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September 2014

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Sep. 28th, 2014

Orcs by Stan Nicholls



The volume is a compendium of three books of the Orcs: First Blood series. It includes Bodyguard of Lightning, Legion of Thunder, and Warriors of the Tempest. The story is set in Maras-Dantia, populated by various races who do not get along well with each other. There is an ongoing struggle between two religious factions, the Unis and Manis, and involves various races. Apparently, according to the elder races, Maras-Dantia is losing its magic and killing the land because of the invasion and abuse of the humans. The Manis, who have humans among its followers, believe this as well and are seeking to restore some of the power lost because of the human settlements.
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Sep. 27th, 2014

Grania: She-king of the Irish Seas by Morgan Llywelyn



History tells of a woman who defied tradition to follow her heart's desire and succeeded. Grania was the daughter of the Black Oak Dubhdara and Mairgret of clan O Malley. When most women were expected to fulfill their roles and housewives, Grania instead wanted to sail the seas. At a very young age she was known for her willfulness and insight. A natural leader known for her charisma and unconventional means to get what she wanted, she was a constant object of admiration and sometimes resentment of men and women alike.
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Lightning by Dean Koontz



Laura Shane was born on a night of a freakish lightning storm. Her life since then has been filled with both despair and mystery. Despite losing her mother and later her father at an early age, Laura grew up to be a strong and positive woman. Through most of the trying times of her life, from her birth then an incident with a store robber and more, Laura feels like she's being watched over by someone. This guardian appears during some of her life-threatening encounters and what's more puzzling is that he does not seem to age even as years pass. Ever since his last appearance however, Laura begins to doubt the existence of this blond, blue-eyed, gun-toting guardian.
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Bulfinch's Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch



This collection of the majority of European mythology will make the lover of myths cry out for joy. Bulfinch's Mythology includes Greek and Roman myths; Norse; Celtic; Arthurian and British legends (Beowulf, Hereward and Robin Hood); tales of Charlemagne's Paladins; and a few Egyptian and Eastern (Zoroastrian/Persian, Hindu, Buddhist) myths and legends.

The stories are limited however and only the more popular tales are included. It is a general overview of most myths but the focus, as expected, is still on Classical Mythology. The pages dedicated to the Greek and Roman gods take up most of the book, followed by Charlemagne's Peers.

Despite my disappointed to find that I'd be reading stories I'm already familiar with, the book does have its surprises. There is a chapter dedicated to monsters and how myths are formed. Some of the epics are summarized, much to my dismay, but it might be a good introduction for readers who find the longer versions too tedious. Egyptian and eastern myths are scarce as mentioned, but it is in this book that I have read about Charlemagne's Paladins or Peers for the first time.


The book lacks so many things but it is still a must-read for mythology lovers like myself. If you've already read most of the stories here, meeting the gods and goddesses, heroes and monsters all over again is still rewarding. The author provides some analyses as well but it is not the purpose of the book. Overall, the Bulfinch's Mythology is a good but limited introduction of of popular myths and legends.


Rating: 8 out of 10

Greece: Temples, Tombs, and Treasures



Greek history enthusiasts will find this beautiful volume an invaluable addition to their collection. Filled with vivid illustrations and photos, the book is a general outline of history of ancient Greece from its prehistory until Alexander's death.

It contains mostly descriptions of major architectural and archaeological finds and a narration of events at the time they were built or made. The book is informative but not detailed enough for the scholarly purposes. It however provides a good overview of architectural styles, art and a condensed history of the area.

I recommend this both for casual and scholarly reading. If you are interested in mythology, the book also mentions a few things. The text is easy to understand and reader friendly (however, the reader might want to check some updates on the progress of the study of finds).

Rating: 9 out of 10

San Antonio Spurs 2014 NBA Champions




Even more than months after the San Antonio Spurs won their fifth title, I still feel like everything is a dream. As a long-time fan of Tim Duncan, last year's loss to Miami Heat still feels like a nightmare whenever I think about it.
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A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin



In the third book, Joffrey Baratheon was poisoned at his wedding feast and Tyrion Lannister was accused by his sister of the crime. The guest Oberyn Martell became Tyrion's champion but was killed by Gregor Clegane. Tyrion escapes with help of his brother Jaime. Tyrion however confronted and killed his father and Shae.
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A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin



Jaime Lannister, defeated and captured by Robb Stark was released by Catelyn under oath. Overconfident and unquestionably a good warrior and talker, his life is about to change in his trip back to King's Landing with Brienne of Tarth and cousin Cleos Frey supposedly to Jaime's advantage. His moniker Kingslayer continues to haunt him despite his attempts to hide it.
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A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin


The land is split into six factions after King Robert Baratheon's passing. The current king of the Iron Throne is Joffrey, Robert's supposedly eldest son. But rumors about his parentage spread doubts of his claims. They believe that Jofrey and his siblings are products of incest and have no right to the throne. The others vying for the title take center stage. Stannis Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Robb Stark, Daenerys Targaryen, and the Greyjoys all want a piece of the action.
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A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin


Ned Stark is a benign lord of his subjects at Winterfell and a loving husband and father. A good friend of King Robert Baratheon, he just wants to live his peaceful life away from politics and intrigues at King's Landing even when he has proven he was a good warrior and administrator. His loyalty, honesty and love for the king however will be tested in storms to come. Given the choice of revealing a secret that would shatter the realm and start a war or to remain quiet for the safety of his family, it seems he would pick the obvious. But forces he could not control are mounting up the pressure that would ultimately involve not just they key players of the court but everyone else and pit one man or woman against another in a battle for the throne and the redemption of hurt loved ones. In the midst of all the human struggle is a greater threat known to and recognized only by a few.

This first installment of A Song of Ice and Fire series is told from the point-of-view of eight characters; namely, Bran, Catelyn, Daenerys, Eddard, Jon, Arya, Tyrion, and Sansa. The series follows two major storylines; the first is the fight for control of the Iron Throne of the seven kingdoms after the death of the king and the threat beyond the Wall, whether the threat is posed by the Wildlings, White Walkers or both, is for the readers to find out.
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