Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny

One of the reasons I love reading books by Roger Zelazny is that he had an incredible talent for coming up with stories that will twist your brain around. They are not only great science fiction and/or fantasy, they make you THINK, and I doubt two people ever come away from reading his books with the same impressions and thoughts. "Lord of Light" follows in this tradition of his works perfectly.

"Lord of Light" takes place on a planet that was colonized from earth. The leaders of this planet found a way to make themselves virtually immortal through technology, and now they rule the planet having stylized themselves as the gods of the Hindu pantheon. If they were just leaders, this might not be a problem, but they are definitely corrupt.

Nobody dares oppose the leaders though, they are gods after all! Well, except for the man who was once known as Siddhartha (among other names) and now he usually goes by Sam. He is known as the Binder of demons and the Lord of Light. He was one of the original colonists and he has just as much power as the self-stylized "gods" do.

Now Sam has begun a subversive mission to under mine the "gods" of his world. How he goes about it is rather complicated, you'll have to read the book, but its definitely one of the things that makes this a mind-twisting read! In fact I doubt I understood everything Zelazny put in the book, just like I did with his Amber books I'll probably read it again at some time so that I can get more from it!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Writing ADD #14

Last week was pretty slim pickings writing-wise. I wrote about the best laid plans...which we all know often go awry! Despite the being ill and other insanity during my week I did manage to get two book reports and a total of 685 words written though :) And I spent time thinking about writing, which can be almost as an important of a step as actually writing! Right? Ah well - this week seems to be starting out better so I'm hoping for more writing to be accomplished this week! After all - the words are practically bursting to be let out.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

"Going Bovine" is the wild journey of an adolescent boy who contracts Mad Cow Disease. Cameron is a fairly normal boy until he gets sick. Swears some, thinks about girls, and has been known to cut class to smoke pot. When he gets sick he starts seeing all sorts of strange things, including a punk angel named Dulcie.

Duclie appears to Cameron after he's been hospitalized, and she offers him a glimmer of hope. The doctors can't really do much for him other than keep him as comfortable as possible, but Dulcie says there is a cure, but he's going to have to go after it. So Cameron teams up with Gonzo, a dwarf around his age who ended up in the hospital at the same time, and they set off on one crazy road trip.

While the guys travel they get themselves into all sorts of crazy situations. Some of them are fairly normal types of crazy, well normal for boys on the run and a road trip that is (oh yes, and the police are looking for them). Others are incredibly strange, including when they add a Gnome who's possibly the Norse god Baldor to their little group of adventurers!

While I enjoyed the twists and turns of this book, I will warn you, this is an adolescent boy we're talking about, and we are seeing everything through his eyes. There's more swearing and sexual references than I care for. So if you go for the book, head in with your eyes wide open.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mort by Terry Pratchett

What would you do if Death offered you an apprenticeship? That's the question Mort faces late one night. He's spent the entire day at the market with his father, hoping to have someone pick him as an apprentice, but no one has. Boys that would appear less desirable have even been picked! Mort is desperate, knowing that its what his father wants, so when Death comes along, he reluctantly takes the job!

Working for Death is a strange job. You would think that as an apprentice Mort would start learning the ropes (even if that sounds a little scary) but the first job Death has him do is mucking out the stables! That's not all that's strange about life in Death's abode. The whole land is just a wee bit off. Death did his best to create a landscape that would reflect what he sees on earth, but Death isn't very creative, and the main color scheme tends to be black.

He tried hard though to create a good land to live in. You see, Death has a daughter, and since she lives with him, he wanted her to have more than the dreary house to explore. Ysabelle and Mort don't get along very well at first, but by the end of the book they learn to work together.

Eventually Mort does begin to "learn the business," and Death even begins to send him out collecting on his own! That's when Mort gets into trouble. You see, it's not up to death to choose who lives or dies, it's simply his job to collect the souls, and when Mort decides to interfere and prevent a Princesses death, well all of history begins to change!

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

Have you ever noticed how, no matter how good a plan seems, things often don't work out the way you want them to? I started this week on Monday with full intentions to get all sorts of things done. I was going to be home more for one thing. My dear nephews are busy getting stronger in the NICU and my brother and sister-in-law haven't needed as much support as they did when everything was initially happening.

Right. Would have been great if it worked eh?

I ended up really sick all week long. Details I'll leave out, lets just say we thought something was seriously wrong and we're very glad it isn't!

Between the babies coming and then getting sick I'm so far off of my routine it's not even funny! It may not be Monday but I'm determined to try, again, to get back into the routine and get things done. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Meet Ian and Rowan!

Meet Ian Forest

Meet Rowan Patrick

For the rest of my pictures go check my facebook page!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane" by Katherine Howe

"The Physic Book of Deliverance Dane" is the debut novel for Katherine Howe, but you'd never guess that from reading it! This is a solid, well written, captivating book. I found myself swept up in the story, and I didn't want to put the book down!

Connie Goodwin is a Harvard graduate student who is caught up in the pressure of the academic world and needs to come up with her doctoral dissertation. Her focus is early American history, and her mentor is pushing her to find a new piece of source material to write her dissertation from.

While Connie looks for her topic, she's being distracted by her own family's history, and how it's currently invading her life. While Connie is the ever practical academic, her mother is more a free spirit, and her mother has just informed her that they own her long dead Grandmother's property. Oh yes, and they owe back taxes on it. So it's up to Connie to go clean the old property up during the summer, when she should be researching, so they can sell it and pay the town the money they owe.
The house is more of a mess than Connie could have envisioned, she's fascinated by it's 1700's architecture and furniture, but she's also at a loss on how she's ever going to sell a place that's never electricity installed.

Her two worlds, academia and family, begin to collide when Connie discovers a key with the words "Deliverance Dane" written on a small scrap of paper inside. This sets her on a hunt to discover just who this woman was, and why her name would be in her Grandmother's house. As she searches she learns more about who she is, her family legacy, and she meets a man who she quickly begins to fall for.

The story unfolds by jumping back and forth from Connie's modern day struggles, and going back and taking us into the world of Deliverance Dane and the witch trials of the 1690's. This is a work of fiction, but the details and theory's are so well crafted that you'll easily forget that!

Friday, April 9, 2010

My Hearts Brother

Ok - that title may sound a little weird to you. I usually hear people saying things like that more about the girls they are close to, but John and I have been best friends for 10 years now, and we decided a long time ago that we might as well be family. He finally got to the point where he just started introducing me to people as his sister...and I've decided to go with it and I introduce myself as his sister and tell people that Becca is my sister in law. We might not be legally related, but sometimes the family you chose is just as important, or even more important, than the family you are born with.

Why am I sharing all this today? Becca, my sister in law, is in the hospital. She's pregnant with twins. Their original due date was at the end of May. Because of complications they moved the due date up to May 10th and we're going to take the boys out c-section. Well, in her labs this week they found her liver counts were too high, so they called her to come back in. So they went back in the next day and when a new set of tests came back with even higher numbers, they admitted her.

As it stands right now she's in the hospital at least through Monday - but more likely for the rest of the pregnancy. They've also moved the due date up to two weeks from now, assuming her numbers don't continue to get worse, in which case they may have to take the boys out even earlier to save both Mommy and the babies.

So, as you may have imagined, I'm spending most of my time out at the hospital. I'm pretty tired, but that's to be expected! I'm really glad I can be there for them right now :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cast in Silence by Michelle Sagara

"Cast in Silence" is the latest in the "The Chronicles of Elantra" by Michelle Sagara. In this book we learn more about Kaylin Neya's past. We already knew that she grew up in the fief of Nightshade, that she left there after a tragedy, and that eventually she found herself in the city proper working as one of the Hawks, protecting the people of Elantra. But what happened inbetween her time in Nightshade and becoming a Hawk? And just how did a girl from the fiefs end up a Hawk?

Nobody really knew what Kaylin had gone through during that period of her life because Kaylin had done everything she could to hide and forget that portion of her life. It may have been a short period of her life, but it was one that she did not remember fondly, and one that had forever changed her.

When Kaylin left Nightshade she found herself in the neighboring fief of Barren, and was quickly "adopted" by a gruff girl/woman named Morse. Morse taught her everything she knew, which meant a lot about theft, fighting, and how to kill with out flinching. Kaylin began to work for the Master of the Fief and quickly proved herself to be adept at carrying out his business.

The story of her past unfolds slowly, intertwined with the story of what's currently going on in Barren. The heart of the fiefs has become on unstable, and it is finding a way to let it's darkness out through Barren because it has the least strength of all the fiefs. Now Kayling must go back, face her old haunts and her old friend (and enemies) to discover why Barren is under going the changes it is. Along the way she'll have to admit to her friends her most closely guarded secrets, and learn to come to terms with her own past.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Aria's Quest - Questions from Eddie

Section 4
Searching for Molly
Part 7
Questions from Eddie

Aria continued to look around the room, soaking it all in, while Robyn explained the situation to Eddie. Technology was still very strange to Aria. Gina had explained computers too her, but what Gina and Darryl used was vastly different from the set up in this room. Robyn could have told her that was because their computer was older and rather basic, but she didn’t think to ask him. She was so busy looking around that she jumped into the air with a little flutter when Eddie turned and addressed her.

“What specific information can you give me? I need any names, addresses, things like that so I can track her easier.” Eddie said, fingers poised to type.

Aria started listing the information she knew. Joey had given her everything he could think of. She was a little skeptical that Eddie was going to be able to find out any more than Joey had, but she trusted Robyn, so she was trying to trust that Eddie would succeed.

As Aria read off the information Eddie’s fingers flew over the keyboard. She probably wouldn’t have believed he was even listening to her if he hadn’t occasionally asked her to clarify how a piece of information was relevant. Finally she ran out of information, and she just hovered over his shoulder, watching as he performed visual gymnastics with the computer screen.

Finally Eddie grunted, pressed one final key, and reached over to the machine that had just begun spewing out paper. “Ok, the last address you had wasn’t the last registered address for her. I was able to trace her through two more moves. Both addresses are on here so you can ask for information. The last job I was able to trace her too was working as a bar tender at ‘Velocity.’ It looks like she hasn’t been there in awhile though. She might have moved from there to something less legal. Try checking in with Anna to see if she can help you follow up on that lead. Oh, and I found a picture of her on Velocity’s web site.” He showed them a piece of paper with a picture of a young woman behind a bar. Her hair was pulled up into a messy knot on top of her head, dark, with bright purple streaks running through it. She had multiple piercings in her ears, and her wrists were covered in bracelets and her fingers in rings.

Aria was stunned. This was a very different picture of Molly than the one that Joey had showed her. Molly had always had a flair for the dramatic, but this seemed even more than that. The other thing that struck her was that Molly’s eyes looked so very sad.

Eddie helped them fold the pieces of paper up into tiny squares that Robyn was able to fit in his pack and the two of them took off again. Apparently Robyn knew who Anna was, and they headed out to the Nexus to talk to her.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Writing ADD #13

This is the best week I've had in writing all year long! Yippee!!! I wrote a total of 4,290 words this week, and my previous record for this year was 3,220. (Yes, I keep track of these things). I also broke 20,000 words this week! A land mark week all around :D Here's the summary:
Book Reports: 3
Letter's Home 2: In progress
My Dance with Words: Completed
Aria's Quest: 1 section
Geocaching 101: Completed
Movie Review: 1
The Artists: in progress
Total Words: 4290

Book Reports - didn't write as many as usual this week. Partially because my stack of books is getting lower so I don't feel the same urgency and partially because I had so many other writing things on my mind!

Letter's Home 2 - I'm about half way done with this letter. I was waiting to see if anything more happened in that "day's" worth of game play, and it did! Wait till you hear about our party :)

My Dance with Words - I actually wrote this about 3 months ago but never completed it. I keep a "Works in Progress" sheet in Word (although I keep a lot of other info in there as well) and I was perusing it one morning after I'd written my book review when nothing was jumping out at me to write. I realized I'd never finalized this - so I did that and it's been posted to my blog.

Aria's Quest - I have this week's segment written up - I just need to edit it and post it (tomorrow hopefully)

Geocaching 101 - I wrote this for my "Adventuring Elf Sisters" blog. I've only posted the first part though. More to come in the next few days!

Movie Review - I tend to post movie reviews as soon as I write them (instead of being behind like I am with books. I really enjoyed this movie - so writing the review was a lot of fun too!

The Artists - I sat down late one evening planning on writing the opening sketch before I went to sleep so I'd be ABLE to sleep. Two pages later... I'm not sure where I'm going with this story yet, but I'm having a lot of fun with just the beginning! I haven't gotten to work on it since that first evening, but I've been worrying ideas like pebbles over and over in my mind :)

*phew* And if you haven't understood before - now you know why I call this Writing Add! I tend to have a lot of ideas, and on a good week, I may end up writing about a LOT of different things! Just like on a good week I end up doing a bunch of different crafts :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Dark Tide II - Ruin by Micael A Stackpole

"Dark Tide II - Ruin" continues the story of the New Jedi Order and is the sequel to "Dark Tide I - Onslaught." In these books a new threat is facing the galaxy, one that even the Jedi have troubles with, because they don't have a presence in the force.

I'm having a wee bit of troubles getting through these books because this threat, the Yuuzhan Vong, are not only a violent race, they thrive on pain. Their entire culture is centered around the self infliction of pain, because that is what makes them stronger. Yeah. Well, that doesn't exactly make for the most pleasant read.

On the other hand I'm already well accustomed to scanning through battle scenes (I'm just not a fight scene type girl when there is a lot of blood) so I simply scanned through those portions of the book as well. It meant I scanned larger portions of this book than I do most, but I did enjoy the sections in between with the Jedi, the former Rebels, and believe it or not, the remnants of the Empire!

That's right, the Vong are such a huge threat that everyone is banding together to fight them, even old enemies like the remnants of the Empire and the people who destroyed them. That makes for some interesting situations as I'm sure you can imagine! We also get to watch the Solo kids continue to grow and develop in this book, which I really enjoyed as well.

Friday, April 2, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon - Movie Review

Last night my brother and I went out and watched the movie "How to Train your Dragon" by Dream Works Animation. While the movie is available in 3D - we saw it in 2D - since it was cheaper and both of us are kinda worried the 3D would mess with some of our eye problems!

Before I talk about the movie, should tell you that it's based (like so many are) off of a book! I didn't realize this until we went to see it last night, so the first thing I did today when I sat down to write this review was to look up the book and the author.

Cressida Cowell is the author of the books about Hiccup the Viking, the first of which is called "The Seasick Viking." It's a picture book, the first book she wrote about Hiccup, and the one that inspired the "Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III" series (of which "How to Train Your
Dragon is the first book.) I have "The Seasick Viking" on order from the local library, so look for the review coming soon!

"How to Train Your Dragon," the movie, is about a boy named Hiccup who just doesn't fit in. He lives in a colony of Vikings that seems rather normal at first glance, until you see the pests, ie, dragons! They have been there for 7 generations, but every house you see is new, because they are constantly battling to put out the fires the dragons are starting.

In a place like this the strong thrive, but Hiccup isn't really that strong, and he tends to mess things up. So when the dragons raid he gets pushed aside and told to stay out of the way. At the beginning of the movie we see a vivid example of just why this is.

Hiccup's Father, Stoic, doesn't know how to deal with the boy. But another viking convinces Stoic to let the boy start training to kill dragons with the other kids his age. At first Hiccup is miserable, and then he slowly begins to show a kill with dragons that shocks everyone else. How IS he doing it?

The answer is that one day Hiccup had wounded a dragon, and then instead of finishing it off, he made friends. This unique friendship will change his life forever. He learns many things that will shake the foundations of everything he knows about dragons, he finally gets noticed by the girl, and he makes his father proud. It's a cute movie full of dragon battle scenes and humor.

One thing I really enjoyed about the movie was listening to the voice of Stoick, Hiccup's father. The part of Stoick was read by Gerard Butler, a Scottish actor who's voice makes me melt! Any time I get to hear his beautiful voice is fun!

All in all, it's a great movie. There are so many more things I could say about it, but I want to let you discover it for yourself, and not give too much away!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

March - An Up and Down Month

This last month was really an up and down one. I had some REALLY good days - and some REALLY bad days. Despite that, I think overall things have been looking up. I've worked through a lot of the emotional aftermath of losing my Granny (I still tear up though!) and I'm enjoying spring and looking forward to a summer full of possibility! Here's the wrap up for last month:



Book Reviews: