Monday, December 31, 2012

New year, new look, new goals

Happy New Year everyone! Well, almost anyways.  I've decided that for 2013 I wanted the blog to have a new look and a new feel.  It's not finished, there is still some tweaking to be done to the design and layout.  What do you think so far? I'm also going to be way more organized and have a variety of different posts.  I've got some ideas that I'm pretty excited about and I can't wait to get started on them.

Besides the blog renovation, I have some personal goals (resolutions, if you must) that I have in mind for myself as well.

Find a local organization where I can volunteer
Get back home to Chicago to visit
Eat healthier (which is so hard when you are financially strapped!)
Get active again (and hopefully more fit)
Make a dent in my TBR pile!

I set a goal for myself to read 60 books in 2012 and I just surpassed it with 67.  I started off the year strong reading like 15 or 16 books in January but then my reading  tapered off a bit.  This year I'm going to try for 70 books.  I'm not lacking for reading material, that's for sure.

What about you guys, what do you have planned for the upcoming year?

Here's to a happy and healthy 2013!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Review: Sons of Titan by Joe Russomanno

I'm cheating here and using the synopsis from Goodreads as I didn't think I could summarize accurately (due to the scope of the story) and not give anything away!

A World Besieged, Lost in Darkness, Awaits a Champion... The Bloodwraiths. They are the most terrifying weapon at the command of King Arorahn: resurrected fallen soldiers, now undead, with superhuman abilities and an appetite for flesh. There is one defense against them - the Phoenix Strike, known only to the exiled Axendrei Knights. Gideon, a blacksmith's apprentice whose dreary life is illuminated by his devotion to his beloved, Crysta, has no idea what lies in wait for him when he is conscripted into King Arorahn's army. He doesn't know that his father, Hadrigahn, a fugitive Axendrei Knight, has been training him in secret, using a suppression spell to block Gideon's knowledge. On the eve of his conscription, Gideon learns there is to be a battle that Crysta and the other villagers plan to watch. Hoping to see his beloved one last time, Gideon sneaks away to watch ... not knowing that once his innocence has been broken by witnessing acts of grotesque violence, the spell on his mind will also break. Captured by the Bloodwraiths, Gideon is thrust into a world of gladiatorial combat. He must rediscover his true self, while guarding the secret of the Phoenix Strike, which has the ability to save his world. Will Gideon remember the truth of who he is, and regain the power to combine all aspects of his essence, which will give him the superhuman strength of an Axendrei Knight? And will Hadrigahn succeed in training a group of fledgling Knights to battle the Bloodwraiths rampaging across the land? Sons of Titan: Rise of the Bloodwraiths is the stunning epic opening volume of a series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Join Gideon on his quest, and prepare to be enthralled from the first page to the last.

This book took me over a month to get through which is unheard of for me. If I'm struggling to get through a book I will give it two or three tries at most and then I throw the towel in. That's just it, I wasn't struggling through Sons of Titan, there was just so much going on in the book that I needed to take my time. There are several characters to get familiar with. There are also a number of smaller stories that tie in to the bigger picture. I almost feel that 'Sons' could have been divided up into at least two novels. Even though there was a lot going on, I really enjoyed the story. It was very entertaining, and kept my interest throughout. I was definitely invested and genuinely cared what happened to the characters. There was an Arthurian feel to the book in the beginning and I picked up on a couple of biblical references as well. Now whether those were real or imagined....that's the question.

One element that I found confusing was the passage of time. Certain paragraph breaks and new chapters made it difficult to determine where on the time line I was. There were also some minor editing concerns (at least in my version) but nothing so drastic that it took away from the story.

I do have two suggestions that may help readers clarify certain aspects of the story:

1. a map of the areas involved in the story shown somewhere in the book

2. a complete list of characters (with descriptions) for the reader to refer to

I am excited to find out what's next for this cast of characters and look forward to seeing more from this author.

My Rating: 3/5 stars