the facts were).

Of course, Singapore is mentioned:

(First country I turned to too).

The Singapore section was a little disappointing, though. I mean, the 'Disneyland with the Death Penalty' quote is just so overused. (At least be creative and rephrase as USS with the death penalty or something). Besides, it sort of uses the same old stereotype. Then again, Cambodia's quote wasn't very flattering either. It seems like some of the entries focus too much on one aspect of a country and don't provide a balanced picture (countries that get more than one page don't tend to suffer from this).

And while some of the entries were interesting, I can't believe not a single thing about food was mentioned. Our Bak Kwa is famous, at least in Asia.

My disgruntlement arising from my own admittedly strong bias towards my home country aside, this book was pretty fun to read. I chuckled a few times (especially at the footnotes) and learnt a lot. If you have to get this book, I'd say buy a paperback copy because you want to be able to flip through it, and you won't want to have to rush through it, like a library book.

By the way, I found this in the section on Austria (page 19). It took me a while to realise eye = mata and then it all made sense.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Instafreebie Group Giveaway

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! (If you celebrate)

Guess what? I'm participating in my first ever group giveaway! Please forgive the two three exclamation marks in a row because I'm just so excited!

The giveaway is for Horror and Urban Fantasy books. There are 45 books in total, and you get get most of them free from Instafreebie! (And if it's not a free copy, it'll be a free sample)

In particular, I really recommend The Ninth Circle by Lincoln Cole (link leads to my review) and Underneath by M.N. Arzu (again, link leads to review, if you want to read more). I read and enjoyed both of them very much, and if you think they sound good from my review, then definitely go pick them up - The Ninth Circle is free and Underneath is a free sample.

Again, hope you have a great weekend!

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