Posted in Uncategorized

Five Books I can’t wait for

2017 has a slew of new books coming out by my favorite authors. I really can’t wait to read them, but I have to. Each book on this list is tickling my fancy in some way. I’m going to need a bigger bookshelf. My old one collapsed a few months back. I’ve been using two small ones to take up the slack. My fingers are itching to open these new books, and my patience is being tested. Take a look at the books that are ready to hit my shelf in 2017.

Five Books I can’t wait for

Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey: My favorite author and my number on Shakespeare play combined for an entertaining retelling? Sign me up! Although a part of me wishes she would return to Terre D’Ange, I’m eager to read her newest endeavor. Madame Carey has not disappointed me once.

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Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman: Gaiman is a brilliant storyteller. There is only one book of his I didn’t enjoy. Now that is he writing about one my favorite topics in the world; I’m beyond excited. I can’t wait to read his take on Loki, Thor, Baldur, and all the Norse myths I love.

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Blade Bound by Chloe Neill: This installment is tinged with sadness because I hear it is the last book in the series. I’ve loved reading about Merit and the gang. But, it’s better than dragging out the series. I look forward to seeing what happens to Ethan and Merit.

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Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs: My levels of excitement for this book are high. Mrs. Briggs, who I got to see at DragonCon, talked about this book extensively. Mercy’s adventures are always full of action and Mercy saving the day. It will be interesting to see Mercy on by herself without the supporting cast.

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Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead: The first book in this series exceeded my expectations. I’m ready to read what happens to the next group of court girls. The women in the story are strong and use their wits to find happiness. Mira’s story looks like it will be interesting.

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These books are only the ones coming out early next year. What books are you looking forward to next year?

Posted in Uncategorized

Heroine at 31

Yesterday, I turned 31 years old. Admittedly, I was having a small depressive episode over the past few days. However, I was reminded how loved I was this weekend. It’s hard to have a large gathering of friends with everyone having busy lives. That’s why it was so great eating with my friends Saturday night. They are all great people. I enjoyed hearing about what they were doing and cooing over cute babies. I even enjoyed getting picked on. I think only Bessie has some photos. I wasn’t too interested in taking pics but savoring the moments.

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My oldest friend on record sent me a gift from Etsy. It was of literary themed stationary set. It was mostly Anne of Green Gables, a shared loved, but the bookmark struck a cord. I’ve never liked feeling like victim. But I don’t think I’ve lived up to being a heroine either. It reminded me that my friends think this about me, even if I don’t think it myself. This patchwork heroine has a great support team. I got many birthday messages, good meals, and large dose of thankfulness.

I think one of the best gifts this year, other than amazing friends, is Missy. The universe knew I needed her. Dogs really are a great form of therapy. A heroine needs a sidekick, right? Mine has four legs and acts like a big baby. She pulls through when I need her. Of course, any animal that makes you happy is great therapy. Heck, my hermit crabs Carlos and Simon are entertaining.

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Heroines are not perfect. They have issues like everyone else. Some days it’s a struggle, but the important thing is you made it through the day. The smallest kindness is a true heroic act. Remember, you are the hero or heroine of  your story.

(Note: We are back up and expect a book post this week!)

Posted in books, fantasy

Recommended Reading: Cruel Beauty

If you haven’t picked up Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, I suggest you run to your library or bookstore asap. This book is fantastic in so many ways. It’s an eclectic retelling of Beauty and the Beast with some serious homage to Howl’s Moving Castle. There is beautiful imagery, and the love story is imperfect. True love, at least my opinion, is accepting the darkness with the light. It’s a huge theme in this book. There is also the whimsy of the castle that constantly changes its appearance. There is magic and more fantasy elements to satisfy readers. Here is the official synopsis from Amazon.com:

Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known that her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom’s mountaintop, nothing is what she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband. Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can’t resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who’s gotten in her way by stealing her heart.

However, the official synopsis doesn’t do it justice.

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Cruel Beauty

This isn’t a review, so I’m not going to go over each point in the book. The main plot of the book is Nyx finding a way to kill Ignifex to save the world of Arcadia. However, this is just the action that drives the novel. Yes, it’s also about demons and magic and all that jazz. The heart of the story is two imperfect people saving each other. Nyx is not a pure-hearted heroine and Ignifex is a snarky demon. It’s about seeing what is inside someone and accepting it. Ignifex performs his demon deals because he is bound and also he knows that people are full of greed. They are willing to make deals to get what they want, no matter who it hurts. Nyx’s own father made a deal with Ignifex. She begins to understand what made Ignifex the way he is.

Beauty and the Beast is about revealing the prince under the beastly exterior. Belle falls in love with the Beast, which reveals his true self. However, the Beast and Prince are in the same form in this story. Nyx has a beast in her heart as well. This one line in the book stuck in my heart:

“I wanted to hit him again. I wanted to cry. Most of all, I wanted to forget my mission and lose myself in the embrace of the one person who had ever seen my heart and claimed to love me after.”-Nyx

I think this is what everyone wants. Whether it’s romantic love or friendship, we want acceptance for all that we are. Even if you aren’t a romantic, this love story in this novel is amazing. As previously stated, the castle is another draw for this book. It continually reshapes itself and adds rooms. Nyx is always discovering a new place inside the castle. I felt like I was adventuring with her throughout the castle. I like books that draw you into the scenery.

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Morguefile.com

The book does have a few areas I wished could have been fleshed out more. I wanted to see Nyx use her magic more. She trained her, and I felt that some of that went to waste. I really wanted to see how her Father reacted at the end of the book as well. However, this book is still in my head even after finishing it weeks ago. I highly recommend it if you like fantasy, strong heroines, and some romance. Cruel Beauty will hopefully transform you just a little bit.

Posted in blogging, personal, writer's block, writing

Where are you, Muse? Come back!

My Muse has been on vacation for the past few months. She doesn’t seem to be inclined to come back anytime soon. The thing is, I really need her to come back. October is coming up and that has always been a creative month for me. I post many Halloween themed articles on Fandomania. I like to write a short story or two. Although I have ideas rattling around, my creativity levels are at a low. I can’t seem to get anything started.This creative block isn’t just for writing, either. I got a nifty set of new sketch pencils on sale at Michael’s. Each time I get out the sketchpad, I stare blankly at the page. I try to doodle, then I get made that I can draw as well as I used to.Yes, the absence of my muse is starting to make me angry.

ALL THE TIME.
ALL THE TIME.

 

The three Muses of Greek mythology would be ashamed of me. There just seems to be a block in my system. I’m not sure how to get over this block. Some of it may be because of stress. August was a bad month where I spent nearly three weeks with my leg propped up and limited to any activities. I was worried about doctor bills, even with insurance, and other bills besides those. I was in pain from the leg. I could see how that would put a damper on things. Well, it’s almost October. I can’t say my Muse has been entirely silent all year. I’ve created some artwork. I practiced my burgeoning photography hobby. That is as far as my creativity goes right now. Maybe my spirit has been dampened this year. I’m waiting for the smoldering ashes to become fire.

“‎And yet I have had the weakness, and have still the weakness, to wish you to know with what a sudden mastery you kindled me, heap of ashes that I am, into fire.”- Sydney Carton, A Tale of Two Cities

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Of course, I’m going to take a chance to insert my favorite book quote of all time in here. Another culprit is work, I know. I took on way too much last week. I tend to take on too much. It wears my brain down mentally. However, even days of rest do not bring my muse back. It’s starting to bring me down. Creativity and stories are a large part of who I am. I don’t like their absence. My characters sit in a dark room with no direction. Maybe I need a change of scenery. My goal is to save up for a trip to Iceland. That does not help the October creativity issue.

I suppose people have their personal cures for writer’s block. Or in my case, a creative blockade that doesn’t want to allow anything through. If someone has a cure, I would love to try it. I feel frustrated,even when I try to relax and not think about. Meditation, nature walks, yoga…none of these things are working. Some would suggest just wait for things to come to you. I’ve been waiting for months now. Come back, Muse!

Posted in books, Uncategorized

The Night Court (Kushiel’s Dart) Garden

As a (huge) fan of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel Legacy series, I wondered about the flowers of the Night Court. Some of them I’m familiar with, but others I had to look up. That led to the fantasy of having a garden with all the Night Court flowers. I mean, I have Alyssum and Dahlias. I could plan for next year. Well, some of the flowers are extremely rare, especially the Cereus blossom. Cereus only blooms for one night a year and in the right conditions in the desert. As much as I want this flower, it would not do well. Plus, it’s not something you can get from your local plant nursery. Some of the other flowers are easy enough to get. The previously mentioned Alyssum and Dahlia are common enough. Heliotrope is a traditional garden favorite along with Jasmine, Balm, and Camellias. I think that these could at least be added to my flower collection.

Image from morguefile.com
Red Dahlias.

 

The Court of Night Blooming Flowers is thirteen houses in the books that cater to different sexual preferences. Each court takes a different account of Naamah’s giving herself to the King of Persia to save Elua. Jasmine said she did it for sheer pleasure while Balm states she did it heal the King’s tortured soul. Either way, it was done out of love. The stories just vary on what type of love it was. My thinking was planning a garden based on love. However, some of the flowers would not do well in this climate. Bryony, a berry vine, is native to the United Kingdom. Which means it needs a damp and shady environment to grow and thrive. It would not do well in the hot, often dry south. Bryony is also quite poisonous. With having a dog, it’s probably best not have this plant around, even if it could thrive here.

Photo from Wikimedia commons.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

 

It would be a dream if I could grow my own Night Court. However, some of the flowers cannot be obtained or just not make it. There are some other flowers from the Kushiel universe that would be interesting. I was thinking of Naamah’s Star that Quincel de Morhban grows. It’s a dusky, gray rose.. There are many shades of roses, but not one quite matching the book’s description. There are some close matches, such as the Blue Moon Rose. It’s a dusky light purple shade that almost goes towards silver. But, with all the new rose hybrids, it wouldn’t surprise me if they came out with this shade. With all these rare flowers, I know I can’t have a full Kushiel’s Dart themed garden. One can dream, though. One can still dream.

What type of book garden would you plant?

Posted in blogging, books

September Reading List

September has started, and it’s time to make a new reading list. Okay, make a reading list and stick to it. It’s more of a challenge to myself instead of just randomly picking books. I’ve been loaned some books and others I’ve meant to read forever. I’m one book away from finishing the Southern Vampire Mysteries. I wrote about why you should read them in an earlier post. As a voracious reader, I always have to be reading something. Here are the books I want to read in September.

September Reading List

A School for Unusual Girlby Kathleen Baldwin

A mysterious school and girls with unique abilities are the main themes of this book. I like both magic and mysteries, and this a loan from my cousin. You should read the books you borrow, right?

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Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

I keep hearing great things about this book and its heroine. A fantasy series with a female warrior is not unusual, but heroes come in all forms. I’ve had book one on my kindle for a long time, so I need to start it.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Another fantasy series by Maas features beast-like creatures and another heroine trying to save the days. Throw in some faeries and you have an epic fantasy book.

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The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Most of America’s children mysteriously died, and those that are left may have powers. Sixteen-year-old Ruby joins a group of teens and kids to create a haven and survive against the forces after them.

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Something non-fiction!

Can anyone give any suggestions? I feel like I need to shake up my reading preferences to include more non-fiction. I like comedy, like David Sedaris, but I’m also interested in history and mythology books.

So what is on your reading list? Feel free to share.