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Reading Journal 5

I read a lot of books in 2016. But with everything that went on I got behind with updating you and adding them to my website. So, I want to fill in some of the gaps and pick out some favorites. (Please note this post contains affiliate links and Amazon will pay me a small commission if you purchase anything after clicking these links. Your cost is not increased by using these links.)

The Lunar Chronicles (Cinder, Scarlett, Cress, and Winter) by Marissa Meyer were fantastic. I’ve been reading them again and they’re just as good the second time.

The Mystery of Ireta by Ann McCaffrey. Technically this is two books packaged as one, but it’s really one story. I loved this book because it was everything I wanted in science fiction as a kid but couldn’t find in the library. It’s very much focused on the conflict and world, not individual characters, and for me that was part of the magic.

Dragon Kin (Pern Novel) Anne McCaffrey & Todd McCaffrey. I’ve talked about this one before and I still love it.

Followed by Frost by Charlie N. Holmberg. This was another somewhat unconventional story that resonated with me.

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris. A mystery featuring a small town as the cast. This was the perfect vacation read.

Dawn of Wonder by Jonathan Renshaw. This is a long and truly epic fantasy featuring a young boy.

Reading Journal 3

My husband and I returned from our honeymoon not long ago, which was a lovely trip through the caribbean on a cruise ship. I managed to fit a truly impressive amount of reading into the trip. Now, I have to admit that when I was picking up books, I was primarily selecting them based on price (rather than what I really wanted to read). I had about $35 and I wanted as many books as I could mange for that price. That said… Onto the list! (Please note this post contains affiliate links and Amazon will pay me a small commission if you purchase anything after clicking these links. Your cost is not increased by using these links.)

Book Thoughts in no particular order:

Air Awakens by Elise Kova. This is categorized as a young adult book. While I guess that is technically correct, it was rather graphic for a YA book. Now, it was well written, and overall the story line was good. If you like dark stories with complex relationships, then go for it. While I’ve enjoyed other stories that could be described that way (The Black Jewels Trilogy), the way it played out in this book didn’t make me want to read the next one.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown. Shelved as science fiction dystopian and it didn’t appear to be labeled YA on Amazon (which is good because there’s a lot of swearing and other adult material). Let me be honest. I bought this mostly because it was a book that had done well and I like to read those to see what they have going on. While it was well written, had a good, and kept me turning pages, I don’t as a rule, enjoy the types of violence that were in this book. If you want a grittier Hunger Games with a male lead, this is the books for you. I suspect that part of my problem with this book is that I usually read stories with a female lead, and often struggle to fully relate to a male lead. I had the same issue with the Maze Runner.

Dead Heat (Alpha & Omega Book 4) by Patricia Briggs. Shelved as adult fantasy/romance. So, this is going to sound really harsh for what, by most authors, would be a good book. For Briggs it was a failure. There was so much unnecessary information (mostly about horses, that the layperson didn’t need, and as someone who spent a lot of time around horses in the past, was boring and irritating) and it really hurt the story. In part due to the extra information, I felt that the characterization and overall plot weren’t as well done as what she’s produced in the past. Like I said, good, but not up to par with the rest of the books in this series.

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris. Shelved as adult, but in odd categories that don’t really relate to the book. It does have swearing, violence, but I don’t recall any sex. If you recognize the author’s name, it’s because she has another very popular series the Sookie Stackhouse novels, best known by the TV show name, True Blood. This book is in the same universes as those books, and that’s about where the likeness ends. I really loved this book, and I can’t tell you why. I think I loved it because it was different, and I haven’t read many books like it. It’s more the story of the town than a person, and I was oddly okay with that. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but this was such an unexpected pleasure, I have to recommend.

Followed by Frost by Charlie N. Holmberg. Shelved as young adult (Some swearing and kissing). This was a great book. It was magical, unique, different, and really showed how there are two sides to every blessing or curse. I really loved it and highly recommend it to you.

Dragon MarkedDragon MysticsDragon Mated (Supernatural Prison Books 1-3) by Jaymin Eve. Shelved as young adult (lots of swearing, and some sex). I won’t say this series is perfect, but they were so much fun to read. Yes, they have lots of YA/fantasy clichés, but it worked for these books. I really enjoyed them and am looking forward to picking up other books in this world.

Heart of Ice (The Snow Queen Book 1) by K. M. Shea. Shelved as young adult (some swearing). This book was solid, but I never felt like I fully believed some of the character development. However, it’s a good book with magic, a war, a strong female lead. If those are your things, give it a try.

Vampire Girl by Karpov Kinrade. Shelved as young adult (swearing and sex). I’ll be honest. This was my least favorite of the lot. I was on the fence about buying it, but the mass of positive reviews won me over. Having read it, I don’t understand how it has so many rave reviews. Clearly the book worked for some people, but to me the ending didn’t count as an ending (or even a cliffhanger) and there were some story issues. As always, your milage may vary.

 

The Power of Spirit

I should be working on short stories, the next witch book, or preparing a release notice for when Fey Hearted is finally published. I should be, but I can’t.

It’s been nearly two months of sad, terrible, and tragic things. My home town (all of North Georgia really) was horribly flooded, a friend lost their mother, and Prince Charming lost someone very dear to him. Given enough time their pain will abate, but that’s not where any of us are right now.

My heart hurts. It hurts for my loved ones and the pain they are feeling. It hurts because I am powerless to help them. It hurts because I know this will not be the last time any of us experience these pains. My heart just hurts.

Under all that pain is something very important. Spirit.

Spirit is the often overlooked hero inside every one of us. Fiction of different types, be it novels, short stories, video games, or role playing games often try to quantify this part of humanity. Most of them utterly fail.

In a system with different races each will have an attribute. Dwarves will have thick skin and a bonus to mining. Elves will be stealthy and good trackers. Humans will have spirit. Which sounds good until you realize that they simplify spirit down to something silly. The human spirit regenerates magic more quickly or something like that.

Unlike what so much of fiction would have you believe, our spirit is not a trivial thing. It is fundamental to who we are. If asked we know that odds are never in our favor. We know we are only here for a very short times. We are aware that little of what we accomplish will be lasting. We know heart break and loss are inevitable.

Yet, we don’t stop. We don’t surrender. That’s spirit in action. Spirit allows us to move forward when logic dictates otherwise. It’s what keeps us going when life is hard, unfair, and cruel. Our spirit is why we never stop seeking love, no matter how many times our hearts are broken.

If video games weighted human spirit correctly everyone would want to be human because our spirit is an amazing thing. Faster magic regeneration isn’t a good representation for the human spirit. Instead picture a mixed race group fighting a Giant. One member of the group receives a terrible bow, gruesome and perhaps fatal. The Elves, Dwarves, Vulcans, and Romulans crumple, unable to continue. The lone Human keep fighting.

That’s the Human Spirit. It is indomitable, unrelenting, and unending.