Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Juggling Audiobooks: A Fun and Frustrating Pastime

Fun, because, well, audiobooks are awesome! Frustrating because I get my audiobooks from the library and my tastes run to long books. We're talking books that literally take a work week or more worth of hours to get through.  


Just can't seem to finish

For one, I'm working through Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive books, I'm on Oathbringer (have been for a few months now), and after I got booted from the first borrow, I've since been plagued by incredibly bad timing on hold releases and my tendency to not check my email in time to download them. I'm now on another 6 week wait list because Libby decided I must not really want to borrow it and dropped my hold. 😂

But really, borrowing these has been a game changer for me. I can't afford a subscription or to buy the sheer volume of audiobooks I would want to consume, but loading them on my phone with Libby, I can get close!


Just finished

As for recent finishes, I've just completed the audiobooks for the Caraval Trilogy by Stephanie Garber. Holy cow, great series!  Lots of fun, magic, and immortals. Highly recommended in audio, but I would have liked it in print, too. The first one takes us to the mysterious Caraval games with Scarlet, the older sister. The second, Legendary, with Tella, the younger one. And the third ties it all together, giving us a very well named Finale for both sisters. 



On it now

Next, and currently, I'm listening to the Battlefield Earth audiobook by Galaxy Audio. I'm on Part 6 now, where it's getting really good. Terl has found his leverage. Johnny Goodboy Tyler has lost his. I'm looking forward to the coming chapters, having already read this many times in the past. 

There's also a blog, videos (including about the making of the audiobook), and a listing of more books by L. Ron Hubbard, who was a very prolific writer of fantasy and later science fiction, including the one I'm reading, which he called his attempt at writing pure science fiction. If you read or listen to this, you can learn more about what that means by listening to the foreword. In the audio, it's read by Stefan Rudnicki (links to books he's narrated), one of my favorite narrators, who read Ender's Game and the other books in that series.


With that, back to reading (or listening)!

Drop a comment to let me know what you're reading or to chime in on these.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Time Travel Review: The Book of Revelations by Shanna Lauffey (Episode 10 of The Chronicles of the Harekaiian)

The Book of Revelations

by Shanna Lauffey

Description:

Delve into the exciting conclusion of The Chronicles of the Harekaiian!

Tormented by ghosts from the past, Kallie struggles to find a way to make herself useful to the world and especially to the displaced half breeds engendered by her people.

The specters of both friend and foe return when a new nemesis arises in the most unlikely of places where Kallie thought she could be safe at last. In her attempts to bring the few people close to her together, everything she's built begins to fall apart, but the fate of a young, displaced Time Shifter relies on Kallie's ability to see past the pitfalls placed before her.

Can she bring herself to dedicate her life to helping others? Will Marcus play a part in her future?

My Review:

The Book of Revelations ties things up, though it still feels like there could be more.  

Mason, Connor, and Brand seem to play center stage in this one, as Kallie picks out the final threads of their convoluted timelines. I found some of the revelations surprising, but nothing was really shocking.  I enjoyed the Mason and Brand parts the best.

While I also quite enjoyed the scenes with the young person Kallie is mentoring, I'm not sure I completely bought into the remainder of the school-related side stories. I think there was potential in them, but the drive to actually complete the overall story didn't allow enough time to thoroughly explore them in this episode, especially not at the exploratory and thoughtful pace I enjoyed in the others.

Overall, I enjoyed the tying up of the loose ends, but I feel some of the newer arcs were too rushed.  I'd recommend this final episode to folks who enjoyed the others and to anyone who might have been waiting for all of them to be available. 

People who enjoy the complexities of time travel and discovery would probably like this series. As always, there's an air of nostalgia in the places and times Kallie visits, but in this one, most of the stops were before my time. 

I received the review copy of this book from the author.

About the Author:


Shauna Lauffey is a native Californian currently living in Europe. She spends her time between homes in Sweden, France and the UK. She writes Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

Check out Shanna's page at https://shannalauffey.weebly.com/.

Follow Shanna on TwitterAmazon and Goodreads.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

New "Must buy everything they write" Author: Dakota Krout

You may think I'm being overly dramatic there, but it's true. This guy has been added to my auto-buy list.  I see new book; I buy it (I read it until sun comes up...Gosh, I'm tired.).

He writes fantasy fiction with a gaming or RPG feel and theme (and in one series, outright scoring and leveling up), and that might sound off putting, but it's actually fantastic!

The humor in the form of horrible (awesome) puns made my face hurt more than once.

The larger than life characters getting around the systems or going into overdrive to outpace everyone's expectations.

The magic systems. The coffee elemental...I'll let that one sink in for a bit.

The tie in to gaming with a side of ,"What if games and gaming systems met real life?"

The twists; the turns; the loopdy loops...

And, oh my god, the surprise connections! I just finished a second series by this fellow, and um, I apparently need to read the other one again!  Holy cow!  Love!!!

Ok, enough of that. If you dig game literature, fantasy, intricate leveling systems, or even ideas for your own ongoing or future campaigns, I think you'll dig Dakota Krout's books, too.



About the Author:



Dakota Krout - Author of the best-selling Divine Dungeon and Completionist Chronicles series

I live in a 'pretty much Canada' Minnesota city with my wife and daughter. Thanks to you, I'm now a web developer and computer programmer turned full-time author and indie publisher through my company, Mountaindale Press.

I started writing The Divine Dungeon series because I enjoy reading and wanted to create a world all my own. To my surprise and great pleasure, I found like-minded people who enjoy the contents of my mind. Publishing my stories has been an incredible blessing thus far and I hope to keep you entertained for years to come!

Find me here:
MountaindalePress.com
Facebook.com/TheDivineDungeon
Patreon.com/DakotaKrout
Twitter.com/DakotaKrout
Goodreads.com/Dakota_Krout

The Divine Dungeon - Enjoy world building through the eyes of a sentient dungeon. Unfortunately for treasure-seekers, the fastest way for the dungeon to achieve his goal... is to eat anyone that enters his depths.



The Completionist Chronicles - Becoming a permanent addition to a game world, Joe, a combat medic turned cleric, decides to complete every mission, master every ability, and learn all of the world's secrets. All he has to do is survive long enough to make that happen.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Contemporary Fantasy Review: Where Have All the Elves Gone? by Christian Warren Freed

Where Have All the Elves Gone?
by Christian Warren Freed

Description:
Light Elves. Dark elves. Dwarves. Trolls. A dragon living under the city who spends his time watching reruns of 80s shows and a Grateful Dead loving Giant wearing tie dye and forging weapons?

Fantasy author Daniel Thomas never imagined the mythical creatures he wrote about actually existed and wishes they weren't. Daniel is about to embark on the longest and worst night of his life as he is drawn into an elf civil war happening in Raleigh, North Carolina. The only thing keeping him alive are two dwarf brothers who smoke too many cigars and have more guns than the US Army.

Making matters worse is a secret government organization determined to keep it all a secret.

Where Have All the Elves Gone? is part James Bond, part Eddie Drood, and all chaos as Daniel sets out to save two worlds before they collide.


My Review:
The story is set in and around Raleigh, NC, an area with which I am very familiar. As such, much of my enjoyment was in recognizing the locations and in picturing the epic fantasy-meets-reality clashes between humans, dwarves, elves, and gnomes. In particular, the zoo scenes, my adopted hometown, and the fairgrounds. It's obvious the author has done his research or is a local.

As for the fantasy, it's interesting. I always enjoy a new take on "what if" elves, dwarves, etc. are real, and in this story, that is paired with "what if" an author's stories reflect reality. Besides that, I found a few of the features of the fantasy creatures a bit too convenient, and I was getting hung up on how they were going to cover up the destruction.

Overall, worth a read. I enjoyed it because I like fantasy/reality mash ups, reluctant heroes, and action.

I received the review copy of this book from NetGalley.


About the Author:
Christian W. Freed was born in Buffalo, N.Y. more years ago than he would like to remember. After spending more than 20 years in the active duty US Army he has turned his talents to writing. Since retiring, he has gone on to publish over 20 military fantasy and science fiction novels, as well as his memoirs from his time in Iraq and Afghanistan, a children's book, and a pair of how to books focused on indie authors and the decision making process for writing a book and what happens after it is published.

His first published book (Hammers in the Wind) has been the #1 free book on Kindle 4 times and he holds a fancy certificate from the L Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. Ok, so it was for 4th place in one quarter, but it's still recognition from the largest fiction writing contest in the world. And no, he's not a scientologist.

Passionate about history, he combines his knowledge of the past with modern military tactics to create an engaging, quasi-realistic world for the readers. He graduated from Campbell University with a degree in history and is pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in Digital Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

He currently lives outside of Raleigh, N.C. and devotes his time to writing, his family, and their two Bernese Mountain Dogs. If you drive by you might just find him on the porch with a cigar in one hand and a pen in the other. You can find out more about his work by following him @ https://www.facebook.com/ChristianFreed or on Twitter @christianwfreed.



Tuesday, July 30, 2019

I think up weird stuff; sometimes I write it down

by Patricia Hamill

I think up weird stuff; sometimes I write it down.

I think that's standard fare for fiction writers, and I can attest it's true for myself, even though I haven't actively written a story for a couple of years now.

The lack of writing these odd thoughts, random musings and ridiculous scenarios hasn't stopped them from invading my thoughts in my day to day life. Sometimes I blurt them out to a mix of chuckles, confusion, or awkward silence. I'd like to think the chuckles win out.

Still, I think this flair for thinking up the impossible and improbable or imagining "what if" scenarios with only a tenuous link to reality are what make fiction possible.

But it's the writing it down that I struggle with.

I see a lot of writers who carry around a little notebook, not letting a single one of these gems go by, but the habit has never stuck with me. Instead, only a few make it onto a post it or stick around long enough for me to take a harder look at them.

I tried my hand at a diary once, and I imagine the notebook would be similar. The first week or two, solid notes every day. Then it skips a week, or two, or a month. Pretty soon, it's three years later and I've found the thing under the side table in the living room housing a family of spiders who, in all honesty, are welcome to stay there because it's not worth the cringe factor to evict them.

So, writing it down is a challenge. I wrote this statement down (the one at the very top), and that's why I'm expounding on it now. So yeah, maybe I should do that more.

And that brings me to the last point. 

Thinking it up and writing it down are critical, but you have to go back and look at it again, do something with it.

Even if I did write every idea in a notebook, how likely would it be that I would open the thing, flip through, and look at what I wrote? And if I didn't do that, how likely would it be that I would turn one or more of those random thoughts into a story or article?

To both questions: not very.

So, what do I do? 

I only write a few of them down, usually the ones I can't get out of my mind or that seem to resonate with myself or others. And then I make a point of going back and doing something with them, whether that be an article, a story, a meme, or a random post on social media.

When inspiration strikes, the key is to go back to it, to use it, to share it with the world.

If you don't, it's lost to all but you and the spiders, and the spiders don't care.


---
P.S. If you're not a fan of spiders, my apologies. If you are a fan, no worries. No actual spiders were harmed or displaced in the writing of this article.



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I read too much! is going on break for the next few months.  Subscribe to the blog or follow me on Twitter so you'll know when it's back. Happy reading!