Sep 302014
 

I try to keep up with my reading on Goodreads, but I thought I’d put a few mini-reviews on here as well. This is some of what I’ve been reading lately:

downloadThe Blue Sword – Robin McKinley – I read it a long time ago and remembered really enjoying it, but not much else about it. A sword? A girl kidnapped by magic desert-people? I reread it and yes, I enjoyed it just as much the second time. It’s not my favorite book ever, but it’s one of the earliest fantasy books I remember reading, so it was fun to rediscover it. It was one of the first books I read that made me think about how magic could be important to a story without being an instant fix for any problem. It’s also a great love story without being a love story… the love is there, but it develops quietly and behind the scenes, so I enjoyed it much more when it was finally brought to the front. I enjoyed the subtlety of that side of the story. You can see it, but it’s carefully written in the actions of the characters, not the words.

51JWcFOHJrL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Door in the Hedge – Robin McKinley - a collection of short stories. I’ve only read the first one so far, but I enjoyed it. Her Fae are amazingly different than mine, and I sometimes have to remember that mine are not the “standard” Fae. Not that hers are exactly either, but they’re probably closer to what many people imagine at first.

517ydPTD+wL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards #1) – Scott Lynch – I’m only about a quarter of the way into this, but it’s very enjoyable so far. So far the story is alternating between Locke Lamora as an adult and master thief, and Locke as an orphan child thief (a bratty little troublemaker who somehow manages to be more sympathetic than everyone around him). It’s full of fantastic little lines like “There’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated.” and this quote from the thiefmaster talking about Locke (as a child) and how much trouble he is:

I’ve got kids that enjoy stealing. I’ve got kids that don’t think about stealing one way or the other, and I’ve got kids that just tolerate stealing because they know they’ve got nothing else to do. But nobody–and I mean nobody–has ever been hungry for it like this boy. If he had a bloody gash across his throat and a physiker was trying to sew it up, Lamora would steal the needle and thread and die laughing. He…steals too much.

51tEHStSC-L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_ 5160nlteNiL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_The Law of the Wolf (The Outlaw King #2) – S. A. Hunt – I’ve barely started it but I know it will be good! The first book in the series, The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree, was fantastic. Hunt is almost done with the third book, so I’m looking forward to that one too. As of this writing, the Kindle file for The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree had been updated to include both books for only $3.99 (making the first one free)… this is money well-spent. Don’t miss this one.

download (1)King Solomon’s Mines – H. Rider Haggard – Ye old-fashioned adventure yarn, complete with amusingly naive moments like when the character notes that he and the men with him were at the edge of death by starvation after not eating for two and a half whole days. You don’t actually die of starvation at 72 hours! I mean, it wouldn’t be fun, especially if you’re hiking over the wilds of Africa, but you wouldn’t starve. Anyway, it’s a fun lost-world adventure. It’s also short, and the only reason I’m not done with it yet is that I got distracted reading something else.

51-M4ZOalgL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China – Jung Chang – Fantastic and incredibly dense and extremely depressing at times. I tend to read 20-100 pages and then put this down for a month or two (or three…) to emotionally recover. I’m SO CLOSE to done and have almost gotten up my courage to finish it. It’s worth reading, but it’s not “fun” reading.

51O-uiq8w9L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_The Sword of Bedwyr – R. A. Salvatore – Oh wow, where do I start with this? I figured I needed to read something by Salvatore, since I hadn’t before and he was/is a big name. But oh my. It had some surprisingly well-done moments hidden in large swathes of… I don’t even know what. It was competently written, I guess… it just made me wonder why. The races are (I think) straight out of D&D (which I’ve never played, so I could be guessing here…)… elves are slim, beautiful archers, dwarves are short, stout, and work in mines, halflings (yes, they’re actually called that) are happy-go-lucky, and men are the only ones with any variation in physical characteristics, personality, and morality. I’m not a fancy prose writer… I tend more toward the lean and to-the-point, hopefully with a bit of eloquence every now and then. But this made me feel positively poetic. It wasn’t bad, it was just very basic. I particularly disliked many of the fight scenes… the first one was pretty well-written and the blow-by-blow account served an important narrative purpose. The others did not need to be told in such detail. A lot of it felt kind of repetitive, like we’d be shown something through dialogue, and then the prose would reiterate the same point, and then later the character would remember when it happened (with no particularly important new revelation or understanding). I err on the side of not providing enough info, so this probably bothers me more than it does others. It makes me feel like the author doesn’t trust me to remember or understand what he’s showing me. To be fair, I think this is one of Salvatore’s earliest books and not considered one of his best. But I won’t be continuing the series, at least not now… I have a lot of other books on my To Be Read list that are more enticing.

What are you reading? What do you think of it?

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Sep 292014
 

Last Saturday I attended the first annual Book Lover’s Bazaar! It was a very small event, but lots of fun. The authors attending (or at least their books were attending) were: Tamela J Ritter Stuart Jaffe – fantasy (urban, paranormal, not so much epic) C.J. Brightley Angela Stevens Megan Whitson Lee Karoline Fritz Heather Gray – Christian romance [...]

Sep 122014
 
An Experiment - The King's Sword is FREE!

Have you been interested in reading The King’s Sword but haven’t gotten around to it yet? Here’s your chance to get it for free! CLICK HERE I just uploaded The King’s Sword to NoiseTrade, a free distribution platform. All you have to do is sign up with your email address and download it as either a [...]

Sep 112014
 
Books that Stuck with Me: The Singer Trilogy

The Singer Trilogy by Calvin Miller was the first poetry I ever loved. I’d read poetry before and been temporarily entertained by a brilliant line or a beautiful moment. But I’d never read poetry eagerly, excited to read the next line even though I knew the story. Love is substance. Lust, illusion. Only in the surge [...]

Sep 082014
 
Books that Stuck with Me: The Heaven Tree Trilogy

This blog post series is about books that stuck with me for various reasons. Some of them are special to me because of the age at which I first read them, and they introduced me to a new thought or emotional experience. Some of them are special because they introduced me to a new favorite author. [...]

Aug 212014
 
In Which I Discover The Dresden Files

      Have you ever avoided a book or series because you irrationally thought you wouldn’t like it, and then finally read it and realized you loved it? Yeah, that’s me. For some reason I just knew I wouldn’t like the Dresden Files and have been avoiding them for years. I’m not big on crime novels, I’m not [...]

Jul 222014
 
Guest Post: What Vikings can teach you about blogging and promoting your own creative writing

This guest post was written by A H Gray, the author of The Northumbrian Saga. What Vikings can teach you about blogging and promoting your own creative writing The main thing I have learnt from watching the History Channel’s Vikings series is that people are still interested in history. Many have argued over the show’s accuracy [...]

May 222014
 
Characters I Love: Steve Rogers / Captain America

I have never been a comic book fan. The art isn’t really my style (at least the art I saw way back when… I’ve seen some fantastic newer art that I’m more drawn to.*). The superhero genre didn’t appeal much to me, since I mostly saw it through the comic book lens. However, I love [...]

May 202014
 
Guest Post: Mentors with a Twist

I’m hosting guest authors through most of April and May, as I am swamped with Awesome Con DC and welcoming Baby Boy Brightley into the world. This guest post was written by AC Smyth, the author of Crowchanger and Stormweaver.    Mentors with a Twist Think of a mentor in fantasy and where do your thoughts go? I’d take [...]

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