Friday, August 31, 2012


Out of the blue, with no previous incidents, reporter Catherine O’Rourke suddenly starts having visions connected to The Avenger of Blood, a vigilante killer terrorising the community of Virginia Beach.  Hoping to aid the Police investigation, Catherine shares her visions with the detectives working the case, but knowing sensitive details the Police wilfully kept from the public, Catherine’s good intentions turn on her when she becomes the main suspect. 

Catherine staunchly proclaims her innocence, but then DNA evidence links her to the crimes and Catherine is arrested.  Convinced someone is framing her, Catherine appoints two of the most lethal attorneys to fight her case: Marc Boland and Quinn Newberg. 

Unable to ignore the mountain of evidence against Catherine, Quinn cannot believe that Catherine is as innocent as she claims.  He believes she must have committed the crimes, even if she doesn’t realise it.  Quinn starts building a case of not guilty by reason of insanity, convinced that Catherine suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder.

At first unable and unwilling to believe any side of her could be capable of committing such heinous crimes, Catherine refuses to plead insanity and admit guilt; but when prison life starts triggering a side of Catherine she didn’t know she was capable of, and evidence against her stacks up, she finally starts wondering if Quinn might be right.  Does she have a split personality?  Is she The Avenger of Blood?  Or is the truth something that seems truly crazy?  Could God be using her?  Is God giving her these visions in order to right the wrongs?  And if so, how could she possibly prove it?

Randy Singer’s By Reason of Insanity follows both Catherine and Quinn as they try to make sense of Catherine’s visions. Throughout the novel Singer explores the many possible explanations why people could see visions.  We look at possible religious explanations, scientific explanations and psychological explanations.  The reader also learns the fundamentals of the insanity plea, and the more mundane issues lawyers have to deal with from day to day.  In his writing Singer gives the reader a very realistic look at the life of a lawyer.

As in The Last Plea Bargain, Singer’s personal legal experience give his courtroom scenes such a level of authenticity, you almost believe it’s all real.  Surprisingly Singer does a wonderful job portraying female characters; he manages to go deeper than most male authors who only touch on the superficial.  I actually cried through several of Catherine’s musings – this woman convinced of her innocence is believed by no one, and trusted colleagues and lifelong friends turn their backs on her.  Desolate and depressed, starting to wonder if she might actually be crazy, Catherine’s character is quite intense and wonderfully believable.  Every time Catherine was betrayed, I took it personally.  Great writers make you invested in the characters, and Singer does this very well.

What makes Singer’s work special is that he never slips up; he keeps the reader guessing until the very end.  I have only read two of his books to date, but I have come to appreciate that he is masterful at twists.  Having read my fair share of books, I usually see the “twist” coming (much to my dismay), but Singer manages to surprise me every time.  Reading one of Singer’s books is a journey - emotionally and intellectually. 

By Reason of Insanity is a very suspenseful read, keeping the reader hooked, invested and guessing until the very end.  Definitely worth the read.

Product information:
Title: By reason of Insanity

Author: Randy Singer

Number of pages: 400
Publisher: Tyndale House
Year: 2008
ISBN-10: 1414315473
ISBN-13: 978-1414315478 

Monday, August 27, 2012


Following a series of murders in Virginia Beach, newspaper reporter Catherine O'Rourke experiences disturbing dreams that detail each crime.  To aid the investigation, she shares them with a detective working the case.  But her plan backfires when she's arrested as the main suspect.  Catherine turns to Las Vegas lawyer Quinn Newberg, a high-priced specialist in the insanity defence who believes in justice.  He also believes in his client.  But he does not believe Catherine's dreams are anything other than the result of a fractured personality disorder, triggered by a traumatic event from her past.  Though he knows that insanity cases are unpredictable, nothing has prepared Quinn for this.  To win, or even survive, he'll need more than his famed legal maneuvering.  On this case, he'll need a miracle.

Friday, August 24, 2012


We all know the story of Rahab: A Canaanite prostitute who saved the lives of two Hebrews in Jericho and secured, for her family, exemption from the annihilation of Jericho.  The Bible then tells us that Rahab married Salmone, the Hebrew leader of the tribe of Judah, and had a son named Boaz.  Through their line, Jesus Christ was ultimately born.  Though a Canaanite prostitute, Rahab is described in the Bible as a woman of faith.

We read this story, take note of the content, but never quite imagine how it all must have come together.  Why would a Canaanite woman betray her country, her people, her gods, for the God of the Hebrews?  Why did the Hebrews agree to spare a woman of the enemy they were instructed to destroy?  How did she then come to marry a Hebrew? The leader of Judah, no less.  Didn’t he care about her past or how it could affect his position?  How was Rahab, a zonah, treated by the Hebrews?  Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar, provides us with a beautiful possibility of how Rahab’s story might have gone.  Though fictional, this story is built on a foundation of Biblical facts.

Rahab, a Canaanite, turns her back on the gods of her people at a young age, disgusted with the rituals surrounding them.  Fornication at the temples, sacrificing human lives, Rahab can’t stand the practices of her people.  

A severe drought causes her family to suffer.  They have no food, and no means to obtain money.  That is when Rahab is betrayed by the man she loves and depends on most: Her father.  At the age of fifteen Rahab is sold into prostitution in order to provide for her family.  Though she has no choice, Rahab does put her foot down and makes it clear that if she must do this, she will do it on her own terms.  She refuses to become a temple prostitute to be used by any man who walks by her, and chooses her own customers.  Hating what she has to do, Rahab tries to minimize her disgrace by only being with one man at a time, for a period of time she determines.  She guards her heart, refusing to ever hand it over to any man, and chooses carefully to whom she will give her body.  Rahab becomes wealthy and runs her own inn – not a brothel. Even though Rahab has all the fine material things she could want, her soul remains empty.  She can never fill the hole in her innermost being… until she hears of the God of the Hebrews.

Having been freed of the slavery in Egypt, having wandered the desert for forty years, the Israelites are finally entering the promised land and conquering Canaan.  The biggest cities are defeated to the absolute bafflement of all in Jericho.  

Desperate for something to cling to, Rahab absorbs every piece of information she learns of the God of the Hebrews.  He is powerful, and by all accounts a compassionate and loving God.  What makes Him even more intriguing is that he forbids the practices the Canaanites’ gods encourage, the practices Rahab herself abhors.  Even though she knows that according to the law of the God of the Hebrews someone like her (a prostitute) must be stoned, so severe is her sin, she cannot help but thirst for Him.  Alone on her roof, Rahab instinctively prays to the God of the Hebrews, and gives herself to His service if He will have her.  She promises to, never again, sell her body.  Peace unlike any she has ever known settles over Rahab, and a woman of faith is born.

A few weeks later Rahab notices two men trying to enter Jericho through the entrance to the wall in which her inn is situated.  Immediately realising that they are Hebrews, Rahab intercedes with the guards, drawing attention to herself, and gets Hanani and Ezra into her inn as fast as she can and hides them from the soldiers.  Later, while having dinner, Rahab asks them about their God.  By the time Ezra and Hanani secretly leave Jericho the following morning, Rahab has made two new friends, and has secured a promise that she and her family will be spared when the Israelites conquer Jericho – Rahab never doubts that God will give them the victory.

Salmone, the leader of the tribe of Judah, is outraged when he learns that his friends have promised to spare a Canaanite woman and her family – God clearly instructed the Israelites to destroy Canaan in its entirety.  Hanani and Ezra, however, are convinced that the Lord sent Rahab to them, and as such, God must have a plan for her as well.  Joshua, the leader of Israel, agrees, and it is decided that Rahab and her family will be spared.

After the fall of Jericho, Rahab makes another request of Ezra and Hanani.  She and her family wishes to join the Hebrews.  To proud Salmone’s dismay, Joshua agrees and puts Rahab and her family in the tribe of Judah, instructing Salmone himself to see to their integration into the ways of the Hebrews.  Despising Rahab’s former profession, Salmone can’t seem to forget her past, and even though Rahab appears to be humble and shy (impossible for a zonah!), and genuinely desperate to please his beloved Lord, Salmone continues to treat her and her family with a cold disdain.  It seems, however, that God intends transforming Salmone’s soul as much as he has transformed Rahab’s.  Can it be?  Can the leader of the tribe of Judah truly fall in love with a former zonah?  And more importantly, even though the only Rahab he has ever known is the kind of gentle, humble, God-fearing woman he has always yearned for, can he make peace with her past?

Pearl in the Sand is the most beautiful book I have read in years!  I rank it right up there with my absolute favourites, Francine RiversRedeeming Love and Mark of the Lion, and as with these, Pearl in the Sand is one of those books I wish everybody I know would read. 

This fictional account of Rahab’s story is so beautifully written and touches on so many things that must have been issues for Rahab, that you can’t help but think that Rahab’s true circumstances must have been very close to what is described in this book.  I never considered something as simple as Rahab and her family having to first learn all the ways of the Hebrews before entering their camp, so as not to defile it in any way – the smallest thing done in ignorance could have meant the death penalty for any one of them. 

I love Afshar’s depiction of the characters.  I especially love the character of Joshua – though very respectfully done, Joshua is quite a humourous character (and by that I mean that while he is very much the wise, trusted and capable leader the Bible describes him to be, he has quite the sense of humour!) It’s sometimes hard to imagine Biblical characters being anything other than serious, but surely they couldn’t have been serious all the time?  This book does a beautiful job of giving all of the characters a lighter side, making them very relatable. 

I especially love the scene explaining the title of the book – a beautiful pearl-in-the-sand-analogy that you must discover for yourself.   

Words cannot effectively express how much I love this book.  Read it!

Product information:

Title: Pearl In The Sand
Author: Tessa Afshar

Number of pages: 320
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Year: 2010
ISBN-10: 0802458815
ISBN-13: 978-0802458810 

Monday, August 20, 2012


Striking beauty comes at a price. Rahab paid it when at the age of fifteen she was sold into prostitution by the one man she loved and trusted - her father.  With her keen mind and careful planning she turned heartache into success, achieving independence while still young.  And she vowed never again to trust a man.  Any man.

God had other plans.

Into the emotional turmoil of her world walked Salmone, a prominent leader of Judah, held in high esteem by all Israel.  A man of faith, honor and pride.  An enemy.

What is a woman with a wrecked past to do when she wanted to be loved, yet no longer believes it possible? The walls of Jericho are only the beginning. The real battle for Rahab will be one of the heart.

Can a Canaanite harlot who has made her livelihood by looking desirable to men make a fitting wife for one of the leaders of Israel? Shockingly, the Bible’s answer is yes.  

Pearl in the Sand tells Rahab’s untold story. Rahab lives in a wall; her house is built into the defensive walls of the City of Jericho. Other walls surround her as well - walls of fear, rejection, unworthiness.

A woman with a wrecked past; a man of success, of faith …of pride; a marriage only God would conceive! Through the heartaches of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another’s worth and find healing in God ~ Tessa Afshar website.

Friday, August 17, 2012


I have wanted to write something about the Fifty Shades trilogy for a while now, but as I haven’t read any of the books (nor do I intend reading them) I felt that should just ignore it.  Not much gets on my nerves quite so much as someone expressing an opinion about a book I’ve read when they haven’t read it themselves (like the Harry Potter series is satanic, or The Shack is blasphemous).  I even fleetingly considered reading the first book in order to validate having an opinion, but quite frankly I just don’t want this junk in my head.  In this case I think I can make an exception and write this post without actually having read the books.  I did have a look at some readings on Youtube, and while those of Ellen DeGeneres and Zack Galifianakis and Will Ferrell are pretty funny, as is the Jimmy Fallon Karaoke, some of them are just too much.  This is really not something I would read for entertainment.  Or for any other reason.

From the author’s website: When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.  Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.  Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

So, the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L James is basically three books about BSDM: A combination of bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism.  Now, I haven’t read the books, but I’ve read reviews and these books are strongly labelled as erotica.  The difference between a romance novel and an erotic novel, is that a romance novel is about the love story (may or may not feature a love scene, usually quite tasteful as these things go) and that an erotic novel is about the sex scenes (may or may not feature a romantic storyline, usually quite weak).  Fifty Shades of Grey is therefore erotica.  Several reviews have made mention of the fact that no less than 75% is about the sexual acts that Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele carry out.  Bottom line: It’s pornography. It’s no different than a man looking at dirty magazines or watching porn.  Men are stimulated visually, women are stimulated mentally.  If you wouldn’t want the man in your life to degrade women or cheapen your relationship by watching porn or reading dirty magazines, there is no way you can justify reading Fifty Shades

Women who have read the books have told me that while the sexual stuff is very graphic, that it’s a really nice story if you can get past all that.  I’m sorry, but I don’t get why you would want to assault your mind with graphic scenes of bondage, sadism and masochism, just so you can read a scant few paragraphs about “the beautiful story”.  Apparently these books are not even well written from a literary perspective – which means, it’s trashy, poorly written erotica.  I can’t see how anything good can come of reading these books.  Like Tamara Lowe says, “It’s all designed to fill your head and waste your space until you’re dead”. 

Now, I’m not saying that reading it makes you a bad person.  I know several women whom I like and respect who have read these books – it doesn’t make them bad people, and I'm not judging them in any way.  I am merely concerned over how popular this kind of material is becoming in this day and age.  I believe that in reading this kind of material you are walking a fine line and toying with sin; Sinful thoughts, at the very least, and that’s dangerous.  “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15). By repeatedly exposing yourselves to this kind of material, you also become desensitized to pornography.  You’re filling your head with garbage, and romanticising it.  The Bible clearly says “Therefore, putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with humility the implanted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21), and “Whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8) . 

You need to listen to this podcast of The Mark Gungor Show (minute 24:00+).  Mark Gungor is an unconventional pastor in the best possible way, best known for his marriage seminars (Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage).  In the above podcast he, Diane Brierley and Ross Skorzewski are discussing the Fifty Shades phenomenon. 

As Mark says, “The female culture has hit an all-time low; or an all-time high on the stupid scale”.  Harsh words, but worth considering.  This BSDM fantasy is being supported by women!  Fifty Shades is a bestseller in every single bookstore I walk into, and has become so popular that a movie version is in the works.  A movie version… you get that, right?  Porn.  Ladies, your defending of this “beautiful story” has led to the making of a film version – you can’t see this being a PG movie, can you?  Pornography.  Supported by women.   Some women might say they are “enlightened” or “liberated”… I don’t buy it.  What you are doing is cheapening yourself and trying to justify it.  What has become of women fighting to not be degraded or objectified?  We degrade and objectify women ourselves by supporting this garbage.

I'd like to conclude with a poem by  this young girl speaking out against today's pop culture.  So true.

Dear Pop Culture; Dear Pop Sensation,
I’m writing to you because your lies are so pervasive in this American generation. 
Because listening to your lies was once my brain’s fixation. 
But for years now, I have had the realization, 
that your lyrics are an utter fabrication. 
That you sing with the serpent’s tongue over this nation, 
like lullabies in a dream-world destination, 
contorting and distorting people’s imagination.

And with your control and manipulation, 
we take in the sound waves that come to our radio station. 
When you call us a superstar, we call it inspiration. 
When you sing tolerance, we feel liberation. 
When you dance and flaunt your body in a provocative presentation, 
we accept it as entertainment without hesitation. 
You take the human body in all it’s beauty and creation, 
and present it like scum with unreserved humiliation 
to a world obsessed with over-sexualization.

You say free-fall into temptation 
and act as if there is no harm in the sex-game fixation. 
You say get drunk at a party and stir up the flirtation, 
enjoy the lit-up party scene saturation. 
Be who you are and express your orientation. 
The world is about you and your instant gratification. 
You sing I’m on the edge of glory with your own glorification. 
You fire up the feeling of victimization, 
so that rebellion and revenge feel like the only justification, 
and you so conveniently offer every emotional accommodation.

While we sit back and allow your perverted narration over our lives, 
and let you control our destination, 
your lyrics are like cancer, in need of radiation. 
I have watched as the youth cry out and worship you in adoration, 
with a crazy, obsessive, unhealthy fascination. 
They look to you for confirmation and validation. 
Because in reality, they’re yearning for a serious revelation 
from the depths of despair, depression and frustration. 
But they are jumping and taking rest on a sandy foundation, 
because what you have to offer, is nothing with any legitimate explanation 
about how the world works, or true love clarification. 

What they need is an internal evaluation.
Because truly they search for a God who offers a heart-transformation. 
And while you can do nothing about their messed-up situation, 
my redeemer, named Jesus, offers redemption. 
So listen to me, this is a hurt-people-hurt people duplication.  
And you are only feeding them your puked-up desperation 
twisted into lyrics and rhymes in a Hollywood location.
Here is my battle cry and declaration. 
With God on my side, I will stand against the desensitization. 
I’ll stand in the gap and let irritation be my motivation. 
And though from where you're standing looks good from your calculations, 
my God uses different equations. 
He says, we’re all lost and in need of salvation. 
He’s the author of true love and there’s no other replication.


My blog has had another visit by an author!  Sarah Sundin has read my review of her book A Memory Between US! :D


American Heiress Cora Cash, by all accounts the richest girl in the world, is determined to marry for love.  When the man she wants to marry turns her down and a horrific accident leaves her mother scarred, Cora gives in to her mother’s wishes and travels to England to find an aristocratic husband.  When Cora, literally, falls for Duke Ivo Maltevers, the English and American rumour mills go into a frenzy.  Ivo is titled, handsome and intriguing, but his mother’s squandering his dimmed his fortune significantly, and his family home is in desperate need of repair; Does Ivo wish to marry Cora because he loves her, or because he loves her money?

Entering a world she doesn’t understand, where she is no longer the most beautiful or the most popular, surrounded by conversation she feels is designed to keep her out of the loop, Cora questions this new life that looms over her.  Not knowing whose intentions are pure and who she can trust, and doubts assailing Cora’s heart, we follow her journey as she navigates the deceitful world of 1800's English aristocracy.

My Last Duchess by Daisy Goodwin is not at all what I had expected.  I expected to read a soft, light love story, but this book turned out to be quite the mystery!  Nothing you read is quite what it seems, and Goodwin keeps you guessing until the very end. 

I did not particularly enjoy reading this book, only because I found it very frustrating determining where everyone stood.  I felt that the focus of the book too often shifted to minor characters, such as Cora’s lady’s maid, and it didn’t really add to the story for me.  Cora’s ignorance and naivety frequently got on my nerves; I’m quite gullible myself at times, but I am sure even I would have noticed some of the things that Cora overlooked.  Cora Cash is not necessarily a very likable character, but she tries her best and at times I felt truly sorry for her.  Weighed down by doubt Cora loses her shine, and the helpless depression she feels when she can’t say for certain how Ivo feels about her, soon became my own.  At times this book really bummed me out – the sign of a good book: it makes you feel.

At the end of the day, My Last Duchess is quite unlike anything else I’ve ever read.  Goodwin wrapped the story up to a certain extent, but she left the door wide open for a sequel.  I would have liked to have complete clarity a little sooner in the book than the very end, but if we are to expect a sequel (no confirmation just yet), I would definitely enjoy reading the story on more solid footing from here on out.  

Product information:
Title: My last duchess

Author: Daisy Goodwin

Number of pages: 468
Publisher: Headline Review
Year: 2011
ISBN-10: 0755348087
ISBN-13: 978-0755348084 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Cora Cash, possibly the wealthiest heiress in 1890s America, has been raised to believe that money will open every door to her. But when her mother whisks Cora to England to secure her an aristocratic match, Cora is dismayed by the welcome she at first receives. The great English houses in which she is entertained are frosty and forbidding, dogged by intrigue above stairs, and gossip below. And it is only when she loses her heart - to a man she barely knows - that Cora realises the game she is playing is one she does not full understand, and that her own future happiness could be the prize.

This beautiful cover caught my eye, and I was totally sold when I saw the story is placed in the 1800's!  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Ruth Doherty is the oldest of seven children.  Having lost both their parents, it falls to Ruth to provide for her family.  Serving as a nurse during World War II, Ruth spends no money on herself, and sends every penny home to provide for her brothers and sisters.  Working hard for every cent, Ruth has no time for friendship or dating.  When she meets Major Jack Novak in her ward, a cautious friendship soon develops, and drawn to this man of honour Ruth starts to reconsider her strict no dating rule – but Ruth carries a secret that makes it impossible.  A terrible truth and a carefully constructed shield around her heart prevents Ruth from ever giving her heart to any man – not even kind, handsome, persistent Jack Novak.

Major Jack Novak was raised to follow in his father’s footsteps, to be a pastor.  While he loves the Lord, Jack also falls in love with military life when he becomes a pilot during the World War II.  While facing the decision of staying in the military or going into the ministry, Jack’s reputation as an excellent pilot and leader grows, and confidence soon turns into arrogance and pride.  Starting to trust in himself and his own abilities instead of the Lord, Jack grows reckless and an injury lands him in the medical ward, where he loses his heart to Nurse Ruth Doherty – the only problem is, she refuses to date; him or anyone else.  Devising a plan to win her heart before she realises what he’s up to, Jack penetrates Ruth’s defences by agreeing to only be her friend – but when he learns Ruth’s secret, will his love remain true, or crumble like his image of Ruth’s perfection?

A Memory Between Us is my first read of author Sarah Sundin.  I quite enjoyed her take on World War II.  Her portrayal of military life and the jobs of nurses and pilots is very detailed and her story is very well plotted.  The dialogue is, at times, a little cutesy for my taste, but true to the times so that can easily  be overlooked.

At the core of it all, A Memory Between Us is a story about two broken people relying on their own strengths instead of God’s, and wondering why God feels so far away.  Ruth and Jack must both confront fears and let go of their pasts, and learn to rely on God’s strength instead of their own in order to move into the future.  Only then will they see that God has given them exactly what they need: each other.

This is a lovely spiritual read every Christian will enjoy.  Jack and Ruth are faced with issues many Christians can relate to, and it was an absolute joy to share this journey with them.

Product information:
Title: A memory between us
Author: Sarah Sundin
Number of pages: 448
Publisher: Revell, Reprint Edition
Year: 2010
ISBN-10: 080073422X
ISBN-13: 978-0800734220 

Friday, August 3, 2012


Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge - until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth's heart a top priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she carries a shameful secret that keeps her from giving her heart to any man. Can Jack break down Ruth's defences, or are they destined to go their separate ways? ~ Sarah Sundin website

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey of House Lannister sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Stannis Baratheon, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb of House Stark still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies even as they hold his sister hostage at King's Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world.  But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others--a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords...

The battle for the Iron Throne is taking its toll on all the Kings.  Queen Daenerys might be taking on more people than she can handle, King Robb has lost the North to the Iron born, King Stannis is growing old and frail at a frightening speed, and King Joffrey… well, he doesn’t really care enough to be affected, now does he?  Early on in the book we learn that King Balon Greyjoy has died, leaving one less King vying for the power seat of Westeros.  Joffrey still continues to be the annoying little boy king we know him to be, preparing for the spectacle of a wedding with Margaery Tyrell.  Stannis must find a way to win the people of Westeros to his cause after the disastrous Battle of the Blackwater.  Robb Stark must first reclaim the North before he can march on the Lannisters.  Daenerys’ army grows large in numbers, but can she trust them? These are only the issues surrounding the royals.  The “lesser” characters face troubles of their own.  

Arya Stark just cannot seem to reach her family – something always gets in the way.  Sansa Stark, still virtually a prisoner at King’s Landing, must find a way to escape the Lannister clutches once and for all.  Bran, along with Meera and Jojen, must make their way North of the wall, which is sure to be attacked by Mance Rayder and the free folk at any moment.  Jon Snow must return to Castle Black, prove himself a true Black Brother and convince the Night’s Watch that he is not a turn-cloak.  Brienne of Tarth will stop at nothing to complete her mission to return Jamie Lannister to his Lord father and return the Stark girls to Lady Catelyn, but the most terrible of unforeseen circumstances makes her task impossible.

George R.R Martin’s A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold is, hands down, my favourite book of the A Song Of Ice And Fire series, so far.  I read this instalment about twice as fast as any of the previous ones; I just could not put it down!  Action follows action on every page, and there are surprises around every corner.  We finally learn who sent the dagger to kill Bran, who really killed Jon Arryn and why, and what became of Barristan the Bold after escaping King’s Landing.  Tyrion Lannister must again answer for a crime he did not commit, and learns a truth that might finally cause him to re-evaluate his misplaced loyalty to his conniving family.

This instalment of ISOIAF literally made my jaw drop several times.  I got so mad at Martin that I threw my book down, unwilling to read any further.  Of course, I picked the book back up almost immediately and continued reading.  There are a whopping 8 significant character deaths in this instalment!  This book truly delivers shock after shock, and where the ASOIAF series will go from here on out is anyone’s guess.  Martin’s writing is utterly unpredictable.  Nothing is for certain and no character is safe.

I have already bought A Feast For Crows, but after all the action I need a little vacation from Westeros before diving into this next one.  Besides, after reading this brilliant piece of literature, I fear that the upcoming instalments might not live up to the epicness of A Storm of Swords.  I so hope my fears are unfounded.  

Product information:
Title: A Song of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords 2 - Blood and Gold
Author: George R.R Martin
Number of pages: 656
Publisher: Bantam
Year: 2000

ISBN: 9780007447855
ISBN-13: 9780007447855

My final A Storm of Swords tweet

Warning - when reading this book, do not occasionally "pop in" to the #AStormOfSwords topic, some readers drop major spoilers!  Luckily I only checked on what others were saying when I was already through with the book.

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