One More Day…

Hey! Listen!

(Please read that in your best Navi voice.)

(If you don’t know who Navi is, please disregard and continue reading.)

One more day, Blogland. One more day and Trevor and I will have been married for a whole year. We’ve got some fun things planned for the next few days, and I can’t wait to spend some quality time with my favorite human being.

Don’t you fret, there will be pictures.

In my writing life things have hit a lull. Mainly because my time is spent reading and working. It’s pretty much all I do. I work, read on my breaks, and then do homework with my spare time before sleep takes over.

I keep telling myself it’s worth it. Others keep telling me it’s worth it, too. And really, at this point, I’m way to close to give up. One more year, Blogland. One more year of 48+ hour work weeks and school full time.

I take a lot of deep breaths and tell myself I’m a badass a lot. Otherwise I would have curled into a sobbing bawl under my covers a long time ago.

So, besides our upcoming trip to the coast, my best friend is paying us a visit in a couple of weeks. I’m stoked, because she’s my second favorite human being. And, I actually managed to get the weekend off so we can actually have adventures while she’s here.

This summer has been good to me, even if I’m exhausted.

Now I’m looking towards fall, and all the awesome that is sure to come with it. I’m taking a couple interesting elective classes, one The Art of Anime, and the other The Art of the Comic.

What else?

Oh!

Hozier concert and MS MR concert are back to back, and we’re going. So that’ll be awesome! And then we’re going home for Christmas!

So let me revise my previous assessment. 2015 has been so good to me!

Anyway, you’ll see some updates to “What I’m Reading”. But other than that, you probably won’t hear from me until this time next week. If that, because by then my BFF will be in town, and I’ll be off having all the fun!

See you in a couple weeks, Blogland!

Sanderson Updates!

Is it October 6th yet?

Brandon Sanderson just posted a blog which included the prologue and the first two chapters from his forthcoming Shadows of Self. In case you don’t remember from my last rabid ranting, Shadows of Self is the sequel to The Alloy of Law, which is arguably one of my favorite books ever. Granted, I say that about a lot of books these days.

Anyway, it releases October 6th, and after reading these preview chapters, I cannot wait! I love these characters, and treat my time with them as if they were cherished friends come to visit. Especially Wayne. That guy just cracks me up. I’m in love with him, completely. Which is a dangerous thing, because Sanderson is likely to maim him, or even kill him by the time the series is through.

School’s going well. I’m keeping up with my assignments, and enjoying the readings so far. I’m still making time for my personal readings, and am bouncing between the Rogues anthology and Sanderson’s novella Perfect State.

I’m still not sure what novel I tear into next, especially since Amazon is touting a October 15th release date for the Thorn of Emberlain. There’s just so much good reading coming up!

Anyway, I’m off to spend time with the hubby, before I lose him to Destiny.

Book Review- The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

Karthain

I did it! I finally finished this book! And now I am so sad, because I have to wait until September-ish to hear from Locke and Jean again.

Of course, if you follow me on Goodreads, you knew this already.

You may be wondering what in all hells I’m doing posting on a Friday night? Don’t I have homework? No? Well, then, surely I have friends to spend the evening with. You know, beer to drink, karaoke to sing, some sort of pass-time that doesn’t involve reading.

To you, dear reader, I laugh. Why should any of those things be mutually exclusive?

If I’m being perfectly honest, I thought I had homework due tonight, but it’s actually not due until next Friday, so my evening’s opened up considerably. So, what do I do with my freetime?

Book Review!

Please take this as warning of potential spoilers. Thank you.

So, The Republic of Thieves opens with Locke pretty much dying. Not even pretty much. The dude is bleeding from his damn fingernails thanks to the Archon’s clever latent poison. And no matter how many physickers, black alchemists, and dog-leeches Jean beats to a pulp, none of them can do a damn thing for Locke.

Until a mysterious woman flourishes into their meager room, and promises to expel the poison from Locke’s body. But, of course, there’s a catch. She has a Game for them. She calls it the Five Year Game, and it involves the politics of Karthain. And that means she’s a Bondsmage.

Now, here’s a quick refresher.

Bondsmagi are ridiculously powerful. If they were a boss in a video game, players would call them “broken”. They’re that overpowered compared to normal saps like Locke and Jean. If you’ll recall, they had a less than pleasant run-in with a Bondsmage in Camorr, one called the Falconer.

This is an actual costume designed by Kathryn Sutcliffe. She was so inspired by the novels that she created several costumes as if a film were being produced! How badass is that?

This is an actual costume designed by Kathryn Sutcliffe. She was so inspired by the novels that she created several costumes as if a film were being produced! How badass is that?

Yeah, Locke maimed him so bad that he went comatose, unable to handle the pain and the inability to wield his magic. Since then, Bondsmagi have been stalking the two remaining Gentlemen Bastards at every turn.

And this woman promising to deliver Locke from certain death? Well, she’s one of the leaders of the Bondsmagi, Archedama Patience.

Oh, and she’s the Falconer’s mother.

So, we know right away that Patience is not to be trusted. She’s got too many mixed emotions regarding Locke and Jean to be as cool and collected as she seems. Keep that thought tucked away.

So, mainly because they literally have no other options, Jean carries Locke to Patience’s ship, where she promptly performs an incredibly painful and dangerous magic on Locke, physically removing the poison from his flesh.

And, despite misgivings, he lives. Barely. As he recovers from the ordeal, Patience tells them about the Game. They will be given an exorbitant amount of money to help Patience’s chosen political faction in the upcoming election. They have six weeks to rally the Deep Roots faction, and win the election. Sounds easy enough.

Except that the opposition, the Black Iris party, has their own Gentleman Bastard. The long alluded to Sabetha.

She finally makes her appearance in the present, and I loved her. Although she was a bit mercurial for my tastes, she’s perfect for Locke, and he is utterly ruined by her. She’s indomitable. She’s all power and sexual intrigue, but with a pleasant mixture of romance and vulnerability where Locke is concerned. He’s been a sucker for her since he was a child, when he first met her in Shade’s Hill. One of his earliest memories is of her beautiful and vibrant red hair. She’s magnificent, and I loved every moment of her time in scene.
Sabetha

From here the novel becomes an intricate twist of politics and sabotage. The Gentleman Bastards compete with increasingly complicated tricks and ploys, the tension between Locke and Sabetha grows. Despite warnings from the Bondsmagi, neither of them can ignore the presence of the other, and soon their pranks and sleight of hand become a part of a teasing and competitive courtship.

And every moment of alone time between them is a triumph. As a reader you cheer when they sneak kisses, and plan clandestine rendezvous on the balconies of abandoned castles. Truly, their furtive romance is one of the more electrically charged I’ve read in a long time.

But, the Bondsmagi see all, and Patience cannot let them stray from their goals. So, she interrupts one such meeting, and drops a bombshell.

She tells a tale of a Bondsmage named Lamor Acanthus. Yes, Lamor. You see, this particular Bondsmage was obsessed with the study of transmuting life. He felt that, if he studied hard enough, he could discover a sort of immortality, by transporting his soul into another body. His studies we frowned upon in Karthain, and so he fled the nation. His last known whereabouts? Camorr, in the Catchfire district.

The same district that Locke Lamora, a child of unknown age, walked out of, the sole survivor of a violent plague.

According to Patience, Locke is the soul of Lamor Acanthus, transported to the nearest living body. He has no memories, and effectively trapped himself, because the child had no magical ability. Sabetha didn’t take it too well, since Locke lied to her about how he came by his name. He told her, as he did many others, that a friendly sailor named him. Which, after hearing Patience’s story, he admits is false. He doesn’t know how he got his name.

But, the name Lamor Acanthus means something to him. If you’ll recall, in Red Seas Under Red Skies, the crew of the Poison Orchid sail through a terrifying night, where the fog calls to the sailors in their minds. Locke tells Jean that the fog knows his name, his true name. And that takes the color from both of their faces.

This is the name Locke knows himself as, deep down. But, Patience tells him that that wasn’t Acanthus’s real name. No Bondsmage tells their true name, because true names carry power. Though Locke knows there’s a shadowy memory, a hint, he doesn’t know what that true name might be.

But, his doubt is enough for Sabetha to flee.

Yet another fantastic French cover!

Yet another fantastic French cover!

She won’t see him, although they exchange rather lovely letters, until the election. So, they meet up in a private box to watch the voting unfold. Though Sabetha is clever, and pretty cutthroat, Locke thwarts her. But, not with a victory for the Deep Roots. With a tie. Neither party wins, which has never happened before in Karthaini history. So, the three Gentleman Bastards make a quick exit, to Sabetha’s rented house outside town.

When Locke awakes, flush with the taste and smell of Sabetha, she’s gone. And Patience is waiting for him. She promises him none of the agreed upon money and safe travel. In fact, the Bondsmagi are leaving Karthain, and going to ground. They fear the fate of the Eldren, the mysterious race before history who left behind all the glass architecture. And this was their plan all along. The Five Year Game was a diversion. But, before she leaves, she gives Locke a gift.

A painting, by Lamor Acanthus, of himself and his wife. A beautiful redhead, who Lamor apparently worshiped. It wasn’t until after her death that he started his obsession with soul transportation.

And it wasn’t until she saw the painting that Sabetha decided to flee.

As the novel closes, Patience gives Locke a warning, a prophecy. “‘I shall give you a little prophecy, Locke Lamora, as best as I have seen it. Three things you must take up and three things you must lose before you die: a key, a crown, a child.’ Patience pushed her hood up over her head. ‘You will die when a silver rain falls.’”

So, Karthain is set up for failure, as the only government it’s known for centuries has fled in the night. And The Marrows have finally fallen into Civil War. Locke was briefly reunited with Sabetha, but now he and Jean are left penniless and alone, yet again.

Oh! And The Falconer, who’s been comatose for three years? Yeah, he woke up. And despite is crippling injuries, he can still wield impressive magic. He kills his mother à la Hitchcock, with a flock of crows bent to his will. And he’s hell bent on revenge.
ToECover

I feel I should mention that the Interludes are back in this novel. In that plot line, 16ish Lamora and company travel to Espara to take parts in a troupe of actors. They must overcome all kinds of trouble to get the play off without a hitch, working together after a stressful and overly competitive summer with Chains. It’s during this plot line that we see Locke and Sabetha’s relationship bloom, and it parallels their present day courtship brilliantly.  Also, Calo and Galdo are in fine form in these Interludes, and they made me laugh out loud, and then want to cry because I miss them so much.

Anyway, it’s the Interludes that gives the novel the title, since the troupe performs Lucarno’s The Republic of Thieves. And it’s the Interludes that bring much needed levity and life to the political intrigue of the main plot line.

As usual with my lengthier reviews, I loved this book. It was a much more psychologically interesting tale. Physical danger wasn’t as prevalent as in Red Seas Under Red Skies, but I enjoyed the change of pace. Sabetha really upped the ante for Locke, but I did feel like Jean sort of took a back burner to her. And I love Jean, and that’s just not fair.

Now I have to wait until the Thorn of Emberlain is released. Amazon is touting a mid-September release date, but other sources are saying December. Scott Lynch and his publisher have said nothing. Which makes me nervous. I NEED IT!

And either of those months are already so busy! September is the release of Jim Butcher’s The Aeronaut’s Windlass, and the week after that is Sanderson’s Shadows of Self. December is Christmas time, and then January is Sanderson’s Bands of Mourning. TOO MANY BOOKS!

I’m not sure I’ve ever said that before…

Anyway, 1700+ words is more than enough. I’ll see you around Blogland!

BZ

Feeling Chatty

Hello again, Blogland!

I find myself with spare time, and all I can think of is talking to you.

I’m finally getting my life back together. It was a much longer adjustment period than I anticipated, but it’s coming together.

The other day I actually edited two chapters of Vessels, meaning I only have five left before it’s in the Second Draft! Whaaaat? Is that a thing? It’ll still take a lot of time, because the edits are all physical. Nothing has been changed in the computer yet, which means there’s a lot of work to do yet. But, a milestone is in sight!

I’m keeping up on my Caladria responsibilities, which is good. There’s a lot of projects upcoming, but I’m feeling good about it.

I’ve read The Maltese Falcon and watched the film with Trevor last night, while we listened to fireworks outside. I liked the film, but the book was just so incredible. I’ve liked both my forays into the Noir genre, so now I’m really looking forward to the rest of this course.

What else?

I’ve only got 120 pages left of The Republic of Thieves, which has me happy. Especially since the fourth installment is set to release in September! And, I’ve got some books on hold at the Library ready to pick up, so that’s good timing.

Anyway, I should be winding down for bed. Tomorrow’s my first day running the show at the Library, so I need to be on my A game. Wish me luck!

See you all soon, Blogland!

BZ

Somehow, Progress

Well, hello again!

This hasn’t happened in a while. Back to back posts? Is that even a thing anymore?

Well, it is today.

I finished reading The Maltese Falcon today. I loved it. So much so, that I placed a hold on Dashiell Hammett’s short stories, so I can read more of Sam Spade.

Today has been relaxing. I mean, I worked earlier, but I have most of the day off. Reading, eating Mexican food, catching up on homework and Caladria stuff. These are the kinds of things I find relaxing…

I seriously need a vacation.

In case you weren’t aware, Fab Fables #6 is out now! As usual, there’s some great stories waiting for you.

What else?

Oh! I actually edited a chapter of Vessels the other day. I know right? Who saw that one coming? And, I think I’m going to do another one today. I’m over halfway through with the first round of edits. Then I retype it all up, and have at it again.

If I don’t get my ass in gear, this novel is going to take years to edit. That is not acceptable. Granted, if we took just the actual time I spent on it, it’d be maybe a month or two…

Which is still not OK. I should never have neglected it so badly. But, I kept my promise. I haven’t looked at Cards at all. And I won’t, until I’m satisfied with Vessels.

Man, I’m going to be editing these manuscripts forever.

I got a B in my first Summer Class. Better than I anticipated, since I really didn’t try very much. Bummer that it’ll drop my GPA, but I figure I can bounce back. Especially since I’m loving this Noir class so far.

If you’re keeping tabs on me via Goodreads, you’ll see that I’m 70% done with my reading goal this year. Really, 30 books wasn’t enough of a challenge, not with school bolstering my TBR list. But, I don’t think I’ll be able to hit 52. I’m 6 books behind, and I just don’t have the free time to make up the gap. So maybe 45 will be a good place to aim for.

Anyway, I’m gonna go do things. I’m feeling motivated, and this migraine is finally fading.

Have a happy 4th Blogland!

BZ

Book Review- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Hi Blogland!

I have some personal life anecdotes before we dig into the review, so bear with me.

I recently transferred from my Starbucks of three years, to the store further up the street. It’s where I’m sitting now, clacking away, listening to Soundgarden in my headphones. It’s odd.

The sounds are different, yet very familiar. Espresso grinding in hoppers. The screech as milk starts steaming, and then mellows out to a warm hiss. Blenders and the constant dance of water used to rinse everything. Timers beep from time to time, and I can hear the whir of machinery as it works to pump water through grinds to bring you that perfect cup.

I’ve spent a lot of time in coffee shops.

But, wait, there’s more!

I may be taking a career position at the library. There’s a 3/4 time position opening, and it was suggested that I apply for it. There are a lot of questions to ask, but I’m going to apply.

Which means I’ll be working 50 hour work weeks, and I’ll probably have to step down as a supervisor at Starbucks. And going to school. I mean, I’ve been doing that anyway. Currently I work anywhere from 42 to 52 hours. And I’ve had one day off this month.

My husband and I glorying in the frigid Oregon coast on Monday.

My husband and I glorying in the frigid Oregon coast on Monday.

So what’s a couple more hours?

…Right?

Anyway, on with the book review!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was a really fun book. It was Book Club newbie Marlene’s choice, and the first book of the Second List. It was a great intro into the new list, and everyone loved it.

So, the cover alone is pretty unsettling.
miss-peregrine

But the book is an interesting mixture of old, creepy photographs and storytelling. Supposedly all the photos are real, discovered by Ransom Riggs, and are what sparked the story. Which is pretty awesome.

So, we meet Jacob, who’s sixteen. He’s kind of a brat. He comes from money, and doesn’t want anything to do with it. But, he’s sassy, and I identified with him right away. His home life is a bit… nonexistent. His parents have more or less left him to his own devices, and that’s something I’m very familiar with. But, there’s one shining light in Jacob’s life.

His Grandpa. An old Polish Jew who fought in World War II. That fact alone makes the man a badass. But, he’s also an oddly whimsical grandfather, who raised Jacob on an unhealthy dose of imaginative tales of his youth. Of friends with bizarre abilities and of monsters that put the boogie man to shame.

But, one day, Jacob’s grandpa calls him at work, panicking. Jacob chalks it up to the man’s downward spiral into dementia, especially as he raves about the monsters from his stories coming for him. Jacob is saddened by his grandpa’s decline, and hurries over to soothe the man.

Instead, he finds him dead in the woods behind his house, and catches a glimpse of one of the monsters.
the hollows

The authorities claim the old man was killed by wild dogs, which have been prowling the area. But Jacob clings to what he saw, earning him months of torturous therapy. Jacob has nightmares of the night he found his grandpa, and the man’s last words haunt him.

But, by pure coincidence, Jacob’s aunt  gives him a book from his grandpa’s house for his birthday. And inside is the answer to the riddle that haunted him for nearly a year. It spurs him to beg to go to the Welsh island his grandpa lived on after he fled Poland. To visit the house he lived in with a Head Mistress called Miss Peregrine. After some serious convincing, his father decides to go with him.

Well, the house is nothing but a crumbling ruin. In fact, it’s been that way since World War II. And that’s just one of the things that just doesn’t stack up. No one seems to know anything about the children who lived there, or of Miss Peregrine.

But, Jacob’s snooping catches someone’s attention. And he finds himself dragged through an ancient cairn into another world. Or, more accurately, another time.
miss-peregrine

And there he learns that all his grandpa’s stories were true. All the photos of children with strange powers, of Miss Peregrine, and the stories of the monsters were all true.

And it seems like heaven. He spends his days with them, replaying the loop of September 3, 1940, and then returns at night to his father at the hotel.

But, things aren’t as perfect as they seem. The children have been in the loop for over 60 years. They can’t leave and join the present time, because their bodies will wither as if in a time lapse. And if they leave the loop in 1940, they’ll live through the worst of the War. And, they have no defense against the Hollows.

You see, Jacob’s grandpa had a rare and incredibly valuable ability. He could see the monsters, the Hollows, that hunt all Peculiars. And he left the loop, fought in the war, and spent his life blending in and going on “business trips” to hunt the Hollows.

Dude was a BAMF.

But, without him, the children of Miss Peregrine’s loop have been stuck. They can’t see the Hollows, and would be defenseless against them. Except now they have Jacob. Because he saw the monster that killed his grandpa, and only Peculiars can enter a loop.

And of course, he led the Hollows right to them.

So, they scramble and fight, and Jacob manages to kill one, but not before Miss Peregrine is badly injured. And for some reason, she can’t return to her human form. And since she’s out of commission, so is the loop she created. Time in 1940 progresses normally once more, and their home falls victim to a bomb.

So, Jacob decides to go with them. He couldn’t return to his normal life now at any rate. So the children leave the island, their leader stuck as a bird, and venture into the normal time stream again. But, the story’s not over. They have to find a way to fix Miss Peregrine, and free her sisters, other keepers of loops that have been abducted by the Hollows.
hollowcity_ransomriggs_1

And so Ransom Riggs sets up for his sequel, which I’m told is quite good.

What I really liked about this novel was the balance of creep-factor, humor, and romance. One moment you’re laughing at something Jacob says or thinks, or at the antics of some of the kids, and the next moment they’re all running for their lives. And of course, there’s a wonderfully awkward teenage romance. Oh, to be sixteen and in love.

I look forward to reading the sequel, and would recommend the first installment to anyone. It’s an incredibly fast read. Over three hundred pages, and I killed it in two days. And it’s not like I have a lot of free time.

The next book for Book Club is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It’s the largest book we’ve read, at 507 pages. I haven’t started it yet, since we’re not meeting until August 12th. And I’ve got enough reading going on. I’m reading The Maltese Falcon for school this week, and I’m still chipping away at The Republic of Thieves.

I really need to pace myself.

Anyway, thanks for getting this far. See you soon, Blogland!

BZ

Drowning

Hi.

I’m sorry for the gap in posts. It’s been a crazy month, and I’m barely managing to keep my head above the tide.

There’s been a lot of stress in my life in the last couple months. I’m surviving, but there’s been a lot of changes. I transferred from my Starbucks, where I worked for over three years, and am adjusting to my new store. A lot of names to learn, and new procedures and customers too.

I’m still killing it over at the library, and I’m still working an average of 52 hours a week. Tomorrow is my first day off this month. Tonight is the first Book Club meeting of the second list. We’re discussing Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and Devan is slaving away at homemade barbecue as we speak. I’m looking forward to it.

My personal reading has ground to a halt. I think I’ve read about 30 pages in the last two weeks, which is why I’m grateful for Book Club, because I absolutely devoured Miss Peregrine’s. I’m still working my way through The Republic of Thieves, and it’s so good! It kills me that I don’t have the time for it.

Summer school was a mistake. Everyone I talk to tells me I’m smart for doing it, that it was the right decision. But, I’m skating by in this class, bound for a mid-range B instead of my typical A+. It’s going to hurt my GPA. And that Dean’s List recognition for last term? Yeah, that’s not gonna happen again.

I will say that the books we’ve been assigned are generally dreadful. The Great Gatsby? I’ve read it twice before this class. I’m over it. The Old Man and the Sea? I read this my Junior year of high school, and wrote an AP essay on it that earned a 7. You AP veterans know what I’m talking about. Then we read Ceremony, which I really wanted to like. But, the delivery just wasn’t working. I loved the more poetic, chant-like moments, but the actual narrative was needlessly complex. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison was nice, but could have been such a shorter story. I ended up skimming a lot of it. And then Cat’s Cradle, by Vonnegut. The only book that actually captured my imagination and managed to entertain me.

We had a week to read and discuss each book. With my time stretched between the two jobs, this was difficult for me to do. And next term is going to be more of the same. Although it’s a class on Noir Literature, so the book list is already much more entertaining. Hopefully that will help.

Then there’s Caladria. I feel pretty bad. I took on more responsibility than I can handle. And I’ve been slacking with them, which is the last thing I want. But, my new Starbucks is promising to keep me around 20-25 hours a week, so I should have more time to devote to writing and editing. I don’t want to slack in this, it’s the only side project I have, and to give it up feels like surrendering a part of myself.

I haven’t written any fiction that isn’t Caladria related, and I tell myself that’s OK. Doesn’t really feel that way though. I’d write about trying to finally finish those Vessels edits, but let’s be honest, I don’t have the time.

So, I’m here, treading water. Every blog post is like my mouth breaking the surface and gulping in a lungful of air, before the tide swallows me up again.

We’ll see how long I can hold my breath.

BZ