The Power in the Storm – Tamora Pierce

In this book we mostly follow Tris, however that doesn’t mean that the other’s are lost to us. In fact, they all work together to thwart money hungry pirates that attack their new home.

Key Story Points

All four of our characters are starting to understand their magic and learn how to use it. In this case we’re mostly following Tris as she learns how to master some new and impressive powers.

Unfortunately her favourite cousin is making life difficult for her. He rocks up to Winding Circle and seems to put a few people on edge for a few different reasons. But Tris is happy to see him, and the others just want her to be happy.

Then out of the blue, Winding Circle is attacked by a bunch of pirates. And thanks to Tris’s magic with weather, she’s able to help clean out the pirates from Winding Circle and restore order.

My Thoughts

I will admit, parts of this book makes me love it. But as a whole, it’s not my favourite in the quartet.

Overall, I got the feeling that I was being strung along between great moments embedded at JUST the right moment to keep you hooked.

My Fav Part

Honestly, the main points that I remember and that pops into my head sometimes is Daja working on the city’s and Winding Circle’s defences. And Tris learning some cool new magic that allows them to see into the past.

I’m pretty sure this is the book where Daja almost gives her fellow apprentice a heart attack when she handles metal straight out of the forge. It has me chuckling every time I think about it.

Thank you for reading and next week I’ll have the next book (Daja’s Book) up next week!

The Magic in the Weaving – Tamora Pierce

The first book in the Circle Universe is Sandry’s Book, and although she is a main character. She isn’t THE main character.

Writing Style

The way Tamora has written the first two series in the Circle Universe means that each book has a main hero; who the book is typically named after. So with this book being named after Sandry, it means that she will be the main hero.

Since this book is written for the Young Adult audience it’s not as complex or as deep as most of the books I read these days. But I’ve grown up reading Tamora Pierce and I just love how she writes her stories.

In this case I could feel the despair, anger and confusion that Sandry, Daja, Tris and Briar feel as they are found by Niklaren Goldeye. Then as they try to find their places in their new world.

My Thoughts

Since I wasn’t much older (I think a yr or two?) than they were when I first read these books, I could really relate to the emotional turmoil they were going through.

For me, my school friendship group was changing. And since I’m not very good socially (and neither are these 4) this was a bit stressful for me. But with the help of constantly reading Tamora’s books in those few years (see evidence below if you don’t believe me about how many times I read these books) I managed to get through it.

And I even discovered some other people who liked reading, and who even liked Tamora Pierce as well! That was a bit of a turning point for me when I realised I had something else in common with others. Which actually seems hard to believe since I’d already spent the last 6-7 years with most of them by that point in time.

My Fav Part

So I have a few different fav parts, I mean, these characters and their stories are written in such a great way that you can’t help but have a few parts of the book you just can’t wait to read again!

Ok, so my all time fav is when Sandry pulls rank on some snobby noble girl (Sandry’s family is like upper upper upper echelon of society and only the people actually ruling a few different countries rank higher than her) to get Daja a seat when Daja first arrives and doesn’t know where to sit in the dining hall.

A girl nearby muttered, “If that’s a lady, I’m a cat.”
Reaching out, Sandry lifted the pitcher of milk from the table. Cradling it in both hands, she walked over to the mutterer.
“I am Sandrilene fa Toren, daughter of Count Mattin fer Toren and his countess, Amiliane fa Landreg. I am the great-niece of his grace, Duke Vedris of this realm of Emelan, and cousin of her Imperial Highness, Empress Berenene of the Namorn Empire. You are Esmelle ei Pragin, daughter of Baron Witten en Pragin and his lady Colledia of House Wheelwright, a merchant house. If I tell you my friend is a lady, then you”- carefully she poured milk into Esmelle’s plate-“you had best start lapping, kitty.”
She set the pitcher down and returned to her chair.

When Sandry and Daja first meet

Being someone who HATES bullies and will actively fight back I practically bounce in my seat with glee every time I read that bit. It’s just so hilarious and it just sets the tone for Sandry’s personality in a way no other quote can quite grasp.

I do love a number of other moments throughout the book. Those moments of banter, discovery and amazement are heady feelings. The way Sandry, Daja, Tris and Briar grow, make discoveries and learn about magic together never fail to strike a chord with me and give me a good chuckle and/or smile

Thank you for reading and next week I’ll have the next book (Tris’s Book) up next week!

The Awakening – Gary Morris

Welcome back everyone, this weeks book is another author request. This time from an author who only has one other published book, so you might not have heard of him.

But if you haven’t, you should give him a go because this is a book unlike any I’ve ever read before. It’s based in Hong Kong and includes a fair bit about the Chinese culture and history which is fairly new to me.

Story overview

The story begins at the end of the 19th Century in Hong Kong with a small and happy family. Only to have the parents murdered in the first chapter and a rampant display of racism between the local Chinese people and the “Gweilo”, or English, people.

Typically both races believe the other to be savages purely because they do things differently. Of course, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is the main theme of the book. However, it’s not the key theme so I’m going to leave that there.

Lei’s need for revenge against the Triads as the long survivor of her family is what we learn to be, the key theme of the story. As such, she learn’s Kung Fu to become calmer and to learn empathy.

However, her thirst to hurt “bad people” means she never quite reaches that goal. Instead, she ends up accepting her fate and became an almost merciless killer in her quest for vengeance.

My thoughts

Throughout the story Lei chooses to fight back against those that want to oppress others. And this, I believe, is something many people don’t have the courage, and or, the skills to do. So good on her for standing up for what she believes in!

However, the examples we see of Lei’s excessive force does scare me a little. But only because that lack of compassion or regard for human life is what typically forms the basis for a sociopath’s personality.

And typically speaking sociopaths can’t change who they are or how they react to things. They can learn to mimic emotions, but they can’t feel them the same way most people can. So how can Lei truly learn and display compassion if she’s unable to truly feel it?

Surprisingly enough, she does find the ability to be compassionate. And the time she finds this ability is what truly surprises me. It’s at this moment that we really get to explore the difference between revenge, and justice. Can she live with the knowledge that she caused destruction and the loss of hundreds of lives.

That’s a lot for anyone to bear, let alone someone who’s only about 18-20 years old. I can’t imagine the guilt gnawing at her conscious and how difficult it would be to get to sleep each night knowing that she cut those lives short.

So knowing that she had to live with that for eternity I can sympathise with her need to leave China and be somewhere else. Somewhere different where she can come to terms with everything she’s done.

Gary has told me since reading Miao-Shan that there is a second book for me to look forward to. And I will, because I want to know what she does next!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review. On Friday I will be reviewing Second Chance at the Ranch by Maxine Morrey.

Yes you read that right! This Friday! I look forward to seeing you again then. But don’t forget to read a little bit about this week’s author Gary Morris below.

Author Bio

For most of my working life, I was in the collectables field. First dealing in stamps and then in antiques. I have always had a love for Asian art and history. Particularly Chinese and Japanese. I have also directed and produced a computer game.

I started writing fiction professionally in 2010, during which time I wrote two complete novels, of which Miao-Shan is the second one. At the end of 2010, I returned to the property industry, without having acquired an agent. For the next six years, I wrote part-time.

I currently have two other books completed (one an unusual spy thriller, and the other a time-travelling paranormal fantasy), but neither is ready for publication yet.

The Autobiography of Satan – William A Glasser

Welcome back and a Happy New Year everyone, this is the first book I am reviewing from a new source, and in the new year and I can definitely say I chose an interesting book to start off with!

This book is about “Satan”, his life story and how he’s really not the bad guy he’s made out to be. Given that I’m not really religious and since I read another book last yr by Charlie Ludlow who challenged our religious thinking, I was interested to see what this one would deliver.

This story is written in the style of Satan dictating his life to Wag, his author, so it really does feel like Satan is talking directly to you. With the occasional debate between Wag and Satan at the end of some chapters. We start off right back before “humans” had evolved, before the first cave paintings became a thing and before language was really starting to develop. We are right back to when Neanderthals are just starting to create tools from shaping rocks by banging them against each other.

We then proceed through various points in time throughout history and even have some pretty well known historical figures referenced (eg. Atilla the Hun) at various points in time. Throughout each of these encounters Satan was telling us about how he was trying to enlighten the human race and that if we looked closely we would see he was telling the truth. He discusses the various times in history when things were swinging his way and certain powerful people became afraid and so cracked down on the people with fear of damnation. As much as some of the stuff Satan talks about seems farfetched, there were quite a few parts that I really agreed with. I’m not really religious so I didn’t have the feeling that I was betraying my faith, or having to try and unlearn something that was completely ingrained in who I was. So for some people I can see this as being a difficult read. But if you take it as a fun way to see history and human nature in a different way then you will enjoy this.

The ending felt like rather than Satan telling us his history, he was trying to entertain Wag to the point were some comments from Wag even made it into the main text. At this point in time we crossed over from a different view of history to really questioning the universe. A new concept of how the world was created, aliens etc were all brought into it. And to be honest. Some of it felt like it could even be possible.

Does that mean I’ve reached the enlightenment that Satan is wanting us to achieve? Does that mean I’m open to new concepts? Or does it just mean I’m gullible to a good story? I don’t know. But I had fun contemplating these concepts and what it’d mean for us human’s if there was any truth to any of it.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I will be reviewing A Greek Affair by Linn B. Halton.

Awakening – C.E. Sunstrom

Welcome back, this week I can’t promise as good a review as I have given in the past. However I want to make it clear that I believe the things I’m not a fan of in this book are things that I don’t believe would worry a teenager or young adult as they don’t have the same life experiences I have had.

So I met the author at the Clunes Booktown Festival a few weeks ago and he told me a little bit about this story. What he told me is that this book follows 2 women in two different times in history; one in the Salem Witch Trials and another in modern day Melbourne. The thing they have in common is that they can both see the future. This bugged me for the rest of the day until I went back and bought a copy of the book.

After reading it I’m a little disappointed. The book only has one out of every 4 chapters (roughly) where we follow Mary during the Salem Witch Trials. Now I don’t know about anyone else, but if I’m told a book follows two people I expect it to be closer to a 50:50 split in terms of page time for each character. To start off with I thought we’d be spending time following both of them and I was looking forward to discovering how they are connected, other than the fact that they both see the future. And I was left hanging. So unless this is explained in the second book don’t expect any answers on this front.

As I began the book I noticed that the style of writing was quite simplistic and not as mature as most of the books I read these days. I’m gona take a guess and say I didn’t really like this because I’m maturing and growing up. And therefore my tastes in how my books are written have matured and grown as I have. Because of this I just couldn’t fall in love with this book as much as I wanted to. And I gota say I really wanted to, coz this idea is amazing!

The other thing that really started to irk me towards the end of the book was how the author judged those that aren’t fortunate enough to have clean, safe and stable jobs. I’m sure most people don’t think well of drug users and prostitutes. However that doesn’t mean that they deserve our judgement, derision or appalling treatment just because they don’t work a nice clean “respectable” job that actively contributes to society in a positive way. The work I do is often seen in a negative light by many people even though how we do it is completely different to most companies. We have changed how we operate by doing a lot of training and work to listen to our customer’s and understand their situations better. Because of this I can’t enjoy reading about someone actively passing judgement on someone else without understanding how or why they are in the situation they are in.

So although there were aspects of this story and how it’s written that I don’t like. The story itself is great, and I can see the development of the character happening. I feel like if I pushed ahead and read the second book I wouldn’t be quite as disappointed. But if you go into the book expecting a level of writing aimed more at a teenager or young adult I don’t think you will have any issues with this book.

Next week I will be releasing a surprise post rather than letting you know what it will be in advance. So look forward to it!

Finally, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading this weeks post.

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