Tough Traveling – Bugs

Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn is the mastermind of Tough Traveling. What’s Tough Traveling? Pretty much, it’s a weekly feature on Thursdays where we dig around to come up with examples of common tropes in fantasy, using Diana Wynne Jones’ The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as our inspiration and guide. Nathan has invited one and all to join in the fun, so feel free to come up with your own lists and add the link on Nathan’s weekly post, which will also contain (unleash) the next weeks theme. So let the fun begin … This weeks theme? BUGS BUGS- Not in the Tough Guide but it should be. Let’s all find anything creepy or crawly, big or small, six legs, eight legs, or more. Bugs, bugs, bugs.     This was a fun one, but also frustrating because there are a couple of scenes I could picture, but not place. Hate when that happens. I also know there are way more than what I came up with, so I’m looking forward to checking out everyone else’s lists! I kept thinking I should be able to come up with some sort of nasty bug that causes hallucinations and crazy side effects. I know they’re out there,…

Waiting on Wednesday – Touch
Waiting On Wednesday / November 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to let us share our excitement for books coming out soon. So, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August just didn’t quite work for me. So, why am I waiting on a new book by that author? Because when it came down to it, it was the concept that didn’t work for me, I actually quite enjoyed North’s prose. So, this book sounds much more interesting to me than the other one. In fact, it sounds like it could be an amazing and exciting story. Really looking forward to reading it when I get the chance.   Touch by Claire North Expected Publication: February 24, 2015 by Orbit Books Kepler had never meant to die this way — viciously beaten to death by a stinking vagrant in a dark back alley. But when reaching out to the murderer for salvation in those last dying moments, a sudden switch takes place. Now Kepler is looking out through the eyes of the killer himself, staring down at a broken and ruined body lying in the dirt of the alley. Instead of dying, Kepler has gained the ability to roam from one body to another, to…

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
3.5 Stars , Reviews / November 25, 2014

This was a short book, and this is going to be quite a short review. Without a doubt, I enjoyed the atmosphere of this book, it captures the wonders of youth so well. And the carnival is quite intriguing, it provides not just the young, but anyone that desires something, the answer to their dreams. The two boys, Jim and Will, are quite different as it is interesting see their different reactions to things. Jim much more fearless and adventurous, full of strong desires and the drive to try and get them, and Will much more leery and, well, sensible. There is one conversation Will had with his father about what they fear and how his father did not fear death because death is what makes every thing else sad. It was quite a touching conversation, and I really like how Will’s father sees his son as a person, and a person he can learn from, and not just “a kid”. But, yes, unfortunately there is a but, something about it just didn’t hold my attention as well as I would hope. There is a simplistic or bare bones type of style in this that I think both helps create the…

Revival by Stephen King
3.5 Stars , Reviews / November 24, 2014

Revival by Stephen King starts out strong. I was quickly pulled into the life of Jamie Morton, a young boy with a bucket of toy soldiers. I love the nostalgic feeling that is built here. King does a wondrous job of not just telling you the story, but making you feel you are there, like you are somehow taken back in time and plopped down in this small town in Maine in a time period that was before I was alive. I felt like this for the first half of the book as we follow Jamie as he grows up, has his first crush, falls in love, joins a band and goes on the road. I was drawn into the character. As for plot, when the story starts, there is a young preacher, Charles Jacobs, that has come to town. He is what Jamie calls “the fifth business” or a change agent, a joker so to speak. Someone who randomly appears through out the course of his life. And the course of his life is changed because of it. At first he seems a friendly preacher, with a beautiful wife and young son. But he likes to tinker. When Jamie’s brother suffers an accident…

Tenaciously Stacking the Shelves (November 2014)
Stacking the Shelves / November 22, 2014

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly all about sharing your good luck in book acquisitions! So here’s what came my way.   I haven’t done one of these posts in a couple of months, but decided I have collected enough by now that I should. Though I am leaving out anything I have acquired and reviewed already.  I’ve been in a bit of a slump this past week, so this is a nice reminder that I have some serious reading to do! And it all looks great!     The World of Ice & Fire The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martine, Elio M. Garcia, Jr. and Linda Antonsson (Purchased) – I couldn’t resist. This is not something I intend to sit and read cover to cover, but rather flip through form time to time. It’d make a great coffee table book, but the puppy would probably make confetti out of it, sooo, I’ll have to figure out something else.   The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander – I won this form Library Thing’s Early Reviewer giveaway. It’s a bit different for me, but I like the sound of it,…

Tough Traveling – Named Weapons

Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn is the mastermind of Tough Traveling. What’s Tough Traveling? Pretty much, it’s a weekly feature on Thursdays where we dig around to come up with examples of common tropes in fantasy, using Diana Wynne Jones’ The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as our inspiration and guide. Nathan has invited one and all to join in the fun, so feel free to come up with your own lists and add the link on Nathan’s weekly post, which will also contain (unleash) the next weeks theme. So let the fun begin … This weeks theme? NAMED WEAPONS I love this week’s theme, courtesy of Mogsy. And while this week can be seen as a departure from The Guide, it could also be seen as an amalgam of several entries. The guide talks about NAMES, SWORDS, MAGIC ITEMS, and quite a few different weapons. It even mentions under NAMES that while there is often power in NAMES, and there is just cause in keeping them secret, the exception is SWORDS which wear their name with pride like a badge of honor. So, here it, my compilation of NAMED WEAPONS! There are just so many options, I decided to do another ASoIaF special edition. Why? Because I…

Gleam by Tom Fletcher
3.5 Stars , Reviews / November 12, 2014

The cover may be absolutely gorgeous, but be warned, this is one strange world. Within the Gleam, there is a black Pyramid in which people are safe from the external threats. They are shown preserved samples of the creatures that lurk outside their walls, in what they call the Discard. They are told stories of the horrors that await anyone that ventures outside the safety of the Pyramid. But Alan (also known as Wild Alan), knows a different side of the life outside the Pyramid. Unlike others, he was actually born in the Discard, he spent his childhood in what sounds to be a pleasant trading town situated between the Pyramid and the rest of the Discard. But, given this is a dark dystopian type of book, all good things must come to an end. Tragedy strikes, and Alan find himself taken into the Pyramid. Years later, after Alan has grown and has a wife and child, Alan once again finds himself in the Discard, dependent on his abilities to sing and entertain to provide him with shelter and food. And his willingness to sleep with just about anything to moves to give him warmth and companionship at night. I…

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
4 Stars , Reviews / November 11, 2014

So, here it is. What seems to be the most talked about book of, if not the year, at least the season. I have had Robert Jackson Bennett on my list of authors I must try, and am quite glad to finally have read one of his books. That said, I also want to disclose that even though I love fantasy, the premise of this book was not as intriguing to me as many of his other works. I am not typically that taken with crime books, so I have to confess it took about 5 or 6 tries for me to essentially get through the first scene of this book (it starts in a courtroom). I don’t know, I think its just a mental problem on my part. But eventually I persevered, and got past it. Keep in mind, I don’t suspect many will have any issues with that first scene, but for me, any book that opens in a courtroom seems to be at a disadvantage in maintaining my interest. But, luckily, the story does not stay in the courtroom, and as long as it took me to get through it, I have to admit there is a…

Fantasy-Faction Book Club has a Giveaway for Mirror Empire
News / November 10, 2014

I apologize in advance for my cheesy book club sales pitch 🙂 For those that don’t know, I run the book clubs over at Fantasy Faction forum, but have kept my book club activities rather separate from my blogging. But I felt like this was a great opportunity to spread the word a bit. Maybe it will reach someone in the blogging world that hasn’t really considered the book club, that might be interested. Sooo …. Ever thought about joining an online book club? Like free books? Interested in The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley?? Well, then, I think you should check out the current giveaway (made possible by the incredibly generous people at Angry Robot), offered by Fantasy Faction in connection with their book club: Giveaway – The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley. This book is a great choice for discussion, there’s so much going on, and there’s likely to be some varying opinions and takes on things. And FREE BOOKS!! (It is open internationally!) I’d love to see someone I know win one of the copies 🙂 And I’d love even more to see some new members join in our discussions. 🙂

What the ….?? Cliffhangers. Love or hate them?
Discussions / November 7, 2014

Ah, the good ol’ cliffhanger. The ending that people seem to love to hate. Countless times I have read disappointed reviews due to open endings or cliffhangers. The disappointment almost palpable as the reader tries to come to terms with a lack of closure when they felt they should have because they desire some sense of completion with the ending. And I can understand that, but I can’t say that I have the same reaction. I’m not sure if it’s an attitude in how I approach a story, I don’t know if it comes from reading different types of books growing up than many fantasy readers, but I am actually often a fan of of these endings that meet frustration from other readers. So, the question becomes, WHY? What makes me enjoy these so much more than others? This may be a pointless rambling post as I try to guess speculate reasons for the difference. But, hey! It’s Friday, what better way to spend it than with a pointless ramble. So, I am sure part of the puzzle is explaing why I like these types of endings. As for open endings, I don’t know for certain, but I feel like…