26 April 2013

Soulbound (Legacy of Tril #1)

by Heather Brewer


I am one who will judge a book by its cover, at least if I have never heard of it before. I often peruse the shelves looking for something new to try and will be attracted to the cover in some way. That is how I found SOULBOUND, which is book one in the LEGACY OF TRIL. There was something about the cover that caught my attention, even if wearing a chainmail veil is stupid in my opinion. Warning, this particular review contains some spoilers.

The things that draw me in: The idea behind the story was fascinating. You fall into one of three types of people, Barrons, Healers, or Unskilled. Healers and Barrons are bound at birth. I mean there is a lot of potential for this book.

The things that kick me out: The way the society is set up is inane. The fact that few people have contested it is unrealistic. I can’t believe that the unskilled have been kept in the dark regarding a WAR. I can believe they might not know about Barrons and Healers, but a war that has been going on for decades?

Why of why do they not train Healers to fight. No one has been able to come up with a good reason. If the Healer is going to the battlefield and the objective of the evil king is to kill the healers, why do they think training the Barrons to fight is enough? At least teach them some self-defense. I know this is the point of the story but it just seems so unrealistic as to why the Healers are left defenseless.

The ending? Really? The author did a tadaa moment with the villain. (And the person who has been letting the Graplers into the compound is . . .) There was little setup and then even the reasoning behind it was flawed by the climax.

The writing itself seemed rough. There were places that relied on clich├ęs and tropes that interrupted the flow of the story.

I’ll stop there though I have more. I wish there was more positive for me to say. I am hoping that book two answers some of my issues. If it does I may come back and give a nicer review, but as of right now, the book was a huge disappointment because it just felt thrown together and hastily stitched at the seams. I really wanted to like this book but the end just left me feeling cheated.

Conclusion
Should you read this book? You might find it enjoyable. It actually has high ratings on Goodreads. I will be giving the second one a chance.

Should you buy this book? I won't be.

24 April 2013

League of Utah Writers – Spring Workshop

This year I was in charge of the Spring Workshop. I started planning early because I like to worry. I asked my amazing speakers back in January if they would be able to present on April 20th. I lined up the building in February. I called about the food in March. Since January I have been in a panic about the whole thing. Oh, let me count the ways:

  • I had a nightmare about tons of people showing up and I had forgotten to order the food.
  • I worried that I wouldn’t have enough people to make back the money I invested.
  • I had to order the main course of the lunch a few days before the conference and I worried a lot of people would show up and I wouldn’t have enough food.
  • I had a nightmare that we ran out of chairs.
  • We only had half an hour to set up and I worried that we would start late.
  • We only had half an hour to take down and I worried we would go long.
  • I was worried one (or more) of the presenters would have an emergency and not be able to make it.
  • I worried that everyone would hate the fact that we were having pasta salad.
  • I was worried I would be attending a funeral on the date of the workshop.
  • And finally, as Moose and I were driving to the venue I honestly thought I had given EVERYBODY the wrong address. I left Moose at the wrong address and hurried back only to find out I was on top of things and had distributed the correct address. Luckily the wrong address was only two miles away so I was able to pick him up and bring him back before he stood out in the cold rain for too long.
I slept poorly for days because I was so stressed about it. Pant . . . pant . . . pant. And this was why I didn’t get a blog post done on Friday. I was so stressed about the workshop it didn’t even cross my mind.

And now I need to get into gear for planning the fall conference next year. Poor Moose. He is already preparing himself for my next panic attack.

This experience has brought to mind one of Patrick McManus’ short stories about the worry box. Moose’s worry box is much smaller than my worry box. In fact his worry box is filled with worrying about me worrying over the worries in my worry box.

P.S. After it was over I continually asked Moose if he thought is was okay. He kept reassuring me that it went fine. He said someone told him that this was the best Spring Workshop he had ever been to, and he's been to about half a dozen. The only reason that this turned out as well as it did was because Moose helped. He may not have read any of my stories, but he is the most supportive husband I could ask for.

17 April 2013

Grandfather

  • Grandfather always seemed tall to me, even when I grew up.
  • He had nicknames for all of us. I was Squeezable Emily.
  • He laughed easily.
  • He had the lightest blue eyes of anyone I have ever known.
  • He loved children’s books and some of my favorites are ones he gave my family. The Blue Faience Hippopotamus and The Weaving of a Dream.
  • When Grandmother would play the piano, he always would pause and listen with a smile on his face.
  • He believed grandchildren should have M&Ms and always kept a dish of them. At Christmas we would hunt through the candy dishes to find the Christmas mints he put out.
  • He liked rearranging the furniture.
  • He loved planting flowers.
  • His brothers used to tease him about being EMA (Emma) so when his mother gave him a signet ring it only had EM.
  • He never spoke ill of anyone.
  • He didn’t like the seed pods on his tree. During the Fall he would take a rake and try and knock them all down before snow fell.
  • I had multiple principals and teachers who had him as a professor. They all respected him.
  • He had more art than wall space and would rotate the picture periodically.
  • He drove an automatic car with one foot on the gas and one on the brake.
  • He was always well dressed.
  • He took in whoever needed a home, (including myself during college for a few weeks).
  • He always stood on the driveway and waved until we were out of sight.
  • He always asked after the in-laws and remembered their names.
  • We could have seconds of icecream.
  • He smelled like Polo Sport aftershave.
  • His work with the education system had a direct impact on my husband and mine educational opportunities.
  • He had a whistle in the bedroom to scare away the deer in the backyard.
  • He always asked if we were comfortable or needed a blanket or pillow.
  • He always encouraged my writing.
  • He loved Heavenly Father and Grandmother more than himself.

12 April 2013

The Wise Man's Fear

by Patrick Rothfuss

THE WISE MAN’S FEAR is the second book in the THE KINGKILLER CHRONICLE. The first one is THE NAME OF THE WIND, which I absolutely loved. I wanted to love this one more. That isn’t to say I won’t read the next one when it comes out, but it just didn’t have a much enjoyment for me as the first one. In fact I probably would have liked this one more if I didn’t like the first one so much and have such high expectations. I keep thinking I should read what other people think about it and see if I am alone in my feelings, but I will do that after this review is written.

The things that draw me in:
I like reading about Kvothe. As a character he is someone that draws me in. I also like how the story is narrated (the story Kote is telling, the frame story is interesting but doesn’t have the same humorous voice). The novel has so much in it that I have so much to think about, even though it is finished. I like it when novels still leave me thinking about what could happen next.

The world and magic system is awesome. I love the scientific explanation of how the magic works and the new ways that it is used that is unique and stays true to what we as the readers know. The world is rich and described just enough to make me picture what is there but not so much that I felt like the story was bogged down.

The things that kick me out:
I am not a fan of language and promiscuity, and there was more in this book than the last book. Not so much that it made me want to put the book down, but enough to roll my eyes. There were several parts of this book where I wanted it to pick up. I don’t mean that there needs to be a fight or an encounter in every chapter, but there was a part where is was filled with too much detail in the world and it seemed to repeat itself with details and gave some information that while interesting slowed the story down.

Conclusion
Should you read it? If you liked the first one then yes.

Should you buy it? I may end up buying it, if it turns out I like the whole series well enough.

11 April 2013

There's a story in that.
-E.M.A

10 April 2013

More Sewing Projects

I really intended to do book reviews the past to weeks, but when Thursday night comes around, it has slipped my mind. It isn't even that I have been busy at home. I just don't remember to do it. I will try and do better this week, but who knows if me thinking about it now will help to have it up on Friday.

I really like to sew and the last six months I have been trying a new hobby involving sewing. I have been trying to teach myself how to make stuffed animals. Since Moose and I watch a lot of anime we see some really cute plushies that aren't actually available to purchase. I thought that if I could teach myself how to pattern them and make them. I started first with a simple doll like animal. It doesn't look anything like what it is supposed to, but it is actually kind of cute, if you don't mind a demon baby. For Christmas I made some for my older sister's children. They didn't turn out exactly how I wanted it to, but the children liked them. I am now starting another one, this time a rabbit. Who knows, by the time I have children in the home I may actually have one that looks how I imagine it.

Moose has also stated on his first sewing project, if you don't count a potato pin cushion or a catnip mouse he sewed by hand. The project he is doing is a basic pair of trousers. A few people have told me that I should have started him on something easier, but I replied that he would be more motivated to complete it and do it right if he did something he wanted to. He hopes to be able to make his own banzai costume this year. (I do too, because it would be less stressful for me.) He has also decided that he wants to make a steampunk outfit. He has even picked out a cane he wants to get when it is complete. Now he wants me to make an outfit to match. I like the idea, but I am a little nervous about trying to get it look right. Oh well, it will be fun to see if we can pull it off.

03 April 2013

Re-Writing (Again)



Moose and I went and saw the new Oz movie this weekend. Moose enjoyed it more than I did. I tried not to be too critical, but as I sat through it, I just kept thinking that it could have been better if it didn’t take place in the universe of Oz. The story would have to be tweaked, but I don’t think it taking place in Oz actually helped. Truthfully, I don’t remember much of the book, but even when compared to the movie THE WIZARD OF OZ, I thought it was lacking.

I guess I was so critical about the movie because my own sequel has been on my mind. First I have to say that I have the best Beta readers ever, and I think that it is cool that they are my family. Often you hear that having your family read it isn’t good because they will just praise without giving feedback. My family does a really good job of giving criticism and encouragement. They also give me a kick in the pants when I need it.

My sequel needs a lot of work and I was feeling lazy. They put me in my place. I have been mulling over my options for a couple of weeks, so going to OZ reminded me that if I don’t put in the work then I am leaving myself open for a lot of criticism, from myself.  I am happy to say that I am done with the brainstorming and that my sequel will be awesome. (This is the third time I have come up with a plot. Though the second and third versions are related, there are some distinct differences that I hope will leave my readers satisfied.)

And by the way. OZ probably wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. (Though I will say I am sick of the gimmicks used in 3D movies. They are dumb in 3D so it is even worse when I am watching it in 2D.)