April 30, 2016

Z ~ The Zero Game

Brad Meltzer wrote this awesome, exciting story.  The Zero Game is a super-fast read, full of government conspiracies and murder.  It keeps you guessing until the very end.

It is a fantastic book which I wasn't expecting to love as much as I did.  I was surprised and I love good surprises!

I've also read and enjoyed his book Inner Circle.  I hope I'll find another of his books to read soon.

April 29, 2016

Y ~ Jim Young

Again, I had plenty of 'Y' titles, but Jim Young's The Face of the Deep is such a wonderful example of classic science fiction that I couldn't pass up the chance to mention it.  If you love great science fiction, give this one a try!  You won't regret it.

I found this book at a yard sale and thought it sounded promising.  I'm so glad I did.  It's a very fast read and incredibly good.  He also wrote another book called Armed Memory that I really want to get my hands on.

April 28, 2016

X ~ Xīnrán

I had a few titles starting with 'X' that I could have chosen, but I think this author is more worthy of mention.

Xīnrán is an author I discovered mostly by accident back in 2009.  I was trying to read one author for each letter of the alphabet.  It isn't easy to find an author to fill in the 'X' with and so I went looking.

I found Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet by Xīnrán.  It was non-fiction and I just wasn't sure what to expect.  It was a wonderful!  I loved it so much that I later read The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices, another non-fiction, which was also quite good.  They were both eye-opening looks into cultures I knew very little about.  I highly recommend them!

April 27, 2016

W ~ Weaveworld

This is a very dark fantasy / horror story.  It is also one of my very small collection of books (about 35 in all) that I call my keepers.  Weaveworld by Clive Barker is an incredible, strange, scary trip into a place beyond imagining.

It'll keep you in suspense and is not a story easily forgotten.  I haven't read it in about 7 years now and I believe I'll be reading it again this year.

April 26, 2016

V ~ Voyage to the City of the Dead

Voyage to the City of the Dead by Alan Dean Foster is the 5th book in his Humanx Commonwealth series.  This series is quite long (something like 28 novels!) and I haven't finished it yet, but it's also great science fiction, especially the first half-dozen books.

The later books are good, but not quite as good as those first six.  If you'd like to give them a try, you should try to read them in order since they do follow a continuing story line.

You can find the chronological order of the books on his website under the topic 'Chrono Data'.

April 25, 2016

Power Play by Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Title:  Power Play
Author:  Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
Pages:  233
Genre:  Science Fiction
Publisher:  Del Rey, 1995
Series:  Petaybee, Book 3

Synopsis: Petaybee was growing up. Day by day, the sentient planet--like any child--was learning to recognize and understand the meaning of outside stimuli, to respond to those stimuli, to communicate its own needs and desires...even to use human speech.

Then some of Petaybee's staunchest champions--Yanaba Maddock, Marmion de Revers Algemeine, Bunny Rourke, and Diego Metaxos--were kidnapped. The perpetrators wanted Petaybee for its incredible mineral wealth. Their other attempts at plundering the planet had all failed, and now they were determined to force the Petaybeans to make a trade: the planet for the people. They simply didn't understand that such a bargain was impossible. For the only one who could speak for Petaybee was Petaybee itself--and no one knew what a living planet could do once it found its voice...

Review:  Well, this book was exciting in some places.....and just plain odd in others.  These three books got progressively odder as the series played out.

The first one was strange, but in a good way.  The second one was a little stranger and a pretty uncomfortable in at least one place, but the book was still mostly pretty good.  This last one had less time on the planet and was less fantasy and towards the very end got really strange and really just uncomfortable - as in inter-species relationship weirdness.  Some of my favorite books, like the Foreigner series by C.J. Cherryh, involve that topic, so it's not the topic itself.  I think it was just how it was handled....and plus the man in question is not a even a humanoid some of the time.  He can transform into an animal and does so at some pretty awkward times.

I might give this book a higher rating if the entire epilogue had been left out.  I have an another trilogy that follows the next generation of this planet but I think I've had enough of this particular story.  As much as I usually love Anne McCaffrey, I'm taking them off my shelf and moving on.

Rating:  4.5 / 10

U ~ Under the Dome

Under the Dome by Stephen King.  It is a perfectly, wonderfully, scary novel.  The television series is not anywhere near as good.  As much as you might want to say it's just a story, a small scared part of you thinks it could happen.

I've read the book once and plan to read it again.  I've listened to the audiobook.  I seriously love this novel.

This story is right up there with The Stand, Revival, and 11/22/63 (all of which I'm also planning on re-reading).  It's just that good.

April 23, 2016

T ~ The Tenth Circle

Jodi Picoult writes books that always make me think very hard about uncomfortable subjects and usually make me cry at some point.  They are also some of the best fiction out there.  When I need a break from aliens and dragons, her books are the ones I go to first.  I've read every one of her books that I could get my hands on.

The Tenth Circle is a wonderful novel and is just one of the many books by Ms. Picoult that I've enjoyed.

April 22, 2016

S ~ Stardust

Stardust by Neil Gaiman is a really great book.  The movie version, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert de Niro, and Claire Danes, is even more fun.

I saw the movie long before I read the book and I loved it.  I wasn't disappointed with the book, but the movie is so much fun, particularly Robert de Niro's character, and I just can't help but love it a little better.

April 21, 2016

Power Lines by Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Title:  Power Lines
Author:  Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
Pages:  297
Genre:  Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Publisher:  Del Rey, 1994
Series:  Petaybee, Book 2

Synopsis: The spellbinding sequel to "Powers That Be," by Hugo and Nebula Award-winning authors Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.

The natives of Petaybee claimed their planet was sentient, but the officials of Intergal did not believe them . . . or want to believe them. The planet was rich in valuable ore, and Intergal was determined to mine that ore no matter what the cost. Yanaba Maddock, once a company spy, was adopted by the planet and its people as one of their own. Now her loyalties are to Petaybee, not Intergal, and she is dedicated to keeping Intergal from killing the world she has come to love. But without proof of the planet's sentience, Intergal will proceed with its mining operations. Can Yana find a way to convince Intergal of Petaybee's sentience before it is too late?

Review:  Of course the big corporation, Intergal, isn't interested in the truth of Petaybee.  Thank goodness, some people see the truth and fight for the planet.  And the planet fends for itself in unexpected ways too.

There are some uncomfortable sexual scenes between Yana and her lover, Sean, who is a Selkie (a human who can become a seal), but they are short and don't take away from the rest of the story.

Yana and the rest of the humans are great.  The huge cat, Coaxtl, and her adopted human 'cub' Goat-dung are the absolute best though.  The writing is good, the setting is realistic, the characters are great.  While there was one scene I didn't especially like, for the most part this book is entertaining and I want to find out what happens next.

Rating:  6.5 / 10

R ~ Riddle of the Wren

Charles de Lint has long been one of my favorite fantasy authors.  I've read about 10 of his books and have over a dozen more I want to read.  He always writes a great tale.

The Riddle of the Wren is wonderful and is, so far, my favorite book by this author.  It's exciting and strange and other-worldly.

April 20, 2016

Q ~ The Queen's Man

The Queen's Man by Sharon Kay Penman is the first of four books in her Justin de Quincy series.  These are mysteries set in England in the 1190's.  The main character, Justin de Quincy, is sworn to serve Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and his service takes him into danger at every turn.

I love this author's historical fiction.  I have read all but a few of her novels and they are all wonderful.  I already plan to read the rest.  

April 19, 2016

Powers That Be by Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Title:  Powers That Be
Author:  Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
Pages:  251
Genre:  Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Publisher:  Del Rey, 1993
Series:  Petaybee, Book 1

Synopsis:  Strange things were happening on the icy planet called Petaybee. Unauthorized genetically engineered species had been spotted, while some people were simply disappearing. None of the locals were talking to the company, so the company sent disabled combat veteran Yanaba Maddock to spy. But a strange thing happened. With her relocation to the arctic planet came a return of Yana's health and strength. And the more she got to know the people of Petaybee, the more determined she became to protect her new home....

Review:  Petaybee is named by the people living there after the PTB, the Powers That Be, which refers to the corporation that thinks it owns the planet and considers all the occupants as employees, even though the ancestors of these people were moved onto the planet several generations ago.

Both the native people and the animals have been changed into something brand new.  And the planet itself is something completely unexpected.  Since this novel takes place on another planet, it's obviously Sci-Fi, but there is a good dash of Fantasy woven into the tale.

This is a great, fast read and I've already started the second book in the series.

Rating:  8.5 / 10

P ~ Phytosphere

Phytosphere by Scott Mackay was one of those books that I had on my shelves but had no real idea of how it got there or where I'd found it.  I'd never heard of the author.  The cover art wasn't very good.  When I decided to give it a try, I didn't really expect all that much.  

I was wrong.  It is absolutely great.  Sure, aliens trying to destroy Earth isn't exactly a new theme, but this story is written so well and so realistically that it is nearly impossible to put down.  It turned out to be one of my very favorites.

April 18, 2016

O ~ Once Upon a Winter's Night

Once Upon a Winter's Night by Dennis L. McKiernan is based on the old fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon.  It is the first of five books in the Once Upon series.

The great part about this series is that, while quite a few of the characters are the same, each book is a different fairy tale retold in a new way.  So, you don't have to read the whole series at once.  Each tale is a complete story - no cliffhangers!

These stories are a bit of fantasy and a bit of romance and very, very good.

April 16, 2016

Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz

Title:  Life Expectancy
Author:  Dean Koontz
Pages:  476
Genre:  Thriller
Publisher:  Bantam, 2004
Series:  Stand Alone
...each of us is but a thread in the vivid weave, yet each thread essential to the integrity of the cloth.
Synopsis:  Before he died on a storm-wracked night, Jimmy Tock's grandfather predicted there would be five dark days in his grandson's life - five dates whose terrible events Jimmy must prepare himself to face.  The first is to occur in his twentieth year, the last in his thirtieth.  What terrifying events await Jimmy on these five critical days?  What challenges must he survive?  The path he follows will defy every expectation and will take all the love, humor, and courage he possesses.  For who Jimmy Tock is and what he must accomplish on the five days his world turns is a mystery both dangerous and wondrous...
This is your life. Prepare to be enchanted.
Review:  This book may be mostly about five horrible days, but it is also about hope, laughter and love.  It is as uplifting as it is thrilling.

Jimmy Tock and his parents, Rudy and Maddy, and his wife, Lorrie, are great characters.  They live every day to the fullest possible even though they have these dates always hanging over them.

The bad guys are all horrible in their own special, demented ways.  From fires to shootings to bank robberies, the thrills and chills kept me on the edge of my seat.  But, the love, hope and humor kept me wanting to read more, to find out at last what happened to Jimmy Tock.

Rating:  9 / 10

N ~ The New World

The New World by Patrick Ness is a short story prequel to his astoundingly great Chaos Walking series.  The series consists of 3 novels and 3 short stories.  They are considered YA Sci-Fi / Dystopian Adventure stories.

You can get a copy of the Kindle edition of The New World for free on Amazon and you can get free digital copies of all three short stories at the Chaos Walking website.  Spoiler alert: don't read the other two short stories until you have the 3 novels that go with them!

I loved this series!  The characters are great, the setting is believable, and the stories are wonderful!  They are definitely keepers.

April 15, 2016

M ~ The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir is a wonderful science fiction adventure.  It also has been made into a pretty great movie starring Matt Damon.

The main character, Mark Watney, is lovable, smart and sometimes hilariously disgusting.

The book is so full of excitement and humor and it's impossible to put down.  I gave it a perfect 10 stars, but I would have given it 20 if I could.  My only complaint is that it ended and I wasn't ready to be done.  So of course, I kept the book so I can read it again someday.

April 14, 2016

L ~ Lord Foul's Bane

Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson is the first book in the The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever series.  There are a total of 11 books in the series.

Thomas Covenant is such an unlikely (and sometimes unlikable) hero.  You'll also meet incredible Giants, lore-wise Lords, dark Ur-viles, and beautiful Ranyhyn.  Lord Foul is delightfully awful and evil.  The Bloodguard are uncompromisingly honorable and loyal.
"In two words, a story sadder than the first. Say no more -- with one word you will make me weep." Saltheart Foamfollower, Lord Foul's Bane (ch.11)
I could write a million words and never tell you how much I love this series of books.  It is the very best series of books, of any genre, that I've ever read.  Ever.  I found Lord Foul's Bane at the library in middle school and it took nearly 35 years for me to find out how the series ended.  It was so entirely worth the wait.  I will never, ever tire of them.

April 13, 2016

K ~ Krazy Temper

My theme was supposed to be about fantastical creatures I'd met in books and movies, but last Saturday I had a krazy fit of temper and deleted all the posts had ready for the rest of the challenge -- all the letters I through Z.  The theme was all wrong for me and I felt completely out of my league.  But now, thanks to the kind support from Calen at Impromptu Promptlings and Alyssa at Inkscribes, I'm going to try again.

I have no pre-done posts.  I have no game plan, except the one Alyssa suggested.  I'm going to try spotlighting a book for each letter.  I'm not sure I'll manage all of the letters with books but I'll sure try.  If not, I'll try for an author's name.  If not, I'll just write about whatever comes to mind.

Maybe I'll earn that survivors badge yet!

April 11, 2016

1st Quarter 2016 Wrap-Up

I'm going to start doing wraps more often, but for now, here's January through March:

I completed 2 of my many challenges - TBR Triple Dog Dare and Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge.  Since I really think I can make the next level, I'm still keeping track on the Cloak and Dagger challenge.  I underestimated myself!

I'm already well over half-way done with the Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge!  I think I'm going to be doing far better than I ever thought possible this year.

Usually, I can easily pick a favorite book....but right now, it's a really hard choice between these two:
Since I'm forced to choose, I'll choose the one by Arthur C. Clarke because it caught me so off guard, so completely by surprise.  I expect greatness from Stephen King.  I didn't expect to love The City and the Stars as much as I did.

I've visited 9 countries and 16 states.....I had no idea it would be this many places!  I underestimated myself for the Around the World Challenge too!

All in all, I'm thrilled with my reading progress this year.  Next year, I'll have to challenge myself to higher levels!

A Case of Need by Michael Crichton

Title:  A Case of Need
Author:  Michael Crichton (writing as Jeffery Hudson)
Pages:  416
Genre:  Medical Mystery / Thriller
Publisher:  Signet, 1968
Series:  Stand Alone

Synopsis: A Case of Need is Michael Crichton's award-winning debut novel, written shortly after he completed his medical internship. Set against the ever-building pressure and pace of a large Boston medical center, the tensions flare-and explode - when a surgical operation tragically ends in death, raising countless questions. Was it accidental malpractice? A violation of the Hippocratic oath? Or cold-blooded murder?
"There they are," Art said, "dying on the highways at the rate of about eighty a day. Everybody accepts it as a fact of life. So who's going to care about 14 women who die every day of abortions?"
Review:  Less than 24 hours to finish this book.  It was fabulous, impossible to put down.  Think John Grisham at his best, only about doctors instead of lawyers.

Set in the days when abortion was illegal in all but a very few states, a doctor is accused of doing an illegal abortion....and the patient died as a result.  Dr. John Berry, a pathologist and former police officer, must solve this mystery before his friend, Dr. Art Lee, is tried and sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit.

This is an inside view of hospitals at the time and the doctors who worked there.  There is so much information on the medical field and how doctors think, which made it very interesting.  It's also slam-packed with excitement and mystery.  I was so sure I knew who was to blame.....and I was wrong.  I loved this book!!

Michael Crichton proves again why he is one of my favorite authors with this one.  I'm not sure it was his first novel, although the synopsis says it is.  Still, it was one of his first and it was great!

Rating:  10 / 10

April 10, 2016

Aerie by Mercedes Lackey

Title:  Aerie
Author:  Mercedes Lackey
Pages:  291
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  DAW, 2006
Series:  The Dragon Jousters, Book 4

Synopsis:  Kiron has secretly gathered an army of dragon riders to seek refuge in the abandoned desert city they have named Sanctuary, where they join with other dragon riders to rid their world of both war and magical domination. But now it is time to build a new society in Aerie: an ancient city that seems to have been designed for dragon riders and their dragons.

Review:  This was a great ending to a wonderful series.  Kiron and his friends must fight one last battle so that Alta and Tia, now joined into one nation called Altia, can be free of the evil mages once and for all.  The Nameless Ones have come for a final awful battle and even the gods have taken notice.

From their new desert cliff city of Aerie, the final battle is fought.  It was exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat.  The ending wrapped up nicely, with hope and determination for a better future.  I'll miss Kiron and the rest of the characters.  I'll miss the dragons far more.  They were so believable and realistic.

Rating:  9 / 10

April 9, 2016

A to Z Challenge

I thought it would be fun....and it was fun writing the posts.  I haven't had much luck getting visitors and I think it's time to realize that I'm not a writer.  I'm just a bookworm with a passion for books.

I started this blog for me so I could keep track of what I read and what I thought about the books.  I love the reading challenges.  So, I'll keep up with those and join more in the future.  But...reminder to self - stay away from blogging challenges....they just aren't for me.  

H ~ Hippogriff

Myths Galore by Grey Radian (Own work) [CC BY-NC-ND 3.0], via Deviant Art  (This image has been cropped to show the portion relevant to this topic.  Only a portion of the original artwork is shown.)

Here is an unlikely creature, half griffin and half horse, and all attitude.  Some sources have them as half eagle and half horse like the picture above, but I beg to differ -- the 'griff' in hippogriff must obviously come from griffins.  

Found in writings by the Latin poet Virgil and in ancient Greek paintings, this creature has certainly been around a good, long while.  However, most of us hadn't heard of one until the Harry Potter series came around.  

Speaking of Harry Potter, if you haven't read the series, please do so immediately.  The first book isn't quite as good as the rest, but the rest are well worth the investment of time.  You'll meet the hippogriff, giants, warlocks, witches and many other really fun characters....and have a blast while doing so.

April 8, 2016

G ~ Gollum

Gollum by VampInMask (Own work) [CC BY-NC-ND 3.0], via Deviant Art

Poor Gollum.  He was a hobbit named Sméagol.  Then the One Ring found him and he was lost.  After he lost the ring to Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, he hated all hobbits, thus creating the foundation for his character in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

I've always felt Gollum is the most misunderstood antagonist in fiction.  He wasn't a bad guy.  He got poisoned by a very bad, very magical ring.  It really wasn't his fault.  Yes, he's difficult, whiny, sneaky and full of conflicting desires, but I've felt nothing but pity for him since the first time I met him.  If you don't find his plight as saddening as I did, I'd be surprised.  

April 7, 2016

F ~ Fairies

Take the Fair Face of Woman, and Gently Suspending, With Butterflies, Flowers, and Jewels Attending, Thus Your Fairy is Made of Most Beautiful Things by Sophie Gengembre Anderson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Fairies are spontaneous and troublesome and usually a great deal of fun.  They have been around since Celtic times and have been everything from fallen angels to demons, depending on the source.

Enter Walt Disney.  Between the Blue Fairy that makes Pinocchio a real boy and Tinker Bell, Peter Pan's side-kick, the fairy has become something new.  Neither of these stories was written by Mr. Disney, but he brought them to the big screen in the Disney fashion we've all come to know and love.  And thereby, he changed a once-demon into a magical, mystical, lovable character.

If you're longing to read more about the fae, I strongly recommend the Avalon series by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  Her fairies may not look like Tinker Bell, but the stories are enthralling.  You might also love the Bronze Canticles trilogy by Tracy & Laura Hickman as much as I did.

April 6, 2016

E ~ Elves

Elf Girl by Selenada (Own work) [CC BY-NC-ND 3.0], via Deviant Art

Elves are beautiful, immortal, wise and powerful.  They have a connection to nature that human-kind cannot begin to understand.  They are strong allies and potent enemies.  These beings have been written about since medieval times.  In the older writings, they were blamed for causing sickness and generally wreaking havoc.  In the newer, more current works, they are certainly portrayed as arrogant and mighty, but rarely purposefully cruel or vicious.  

You can find them in many stories, including some of my favorites:  the Shannara series by Terry Brooks and, of course, the writings of Tolkien.  You can also meet a wonderful dark elf (also known as a drow) named Drizzt in the Legend of Drizzt series by R.A. Salvatore.

April 5, 2016

Mount TBR Reading Challenge Checkpoint #1

I started out this year just hoping to manage all my challenges.  I've read 32 of the 48 books needed to meet my goal:  Mount Ararat!  Since I'm already almost 3/4 of the way there and only 1/4 of the way through the year....I am so hoping I'll make it to Mount Everest or even Olympus!

The artwork I've loved the most so far came from Joust by Mercedes Lackey.  The colors are beautiful and there's a dragon, which makes it just about perfect in my book.

My favorite character has been Manchee.  Yeah, he's a dog.  He's also awesome.  He's from The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

I've read so very many books that surprised me in a good way.  The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke blew my mind....but I also was caught completely off-guard (in a very good way!) by The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper

And speaking of stars, my word is STAR:
Sovereign by C. J. Sansom
The Thief of Always by Clive Barker
The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Revival by Stephen King

It's been a great climb so far!

Sanctuary by Mercedes Lackey

Title:  Sanctuary
Author:  Mercedes Lackey
Pages:  306
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  DAW, 2005
Series:  The Dragon Jousters, Book 3

Synopsis:  In the third novel of the best-selling Dragon Jousters series, The Altan serf Vetch has escaped the enemy kingdom of Tia, only to find his homeland, Alta, enslaved by the evil Priest-Kings. With a small band of followers, Vetch must gather a secret army of dragon riders to rid their world of war and magical domination once and for all.

Review:  Kiron has come into his own.  He and his friends must save Alta and Tia from the mages who want to live forever -- and use other people's deaths to do so.  Kiron and his group have found an old city in the desert and they have called it Sanctuary.

Now, they are welcoming everyone who makes the journey, Altans and Tians alike.  They are raising dragons and they are going to fight for their right to be free from fear.

This story was not a quick read by any means.  There was so much going on and so many people involved that it took me a week to read it.  Still, it was well worth the time.  Ms. Lackey writes with such believability that I couldn't help but be drawn in.

I cannot imagine why I waited so long to read this series.  It is some of the best, most engaging, and most realistic fantasy I've read.

Rating:  9 / 10

D ~ Dragons

The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey

Dragons are an important part of the fantasy genre.  After all, what would knights, paladins, and hobbits do without dragons to slay?  But, not all dragons live to burn down villages and eat virgins.  Don't believe me?  Look no further than Anne McCaffrey and her Dragonriders of Pern series.

Ms. McCaffrey (the original Mother of Dragons) has passed away, but her son, Todd, continues the legacy.  We're talking about a series of over 25 novels and short story collections where some of the main characters are dragons.  And, I'm telling you, these are good stories. 
The dragons in the Dragonriders of Pern series are beautiful and intelligent and they allow humans to ride them.  I really can't remember when I started this series, but it was probably sometime in the 70's.  I have new books from the series that I'm looking forward to reading, making it hands-down the series I've been reading the longest.

April 4, 2016

C ~ The Crimson King

The Crimson King

The Crimson King is the ultimate bad guy. His goal? To tear down the Tower and bring about Discordia, making the world in his image. If you'd like to see a picture of the Crimson King, you'll have to go to the artist, Michael Whelan's, page.
"Bow before the Crimson King! Bow… or die!"
He is evil incarnate.  He is the antagonist in what is, in my opinion, one of the finest fantasy epics of all time, Stephen King's magnum opus The Dark Tower series.

I purchased the first book, The Gunslinger, in 1986.  I had to wait until 2005 to find out how the Dark Tower epic would end.  Then in 2012, Mr. King published book number 4.5.  That's a lot of years (just over 25 years in fact) and a lot of re-reading the first books over again, every time a new book came out.  The Gunslinger is a little dog-eared now, having been read 8 times.  Yet, all eight books, most of which are hardcovers and some of which are about 900 pages long, will remain on my bookshelves forever.  I will read them again....and again.

April 2, 2016

B ~ Bilbo Baggins

Bilbo Baggins
Un Hobbit by Antoine Glédel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
“Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today.” - The Hobbit, Ch. 1
Bilbo Baggins is the main character in The Hobbit and a secondary character in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, both by J.R.R. Tolkien.  

I give thanks regularly for Mr. Tolkien.  He gave us the very basis upon which all other fantasy has been built.  Elves, halflings, orcs, goblins, dragons, etc -- he pretty much did it first.  His stories are just really difficult to get through.  I (gasp) like the movie adaptations better.  I know, I know, that's nearly blasphemy but it's true.

That doesn't mean that some of his characters won't show up in other letters though!

April 1, 2016

A ~ Aslan

Aslan, the main character of The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis, is the only character to appear in all seven books of the series.  Aslan is Turkish for "lion".  He is described as large, terrifying and magnificent.  He is also the ultimate power for good.
"Aslan is on the move. The witch’s magic is weakening." - The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Ch.10
I begin with Aslan, not only because it starts with A, but also because he stars in what I believe was my first foray into true Fantasy and I hold this set of books at least partially responsible for my life-time love affair with the genre.

I don't remember how old I was, but I know I was enraptured by the idea that if I just looked hard enough, I could find Narnia.  I admit I spent quite a few winter afternoons looking for the right closet in our house.  I blamed my failure on the fact that we did not have a wardrobe, just plain old closets -- which were obviously not as magical as wardrobes.

And, sadly, I still don't have a wardrobe...
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