Friday, May 25, 2012

The Mistborn Trilogy, a Fantasy Favorite

Mistborn Trilogy Boxed Set (Mistborn, #1-3)Mistborn Trilogy Boxed Set by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brandon Sanderson has some sort of twisted brain that allows him to come up with the most interesting and unique magic systems. I'd recommend the Mistborn trilogy for that reason alone--to walk around in a world created by that gifted brain and see what it can do.
The trilogy isn't perfect. It seemed a bit slow at times and some of the characters weren't developed enough for me. Kelsier's crew members, especially in the first book, seemed to blend together. It took me quite a while to remember who they were and what they could do.
Other characters, though, felt quite real and I was surprised how much I came to care about a certain Kandra (who shall remain nameless for spoilers sake).
And then there are the endings--Sanderson definitely has a knack for finishing a book in a surprising but satisfying way. If the books could be judged by that alone, I'd give them all five stars.

View all my reviews

Friday, April 6, 2012

Top Shelf, Bonus Selection--The Harry Potter Series

I couldn't limit my top shelf choices to ten. And maybe this one's a gimmee. Books that I'll reread have characters that feel like friends, a vivid setting that draws me back, and a core to it that helps me see a truth in a different way. For me, the Harry Potter series has all that, perhaps more so than any other book on my top shelf.  
Some adults might be embarrassed to admit that. After all, this was a series written about and for children. However, I'll take light and truth wherever I find it, in most any type of literature. And I did find it here, in this sometimes dark and painful tale about witches and wizards.
An example seems in order. There's a scene where Harry and Dumbledore discuss a certain prophesy that Harry, as The Chosen One, is supposed to fulfill. Harry feels hemmed in, coerced by the words, as though, because it's been foreseen, he has no say. However, Dumbledore helps Harry see that the prophesy doesn't really matter. Harry would choose to do that thing whether or not it had been predicted--and not because he would have to do it, because he would want to.  
Upon reading that passage, I thought of my hero, my Savior. It had never occurred to me to consider what he might have done had he not known of the prophesies about his life. Would he still have made the choices he did? 
Of course, I reflected, he would have. He didn't choose to suffer and die because he was supposed to or because it was a duty. He did it because he loved us, and he would have done it even without the prophesies. 
That realization filled me with gratitude, not only for what my hero did, but for who he was. He truly was worthy of emulation.
I have to thank J.K. Rowling for helping me better learn something I thought I already knew. And that example was only one of the bits of light I've found in this incredible series.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

In the Life of a Writer Sometimes a Little Money Helps

It's a good thing I'm not the one earning the bacon in my family. Let's just say it would be very lean bacon if it were up to me. That's why I get excited when I see things like this writing contest offered. Any bit of money helps, especially when you're trying to justify the hours you spend at a computer when there are so many other things you could be doing.
I have to admit upfront that I may be a little biased when it comes to this contest because it's connected with the WIFYR Conference, a tab for which can be found on my right hand border. I give credit for the publication of my picture book, The Wheat Doll, to this workshop. When I attended a picture book writing class there, I was mentored by Candance Fleming, who helped me shape and polish my manuscript. The editor who eventually acquired it was also at the conference that year. In fact, she walked into the room while my manuscript was being read aloud to the class, which, I believe, helped it stand out to her when it came across her desk.
If writing is something you want to do then any learning and mentoring you can get puts you ahead of most of the people in the dreaded slush pile. And if you can earn a little money whie you're at it, so much the better.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Top Shelf, Selection Ten--The Thief and the Attolia Series

Eugenides, aka, the Queen's Thief, is another of my favorite literary characters. He takes some getting used to, though. In fact, while reading The Thief for the first time, I found myself wondering when the guy would stop whining. I'm not sure that he ever really did, but by the end, I didn't care. My esteem for him was that great.
He goes by the name of Gen in the first book of the sequence and that subterfuge--hiding his real name--is only the first of many to come. Although a complainer and a bit of a dandy, Eugenides is a master of political intrigue and behind the scenes maneuverings. He's also a believer in the gods of his Greece-like world--and for good reason. They speak to him and,  occasionally, interfere, which leads to some interesting insights for Eugenides and for the reader.
In her beautifully written Attolia series, Megan Whalen Turner has created a detailed and real-feeling world. Setting is important to me, one of the aspects of a book that determines whether I'll settle in for a second reading, but as much as I'm drawn to the time and place of Attolia, it's Gen that keeps pulling me back.
I can't wait to see what he'll do next. Ms. Turner, I'm waiting.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


WaitingWaiting by Carol Lynch Williams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading a book by Carol Lynch Williams is like slipping into someone else's skin, walking around as her, breathing her air, and, especially, feeling what she feels. In the case of WAITING, we're inside the skin of London, a teenage girl who's lost her brother and whose family is crumbling because of his death.

London's skin is not a comfortable place to be--and yet, I didn't want to leave. I wanted to know more about her and to stay long enough to make sure she would be okay. And when the story was over, I was glad I stayed. I was glad I took that difficult journey with her. Because at the end, there was hope, and faith, and life. Imagine all that coming from a death.

If you're a fan of Williams's books, you won't be disappointed. She tackles tough topics and WAITING is no exception. I found her teenage protagonist to be very realistic. What teen--what adult, even--doesn't do some things that might be confusing to those around them, especially as she's grasping at straws to heal herself and her family. For instance, London seems to be attracted to two boys. But is she, really? Read and find out.

I also found London's friends a refreshing group in a teen lit world of backstabbers. Not at all the cliche that London feels her life to be.

If you want to read a book about grief and healing, go elsewhere. If you want to live one, WAITING is it.

View all my reviews

Thursday, March 8, 2012


IcefallIcefall by Matthew J. Kirby

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are so many things I loved about this book but I can't mention some of them because it would give away the ending. I'm afraid, though, that the cover already does that and if I could change one thing about this book it would be the cover.

So, what can I mention?

I loved the Nordic setting and the Norse myths woven thoughout the narrative. The stories within a story lent a rhythm to the novel and added beauty to the already beautiful language.

I loved the main character. I could relate to her struggles to embrace a talent that was, at times, uncomfortable for her.

And, yes, I did love the ending. Just read it and we'll talk later.

View all my reviews