Sunday, June 29, 2014

Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief (Book #1 of Percy Jackson and The Olympians)

Synopsis :

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school... again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus' master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus' stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

I was deciding between Divergent Series or Percy Jackson Series right after I read Mockingjay and I finally decided on Percy Jackson Series instead as I have all the books in electronic format whereas for Divergent Series, I only have the first book Divergent and not Insurgent nor Allegiant.

Because I have watched the movies Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief and Percy Jackson and Sea of Monsters,  I thought I’ll start with book #3, The Titan’s Curse.  However, in the end, I thought I should start from the first book and I am glad I did.

The storyline in the book is quite similar from the movie but with changes made to adapt to screen time and other cinematic reasons to make the movie more interesting I guess.  All in all, it was a good decision and the book is able to connect the dots that sometimes movies are not able to do. I can’t really remember the movie as I watched it a few years back with the meeting with Madusa as my favourite scene and I am glad to recapture that in the book as well.  The meeting and fight between Luke and Percy towards the end was different too but in a good way as I like both the movie and the book.

So, if you have watched the two movies like me and decided not to go direct to the third book, I would advise you not to.  It is good to recapture the story from the beginning, the way the series is meant to do.

Next up, my review on Percy Jackson and Sea of Monsters.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Beautiful Lies by Emilie Richards

Synopsis :

It is a pearl so flawless it has no price. But those who possess it pay dearly. Since the day nearly a century before when it was plucked from Australian waters, the pearl has cursed the Robeson and Llewellyn families, unleashing a legacy of rivalry, greed and murder that has spanned generations and continents.
Liana Robeson is now in possession of the infamous Pearl of Great Price and she, too, has experienced its high cost in heartache and tragedy. Suddenly her teenage son is missing and so is the pearl.
Desperate and afraid, she turns to Matthew's father, Cullen Llewellyn. Together they embark on a heart-pounding odyssey to find their son. Swept into the wild beauty of Australia, Liana and Cullen are plunged into a deadly game with a rival who will go to any lengths to possess a treasure as fatal as it is flawless....

OMP (Oh My Pearl!)….this book is something that I wasn’t expected. Talk about not judging a book by its cover but that was what I did and I was expected something rather in the line of Barbara Taylor Bradford but what I got was something along the line of Sidney Sheldon.
It was an intriguing book from start to end.  The writing was captivating, the storyline quite engrossing and the characters were quite engaging as well.  The story started with Archer Llewellyn and Thomas Robeson, best friends from war who discovered a priceless pearl in the waters of Western Australia.  From best friends, one of their hearts turned murderous and murdered his best friend for sole possession of the pearl – Pearl of Great Price and indeed those who owned the pearl in generations to come also paid great price for it, some with their lives, some with their sanity and some paid the price of love and happiness.
This is my first time coming across this author so I was extremely but pleasantly surprised by it.  The author said she based the story on the legend of an unlucky pearl found off the coast of Broome at the beginning of the century. The pearl has since been lost at sea so while this story if fictitious, it does have a heritage to cling to.
Beautiful Lies is a beautiful read.  If you come across this book, go for it.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Raise The Titanic! by Clive Cussler

Synopsis :

The President's secret task force develops the ultimate defensive weapon.  At its core : byzanium, a radioactive element so rare sufficient quantities have never been found. But a frozen American corpse on a desolate Soviet mountainside, a bizarre mining accident in Colorado, and a madman's dying message lead Dirk Pitt to a secret cache of byzanium.  Now he begins his most thrilling, daunting mission - to raise from its watery grave the shipwreck of the century!

In a daring gamble, Dirk Pitt locates the Titanic - and suddenly his crew is in deadly jeopardy.  Sabotaged by Russian spies and savage storms.  Pit must stop a diabolical plan for Soviet world supremacy - or see the mighty Titanic blasted out of existence!

RMS Titanic - the British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early morning of 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York City, US.  RMS Titanic - the most famous ship in history which has inspired many books, movies, songs, etc with the many interesting storyline that can be woven from.  In this book by Clive Cussler, he decided to wove the story from the perspective of the cold war the American had with the Russian and at the core (pun intended) of the story, a mineral known as the byzanium.

My impression is that in actual fact finding the byzanium is the story.  The Titanic is just a means to an end.  The story is that the last of the byzanium is hidden in a vault inside the Titanic and that is how and why Dirk Pitt gets to rise the Titanic.

I felt a bit cheated as having the Titanic as the title, I wanted more of the ship, in every way possible, from the exploration of the ship in it's dark, cold silent watery grave to the story of the people who survived the sinking (the focus was just on one of such persons). I wanted more of how the ship would be after it's resurrection.  I wanted Dirk to discover each and every dark mysterious nook of the grand old dame.

But what I got was a relatively good Dirk Pitt's thriller (my all time favourite of Dirk's adventure is Atlantis Found) but the Titanic wasn't the hero in this story so for that it was kinda of a let down.  That aside, if you are a fan of cold war, you would be rather happy to immerse yourself in this book.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Memorial Day by Vince Flynn

Synopsis :

Fighting terrorism on foreign ground, CIA superagent Mitch Rapp does whatever it takes to protect American freedom.

CIA intelligence has pointed to a major terrorist attack on the United States, just as the nation's capital prepares for a grand Memorial Day tribute to the veterans of World War II. Racing to Afghanistan, Mitch Rapp leads a commando raid on an al Queda stronghold in a remote border village -- and defuses plans for a nuclear strike on Washington. The crisis averted, the special ops work is done. But Rapp knows, in the face of a new kind of enemy, nothing is as it seems -- and it's up to him alone to avert a disaster of unimaginable proportions.

First time reading Vince Flynn. Have been wanting to see what he writes after seeing his books in a sale at the end of last year. Finally, I give it a try. 

I rate it pretty good. It wasn't boring. The plot wasn't that fantastic but the writing was exciting enough for captivate reader's attention and interest.  I have conflicting opinion about Mitch Rapp. Am I supposed to applaud him? Is this the type of role model in today's society?  But then, he gets the job done, you said.  But at what expense?  He seems to think that he's above the rest in terms of performance and actions and that he does all the work and the rest of the characters are just mediocre in everywhere possible.

Mitch Rapp reminds me a bit of Jack Reacher except that Mitch has the backing of the CIA and the government behind him.  I wonder what would happend when Mitch meets Jack.

I cant t say that I have become a fan but I wont mind reading his book again but probably not immedaitely.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mockingjay (book 3 of The Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins

Ok. here is how it goes.  I watched the movies of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.  I did not read these two books.  Having watched the movie, I decided not to wait for the last movie installment but explore the book instead.  And that was how I ended up reading Mockingjay.

I read Mockingjay as an e-book that I download from the web.  It is a very different experience as I always experience a strange feeling whenever I read an electronic book.

What can I say? I love Mockingjay.  I like the fact that it's no longer in a 'game' arena but more of the people and their quest towards being enslaved by the capital.  I don't like District 13 but then District 13 provide that refuge our victors greatly needed to come together.  District 13 reminds me so much of the dwelling place out in the dessert in The Host by Stephanie Mayer.

I feel quite sorry for Katnis Everdeen as she is still very much a pawn in a game much greater than she can comprehend. I actually can't remember when did she call in love with Peeta and I am still very much a Gale fan.  I can truly image how great the movie would turn out if they follow as closely as they can to the book, If you think Katnis went through much suffering and pain the the first two installment, she is to endure even greater challenge in Mockingjay.  I was sad to see some of the characters being killed off especially another victor that I quite like who's girlfriend was still in the Capital (I am sure you know who I am referring to).

I felt that it was a great ending (as great as it can be) to a wonderful trilogy.  I am on to the next series. Can't decide between Divergent or Percy Jackson.  What do you think?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh

Synopsis :

Between the sea and the plains of Bengal lies an immense archipelago of islands.  Here, for hundreds of years, only the truly dispossessed braved the man-eating tigers and the crocodiles that rule there, to eke out a precarious existence from the mid.

The settlers of the Sundarbans believe that anyone without a pure heart who ventures into the watery labyrinth will never return.  it is the arrival of Piya Roy, of Indian parentage but stubbornly American, and Kanai Dutt, a sophisticated Delhi businessman, that disturbs the delicate balance of settlement life.  From this moment, the tide begins to turn.

I'm on a journey to discover authors that are new to me (thus they are not necessary new authors but one that I have heard about, seen the books around but never read).  This journey brought me to one Amitav Ghosh.

How did I get hold of his book? Well, honestly, I have no idea but I have been having this book for quite a while now and recently it just called out to me and I decided to spend some time with it, mostly over lunch but sometimes at night just before bed too.

Do I like The Hungry Tide?   Ya, I do actually.  It is very different from what I have read before.  First of all, it is set in a fictitious town in India and secondly, the characters are very Indian and one of Indian heritage so like reading about the woman detective in Africa, reading about a couple of folks from a different culture certainly brought me to a different level of understanding of a different culture.

The fact that is is different itself is a welcomed change so I am appreciative of the book for that reason alone.  I have another of Amitav Ghosh book in my collection, Sea of Poppies which was shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize.  You can be sure that I will read it but just not anytime soon.