Apathy & Rhetoric


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March in Review/April Preview

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Substitute “doing my homework” with “writing.”

So, I’m not really into review posts, or at least I don’t think I am, because I usually find them to be a boring recap of things I’ve already read, but this review post is different because I haven’t been posting hardly anything for you to read, and it is therefore new information and more of a preview of things I will (hopefully) write about in April. You know, if I find the time. This will also warn you of the plethora of book related posts that may be coming your way. Hopefully, you guys like those posts and aren’t disappointed in my lack of apathy and writing posts.

So what have I been doing? Lots of stuff:

Authors

This month I was fortunate enough to meet Patricia Briggs (My favorite Urban Fantasy author, and definitely in my top 5 favorite authors, probably even top three), Brandon Mull (ok, this was my second time meeting him, but it was still awesome), Chad Morris (who I haven’t read yet, but his books sound awesome), Dan Wells (who wore an awesome hat), and I even briefly met Robinson Wells (who I, sadly, didn’t have sign a book because I have not read him yet, and didn’t have enough money to buy his book this month). Depending how I feel, I may be driving an hour tomorrow night to meet Ally Condie, (who I already have one signed book, and haven’t gotten around to reading or buying her other books, so we will see). In any case, I have photos and stories, and recordings and/or transcripts of Q&As that I will hopefully get around to sharing.

Reading

I haven’t been in the mood to read lately, and then about a week ago I went book crazy. I think it was sparked by Night Broken, the new Patricia Briggs book. It was awesome. My point is that I plan to do reviews for the books I’ve read recently, and they are: Night Broken, Seraphina, The Winner’s Curse, Half Bad, and Ruins. I also reread the Alpha and Omega series this last week. And while I’m talking about reviews I should mention that I still plan on writing a review for last month’s book club book, Steelheart. Maybe I’ll do a book review blitz, 5-6 reviews in one day. I also read Sky Raiders this month, but I already reviewed it. Now I just need to decide what to read next…

Not Reading

I discovered this last week that my shelf of to-reads is full. Not to mention all the ebooks I need to read. To top it off, about an hour ago I was reviewing my list of favorite authors and discovered there are at least three books I thought I had read but now realize I have in fact NOT read. Apparently, I just assumed I had read them because I had been so excited for them to come out. I’m not sure how I managed to do this to myself.

Hiking & Hanging with Friends

I’ve been going on a lot of hikes with friends and family these last two months, which has been awesome. I may have some thoughts to share about that… I also went on a mini vacation with some friends that involved a zoo, an aquarium, a snow storm, and Dan Wells. I’m guessing Dan Wells is the only part of that you’ll find interesting.

Family

I had some family come up to visit, which was fun. I won’t be writing a post about it, but I wanted you to understand part of why I was so busy.  (Sometimes I like making excuses).

Writing

I actually haven’t been writing at all lately, which will probably be the subject of at least one post.

Watching YouTube and Scouring Facebook

So this isn’t really newsworthy, but I found some awesome videos and articles that gave me some ideas to talk about.

TV

I sampled Netflix for the first time. I think I could get addicted to it.

In sadder news, my favorite TV show, Psych, had its series finale. I am in mourning.

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So there you have it, a somewhat useless and rather vague recap of my month. If you managed to read to the end I applaud you. Hopefully, having this published will motivate me to actually write the posts I want to write.

Please share your thoughts and comments.

 

 

 

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Book Review: Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

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Sky Raiders Review

Official Overview:

Cole Randolph was just trying to have a fun time with his friends on Halloween (and maybe get to know Jenna Hunt a little better). But when a spooky haunted house turns out to be a portal to something much creepier, Cole finds himself on an adventure on a whole different level.

After Cole sees his friends whisked away to some mysterious place underneath the haunted house, he dives in after them and ends up in The Outskirts. The Outskirts are made up of five kingdoms that lie between wakefulness and dreaming, reality and imagination, life and death. It’s an in-between place. Some people are born there. Some find their way there from our world, or from other worlds.

And once you come to the Outskirts, it’s very hard to leave.

With the magic of the Outskirts starting to unravel, it’s up to Cole and an unusual girl named Mira to rescue his friends, set things right in the Outskirts, and hopefully find his way back home before his existence is forgotten.

4 stars

My Review:

When I started Sky Raiders I was worried it was going to be a little too fantastical for me, but the more I read the more I enjoyed it.  The world Mull creates is amazing.  The Five Kingdoms is a combination of originality and the dreams and imaginings we all had as children. Was it weird sometimes? Yes, but only when it was meant to be weird.

My biggest issue with the book was I felt the plot kept getting in the way. (I am aware this is a weird issue, and I may be the only person who suffers from it). This isn’t to say I thought the plot was bad, it was just I got introduced to this great culture of the Sky Raiders and wanted to spend the entire book exploring the world and lifestyle, but wasn’t able to because the plot took me forward to a different part of the Five Kingdoms.  It was like reading Harry Potter, but not being able to explore Hogwarts. My favorite parts of books are the characters and the world building, and while I was able to learn more about the characters, I felt I never got enough of the world, which in all honesty, is probably a sign that the world was amazing. A book that makes me want more is usually a good thing.

I’m definitely looking forward to continuing the series.

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Two Side Notes:

1. This book isn’t due to come out until Tuesday, but I’ve seen some stores putting it out early, so you may be able to get a hold of it today if you so choose.

2. Brandon Mull will be visiting the bookstore I work at on March 18! 😀 This will actually be the second time I get to meet him. He is an incredibly nice guy and takes the time to talk to each person who comes to get a book signed. I’m not sure how much time he’ll have to answer questions, but if there is anything you are dying to know about him or his writing process put it in the comments and I’ll see what I can do. 🙂

Brandon Mull


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Book Review: The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison

trioUndead Pool Summary

Official Overview:

Witch and day-walking demon Rachel Morgan has managed to save the demonic ever after from shrinking, but at a high cost. Now strange magic is attacking Cincinnati and the Hollows, causing spells to backfire or go horribly wrong, and the truce between the races, between Inderlander and human, is shattering.

Rachel must stop the occurrences before the undead vampire masters who keep the rest of the undead under control are lost and it becomes all-out supernatural war. However, the only way to do so is through the ancient elven wild magic, which carries its own perils.

4 stars

My Review:

I love this series, but at the same time always feel a little bored when I read it. Unfortunately, I can’t pinpoint why. The books have excellent plots, wonderful characters, and great writing. They just never seem to move as fast as I want them to. Perhaps I’m too impatient.

In any case, The Undead Pool is of the same caliber of quality as all of the eleven previous books, which means all you super fans out there should be very excited. While maybe not my favorite of the series, I definitely think Undead Pool is one of the better ones. The sad news is there is reportedly only going to be one more Hollows book after this one, which surprised me because I felt this one ended with enough new intrigue to keep the series going for awhile. 😦

One of my favorite things about this book was the character interaction. A key part to this series has been the trio (Rachel, Ivy, and Jenks) working together and helping each other. Each character had a unique skill and role to play. I’ve felt as though that element had disappeared in recent books, but am happy to say it makes a comeback. This of course means we see more of Ivy again, who seemed to have disappeared in the last couple of books. I missed her. The way she interacts with (and intimidates) people is always fun to read. Now, if only we can get back Glenn…

I also liked the development of Trent’s storyline, but I won’t give any details on that because of spoilers. I’m just happy that certain actions finally take place.

The second thing I really loved was the elven magic and the direction Harrison took with it. It opened up whole new realms of possibilities. I’ve always liked that in this series the magic has a clear method about it and seems almost scientific. Elven magic, on the other hand, breaks that mold. It follows completely different rules (which is probably why it gets called wild magic), and that excites me. I don’t know how to say more without giving away spoilers. Let’s just say the next book should be interesting.

There were a lot of key things that happened in this book (some subtle, some major) to progress the overall arc of the series. I was happy to see some of the loose ends that I felt were dragging the series down finally get resolved in this book. There was also a lot of new avenues opened, which left me (and will probably leave you, too) eagerly anticipating the next and final book. Let’s hope it comes quickly.


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Top Ten Worlds I Would Want to Live In

As promised…

1. Hogwarts from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – Who wouldn’t?

2. Pern from The Dragonrider’s of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey – First off, you have the chance to be a dragonrider. On dragons that can go between time and place. Then there is the whole society of crafters and holders, which sounds kinda awesome. Plus who wouldn’t want to live on the Southern Continent where you can swim in the ocean all day and pick your dinner off of trees? Sure, there is the deadly thread that falls from the sky, but as long as you’re indoors you’re fine.

3. Fablehaven from Fablehaven by Brandon Mull – A secret reserve for all things magical that also has its own swimming pool. Just the fairies alone would make it worth it.

4.The Castle (and other worlds) from the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage – The Castle is my first preference because it has the underground tunnels and is the place to be if you want to become a wizard. However, the Marram Marshes and the Port sound pretty fun too. The forest would be fun to visit, but maybe not live. I think I’d try to stay clear of the Badlands.

5. Aloria of the Belgariad and Mallorean series by David Eddings – I can’t decide where in Aloria I’d like to live because each kingdom is so unique and fun. I’m thinking maybe Drasnia because of the spying (aka: knowing everything) and the secret sign language. I’d really like to be a sorceress, but living in the vale sounds kinda lonely.

6. Fictional Earth in The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs – This world is just like ours with the added benefit of werewolves, vampires, and fae; however, something about it is a lot more compelling than other paranormal stories. I think I could thrive in a werewolf pack like Adam’s or Bran’s. 🙂

7. Camp Half-Blood from Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan – I think the idea of being half god appeals to me way more than the actual camp, but I have always loved Greek mythology. I don’t think I’d enjoy the fighting though…

8. Fictional Historic England from most historical romance novels – So I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have liked the real England way back when, but the romance novels make it sound fun. Lots of parties and dances and a society that thinks people should never speak to each other until after they’ve been introduced, which would take away a lot of the anxiety. Not to mention, I’d be a total wallflower, which means I would be the one who got the devastatingly handsome and perfect man who plays the hero in all the best novels.

9. Krynn from the Dragonlance Saga by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman  –  I love the gnomes. I also think it would be cool to live in a tree. It’s been a long time since I’ve read these books, but I remember liking all the settings.

10. New Avalon from How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier – First off, everyone should read this book. It is uniquely brilliant, which is why I want to live in its world. The people in the city seem awesome and quirky and fun. I also want a fairy. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what mine should be. 😦

 

There you have it. A list that turned out to be much harder than the one about places I’d hate. I’m still not sure this list is accurate. Here are a few more titles that almost made the cut (mostly because I like their magic):

Landover from The Magical Kingdom of Landover series by Terry Brooks

Four Lands of The Shannara Series by Terry Brooks

Elenia from the Elenium and Tamuli series by David Eddings

Midkemia from The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist

D’Hara from The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind

 


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Top Ten Worlds I Would NOT Want To Live In

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Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I discovered something about myself while writing this post. Well, two things really. The first is that I’m pretty adaptable, and there aren’t a lot of places I couldn’t stand to live in. The second is that I tend to focus on only the fun and cool parts of fictional worlds and ignore the bad. In any case, here is my top ten worlds I’d least like to live in. (Hopefully, I didn’t forget any super obvious ones).

1. Westeros and Essos of the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin – Aside from a lot of dreadfully boring (in my opinion) politics, the people of these books are obsessed with rape, incest, murder, and dismemberment. In fact,in their society a person isn’t respected until they commit at least one of these sins. The world is a paradise for the morally corrupt, but definitely nowhere I want to be.

2. Hell from The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri – Confession: I haven’t read this book, but the setting sounds awful.

3. The Hunger Games Arena from The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins – Alright, I may not want to live in the districts either (seeing as they’re starving), but not all of them are as bad as 12, and the Capitol actually sounds kinda fun. I definitely wouldn’t want to be in the arena though. For one, I’d be one of the first to die. For another, I can’t see myself killing anyone in cold blood. Even killing someone in self-defense sounds a little hard.

4. Futuristic Earth from The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan – I don’t like Zombies. Nor do I like books/worlds where a lot of good people die.

5. Easton Academy from the Private Series by Kate Brian – The girls of this academy are so cliquey and shallow I really don’t think I could stand living with them. Not to mention they really need to sort out their priorities. (Note: I’ve only read book one, and I’m not even sure I finished.)


6. Futuristic Earth from Rootless by Chris Howard – The man-made trees sound awesome, but I don’t think I’d enjoy only being able to eat popcorn and having to avoid flesh-eating locusts.

7. Battle School from Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – The military school lifestyle is way to strict for me, and the zero-gravity games sound nauseating (or worse).

8. Morganville, Texas of the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine – While I would love to meet Claire, Eve, Shane, and Michael, and maybe even do some sightseeing, I don’t think Morganville would be a place I’d want to put down roots. Finding and keeping a protector (one that wouldn’t drain me dry) seems like a lot of work, and I don’t have the guts to go solo like the gang at the Glass house. (Not to mention I lack the awesome house.) Going to the blood bank to pay my taxes doesn’t sound fun either.

9. Fictional China of Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman – This society is way too sexist for me. It also has too many power struggles that I simply wouldn’t want to deal with. There are better worlds to live in if you’re looking for dragons.

10. Futuristic Earth of the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld – I wouldn’t want to live in a world so focused on looks that people stop being human. Cosmetic surgery sounds painful.

I enjoyed this post so much I’m going to try and do a follow up post this week listing the top ten worlds I WOULD want to live in.  What about you? Where would you want or not want to live?


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Top Ten 2014 Debut Books


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Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Ok, I’m a little late, but better late than never, right? Anyway, this week is my Top Ten Debut Novels of 2014. To me, debut implies brand new books that aren’t part of series, but honestly, I’m not looking forward to books that aren’t part of a series. For one thing, I probably haven’t heard of them yet. So I’m not doing that. Instead, here are the top ten books I’ve been waiting for that come out this year, all of which happen to be part of a series.

As you can see, one of them was actually published in 2013, but I haven’t had a chance to read it and figured it was close enough. When making this list I realized I haven’t been reading enough Fantasy books lately. I think I need to change that. What books have you been waiting for?