Skyrim Book Tag

I’ve never before played Skyrim but Ariana, the Quirky Book Nerd, tagged me in this book tag that she created (Thanks Ari!) so I googled Skyrim and I must say, it looks pretty cool. That dude with the horned helmet looks vicious!

Well, here goes the tag.

Fus Ro Dah – A book that blew you away.

A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. This one impressed me the first and second times I read it. It’s understandable for the first read since I didn’t know what to expect then, but the second time through was just as great and engrossing as the first.

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Comics Roundup #3: An Epic Fantasy and A Fable

Back in August, I participated in the Bout of Books 14 read-a-thon. To make it bearable and to make sure that I would complete something, I threw a couple graphic novels into the mix. Saga, Vol. 2 and Rat Queens, Vol. 2 were a given since I read the first volumes of both and enjoyed them immensely. I also included the New Spring graphic novel because I’ve wanted to try one of the Wheel of Time graphic novel adaptations for some time now, and I selected The Battle of Blood and Ink to round it all out. Nothing special compelled me to read this one. I saw it in a Book Outlet sale and thought the premise sounded interesting so I bought it.

I’ll break up these graphic novel reviews and do two per post.

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Bout of Books 14: Update 4

Bout of Books 14 Day 4 has come and gone and I didn’t get much reading in. It was a cloudy day. The rain tempted to fall in hard, relentless sheets, but all it did was drizzle a few drops while thick clouds rolled across the sky, blocking the sun, and the big guy who lives in the heavens rearranged his furniture causing deep rumbling that made me quiver in anticipation.

Nothing came and I was melancholy all day. Just glum and listless. I spent most of my time standing around wondering what I should do and feeling horrible that I’m doing nothing and going nowhere. Then I looked at the clock. It’s 4 p.m. The day had just started but quickly it’s done and it’s already nearly tomorrow. Thursday, August 21, 2015: the quickest day I’ve lived all year.

Thursday, Day 4 progress

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Top Ten Tuesday #3: Wishes for My TBR Pile #5

I’m back this week with another Top Ten Tuesday post. Last week was so hectic, I couldn’t participate. By the time I got home, my brain was too mushy from the busy workday to think up answers to the question. But not so this week!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic:

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

The Rest of Us Just Live Here

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (Aug. 27, 2015)

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

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“The Fires of Heaven” by Robert Jordan

Original cover of The Fires of Heaven
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One more Wheel of Time book read and nine more to go. My reading relationship with this series has become bitter-sweet: I love the story but sometimes hate the execution (more on that later).

Quick summary:

This installment of the series places us in the Aiel Waste with Rand, Mat, Egwene, Moiraine, and Lan; and in the southern countries, where Elayne and Nynaeve are located with Thom and Juilin in tow. Sometimes we pop in on Min, Siuan, and Leane as they race across the land in search of a safe haven after their escape from the White Tower; or we visit Morgase in Camelyn to observe as she unwittingly abdicates her throne to a Forsaken.

Min, Siuan, Leane, and Logain

After a prologue in which we see Elaida Sedai, current Amrylin Seat, succumb to her ego and control issues and watch the Forsakens plot to take down Rand, the story begins with Min, Siuan, and Leane on the run with Logain. They had escaped from the White Tower—right under Elaida’s nose— after Siuan and Leane had been stilled. Now that the Power is gone, Siuan and Leane grab at the promise of revenge to prevent themselves from going mad and losing their will to live due to the Powers’ absence. They promise the same for Logain.

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From Around the Web: Wheel of Time companion to E-books and health

The following are links to articles and announcements that I found interesting and thought you might too. Some are recent while others were posted back in December (yep, weeding through my emails again) but all are book/reading related.

To be published November 2015
To be published November 2015

First up is this post on Tor.com that is sure to excite all Wheel of Time fans. Tor plans to publish a Wheel of Time companion in November of this year. YEAHIEE!! According to the post on Tor.com, “Only a fraction of what author Robert Jordan imagined ended up on the page, the rest going into his personal files.” I hope this WOT companion will make us privy to what went into Jordan’s personal files. The post included a short list of what will be included in the book. I’m looking forward to detailed character descriptions, a chronological historical recount of the world (if possible), and lots of maps. I also hope that the art will be superb. I love the art in the A Song of Ice and Fire companion and the historical recount in it is not bad either though I wish they had waited until the series is complete to do a companion. Anyways, I’m only on book 5 of the WOT series but I’ll grab the companion as soon as it’s published!

To be published September 22, 2015
To be published September 22, 2015

Riverhead Books has revealed the cover of Elizabeth Gilbert’s upcoming book on creativity, slated to be published on September 22. It’s titled Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. It’s quite colorful. I’m more excited about fact that Gilbert is writing a book on creativity (I wasn’t aware) than about the cover. But it looks like the kind of cover that will grab my attention from across the room. According to Gilbert, the book is “basically a manifesto. It contains everything that I believe about creativity.” GalleyCat has more on the announcement.

I don’t do well with challenges. I certainly believe I’m behind on my Classics Club Challenge. But when I saw this challenge in my Book Riot e-newsletter, I couldn’t help wanting to join. I like how diverse it is. I will partake in Book Riot’s 2015 Read Harder Challenge. Here’s a bit on the creator’s—Rachel—intention: “I’ve included 24 tasks, averaging out to two per month, that will hopefully inspire you to pick up books that represent experiences and places and cultures that might be different from your own. We encourage you to push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try.” Haven’t started yet but I’m looking forward to it!

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Bookish Pet Peeves

So I’m sitting in my room lost in a daydream when I see an insect scamper across the wall. Shocked, I immediately jump out of bed and hunt him down. I had never seen an insect like that before and it prompted me to run a Google search. The more I discovered, the more pissed I became which led me to do this post on my bookish pet peeves.

  1. Bending the pages
    • I HATE when people do this to my books. I can hardly tolerate it when they do it to their own or to library books. Treat the books with some respect! Though, there is something charming about a well-worn book that is all bended, folded, scraped, and torn. A book that has been held in many hands and read in myriad places.from frabz
  2. Asking to borrow my books
    • Yes, I am one of those snobbish bibliophiles who hate to loan a book. I’ll even go so far as to purchase the book for you so you’ll leave mine alone (family members and close friends only). It’s selfish and silly but loaning books lead to bended covers, torn pages, and possible loss of the book since borrowers never seem to remember to RETURN what they borrow….speaking from experience on that last one. I refrain from borrowing books. I have a library card. I hardly use it. I’m one of those people who usually have an unnecessarily high library debt. Why? Because I forget. I can’t help it. It’s not intentional, I just do.
  3. Silverfish….and other book-eating bugs
    • The reason for this post. Unfortunately in this world there are insects who love to eat books and even more unfortunate is that my house is plagued with them. Where are they coming from? I don’t know. We recently moved and I guess they were here awaiting our arrival. I’ve seen them a few times at night, lurking in corners, crawling on walls, waiting for me to turn off the lights and go to sleep so they can attack my precious. These bugs are quick, little scampers. They are silvery-grey and have too many legs. They like warm, humid climes and love to feed on starch. They do not bite or spread any diseases and it seems that one could live peaceably with them if one does not mind many-legged insects crawling about the house but I’m not such a person. The mere sight of them is enough to rile me and have me running for the insect spray. So I’ve declared war on them. Prepare to be eliminated little fuckers!
  4. Soggy books
    • I had the misfortune of being caught in a deluge the other day. I was returning from a trip to New York and the sky was bright and sunny. No need to worry about a thunderstorm, I thought. A few minutes walking down the road proved me wrong. The sky quickly grayed and it suddenly began to rain as if the clouds were unable to hold their water once they appeared. Luckily, I had an umbrella but it was of little use! I was soaked within minutes. My suitcase was as well. I was dragging it behind me and it was filled with paperbacks given to me by my aunt. Once I got home and started to unpack, I saw that my books were all crinkled and soggy, the pages sticking together. I almost cried. They were new books. I just hate it when my books are ruined before I’ve had the chance to read them.book overload
  5. Unnecessary tomes
    • I’m thinking of Robert Jordan’s 13-book series (which I am nowhere near finishing). It’s too damn long for no good reason. I am on book five of the Wheel of Time series and I wonder if I will ever finish the books in this lifetime. I am not daunted by large books or long series. What turns me off is when a book is large because the author is stalling, or when chapters are filled with pointless internal dialogue or an overkill on landscape descriptions (all of which Jordan does). I am sure the books could have been condensed to a series that is half of its current amount.

Well, that’s it for my tirade. What are your bookish pet peeves?

Note on the featured image because it’s so cool. It’s a photograph taken by Cara Barer, a photographer based in Houston, Tex. She transforms damaged books into art and also does book-sculpting. I’m in love with her work. I guess it’s the only way I can tolerate a damaged book.

“New Spring” by Robert Jordan

Cover of New Spring novel
Available on Amazon and at your local bookstore. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New Spring, the prequel of The Wheel of Time series, seems to be the shortest book in the pack but that doesn’t mean it’s quick reading. Shortly after completing The Shadow Rising, I rushed to the bookstore to pick up New Spring. I was too curious about the history in the series to wait until later or until I completed the series to read the prequel. So much had occurred prior to the first four books and I wanted the details on those events. What were Moiraine and Lan up to before finding the boys in Two Rivers? What was going on with the Seanchans and were the Forsaken loose and prowling about then too? What was Padan Fain doing before he became a peddler in Two Rivers? The Aes Sedais mentioned something of Padan Fain’s past in The Eye of the World but I want more details.

I thought the prequel would provide a broad view of key characters, noting their activities prior to book one but such was not the case. Instead, the prequel focused on Moiraine and Lan, mostly Moiraine; however, it is Lan who begins the story. The Aiel Wars are winding down and ends when the Aiel oddly retreat. Lan is relieved of his duties as commander of his unit and has plans to return north but his plans are upset with he learns that his carneira, some old lady he banged back in the day, wants to raise support and crown him as king of Malkier. So he travels to Chochin to face her. Really, Lan’s story didn’t do much except to give us a smidgen of the Aiel War and to remind us who Lan is, the last of the Malkier kings, and how he is, grave, loyal, honorable.

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“The Shadow Rising” by Robert Jordan

Cover of "The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of...
Available on Amazon and at your local bookstore. (Cover via Amazon)

The Shadow Rising was too damn long. Although it is a good read, the length turned me off and soured my enjoyment of the story. This might seem like unnecessary ranting since I’ve completed the first three books in the series, which are all hefty, and read the prequel of the series shortly after completing The Shadow Rising. But for some silly reason I thought (or convinced myself) that by the fourth book Jordan would realize how unnecessary it is to make his books so long for no reason. I should have known better. The length of the series should have been an indicator that Jordan never realized that he was going overboard with length.

Despite that, this installment of the Wheel of Time series was great in that we learn more about this fantasy world as we see it begin to change. We see a bit more of the Aiel and learn their history; we realize how corrupt the White Tower is, or rather, how divided it is; and we see Perrin become the leader he is destined to be. We pick up with everyone (Rand, Perrin, Mat, Moiraine, Lan, Nynaeve, Elayne, Egwene, Faile, Loial, Thom) in Tear. Rand has Callandor and is trying to control his power while staving off Moiraine’s influence, rule Tear, and keep some of the Forsaken at bay. Mat wants to leave Tear but can’t because of Rand’s pull as a ta’veren. Perrin wants to return to Two Rivers to help his people, who are being attacked by White Cloaks and trollocs, but wants to protect Faile as well. So, for the while, they dawdle.

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“The Dragon Reborn” by Robert Jordan

Paperback edition cover of The Dragon Reborn
Paperback edition cover of The Dragon Reborn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first thing that jumped out at me in this installment of the Wheel of Times series is that Rand is no longer the leading voice. He is still the protagonist of the story, however, the story is told from the perspective of other characters—mainly Perrin, Egwene, and Mat. Though this book begins with the original group split up and at different parts of the land, they are all pulled to the same place; similar to book two, The Great Hunt.

Quick summary:

In one spot—a valley in the Mountains of Mist—is Moiraine, Lan, Perrin, Loial, Min, and Rand. Feeling a bit trapped and thinking that he is a threat to his friends, Rand runs off. When she learns of this, Moiraine sends Min to Tar Valon to inform the Amyrlin Seat. The Shienaran army she sends to Jehannah to await her instructions (I think Jordan did this to get them out the way, for now). Meanwhile she, Lan, Perrin, and Loial pursue Rand, who is heading for Tear. Rand is such a strong ta’veren, a person who is strongly connected to the Wheel of Time, that he leaves evidence of his presence in his wake. There are villages where nearly everyone gets married and others that are destroyed. Along the way, Perrin learns that he can enter Tel’aran’rhiod, the dream world, and he meets a pretty but annoying girl called Faile (which means falcon), who attaches herself to the group.

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