The Scoundrel

I just finished reading The Scoundrel by Claire Delacroix. (Yet another book from Goodreads.) This is actually the second book in a set but stands on it own.

Set in Scotland in the 1300s, Evangeline, the Lady of Inverfyre seeks to reclaim a relic that was stolen from her home 15 years ago. Her home has grown poor and the people are going hungry. She believes that restoration of the Titulus will set everything right and restore Inverfyre to its former glory and prosperous times. She finds the scoundrel whose father took the relic years ago. Luckily, he has just stolen it for himself. Evangeline finds him in a tavern and seduces him quite successfully, stealing back her birthright.

However, Gawain cannot easily dismiss this thievery or the lady’s seductions. Biding his time, he plans to go to Inverfyre to steal back the Titulus. However, what he finds there is not what he expected. He discovers secrets and those that would seek to do Evangeline ill. Though he is a self-proclaimed scoundrel with no honor, his heart leads him to act otherwise.

This book was definitely a quick read. I enjoyed the historical setting and the fast pace. It’s not really the type of book that I’d put at the top of my reading list, but I did find it entertaining.

The Mistress’s Revenge

Most recently, I read The Mistress’s Revenge, a debut novel by Tamar Cohen, (another Goodreads win). The book has a unique structure, in that it is not divided into chapters. Instead, it is written as a journal, from the point of view of the main character, Sally Islip.

Sally has been having a passionate affair with the older and married Clive Gooding for five years. He has made promises to her, and suddenly, decides that it is over, an action which sends Sally reeling, seeming to the verge of insanity.

While Clive says he needs to give his wife (and children, too), another chance, Sally just can’t let him go. She even spends time with his wife and children just so she can feel closer to him. He tries telling her to stop, offering her money to go away, finally resulting in physical intimidation.

Sally is, of course, completely involved in her own “depression,” and her own family begins to further disintegrate. Eventually her partner, Daniel, and their two children learn that they must try to make the best of their own lives. Too late, Sally realizes what she has lost.

But in the meantime, other events happen that some might say results in Clive getting what he deserved. And at the end of her journal, Sally provides an update to the current state of her own life, scars of her past still quite visible.

This book was so well-written. It was so easy to become completely engrossed in Sally’s personal thoughts and emotional state. Of course, anyone who has suffered true heartbreak can empathize and knows what she is going through. But it was a bit more than that, too. At one point, I could actually feel myself going crazy along with Sally. Maybe that means I really am a little nuts. But, the point is that the novel really was that good. I’d definitely recommend it.

Glow

I’ve returned to my pile of Goodreads wins… ever since I read about Glow, by Amy Kathleen Ryan, I’ve looked forward to reading it. I received an Advanced Readers Edition; the release date is 9-27-11. On the author’s website, there is the following statement, “Glow is the most riveting series debut since The Hunger Games, and promised to thrill and challenge readers of all ages.” As a huge fan of The Hunger Games trilogy, I was definitely excited to read this book.

Waverly lives onboard the starship Empyrean, bound for New Earth. She is one of the first generation of children born in space. Population is important, and even at only 15, Waverly is expected to marry and begin having children herself soon. Her boyfriend Kieran seems to be a good match, but Waverly just isn’t ready yet. She enjoys her life at this point, seeing no need to rush things. And there is still Seth, the boy who kissed her in elementary school, now the man who looks at her with deep blue eyes.

The Empyrean was the second ship sent from Earth, leaving a full year later than the first ship, New Horizon.  Then one day, when in the midst of a nebula, where radar all but leaves them blind, the Empyrean and New Horizon come face to face. There have been problems on board the other ship that could not be solved without aid from the Empyrean. Or had the citizens of New Horizon been sabotaged first?

A great battle begins begin the two ships and separated from her parents and Kieran, Waverly is caught up in a tangled web. She doesn’t know what to believe, but soon is able to separate out most of the lives and is able to save herself and a few others. She makes friends of unlikely strangers. But she quickly learns that home is not what it used to be. Terrified of the changes she has seen at home, the similarities she sees between home and her horrific experiences, she doesn’t know who to trust. And she is uncertain of who will share her future. But one thing is certain. She will not give up on the ones she loves and her hopes of taking revenge on those who have stolen the life she had.

So, did the book live up to the claim of being the “most riveting since The Hunger Games?”  This is only the first book of the Sky Chasers series, and maybe that is an answer in itself. It is only the first book. I don’t think it’s fair to judge the entire work yet without it being complete. I will say that I definitely enjoyed it and would recommend it. And I can’t wait to read the next installment.

A Dance With Dragons

I just finished GRRM’s most recent creation. I think I’m still in the recovery phase right now…

Definitely one of the most highly anticipated recent novels, A Dance With Dragons was published six years after the last one in the series. That seems a bit much. Not that I can complain. I didn’t even start reading the series until recently, so I had to wait a month instead of those six long years that long-time Martin fans had to endure. That being said, I was glad to return to Westeros.

There is just too much happening in this book to give a complete review. I did enjoy the book, mainly because my favorite characters were back! A Dance With Dragons takes place during the same time frame as A Feast For Crows, but it focuses on different characters, and what is happening in different parts of the world. Towards the end, it does continue past where the fourth book ended, but only briefly.

**SPOILERS**

Daenerys was still trying to “practice” being queen in Mereen. She does have some loyal to her, but the people there are really just playing another game of thrones. The best part of her story was near the end, when Drogon returned to Mereen and she flew off on his back. Also, Rhaegal and Viserion were freed from their pits and have now made their lairs in some of the great pyramids of Mereen. Go Dragons! At the end of the book, Daenerys comes face to face with an old acquaintance, one whom I believe to now be an enemy.

Tyrion is making his way towards Daenerys, but much of his story is a bit more boring in this book. He’s not dealing with affairs of state or murdering his family, so maybe that’s why it seems a bit dull. For much of the book, he is traveling. At first, it’s down a river with Prince Aegon. (No, he wasn’t killed as a baby, and now there are two Targaryens who can claim the Iron Throne!) Then, he’s found in a brothel and taken as a slave, being sold with another dwarf Penny as part of jousting act, along with their mounts of a pig and a dog. Seems quite degrading for a Lannister, but Tyrion finds a way to escape. He hires sellswords by promising them all the gold in Casterly Rock. He hasn’t exactly come face to face with Daenerys yet, but he is getting close.

Bran has made his way North and has met the “three-eyed crow.” I’m a bit disappointed here. Something tells me that like Terry Brooks’ book when the child turned into a tree, I’m going to hate this for Bran as well. And I actually care about Bran, unlike TB’s characters.

Theon makes an appearance, and even with all the horrible things he’s done and the fact that he probably deserves a lot of what he gets, I can’t help but feel sorry for him. It’s not that he’s turned into a good character, it’s just that he’s a broken man full of fear.

Jon Snow was by far my favorite character in this book. He truly has been trying to “kill the boy” so that the man can be born. He’s forced to make some very hard decisions and lacks good men to provide counsel. He was attacked at the end of the last chapter from his point of view. I know that GRRM has no problem killing off characters, but something tells me it’s not as simple as that. It’s possible that Jon will not die and continue to live as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. It also seems possible to me that he will die and be brought back to life, hence a way to end his term as a man of the Night’s Watch. Maybe this will allow him to truly be Lord of Winterfell someday. I’d like a happy ending for Jon. He deserves it. But this is all speculation.

Brienne makes a brief appearance. So, I’m assuming that she is alive. Possibly again. Pretty sure she died in FFC, but I could be wrong about that too.

Cersei is humbled and is made to endure the walk of shame from the holy sept back to the castle. Every inch of hair was shaved from her body and she had cross the city completely naked. She did this in order to get back to her son. A mother’s love is really Cersei’s only redeeming quality, but perhaps that will change. She is still awaiting trial.

Varys, who disappeared the night Tyrion killed his father, makes a quick appearance towards the end, shedding light on where his true loyalties lie.

This book was much easier to read than A Feast For Crows, yet more difficult than A Storm of Swords. Still, I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to The Winds of Winter, release date currently unknown. Maybe in 2017?