A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I talk a lot today...especially about books!

Hey everyone!

It's Sunday, which would be a weird day for me to do my blog posts given that I usually work on Sundays.  Except I don't work Sunday anymore.  Thanks to my awesome manager, I now have Fridays and Sundays off and work on Saturdays.  I've been trying to get off Sundays since April - when we went outbound/inbound mix at the call center and I started getting the "Why the f*** are you calling me on the Lord's Day?" comments screamed at me - and we finally got them to move me.  This means I don't get two days off in a row, but I'll trade that for an end to the tirades about calling on a day normally reserved for religious observances by a large portion of the population.

One of the awesome things about not working on Sundays is I'm finally able to take part in Twitter chats that I've wanted to get involved in but due to my job haven't been able to.  The first chat is #StoryCraft.  It's usually hosted by @AuthorKimKoning (although this week's was quite ably managed by @SheviStories and @Fireflyfly), and it's at 4 pm MST.  This week's was on world building and as that's one of my favorite topics to talk about, it of course was an amazing start to my return to the #StoryCraft chat.

The other chat I only recently found out about that I checked out today is #fantasychat.  I don't know much about it, other than there was a great deal of discussion on magic today, but I'm going back next week to check it out even more.  It looks like one of the facilitators is @marilynmuniz.  The group who chats seems friendly, and I hope for some more interesting conversations.

Today Himself found out YouTube has not only denied him access to his account but someone flagged him for copyright violation on music he composed himself.  Back when we still had the iMac, we had GarageBand and a few other programs that Himself used to create a handful of techno songs.  He put two of them up on YouTube.  He got an email today saying that one of his songs had been flagged as a copyright violation by a company called Rumblefish and that Himself would now see ads popping up on his video because Rumblefish wasn't asking to have the video taken down.  Those videos have been up since January of last year.  When Himself tried to sign into his YouTube account to do something about it, it came up that the account was closed.  When I go onto YouTube I can find his account no problem.  But on "Timeless Trial", the video Rumblefish said violated their copyright, there is indeed an ad stuck on the video.  Both of us are rather angry at YouTube for this blatant violation of Himself's copyright, and the fact that this now prevents him from utilizing his own music to create an income for himself.

I went to the Rumblefish website.  Their FAQ says he can file a dispute, and he plans on doing that.  But he's still pissed that they decided to slap an ad on his music & claim that he was using their copyrighted material when he did no such thing.  It's just more of a hassle than we want to deal with right now.

Something a little lighter.  I started reading e-books with the intent of posting reviews of them up here.  This week I thought I'd introduce you to a few more of my favorites.  First on the list is Child of the Ghosts by Jonathan Moeller.  Here's the summary as taken from the Amazon page:

When her life is torn apart by sorcery and murder, young Caina Amalas joins the mysterious Ghosts, the legendary spies and assassins of the Emperor of Nighmar. She learns the secrets of disguise and stealth, of assassination and infiltration.

But even that might not be enough to save her.

For the evil that destroyed her family seeks to devour the entire world...

I loved Caina.  She's a smart, spirited girl who starts out as a sheltered bookworm and is thrust into a world of violence and magic that utterly destroys her life.  She is rescued by the mysterious Ghosts - the Emperor's hidden assassins and spies - and becomes one of them so she can avenge her father's murder.  She grows and changes during the book, making several decisions that alter her perceptions of the world.  There are a few editing mistakes, as I've come to expect, but they didn't draw me out of the story.  This is the first book in a trilogy and is still up on Amazon for free.  The other two books in the series Ghost in the Flames and Ghost in the Blood are both $2.99.  I hope to eventually get both of these as well because I want to continue with Caina's story.

The other books I'd like to discuss were written by my friend KD (@KDSarge on Twitter...follow her, she's awesome).  Those would be the three books in her 'Dreamverse - Knight Errant, His Faithful Squire, and  Queen's Man.

First, let's talk about Knight Errant.  Here's the blurb from Amazon:

From pickpocket and con artist to little brother and trusted comrade is a tough transition, but Taro is making it. His new sister, former Marine Eve Marcori, promised his dead mother she'd "look after" him. To her that means family, home--her interstellar freighter--and a solid future. In four years she has trained Taro extensively; the next step is college. Taro would rather be shot, but he never forgets his debt to Eve, so he means to honor her plans or die in the attempt. 

When Eve rescues former joy-boy and current layabout Rafe Ballard, death seems the likely outcome. Rafe is so apparently useless that Eve calls him 'the baggage' and appoints Taro his custodian. Irritated into disobedience by his carefree charge, Taro tries to get rid of Rafe. Instead he gets them both kidnapped by the jealous husband Rafe was fleeing. Though they are off-planet before Taro can act, his training may be enough to bring them safely through--but now he has bigger problems. Forced into partnership--and freedom--with Rafe, Taro begins to see him differently. Kind, funny, and caring, Rafe is everything Taro never knew he wanted. And all he can't have. Eve's plans leave no room for a playboy boyfriend who can never measure up, and Taro can't let her down. 

Caught between the sister he'd die for and the man he's beginning to live for, Taro decides it's time to start making his own plans. And if the new skills aren't enough, he'll give the old ones a try.

Originally I got the book from KD to read and eventually review for her when she first published it back in 2010.  When I got my Kindle I actually went out and purchased the book from Amazon (it's only .99), mainly because my computer ate my copy of KE and I wanted to read it again.  Let me tell you, this woman can WRITE.

Here's my original review:

I could not...absolutely COULD NOT...walk away from my screen until I finished this. I was expecting good. I've read some of K.D.'s stuff before. But this went beyond what I'd read and elevated to pure awesomeness. This came at a good time for me, since I'd already been having a rough time and needed something to make me smile. This did just that.

Taro is a young man torn between his duty to his sister and his desire for a future of his own choosing. When the obnoxious piece of "baggage" named Rafe enters his life, it gets a whole lot harder for Taro to think straight. Especially when "straight" isn't what he wants to be. Being kidnapped, assaulted, thrown out of just about every bar he's ever been to and finding out just how badly jealousy hurts, Taro evolves into a bloody awesome young man.

Taro has to learn to stand up for himself, to get past his emotions, and to finally confront the past and present to secure his future. This was an amazingly well written story.

I don't have much else to add here, other than each time I read it I find myself rooting for Taro all over again.  Seriously, go check it out.

Next book in the set was His Faithful Squire.  Here's the synopsis off the Amazon page:

Former joy-boy Rafe Ballard will miss living on the freighter Pendragon's Dream. Under the watchful eye of Captain Eve Marcori, Marine veteran, no one beat him. He ate well, his life was rarely in danger, and—most important by far—he spent much of his days and all the glorious nights with his beloved Taro. Unfortunately, energetic Taro wants to take on the galaxy without his sister the captain standing by, and Rafe won't be left behind.

He's learned enough to get a real job so he won't be a burden. Taro is beyond capable of keeping him safe. What could go wrong?

With a Marcori in the picture, lots. By the explosive end of his first job, Taro needs back-up. Rafe is all there is.

Hedonist, layabout, and mooch he may be, but Rafe is also deeply in love. For Taro he'll surprise everyone—especially himself.

I'd post my original review here too but it wasn't all that well written.  Let me just say this: wow.  Taro and Rafe leaped off the page as realistic characters.  You get to see a side of Rafe that you didn't get to see in Knight Errant, and you get to see him evolve and change from a layabout bit of fluff to someone who will make one hell of a partner for Taro.   Rafe is actually a fairly intelligent man who has been told all of his life that his only purpose was to make others happy.  Sometimes he can go overboard with this, sacrificing his own happiness in the process.  He learns that he has a right to be happy, that he can be happy with Taro, and that letting someone know what he wants isn't as hard as he thought.

Finally, Queen's Man.  This was another 'read and review' copy from KD.  Joss is very different from Taro and Rafe.  Here's the description from Amazon again:

Joss Ravid works security for a major tribe on Kari's Star, but he'll tell anyone that he doesn't actually care if the ruling families kill each other off. He’s not interested in politics; he just likes getting paid to hit jerks, and also the many opportunities for hitting on straight men. The Galactic-imposed Interdiction may keep Kari citizens stuck on their war-torn world, but Joss has connections. If the situation gets too messy, he can leave whenever he wants.

He’ll also tell anyone he doesn’t care about girls, but that doesn’t stop him from rescuing 12-year-old Paige Carlyle, newly arrived on the planet and newly orphaned by tribe violence.

If Joss were making a “don’t care” list, though, at the very top would be Zeke Cayden, Heir to powerful Tribe Cayden. Never mind that he and Joss were lovers; that’s long gone. Saving Zeke’s life when the shooting starts is just business. Some tribes don’t want peace, and killing a Galactic citizen like Paige—or controlling Cayden through the Heir—would serve them well.

So Joss is on the run, risking his life, his pretty face, and his precious liberty to keep Paige and Zeke alive and the peace plan that can lift the Interdiction on track. Why? Because…how often does a guy get to piss off half a planet while displaying his talents for woodcraft, cross-dressing, and scaring straight men?

When Paige is kidnapped, though, the lives of Paige and Zeke, the leadership of Cayden and the future of Kari’s Star all ride on the wrinkled shoulders of Joss' work suit and he has to decide—does he care, or not?

And here's the review I wrote for that one:

KD offered me the chance to read an ARC of this book and I took it. I've loved her other two books - KNIGHT ERRANT and HIS FAITHFUL SQUIRE - so I was interested in seeing how Joss' story would play out. I wasn't disappointed.

Joss is a chaotic bundle of energy with little respect for authority and a big ego. When he inadvertently witnesses a murder and an attempted abduction, Joss finds himself put in the position of defending a damsel in distress - something difficult for him since he doesn't really care for girls. Paige's continued existence is key in the struggle for the removal of the Interdiction on Kari's Star, so Joss puts his freedom and his life on the line to protect her and Zeke, the annoyingly good looking heir to the Tribe Cayden, when a situation arises that forces the three of them to go on the run.

Initially I wasn't sure if I would like Joss since he was completely different from any of the other characters KD Sarge has written about previously. But as the story unfolded I actually found that he grew on me and by the end of the story I adored him as much as I adore Taro and Rafe.

KD has written a classic theme in sci fi, a war torn world and a single hero being selected to defend the key to peace, but has given it her own twist. Her humor is very much in evidence in this book and the character development is dynamic. Joss' world is vibrant and fascinating, and the characters that populate it move the story along at a brisk pace.

Seriously, just go buy/read KD and Jonathan's stuff.  They're both awesome writers (I don't know Jonathan personally but his writing speaks for itself) and they have some very appealing characters for you to fall in love with.

Amazon link for Child of the Ghosts
Amazon link for Knight Errant
Amazon link for His Faithful Squire
Amazon link for Queen's Man

And as always, if you don't have a Kindle, Amazon has a lovely set of free downloads so you can read Kindle books on your Mac, PC, Android, and iPhone.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, I like the sounds of that Ghosts series!

    Also, THANKS! :)