Thursday, November 28, 2013

Follow Friday: Thanksgiving Edition

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!


What's your favorite Thanksgiving Day food?

I think I gotta go with the pies! I usually contribute side dishes and desserts to the family dinner.  (Our family dinners include 30+ people). I did the classic banana and chocolate cream, plus my famous pumpkin desert. I've never been big on pumpkin pie. (Yes, throw tomatoes if you must) Having a sweet tooth, I just need sweeter things in order to consider them a real desert, so I made up my own pumpkin desert recipe, and the entire fam loves it! It's a layer of graham cracker crust, a cream cheese layer over that, and then the pumpkin/pudding layer. Basically it's vanilla pudding, flavored with pumpkin puree, and heavy on the spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. So, it's a sweet and spicy pumpkin desert, cooled by the cream cheese, and it's a huge hit! That's what's in the square pan. And then there's the peanut butter cream pie. That's actually different this year. I usually contribute a peanut-butter pie, but I used a different recipe this year.

So, what's your favorite Thanksgiving food?

Thoughts for Thursday: Thanksgiving Edition

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Thoughts for Thursday is a new feature hosted by Musings on Fantasia and LKHill.  In this meme, we share thoughts or quotes that we know or have recently come across. Each week there is a specific subject or theme. These can be quotes from books, quotes by famous people, (quotes by YOU, perhaps ;D). Anything from anywhere is game, though we do ask that you keep your quote to a few sentences at most. Don't quote, for example, entire passages of a book or essay. These can be funny quips, cool sayings, hair-raising antidotes, movie lines, any kind of quote you can think of!

Just have fun, collect awesome sayings by awesome people, and try to be inspired!

Welcome to the Thanksgiving edition of this feature! Here are some great thoughts on the holiday. Feel free to chime in with your own! I'd love to hear'em! :D (For even more quotes, visit my other blog.)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Catching Fire Film + NaNoWriMo Updates with 3 Days to Go

With only three days left in the month, I've written 46,453 words in November, which puts me at 60,147 words for my novel overall. I have three days to write 3,547 words. I don't think I'll have a problem hitting it, but there is a little thing called Thanksgiving tomorrow, so wish me luck!

And good luck to everyone else finishing up their own NaNo projects.


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Catching Fire Movie Review

*No Spoilers! I promise!*
I went and saw Catching Fire over the weekend, as many people did. I had wanted to re-read it before seeing the film, just because it's been a few years since I read it, but I didn't get around to it. Not only did I not have much time (NaNo and all) but I couldn't seem to get my hands on a copy. I know I have at least three family members who own it, but no one seems to know where their copies are. With Christmas on the horizon, I'm trying to (temporarily of course! :D) cut down on my book spending.

Plot: Since I didn't get to re-read the book, I'm hazy on any smaller details that might have been lost or changed in the book to movie transition. But I can tell you that, for the most part, they stuck to the plot very well. All the big elements I was hoping for were there, and I didn't see any major deviations. They did, unfortunately, cut all of Haymitch's back story. Disappointing, yes, as it helps the reader/viewer understand his anger toward the games more fully, but it actually didn't bother me much. Granted, that may be because I've read the books and feel like I already know the character pretty well, but I asked my sisters, who haven't read the books, about it, and they didn't seem too bothered by it either. While they reported that they'd be interested to hear more back story, they said the fact that Haymitch is angry, that he connects heavily with Katniss and Peeta, etc., his back story can be guessed at. So, this particular omission didn't seem to be a problem for most moviegoers.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Lord of Chaos

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!



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This week's teasers are from Robert Jordan's Lord of Chaos. I'm not technically reading anything this month, due to NaNo, but I am keeping up with my WoT read-along. So, here are this week's teasers.
"She was just at the point of shouting again, louder, when a rope ladder uncoiled down the side of the ship. No answering call came from the deck, yet that seemed invitation enough. Egwene climbed. It was difficult--not the climb, but keeping her skirts decently close; she could see why the Sea Folk women wore trousers--but she finally reached the rail...
She opened her mouth, and a dark hand flashed in front of her eyes with a gleaming dagger. Before she could scream, the blade sliced through the ropes of the ladder. Still clinging to the useless thing, she plummeted."
What are you reading this week?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Inspiring Stories for Monday!

Happy Monday, Everyone! Seeing as how this is the final week of NaNoWriMo, and I'm kind of jumping around for content, I've decided to just post a couple of links and, of course, my NaNo updates. Check out my OTHER BLOG for a super creepy unsolved crime tidbit that's less than a year old!

1) I posted this story on Facebook, but it's just so dang inspiring, I think everyone should read it. Perhaps it will help us be more grateful and more giving this Thanksgiving!



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2) If you want some great Thanksgiving stories, check out this anthology: Thanksgiving Tales, edited by Brian Jaffe. I don't make any money on its sales, but I do have a story in there called Hill vs. Hill vs. Hill. It's about my family's annual (and somewhat hysterical) Thanksgiving football game.

3) NaNo Updates. As of today, I've written 39,460 words for NaNo, which puts me at 53,154 words total for my book, Desolate Mantle. I officially have 5 days to hit 50,000 words, which means I have to write roughly 10,000 words this week. Wish me luck! :D

What did you think of the typhoon stori?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lord of Chaos Read-Along, Week 6


Welcome to week 6 of our Lord of Chaos Read-Along! This week, we read chapters 25-30. Keep in mind that everything in this section as well as everything that came before is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk!


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1. The Aes Sedai embassy, even when not meeting Rand, appears to be busy with pointless channeling and undermining Rand's noble support. With the first meeting in mind, what do you think their ultimate intentions are? How will they go about achieving them?

Obviously they have an agenda. And a plan...Yeah, I totally know what it is, so I won't say much. Except that there is a plan and you're all going to hate these ladies a lot more real soon. :D And yes, their channeling for 'preparedness' by going through novice exercises does seem a bit ridiculous. I'm all about being prepared, but they're announcing their presence, which helps people like Egwene hide from them more effectively, and it seems to me that ladies like this--ones with an agenda--could find better uses for their time, but maybe that's just me.

2.
Egwene and Gawyn
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Egwene and Gawyn finally have their moment. What will the future hold for these star-crossed lovers on opposite sides of a rift? Will Egwene manage to convince him of the truth? Will she be discovered by the Aes Sedai or can they both manage to elope?


Again, I can't say much. I'm sure it'll be harder than either of them thinks it is. All this sneaking around is bound to be noticed at some point. And, let's face it: there are still eight books to read in the series, so we can't be solving all kinds of problems yet, right? I did love this, though. Just the right amount of awkwardness and then kissing. Good stuff.


Athan Miere
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3. The Sea Folk are back and they're hounding Rand for a meeting. Evidently they also have a role to play, but how do they fit in?


All the cultures in Randland have had some inkling or prophecies about Rand. The Sea Folk and their Coramoor prophecies certainly qualify. I figure, if everyone has a role to play in the Last Battle, surely Rand could make use of people who can navigate the seas. What exactly their role will be and how loyal they will be to Rand remains to be seen.

4.
A Gray Man
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A Gray Man makes an attempt on Rand's life, and Taim just happens to stop by the palance exactly then. Fortuitous timing or something else? Could there be a connection between this attack and the earlier one in the streets, which was apparently orchestrated by Padan Fain?


I can't remember for sure on a detail like this, but I don't think Rand should rule anything out. Especially Taim. In law enforcement, cops are always immediately suspicious of whoever finds the body or happens first on the crime because so often the perpetrators like to inject themselves into the investigation. We could definitely be seeing the same psychology with Taim. If the Gray Man had been successful, Taim would have been there to see it. If not (as was the case) he could--in his way of thinking--ingratiate himself to Rand by "saving his life." 

5.
(Moiraine), Siuan and Leane
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Siuan and Leane are finally healed, and Nynaeve makes headlines! Now that they're back in the fold, do you see them trying to take over the show again? And what now to do about Logain?


I can definitely see them trying to take over, but whether they'll actually be able to is another story. They aren't nearly as strong in the Power as they once were, and we've seen over and over again what sticklers the Aes Sedai are for their hierarchy of saidar strength. I did like seeing them making friends with Nynaeve and Elayne. As much fun as it is to see these ladies always at one another's throats, I think it's high time they all realized they're on the same side and worked together to achieve their goals.


As for Logain, I have to agree with the one Aes Sedai (forget which one) who pointed out how hypocritical it would be for them to continue dealing with men who can channel as they always have, when they are also supposedly supporting Rand, who has a school for those same men. I completely understand them being somewhat afraid of Taim, but his reaction when Nynaeve Healed him was quite telling, I thought, too. She said he pushed against her shield, but that seemed kind of like a gut reaction. After that, he was calm, collected, and even polite. Granted, as he pointed out, he was surrounded by too many women to possibly overcome, but still. If he and Taim had switched places, I doubt Taim would have been so easy going about things.

6. A couple of baddies resurface: Padan Fain in Caemlyn and Aran'gar in Salidar. One as crazy as ever, and the other the calculating villain we've come to expect from the forsaken. What do you think Aran'gar's orders are? And could Fain have a plan in mind that's more specific than just… being himself?

Aran'gar
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Padan Fain
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Aran'gar wants a permanent place in Salidar, which means she wants to spy on the Salidar Aes Sedai--report to the DO, perhaps?--and perhaps even influence them. As for Fain, I think there's always more to him than he lets on, even to himself. He seems like the kind of guy that's so nuts, even he doesn't know why he does what he does--and therefore neither will we--until he does it. But, I guess we'll see. :D






Other posts to check out:     Dab of Darkness     Coffee, Cookies & Chili Peppers

What did everyone else think of this section?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

5 Tips for Kicking NaNoWriMo's Butt! (10 Days Left!)

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We're more than half way through the month and, if many of you are like me, your behind on your word count and overwhelmed at thoughts of catching up and/or trying to finish your novel in the next 10 days. I feel ya. I can't seem to get caught up to what my word count needs to be, but I'm trying hard! So, here are some tips for pushing through and hitting your goals.

1. Re-structure your goals. Especially if you're behind, look at what you have left to do and what the rest of your month looks like. Maybe adjust the daily word count or try to squeeze in some extra sessions. 

2. Re-think your schedule. You might consider going without a couple of hours sleep here or there, or just cancelling something else you have planned. If so far, something or some time you've planned to write didn't work out, there's a good chance it won't work out again over the next couple of weeks. 


3. Review your outline. Sometimes, no matter how much passion you have for your project, after days of wallowing in it and forcing words to come, you can get a little sick of your story. I find that going over my outline (even if it's just in my head) and picturing the story can get me hyped up about it again. Which translates into more words.

4. Remind yourself of your end-game. Maybe the next 10 Days will be difficult, but you will be 50,000...lets emphasize that: 50,000 words closer to finishing your book. Keep your eye on the prize!

5. Ask for family and friend support. Tell your spouse or kids not to let you get distracted until your words for today are written. Have them help keep you accountable. You could always bribe the kiddos with something like, "we can't go to the park until mommy/daddy finishes their work." Maybe that will get you some quiet time. You never know!

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6. Don't be afraid to reward yourself. I'm certainly not above bribing myself to hit my word count. If I find my motivation lacking, I tell myself I can eat some chocolate, but not until I hit my daily goal. It really does work. Find out what works for you. Food? A walk? A favorite TV show? Do what it takes to hit your word count.

7. Give yourself a break. I don't know how everyone else is structuring their NaNo, but I don't write every single day. But if you DO, and one morning you just feel like you can't, and no motivation helps, don't be afraid to take a day off. Granted, you may have to write more later to make up your missed words, but taking a day off may re-charge your batteries enough to make it happen. Besides, burning yourself out completely won't get your novel written any sooner.

8. Watch this video. It's geared toward athletics, but will make you feel like you can do anything and everything on earth. (courtesy of youtube.com)


9. And this one from the LDS Storymakers Conference! It will make you want to write. A lot. FOREVER!!! (courtesy of youtube.com)


10.  Just do it! Yeah, it's the Nike logo. And lots of athletes use it. But in truth, it goes for any goal and any profession. No matter how hard it is or how much you need a break, just stop complaining and do it.

Do YOU have any tips for pushing through NaNoWriMo?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Recommend

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Top 10 Books I'd Recommend to Someone Who's Never Read Before

When I was a teenager, I did a summer babysitting job for a couple I went to church with. The woman was an avid reader and she told me her husband, when she met him, had no concept of pleasure reading. Sure he read books for school and work, but he was a computer engineer of some kind, so they were mostly technical manuals. She got to introduce him to reading fiction just for fun and I could tell she had all kinds of fun doing it and discussing books with him. He read stuff like Jurassic Park and then they would discuss it. 

So, I thought I'd do a list of books to give someone who's never read much of anything before. I'd try to hit most major genres, and give them books that would give them an idea of what to expect in any given genre, so they could decide what their tastes are and move forward. For many of these I've listed more than one book because it really depends on the person. I'd make different recommendations depending on whether it was a kid or an adult, a man or a woman, and also depending on their personality and attention span. In short, to make someone love reading, one size does not fit all, so bear with me.

10. Either Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card or Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein.--One of these is more of a children's novel, while the other is adult, but both engender the classic, military-space-opera aspect of science fiction. And both are equally fabulous.





















9. A Cry in the Night by Mary Higgins-Clark--again, this would depend on what type of mystery you judge your studen to love best. There are so many types of mystery out there. Personally, I prefer detective mysteries, but Higgins-Clark has been called the queen of suspense. Always fun, well-written mysteries, and this was always one of my faves. SUCH a crazy ending! Where are the Children is also a great one.





















8. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer--Okay, obviously some people will disagree with me here. But whether or not Twilight is your cut of tea, it IS very indicative of what most parnormal books are: angsty teen romance, dark mood, handful of paranormal creatures interacting. You have to admit, if someone wants to know what the paranormal genre FEELS like, Twilight is as good a book to demonstrate it as any.



7. The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran--Historical fiction would really depend on the person. I'd probably ask them what time period they are interested in and recommend something based around that era. But, for the sake of the list, I totally love Michelle Moran! I've only read a few of her books, but they're always fabulous. The kind you can't put down until last page. If you need a histfic recommendation, she's it!


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6. The Road by Cormac McCarthy--classic dystopian. Dark? Yes. Tragic? Oh yeah. But perfectly indicative of the human condition and why dystopian is currently taking the literary world by storm. I'd like to read it again, actually.


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5. Forgive My Fins series by Tera Lynn Childs--this is exactly the genre most guys wouldn't enjoy, as we're talking about light, fun, romantic, beach-type reads, but I just can't rave enough about how much I loved this series. So fun, and so entertaining!


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4. IT by Stephen King for an adult--this horror book may be both long and creepy, but it's an amazingly well-crafted story, with unforgettable characters. There's a reason it's a classic. It's kind of a horror masterpiece. Alternately, if you're not into the R-rated stuff, go for Pitch Green by The Brothers Washburn. I was so impressed with this book. Such a great YA fantasy. Totally family friendly but with plenty of horror and suspense!





















3. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens or The Once and Future King by T.H. White--to get a feel for one of the great, immortal classics.






















2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K.Rowling--you could call this middle grade or just another fantasy, but let's face it, Harry Potter's in a class by itself, and everyone should at least try out the first book. Most will keep reading. :D
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1. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan--epic fantasy, my personal favorite, of course. This book is just the first in the series, but it embodies epic fantasy wonderfully: the ensemble of characters, the journey/quest, the monsters and good vs. evil. Gotta love it!



How about you? What kind of Top Ten List did you do this week?

Attention Historical Fiction Lovers + NaNoWirMo Updates!

Happy Monday, Everyone! 

I have two orders of business today 1) NaNoWriMo Updates and 2) an invitation for historical fiction lovers!

1) NaNoWriMo is going great! I was going to give a numbers update, but I didn't get as much writing done on Desolate Mantles over the weekend as I would have liked, so I think I'll wait until tomorrow. Hehe. I've had both troubles and good things, so I suppose I'll get a post or two out of my first NaNoWriMo experience. Stay tuned!

2) As many of you know, I recently got the cover art for my forthcoming historical fiction set in Russia in the middle ages (see cover below). Citadels of Fire is set to hit shelves in May, but I should be getting ARCs for it in the next couple of months, and I'll be sending out requests for reviews.

If anyone wants to beat the hype and would like the chance to review Citadels of Fire, send me an email at lkhillbooks@gmail.com and I'll be sure to include you when the ARCs arrive. Below is a blurb so you can decide if it's for you. I look forward to hearing from anyone interested!

Well, have a great Monday, and a great week, everyone! Happy NaNoWriMo!


In a world where power is paid for in blood, no one ever aspires to more than what they were born to, and danger hides in plain sight, Inga, a maid in the imperial Russian palace, must find the courage to break the oppressive chains she’s been bound with since birth.

Inga’s life in sixteenth century Russia is bleak until a man she crossed paths with as a child returns to the Kremlin.  Taras is convinced his mother’s death when he was a boy was no mere accident and has returned to try and discover what really happened, all during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the most brutal and notorious ruler ever to sit on the throne of Russia.

While Taras only finds lies and silence where he seeks truth, Inga struggles with the feelings of oppression that have plagued her for most of her life.  Taras gives her the chance to leave her loneliness behind forever, but the cost and future of such a liaison is uncertain and Inga is afraid.

Up against the social confines of the time, the shadowy conspiracies that cloak their history, and the sexual politics of the Russian imperial court, Inga and Taras must discover their past, plan for their future, and survive the brutality that permeates life within the four walls that tower over them, or they may end up like so many citizens of ancient Russia: nothing but flesh and bone mortar for the stones of the Kremlin wall.

How's everyone's Monday going?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lord of Chaos Read-Along, Week 5


Welcome to week 5 of our Lord of Chaos Read-Along! For today we read chapters 17-24. Remember that everything in this section as well as everything that's come before is fair game for *spoilers* so read at your own risk!

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1. We get to see a little of how Cairhien is working with Berelain in charge. Wetlanders trying to apply ji’e’toh: can this end well? What did you think of Rand’s decision to execute Mangin?

I don't see what harm it can do on it's own. The only way it would end badly is if the Aiel get pissed, decide they've had enough, and start killing everyone who's doing it wrong. Granted, that may be a real possibility. This shows Jordan's genius-of-observation skills. People do this all the time! They take something they like, apply to themselves, and most often get it completely wrong, even though they think they have it right. They see someone work out on TV, for instance, and decide they like the idea. So they do fifty crunches and then don't understand why they don't look like that fitness model. This is just human nature, applied to Randland.

The Mangin situation was a tough one. I can see it both ways. If Rand had shown clemency, I don't think many would have judged him for it, but he was also right that if he didn't enforce his own rules, other nobles would see it as weakness and try to find a way to exploit it. All rulers have to deal with that. Doesn't make it pleasant, though.

Not the best pic, but it's supposed to be Erith
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2. Ogiers, Shadar Logoth and a missing Aiel, oh my! How great was it to meet some more Ogiers, especially Elder Haman and Loial’s mother? Do you think it was wise for Rand to take so many Aiel with them? Oh, and how do you think Loial will react to his reunion with Erith?

Yeah for Ogiers! I loved seeing the two lady-Ogiers ganging up on Elder Haman. Sort of felt bad for him, actually, but it was fun to watch. Also interesting to see him go back to Shadar Logoth. Probably not where anyone expected the story to go. I don't think Rand had much choice in taking so many with him, as the Maidens are prickly as ever about their honor. This missing-Maiden plot will actually come back into the story, but not for a while. As for Loial, well, he didn't seem too terribly averse to Erith herself, but he really doesn't want to get married and go back to the Stedding, so I imagine he'll have mixed feelings.

Mat and his men
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3. A group of dead Tinkers, complete with ominous message, and Travelling groups of Aiel assassins. Any suggestions as to who is responsible for these two incidents and do you think that the message was written by the Tinker or one of the attackers? Was anybody surprised that Olver sneaked away from his foster home and followed Mat?

Hard to say, at this point. The dead Tinkers were a situation obviously aimed at Rand. We haven't seen any of the Forsaken commanding Aiel thus far, but we have seen that they are Darkfriends among them, just the same as any other nation, so really they could have been sent by anyone. Mat was sure a gateway was used, and, other than Rand, the Forsaken are--as far as we know--the only ones who know how to weave them. If the Tinker did write the message himself, chances are it wasn't at his own behest. We've seen the Forsaken control others through Compulsion, so they probably could have made him write whatever they wanted.

Mat seems to think the assassination attempt on him was also due to Rand, and perhaps it is, but I don't think Mat realizes how important he is yet, how much o a threat to dark side of the Source. So again, it's anyone's guess at this point. And we had to figure we'd see Olver again, right? He seemed too defiant at that first meeting to just meekly go to a new home.

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Sammael and Graendal
4. Sammael tells Graendal that he has a truce with Rand and she actually believes him. Is she having a really bad day or has Scarface suddenly got a lot better at play-acting? Also, why does he want her to believe that he has a truce?

Graendal resisted believing Sammael for quite some time, so I don't think it was her having an off day. Something has changed and made Sammael more determined, which has made him better at manipulation. Not sure why, specifically, he wants her to believe that, other than to throw her off her game. He wants her to think he's got the upper hand, somehow. But, given how bumbling he's been in the past, I can't help but think he must have some kind of plan now to take this approach.

5. We know that Rhuarc had to give her a good whipping in Tear, but do you have any idea why the Wise Ones have adopted Berelain like a daughter? Does she seem to be a good choice as interim ruler in Cairhien?

I think Berelain just knows how to endear herself to them. Most wetlanders either don't like them or are afraid of them. While she isn't under their authority, as Egwene is, Berelain submits to their advice and treats them with respect. I think this just makes them like her a lot. I think it's kind of funny that they think she's such a sweet, steady, wise woman, and it's mostly because she agrees with them. Very human. As a woman, I never and never will respect Berelain. As a ruler, she's not half bad. As Rand says, she's been ruling most of her life, so she knows what she's doing and is quite practical. And she seems loyal to Rand. Her only agenda was to protect her own country, and Rand has already promised her protection so long as she is loyal, so it's in her best interest to make sure she rules well in his name. I don' t think he could ask for a better situation at this juncture.

Red Ajah Banner
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6. The envoy of Aes Sedai from Elaida has arrived in Cairhien. What do you think about the inclusion of a Red sister in the group? There are six that Egwene spots in the street, but do you think there are more lurking about, possibly another seven?

I think the inclusion of the Red Sister is, once again, showing Elaida's stupidity. Granted, Alviarin may be as much responsible for who is in the the envoy, but certainly Elaida at least feels like she hand-picked them. If she was the kind of Amyrlin who truly wanted to make peace with Rand and work with him toward preparing for the Last Battle (we already know she's not!) then the best thing to do would be to not include a Red sister, as a show of good faith. Instead, she's doing this in-your-face challenge, thinking it will assert her dominance or superiority or something. She's asking for Rand to shoot bale fire in the general direction of Tar Valon, if you ask me. 

With Elaida (and more so Alviarin) it's always best to assume there's more trouble you can't see than that you can. This is sort of the beginning of the end--uh, of this book, I mean. Having these ladies arrive will start to push us toward the end of this book and, let's just say it probably won't be pleasant.

Extras: 

I thought Egwene walking around with that happy-go-lucky grin on her face, and laughing randomly at things was funny. Or creepy. Glad to see she's come back to the city, though.

Seeing Mat get stitched up after the battle was entertaining too. I had to laugh as he, once again, showed his softer side by doting on Olver, and then berated himself for "saddling" himself with a child. Dude, mood swing.

How did everyone else like this section?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Follow Friday: When the Film Rocks More Than the Book!

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!


Are there any book to movie adaptations where you think the book is better than the movie?

Okay, let me just say that, with most of these, I haven't read the books. But I've hear what was different in the books, or how they changed the ending, and just know that the movie makers had a clearer image of things than the author did.

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1. The Princess Bride--Because who doesn't absolutely LOVE this film? Besides, I've heard that Wesley (as the Dread Pirate Roberts) was quite abusive to Buttercup in the book. While, given the character, I suppose I understand why the author did it that way, I still prefer a more lovable Wesley.


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2. The Neverending Story--I grew up on this movie! Even today, though the special effects are definitely dated, the story is still ridiculously profound. I actually did read the book of this one, and I'll admit it might have been a translation problem, as the original was written in German, but I found the book to be clunky and not nearly as good as the film, even if I'm glad I read it to get some bits that didn't make it into the movie.



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3. Hannibal--Again, didn't read this, but I know the author--*warning: spoilers coming! skip to next paragraph if you don't want to know!*--had Clarice run away with Hannibal at the end of this book. I don't know how he did the character in the books. Maybe it was different than the films (though everything I've heard says not) but in the films, she was all cop. She was on the right side of the law and was not going to be moved. To have her run away with a serial killer who eats people, has murdered many of her colleagues, and she's been trying to catch for ten years, was not just unrealistic. It was ludicrous! The end of the film was shocking too, but in a good way. A way that made sense. In terms of staying true to the character, the film makers definitely had a better handle on things than the author did.

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4. My Sister's Keeper--this is another one I didn't read but heard how the book ended, and my first thought was, Well that's stupid. Here's the thing, I've tried to read Jodi Piccoult once or twice, and I truly want to give her work another shot, but I've never actually finished one of her books. But, I have heard a lot about her stories; heard some of her more interesting premises and how they've ended, and I gotta say: I'm not a fan. She feels like the kind of author that does the twisted, unexpected thing just to get the gasp from the audience. That sort of thing always feels cheap to me, and that's when you stray into territory that doesn't stay true to the characters or the story. The film of My Sister's Keeper was one of the saddest films I've ever seen. If you're gonna watch it, do so with some chocolate and an entire case of tissue. But it's still a touching, worthwhile story.  I hugely preferred the ending of the film to the ending of the book!

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5. Breaking Dawn--You knew I had to mention it, right? I've talked about this before, but I really liked the Twilight series while I was reading it...until I got to the very end of the fourth book (i.e. the very end of the series!). She basically set us up for an epic battle, but when we got there, everyone just sort of laughed, shook hands, and went home. I was SO disappointed! It felt like SUCH a cop out. But the film handled it really well, giving us a twist that didn't actually change the ending, yet was still exciting and made the audience sit up and go, "What the...?" Well done, film makers. Well done!

Well, those are the ones that came to mind for me. What films did you like better than their literary counterparts?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Movie Review: Ender's Game

So my NaNoWriMo is progressing nicely. I wrote 3759 words yesterday, which puts me at 16062 words for NaNo and 29756 for Desolate Mantle. It's coming along beautifully and as I speed toward the climax, I get more and more excited about it.


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Meanwhile, I actually managed to see not one but two movies this weekend. One, Ender's Game, is reviewed below. The other, Thor: Dark World, is reviewed HERE, on my other blog, if you want to check it out.

I'm not going to go into the plot, as I just reviewed the book yesterday and talked a lot about that. (Book review here.) I'm just going to discuss how they did with the film

With what was there, they mostly did a good job. I liked all the actors who portrayed the characters, and the battle room where all the mock battles were held was definitely awesome. Of course, lots of those battles and Ender's strategies got cut, but that's to be expected. Some of it is really hard to translate onto the screen (internal dialogue always is) and then there's the fact that it was a two hour film, so not all the detail would have made it in, anyway.

The one scene I wish they would have spent more time on was the scene where Valentine and Ender talk at the lake. It was such a poignant scene (totally cried while reading it) and it felt like they glossed over it. It was still kind of sad in the film, but it just wasn't as deep or moving as is in the book. In fact, in the book, both she and Ender knew she was only supposed to be there to talk him into what Graff wanted. Luckily, they ended up making a much bigger emotional connection to one another. In the film...yeah, she was just there to make him do what Graff wanted. I felt like it really cheapened the scene and short-changed the characters.

The other thing I didn't really like, though I suppose it's to be expected, is that they really toned down the brutality. Ender didn't get beat up nearly as much in the film as in the book. I suppose it was a kubaya, anti-bullying thing, which I get, but the story just doesn't pack near as much emotional punch if we don't get to see Ender claw through his trials. This to me felt like a case of the film makers showing us what they think we most want to see, rather than what the story actually said. I could go off about how we seem to be coddling our kids these days, even in the stories we put in front of them, but that's a discussion for another day, so I'll leave it alone. Just know if you're looking for the profound emotion of the book, it won't be there. Read about it instead.

But, like I said, what actually made it into the film was usually pretty good. Except...for the end. It wasn't that anything was vastly changed. All the plot twists were there, and they didn't take much away, but I still wasn't a huge fan of how they did the ending. It had to do with Ender's reaction, and his argument with Graff afterward. They even kept in a lot of the lines from the book, but I wasn't a fan of the way they interpreted them. 

The way they did it made Graff seem profoundly undignified, and the human race as a whole monstrous. Now, I don't necessarily think that what was done in the story was completely correct--that's sort of the point--but at least in the book it's stressed that the leaders felt like it was their only choice. I felt like the movie was a bit Hollywoodized, in a bad way. It made it feel like the entire human race wanted genocide and got it, just based on their own pride and egos, and not for any other reason. I felt like it did a profound disservice to the characters and the story. Graff in particular, but all around, too. Of course, details from the book like the afterward were left out of the movie, but how could they not be? With an ending like that, the afterward, in which Graff is honored, wouldn't make much sense to the audience. I felt like that final exchange between Graff and Ender in the film really changed the meaning of the ending. And I didn't like it.

So, overall it was valiant effort, and despite all the negative things I've said, I really didn't hate it. I just want those who loved the book to be prepared. There were many aspects of it that were cool and fun to watch. As it's very family friendly, it would be a great one to take the kids to. They'd think the battle school and simulators were really cool. I'm glad I got to see it, though in all honesty, I doubt I'll see it again. I just wish, with all the technology we have, Hollywood could figure away to get closer to the purity of an author's story. But, I suppose that's wishful thinking.

Has anyone else seen Ender's Game? What did you think of it?