Book Review – Lady Friday by Garth Nix

Title: Lady Friday

Author: Garth Nix

Format: Hardback

Published: 2007

 

It is hard in some ways to fully give an opinion on this particular book in the Keys to the Kingdom Series. This book took me far longer to read than I wanted as there was a week in which I was unable to read due to time constraints. I know that there was also the problem that the book was a little slow to get into but once I was in, I enjoyed the book .

 

Lady Friday picks up right after the events in Sir Thursday and it continues forward as Arthur is tricked into being transported into the Middle House with a quest to take the 5th key that was left behind by Lady Friday who abdicated her position and challenged Arthur, the Piper and Superior Saturday to be the first to get the key.   Considering the challenges Arthur faced, he determined to get the Will first as it would help him against his other foes.

 

The store progresses forward and we learn about the middle house and the army that the Piper made out of nothing. The army is known as newniths and Arthur is met by one who is set to watch over Suzie and Fred both of whom escaped the piper to help Arthur in his new quest to get the will before he gets the key.

 

While Arthur is facing his own adventure Leaf his friend is wakes up in a sort of hospital room where sleep walking people are being taken to another realm by denizens of the house. Leaf is compelled to follow the denizens and the sleep walkers as her favorite aunt is part of the mix. She is discovered as being awake and works to try and let Arthur know what is going on and where she is as she tries to rescue her aunt.

 

The two stories intersect in the end and things do get concluded, if I say anything further I will be giving away the end of the book and the lead up to the next book which I’ll be interested to read as this book heavily led up to the next two books as have some of the other books such as Grim Tuesday – which had the denizen of Superior Saturday working against Arthur.

 

Over all, the story was pretty good though the parts with Leaf were quite boring to be honest, and I felt like the end of the story was a bit rushed to reach a conclusion, particularly when I compare the end to the pacing of the rest of the book. I still in enjoyed the book though so I think I would give it a 3 out of 5 page review.

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Book Review – Titan’s Curse by Rick Rhiordan

Title: Titan’s Curse

Author: Rick Rhiordan

Format: Hardback

Published: 2007

 

After reading a whole slew of books from the Keys to the Kingdom series, my brain was set for one sort of adventure than the one that Titan’s Curse provided me. That isn’t to say that the story isn’t a good one, it just took me a while to get into it. Yet once I did get into the story I was pulled in. The action and adventure in the book was quite good and a decent story was crafted with some additional new and interesting characters.

 

Of the characters that we are introduced to I think oddly enough my favorite was Apollo. I loved how he was interpreted and he was a joy to read even though his part in the story was small. Still he was a lot of fun to me being kind of one of those cool uncle type characters that was all about having fun and having the cool car that drove the sun across the sky. Honestly and truly a lot of fun in my opinion.

 

Anyway this story is a bit different from the previous stories in which Percy goes on a quest with Annabeth to fight off the evil plots of Luke and Kronos. Instead within the first chapter (or by the second) Annabeth is pretty much taken out of the story and will not be the person Percy will travel with. He travels with a whole new cast of character that you get to know in this book the only familiar character in the man story aside from Percy if Grover.

 

Over all, I enjoyed the book but I do have one complaint it is an issue that I dismissed in other books thinking it was an idiosyncrasy on my part or a matter of fatigue and slight drifting attention (as the world outside of the book has a way of drawing our attention even from the best of books). Yet this book it was very clear that Rick has a way of jumping scenes without warning or preamble. There were points where I would be reading along and had to stop flip back a page and make sure that I didn’t miss something, the gears switched so fast and without warning that it put me off. I know that this book is designed for a middle grade reading level and so some descriptors and development moments will be skipped, glossed over or even summarized. This is fine for the level of reader that this book is but honestly I think Rick would not have been amiss with just a sentence or two of transition here and there instead of something along the lines of ‘the battle is won’ on this page and the next page everyone is chill and going ‘find your cots we are bunking for the night’ at a vastly different location than where the battle took place. It takes a few paragraphs to gather that the characters have continued their travels and nothing interesting happened till just then. This was frustrating and broke me out of the story a few times.

 

In the end, I think, despite the jumping scenes , that I would still give this book a 4 out of 5 pages as it was still an enjoyable read and I do have intents to read the next book in the series but not before I get through the pile of books that are sitting in my living room and riding in my bag.

Book Review – Sir Thursday by Garth Nix

Title: Sir Thursday

Author: Garth Nix

Format: Hardback

Published: 2007

After slugging through the previous book in the series Drowned Wednesday I admit I was a little exited to read this book. I knew the cover enticed me from the first time I saw it years ago but I had never managed to get through the book before it to get to this place, and really I’m glad I finally made it through the 3 out of 5 pages that is Drowned Wednesday to get to this book. It was incredible and it kept my attention and had me excited and constantly wondering while I wasn’t reading – what is going to happen to this character or that character? What will come next?

This book is broken up between Arthur who is stuck in the House as there is a doppelganger preventing his return and his mortal friend Leaf who knows about him and his role with the house who is sent to stop the doppelganger. There is a lot of danger and the doppelganger known as the skinless boy can take over Leaf’s mind. All the while Arthur is stuck in the house and is drafted into the house army of Sir Thursday.

The story keeps a good pace as Leaf is trapped and infected by the skinless boy making her plight rather perilous and Arthur is not only indirectly under the command of Sir Thursday but is threatened with getting his memory erased which really pulled me in and held my attention. Most books that are telling two stories at once I am finding myself bored with one half of the story and wanting to skip that person’s half to get to the half I am interested in but this was equally balanced. Instead of only being interested in Arthur or only interested in Leaf I was equally interested in both halves. So while I would flip to the next chapter eager to know what would happen next to Arthur only to discover it was Leaf I wasn’t really tempted to skip to the next Arthur chapter because I also desperately wanted to know what was happening to Leaf.

Over all, I would give this book a strong 4 out of 5 page review. This book was good and interesting and I know when it ended I was clamoring for the next book to be sadden by the fact that I don’t have it on me and need to read some of the other books found in my bag before I pick up the 5th book in the series, Lady Friday, but I’m sure it will promise to be entertaining.

Book Review – Batman Turning Points

Title: Batman Turning Points

Author: Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker and Chuck Dixon

Illustrator: Steve Lieber, Joe Giella, Dick Giordano, Bob Smith, Bret Anderson, Paul Pope, and Claude St. Aubin

Format: Paperback

Published: 2007

 

Despite my disappointment with the last Batman centric comic I read I decided to pick another one up as it features Jim Gordon in it.  Yes I have become a Gotham junkie and am loving the show, though I don’t know how far one can go in the city of Batman when Batman is a mere child but all the same the TV series peaked my interest in Jim Gordon and this comic explores the relationship between Batman and Jim Gordon.  As the title of the book proclaims each store is about a turning point in the relationship of these two characters.

 

Each comic is its own stand alone story and you know that there are a lot of story that happens between each chapter.  So if you are new to Batman and don’t know a lot of over arching story you may want to avoid this comic in all.  The first chapter is really the start of the friendship between Batman and Jim Gordon before he was even the commissioner.  It was a rough time for the young Jim Gordon but because of it it helped to form the relationship between the two men as they have both lost much and can relate to one another.  The story goes on to a time where Jim is a fair bit older and he is struggling with the fact that Batman has taken on a young prodigy that is nothing more than a child.  The story covers some after math after the Killing Joke a and even the after math of when Bane broke Batman.  The story is interesting to say the least and it is quite gripping as you see the incredibly human side of Batman and Jim Gordon and over all it was a great story.

 

As a devoted fan of Batman, I loved the story and found it very difficult to put down.  It had my interest from the start and didn’t let go even if it jumped along the Batman time line it crafted a good story and showed the turning points of the relationship between Batman and Jim Gordon.  It was a strong story that had a nice conclusion.  If you are new to the Batman universe start somewhere else, anyone else this is a very worth read and I would give this comic a strong 4 out of 5 pages.

Book Review – Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones by Judy Schachner

Title: Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones

Author/Illustrator: Judy Schachner

Format: Hardback

Written/Published: 2007

 

When approaching another Skippyjon Jones I knew I was in for a treat, after two fabulous books that made me giggle aloud to the point that my roommate is demanding to know what I’m on about the third had to be fantastic!  Yet, I was wrong; somehow authors tend to disappoint me after I’ve fallen in love with them. The only author who hasn’t done this so far is DJ MacHale.  Yet here I am feeling disappointed by the latest Skippy adventure.

 

When I picked up the book it was after I had a very long exhausting day and was feeling a bit grumpy and I figured this will help pick me up because it makes me giggle.  The first thing to set things off on the wrong foot was for me to discover the book is falling apart.  This is something I don’t hold against the book itself as that is what you can get when borrowing from the library but still it put a small damper on things.  Then I open the book and though I anticipated the same formula of the last two books it wasn’t as good, it seemed forced and stretched and was just worded oddly beyond that of the previous two books.  It jumped around where I began to wonder if I was missing pages (which I wasn’t).  Also as I looked at the pictures the images were different.  It was Skippyjon Jones on my pages but he didn’t look quite the same as I was used too. I even began to question if there was a new illustrator or Judy took over the drawing in place of a former illustrator but that wasn’t the case.  Author and illustrator is both the same person who created the other two Skippy books I read but it was different and I didn’t like it.

 

Over all the story was disjointed, and the story had very little adventure or humor to it.  It might be a good book for kids but at the same time I’m not sure on that because I have always felt that a good children’s book is one that can hold the attention of not only kids but kids at heart.  Yet it didn’t hold my attention at all.  The only explanation for the worn state of the book is that it has to do with dinosaurs which is a very popular subject among young children, but aside from that feature it had very little value and doesn’t’ even teach anything.  I could accept losing some of the amusement factor for a lesson but there wasn’t one.  Over all I give the book a 2 and recommend you skip right over it when looking for children’s books.

Book Review – 101 Ways to Have a Business and a Life by Andrew Griffiths

Title: 101 Ways to Have a Business and a Life
Author: Andrew Griffiths
Format: Paperback
Written & Published: 2007

This book comes from the 101 Ways series of business books by Andrew Griffiths, and focuses on ways to bring balance, harmony and fulfilment to your business life. It is targeted at people who either have a small business or are in the process of building one. The tips are grouped into themes, such as fun and relationships, and there are 20 bonus tips in the back of the book.

Some of the tips in this book offer sound advice, such as #7 (Develop your plan of attack and put it where you can see it) and #71 (Get rid of unfinished business). They are clearly written, concise and actionable. By completing these suggested actions, which are simple to understand and implement, the reader should either feel an immediate improvement or see how the improvement will occur over time.

Small business is the focus of the book, but there are a lot of tips that I cannot work out how to adapt as a sole trader. I can see how #29 (Fun uses every sense – sight, sound, touch, smell and taste) could work in an office, but I really can’t see myself developing a Fun Committee where I am the only member, having a pin-up board with baby pictures of myself, or having a ‘something you didn’t know about me’ day. My main problem with fun is that I work alone most of the day, and following through on that tip would make me feel so alone that I’d probably take up drinking, regardless of #62.

Many of the tips in this book are repetitive. They either build off previous tips, so cannot be completed in isolation, or they are a previous tip rewritten to fit into the next section. Initially I forgave the book for this, assuming that 101 tips would be a big ask but, once I realised there were 20 bonus tips at the back, it is very easy to see where the book could have been easily improved. I appreciate that all of the books in the series contain 20 bonus tips, but that just annoys me more.

Several classic tips are absent from this book, which surprised me. It has been written for a general audience, which means there is not a specific type of small business in mind, but tips to streamline efficiency are almost absent. Some strategies are universal, such as batching, but they are missing. I would expect that learning how to work more efficiently would be a necessary counterpoint to some of the tips in this book that require a greater outlay of time.

While this book would offer valuable insights to the small business owner who has never read this type of book before, I struggle to imagine that this book would be the first one they would pick up. For this reason, I am rating the book 2 out of 5 pages.

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