Chimera Book Three (Chimera #3)

Title: Chimera Book Three (Chimera #3)

Author: Phil Gomm

Genres: Adventure | Children | Fantasy

Length: 100 pages | 2235 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

In Book Three, Kyp will make it his mission to save the Panoply from the clutches of Chimera’s evil creatures and find them the way home. He will learn of prophecies, deal with new villains, make new friends, and find closure to a lot of problems. However, his adventure is not over yet!

Review:

Book Three brought back some of the magic that I had been missing from Book One.
It started really well. I was enthralled by the dual narrative in that first chapter, and wanted to know what was happening to Kyp.

I also enjoyed the story’s development. There is conflict, and we realize our main character is not perfect. There are some very scary moments (kissie-wissies!!) and I can never get enough of the author’s imagination and his way with words. I mean, who would have thought to compare hanging lightbulbs to an orchard of electric pears? Brilliant!

This third book does bring some closure and explains some things from the previous two. However, there were other things I would have liked to have read about. I wanted Kyp to tell Sprat he was sorry for making her feel the way he did. And I never got what happened to Wendell’s picture, which captured his Elsewhere Light, or maybe I just missing something. I actually thought Kyp would use it, since Wendell did not want it anymore. Instead, he and Sprat risk something which could have left them in limbo, without so much as a second thought.
I also did not get the implications of apprehending someone’s Elsewhere Light in a picture, and then someone else using it too. I thought that the Elsewhere Light was something unique, what links each child or object to the real world, because it means someone is missing them. When those people stop thinking about them, then the light goes out. So then what does having their Elsewhere Light taken mean? That those people will have forgotten about them? That didn’t seem to be the case with Kyp’s parents…
The characters also seemed to get out of very nasty situations a bit too easily, but since it’s a children’s book I won’t be too demanding about that.

So, in a nutshell, this is obviously meant as a series and not a trilogy, and despite everything I mentioned above I for one am quite eager to find out what comes next. Who knows, maybe Madam Chartreuse is Kyp’s birth mother? It would be cool if his birth parents were somehow linked to Chimera as well. And I definitely want to know who or what that Deity is. And why Kyp had a deja-vu feeling when he entered the warehouse. Had he been to Chimera before and forgot about it? And just who the heck is Saint Anthony and why was he at Open Sesames? Kyp recognized him, he said he had been there, so why didn’t he ask him then? And what bad consequences will come from getting all the children home at once? I want to know all that and more, so I am looking forward to the next three books of the series.

I recommend that you read the first three books of Chimera if you are looking to get lost in a great fantasy world, regardless of your age.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from May 28 to May 30, 2015
GR Review

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Chimera Book Two (Chimera #2)

Title: Chimera Book Two (Chimera #2)

Author: Phil Gomm

Genres: Adventure | Children | Fantasy

Length: 100 pages | 2235 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3/5

Premise:

In the sequel to Chimera Book One, Kyp will keep trying to save the trapped children from Madam Chartreuse’s grasp, while dealing with betrayal and struggling to find allies he can trust.

Review:

I enjoyed this sequel a bit less than Book One, but it was still a fun read.

In Book Two, we find that the villain(s) are not just plain evil, they are actually smart and very organized, particularly the leader. She does not have only two sidekicks, there are plenty of bad guys by her side… Or are there?
Kyp finds some unexpected allies and gains new enemies, as he tries to unveil just what exactly is going on. In doing so, he will find someone he never expected to see in Chimera and things will definitely get interesting. Emotions will soar high, decisions will be made and consequences will have to be dealt with.

In the previous book, we were introduced to a wondrous, whimsical, fantastic world, inhabited by strange critters with very peculiar characteristics, wishes and agendas. Chimera justifies all sorts of things, like where things and even humans go when they are lost, and where all sorts of superstitions have perfectly reasonable explanations. But now we are in this world, the explanations of how it works are pretty much done and I found myself in the middle of a narrative focused on plot and action.

Some of the things I found lacking in the first book are repeated here, along with a couple of new ones.
Here is what I can remember put me off a bit:

– There is a lot of stuff to remember. Many characters, quite a few places, several agendas.
– There isn’t much tension, no actual build up. It’s just a sequence of action scenes interspersed by breath-taking descriptions. For instance, when Kyp loses his Elsewhere Light, I wanted to feel panic. Yes, it’s important that he tries to save the children, even though he said he had no intention of doing so and just wanted to save Joe, but doesn’t losing his Elsewhere Light mean he will be forever stuck in Chimera? So I guess I wanted a bit more drama, maybe, or rather a progression of emotion. I wanted to actually feel that all was lost and then find closure as we finish the ride, while this way it’s almost like we know the main character will find a way to fix the situation so we needn’t worry.
– There were several grammar mistakes – plenty in the last chapter alone.
– There were just too many plot twists. A lot of betrayals and re-betrayals and then traitors who were not traitors anymore and it was just too much.
– Characters supposedly dying and then coming back always puts me off, and I can tell it is going to happen again.
– I am still not sure how to feel about the development of Mistress Chartreuse’s character. In Book One, she was portrayed as being truly evil and no one (at least children) can resist her because of her green eyes power thingie. Here, she is a fallible character, seemingly easily deceived about those she trusts the most. I lost quite a lot of respect for her. I can understand that her power does not work on Chimera’s inhabitants, but I think a true villain needs to have much more discernment than she has shown. She did not suspect any of the traitors. She was reduced to a wailing frail thing in the last scene where we saw her. It just didn’t do it for me.
– I was disappointed in Sprat. For the entire first book we hear Kyp saying how much he loves his best friend and when they finally meet she isn’t even happy to see him and even though she remembers her old life now it’s like they don’t even have a history together, if she is that ready to doubt him.

So all that left me a bit lacking I just did not feel very engaged with the story. Personally, I would have preferred a sequel which would have allowed me to further engage in the world of Chimera, and for the main villain to remain almost untouchable, if you know what I mean. Unless, of course, there is even an even bigger villain behind the curtain, but I don’t think that will be the case.

In the end, this is a children’s book, and I find myself again believing a child would enjoy this a lot more than I did and that their enjoyment would not wane in the least because of what I mentioned.
I am, however, unsure of the target audience. There were brief references to torture and death that I am not sure really young children should be reading.

I did enjoy this sequel. I breezed through it and truly enjoyed some bits and pieces, particularly the sequence about the onu-weed, amongst many others.

Onto book 3!

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from May 26 to May 28, 2015
GR Review

Day 100 – Celebration, Twitter and About

Ana’s Lair is 100 days old, yay!

 


Bring out the confetti, champagne and cake!

I have to say I am surprised to have come this far and even more surprised that I definitely want to keep going! So I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of you who took the time to follow Ana’s Lair, like, comment on and/or share my posts. You give me the motivation to continue and I truly appreciate each and every one of you.

 

I also reached 500 likes a few days ago!

And now, onto the updates!

Update #1:

I started a Twitter account back in 2012 to see what all the hype was about. I did not get the appeal of it, especially due to the character limit, and I did not really want another social media site to take up my time. But I could tell that the instant aspect of it was interesting, especially for news items.
So I peeked in, followed a couple of entertainers I liked but did not stick around for long.

Recently I found a couple of giveaways using the Rofflecopter platform and amongst the conditions to submit an entry was follow someone on twitter and tweet about the giveaway.

So I sort of resurrected my Twitter account. I changed the username to Anaslair, my profile and header pictures to match the blog’s, and linked it to my WordPress account.
I am not counting on actually using the account much, but whenever I post here in the blog, a tweet linking to it should automatically be generated.

Click the picture to access my Twitter account!

Click the picture to access my Twitter account

If you would like me to follow you back, just let me know, and I will try to keep up.

Update #2:

The About page has been revamped.
Main changes include:

– A reorganization of the former text and addition of a new section, a walk-through on how to navigate the blog;
– A clickable index to the main four sections (Author, Blog, Review Policy and Contact);
– Little tweaks here and there :)

Let me know what you think and thank you for stopping by!

Libertines: A Horror Story

Title: Libertines: A Horror Story

Author: Grant Palmquist

Narrator: David Winograd

Genres: Horror, Paranormal

Format: Audiobook

Length: 1 hr and 13 mins

Source: Audible | Giveaway

Rating: 2.5/5

Premise:

Samantha is bored with her sex life, so when she finds an ad in a magazine promising the key to spice things up, she proposes to her husband that they give it a try. The method consists on listening to a recording which contains subliminal messages. At first, everything seems great, until Samantha and her husbands’ desires spiral out of control.

Review:

This is the second book I listen to by this author and narrator. The premise is great: A couple in their early 40s try to spice up their sex life. Who wouldn’t want that? You love the person you’re married to, but the passion has been gone for a while now. That’s normal, right? Is it possible to have it any other way? An ad in a sex magazine says so. It guarantees so. It’s not much of a conundrum, is it? You’d give it a try, right? Samantha and her unnamed husband did.

The book is narrated by the husband and it starts off really well, with all the questions I mentioned above running through his mind. I thoroughly enjoyed that character because he was just darn average. He is settled in his routine, resigned that it is all he is ever going to get because that’s just what couples grow into after being married for a while, and when his wife suggests that they try this thing (sort of like Eve offering Adam the apple), he has serious doubts. He can’t be bothered. I thought that was very real.

The first few minutes after that, when they both start changing, were also quite enjoyable. I especially appreciated when the protagonist realizes that he is turning into something he is not very fond of but cannot seem to stop listening to that darn recording and following his urges because they are so new and exciting to him, even though he knows decent limits are being crossed.
I liked that Samantha wanted to go through those changes with her husband. When he does his own thing, he starts realizing that he doesn’t really know his wife anymore. Those bits were all very interesting.

But then the story started getting a tad too repetitive for my taste, especially whenever the main character enters a bar, and then all the blood and violence. But my interest in the story decreased most of all because it started turning eerily into something much too similar to Engel: A Novelette of Terror, the other novelette I listened to by the same author. That feeling of been there, done that persisted till the end, which didn’t give me much closure either.

The narrator was overall quite pleasant to listen to. Again, there were a few inflexions I wasn’t much of a fan of, but nowhere near as annoying as in Engel’s. I had the same problem with not being able to easily distinguish between especially the two main voices, and there were a couple of times when I wasn’t immediately sure if the story was being narrated or if I was listening to a dialogue. But some intonations were spot on, especially when one of the characters did something really bad and then acts all innocent. The repulsion felt by the other character was also very well achieved. Also, I can honestly say that I would most likely not have enjoyed the story as much if I had not listened to it; David Winograd did manage to get me engrossed in it, and turned something which could have been almost dull (to me at least) into a good paced and interesting narrative.

In conclusion: very good beginning but it starts going downhill after the middle or so. I will be rounding the 2,5 stars up because it is an intriguing concept and the narration kept me going. I sort of feel that I should have been more excited about all I listened to, but in a world where sex loses its meaning so easily, and it’s all been said and done, I really could not feel much. I should have been shocked but this sort of thing isn’t really new anymore. It’s the psychological effects of how the situation developed that kept me intrigued, and because of those I do recommend you listen to this story.

Disclaimer: I won this audiobook in a Rofflecopter giveaway hosted by Audiobookreviewer.

Listened to on May 28, 2015
GR Review

Skunk Anansie – Lately

This video caught my attention because it reminded me of another I have posted before – Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun -, so I was surprised when I read in the Wikipedia description (pasted below) that this was actually an homage to Black Hole Sun.

Not only are the effects and the whole video absolutely crazy but it’s also very amusing to see Skin performing all the different roles.

I bought this cd and when I listened to this song it quickly became one of my favourites. I would however never picture it associated with this video. I still have trouble relating the two. But I figured I would leave you with this freaky footage and great song.

Happy wednesday!

Description of the video taken from Wikipedia:

The surreal music video was directed by Howard Greenhalgh, who directed the music video for “Goodbye” by Spice Girls, a year earlier. The music video shows the band performing in a small town where all its inhabitants are smiling while a comet (played by Skin) begins to have a collision course with Earth. The video for the single was a homage to Soundgarden’s music video for “Black Hole Sun”, which was also directed by Greenhalgh in 1994.

Chimera Book One (Chimera #1)

Title: Chimera Book One (Chimera #1)

Author: Phil Gomm

Genres: Adventure | Children | Fantasy

Length: 100 pages | 1980 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

Kyp finds himself in a world utterly different from his own, with parents who look like his but aren’t his.
As he runs away from the Oblivion Three, he finds that he is in the world of Chimera, a place where lost things go. If he wants to escape, he needs to do so before everyone forgets about him. When that happens, his Elsewhere Light will disappear and he will be lost forever, never able to return to his home ever again. It will not be an easy task, running from those three and not knowing who to trust.
Kyp’s adventure will last longer than expected or hoped. In this first book, he finds that the main villain is keeping other lost children prisoner and will attempt to rescue them.

Review:

Chimera Book One succeeds in transporting the reader to a wondrous world reminiscent of The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, with a dash of Coraline and Narnia in the mix.
The imagery is absolutely stunning. I was mesmerized by the dismay of the landscape and creatures and their stories, the villains were so scary, and I rooted for the hero and his new-found friends, that they would succeed through their struggles and manage to bring back hope.
Obviously, since this is book 1 in a series, we do not get closure, but it was still a very rewarding tale and interesting revelations were made in the end.

I was engaged from the first page, although I could not always tell what was going on: I didn’t quite get the purpose of the magician with the scarves, how he is related to the fugue; if the beginning of the story takes place in Chimera instantly or if those really are Kyp’s parents even though he says they are not and he got lost while in the trinket shop. I am pretty sure they were and he just thought they had changed so much since the event that caused them to move, but I would like to be really sure. Guess that won’t happen till the final book.
Regardless of the doubts, I was still engaged in the story and enjoying the ride.

But then I started finding the pace a bit too rushed. There was a lot of running and the characters were constantly almost being caught; I wanted to take a breather and get to know a bit more of the world, so I wished they could have come up with some diversion or something, that would have bought them time to talk about it.

This fast pace would then be countered by massive descriptions. They were lovely – part of the strength of this book is precisely those crazy sounding critters and scenarios – but it just caused me to get distracted once I was past that initial awe.

I had a bit of a hard time keeping the end goal in mind, like where Kyp was supposed to go, and by the time some things were mentioned, like the Calvacade for instance, I had no idea what it was anymore (still don’t…); there was just too much stuff in between, I got utterly lost.

Other plot/writing issues: I thought finding Circinus when and where they did was very convenient (it sounded like they were separated a long time before that, so why would she even be there?) and I noticed that Kyp knew Atticus name before it told him. There was the odd grammatical error and missing/extra words. The writing itself was easy enough to follow, though there were times the phrasing caused me to have to reread to see if I got things right. Like Deep in thought, the first Kyp knew Atticus had stopped was when he trod on his tail. I was like. Huh? There’s more than one Kyp? When I reread the sentence it was clear, but not quite at first.

So, in a nutshell, I would say the main issue I had with the book was the pace, along with having trouble remembering the key elements. However, there was so much good stuff in this little gem that I cannot bring myself to round the 3.5 stars down.
Plus, it’s a children’s book, and I do believe kids will enjoy it even more than I did, although I believe it will appeal to both little ones and grown-ups.

In conclusion, the first book of the Chimera trilogy was highly enjoyable, and I will be diving into the next two shortly. This is a world which will suck you right in, and I wish it would be made into a movie or even a series – these critters are just begging to come to life in a screen!

Read it, you won’t be sorry.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from May 24 to May 26, 2015
GR Review

Beautiful Blogger Award

I would like to thank Sarah at Stacks of Sarah for nominating me to this award. She is a kindred bookaholic and I really enjoy her blog. You should definitely visit it!

On to the award!

The Rules
Link to the blogger who took the time to nominate you.
List seven random things about yourself.
Nominate seven creative, beautiful bloggers.
Notify the amazing people that you nominated for the award.

 

Random Facts:

1. I absolutely adore sleep. Don’t bother telling me it is overrated. There is nothing like a good night’s rest and that feeling of waking up utterly refreshed in the morning.

2. When the weather starts getting better (sun shining, lovely warm temperature, slight breeze) my brain immediately goes… Beach!! There is nothing quite like dozing away to the sound of waves crashing while feeling the warm sun on your body.

3. I often forget to watch tv. There’s actually a couple of shows I like to watch (especially Criminal Minds) but when I have a bit of free time I am either reading or blogging, so it often slips my mind.

4. I have been progressively distancing myself from facebook, to the point I now loathe it. I never really got into other social media sites, so this blog is the closest I have to one.

5. I have never felt comfortable in groups. I prefer one on one interaction.

6. People who know me probably think I don’t have much of a sense of humour. I am quite a serious person and this translates both to my personal and professional life. I tend to focus on enjoying the little things in life, having nice conversations with the people I care about and doing the best/being the best person I can be. The things I find funny other people usually don’t, and vice versa.

7. As you can see by my blog my main interest these days is reading. I got into a bit of a slump in the last couple of months or so, and therefore I decided to try new genres, since I tended to only read fantasy/sci-fi/horror. I started with The Doll Maker, a thrilling mystery book, and should now read more mysteries, but probably more of the contemporary sort, not so much police investigations.

 

My Nominees:

1. Amie @ Amie’s Book Reviews

2. Anthony Vicino @ One Lazy Robot

3. Jennifer @ Book Junkiez

4. Kimberly @ Come Hither Books

5. Lynn @ Lynn’s Book Blog

6. Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

7. Natalie @ Fill Your Bookshelf

 

This post turned out a lot different from what I had initially thought, a lot more intimate! I realized I have grown rather isolated. But as long as I have my books, all is well.

Besides, I grew up during a time when internet first didn’t exist and later it was rare; not everyone had access to it and when they did it was quite expensive. So I learned to take pleasure from other things. I guess that’s something that stayed with me throughout my life.

I went through the hype as everyone else did but, these days, I honestly do not miss facebook, for instance. Or even tv for that matter. I prefer watching a good movie, but even those are hard to find nowadays. The importance of great graphics has long since surpassed that of a good plot. It’s a shame that the two seem to have become mutually exclusive!

So yes… Books. :)

 

Looking forward to reading what my nominees have to say about themselves!

Tag, you’re it! :D