A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

3/5 stars.
Paperback, 761 pages.
Read from September 10 to November 04, 2013.

Another solid novel by Martin. Admittedly though, I feel like I have become comfortable with Martin’s writing so there were not as many surprises in this novel as in comparison to the first one, which I suppose, is the be expected to some degree. Regardless, I am still enthralled with the majority of the characters and most of the plots. My only fear is that so many of these precious details that Martin puts into his work that make his stories unique and exceptional will be lost in the coming novels. He has been successful in not missing too many so far which has provided some enthralling twists but, well there are just so many details in this novel and as reader, there are some that I don’t easily forget. Such as with Ayra’s direwolf, Nymeria, who was released to escape death in the first novel, will she return to Arya? I’m hoping so.

I think what I can appreciate most and what I think Martin could attribute the success of his novels to is the expansive and intricate characters that he creates. Even for those who don’t care for fantasy can still appreciate a well-developed character. For example, you don’t know whether to love or hate some, whether their intentions are for the better good or for their own means or if they are truly as heartless as they appear because Martin gets inside each and everyone of his characters. You’re able to see just how human they are, with all their quirks and faults, and empathize with each in one way or another. The characters that are straight forward and innately likeable, Martin doesn’t seem to keep around for very long (ie. Eddard Stark). Even with this second novel alone, some of the characters have changed so much from the first and are starting to show their true colours (ie. Theon Greyjoy).

While I have enjoyed this novel and the one prior, I don’t know if I would continue them were it not for the fact that my boyfriend really wants to continue watching the television series. There is just so much out there to read and if I’m already feeling too comfortable with Martin’s work I’m hesitant to continue and dull the excitement. However, I just can’t stand watching something that’s based on a book without having read it first! Since I have now finished this second book we can proceed in watching the second season. I hope that Martin continues to deliver.

Book Lovers by Shawna Kenney

3/5 stars.
(ARC) ebook, 256 pages.
Read from November 05 to 07, 2013.

Confession: this was my very first piece of Erotica. I may be hooked…Thank you Netgalley for introducing me to this genre.

There were some very good stories in this novel, some much better than others and some that I was able to relate to more. My favourite story by far was “A-Z”, not only was it exceptionally written (as was promised with this collaboration) but it was extremely sexy. I actually re-read the story because it was so hot! There were others however that did very little for me as I was not able to relate either to the sex scene or the story that was being told, but there were some that surprised me. Regardless, I still appreciated the stories in and of themselves for the most part.

This novel is truly a remarkable collaboration and I did love how each story was so unique and different from the next. Some stories were based on tragic relationships, existentialist thought or were completely fixated on the erotic associations of physical books and literature. I loved it all.

I feel that this collaboration was successful in portraying smut for literature geeks and would recommend it to a few of my nerdy friends.

World War Z by Max Brooks

3/5 stars.
ebook, 291 pages.
Read from July 10 to 24, 2013.

This book was nothing like I was expecting. I thought it would get the standard one plot and story whereas what I was actually presented with was a collaboration of short stories/oral narratives that are centered around the same plot. With that being said, it was very effective.

The one consistent but barely talked about character in the book is the narrator, or rather the person carrying out the interviews, otherwise each chapter is a different character speaking about their experiences before, during and after “Z” day. I have yet to see the movie but now that I’ve read the book I’m really baffled as to how it was pulled off seeing that the book is just a collaboration of different stories. I suspect that they made something more of the interviewer, which, there is part of me that hopes that they do as I was left wishing I knew more about the person who conducted all of these heart-retching interviews. I wanted to know his story, so maybe the movie will take that stance. Once I watch it, I will update my review.

I think that Brooks was very successful in portraying what a real-life zombie invasion would be like, and let’s be honest, it would be as terrifying as he describes. I actually have Zombie related dreams more than I would like to admit and I’m certain it’s because the idea of something like this actually occurring definitely strikes a fair amount of fear into me. I also appreciated the wide scope of characters that he had. He had people from all over the world with different backgrounds and moralities and that is truly what made this story dynamic and terrifying. I felt that he was able to get an accurate grasp of humanity and the different people that shape it. What we as humans would do to each other during a chaotic event like this is what inspires more horror than the zombies themselves.

I’m very glad that I finally got around to reading this cult-classic. I think that I’ve read at least two zombie themed novels now, including this one. Now that I’ve read that standard classic I feel that I can venture the genre more if I wanted to.