Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Dance with Dragons- Tyrion III

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

Tyrion and Illyrio are still traveling through Essos when they meet two men- Haldon and Duck. Haldon is a healer while Ser Duck (honestly) is Rolly Duckfield- both are associates of Griff, the man they are riding to meet. Illyrio has several chests for them and seems fond of Young Griff. Haldon tells Illyrio that Griff wants to sail downriver as soon as they return, as there are several Dothraki khalasars in the area- Khal Pono's being of primary concern. They ride off with Tyrion, and Illyrio tells them he will meet them in Westeros. He says he is sorry he will miss Young Griff's wedding.

They soon arrive at the Shy Maid, a riverboat where they meet Griff and his son, as well as Septa Lemore and a Rhoynish couple. Tyrion and Griff do not get along and Tyrion seems to suspect right away that he is someone else. Griff tells him he can go with them as far as Volantis, and if he cooperates he will be able to stray with them when they go to Dany.

COMMENTARY: 

This is pretty much a travel chapter but we are introduced to Griff and his people. Griff is pretty uptight and is not happy to see Tyrion. He is a lord of Westeros, Tyrion deduces quickly, although he is pretending to be a sellsword. Hmm... Who is Young Griff supposed to marry? Dany? Tyrion estimates his age at about fifteen or sixteen.

Tyrion also thinks that Griff is dangerous. They get off to a rough start, Griff doesn't appreciate Tyrion's wit and can't believe Illyrio sent him. Tyrion tells Griff he can help Dany defeat his sister Cersei and brother Jaime, as well as deliver allies. We have to wonder at this point just what the game is that Illyrio and Griff are playing- obviously it's been long in the planning, and Young Griff is a part of it.

We learn a bit about Duck and that he was born in Bitterbridge, his father was an armorer. Lord Caswell offered him a place in his garrison, but Caswell's son took the sword his father made for him, and after Duck beat the lord's son with a hammer he had to flee. He crossed the sea and met the Golden Company, where he was a smith and then squire to Harry Strickland, and then was sent to Griff to train his son.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Continuum

Image result for continuum images

Continuum is a show about terrorists who have gone back in time to avoid execution. Oh, and they want to change the future too, so the megacorporations that apparently run the government in 2077 don't take over. The problem is, when they go back a cop goes back with them- which wasn't part of the plan, but she got caught up in the radius of whatever they did, and so Kiera Cameron is now in modern day Vancouver. She has to stop the terrorists- and try to get home to her family.

This is a good show. I just discovered it recently and have been binging, playing catch up. I like the lead a lot, played by Rachel Nichols, she's tough but is able to show emotion too, especially when missing her family or making decisions that could affect the future. There's a bit of humor as she has to juggle her knowledge of the future and advanced tech with not standing out like a sore thumb. Complicating the matter is her partner in the Vancouver PD, who doesn't initially realize that she is from the future.

The overarching plot are the fugitives from the future, but Kiera runs into other dilemmas and situations that test her resolve. She has a sidekick, a genius kid (aren't they always) who has like ten computer monitors in his lair and can access pretty much anything to help her out. Turns out in the future he's a big deal. The only problem with the sidekick is he's just like Felicity on Arrow, he can hack anything in like 2 seconds or whatever. Okaaayy. And she doesn't initially realize that his 2077 self may have his own agenda...

The villains are pretty good too, I think the show tries to make them sympathetic at times by showing that the future govenment is corrupt, but they're so nasty and ruthless it's hard to feel sorry for them. Being an episodic show, it does feel at times like everything is wrapped too neatly each week, I'd like to see more extended plot lines- how many plots can these people have going anyway?- but in spite of that, this is a fun show. The peeks at the future also show that in spite of her desire to get back, her life had challenges in the future and we learn more about those as time goes by.

If you like smart sci fi and a great lead Continuum is worth a look.

Teaser Tuesday #50

TeaserTuesdays-ADailyRhythm3

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB at A Daily RhythmTo participate you grab your current read, open to a random page and share (2) teaser sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INLUDE SPOILERS (Make sure what you share doesn't give too much away. You don't want to ruin the book for others). Share the title and author. 

"You hurry up, pick the opposite path, try to make childhood end. Then, as an adult, you have no idea why you are running away. What, exactly, you needed so desperately to get away from."

Eight Hundred Grapes

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sunday Post #110



The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

This week kinda flew by. The weather was nice- 70's and sunny during the day and cool at night. A nice start to fall. I got a bit of reading in and some binging on Netflix as well. I reviewed Red Rackham's Treasure and a Star Wars book Lost Stars. I also reviewed Dark Matter (one of my favorite shows) and discussed another chapter of A Dance with Dragons. A pretty good week all around.

I started watching Continuum on Netflix. And I gave Bloodline a try- some are saying it's the best show on Netflix. I don't know but it is interesting. It's a slow burn drama about secrets and lies set in the Florida Keys. It kind of has a noirish feel to it. The pace is slow but I've heard the payoff is good- I'm about halfway through it.

Image result for bloodline show

Also, I changed my Twitter handle to @GregsBookHaven. Just wanted to let everyone know... I haven't been on Twitter much lately but hope to use it more going forward.

Quote of the day



BOOKISH NEWS: 

What if the Star Wars books were pulp thrillers? You can check out the artists site here.





SciFi Month banners and badges are here, you can see the choices at Rinn Reads. Here are a few- which should I use? Hmm...

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NEW ARRIVALS/ UPCOMING READS: 
Need 


BLOGOSPHERE:

Blindspot started this week. Did anyone watch it- and if so, what did you think?



Want some tropical ambience? Here is day and night.

A waterfall on Yavin 4.



This is awesome. Jawas.



Whymermaids discusses Unread Books.




Ambience from the Green Dragon Inn in Bywater.




Friday, September 25, 2015

Bookcover Spotlight #15



Unfinished Tales is a favorite of mine. The book contains a wealth of lore about Middle Earth, and adds a lot to one's understanding of J.R.R Tolkien's saga. It's much more accesible, and not as dense, as The Silmarillion, which is also in its favor. One of my favorite parts of the book is the section on the Istari- the wizards of Middle Earth, who are really akin to Maiar, a step below the Valar- perhaps almost like angels, in a sense, in that they are sent to guide and protect humanity.

Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast, and the blue wizards- who went into the East- is fascinating reading. I was always curious what happened to the blue wizards- did they go native like Radagast or become corruped? At any rate the cover here is apparently of a hobbit sitting down with a pipe and some reading material- in a cozy little study no less. And below is another cover, showing the blue wizards- this one is by Ted Nasmith.






Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lost Stars

Lost Stars (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

Lost Stars is a Star Wars tale that spans the events of the original trilogy, told from the point of view of two characters- Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell- who become childhood friends and grow up to attend the academy together. Both are excellent pilots and are destined for service in the Imperial starfleet- but events conspire to tear them apart and Thane eventually becomes part of the Rebel Allaince. From that point they are on opposing sides of the conflict- and we see iconic moments from the films through their eyes. This is also billed as a YA love story, which seems accurate, as the characters grow from friendship into love as adults.

I read this primarily due to the glowing reviews I saw at amazon. I was exploring Star Wars titles as I wanted a line on the upcoming Star Wars film The Force Awakens, and I kept seeing "read THIS one". So I gave it a try. To be honest, while this is a fine book and well told, it didn't blow me away. It's good and worth a read, especially if you want hints of the new Star Wars state of affairs, but it's not a must read in my view. I kept turning pages, but I wasn't enthralled- if anything, it seemed a bit too convenient at times how the characters were involved in EVERY major event in one way or another.

If you're looking for spoilers or hints to the film (which I was) there's not a lot- until the end. The end frankly seems like a prologue to the new film, in the sense that we get a glimpse of something that will show up in the movie ( we know this from the trailer). I can't say much more without spoiling it, except that the very end is basically a lead- in to the movie. So if that interests you, this might be worth a look. At the same time, it's not a huge spoiler and if you don't read this it won't affect your movie experience at all.

The thing I liked the most about this book were the different viewpoints of the characters. Ciena comes from a culture that values duty and honor above all else, and so throughout the story she remains steadfast in her devotion to the Empire. Later she begins to realize what a mistake she's made, but it's too late at that point- as she rises through the ranks she finds it harder and harder to reconcile her morals with her position. Thane, on the other hand, is cynical and comes from more of a privileged background, and when he leaves the Empire it creates a rift between the two of them that is very hard to bridge.

They neve stop loving each other though, and while I didn't feel much tension throughout the bulk of the story, I did feel a bit at the end. The best part for me is the way they both examine their values and decisions- Ciena feels the Empire epitomizes law and structure and cannot imagine the Rebellion as a positive force, where Thane also struggles with the Alliance at first and feels that even if the Empire is defeated things won't get much better. Surely the New Republic will be corrupt as well, later if not sooner. It's a look at the values and emotions behind the conflict, rather than just good vs evil.

So my verdict on this one- if you're a Star Wars fan and want a little insight into the upcoming movie, it might be a good read for you. Is it essential reading? I don't think so, I the recent Heir of the Jedi a lot more which focused on Luke Skywalker. A good book but I'm a little ambivalent.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dark Matter



Dark Matter is an awesome new show on the SyFy network. It's a Canadian production about six people who wake up from stasis on a starship with no memory of who they are. Not even knowing their names, they decide to call themselves by the order in which they woke up. So the first one to awake is One, and so forth. All six of them seem to have unique skill sets, whether it's fighting or ship piloting or whatever. There also an Android (why doesn't she get a name?) who helps to run the ship.

The crew find that their ship is headed for a planet with a mining colony, and that they are mercenaries hired to wipe out the colonists for a megacorporation. The problem is, with their memories gone they no longer sure they want to kill innocents. That choice will set the stage for later events and put them on the run across the galaxy.

Every character on this show has a secret and over the course of the season we get to see some of those secrets revealed. Allegiances and relationships are tested, but at the same time the crew slowly bond with each other (some more than others). By the end they are a relatively tight knit group- but there are betrayals and lots of surprises. The series itself ends on a high note, with a huge cliffhanger, a shocking reveal and a second season due in 2016.

This show is well done, with interesting characters and good writing. There's also a lot of humor, which helps on a show with occasionally dark themes. There are some big character revelations that happen that make you wonder if these people are truly who we think they are.

Image result for dark matter tv

One of the more interesting is Five. She is a teenager who snuck aboard the ship and is a tech guru. She uses this expertise to slowly gain insight into the motivations and secrets of the crew- and not only that, but she has the other crew members' memories locked up inside her mind! We get to see snippets of what she sees in her dreams...

Another standout character is Two. She's a badass basically and the leader of the group. An expert fighter with secrets of her own, she's an important part of the show. And Android steals a lot of the scenes she's in, with her wry humor and facial expressions.

If you like sci fi with a diverse crew this show is worth watching. Along with The 100 this might be my favorite show right now... and the wait for 2016 is going to be tough.




A Dance with Dragons- Jon II

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)



Jon tells Gilly that she needs to leave Castle Black and take Dalla's child with her. Dalla and Mance Rayder had a boy and Jon fears that Melisandre will burn him for his king's blood, so he sends Gilly away- but she has to leave her own child behind. Gilly understandably takes this hard. Jon then talks to Sam and they discuss the letter that Maester Aemon has written- it's a letter to King Tommen asserting that even though Stannis is at Caslte Black, they are not siding with him. Jon doesn't want to sign, but feels he must for the good of the Watch.

They then discuss the Others- Sam has been researching them in the archives. The upshot is that the oldest histories were written thousands of years after the events- and there are archmaesters who question all of it. He did discover that the children of the forest used to give the Night's Watch a hundred obsidian daggres every year during the Age of Heroes.

He says there are hundreds of books he hasn't gotten to yet, but Jon says there is no more time- he is sending Sam to Oldtown with Maester Aemon. He wants Sam to be a maester, and he wants to get Aemon out of Castle Black before Melisandre burns him for his Targaryen blood. There is a risk of course, as Aemon is 102, but Jon sees no other choice. They will sail on the Blackbird from Eastwatch, and Dareon will join them to try and raise men for the Watch. The plan for Gilly's baby is to send her to Horn Hill and claim she is Sam's bastard, where his mother and sisters will care for him.

Jon finds out that Stannis has sent two knights south on the kingsroad- Ser Richard Horpe and Ser Justin Massey. Obviously to serve as envoys- but to who? When Aemon, Sam and Gilly leave the old maester tells Jon  he left a book for him in his chambers- the Jade Compendium by Colloquo Votar, a Volantene who visited the lands of the Jade Sea.

Jon then assigns Bedwyck, also knows as Giant (he's short) to take command of Icemark, with forty men- twenty from the Watch and twenty from Stannis. He is initially opening just Icemark and Greyguard- he wants to send Janos Slynt to Greyguard, but Slynt refuses. When Slynt refuses a second chance, Jon tells the men to hang him. Then he decides to take care of it himself, as his father would have done. Stannis nods at him when it's done.

COMMENTARY:

Interesting things happen here. Sam going to Oldtowen, Jon sending Mance's baby and of course Jon putting the sword down on Slynt. That will certainly show the Watch that he means what he says. And by doing it himself he shows that he is his father's son. It's an interesting dynamic with Stannis at the Wall- there is tension between them but respect as well.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Red Rackham's Treasure

Red Rackham's Treasure (Tintin, #12)

Red Rackham's Treasure is the twelfth book in the Tintin series by Herge. Tintin is the intrepid reporter who investigates various mysteries around the world, getting into all kinds of trouble in the process. Aided by his faithful dog Snowy and an eccentric cast of supporting characters, these are a lot of fun and hold up well even though they were written decades ago. They are characterized by clean artwork, humor and involving plots.

In this one Tintin and his friend Captain Haddock are in search of lost treasure.Haddock's ancestor had done battle with a pirate named Red Rackham, and his ship the Unicorn had sunk somewhere at sea. In The Secret of the Unicorn some parchments were found with a riddle that gives the location of the treasure- and now Tintin and Haddock think they know where to look. So this is a continuation of sorts of that earlier story. Most of the Tintin stories are standalones, this is one the few that is a two parter.

Tintin and Haddock set sail, but before they do they meet an eccentric named Professor Calculus. Calculus is hard of hearing, and one of the humorous tropes of the series is misunderstanding of basically everything he hears! Which of course sets off Captain Haddock no end. Sure enough being also an inventor, he comes up with a submarine prototype to aid them in their search. Tintin and Haddock are initially not interested, so Calculus stows away aboard their ship.

Thomson and Thompson are the intrepid (and bumbling) detectives who also often appear in the series, and they are assigned to protect Tintin after news breaks that a criminal from the previous book has escaped. So our cast is in place and off they go in search of treasure. Missing supplies soon lead them to the stowaway Calculus, and after Haddock blows a gasket they settle down to treasure hunting. They eventually find the island they're looking for, and after encounters with parrots (who have a rather colorful vocabulary) and hungry sharks, they begin to dive in search of the Unicorn.




Unfortunately after various mishaps and more shark encounters, they come up empty on the treasure (although Haddock does find lots of rum) and finally call a halt. After another visit to the island and another dead end, they head for home- only find later that some documents they did find are an important clue. They do eventually find the treasure, naturally, but not where they expected!

This is a fun adventure at sea and on an uncharted island, and while it may not be the best Tintin it is one of my favorites. The artwork as always is lush and clean, easy to follow and a pleasure to look at. Today's comic artists could take lessons from this guy on how to tell a story.And the way the trademark humor is incoporated into the artwork is amazing- sometimes you have to really look at a panel or you'll miss it! All in all these are great stories from an earlier time, they take you around the world and they entertain as well. Good stuff.



My other Tintin reviews can be found here.

The Castafiore Emerald
The Crab with the Golden Claws
Tintin in Tibet
The Black Island

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sunday Post #109




The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

This week was hot- back to summer temps. I am looking forward to fall though- cool nights and turning colors. Last week I reviewed The 100 (one of my favorite shows) and I also started watching Dark Matter (thanks to Iza for that one!). Wednesday was A Dance with Dragons day- my readalong continues. And I talked favorite food as part of KissinBlueKaren's Beyond the Books feature. 

Next week I have a few reviews lined up, including the new Star Wars book Lost Stars. This one is getting a lot of rave reviews at Amazon. I'll post my thoughts on Thursday. I'll also check in with Daenerys this week, and might even get a post up on Dark Matter. I've been binging it all week. 



BOOKISH NEWS: 

 I'm planning my events for this fall and here's what I've got so far. 

Frightfall Readathon sponsored by Seasons of Reading- Oct. 5-11

HoHoHo Readathon hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Book Shelfery. 

SciFi Month- all November by Rinn Reads and Over the Effing Rainbow.  


NEW ARRIVALS/ UPCOMING REVIEWS:

Need  



BLOGOSPHERE:

Beth Fish Reads has a nice roundup of MG fiction. 

Here is the first trailer for Allegiant. 




Whymermaids talks about which series she would like to see continued.



Like ambient music/ sound effects? Here is a Star Wars themed one.





This is a funny moment on Dark Matter when the Android character, feeling jealous of another android, decides to spuce up her personality a bit.




Thursday, September 17, 2015

Beyond the Books Favorite Food

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Beyond the Books is a meme hosted by KissinBlueKaren where every week she throws out a topic to discuss. Link up at her blog and get to know your fellow bloggers!

This week's topic: Favorite Food, or share a recipe

Okay, this one is easy. Mt favorite food is... PIZZA. Without a doubt. As much as I like Chinese or Italian, nothing beats a good pie. So what kind of pizza do you ask? Well... lately I've been loving thin crust. New York style or Chicago deep dish, Detroit style - I like 'em all. But thin crust is probably my favorite.

Here's an excellent article on pizza in all its varieties, including the supposed 25 best in America.

And here's a recipe for pizza a little different way, courtesy of Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery in northern Michigan.




Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Dance with Dragons- The Merchant's Man

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

This week we are introduced to Quentyn Martell, the son of the prince of Dorne. Quentyn is trying to book passage to Meereen so he can present himself to Daenerys and ask her hand in marriage. This is apparently part of a plot to wed Quentyn and Dany and thus restore Dany to the throne. Quentyn and his companions have been in Volantis for twenty days, but no ship will take them to Slavers Bay due to the fighting there. They are posing as wine merchants, since what they do is treason. Quentyn's companions are Gerris Drinkwater (what a name) and Ser Archibald Yronwood. Drinkwater is easygoing and charismatic, while Arch is prone to seasickness, which has affected their voyage.

They lost Maester Kedry, william Wells and Cletus Yronwood (who had been Quentyn's best friend) when corsairs swarmed their ship the Meadowlark. Kedry was an expert on the Free Cities. They are able to book passage on a ship but the captain is unsavory and they don't trust him. They return to the Merchant's House and find the mercenary company Windblown recruiting for the conflict in Slavers Bay. They realize they have to get to Dany as fast as possible. Drink has an idea...

COMMENTARY: 

Here we are introduced to the free city of Volantis. Also to Quentyn and his quest to reach Dany. Quentyn is described as stocky, kinda plain, not very attractive- and his mission is top secret. Quentyn is not sure Dany will be interested in him, but he's sure she will want Dorne's swords. We learn that the Long Lances have already sailed for Yunkai, and the Windblown and Company of the Cat will follow when they are finished recruiting. The Golden Company marches east as well, we are told. Yunkai also has an envoy in Volantis hiring swords. New Ghis has allied with Yunkai. The upshot of all this is that Dany is apparently going to have her hands full with all the mercenaries heading to Slavers Bay.

We also learn a bit about Quentyn. When he was first fostered at Yronwood he had fallen for Ynys, the eldest daughter. He never said anything, and eventually she was wed to Ser Ryon Allyrion, the heir of Godsgrace. After Ynys he had gotten his first kiss from one of the Drinkwater twins- then Gwyneth, all of twelve and Yronwood's youngest daughter, started following him around and saying she would marry him when she flowered, Most of this probably doesn't matter, but with Martin you never know- whenever he drops names you have to wonder if he's going to bring that person back up 500 pages later or something.

So now we have Quentyn Martell on his way to Dany, just as Tyrion is. This should be interesting when everyone gets to her! Quentyn is not at all sure she would have him, if not for the fact that she needs Dorne to win Westeros. That's the calculation Doran is making, clearly. They've had a hard road getting this far, and it doesn't look like it's going to get easier. We'll see what their plan is the next time we check in on Quentyn, I guess.



And now the most beautiful woman in the world was waiting in Meereen, and he meant to do his duty and claim her for his bride. She will not refuse me. She will honor the agreement. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The 100



The 100 is a postapocalyptic show on the CW, about a group of kids sent down to Earth to see if it is habitable after a nuclear war. Set 97 years after the war, thr only survivors of humanity are in orbit on a station called the Ark. The assumption is that the Earth is radioactive, but some hope that the surface may still be habitable. When conditions deteriorate on the station, the decision is made to send 100 criminals- who happen to be kids- down to see if conditions will support life. The kids are considered expendable, so if they don't survive- oh well.

Based on the books by Kass Morgan, my understanding is the show and the books differ considerably. Apparently the first book wasn't written yet when they started the show, so the showrunners went in their own direction. And that's probably good, as I've heard mixed things about the books. At any rate, the show is its own thing- and it's a lot of fun. When the kids hit Earth they find that it is indeed safe- at least from the radiation, which they have apprently adapted to while in orbit (or something). Clarke (played by Eliza Taylor) becomes the leader of sorts, although Bellamy takes charge initially.

Clarke and Bellamy clash at first, as most of the kids follow Bellamy's lead and consider themselves free now- and screw the Ark. Clarke knows though that the Ark has so long before life support runs out, so she fights to get Bellamy to prepare the way for the rest of their people to come down. Season one continues with the struggle, which only intensifies when they encounter the grounders- survivors who have been down on earth all along.

Season two is the better season, in my view. The survivors of the Ark are on Earth, but some of Clarke's group have been captured by Mount Weather, an outpost of survivors who are not adapted to the radiation and must therefore stat in their fortified bunker/ fallout shelter. Everything about the show is ramped up in season two- the stakes, the tension, and the choices. I mean really, this show will go dark and several times I was like they did not just do that. Well, yeah they did.


One thing about this show- the characters are always a mess. I mean literally- streaked with dirt and blood, always being attacked or trying to survive some crisis or other- there are times when I laugh at how messed up they looked- especially Clarke. There's no shortage of eye candy either- the stars are all attractive, the locations are at times stunning, and the plot is totally unpredictable. It reminds me a little of Game of Thrones, where characters you start out despising become favorites, or vice versa. Several characters I couldn't stand at the beginning of season one I was rooting for by season two, for example (Bellamy- I'm looking at you).

Clarke and Bellamy are the heart of the show, but all the leads are compelling really. Octavia is Bellamy's sister, who I really didn't like much at the beginning, but she grew on me. And Lexa, the leader of the Grounders in season two, was very popular with fans. She's awesome, and her relationship with Clarke gets interesting.



They need each other but at the same time their factions are so different- and you never know what's going to happen on this show. Oh, and the adults are almost always assholes- okay, not always, but they are so ruthless at times you just want them to bite it. Allegiances shift and sometimes someone you can't stand does something honorable, and you think they may be redeemed- sometimes they are, sometimes not. Like I said- you never really know on this show.

I can't recommend The 100 highly enough- it's fast paced, sometimes shocking, but always good. A bit unrealistic occasionally- but what show isn't? Season three is coming next year, and after the thrill ride of season two I can't wait.


Teaser Tuesday #48

TeaserTuesdays-ADailyRhythm3

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB at A Daily RhythmTo participate you grab your current read, open to a random page and share (2) teaser sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INLUDE SPOILERS (Make sure what you share doesn't give too much away. You don't want to ruin the book for others). Share the title and author. 

There, opening up before them, was an emerald- green lagoon framed by dramatic pinnacles rising out of the water. A serene white- sand beach curved between the pinnacles, backed by an impenetrable forest. 

The Blue: A Novel

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sunday Post #108



The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Well the first full week of September is here and gone. Last week I reviewed Eight Hundred Grapes, a book I won in a giveaway- and really liked. My readalong of A Dance With Dragons continued here. The weather this week started out hot, then cooled off the last few days- definitely feels like fall is in the air. I love this time of year- cider and fall colors and all the rest. There are some fun fall- themed readathons and such coming up- looking forward to those.

This week I'm not sure what I'll be reviewing yet- several books I've been looking forward to have come out, and a few others caught my eye. So I moving things around a bit. Wednesday will A Dance with Dragons day for the foreseeable future as I continue my re- read there.

Here are the week's pics.








BOOKISH NEWS

No bookish news this week, but some northern Michigan news.

We had some waterspouts in Lake Michigan this week- check out this link and video.

NEW ARRIVALS/ UPCOMING REVIEWS:
 Need Insurgent - DVD + Digital  The Adventuress (Lady Emily, #10)
Red Rackham's Treasure (Tintin, #12)


AROUN THE BLOGOSPHERE:

A Novel Start shares a literary map of Ireland. Very cool.

Amazon has a sneak peek of the new Colleen Gleason book- The Chess Queen Enigma- FREE for download.

Want to watch the original versions of the Star Wars movie? It's surprisingly difficult.

Ninja Librarian has a great flash fiction story- Dragon Library. This is fun...

From DeviantArt.





Whymermaids talks her Top 5 Book Cities



Now that I've been watching Arrow I'm looking forward to this new show.



Like ambient music or background noise? This is kinda neat.



You can also check out some other Star Wars ambience here (and Lord of the Rings also).

This is a funny scene from one of the best post apocalyptic films.



Love Star Wars? Check this out- the Empire has been spotted in Germany!



Oops, a TIE fighter crashed on the highway.



Mad Max: Fury Road is out on DVD





Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Dance with Dragons- Tyrion II

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)



Tyrion and Illyrio leave Pentos to meet with someone named Griff. Apparently Tyrion and Griff are to go to Volantis, another of the Free Cities, to welcome Daenerys and bring her to Westeros. Tyrion asks the merchant about Dany, and Illyrio admits that he didn't expect her to survive for long. He says that the night before her wedding he had to post guards on her door to keep Viserys, her brother, from deflowering her. They agree that Viserys was an idiot, but Illyrio says that Dany is a true Targaryen.

Tyrion wonders why Volantis, and Illyrio himself, would help Dany when she has smashed the slave trade, something they take part in. Illyrio replies that Viserys offered him Master of Coin once he took Westeros, and a lordship as well. But when pressed, he maintains that he has reasons other than personal gain for helping Daenerys. They then talk of varys. The whisperer was a prince of thieves in Myr, but when he came to Pentos he was beaten for being a eunuch. A young Illyrio protected him, and they came to an arrangement.

Varys spied on other thieves and served as a fence, while Illyrio would help the victims of those thieves regain their belongings. Varys trained orphan boys and girls to be his eyes and ears so they could steal information. Eventually they became famed enough that Illyrio married the daughter of the Prince of Pentos' cousin, and word of Varys' talents spread to Westeros, where the king became interested- a king who did not trust his son, wife, or Hand. Interesting here that we learn that Aerys did not trust Rhaegar?

As they travel down a Valyrian road Tyrion thinks it odd that the Valyrians came as far west as Dragonstone, but never went further into Westeros. They had dragons, after all. Illyrio tells Tyrion that Dany has probably left Meereen and they should find her in Volantis. Um, yeah. They're going to be surprised. Illyrio says they may have to adjust their plans, and that Griff will know what to do. Tyrion asks about Griff, and Illyrio says he trusts him as a brother. He also mentions that the Golden Company is heading for Volantis as well, to meet Dany. They have broken their contract with Myr.

COMMENTARY: 

We learn a lot about Varys - and also the Golden Company. The Golden Company is the finest of the mercenary companies, founded by Bittersteel, a bastard of Aegon the Unworthy. Bittersteel joined a rebellion against his trueborn half brother, but Blackfyre died and his son Bittersteel and their men fled across the Narrow Sea. They became mercenaries and Bittersteel formed the GC to keep them together. Illyrio says they will join Dany so they can go home.

The biggest question here is probably why Illyrio is helping Dany. It's hard to believe he's doing it out of the goodness of his heart, regardless of what he says. Illyrio tells Tyrion about his second wife Serra, who he met in Lys and brought home, eventually wedding her. She died when the grey death came to Pentos. The merchant mentions that Griff has a son, too- Young Griff. Who on earth is Griff, and why would his son matter?

This chapter is also a bit of a travelogue, with Tyrion musing on Valyrian roads and recognizing the history of the area they pass through (it is mentioned that they are in area called Andalos, where the Andals came from before they came to Westeros). This sets a pattern of showing us the eastern continent, which continues through the book.



I am traveling through years as well as leagues, Tyrion reflected, back through history to the days when dragons ruled the earth

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Eight Hundred Grapes

Eight Hundred Grapes

Eight Hundred grapes is a story about the choices we make in life. Georgia Ford is an attorney who is about to get married- but when she learns her fiance has a secret she heads home to Sonoma County and her parents' house. Her dad is a winemaker with a small vineyard, and she has come home to get her thoughts together. But she soon finds that not everything is rosy at home, and that some of her family have secrets of their own.

I liked this book a lot. Georgia and her brothers, Finn and Bobby, grew up around the vineyard- their dad practices biodynamic winemaking. Sonoma County and the nearby Napa Valley are presented in a convincing way- the vineyards, with early morning fog and then the sun burning it off, the wine culture of the area- are a highlight of the book. Finn and Bobby have their own issues, and the reader- and Georgia- soon learn everyone is a mess! Georgia has to decide if she wants to go ahead with her wedding, and their subsequent planned move to London. As she learns more about her fiance Ben, and the secrets he's been keeping, she realizes that there may be no right or wrong choices- there are just different paths, and of course it's not always clear which one is best.

The family dynamics are fun, and I can see this as a fun movie (and it has been optioned, so maybe we'll get a chance to see it). Georgia has a hard time deciding what she wants, but when she finds her father's way of life threatened  that adds another complication to her thoughts. And of course Ben shows up, making things even more fun. The story plays out over a few days at the family home, and I really enjoyed getting to know the family members and their spouses. Choices are made and there are laughs along with the tears- and I did enjoy the humor, as well as a few twists that happened that kept the pace flowing. This was a good story about second chances, choices and the consequences of decisions- and about family too. Oh, and wine! A great go along with a fire and a glass of wine, if you're so inclined.

Finn turned back for just a second. "Hey, Georgia..." he said. 
"Yeah?" 
"You know that you're still wearing your wedding dress, yes?" he said. 

Teaser Tuesday

TeaserTuesdays-ADailyRhythm3

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB at A Daily RhythmTo participate you grab your current read, open to a random page and share (2) teaser sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INLUDE SPOILERS (Make sure what you share doesn't give too much away. You don't want to ruin the book for others). Share the title and author. 

"I'm the only one left holding a grudge. They say it's good to let your grudges go, but I don't know. "

Big Little Lies

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Sunday Post #107



The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

This has been a quiet week, not much happening on the blog. I did a bit of reading, finishing up Eight Hundred Grapes and I'll be reviewing that on Tuesday. I will say it's a very good read. I also had another readalong post for A Dance with Dragons- you can find that here. And I'm back to Arrow on Netflix- the new shows are in October so I have catching up to do. 

I was happy to see that Sci Fi Month is returning in November, hosted by Rinn Reads. This was a blast last year and if you're interested, take a look. It will be fun. This week I'll have my COYER wrap up post as well.

Here are some more pics, to celebrate the end of summer.  










BOOKISH NEWS

This week another recipe from Brys Estate Winery and Vineyard- grilled romaine Michigan sweet corn.  

I posted this a couple weeks ago but got a good response, and it is kinda fun. The Press Start to Play choose your own adventure game.

* You have received a package containing Press Start to Play, a groundbreaking new book of stories about video games *YOUR MISSION: Survive the work day so you can go home and read it. Do you accept? Just press START to play.

CURRENTLY READING: 

Eight Hundred Grapes

NEW ARRIVALS/ UPCOMING REVIEWS:
 Need Insurgent - DVD + Digital   Red Rackham's Treasure (Tintin, #12)


AROUN THE BLOGOSPHERE:

Downright Dystopian reviews Press Start to Play

Paper Fury has a nice tutorial on how to edit using Picmonkey. 

Letters of Note has an interesting exchange between Edgar rice Burroughs and a fan. From 1931- worth a read! 

Whymermaids talks her Top 5 Literary Couples.