February Wrap-Up

Well, my first month as a blogger has come to an end. I don’t know how eventful it was. I read 3 books and wrote reviews for them. I had surgery on the 24th and am mending well. The weekly themed post I plan to do has not yet been launched, but one of these days I will get around to it. Likely, when it’s easier for me to move around and I don’t feel like sleeping all the time.

As for the #flightsoffantasy challenge, I’ve read a total of 3/50. March is a longer month so i should be able to get more books read. For now, back to reading and sleeping.

Fantasy Book Review – The Iron Wars – Monarchies of God #3

Synopsis (from Goodreads): The Kingdom of Hebrion has been thrown into turmoil, following its release from the clutches of the Church. Its capital in ruins, its king in a coma, Isolla, Abeleyn’s bride-to-be, and Jemilla, his scheming mistress, step into the power vacuum. Both are intent on taking control of Hebrion for themselves and a fierce power struggle ensues. To further complicate things, the explorer Richard Hawkwood returns to Hebrion with news of a new continent in the west and something terrible lurking in his ship’s hold. This third book in the series continues the acclaimed saga of politics and religion in a world rife with magic, terror and war.

Buy Now:Amazon

***May Contain Spoiler If You Have Not Read Books #1 & 2***

The Iron Wars begins with a breathe of fresh air as we are introduced to Isolla, Princess of Astarac and betrothed of Abeleyn, King of Hebrion. She is the first strong female character in this series who does not use sex to get what she wants or gain power. Described as a plain woman with a large nose, she may not be a beauty but she does have brains. She allies herself with Golophin to care for Abeleyn after a terrible accident leaves him in a coma and commits herself to the good of her new kingdom. The Lady Jemilla is unfortunately still around, trying to gain herself a throne by claiming the baby she is carrying is the King’s heir.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the continent, Corfe is battling the Merduk hordes as well as his own country men. His King, Lofantyr, has no faith in him or his abilities to command, even though all of his campaigns have been successful. Corfe is probably the most interesting and enjoyable character to read about. His personality has depth, he earns the loyalty of his men instead of simply demanding it based on his rank.

Richard Hawkwood is mostly absent from the volume of the series, though his expedition is mentioned from time to time. Mostly, people assuming that he and all those who traveled with him are dead somewhere. Though Hawkwood was absent, I think throwing him into the midst of everything else that was happening would have detracted from the action already taking place.

Overall, I give the Iron Wars 3/5 stars.

Fantasy Book Review – The Heretic Kings – Monarchies of God #2

***May Contain Spoilers if you have not read Hawkwood’s Voyage***

Synopsis (from Goodreads): When a power-hungry fanatic wins himself a highly influential religious position, three resistant kings must fight a brutal war merely to maintain their thrones.

Buy Now:Amazon

Kings Abeleyn, Lofantyr and Mark have been excommunicated and labeled heretics by the new High Pontiff, Himerius. While the Merduk hordes have settled into a winter camp to wait for spring, Abeleyn must fight his way back to his kingdom in hopes of regaining his throne.

The Heretic Kings begins about where Hawkwood’s voyage ended. However, it doesn’t start with the characters I most wanted to know about, mainly Hawkwood and his expedition. A council has laid claim to Hebrion while its king is still away and soon nobles are maneuvering to take the crown. Abeleyn’s journey home is not an easy one. The other, “legitimate” kings are trying to rid the continent of the heretics, forcing Abeleyn to fight nearly every step of the way home.

In the monastery city of Charibon, two young monks come across an ancient text that will shake the very foundations of their faith. While Richard Hawkwood and his companions have reached the western continent and must now face new dangers on land.

If you read my review of Hawkwood’s Voyage (here) you’ll know that i found some of the authors descriptions long and tedious. While this book does have long descriptions, things have become much less tedious. There are battles being fought all over, from on the sea on ships to the middle of a humid jungle. This book has much more action to keep the reader interested.

The characters are beginning to show more substance, though only a few seem to get a spotlight. Abelelyn, Corfe and Hawkwood are the major players and we’re finally getting some growth out of them. Abeleyn especially, as he deals with being labeled a heretic and the fight to regain his kingdom. There are, however, even fewer female characters in this book than there were in the first and none of them are particularly likable or have much substance. This series has a mostly male cast and I don’t expect that will change in the next three volumes.

Overall, I give The Heretic Kings 3/5 stars and am looking forward to starting book 3.

My Rant About Romance Novels

There are several reasons why I have a problem with “Romance” novels. Let’s begin:

  1. The Plot – The plot of nearly every romance novel ever written is basically the same. They follow a formula, much like a romantic comedy movie. Two people meet (man and woman, two men, two women, whatever) and either instantly fall for each other or instantly hate one another. Most of the time it’s an instant attraction that they just can’t resist. Their meeting is followed by wild, passionate, kinky sex for pages and pages. Some incident will occur after that that usually results in one person being in trouble and the other having to save that person. Situation resolved, the two get together, end book.
  2.  The Characters – Characters in romance novels rarely have much substance or growth and they tend to be rather stereotypical. You get the sexy, gorgeous alpha male who feels the instant need to protect his new found mate from any and all harm! Oh and screw her brains out asap. Female characters are often even worse in their stereotypes. They’re always the shy, good girl who would never take home a random stranger she just met, but then does exactly that. Romance authors try to tell the reader that this is how their characters would normally act, but then have them do the exact opposite. It’s confusing and annoying. If your character wouldn’t normally go out to a bar and pick up a hot stranger, they shouldn’t be doing that now.
  3. The Sex – Every romance novel is full of sex. Not nearly as much as something categorized as Erotica, but still, sex is the focus of the book. In my personal opinion, two people meeting and falling instantly into bed with each other is NOT romantic. That is NOT love, it’s lust plain and simple. If i was interested in sex scenes I could watch porn for free on the internet and there would probably be just as much substance to the plot and characters. I’ve heard people say they skip over the sex scenes. What? Seriously? If you’re reading a book, you shouldn’t be skipping pages.

Also, how many ways can sex be described before it all just become the same. I’m not interested in how large a guy’s penis is or how wet a girl is. Honestly, that kind of stuff just annoys me and makes me not want to keep reading. Sex is NOT romance! there’s not deep meaningful connection between the characters. It’s all just chemical reactions.

Now, I’m not saying that sex should not be in books at all.  I just think it that it should be done tastefully and it should be part of the natural progression of a relationship.

4. Romance Series – Romance series annoy me because each book will focus on a specific couple and once that couple is together,  they’re no longer the focus. Each book in a romance series, focuses on X and Y getting together. They may appear in other books in the series but then they’re only side characters, so don’t get attached.

Have an opinion on this subject? Agree or disagree with me? I’ve love to know what other people think, so share in the comments!

Fantasy Book Review – Hawkwood’s Voyage by Paul Kearney

Synopsis (from Goodreads): In a land torn by religious war and chaos, rogue mariner Richard Hawkwood leads an expedition to find a lost continent where safe haven may be found. But before the explorers find sanctuary-they must first survive the journey.

Initially, I felt very drawn into this book as it begins with the Holy City being invaded by a foreign army and burning it to the ground. Author Paul Kearney is very good at describing setting and really painted a picture of the horrors of a city falling to an invading army.

However, these descriptions go on, and on, until I’ve forgotten which character is supposed to be  experiencing  all these things going on around them. These descriptions also go on for so long that my mind began to wander. There were times when this worked, such as when the city was burning or during a large scale battle scene. Other than that, it just felt tedious and rambling.

I could have gotten over this had the characters been outstanding, they were not, however, all that unique or likable.  Each character was just sort of what you would expect based on that characters social status or occupation. The nobleman behaved like a conceded nobleman, the ship captain behaved like a ship captain, the religious leader behaved like a pious religious leader, and so on and so forth. The female character (as few as there were) were even more lacking. There are a grand total of four female characters who are introduced. One is a slut who uses her body to manipulate men and get what she wants. Another is a pious woman who blushes and turns away at the sight of her husband’s skin. The third has very little told about her other than her name and the situation she is in. Honestly, she felt unnecessary. The fourth had the most potential but, unfortunately, that potential will not be realized.

I almost considered not finishing this book. So, why did I? Well, this is the first book in a five book series and I really felt like this book and all that happens in it, is leading up to something much more spectacular. The last hundred pages of the book were much more interesting as a large battle is waged and events transpire to push the plot forward.

Overall I give this book 2/5 stars and I hope that book two is more engaging.

The Beginning

I’ve been thinking of how I want to begin this blog. Should I post a review of the latest book I read? Or perhaps review a series that was once a favorite? I thought about posting a rant that I’ve had in my head for years, but that didn’t seem appropriate to be the first post of my new blog. So, how should I begin?

The more I think about it, the less I want to simply copy reviews that I’ve written on Goodreads just to make content here. So, instead, let this be a fresh start.

I rarely ever make New Year’s resolutions, but this year I made a goal for myself. Since I have so many books on my book shelf that i have not read (and i really need to curb my buying habits) my goal is to read as many books that are part of a trilogy or series that has been completed and I own all the books. I created a shelf on Goodreads to help me keep track here. So far, I’ve (mostly) managed to keep to this list. Though part of my goal was not to buy any books this year, which I’ve already failed at. One thing at a time I suppose.