What to Read During a Hurricane

This list is being made in honor of Irma. As of this post, Irma is scheduled to pay me a visit this Sunday (9/10/17). If you’re missing out on Irma, this can be applied to future hurricanes, too.  Continue reading

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The Summer Reader Book Tag

Since the official end of summer is fast approaching here in the northern hemisphere on the 23, I figured I’d better do this tag fast or wait another eight months for it to be relevant again. Even if where I live it’s going to remain almost unbearably hot for another month or two.

The Summer Reader Book Tag was created by islandOFbooks over on Youtube and I was tagged by Parneet @ The Enchanted Book.

Lemonade: pick a book that started off bitter but got better.

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The beginning of Keeper of the Lost City is very fast paced and I can see why it would appeal very well to the middle grade audience it was meant for, but the way everything was introduced felt cliched to me so I almost gave up on it to read something else. The second half of the book, which involves a mystery, was much more interesting to me than the first.
Golden Sun: pick a book that made you smile beyond compare.

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For some reason Rick Riordan’s books’ have a way of making me really happy. A few years back whenever I wanted to be in a good mood I used to reread one of his books.

Tropical Flowers: pick a book set in a different country.

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The characters in Daughter of Smoke and Bone travel to many different places, but they spend a significant amount of the book in Prague.
Tree Shade: pick a book in which a mysterious or shady character was first introduced.

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Crow from The Seven Realms series is first introduced in book two, The Exiled Queen. There isn’t much I can say about Crow without spoilers, but sufficient to say he has a lot of secrets.
Beach Sand: pick a book that was grainy, and the plot barely developed.

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This is one of my least favorite books of all time. I will say that I did enjoy the first couple books in this series, but in this one there were huge plot holes and for that reason I feel like the plot never really developed. If I had read this more recently I probably wouldn’t have made it nearly this far in the series, but back when I read this book I used to make an effort to finish every books/series I’d started.
Green Grass: pick a character that was full of life, making you smile.

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I pick Iko from The Lunar Chronicles which is kind of ironic because she is technically a robot and therefore not alive, but she just has such a fun personality and always makes me smile. I’m using “full of life” in terms of the phrases meaning and not literally here.
Watermelon: pick a book that had some juicy secrets.

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Mistborn: The Final Empire is the first of Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere books I read. Like his other books there are a lot of plot twists, but I chose this one because one of the characters likes to say the phrase, “There’s always another secret.”
Sun Hat: pick a book that had a vast, big universe/setting.

7235533Roshar, where The Stormlight Archives takes place, is an incredibly vast world. Brandon Sanderson has gone so far as to create his own plants and animals who have been forced to adapt to Roshar’s unique weather patterns.
BBQ: pick a book in which a character was portrayed as a hunk.

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I just finished Queen of Shadows, and in it Rowan is described as matching this description very well to say the least.
Summer Fun: pass the tag on.

Since summer is coming to a close I’m not going to tag anyone lest they have to wait until next summer to avoid doing the tag in fall, but anyone who wants to do this tag and hasn’t yet should feel free.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson 5 stars

7235533Title: The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive Book 1)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Publication date: August 31, 2010

Genre: Adult High Fantasy

Synopsis: Kaladin Stormblessed has had many roles in his life. He’s been an aspiring surgeon, common solider, respected squadleader, and a slave. In all his roles Kaladin has tried to save people but ended up enslaved for his effort. Kaladin is about to give up hope when a mysterious spren starts speaking to him and urging Kaladin on. It would seem Kaladin is not done being a hero yet.

Shallan Davar has just arrived in the city of Kharbranth. A noble woman of a minor house, this is Shallan’s first time away from her father’s estate. Unfortunately, Shallan isn’t here for the sight seeing. Shallan’s mission is to steal one of Princess Jasnah Kholin’s most prized possessions to save her family from financial ruin.

Brightlord Dalanar Kholin and his son, Adolin, must investigate the attempted murder of Dalanar’s nephew, the king, and the mystery behind the previous King’s murder by the “Assassin in White” five years before. All the while Dalanar is having visions and needs to determine if he is going mad or has been sent messages from the Almighty whom the Alethi people worship.

Review: Even though I loved Brandon Sanderson’s original Mistborn Trilogy I was still hesitant to pick this book up. It starts with a prelude which is followed by a Prologue. As far as I know I’ve never read a book with both of those before, and lets face it, prologues are hard to get right. Then there is the matter of this book’s length. It is over a thousand pages long. Until I read this book’s sequel, Words of Radiance, this was the longest book I’ve ever read. Despite this initial hesitation all of my expectations were more than met. To put it simply, this book is amazing.

It turns out that I had actually listened to the first several chapters of this book about a year ago on a car trip where there was an audio book playing. I remember liking what I heard, but forgetting to ask what book it was we were listening to. As a result, I never finished. It wasn’t until I started listening to the book that I realized I had heard this somewhere before and made the connection.

This book is narrated from many different point of views. It is clear the focus in this book is on Kaladin, but Shallan, Dalanar, and Adolin also narrate a considerable portion of the story. Kaladin has the most drastic character development in this book. We jump between his present life as a slave, and is past life as a surgeon in training/ army squadleader. It is not revealed until late in the story how Kaladin sunk so low in society from such a respected position. Shallan, a noble girl of a minor House who is trying to steal a princess’s most valuable possession to save her family from financial ruin, also develops significantly. The focus is not on her as much as Kaladin, and the two never cross paths in this book, but I still found her story intriguing and felt no urge to skip. Dalanar and his son Adolin are members of the royal family, the current king’s uncle and cousin. Their characters took me a little warming up to, but by the end of the book I really liked them.

I could easily tell Kaladin and Shallan’s narration apart, but had difficulty when Dalanar or Adolin was narrating at first because I had trouble remembering the royal hierarchy. Brandon Sanderson did a good job keeping all of the perspectives interesting especially considering how much time the narrators spent great distances from one another.

The world building was also very well done. Every culture in Roshar appears fully developed even if only one member of that culture is featured in the story. The small details about how Roshar and it’s peoples have adapted to deal with the devastating highstorms, that destroys everything in its path and makes gemstones glow, make everything seem more realistic. Sanderson even went so far as to create his own flora and fauna illustrations of which are placed in the book. The architecture has also been modified to withstand the storm’s winds, and their currency uses glass spheres containing gemstones because the fact that they glow due to the stormlight stored within them allows a person to prove easily whether or not they’re real.

Brandon Sanderson’s writing is known for it’s magic systems, and for good reason. There is not much to say about it without spoiling anything, but it fits into the world Brandon Sanderson has created very well. Learning about how the magic system worked with Kaladin was never dull because I was so interested in how it worked.

Though this book was long, and it did take me more than a week to get through (which is an extremely long time for me when I’m reading a book I enjoyed this much) I feel there were plenty of stopping points that at time I felt like the individual “books” within The Way of Kings could have stood on their own. Anyone who didn’t want to read the book all at one could stop at one of those points, read something else, then come back and finish The Way of Kings.

What readers should know: This book is mostly free of language. The characters are at war and participate in battles so there is a lot of violence and death. This book does contain magic, but it is of a less conventional variety and there are no “witches” or “wizards,” and is so logically explained by the author it is almost as if the universe the book was written in has separate laws of physics rather than a magic system.

Rating: This book contained awesome world building, magic system, and characters. My only possible complaint is that it could have probably been edited a little shorter, but I enjoyed the reading experience so much that once I finished reading this I still couldn’t wait to pick up the sequel.

five blue jays

Monthly Wrap-up: June 2015

I read a total of eight books in June with two of them being over 1000 pages in length. Before this past month I had not read even one book over 1000 pages long so I consider this an accomplishment even if the books didn’t feel 1000 pages long because of how much I enjoyed them. Five of the books I read were YA fiction, and three were adult fiction. All fell into the fantasy genre. Five were high fantasy, and three were dystopian with a paranormal twist.

June was one of my most reading intensive months this year, if not the most so far. Sure, eight books is not the highest number I’ve read, but it’s close and some of the books I read in June were also incredibly long.

In terms of writing I didn’t post very much last month due to the fact that all I wanted to do was read. This is specifically true of my blog since I did manage to write around 5,000 words of my current work in progress, but didn’t manage to keep up my goal of posting at least once per week. Throughout July I’ll be participating in Camp National Novel Writing Month so all the reviews for the amazing books I read but didn’t write about last month may have to wait as I try to focus on finishing my current manuscript, but I do plan on reviewing at least a few more of the ones I’ve read eventually.

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

Short Synopsis: Conclusion to Brandon Sanderson’s original Mistborn trilogy.

Thoughts: This was a really great end to a trilogy. I had a few minor problems with it, but those were mostly subjective. Mistborn may well become one of my favorite series depending on my thoughts of the new continuation books.

Rating:

 five blue jays

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee AhdiehShort Synopsis: A man marries a new woman everyday to kill her at dawn. Shahrahzad agrees to marry him so she can kill the man and end the cycle.

Thoughts: I had a few, mostly nit-picky, issues but overall this was very enjoyable. For my full thoughts see my review.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa TahirShort Synopsis: The most promising aspirant in his class tries to find a way out of doing the terrible things his empire asks of him. Meanwhile, a slave girl infiltrates the compound where he goes to school in order to save her brother.

Thoughts: I have some conflicted feelings about this book, but am giving it a relatively high rating because it was extremely addictive and left me wanting more.

Rating:

 4 blue jays

The Way of Kings by Brandon SandersonShort Synopsis: Kaladin was a prominent young squad leader in an army until one day he was sold into slavery. Now forced into the position of bridgeman, considered the worst position in the army because it has the highest death rate, Kaladin struggles to protect the lives of those around him.

Meanwhile, a girl named Shallan tries to steal one of a princess’s most valuable possessions to save her family from financial ruin and Highprince Dalinar tries to make sense of his strange visions.
Thoughts: This book was very good, but due to it’s length this is the book that took me the longest to read this month. It follows the stories of several different characters, many of whom never meet in this novel, and at times it could be a little hard to remember which perspective I was reading from, but the formatting really helped with that. The world building was some of the most unique and well developed I’ve read. Overall this book was long, but amazing and worth it.

Rating: 

five blue jays

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Short Synopsis: The second book in the Stormlight Archive and the sequel to The Way of Kings.

Thoughts: This book might have been over 1000 pages long, but I read it in about four days because I was just so invested in the story and loving the way it came together. I can’t wait for book three to be released next July.

Rating:

five blue jays

The Immortal Rules by Julie KagawaThe Eternity Cure by Julie KagawaThe Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

Short Synopsis: In a dystopian future where vampires rule and humans are herded like cattle our main character must chose between true death and becoming the thing she hates most: a vampire. The entire Blood of Eden Trilogy.

Thoughts: I wasn’t expecting to like this one and actually started reading the first book because I was hoping to read something that wouldn’t distract from my writing, but ended up really enjoying it and reading the entire trilogy in three days.

Rating:

4 blue jays

(series rating)

Currently reading:

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