Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines – Book Review

I want to begin by saying that Jim C. Hines is a favorite of mine. I’ve met him several times (not that he remembers) and all of his books that I own have been signed by him. He his funny, quirky, and a delight to talk to (very sarcastic if I remember correctly). Although, while I say he is a favorite, this is the first books of his I’ve ever read (despite the fact that I own most of them). It’s a fabulous book, well written in Hines’ own voice. Libriomancer is creative and thrilling, filled with multiple eye-rolling situations and phrases. I can’t wait to move on to the second book (which I do own).

The book is about Isaac Vainio. He has magic. Magic that can pull things out of books. How is this possible? Well this magic was first discovered by Johannes Gutenberg, who is still alive thanks to the Holly Grail. Long story short though, Gutenberg is missing and Isaac hasn’t used magic in two years. Coincidentally, all other Libriomancers are busy trying to calm down the local vampires, leaving Isaac to save Gutenberg. Fire, Fire Spider, Automatons, a dryad named Lena, and one very pissed of Libriomancer are just a few of the people and things that Isaac encounters. Oh, also, Isaac might be one of the strongest Libriomancers. Good thing? Bad thing? I suppose that’s in the second book.

It really is a very thrilling book. As a reader, it makes me feel like I have magic, and that maybe I can reach into books and pull out something wonderful too.

I would recommend this book for ages seventeen and higher. This is a fantasy book with a little bit of science fiction in it. It is an adult book with several suggestive scenes. Actually, not even suggestive, because the Dryad is very clear about her intentions and Isaac is very clear about his feelings. The end of the book (simply because of the sexual tension and implications) was a bit of an eye roller. It didn’t take from the plot, but I also didn’t feel that it added to it.

In the end, good book. Go read it. Go buy it. Fall in love with Jim C. Hines like I did.

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Wintersong S. Jae-Jones – Book Review

Let me start with the positive.

The book cover is beautiful, and this picture doesn’t do it justice. I was honestly attracted to the book because of the cover. That and it’s placed in Germany and talks about a Goblin King. Umm.. Okay. Sign me up.

The imagery in this book was fabulous. I took notes on her use of adjectives, descriptions, similes, and metaphors. There were whole paragraphs I wanted to cut out and tape in my journal, they were so beautiful. I can’t even articulate enough, how beautifully she wrote this book. The skill with whhich she crafted her words were really beautiful. On the other hand….

Time for the negative.

The author tried too hard to be original.

I am all for breaking out of cliche’s and doing one’s own thing; however, let’s admit, cliche sells, and this is one instant where it would have been best to follow the script a little. For example (and this is small, I know, but it really got under my skin), instead of using the word ‘heartbeat,’ because she had already used it once in the paragraph or the paragraph before hand, she used ‘life beat.’ *Face palm*

The story is about a girl named Liesl. She is a conductor and writes music. Though in the steampunk Germany setting, she is looked down on as a woman. She is the oldest daughter with a little sister and a youngest brother. Being the oldest, with an alcoholic father, a workaholic mother, and a possibly insane grandmother she feels the need to take care of the family. Until Fall comes, and the gates to the underworld open. Goblin’s are roaming free and her sister is taken by the Goblin King. The Goblin King promises to free her sister if she will only marry him and play her music for him. He draws out the wild in her. Things happen. The story progresses. In the end, she has her music but she lost so much more.

I liked the story. The premise was there, but I felt it was underdeveloped. There was little character development for one. Leisl was whiny and indecisive, not a very good heroine I thought. Our Goblin King, the immortal, immaculate, handsome Goblin King had too many mortal tendencies. He too whined a lot and was too torn between love, religion, and duty. He blamed the crown, but I think he was just immature and didn’t know how to handle things when put under pressure. There were also times when it seemed like the author didn’t know how to continue a scene, transition from one scene to another, or finish a scene, and this resulted in jerky story telling. There were a couple times I would get lost in between chapters because the action or course of events wasn’t fully explained. It felt a little like a reader’s whiplash.

Despite all that, it was a wonderful base, and I normally forgot it’s flaws in the imagery. With that though, I probably won’t buy the second book. I recommend this for almost-adults to adults. This would be good for people 17-25. I say that, because some of the scenes were incredibly suggestive, with wording one might find in erotica.

Uumm. Yeah. Go buy it. Tell me how you feel. Read the second one. Tell me if it’s worth buying.

Swimming with Sharks

In this moment, the world is engulfed in dark blue. Giant leathery creatures cut through the water observing me just as much as I am observing them. I watch them in wonder, at times face to face and at other times, through the lens of my camera. These sharks are powerful. I watch as their bodies ripple when they turn and the fast movements of their fins. Toddlers are running back and forth all around me, screaming the delight that I am feeling but not vocalizing. There is one girl talking loudly to her father about random facts about these massive sharks. A part of me wants to listen and learn, but the rest of me just wants to watch.

The light hitting the water breaks apart and shoots everywhere giving the place a more majestic feel. There are times when the light touches the rocks on the bottom of the tank, and they look like gold doubloons. These white sharks are only guarding their treasure, I tell myself. These sharks have stories, and I want to know them. I want to know what battles they have fought and what scars they have earned. I read on a sign that the people who clean the tanks have to wear a chain mail so that they do not get hurt. I look at the sharks in wonder. I am captivated.

Somewhere in the tunnel is a family speaking Spanish. I am distracted from the fantasies I am creating. I look around me and notice how surrounded I am. Everyone is talking loudly, pointing their flashing cameras at the sharks. The flashes light up the otherwise dark room. I squint my eyes and cringe; I feel small and trapped. I glance at the sharks and nod my head in acknowledgement of their condition then I leave the tunnels. My swim with the sharks is over.

Covered in Snow

I Remember those years covered in snow,

Coming inside red faced with a Rudolph nose.

Icicles hung from my cold fingers,

and Jack Frost was biting my numb toes.

I hissed when mom rubbed my stiff fingers under warm water, and

I sniffled, curling my toes in front of the space heater.

 

I remember those years covered in snow

Coming inside and peeling off layers of snow suits and snow boots and

Dad’s thick alpaca socks.

The zipper would always catch on my coat, then

I would run to the kitchen and separate the marshmallows from the Hot Chocolate, and

I would let the warm drink thaw my insides as I settled into the couch.

 

Yes, I remember those years covered in snow.

Fairy Houses

Little houses sitting on church windowsills

Housing little dreams

Kept clean by little fairies

Hanging little wishes in the coat closet

Nailing little prayers above the fireplace like its Christmas

This is where I live

Hoping someone hears me whispering my dreams down the chimney

Wearing my wishes like dresses from the met gala

And listening to my prayers on tape cassettes while drinking Huā Chá by the fire

This is where I live

Dropped between reality and imagination

Impossible

That Twinkle in Your Eye

This is a poem I wrote on Christmas Eve. I originally wrote it with one person in mind, but as I prayed over it, God had someone else in mind. I was just sitting in the living room with my mom and a friend, and in the middle of the conversation, God said, “Her. Quick. Give it to her.” I already had the poem under the tree, attached to a letter addressed to someone completely different. At first I was like, “Nah. You’re wrong,” but the longer I sat there the more of an urgency I felt to give it to her, so I got up and went to get it. When I brought it back to the living room, my friend said, “You have something for me.” She could just tell by the way I was standing there, that I had something to give. I said, “Yes. I wrote a poem for you.” Her reaction was, “YOU WROTE A POEM FOR ME. OH MY GOSH. I’VE NEVER BEEN GIVEN A POEM.” It was a better reaction than what I could have expected. There are many times when I feel I have nothing to give except my words, and I think sometimes that’s all God asks, is to give what I have.

Before I go, I want to ask, what do you have? Whatever talent you have been given, give it to others in return. The joy on their faces is the greatest reward and income you could receive.

Without further ado, here is the poem.

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The Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn – Book Review

I am so in love with this book right now. I just finished it yesterday on the way back home. I started it in the car, and I finished it in the car. Haha. Reading like a beast. (Is ‘Lolz’ appropriate in a book review? Asking for a friend.)

Emperor of the Eight Islands was so well written. I think the only thing I didn’t like about it was the character development was slow and almost non-existent. I get that it is one book in a series, but I expected more. Another thing about this book, was each chapter switched between point of views among the characters. It made it semi hard to keep track of everything, but I did it.

The Emperor of the Eight Islands is about Shikanoko and basically the abuse he went through to become what he does in the end of the book. This poor kid is basically left for dead in the mountains by his uncle, is then found by a sorcerer who binds him in one place by a spell to make him “Shikanoko,” and allows the kid to basically be raped multiple times for the spell to work. (Let me tell you, this woman who “rapes” him is horrifying. Whatever you do, don’t trust her.) Then he ends up working for the King of the Mountain. Then he ends up working for Kiyoyori (He’s cool) and then he ends up with the Prince Abbot who he leaves in the end. There is so much that happens all against Shikanoko’s will, and he just goes with it. He’s just like, “Whatever. As long as I can kill my uncle, I don’t mind being forced to become the most freaking powerful sorcerer ever.” And in the end, he’s still as immature as if he never learned anything the past year and a half or however much time passes in the book. But, despite the immaturity, he’s still cool, and I seriously love the kid.

Look, if you don’t read this to get to know Shikanoko, at least read it for the beautiful cover. That’s honestly why I bought it in the first place, and I’m happy I did buy it. The book was good, and so well written I was taking notes in my head on what I can learn from the writing style. I really recommend you read it. Please do so. Let’s all talk about this book together. I would love to hear what you think about it.