Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

April 22, 2010

Hell Fire (Corine Solomon Book 02) by Ann Aguirre

Filed under: Reviews-Paranormal — Suramya @ 11:44 PM

Hell Fire (Corine Solomon Book 02)
by Ann Aguirre


As a handler, Corine Solomon can touch any object and know its history. It’s too bad she can’t seem to forget her own. With her ex-boyfriend Chance in tow-lending his own supernatural brand of luck-Corine journeys back home to Kilmer, Georgia, in order to discover the truth behind her mother’s death and the origins of “gift”.

But while trying to uncover the secrets in her past, Corine and Chance find that something is rotten in the state of Georgia. Inside Kilmer’s borders there are signs of a dark curse affecting the town and all its residents-and it can only be satisfied with death…

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Review:Hell Fire is the second book in the Corine Solomon series by Ann Aguirre, it follows the adventures of Corine who has the power of Psychometry (She can read the history of any object by touching it).

In this book, Corine wants to know who killed her mother and why so she and her friend Chance who has the ability to create luck are back in her home town after fourteen years to get some sort of closure. She arrives in the town only to find that something in the town was blocking Chance’s ability and almost no technological changes have made it into town in the past few decades. On the plus side someone is out there trying to kill them so she knows that they are on the right track.

The book has a high amount of emotional drama / soul searching which is not surprising considering the subject but thankfully the author didn’t make the heroine to be one of the perpetually depressed tragic heroines who can’t make a decision to save their lives. So even when she is an emotional wreck she doesn’t make you want the author to kill her just to end her misery.

Final recommendation: A good read. Recommend that you read the first book in the series before this otherwise you will miss out on some of the finer points in the book

Iranian cleric blames women’s immodest dressing for earthquakes

Filed under: Humor,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 6:20 PM

Some people will believe anything. *shake head* The acting Friday prayer leader Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi blames women who wear immodest clothes and are promiscuous for the earthquakes.

“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes,” Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi was quoted as saying by Iranian media.

Earthquakes? Seriously? If that was the case then Europe, US should be the most earthquake prone area’s in the world thanks to all the beaches and clubs and all the cleavage and nudity that goes along with them.

Jen McCreight, a student from Indiana has decided to test this claim scientifically:

On Monday, April 26th, I will wear the most cleavage-showing shirt I own. Yes, the one usually reserved for a night on the town. I encourage other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural power of their breasts. Or short shorts, if that’s your preferred form of immodesty. With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake. If not, I’m sure Sedighi can come up with a rational explanation for why the ground didn’t rumble. And if we really get through to him, maybe it’ll be one involving plate tectonics.

The facebook event for this is located here and already has over 33,000 confirmed guests. You can also follow it on Twitter using the tag #boobquake!

Now this is why I like science and the internet. If some idiot makes a stupid claim then there are those who decide to test its validity. Somewhat like mythbusters. Now if only all these people also post pics 😉

Testing the validity of the statement: In the name of science, I offer my boobs

– Suramya

April 21, 2010

Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar Book 01) by Mercedes Lackey

Filed under: Reviews-Fantasy — Suramya @ 11:40 PM

Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar Book 01)
by Mercedes Lackey


Chosen by the Companion Rolan, a mystical horse-like being with powers beyond imagining, Talia, once a runaway, has now become a trainee Herald, destined to become one of the Queens’s own elite guard. For Talia has certain awakening talents of the mind that only a Companion like Rolan can truly sense.

But as Talia struggles to master her unique abilities, time is running out. For conspiracy is brewing in Valdemar, a deadly treason which could destroy Queen and kingdom. Opposed by unknown enemies capable of both diabolical magic and treacherous assassination, the Queen must turn to Talia and the Heralds for aid in protecting the realm and insuring the future of the queen’s heir, a child already in danger of becoming bespelled by the Queen’s own foes.

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Review:Arrows of the Queen is the first novel published by Mercedes Lackey and it introduces us to Talia who is to become the Queens’ Own Herald.

In this first book in the Heralds of Valdemar trilogy, Talia is from the straight-laced Hold families and is brought up to believe that women are somehow inferior than men and is constantly punished because of her unseemly habit of reading and writing. The book covers her life in the Herald Collegium and how she went from an unknown outsider to friend and confidant to most of the Herald circle.

It does a good job of describing how a person might feel when uprooted from their normal life into a life that feels like a a fantasy.

Final Recommendation: A very good read. Its no wonder the book got published. 🙂

April 20, 2010

Exile’s Valor (Valdemar: Exile Book 02) by Mercedes Lackey

Filed under: Reviews-Fantasy — Suramya @ 11:31 PM

Exile’s Valor (Valdemar: Exile Book 02)
by Mercedes Lackey


Exile’s Valor continues the tale begun in Exile’s Honor, and shed some light on the courtship, marriage and death of Queen Selenay’s husband, and father of her daughter Elspeth.

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Review:In the second book of the Exile series the story of Alberich, the weapon master of Valdemar is continued. The book is set right after the 1st book ended and Selenay, the new Queen is being pressurized into getting married and procreating.

Then along comes a handsome prince who knows exactly what to say and do to make Selenay fall in love with him and marry him. After a whirlwind courtship they marry and soon after that the queen was with child.

The book did spend a lot of time going over the emotions and feelings of the queen and the heralds. Not a lot of focus was given to the other side. At no point was the reader given an insight into the prince’s thoughts and this is not necessary a bad thing.

At the end of the book not all threads are tied up and the book leaves some questions unanswered for the next books in the series. Although this book was written way after the next book in the series it doesn’t contradict any major points in those books.

Final recommendation: A decent read, not as absorbing as the rest of the books but still good.

April 19, 2010

Take a Thief: A Novel of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey

Filed under: Reviews-Fantasy — Suramya @ 11:29 PM

Take a Thief: A Novel of Valdemar
by Mercedes Lackey


Takes a Thief reveals the untold story of Skif- a popular character from Lackey’s first published novel, Arrows of the Queen. Skif is a homeless orphan who lives with a gang of juvenile pickpockets…until he is “Chosen” by one of Valdemar’s magical horses and becomes a Herald serving the Queen…

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Review:Take a Thief is a stand alone novel in the world of Valdemar. Like a lot of other novels in the series it focuses on a particular person’s view point to describe a given situation. In ‘Take a Thief’ the person is Skif, who was introduced to us in the very first Valdemar novel (Arrows of the Queen) which coincidentally was the first novel published by Mercedes Lackey.

This book expands the brief history the reader was told in Arrows. However a few things have been changed in this book as compared to the original telling with not a lot of explanation as to why this was. The only possible way (That I can think of) to explain the difference between that story and this one would be that Skif told a false story about his history so that people didn’t know all the skills he had.

As for the timeline the book is set somewhere in between Exile’s Valor and the Arrows of the Queen Trilogy. Exile’s valor was published after this one so not a lot of events from that book was referenced to in this one.

I really like Lackey’s style of writing and her way of describing the life of a dirt poor person without glamorizing it (making them into the noble poor) or making it too gritty and depressing.

Final recommendation: Great read.

April 18, 2010

Exile’s Honor (Valdemar: Exile Book 01) by Mercedes Lackey

Filed under: Reviews-Fantasy — Suramya @ 9:39 PM

Exile’s Honor (Valdemar: Exile Book 01)
by Mercedes Lackey


Trained from childhood in the arts of war, Alberich strives to walk a careful path between obedience to the priests of Vkandis Sunlord and fairness to the soldiers under his command and the people of his native land of Karse. His attempts to hide his heretical gift of precognition, however, earn him a sentence of death by fire, thwarted by a bold rescue seemingly engineered by his faithful white battle steed-in actuality one of the Companions of the Heralds of Valdemar. Lackey continues her popular Valdemar series with the story of Alberich, Weaponsmaster and Queen’s Champion of a land he was taught to fear and hate, as he struggles to redefine the meaning of the honor he holds so dear while learning to accept the magic he once tried to conceal.

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Review:Exile’s Honor is the story of weapons-master Alberich who was the first Karsite ever to become an Herald.

The book starts off with Alberich’s last mission in Karse where he uses his hidden gift for foresight to prevent a bandit raid. Unfortunately for him the Priests didn’t agree that the foresight was a gift and instead tried to burn him as a witch. Fortunately for Alberich the Companion Kantor rescued him from the fire and took him to Valdemar to be trained.

The book does a good job of showing Alberich’s emotional and mental uncertainty on finding out that pretty much everything he had been taught about the Heralds was untrue without getting too depressing or melodramatic. This was a good thing because if he had accepted the change without any problems then he wouldn’t have become one of the more beloved characters in the series. After all recovering from a complete shift of your world view does take time.

It was initially written as a stand-alone novel but it fits quite well with the other books in the series. Exile’s Valor continues the tale started in this book but even if you don’t read that one you can read and enjoy this one without any problems.

Final Recommendation: A great read.

April 17, 2010

By the Sword (Vows and Honor Book 04) by Mercedes Lackey

Filed under: Reviews-Fantasy — Suramya @ 9:37 PM

By the Sword (Vows and Honor Book 04)
by Mercedes Lackey


Granddaughter of the sorceress Kethry, daughter of a noble house, Kerowyn had been forced to run the family keep since her mother’s untimely death. Yet now at last her brother was preparing to wed, and when his bride became the lady of the keep, Kerowyn could return to her true enjoyments – training horses and hunting.

But all Kerowyn’s hopes and plans were shattered when her ancestral home was attacked, her father slain, her brother wounded, and his fiance kidnapped. Driven by desperation and the knowledge that a sorcerer had led the attack, Kerowyn sought her grandmother Kethry’s aid, a journey which would prove but the first step on the road to the fulfillment on her destiny. For facing her family’s foes would transform Kerowyn into an outsider in her own land, a warrior bound to the spell blade Need, and a mercenary forced to choose between loyalty to her comrades in arms and the Herald of Valdemar, whom she had rescued and who in his turn had helped to awaken her to the true meaning of love and to her own unique powers of magic.

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The 4th book in the series ‘By the Sword’ features Kerowyn, the grand-daughter of the Sorceress Kethry and covers her adventures from her brutal introduction to warfare to her rise to a herald of Valdemar.

The book is an awesome read and sort of continues where the previous books ended but from a perspective of a much younger person than the previous books. It is divided into three parts and each part covers a specific phase in the life of Kero.

The last 1/3 of the book retells the tale of Valdemar’s war with Ancar but from a different perspective.

I liked the way the book talks about mercenaries and the kind of work they do. It does tend to glamorize the mercenary life a bit but has a lot of healthy doses of the non-glamorous portion of the war (the dying and killing).

Final Recommendation: A great read. Gives you a lot of background on another secondary character from the Valdemar Universe

April 16, 2010

Oathbreakers (Vows and Honor Book 02) by Mercedes Lackey

Filed under: Reviews-Fantasy — Suramya @ 9:34 PM

Oathbreakers (Vows and Honor Book 02)
by Mercedes Lackey


When Idra, leader of the crack mercenaries known as the Sunhawks, failed to return from a journey to her home kingdom of Rethwellan, Tarma and Kethry, warrior and mage, set out in search of their vanished leader. Sisters of sword and spell, their fates bound together by a Goddess-sworn oath, they were eternally pledged to fight the forces of evil.

And evil had indeed cast its shadow over Rethwellan. Idra, so they were told, had left long ago on a search for a legendary magical sword which could reveal which of her two brothers was meant to become the new king. With the princess gone, her younger brother had been branded an outlaw and her older brother had claimed the throne. Both instinct and mage lore told Kethry and Tarma that all was not as it seemed, that both Idra and her people were in terrible jeopardy. Yet would their Goddess-given powers, aided by those of a Herald of Valdemar, proves strong enough to break the dark enchantment possessing this land?

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The second book in the Vows and Honor series finds Tarma and Kethry, warrior and mage in the SunHawks, a mercenary company. There they learn a bit more about command and how to delegate.

The book doesn’t cover a lot of their life in the Sun Hawks, just enough to get them established and give a foundation for the next part of the story. In all a good way to structure a book.

This book is not like the first one where it felt like the book was basically a lot of short stories strung together. In this one there is only one story and as the book progresses they both gain in skill and experience.

I liked this book better than the first one. For some reason I rarely like reading short stories or anthologies. So this book was a lot of fun and more to my taste. Although I have read the book a couple of times before it was still interesting enough for me to read it completely in one sitting.

The book explains how Tarma and Kethry managed to get a grant for land that they required to setup their school and why the monarchy of Rethwellan was indebted to the two of them (That becomes important later in the series)

Final recommendation: A good read.

April 15, 2010

The Oathbound (Vows and Honor Book 01) by Mercedes Lackey

Filed under: Reviews-Fantasy — Suramya @ 9:20 PM

The Oathbound (Vows and Honor Book 01)
by Mercedes Lackey


Bound by oath to each other and to the Goddess, the swordswoman Tarma and the wizard Kethry begin a joint career as mercenaries in the constant struggle for justice in a land where demons come in human and not-so-human forms. The author of the “Heroes of Valdemar” trilogy begins a new series involving a pair of likeable, savvy heroines. Sword and sorcery with warmth and humor make this a story that will appeal to most fantasy fans.

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The Oathbound is the first book in the Vows and Honor Quadrilogy that tells us how Tarma and Kethry (Swordsworn and Mage) met and how they built up a reputation as reliable mercenaries over a period of time.

The book is a decent read but while the stories are fun some parts of the book appear disjointed, meaning some parts read like they were originally separate stories that were stitched together to make a book. For example in one of chapters Kethry and Tarma explain again how they defeated a particular enemy even though that was just covered in the previous chapter. There are many small instances like this one that break the flow of the book.

This is not that surprising though ’cause if I remember correctly most of the stories in this book were earlier published as short stories in one of the sword and sorcery magazines.

The book is one of Lackey’s earlier work and it is quite easy to see how her writing has evolved from this book to her latest works. Not that this book is bad, just that her later works are more polished.

Final Recommendation: Good read. Gives you the back story of some of the secondary characters in the main stream Valdemar books.

April 14, 2010

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

Filed under: Reviews-Science Fiction — Suramya @ 9:14 PM

Inside Out
by Maria V. Snyder


Keep Your Head Down. Don’t Get Noticed. Or Else.

I’m Trella. I’m a scrub. One of thousands who work in the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. The Trava family who rules our world from their spacious Upper levels wants us to be docile and obedient, like sheep. To insure we behave, they send the Pop Cops to police us.

So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? Not like it’s all that dangerous–the only neck at risk is my own.

Until a lower level prophet claims a Gateway to Outside exists. And guess who he wants to steal into the Upper levels to get the proof? You’re right. Me. I alone know every single duct, pipe, corridor, shortcut, hole and ladder of Inside. It’s suicide plain and simple. But guess who can’t let a challenge like that go unanswered? Right again. Me.

I should have just said no…

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Inside Out is a different kind of book when compared to the other books written by Snyder. The book starts off a bit suddenly where you wonder what is happening but slowly the environment in with the book is based is revealed.

Thankfully it doesn’t take too long for the world to be established because that would have just put off readers on the other hand its long enough that we don’t feel rushed and the world doesn’t sound half-baked.

The book follows the life of Trella who is a scrub. Basically a person who is cleans the pipes and vents in ‘Inside’. She is a very self-centered person in the beginning of the book where she gives the impression that she thinks the other Scrubs are beneath her. But as the plot progresses she starts realizing that there are other things in life that are also important.

What I like about the book was the way it showed how things/knowledge can get lost over a period of time and how some people take advantage of the fact. Can’t really tell more about this without spoilers so…

Final Recommendation: An awesome read. Highly recommended, especially for children and teens.

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