God Of Clocks by Alan Campbell Book Review

God of Clocks (1)

 

Synopsis(via Amazon)In the cataclysm of the battle of the gods, a portal to Hell has been opened, releasing legions of unnatural creatures that have pushed humanity to the edge of extinction. While warring deities clash with fallen angels, the only hope for mankind’s survival lies with the most unlikely heroes: Former assassin Rachel Hael has rejoined blood-magician Mina Greene and her little dog, Basilis, on one last desperate mission to save the world from the ravages of Hell. As Rachel travels to the final confrontation she has both sought and feared, she begins to realize that time itself is unraveling. And so she must prepare herself for a sacrifice that may claim her heart, her life, her soul—and even then it may not be enough.

 

Star Rating: 4.5/5

Cons:

Two of the characters endings didn’t make sense

Pros:

Well Paced

Compelling Plot

Interesting characters

Interesting use of Time Travel

Who Should Read It:

Fans of Alan Campbell’s other work

Steampunk/Fantasy Fans

People looking for an quick and easy Fantasy Read

 

Look for more in my video coming tomorrow. I’m filming tomorrow morning so if you have questions you want answered about this book make sure to leave them in the comments and I will be sure to answer them.

Also make sure to follow my blog to see all of my book reviews! (and other fun stuff) and subscribe to my YouTube Channel for updates whenever I post a new video!

-M-

P.S. Forgive me for any growing pains my reviews may go through (i.e. different formats) as I work to incorporate the video reviews into my normal reviews without being too redundant. Suggestions are welcome!

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Iron Angel Book Review

iron-angel

 

After a destructive battle, the ancient swaying city of Deepgate has been overtaken. Most of the chains that suspend it have given way, toxic fumes are emanating from blazing structures, and the temple once inhabited by the ruling Presbyter now dangles upside down above the once-uncharted abyss. The victorious Spine have initiated martial law and are ruthlessly pursuing all who attempt to leave. Amid the turmoil, two captives are returned. 

Arriving by ship are the young angel Dill, now toughened by war, and traitor assassin Rachel Hael. Incarcerated in the slowly crumbling temple, the two await their fate, while from the abyss beneath them ghosts rise—for the death of the god Ulcis has left open the gates to Hell.

But on orders from his divine brethren, Cospinol, the god of brine and fog, is traveling the world to Deepgate to seal this breach. His great skyship is being dragged through the air by the giant John Anchor, a monster of a man enslaved to pull the god’s vessel, moving slowly, inevitably, toward the city.

As the city waits, teetering on the brink, myriad plans for vengeance are set in motion, from the continent of Pandemeria to Heaven itself. Among them is a ghostly archon sent to deliver a message to the gods on earth—using Dill as his vessel. Thrust from his body, Dill’s own soul returns to Hell. When Dill and Rachel are attacked by Spine assassins, Rachel has no choice but to try to escape with the creature that calls itself Dill…and to somehow find a way to restore her friend’s soul before it’s too late. For powerful forces are stirring, and in the coming battle between gods, it is the world of men that is at stake.

Iron Angel is the sequel to Alan Campbell’s Scar Night.

Scar Night had it’s problems. Missing character development and a rushed ending that seemed to imply that Campbell got bored of his book before he had finished it.

But overall, Scar Night was a good book. It moved very quickly, the plot and the lore were all endearing  and overall it was well written.

Iron Angel and Scar Night are vastly different in the tone, in the worlds etc…There is no city of chains suspended above an abyss in this one. Angels and priests and religion are nearly absent in Iron Angel, replaced instead with Gods.

Iron Angel is a much stronger book than Scar Night, in my opinion. But-something you should know going in-the synopsis above only covers the first 100 pages of this 500 page book. For the most part, you wouldn’t even have to have read Scar Night to understand Iron Angel.

Something about this book that I can’t decide whether or not I enjoyed was the difference of the feel between part One and parts Two and Three that the book is broken into.

The first part feels like a completely separate book from the other two parts. On one hand this makes sense. In parts two and three (which together are as long as part one is by itself) the book is set in Hell. You meet the God Mendoa who is briefly (very briefly) mentioned in Scar Night. You find out what happened to Dill and you spend some time with some new characters.

It’s good and it’s interesting and (personally) I was glad of the change from really nothing happening to a chase through hell but the change can be jarring.

A point in Iron Angel’s favor would be that it doesn’t feel like a “middle book” Iron Angel is book two of three in the Deepgate Codex but it doesn’t come across that way. It stands strongly on it’s own two feet, sans Scar Night. Mostly it comes across that Scar Night is an extended Prologue setting up the adventures in Iron Angel which will lead to the ultimate ending in God of Clocks.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It had it’s weaknesses and the characters still didn’t develop a whole lot, but it was interesting and I still love the Gods and the worlds he’s created.

******

Hope you enjoyed my review! Next one will either be Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman or God of Clocks by Alan Campbell. Really whichever I finish first. Don’t forget to hit follow to get all of my updates! 🙂

-M-

 

Hi Everyone!

I’m a couple days late with this segment. 

I’ve been really busy(Holidays and all that) and as soon as the Holiday Season ended (Jan 1st) I got really sick. Which I’m not quite over yet. With that being said, my comments on the books this month will be fairly brief. Perhaps that will make them more enjoyable? 🙂 Hope you enjoy.

Without further ado:

January What’s In My Queue

1) The Fault In Our Stars

fault-in-our-stars

 

Synopsis:Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

This book is everywhere, isn’t it? You cannot go to the book section of a store and not see this book along with other John Green books. But mostly this one.

I have never read a John Green book and if this book wasn’t so highly recommended in every book thread on r/booksuggestions that I open I don’t know that I would have ever picked it up myself. It does sound interesting-just not something I would have naturally steered toward myself. 

Hopefully it’s as good as it’s hype!

 

2)Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

 

Elantris

 

Synopsis: Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god. 

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

If any of you have been following my blog at all you know that I am quite the Brandon Sanderson fan. I have loved pretty much everything that I have read by him. (I will admit I have not read the Robert Jordan series so I can’t comment on what he did there) That being said, I’ve tried Elantris before and got a few hundred pages in before putting it down. I was interested in what was happening but for whatever reason it could not keep my attention. I hope to be better about that this time around.

 

3)Soul Music-Terry Pratchett

Soul Music

Synopsis: When her dear old Granddad — the Grim Reaper himself — goes missing, Susan takes over the family business. The progeny of Death’s adopted daughter and his apprentice, she shows real talent for the trade. That is until a little string in her heart goes “twang.”

With a head full of dreams and a pocketful of lint,Imp the Bard lands in Ankh-Morpork, yearning to become a rock star. Determined to devote his life to music, the unlucky fellow soon finds that all his dreams are coming true. Well almost.

In this finger-snapping, toe-tapping tale of youth,Death, and rocks that roll, Terry Pratchett once again demonstrates the wit and genius that have propelled him to the highest echelons of parody next to Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen.

I love Terry Pratchett and the Discworld series-as some of you may know-and from what I have read so far, the Death Series of Discworld is my favorite. This story is part of his timeline even though he isn’t as prominently featured as he is in some of the other books but it’s also about a group of people trying to be musicians-which is something very close to my heart.

It sounds hilarious and Pratchett is a fantastic author. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for me this time.

 

4)Tipping Point-Malcolm Gladwell

Tipping Point

Synopsis:The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.

I think Gladwell is amazing. I have read a few of his other books and loved them. I know the internet is enjoying hating on him lately but I have yet to see anything legitimate. But, Gladwell was brought back to my attention because of all of the hate that resurfaced after his latest book came out. So I guess that can be seen as a plus. 

“The Tipping Point” about how the smallest things can have the biggest impacts. It’s a subject that I find incredibly fascinating and I look forward to seeing what he has to say.

 

5)The Night  Circus-Erin Morgenstern 

THE-NIGHT-CIRCUS

Synopsis: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

I have heard zero things about this book. I have seen it all over the place and read the synopsis multiple times but I have never heard a single person talking about it and I haven’t looked at the reviews. But I bought it for my Kindle anyway. Because it sounds really really interesting. So…I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

 

6)The Lies of Locke Lamora-Scott Lynch

Lies of Locke

Synopsis: An orphan’s life is harsh—and often short—in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly. Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game—or die trying.

This is another book that r/booksuggestions cannot get enough of. Every link I click on features this, Song of Ice and Fire, Kingkiller Chronicles and (if the suggestions aren’t Fantasy based)  Fault In Our Stars. I’ve already mentioned Fault in Our Stars, Song of Ice and Fire will be featured next month and I’ve read the two of the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss that have been released. So that leaves this book.

I’ve seen this book featured in threads that have nothing to do with fantasy. People request all sorts of book genres and Lies of Locke Lamora is inevitably at the top of the thread. So I picked it up from Amazon. I’m kind of skeptical because it doesn’t sound SUPER intriguing to me, but it sounds interesting enough. What it will probably come down to is writing style-which is supposed to be impeccable. Here’s hoping!

 

7)City of Lost Souls-Cassandra Clare

LostSouls

Synopsis:What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

If I had to pick one of the book series I have read that I would consider a guilty pleasure it would definitely be the Mortal Instruments series.

The first couple books are not well written, though the writing quality improves over the books. The stories are interesting and most of the time engaging while being equal parts cliche. Especially the teenage romance which drives me a little bit up the wall. 

Overall, however, I do enjoy the stories. The lore of the worlds is thought out and original most of the time. Where it is not completely her own creation it is an interesting twist on lore most of us are already familiar with.

 City of Lost Souls is the fifth out of six (the Sixth to be released in May I believe) I read the other four in a week sometime last year and then I was burnt out on the world and needed to go explore somewhere else. But I am back. 

8)Inferno-Dan Brown

Inferno

 

Synopsis:In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.

Dan Brown is another author that the internet loves to hate but I don’t really understand why. He’s not a life changing author but his books are fun, well paced and well written. You don’t read them as History texts-obviously. 

I’ve read Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code and I liked them both. I loved Digital Fortress and Deception Point. I bought The Lost Symbol and then lent it out before I ever ready it and I have not seen it since, sadly. But I heard Inferno was coming out. A Robert Langdon Twist on Dante’s Inferno. Sounds like a fun ride to me!

 

9)Warded Man-Peter V. Brett

Warded

Synopsis:As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

I picked this book up for two reasons:

1) He is a favorite author of one of my favorite authors (Brent Weeks) and apparently a great guy according to a couple of my friends who have met him once or twice in the Portland area.

2) A bunch of my friends who share the same taste in books as me were suddenly reading it

So I bought it. It sounded pretty interesting so I picked it up in June. And now it has been sitting on my shelf for six months waiting for me. I became hesitant to pick it up after I heard a single sentence uttered out of the mouths of every person who has read it-even though they haven’t met each other. “It was good. It had it’s problems but it was good”  So I have become wary. Hopefully, though, it’s enjoyable enough to overlook any issues it might have.

10) Howl’s Moving Castle-Diana Wynne Jones

Howl

 

Synopsis: Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

I CAN NOT BELIEVE I haven’t written about this one before. I haven’t, have I? I went through my posts trying to find it because I was certain I must have written about it before…but I could not find it! Which is crazy!

Anyway, I first encountered Howl’s Moving Castle in movie form. Loved the movie. I went looking for the movie and I found out that not only is it a book, it is a book by one of my favorite authors!  And not only that but it is a series! So I bought the first one but I just haven’t had the chance to get around to it yet. But I intend to very soon.

 

And that’s it guys. I hope you enjoyed. I’m off to watch Sam play Skyrim, drink some Orange Juice and fall asleep. Hope you enjoyed the blog. Hit “Follow” if you want to see follow up reviews of what you have seen here! (Iron Angel and Golden Compass reviews should be on their way this month)

 

-M-

What’s In My Queue-Steelheart Review

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Image

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will. 

Nobody fights the Epics . . . nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

 And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience. 

     He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

 

Rating: 5/5

Something Brandon Sanderson did really well in Mistborn:Final Empire(Mistborn #1) was the group dynamics that come along with a group planning a heist. Mistborn felt very much like Ocean’s Eleven put in a Fantasy universe-which was the charm of Mistborn. Now he’s taken that same dynamic and improved his technique.

Steelheart begins with a murder that will become the catalyst upon which David, the main character, will base all of his decisions. He joins up with the Reckoners-a small group of men and women who are fighting back against the Epic’s-when he is eighteen years old and together they set up an elaborate plot to draw out Steelheart and make him pay for the blood that is on his hands.

The book moves very quickly, it’s easy to get through and it’s fun. It is classified as YA which may be a turn off for some people, but the themes that run through the book are easily enjoyable for older audiences.

If you want a quick, easy read with interesting characters, twists and turns-some of which are easy to guess if you’ve read Sanderson others that are not-and a fun play on the Superhero motif, I highly suggest you read Steelheart.

-M-

What’s In My Queue-Running With the Demon Review

Let me preface this by saying that I am not familiar with Terry Brooks’ other works. I own the first “Magic Kingdom of Landover” book, but I’ve never read it and I have never read any of the Shannara books. That being said, I do not know what ties this book has to Shannara (though I do know it ties in somehow) so I didn’t read “Running With the Demon” as a Shannara but as the first book in a new Trilogy. Some people I’ve met who love Shannara hate this book, while it was actually recommended to me by someone who has read everything Brooks has ever written and says Word and the Void is her favorite of them all.

Disclaimers out of the way, to the review!

Running With the Demon by Terry Brooks

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Synopsis (from Goodreads)On the hottest Fourth of July weekend in decades, two men have come to Hopewell, Illinois, site of a lengthy, bitter steel strike. One is a demon, dark servant of the Void, who will use the anger and frustration of the community to attain a terrible secret goal. The other is John Ross, a Knight of the Word, a man who, while he sleeps, lives in the hell the world will become if he fails to change its course on waking. Ross has been given the ability to see the future. But does he have the power to change it? At stake is the soul of a fourteen-year-old girl mysteriously linked to both men. And the lives of the people of Hopewell. And the future of the country.

My Rating 4/5

I’ve written this review a couple of times and, by now, I realize that when I write it I tend to rant about what bothered me-which were a few things-so that it doesn’t really sound like I liked it.

But I did like it, for the most part.

So I’m doing my review a little different. I’m going to break it up into pro and con categories to limit the amount of ranting that I do and to, theoretically, give you a better feel for what worked and what didn’t in the context of the book.

Cons:

-Moved very slow for the first half of the book

-I felt like I was being beaten over the head with some of the things he wanted his reader to know. Specifically, he kept repeating the words “Cataclysm does not come from one large event but from many small events” Over and over. To the point that I cringed whenever ANOTHER character would say it.

-I don’t feel the antagonist was taken care of properly. It kind of felt like Brooks got bored with what he was writing and so dispatched the main bad guy in less than two paragraphs and not even by either of the main protagonists.

-Nothing surprised me. I could guess at every twist and turn of the book.

Pros:

-Even when I was slamming my head into my coffee table, I cared enough to keep going and finish the book.

-The book picked up A LOT in the second half of the book.

-When the book finished, despite my disappointment with how the antagonist was taken care of, I still felt satisfied. It ended on a good point and I was excited to start the next book.

-It took some time, but eventually I did like the characters. I never fell in love with any of them or grew attached to them in anyway, but I did like them and I wanted them to succeed. Which, really, is more than I could say in Allegiant.

-Even though Good vs. Evil is a pretty played out story, I liked Brooks’ twist on it and how it works. Rather than Heaven and Hell there is the Word and the Void and the Balance. It was interesting. I would like more information on the Word and the Void so I will probably have to read Shannara (when I figure out the best order to read them in) eventually.

So overall, some things worked really well and some things didn’t. I feel like I would have understood the magic system better if I had read Shannara, but as it stood I could easily pick out how the magic system worked from context. I did end up liking the book-hence the star rating-and I am looking forward to book two. My hope for “Knight of the Word” is that, because all of the back story is out of the way, the story moves much quicker.

-M-

What’s In My Queue-December

Background: I recently realized how many books I keep laying around my house in piles that are begging me to read them. I decided to make a monthly blog based on this fact where I pick ten of the books sitting on my table that I want to read and I write about them. When I finish reading one, I will write a review about the book and call that segment “What’s In My Queue-Review Edition” Here is the first W hat’s In My Queue.

Mainly, I want to help people find books they have never heard of before that might interest them.

*********

Okay guys. I have a confession to make.I have not been reading as much as I normally do. I do have a good reason, though, if that counts for anything. I’ve been deep in NaNoWriMo. And I’ve spent the time not writing my novel writing articles for the paper-a great deal more than previously because of the oncoming holiday season-so by the time I have hit my 3-5000 words for the day and have written my articles for the paper…I just don’t feel like sitting down and reading. I want to move and do stuff.

I know. Excuses excuses. I have read some, though.  My first review is here

For the moment, though, here is the December edition of “What’s in My Queue” (There are no Christmas books except in the honorable mentions unfortunately)

-M-

1)Inkheart-Cornelia Funke

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Synopsis(via Amazon): One cruel night, Meggie’s father reads aloud from a book called INKHEART– and an evil ruler escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books. Meggie must learn to harness the magic that has conjured this nightmare. For only she can change the course of the story that has changed her life forever.

I love Cornelia Funke. I really really do. “The Thief Lord” is absolutely amazing. I’ve read most of “Reckless” and then somehow got distracted and haven’t finished it. Not because it wasn’t good, but I’m easily distracted by new books sometimes. I’ve read Inkheart partially through and then I stopped. I don’t know why. But I stopped. So I am going to reread it! A book about books coming to life! Yes please.

P.S. I have never seen the movie. Is it worth watching after I read the book?

2)Powerful Writing Skills-Richard Andersen

Writing Skills
Synopsis (via backcover): Most of what we find dull in business correspondence isn’t what we say but how we say it. Just because we work for an institution is no reason why we have to sound like one. The most effective business correspondence, like the best writing anywhere, is short, clear, and personal

I am always trying to better my writing skills. That might surprise some cynics among you because I am very pro “whatever you need to do, do it. It’s your art” But I also am pro knowing how to do things properly. You can break rules. Youshould break rules. For art it’s a requirement. But you have to know the rules first. I’ve said it for years and I will continue to say it. Though “Powerful Writing” is mostly about writing essays and memos, the skills can be applied to fiction.

3) Cloud Atlas-David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas
Synopsis(via Amazon): A postmodern visionary who is also a master of styles and genres, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian love of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending philosophical and scientific speculation in the tradition of Haruki Murakami, Umberto Eco, and Philip K. Dick. The result is brilliantly original fiction that reveals how disparate people connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.

I will admit I had never heard of this until my mom randomly called me one day and asked if I wanted to see this movie. A movie I had never heard of until she brought it up. I said yes because why not? I liked the movie. More than my mom did, anyway. I don’t know that she knew what to make of it. For those who are in the same boat, it is better the second time around. You can catch connections you likely missed the first time.

Doing some research later, I discovered the book and then went to Target and bought it. And now it has been sitting on my shelf. I’m skeptical of it. I don’t know why. Perhaps because it is met with such acclaim and I usually dislike literary books that critics love. Just by happenstance. I don’t hate them because critics like them or anything.

But I am intrigued to see the parallels that were left out of the movie. To find connections. I love the idea behind it. That one single seemingly small act by a human being-in this case helping a slave-can ripple throughout time to create a revolution. There is a symmetry and poetry to it that intrigues me. It’s the same reason I liked the ending to Bioshock:Infinite where many people hated that there weren’t multiple endings. At this point all I can do is hope the idea is well executed.

4) Swordspoint-Ellen Kushner

Swordspoint
Synopsis (via Amazon) On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St. Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless–until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye.

I had the pleasure of meeting and briefly speaking with Ellen Kushner(and accidentally embarrassing my friend. My mouth runs unchecked when I am uncomfortable or nervous) at the Sirens conference I have written about before. I had never heard of her but she seemed really nice, intelligent and funny. Closing night, I watched her perform from Thomas the Rhymer She read from it, sang songs that inspired it etc…

In the bookstore at the conference, Swordspoint was there. A friend of mine, one of the few people I know who loves to read as much as I do, recommended this book to me as well as this author. All of those things combined made me pick up this book, which does sound interesting if not something I would have picked up on my own.

5) The Divine Comedy-Dante Alighieri

Dante
Synopsis (via Amazon) The Divine Comedy, translated by Allen Mandelbaum, begins in a shadowed forest on Good Friday in the year 1300. It proceeds on a journey that, in its intense recreation of the depths and the heights of human experience, has become the key with which Western civilization has sought to unlock the mystery of its own identity.

Sadly, I have not read this before. I read Terry Pratchett’s Eric which is an abridged, satirical version but I have never actually read it myself.
I bought this for research on another book that I am going to write that is going to cover Dante’s Inferno. My characters go on their own journey through Hell and, while it will be different, there will be parallels I hope to draw. Plus, this is considered a classic right? I need to at least read some of the classics.

6) Magic Kingdom For Sale-Terry Brooks

Magic Kingdom
Synopsis(via Amazon) After Ben Holiday purchased Landover, he discovered the magic kingdom had some problems. The Barons refused to recognize a king and the peasants were without hope. To make matters worse, Ben learned that he had to duel to the death with the Iron Mask, the terrible lord of the demons–a duel which no human could hope to win….

Need I say more? I like Brooks-I have a thing for authors named Terry, remember? And I like the idea. Someone buys a kingdom from the newspaper and inherits all of its problems. I have heard mixed reviews on this book but I look forward to drawing my own conclusions.

7)Eye of the World-Robert Jordan

TheEyeOfTheWorld
Synopsis(Via Amazon) The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

I’ve written about how I ended up initially picking up the Robert Jordan books before. I wrote about it in, I believe, my last “What’s In My Queue” I wrote a lot about it in “Epic Fantasy Authors Have the Best Fans” and I wrote, more or less, about it in “For My Brother” So I’m not going to go into it again. Basically, when my brother moved out he left a bunch of books that managed to migrate into a little white Honda we had in our backyard. I went through the books one day, found five of the first nine in there along with many many others and now Wheel of Time is calling for me. I started Eye of the World a long time ago. I think I got a good portion through as well, but until recently Epic Fantasy was never my thing so I couldn’t stay focused on it. Since I have increased the amount of Epic Fantasy I am reading ten fold this might actually work for me.
Listen to the concept. It’s amazing

8) Alloy of Law-Brandon Sanderson

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Synopsis (Via Amazon) Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.
Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.
One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn, who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

If you haven’t read the Mistborn Trilogy  that last paragraph is probably pretty off putting. But you probably shouldn’t read it if you haven’t read Mistborn anyway. You can, because this is a separate timeline, but the magic system isn’t explained as well. At least not in the first couple of chapters that I’ve read so far. Maybe it is later.
I really liked the first Mistborn book, though Well of Ascension and Hero of Ages were not nearly as good in my opinion. But I was told Alloy of Law is just as good as Mistborn was. I bought it while reading the trilogy and then realized I had read them too quickly and wanted to explore a new world for a while. So on my Kindle it has been sitting. I am excited to see what happens. How accurately the people three hundred years in the future have recorded history and if it has been manipulated for the purposes of the powerful.

p.s. If you are in the U.S the above cover is probably not what you will find. That is the U.K cover…but when I did a search for images I liked that cover much better.

9)Iron Angel-Alan Campbell

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Synopsis (Via Amazon) After a destructive battle, the ancient swaying city of Deepgate has been overtaken. Most of the chains that suspend it have given way, and the temple now dangles upside down above the once-uncharted abyss. The victorious Spine have initiated martial law and are ruthlessly pursuing all who attempt to leave. But amid the turmoil, two captives are returned: the young angel Dill, now toughened by war, and traitor assassin Rachel Hael.
Incarcerated in the crumbling temple, the prisoners await their fate—while ghosts rise through the abyss from the open gates of Hell. But as the city teeters on the brink, plans for vengeance are set in motion. And in the coming battle between gods, it is the world of men that is at stake.

I have read the first of this series, Scar Night, twice. I read it once, thought it was okay, tried Iron Angel got to a certain point and put it down. About a year or more later I decided I wanted to finish it but I wanted a refresher. So I reread Scar Night and then picked up Iron Angel. I got to the same point and then put it down again. So this will be my third attempt.
I really liked what I was reading, I was intrigued by what was happening but didn’t care enough to keep going when something else came along. There haven’t been a lot of books like that for me because I usually push through, but the more unread books I have to read, the harder it is for me to keep reading a book I’m not invested in. I am genuinely excited for this, though. Third times a charm, right?

10) Clan of the Cave Bear-Jean M Auel

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Synopsis(Via Amazon): This novel of awesome beauty and power is a moving saga about people, relationships, and the boundaries of love. Through Jean M. Auel’s magnificent storytelling we are taken back to the dawn of modern humans, and with a girl named Ayla we are swept up in the harsh and beautiful Ice Age world they shared with the ones who called themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear.
A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly–she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza’s way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge.

This is another book that has been on my shelf for a loooooong time. My cousin gave it to me the first time I visited Arizona on my own. I was interested in it, but I never managed to pick it up. It is another one that is not really something I would normally pick up if I saw it on the shelf at a bookstore. But that is what friends and family are for, right? I am interested to see what happens and how the series progresses.

Honorable Mentions:
Christmas Carol-Charles Dickens: (Currently free on the Kindle at the time of this writing)It’s a Christmas Tradition. I read it every year and can quote it more or less accurately. It is also tradition to watch the movie every Saturday after Thanksgiving after decorating the house listening to Manheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This blog will go up after all that has happened…but still.

The Christmas Box-Richard Paul Evans-I love this book. I have read it before, but I look forward to reading again. It is the story of a family who moves in with a widow and, true to Christmas story form, learn what Christmas is all about. But it’s very good. It’s short (87 small pages) but it is touching. If I recall correctly there is also a movie based on the book that is worth seeing.

The Christmas Shoes-Donna VanLiere-Everyone knows the story of the Christmas Shoes. It is an over played song at Christmas. But I have never actually read the book. It is a short read as well so I’m going to give it as shot this month.

Fragile Things and Smoke and Mirrors-Neil Gaiman
These are two short story collections I want to read. They aren’t “full” books per say so I didn’t want to include them above, but I do love Gaiman and I’m looking forward to reading the short stories of his that I haven’t gotten to yet.

 

-M-

What’s In My Queue-Allegiant Review

Hi guys!

Welcome to my first review for the “What’s In My Queue” list. I have never written reviews before so this will be good practice for me honing that skill.

Let me know how I did, what you would like to see in future review segments etc..

This review will more or less spoiler free if you have read Divergent and Insurgent. If you have not, I ruin a couple of things for you. Not much, though.

-M-

P.S. Look for the next installment of What’s In My Queue coming Sunday, Dec 1, this time with links and pictures.

Allegiant: 3.0/5.0

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Synopsis:What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The 3.0 is actually a higher score than this book probably deserves. But I really liked the ending. I am one of maybe five people in the world who apparently were all right with what happens.

I did not like this book until the end. At all. I thought it was boring, repetitive and that the plot point she could have-and apparently should have- used to make up the third book was resolved within the first hundred pages, at which point she pulled something out of the air and ran with it. Her editor then let her do this because Divergent and Insurgent were such big sellers.

I despise the two main characters. I despised them at the end of the second book and that anger and revulsion traveled through to this book. Tris and Tobias spent most of book 2 (Insurgent) breaking up and then coming up with some half-assed overly romantic reason to get back together that defied all logic.

In Allegiant, they seem to spend most of the book on the verge of breakup but ultimately decided they are “good for each other”   Which they aren’t, by the way.

What bothers me about that is the number of young girls who fell in love with the main characters in Divergent-as I did-and who won’t know that the relationships they are reading about in books like “Hunger Games”, “Twilight” and this series are, in fact, terribly dysfunctional and if anyone saw these relationships outside of the books we would scoff because they are ridiculous.

But that’s not the biggest beef with the book.

My biggest problem is that it doesn’t make any sense. She apparently decided that the path she was on when she ended Insurgent-which was the only reason I picked this up after the disaster that was the second book-was too hard to write. So, she changed the story with a single line in Allegiant about what we had been told at the end of Insurgent was a lie and then filled in the holes with a vapid, useless, story line not even close to how good the book could have been if she had stayed on the initial path set up in Divergent.

I also don’t care about any of the characters in the book. None. They are all pathetic, petty, cruel, stupid or some combination of those and it’s impossible to root for any of them. They are all one-dimensional characters who, rather than having grown up in the three years between Divergent and Allegiant, age backwards into pre-teens if you are to base their ages on their actions.

It was especially disappointing to me because I loved Divergent. I thought it was really great. Tris is strong and smart. She realizes she has to make it on her own because of her decisions and so she does. She makes mistakes but she owns up to them. Like an adult.

Then she gets a boyfriend and does what, apparently a lot of authors think, girls do when they get boyfriends. Which is to turn into whiny brats incapable of doing or thinking of anything not related to the guy they are with. She went from strong and independent to an insecure whipping girl for her boyfriend.

Tobias also starts out strong and interesting-determined to escape a past he has been taught to be ashamed of-until he dates Tris. At which point he becomes cruel, over bearing and easily broken. Everything she says hurts his feelings, it seems. Which is awful. Who wants that in a character you are trying to justify liking?

If you want a character to be easily broken, establish that ahead of time. Don’t establish them as tough and then make it so that a look can send them spiraling into depression.

Veronica Roth also didn’t seem to bother doing any research into genetics before she wrote this book. I have no problem with people making up their own sciences etc…if you are setting the world in a futuristic world with advanced technology BUT that fake science should be based on the science we already have. She  didn’t bother because she didn’t think we would notice.

We noticed.

The reason I gave it a 3.0 instead of a 1.0 or 2.0, however, is because I did like the ending. While I don’t feel that what happens redeems the characters at all, I was okay with what it. Especially within the parameters that were set up earlier in the book, the way it ended was the only way that it would have made sense to end. If it had ended the way they initially try to make you believe it will end (but if you’ve read ANY books you can see the “twist” coming a mile away) I would have been really upset because it would have been completely contradictory to the characters she had written.

The ending is the only thing that made me not hate this book that I had spent 400 pages rolling my eyes at because the ending matters. It doesn’t just end, the decisions and sacrifices made by characters in the book-for the most part-mean something. Which was important to me.

In conclusion, if you read Divergent and Insurgent, read Allegiant. You might as well. If you have read none of them, read Divergent as a stand alone or read the rest of the trilogy at your own risk.

What’s In My Queue?

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My boyfriend and I recently acquired new furniture after 3 years of terrible furniture. My mother-in-law is moving to Arizona so we inherited some of her stuff.

Among these things is an end table that matches our new, very lovely coffee table. Prior to having the end table I had books I was reading or getting ready to read scattered in piles around my house. Since acquiring the table, they have all moved to one glorious place of chaos.

Which inspired an idea I could do monthly or bi-monthly called “What’s in my queue?” Which will be the top ten books sitting on my coffee table. (I currently have 33 including a couple on my Kindle) After I list what I have here, I will review the books throughout the month as I get to them. (Probably will not get to 10 per month but I’ll always have something to write about)

These books are in no particular order and I likely won’t read them in the order that I write about them (though if I get stumped as to what to pick next I could always move down the list)

I am also going to make it a goal to not repeat authors on my list. For example, I have 3 Terry Pratchett books waiting for me but only one will be featured per post.

With that, I introduce the very first “What’s In My Queue” segment
(cue gameshow music)

1) Wizard’s First Rule-Terry Goodkind

Brief Synopsis(From the back cover) “In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, appears in Richard Cypher’s forest sanctuary seeking help…and more. His world, his very beliefs are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence.’
‘In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword–to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed…or that their time has run out.’
‘This is the beginning. One book. One Rule. Witness the birth of a legend”

I have had this book sitting on my shelf since the early 2000’s. Every time I am looking for a new book to read, it goes into my pile before eventually migrating back to the shelf from whence it came. (Lord of the Rings joke…get it…get it…All right moving on) I don’t know why it has taken me so long to read. Actually that’s not true. The reason is because it is a fourteen book series with two spin off books that were recently released and another on the way. It’s such a commitment and guys…I have 33 other books to read just on my table! Lets not count the number that haven’t migrated off of my shelf yet. I don’t need to add 17 more to it! That being said, I did recently start it and I am enjoying it. It is a fantasy book with all of it’s fantasy tropes in tact. It’s well written and interesting, if slow. I’m about 25% through it and I am looking forward to finishing it.

I finally picked it up and started it because my dad has read it for years and he periodically re-reads them(He’s the reason I bought the first one to begin with) and, when I was thinking about it, a girl I was working with at the time had started the series and loved it. She was so enthusiastic that I had to start reading it.

2) Dodger-Terry Pratchett
Brief Synopsis(from the back cover): “Dodger is a tosher- a sewer scavenger living in the squalor of Victorian London. Everyone who is nobody knows him. Anybody who is anybody doesn’t. He used to know his own future; it involved a lot of brick-lined tunnels and plenty of filth. But when Dodger rescues a young girl from a beating, meets Charles Dickns, and encounters Sweeney Todd, things start to get really messy.’
‘Now everyone who is anyone wants to get their hands on Dodger…”

I have a thing for author’s named Terry. This was not something I realized about myself until I realized how many of the books on my reading table were by authors named Terry. Terry Pratchett, Goodkind and Brooks being prominently featured.

I adore Pratchett’s “Discworld” series more than I can possibly express. It makes me so very happy. It’s dry and you really have to like English humor but it’s amazing. I have read the Rincewind Saga in it’s entirety and am now working my way through the Death Saga. I love his stand alone discworld novels equally, by the way. I recommend “Small Gods” for everybody.

I also thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed “Good Omens” By Pratchett and Gaiman.

But I wanted to give something not Discworld or Gaiman related a try. He has a sci-fi series that I will eventually buy and then read but for now I wanted to stick to humor.

I was in Powell’s on my trip to Oregon(you lucky Oregonians and your amazing bookstores) It’s gorgeous. A book lovers dream. If you get a chance, take a trip to Portland just to see their five story, one city block wide bookstore that is only one of several Powell’s in the state. It’s not even the only Powell’s in the city.

Anyway, I was in Powell’s and went looking for Terry Pratchett because…you know. Dodger caught my eye. It sounded funny and was not Discworld related so I picked it up. Here’s hoping I love it as much as his other books.

3)The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs
Brief synopsis(written by me) A.J Jacobs was raised in a secular family but had become increasingly curious over the relevance of faith in the modern world. After his year writing “Know-It-All”, A.J Jacobs decides to throw himself entirely into the Bible. Following every rule and guideline laid down in the Bible. From the 10 commandments, Be Fruitful and Multiply to the lesser known play a 10 string harp and Stone Adulterers along with hundreds of others. He will immerse himself in prayer, tend sheep in the Israeli Deserts and dance with Hasidic Jews among with other hilarious adventures that will make you see history’s most influential book with new eyes.

I am among the least religious people you will ever meet without being a full on Atheist. My view on the Bible is that it is a wonderful fairy tale with stories intended to scare children into behaving just like we tell them stories of the boogie man or the one armed man (if you are an older brother looking to terrify his little sisters…yeah…I’m looking at you) I do not, in any way shape or form see the Bible as a literal book or as a book that should be the basis for deciding laws.

I bought this because the worst thing for me about some (yes…some) religious people is that they pick and choose what they want to read from the book and ignore the rest because it’s outdated. There are so many rules that the Bible lays down that most people who claim to follow the Bible literally completely ignore.

So this book intrigues me and I look forward to seeing what I learn from it. Or at least laughing as he gets mistaken for ZZ Top as his beard grows long and unruly.

4) Allegiant-Veronica Roth
Brief Synopsis(From Inside Cover)” The faction based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered-fractured by violence and and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties,and painful memories’
‘But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature- and of herself-while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.”

I read the other two books in about a week after the second one came out. Loved the first one. Thought it was great. I picked them up because they were compared to the Hunger Games which I had liked relatively well and a woman I was working with at Big 5 said she loved them and couldn’t wait for the third to come out.

I was not such a huge fan of the second one. I thought it was all right and was intrigued enough to get through it quickly. But I felt that Veronica Roth fell victim to a classic problem a lot of authors seem to struggle with when their main character is a girl who falls in love.

Tris spent the majority of the second book curled up in a ball crying over her boyfriend. Which annoyed the hell out of me. In Divergent she is strong and she is smart and she is capable and she doesn’t need anyone. She turns away from her family, which was immensely difficult for her but she handles it well. In the second she loses everything that makes her Tris for me.

Insurgent ends on a cliff hanger that you see coming the entire book but that is still exciting and interesting. Veronica Roth has set herself up to do some amazing things with this book. I really hope she has re-found Tris’s voice and delivered the ending I believe she is capable of giving.

5) Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Brief Synopsis(From Inside Cover)- “Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary people extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.’
‘Epics are no friends of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man, you must crush his will.’
‘Now, in what was once Chicago, an astonishingly powerful Epic named Steelheart has installed himself as emperor. Steelheart possesses the strength of ten men and can control the elements. It is said that no bullet can harm him, no sword can split his skin, and no fire can burn him. He is invincible. Nobody fights back…nobody but the Reckoners.’
‘A shadowy group of ordinary humans, the Reckoners spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses and then assassinating them. And David wants in.’
‘When Steelheart came to Chicago, he killed David’s Father. For years, like the Reckoners, David has been studying, and planning, and he has something they need. Not an object, but experience.
‘He has seen Steelheart bleed’
‘And he wants revenge”

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a fan of Sanderson. I went through a phase recently where I read everything by Sanderson I could get my hands on. So it might surprise some people when I tell you I am actually skeptical on this one.

It sounds a great deal like Sanderson mashed up two of his previous books -“Elantris” and “Warbreaker” and put them into a semi YA fantasy book.

That being said, I liked Warbreaker and Elantris was intriguing but it didn’t keep me interested long enough to get past the halfway point despite the face that I was interested in the plot (Elantris will likely be featured on a future episode of “What’s In My Queue”)

I am looking forward to reading it, but I approach it with cautious optimism.

6) Til We Have Faces-C.S. Lewis
Brief Synopsis(from back cover)-“Haunted by the myth of Cupid and Psyche throughout his life, C.S. Lewis wrote this, his last, extraordinary novel, to retell their story through the gaze of Psyche’s sister, Orual. Disfigured and embittered, Orual loves her younger sister to a fault and suffers deeply when she is sent away to Cupid, the God of the Mountain. Psyche is forbidden to look upon the god’s face, but is persuaded by her sister to do so; she is banished for her betrayal. Orual is left alone to grow in power but never in love, to wonder at the silce of the gods. Only at the end of her life, in visions of her lost beloved sister, will she hear an answer”

The Cupid and Psyche myth is one of the first stories I read as a child. I remember vividly talking to my mother about her love of Greek Mythology when she reaches up to one of our very tall(compared to short, five year old me) and brings down an Arizona sand colored book with a lovely dust jacket depicting a woman with gold hair. It was Cupid and Psyche and I loved it.

Fast forward nearly two decades and I was at Sirens in Washington looking at books I should not have been buying when this caught my eye. First, that it was by C.S. Lewis and second that the subtitle to the book was “A Novel of Cupid and Psyche” What sealed it for me was the quote on the back “I saw well why the Gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer…why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face til we have faces”

I was so struck by that, especially coming from “Mere Christianity”‘s Lewis. I listened to a paper on the book after buying it which really cemented my excitement for this book.

“Til We Have Faces” is a book about not only the lies we tell others, but about the lies we tell ourselves to feel justified. Looking back at her life at the end, Orual reflects on her bitterness and the things she has done for both good reasons and terrible.

7) His Dark Materials Trilogy-Phillip Pullman
Brief Synopsis of Book One (from amazon.com)”Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jodan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle. “

Amazingly, I have not read a single one of these three. I know I should. I know they’re supposed to be amazing. Yet, they always come off my shelf and then go back like “Wizard’s First Rule”

I think when I tried to read them before I wasn’t ready for them. I wasn’t in a place where I could delve into fantasy of this sort easily. I think I can now though. I’ve also never seen the movie so I really don’t know much about what I am getting into.

I don’t remember what prompted me to buy this omnibus. I think it was just calling my name, as books do, and I listened.

8)Cold Magic-Kate Elliot
Brief Synopsis (from back cover) “Cat Barahal was the only survivor of the flood that took her parents. Raised by her extended family, she and her cousin, Bee, are unaware of the dangers that threaten them both. It is the dawn of a new age, but ancient powers still hold sway.’
‘Now, betrayed by her family and forced to marry a powerful cold mage, Cat will be drawn into a labyrinth of politics. There she will learn the full ruthlnessness of their rule. What do the cold mages want from her? And who will help Cat in her struggle against them.”

I’m going to be completely honest here, I did not really pick this up of my own volition. If a friend whom I trust a great deal had not assured me of it’s quality and had it not been talked about with such fervor at Sirens and had I not met Kate Elliot and thought she seemed like a really nice person, I would not have picked up this book. I still don’t know that I am sold on it 100%. Mostly, I think, I am worried that this is going to fall prey to the same issue so many YA/Adult Fantasy novels fall into when they have a female lead.

I’m afraid the powerful strong female lead is going to curl into a ball and cry for a whole book after she is awesome in the first book. It happened in Hunger Games, it happened in the Divergent Series. Even Sanderson did it in the second book and a half of the Mistborn series. So I’m cautiously optimistic about this one as well. But I am optimistic.

9) The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol 1 by Diana Wynne Jones
Brief Synopsis(from back cover) “The Chants are a family strong in magic, but neither Christopher nor Cat can work even the simplest of spells. So how can they hope to thwart the schemes of an avaricious enchanter and a ruthless young witch-schemes that could destroy all the worlds of Chrestomanci?”

I have read this one before. There are 3 volumes, each with two books inside. I read volume 1 and volume 2 soooo very many years ago. I was in probably fifth or sixth grade last time I read these.

On a whim not too long ago, I searched for Diana Wynne Jones and discovered a 3rd Chrestomanci Volume. I was very excited. I love these books and still remember the stories and some of the imagery she describes still haunts me despite how long ago I read them.

I’ve decided to re-read volumes 1 and 2 before venturing into the 3rd so I can become re-acquainted with the worlds. I’ve thought endlessly about picking up the books again after that first read but I could never really justify it. I’m ALWAYS buying new books and always have STACKS of books I am working my way through. How can I take the time to read a book I’ve already read when all of these books are clamoring for my attention.

Well…that excuse has arisen and I am taking it thank you very much.

10) Running With the Demon (the Word and the Void bk 1)-Terry Brooks
Brief Synopsis(from amazon.com) “On the hottest Fourth of July weekend in decades, two men have come to Hopewell, Illinois, site of a lengthy, bitter steel strike. One is a demon, dark servant of the Void, who will use the anger and frustration of the community to attain a terrible secret goal. The other is John Ross, a Knight of the Word, a man who, while he sleeps, lives in the hell the world will become if he fails to change its course on waking. Ross has been given the ability to see the future. But does he have the power to change it?’
‘At stake is the soul of a fourteen-year-old girl mysteriously linked to both men. And the lives of the people of Hopewell. And the future of the country. This Fourth of July, while friends and families picnic in Sinnissippi Park and fireworks explode in celebration of freedom and independence, the fate of Humanity will be decided . . .”

I was tickled just absolutely pink to find this trilogy because I have been looking for it for more than a decade.

I read the first book when I was in later Elementary school. Probably sixth grade, maybe fifth. I loved the first book. I wrote down the title so I could look and see if there were more. I made a mental note of the author so I could look him up if I forgot the title.

Well…I lost the title and forgot the authors name. The only thing I could really think to describe it was that it had demons and one of the demons that was described reminded me of the Heartless from Kingdom Hearts. Not a whole lot to go on.

A few times a year over the years I would do a Google search, an Amazon search and/or a Barnes&Noble/Borders search. Nothing. Do you know how many books with demon in the title there are? A lot. A lot. Just searching for this book to get the synopsis brought up so many books(Demon erotica is a thing. Did you know that? I didn’t know that)

Alas…it seemed to search was pointless.

Then, a few weeks ago, my father-in-law was down to fix Sam’s car which had been having issues and we were trying to get ready to drive to Oregon. Robert is a mechanic and offered to drive the four hours down from Round Mountain where he lives to help us out. I love my father-in-law, but I digress.

Anyway, I was talking to his wife about books. She loves to read as much as I do and she and I always geek out when they are in town.

She’s a big Terry Brooks fan. All I really knew about him was Sword of Shannara and Magic Kingdom of Landover. She recommended I look into the Word and the Void series because it’s her favorite and so I did.

I got really excited when I looked it up. I was like “is this the book…this can’t be the book…” after reading one of the summaries so I downloaded a sample to my kindle. The book seemed awfully familiar but I still just couldn’t be sure. So I chanced some spoilers and looked at Wikipedia.

One of the first things they mention are the demons that look the heartless.

I screamed like a Twilight fangirl meeting Robert Pattinson. Only for a much better reason. I was alone so it was far less embarrassing than it could have been. I texted Sam and I texted Blanca(who recommended them to me) I even posted about it on Facebook I was so stoked.

So I guess I’ll read this book. If I have to. I guess. 😉

Honorable mention books:
Artemis FowL-Eoin Colfer
Moving Pictures-Terry Pratchett
The Time Traveller’s Wife-Audrey Niffenegger.

I’m more than 3/4 done with the above honorable mentions so I didn’t feel they belonged in my list. I probably won’t write reviews for two of those three. I may write about Artemis Fowl. I’ve read it many times and I feel it is underrated and more people should know about it, and Eoin Colfer in general.

And that’s my first ten books from “What’s in My Queue” I hope you enjoyed it. I will get back to you with reviews as soon as I finish any of the books on this list and probably when I finish books that were not on this list.

If you liked this or there is something you would like to see featured here, let me know in the comments.

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-M-