Tough Traveling – Beginnings

Tough Traveling is back! Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn is the original mastermind of Tough Traveling. And Laura is reviving it as a monthly feature over at Fantasy Faction. What’s Tough Traveling? Pretty much, on the first of the month where we dig around to come up with examples of that month’s chosen trope in fantasy. We are using Diana Wynne Jones’ The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as our inspiration and guide. There will be link ups available over at Fantasy Faction, so join in and link up. This weeks theme?  BEGINNINGS   The Tough Guide states that you will begin in rather poor circumstances in an unimportant corner of the continent; a kitchen menial, perhaps, or a blacksmith’s apprentice. From there, the Guide advises that ‘you will be contacted by your TOUR MENTOR (normally an elderly male MAGIC USER with much experience) who will tell you what to do, which is almost certainly to discover you are a MISSING HEIR.’   Oh, what an appropriate theme for Tough Traveling 2.0. I have to confess that for my list, I went with the most memorable, powerful or even perplexing beginnings. Something that grabs you quick. I found a good number of these matched that blurb from…

Tough Traveling – Vampires

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? VAMPIRES VAMPIRES are increasingly rare on the TOUR. They have been attracted over tot he Horror Tour by offers of better pay. Where they appear, you will find up to date Vampires wear expensive sunglasses and wish to drain you of energy rather than blood.   1850s Steamboat Vampires from Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin Such a sense of setting in this one! Complete with a steamboat full of vampires gracing the Mississippi river. Some of these vampires are striving to blend with society, but others, well, they see mortal humans as cattle to sustain.     1950s Plague Victim Vampires from I am Legend by Richard Matheson A plague…

Tough Traveling – Chessmasters

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? CHESSMASTERS A true master knows where all the pieces are at all times. Others may think they have taken control but alas, the master knew their last move before they played it.   Little Finger (aka Petyr Baelish) from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin His nickname may come from being from being from The Fingers, but it could just have easily have come from having his fingers in everything. But he’s sneaky about it, and I think the other characters underestimate his level of chess mastery.     Varys (aka The Spider) from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R….

Tough Traveling – Evil Lairs

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? EVIL LAIRS The evil lair is where a great fantasy villain will spend the plurality of his or her time. (Topic provided by Christopher Scott Hand).   I’m probably doing this all wrong. I hear lair and I picture some dimly lit enclosed space with damp walls and a high creep factor. Maybe a rich nefarious overlord would put up some garish furnishings in an attempt to tamper the evil vibes (but really, they just add to them). But when it came to make a list, I just thought of evil people and where I was most likely to find them (or where they were most likely to be performing evil). So…

Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Books I Loved Reading with Book Club (plus some I wish I had)
Top Ten Tuesday / January 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish This feature gives a weekly Top Ten list. We all love lists, right? This week’s theme: Ten Books I’d Love to Read With My Book Club/If I Had A Book Club (or you could pick a specific kind of book club — like if you had a YA book club or an adult book club or a science fiction book club etc.) It’s late on Tuesday, but when I saw the theme, I decided I had to do the list. I’ve been running the book clubs at Fantasy Faction for a couple of years, and I help organize the Book of the Month for r/Fantasy’s Goodreads group, so when it comes to book club choices, yes! I have an opinion, and yes! I can make some lists!! I decided to break this one up though and do two sets of 5. The first was going to be my 5 favorite book club choices that I have already done, the other is 5 books I have read, but would have LOVED to do with a book club. But I got carried away with my first list, and decided to make…

Tough Traveling – Snarky Sidekicks

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? SNARKY SIDEKICKS Why is everyone so serious all the time?  Perhaps they need a friend that is there with a quick bit of wit to liven the day; even if the day is looking to quickly turn to blood. (Not actually found in the Tough Guide) This is a fun one, but I have to admit to finding it harder than I expected. That said, I think I could do an entire ASoIaF list, and maybe an entire list of snarky animals. Really looking forward to seeing the other lists this week as I’m sure there will some really great picks I didn’t think of. And, since snark is…

Tough Traveling – Kings

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? KINGS KINGS come in four kinds: Puppet Kings, Bad Kings, Good Kings (rare), and Long Lost Kings. I’ve been out of the loop for a while, and am excited to jump back in. 🙂 It’s fun coming up with these lists, and I’ve missed it. Wow. This is another week where I’m tempted to do a ASoIaF edition. There’s just so many Kings to choose from!! So I’ll do two lists for each of the 4 types of kings. One ASoIaF, and on one from other series so I don’t bore everyone 🙂 I am going to put a disclaimer that my ASoIaF ones might have spoilers. Read at your…

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…

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…