Summary of Game of Thrones S6E5 “The Door”

NO.  NOT OKAY!

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Legend by Marie Lu Book Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

 

Day is a fifteen year old boy and the Republic’s most notorious criminal living in the slums.  He keeps a watchful eye on his family from a distance.  June is a fifteen year old girl and is the prodigy of the Republic’s wealthiest districts.  She has been trained for success by the Republic’s highest military circles.  It is possible that these two would have never met under different circumstances, but one day June’s brother Metias is murdered and everything points to Day as the culprit.  June seeks revenge and will stop at nothing until the murderer is found and dealt with severely.  Day wants nothing more than his family to be safe.  Over a series of events these two discover that what they want may not be as cut and dry as they had originally thought.  Read along and watch their game of cat and mouse unfold.  And when a crucial truth is discovered, can these two figure out how to work together despite the pain they’ve caused one another to defeat a threat bigger than themselves?

It has been a while since I’ve read such a well-constructed young adult novel.  I feel a lot of books out there, specifically pertaining to the young adult genre, have lots of action and despair, but they leave out the emotional part and the reflection of events the characters would feel or go through, especially for the male characters even if it’s inside their heads.  You can only bend a twig for so long before it eventually snaps.

A strength of Legend is the character’s reactions are believable.  When Day is hit with a traumatizing series of events, the author doesn’t have him hide it, which, in these cases would’ve been inhuman.  Lu has him react as anyone else put in that situation would have.  She shows how devastated he is whereas some other novels or stories would have glossed over his losses.  I found myself not really paying attention to what the characters’ actual genders are and just see them as human beings.  As people.

I also feel like some novels out there forget how old their characters actually are.  Day is only a fifteen year old child; he’s not going to be able to handle all of his emotional and physical trauma (and there’s quite a lot) alone and yet some authors out there write a teenager as if s/he is a full grown adult.  Even full grown adults would struggle to deal with the type of trauma he went through and is still going through.

I never once question Day or June’s motivations.  Some of the minor characters were less understandable, but they were also presented in a way where you knew something was off, but you couldn’t quite place your finger on it.  As the story ended, it left openings for other characters motivations to be explored more in the next two books: Prodigy and Champion.

One thing I wasn’t sure of was how easily Day trusted June again after something she’d done to his family.  I feel like something of that nature would have made him keep his distance from her as much as he could, but I also know this is explored a little more in the next two books.

I would recommend this book and series to anyone.  I think most people will enjoy this series if you like action, adventure, conspiracies, and betrayal.  This book was fairly fast-paced and you could probably finish it in a day (or less, if you have time).  The other two books are already out so you don’t have to wait months to find out how the story ends.

Happy reading and remember each new day is the start of another twenty-four hours, a new start where anything can happen.

 

Things Old People Say #1

I work at a small gym consisting of mostly eldely people and I have heard some pretty entertaining conversations. I decided to start recording some of them.
Old Guy #1: How can you not care about the election? The decisions effect the rest of your life!
Old Guy #2: Yeah, well, I’m not going to live much longer anyway.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry 😆😆😂😂. 

HELP! for Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problmes Every Writer Faces by Roy Peter Clark Book Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

HELP! for Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces is a great tool to add to your bookcase.  While I did read this book cover to cover, it’s also the type where if you’re only having difficulty with a specific area, you could skip to that certain section and only read that.

This book is not just a list of strategies, it is interactive.  It shows you how and what it means through detailed explanations, examples, and even some exercises.  I found a lot of the strategies useful and it helped me decide which direction I wanted to take a story.  This book is not just for people interested in writing stories.  The information and tactics described are also meant to help a student who needs help to organize his or her thoughts with an academic essay.

What I found the most useful for where I am in my current writing journey was his advice of how to cut down material when you had too much or when you had so many ideas, but you didn’t know which ones were the most important.  He helps you decide which ideas and information would actually benefit your current work the most.

I particularly found the sections about beginnings, middles, and ends useful and insightful.  This book is a good one to keep in your bookcase as a reference whenever you have difficulties with a certain aspect of your writing.  If you truly want to invest in and read this cover to cover, go ahead, but if you also want to just read a specific section and not the entire book, you could also go and do just that at a bookstore.  Either way, I hope it helps you further your writing journey like it has done for me.

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce Book Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

Alanna is a ten-year old girl who wants nothing more than to avoid going to a convent to learn to be a lady.  She wants to become a knight.  Her twin brother Thom wants to become a sorcerer more than anything, not a knight.  Their negligent father would not give them what they wanted even if they asked, so together Alanna and Thom hatch a plan with the village healer, Maude, where Thom will go to train to be a sorcerer and Alanna will disguise herself as a boy to become a knight.  She soon discovers that she doesn’t know as much as she thought she did and was tempted to quit for a few times, but through persistence and determination, she accomplishes more than she thought she could.

The Song of The Lioness Quartet series was one of my favorites when I was a child.  I’ve read it over a few times since then and sometimes I’ve enjoyed it and other times not as much.  I think I’ve discovered that I tend to like the book depending on where I am in my life at the moment and right now I like it.

I do remember that I enjoyed the plot of the Song of the Lioness Quartet series: Alanna, In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, and Lioness Rampant, but I think I liked the main protagonist, Kel, from Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small Quartet (First Test, Page, Squire, and Lady Knight) better.

While I do like Alanna’s determination, I felt that a lot of the times she was a Mary Sue character to some extent.  Yes, she had her flaws and struggles so we know she wasn’t perfect.  She had to succeed through hard work, but many of the pages didn’t know how to read when they first got there.  She did.  While many of the other pages had just begun to learn some of the tactics and knowledge of knighthood, she came there already knowing a good amount.  The book mentions that she had trained a little with her brother years before they had been sent off to their destinations.  As the story unfolds we see less and less of that Mary Sue-esque factor and I hope that continues because perfect and flawless characters, for me, are unrelatable and boring to read regardless of gender.

There were other times where other characters would tell us how amazing she was (or he, to their knowledge), but I don’t want to be told that someone is amazing, I want to be shown the how and the why.  One thing that has always bugged me is that some female characters have other characters talk about her like: oh she’s so great.  Or oh she’s so good.  And so on.  It’s like the writers want you to like this character so much, that they have to shove the idea of how amazing she is in your face.  I don’t like that.  I’d rather watch her character and her actions unfold and then make up my mind about that character through what the writers/author show us about her—how she interacts with others, how she treats others, etc.

While I know the story grows and gets better in the other three books following this one, some of the prose didn’t connect with me like when it did when I was a child.  There is a good part of time skips and jumps through summary and telling rather than showing.  There was one epidemic of a dark magic sweating sickness where one of Alanna’s (or Alan’s, her chosen male name) friends dies from the sickness.  We had never really heard that much of Francis until then and then, in a small paragraph, we’re told Alanna was good friends with him.  But because I didn’t read or see her interact with him that much up until then, I didn’t really feel sad like she did that he’d died, because a connection to him hadn’t been established with me.  I realize that this book is meant for a younger age and so Pierce probably didn’t want to make the book too long, but if I had seen more scenes with Alanna interacting with a few characters, none of which really included Francis, then I may have felt sadder when Francis had died.

But overall, I enjoyed the book and since I’ve read the series before, I know it gets better.  For example, a magical cat becomes her ally and friend and who doesn’t want a magic cat?  (I’m ignoring you if you don’t want a magical kitten ;D ).

 

Writing Fantasy-The Top 100 Best Strategies for Writing Fantasy Stories by Blaine Hart (Audible) Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

 

The title implies what the book/audiobook is about.  While the title may make the book seem like it’s just a list of strategies, it’s more than that.  I love writing fantasy, but I’ve noticed that most instructional or “self-help” books are catered more towards the literary fiction side.  Even though I don’t have a problem with literary fiction help books because some of the advice can also apply to writing any genre, I’ve also found that instructional books for specifically writing fantasy have been scarce.  It was nice that this one finally popped up in my recommendations lists.

This book/audiobook is the book I didn’t know I needed.  It’s more than just a list of strategies, it also gives you examples and some exercises for you to do.  It gives you advice for more than just one way of doing things.  Lately I’ve realized that you can read as many self-help books for writing, but in the end, there really are no real rules or guidelines.  You just have to find what works best for you.  This book gave you advice on multiple topics from help with world building to characters.

There were some things it said that I already knew, but there was also a good amount of new information I learned.   I had listened to this book while I was driving, so, one of these weekends I’ll probably sit down with it at a desk and try some of the advice.  If anyone is interested in writing fantasy, I would suggest checking this book out.  Whether you learn something new or how to make a small tweak to your current routine or methods, I think you’ll find it worth the purchase.

 

Yotsubato! (Yotsuba&!) by Kiyohiko Azumi Volumes 1-3 Review

Review by: dancingonrain

 

Yotsuba is a five year old girl who just moved into a new home with her adoptive father Yousuke Koiwai with the help of his friend, Jumbo.  Yotsuba is overly enthusiastic about everything and doesn’t understand normal things most girls her age already do such as doorbells, air conditioners, escalators, and much, much more.  The story often centers on Yotsuba and her father’s daily interactions with their neighbors, three sisters, Asagi, Fuuka, Ena, and their mother and friends.  While this series has no continuing plot and is mainly Yotsuba living her daily life through discovery, this is perhaps the most adorable series I have ever read.

When I first heard that it was basically a girl going through her day-to-day life, I was skeptical I would like it, because, after all, reality where there’s not climax and nothing real intense happens tend to bore me.  I am surprised at just how much I am enjoying this series.  Not only is Yotsuba adorable, but the story itself is also entertaining, and by that I mean funny and random.  There was one point where Yotsuba’s dad puts his underpants on his head and then yells: I am Pants Man.  And then he proceeds to chase Yotsuba around the house, both of them temporarily forgetting that they have a guest.

There was another funny moment where Yotsuba spent the day catching Cicadas with her father’s friend, Jumbo, and their neighbor Ena.  When they were finished, they returned to Ena’s home where her mom was and asked them how it went.  Yotsuba told her that they caught a lot and then opened the cage where they had kept all the cicadas they’d caught.  The bugs flew all over the inside of the house, much to Ena’s mother’s dismay, and then they had to spend the remainder of the day recapturing all the cicadas.  These are just two of the many funny and/or random moments throughout the series.

As the stories unfold, we find tid bits about Yotsuba’s previous life, although, it’s not much.  We’re only told that she didn’t have a mother and that Yotsuba had been abandoned.  Yousuke left to a different country for some time, found her, and then ended up adopting her and bringing her back with her.  With where I am in the story, I don’t know if they’ll reveal more about this in later chapters, but I hope we learn more.  If we don’t, I think that would be realistic as people with closed adoptions at her age know very little about their biological parents, but as a reader it would be nice to have at least some closer so we know.

Anyway, if you’ve been feeling down recently, I would suggest reading some of this series.  It will definitely bring a smile to your face.