Thursday, March 30, 2017

Tumbling TBR

Oh my goodness you guys!  My TBR pile is getting so big I'm pretty sure it's gonna crush me.
 Seriously though, I probably need to quit getting new books until I finish up at least a few on my list.  It's giving me a bit of anxiety the sheer number of books that are in my house that have never been read...but it's also a little bit exciting!  I'm starting to wonder if I will actually have enough time in this life to finish everything in my house, much less on my list.  On that note I'm off to go find the elixer of eternal reading...or just maybe just go get another book read.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Duty Heart Power

Hola Readers, I've just come off of 60 hours straight so if today's rambling is a wee bit incoherent...well let's blame it on that shall we?  Today I'm gonna ramble about Eona by Alison Goodman.  This is the sequel to the amazing and awesome Eon, which I absolutely loved.  In fact I had to run out buy and read the sequel ignoring my already overwhelming TBR pile.  How did the second book stack up?  Let's find out, but first, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
We catch up with our favorite Dragoneye Eona as she is on the run from Sethon, the usurper Emperor.  She is with the Contraire Dela and her body guard Ryko.  Ryko was brutally injured in the previous book and at the behest of Dela, Eona tries to use her dragon power to heal him.  While in the dragon realm, Eona is attacked by the bereaved dragons of the other 10 slaughtered Dragoneyes. The attacking dragon are held off by unexpected help from Ido, the only other Dragoneye and his Rat Dragon.  Eona manages to heal Ryko, but the dragon battle that ensued, destroyed the village, killing many innocent people.  The other consequence of the healing is that Eona now has a connection to Ryko allowing her to use and control him.  There is a bunch of traveling and sneaking and Ryko being understandably pissed.  The group finally meets up with the young, true Emperor Kygo.  Eona and Kygo share a moment and Eona discovers that she has an insatiable urge to rip the Imperial Pearl from Kygo's throat...which would kill him.  More traveling and the group meets up with various resistance groups and Kygo makes Eona his Naiso, which essentially is the only person allowed to treat the Emperor like a human.  The Naiso is expected to speak hard truths to the Emperor without fear of reprisal.  Kygo is injured and Eona assists the physician in healing him using non-dragon power medicine.  Eona is summoned and in a very disturbing scene is forced to control Ryko to prove that she did not use her healing/control powers on Kygo.  Eona is upset that Kygo did not trust her word and one of the first of many lover vs tool fights takes place.  Eona and Kygo both have a hard time balancing their personal feelings vs their duty to the country.  Meanwhile Eona convinces Kygo that they need to rescue Ido from Sethon as he is the only person who can train her to use her powers. The rescue happens and Eona's training begins.  Since she used her power to heal him, Eona can control Ido, but has to use a more sensual compulsion that leads to some confusing feelings.  The group continues to travel and Eona is reunited with a mother she hasn't seen since she was sold at the age of six.  All through out this, Dela has been working on decoding the red folio that was left 500 years ago by Eona's ancesteor and the last Mirror Dragoneye, Kinra.  Eona knows just from the rage filled swords that Kinra had a huge part in why the Mirror Dragon disappeared. We discover that Kinra was the lover of the Emperor, but really loved the Rat Dragoneye.  We also find out that she was executed as a traitor for trying to rip out the Imperial Pearl from the Emperor's throat.  Eona uses her compulsion of Ido to bring the black folio and the binding power it contains to her.  She gives it Kygo as a huge sign of trust as the folio can use royal blood to bind the Dragoneye's power.  Kygo is greatful and it seems the two lovebirds are starting to figure stuff out. Eventually enough of the folio's are decoded for Eona to finally discover the truth of the dragons.  It seems that the Imperial Pearl is actually the egg of renewal that the dragons need to regenerate.  The original Dragoneyes stole it and bound the dragons with it.  Kinra learned the truth and tried to free them and was executed for her trouble.   Unfortunatly, Eona is taken prisoner by Sethon after they are betrayed by Kygo's trusted general.  Sethon uses his blood to bind Eona, and cause Kygo, Ido, Dela and Ryko to be captured. Sethon removes Kygo's pearl, leaving him to bleed out.  Eona uses the distraction of the pain of sewing the pearl into his throat to break free of Sethon's control.  Ryko gives his life so that Eona can take down Sethon.  Sethon is killed and Kygo is healed by Eona.  She then goes to give the pearl to the dragons so that they can regenerate and be free.  Ido however is not so into giving up the power and tries to get Eona to instead bind the dragons with the black folio for the ultimate power.  She refuses and Ido morally wounds Kygo, making her choose to either free the dragons and lose Kygo, the love of her life or to bind the dragons with him for the ultimate power and save Kygo.  After a moment of angst, she chooses to free the dragons.  Ido is killed and Kygo is looking to be in pretty bad shape.  The dragons go through a pretty cool renewal ritual and the young reborn dragons leave the Empire.  The new Mirror Dragon however seems to retain some memory of Eona and her gift of freedom and heals Kygo before leaving.  Kygo and Eona head home to clean up the pieces of the broken and now dragonless Empire.  Whew that was really long and not even remotely close to everything that happened...but you get the gist.
World Building - This book continued on the world building of the first book.  In this book we leave the city and the palace and move into the poorer outlying areas of the Empire.  We get to learn more customs, beliefs and other tidbits that continue to make this world feel very complete.  I appreciated the level of detailed that was very artfully slipped into almost every encounter, giving us an even more complete picture of the world this book is set in.  I found that although the main theme of the world is an Asian style medieval type world, that the author definitely incorporated some very original and varied pieces to differentiate this world from a carbon copy of any real country.

Story - Compared to the last book, I felt that this story was a little bit slow/cluttered.  I felt like we focused a lot more on Eona and her feelings and angst instead of the story as a whole.  There was a lot of traveling, a lot of introspection and a lot of things that felt repetitive.  I also wanted to get to the story of Kinra a lot sooner, I felt that knowing more would have given the story a bit more direction.  That being said this book did deliver on the previous books premise AND the story actually wrapped up in a very coherent way.  I'm not sure if I am sad or happy about the dragons leaving.  One one hand, it's pretty gutsy to so definitively end the books with the removal of the main conceit of the books...on the other hand no more dragons WAHHHH!  Overall not as compelling as the first story, but still well done.

Character - The development of characters in this book was vastly different then in the first book.  In the last book it was all about finding yourself and being true to yourself.  In this book it seemed to be more about how people responded to different situations.  Unfortunately I found myself liking some of the previous characters less in this book then in the last one.  We did meet a couple new characters that added some depth to the group and for the most part the characters stayed true to the way they were written.  Nobody really did anything out of character just for plot development, and every character had motivation, a story and presence so good job on the characters.

Editing - Editing was well done.  Again as with the last book multiple story lines were abundant, yet meshed together in a wholly readable way.  This book may have been a tad too long, a bit of paring down on some of the introspection and the repetitiveness would have been welcome, but overall very readable, very understandable good job.

Duty, Heart, Power - Along with being the title of this post, I feel like a lot of what was going on in this book was people trying to make choices based on these three things.  Eona especially spent a lot of time in the book trying to walk the line between these three.  She felt a duty to her country, her family and friends and her dragon...but sometimes these various duties did not align and doing her duty to one would make it impossible to do her duty to another.  She was constantly tempted with power, while at the same time being used, or people trying to use her to gain their own power.  Finally she had to try and learn when to listen to her own needs, what her heart wanted and weather or not it was compatible with her duty or her need.  Pretty much any time characters interacted with each other one or more of these three things came into play, and the choices that were made were based on what each character choose to make important.  Ido was constantly seeking power and most of his choices were skewed by this view point.  Dela and Ryko clashed constantly as Dela want to follow her heart, yet Ryko insisted on putting duty first...even if it hurt Dela.  Eona and Kygo were constantly struggling with all three as they both wanted/needed power to accomplish their goals, were in love with each other, but understood that their duty to everything else needed to come first.

Love Triangle - This book brought us the dreaded love triangle.  In some ways the triangle at least made sense.  Eona was the only person that Kygo felt was on his level and the trauma of their experiences together made them a natural pair.  Eona's control of Ido brought her into very intimate contact with him on many levels, coupled with the fact that he represented something very different from Kygo also made sense.  Unfortunately it came off a little juvenile for my taste.  Considering everything that was going on and everything that was at stake, a lot of Eona's angst came from dwelling on all the little stupid stuff.  Her musings about Kygo especially drove me nuts as she would dwell on the tiniest little things...It is actually pretty accurate for how it goes down in real life, but reading about it was kind of obnoxious...especially when there was so much other info I wanted.  It's not that the romance was a bad thing...I just wanted a little less of it.

Kinra - I both loved and hated the Kinra aspect of this book.  We were set up a bit for it in the first book when we learned that Eona's ancestor was the last Mirror Dragoneye, that she imbibed her swords with her anger and then wrote the red folio.  I assumed that she had something to do with the disappearance of the Mirror dragon, but was both pleasantly surprised and a bit eyerolly at how it all came out.  Her discovery of how the dragons came to be enslaved and her decision to try and free them at the cost of her own life was pretty awesome.  The convenience of her being Eona's ancestor and the way she could speak to and through her was a bit to pat for my taste.  Also I think the way things were revealed was frustrating, a bit here, a flash here.  I am still not sure how she influenced Eona even when she wasn't touching her belongings.  I'm also not sure why they didn't find a new Mirror Dragoneye, or how that type of history was forgotten but...yeah.

Overall Impression - I definatly liked the first book better then this one.  However this was still a good book.  It was a fair continuation of the first book, it answered most of the questions posed in the first one and the quality of world and characters remained high.  I have a feeling I would have liked this book even more if I didn't have the near perfection of the first one to compare it too.  I give it 7 out of 10 death plaques and recommend it to everybody who has already read the first book. I am vibing this author and will be picking up some of her other stuff to read. Oh yeah, also not as into the cover of this book as much as the last one, a bit to hip/modern teen looking for my taste. Happy Reading Everybody!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fountains To Read By

Well folks the weather has finally started to feel spring like and I am stoked!  I get a few extra days off next week and am already planning all the wonderful outdoor places I want to read.  One of my favorite places to read is by fountains.  I love the sound, feel and smell of moving water.  Coupled with the fact that they are usually pretty accessible they make an ideal place to read.  Here are a few I would love to hunt down.
Cincinnati Main Library 
I really really just want to climb to the top and read
Budapest Hungry 
The fountain part mimics a turning cool
I love the colors on this one
Chattanooga Public Library
Sleek, modern, classic
I will do my best to hunt down some interesting fountains, nooks, crannies and so forth to blog about in my local area.  Until then HAPPY READING EVERYBODY!

Thursday, March 23, 2017


All right folks, this is gonna be short and sweet.  I'm pretty frustrated right now 'cause I have gotten very little reading in as of late.  This follows a couple weeks where I was doing pretty well so it makes it all that much more frustrating.  To top it off my insomnia has been kicking in hard core.  Normally my lack of sleep has the side effect of allowing me some extra reading time, this cycle though has not been nice and I have not been able to concentrate enough to get any real reading in.
 I'm assuming this is because of the fact that I have been working at least 10 hour days...and often 24-72 hour days for the last three weeks...sigh.  Oh well, I just have to get through this epic weekend (working from Friday night to Monday morning) and I should be able to refocus and get some quality reading time in.  Until then, Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Immortal In The Pages

I'm in one of those weird moods where everything is just getting to me today.  One of the randomly weird things that popped in my head, was the death of a beloved book character.  I have found that the death, or even the ending of a book/series with a favorite character always gets to me.  Then I
reminded myself that even though a book may end, or a character may die...I can always go back and reread a story where they are alive and well.  For some reason today this did not make it any easier.  I don't know if the knowing that a character is gonna leave me changes the way I go back and read about them, or that I already know the whole story or what.  Anyways...not really sure where I am going with this.  I guess I'm just writing this to remind my self that as long as I keep reading, nothing every has to end and all my literary friends are essentially immortal.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Jumping The Pages

It is snowy, cold and blech outside...seems to be the perfect time to curl up with my computer, a cup of coffee and write a rambling.  Today I shall ramble on about a book that caught my eye called The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser.  I was at the bookstore looking for a completely different book, when the cover jumped out at me...and seriously with a cover like this I pretty much had to buy it.  It ended up being a bit hit or miss for me, though it did re inspire the return of my book journal...but before we get to that, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Amy and her young mother Alexis are both in the throes of heartache.  Alexis has been dumped by her married boyfriend and Amy is experiencing the teenage angst of betrayal and embarrassment by a friend via social media.  They flee from their town in Germany to the tiny Scottish isle of Stormsay and their family home called the Lennox House.  They arrive fittingly in a storm and are greeted by the stern matriarch of the family Lady Mairead, Alexis's mother and Amy's grandmother.  They are welcomed on the condition that Amy learn how to become a book jumper.  What the heck is a book jumper?  I'm glad you asked.  You see on this little tiny isle there are two families, the Lennox family and the Macalister family.  These two clans have been responsible for hundreds of years for caring for the storylines of books.  They accomplish this by lying in a circle of standing stones, laying a book over their face then voila! they are in the book.  Amy chooses The Jungle Book as her practice book, but finds that she can easily move between stories, making friends with various characters.  Amy also discovers that she can jump into her e-reader and that she does not need to be in the standing circle to do so.  She is in a class with Betsy and William, the daughter and nephew of the current Laird of the Macalister clan.  Betsy is not a fan of Amy's, feeling she is too old to be properly trained...also she is a Lennox.  Will is cordial.  The three are taught by three guy's who are kind of monk like and are all scarred by burns.  While exploring the various literary worlds, Amy discovers that idea's are being stolen, altering the storylines in all the books in the world (yeah...we will discuss this later).  Nobody believes her, until she and Will discover the body of Sherlock Holmes in the real world.  Apparently Will would pull Sherlock out of the book to talk to him.  He vanished one day and it turns out he was murdered.  Apparently the Sherlocks in the other stories agreed to help out in the dead ones book so all was well.  The three students are taken to a place deep in the library and shown a story that explains a lot.  Apparently the Lennox family used to have a castle, but after a tussel, a fire broke out and destroyed it along with a one of a kind manuscript of a story not written down anywhere else.  The three teachers turn out to be the only characters rescued from the destroyed story and now live on the Stormstay teaching the new jumpers.  Amy discovers her mother making out with Desmond, one of the rescued book guys,  and after a bunch of angst and back and forthness learns that he is her father.  Yep, I guess when you spend most of your life on an island that only houses two families and a less then a dozen other people, you fall in love with the ageless book character...and then have a kid with him.  This helps explain why Amy is such an advanced jumper as in reality she is half fictional...yeah...anyways moving on.  We continue to go back and forth, Will and Amy fall in teenage love, accusations and suspicions fly 'cause nobody actually talks to each other and finally we figure out what is going on.  The old burned manuscript that had only fragments of pages and the three men saved had one more surprise.  Somehow the princess in the story also managed to escape the destruction and has been hibernating on the island.  She is a young, spoiled petulant thing who enchanted Will to be her Knight and jump into the stories to steal ideas.  She is trying to use these ideas to restore her story.  Once we know this we are able to piece together her story...which is not a very nice one. Most of the info finally comes from Desmond, who was the original Knight in the story.  Essentially the princess, when she get's bored, enchants a man to be her Knight, sending him out to slay a monster that is ravaging her kingdom.  The sick part is that the princess has actually turned the Knight into the monster, having him commit heinous acts, then sending him out unknowing to find the monster.  The only way to stop the monster is for the Knight to kill himself...starting the cycle all over again.  Will finds a way to stop the princess, getting himself killed in the process and Amy is able to return the idea's back to their original books.  She takes Will's body into his favorite book, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell is able to bring him back to life as a story character.  Amy spends most of her time in the books, exploring them with Will and that is how the book ends.
World Building - There is a lot of different ways to look at the world building in this book.  The island of Stormsay is fairly well realized, I could probably find my way around it if I needed to, and the atmosphere of it is complete.  The rest of it however is patchy.  I never got a full sense of the family, the history or the mechanics of the book jumping.  I felt I wanted either more information, or better merging of the different pieces of this complicated world.  I unfortunately did not get the feeling of full immersion that is the hallmark of a well built world.

Story - We have the problem of too many stories to accurately judge this category.  Some of these stories are more successful then others.  The best story in my humble opinion was the one of the ruined manuscript.  Through out the book, there are fragments given to us that make it sound like a fairly typical fairy tale, to find out that it is a pretty dark and twisted story is pretty awesome.  I feel like I did with the world building that if we had more information it would have been easier for the reader to see where all the various disparate stories tied together.  For me it was a bunch of flipping back and forth and wondering if I missed something.  In general, each story line was pretty good, they just didn't completely gel to create a whole.

Character - This book had a ton of characters in it.  Some where created just for the book and some were pulled from the literary world.  I was pretty ambivalent about most of the characters, didn't really hate any of them...but didn't really fall in love with any of them either.  For the most part, most of the characters where just there to further the story without a whole lot of personality, history or motivation.  Will, Amy and Alexis where the most formed of the characters, and I liked Will the best of those three.  Amy and Alexis where your fairly typical young mom/teenager duo that seems to be popular lately, didn't hate them, didn't love them.

Editing - So this book was translated from it's native German, which is pretty cool 'cause I love getting view points that are not typically American.  That being said, the flow of the book was not my favorite.  I felt that the there were to many storylines and not enough information.  While this is mostly on the writer, I feel an editor can maybe point out to an author that maybe the reader isn't in the author's head and needs some background, or history, or consistency for the book to work.  It isn't horrible editing, but like the rest of the categories...meh

Book Jumping - Ok, here we have one of my biggest issues with this book, and a particular literary peeve in general.  For me the overall concept of the book jumping left me with a ton of questions and very few answers, in fact it inspired me to get out my book journal again so that I could write down all my questions about book jumping.  Here are just a few thoughts I had.  Who discovered it? Why only these two families?  How diluted can the blood get?  Seriously how do these two tiny families keep track of EVERY book?  What is their purpose again?  If they are the only ones who can jump...aren't they the only ones who can mess up the story? Why are the characters aware of the jumpers?  Umm...about the timelines?  How do you turn the page?  Seriously, other then the mechanism of lying down and putting the book on your face there is not much given to us about the jumping.  I hate it when an author has a concept, especially a potentially good concept and then the execution is poor.  I understand that I will never have all the info or answers I want for things like this, and I don't always need them...I just want a concept to make sense. Since the book jumping was such a huge part of the book, I don't feel like I am wrong in wanting to know how it actually works.

Books About Getting Into Books - I have not yet found a book that has successfully executed a concept where characters from the real world can get into book worlds.  I have read some great ones that deal with elements of books in the real world, or authors or things like that, but anytime I read about a character actually getting into Wonderland, or Neverland, or just does not work for me.  I think it's cause for me a good book world is complete and personal to the reader.  If you asked me to draw, or describe Pemberly and then you asked my baby sis to do the same thing, I bet you would come up with two equally valid, yet very different pictures.  So when an author tries to put a character into that world it infringes on my view of the world.  As for my own personal self, I'm always torn.  If I had the opportunity would I want to jump into a literary world, or is the bigger appeal the fact that I am completely outside of it?  Ok this is getting very philosophical and may require it's own post.

Fictional Father - After all of my mehness about the book...I have to admit I kind of liked the idea that Amy had a father that was a fictional character. Aside from the zillions of questions it brings forth, it also had the added advantage of me paring up literary characters and wondering what their offspring would be like.  I may have also had some literary fantasy's on which literary crush I would allow to father my fictional kids...

Overall Impression - Overall I feel pretty meh about the whole book.  It seemed to have a ton of stuff in it without really going anywhere.  There were moments of awesome and the concept was pretty cool, but the overall muddledness, lack of info and too many literary pet peeves made this book disappointing.  I feel that it had a lot of potential and if this author exports any other books over the pond, I will probably give her another chance 'cause I feel like she has good ideas.  I give this book 5 out of 10 inkpots and realize that other people enjoyed it more then I did which is also awesome.   Also the book cover is worth it just to have on my book shelf.   Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Finally A Usable Forcast

It has started snowing and the forecast is predicting everything from 1 inch to OMG WE ARE ALL GONNA FREEZE TO DEATH IN AN INCALCULABLE AMOUNT OF SNOW.  Lucky for us this local library has provided us with a much more accurate forecast
Anne Arundel County Library
This graph gives us an accurate estimate of how many books an average bibliophile will need to obtain before being snowed in.  Lucky for me, I have stocked up and am ready to go!  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Soaking It All In

I LOVE a good bath.  I love being immersed in hot water with the perfect seasonal bubble bath, sipping a beverage and of course reading a good book.  Unfortunately I have been spoiled rotten at my old house and the bathtub at our new house is just not up to my exacting standards.   Lucky for me, we own this house and can upgrade!  Here are some epic tubs that I am looking at to enhance my soaking experience
Claw Foot Tub
I have a thing for these old fashioned claw foot bathtubs.  In fact on our Great Redwood Trip, one of the awesome parts was soaking in a tub like this.

Kyoto Ofuro Soaking Tub
Seriously though, there is nothing not to love about this tub!
Dark Patina Tub
This totally looks like something straight out of a book...I want it
Copper Bath
I love the borderline medieval feel of this I just need some fine strapping lads to fill it for me...

Steampunk Tub
Seriously we are probably gonna do the bathroom in a steampunk this is pretty much perfect.

Obviously the options for tubs are pretty much limited only by our imagination and budget.  I seriously can't wait until I have a tub that fits my soaking/reading needs.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Great Jane Austen ReRead Of Awesome

Hola Readers!  It's spring time...kind of...well it's supposed to snow all weekend...but's March sooooo in my head it's spring time.   I have been seriously craving the classics lately (seriously the
last trip to the book store brought home new Tolkien's, Lewis's and other such greats).  Spring also always puts me into an Austen mood.  I also realized that there are several books of this awesome lady that I have not read in a while.  Since I can usually get through a Jane Austen book pretty quickly I've decided to spend the spring (and let's be honest, probably a chunk of the summer) rereading these awesome books.  I will also be watching the movies (in some cases multiple versions of the movies) and rambling on them as I finish.  I'm excited!!!! Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Awesome Dragon Is A Girl

Hola Readers!  Time to get another rambling out there.  Today I'm gonna ramble about a book that has been on and off my radar for a couple of years.  I think that the book gods were making sure I saved it for a special occasion and reading Eon by Alison Goodman while at the Asian themed Wynn in Las Vegas was about as perfect as it could get.  Do you want to know why I loved it?  Ok, but first, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
The current year in our story is the year that the Rat Dragon ascends to power and a new apprentice to become this dragons next Dragoneye (more on that in a second) is chosen.  Our main character Eon has been training for years for the opportunity to be in contention for this prestigious and once in a life time chance...and oh yeah, he is actually a disguise...'cause only boys can be Dragoneyes.  While she trains we learn that in this world there are twelve celestial dragons, Ox, Tiger Rabbit, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig, Rat and Dragon (also known as Mirror). Every dragon represents a different virtue, color and point on the compass.  Each dragon ascends to power once every 12 years where there power is doubled and the Dragoneye can use it's dragon's power to control elemental forces to help their country.  Each ascension see's a new apprentice chosen, the old apprentice promoted to Dragoneye and the current Dragoneye retired.  This happens because being a Dragoneye is extremely draining, physically, emotionally and mentally.  Unfortunately for this neat cycle the Dragon Dragon (also called the Mirror Dragon) has been missing for over 500 years after it's temple was destroyed by fire.  Nobody really knows what happened and the Mirror Dragons ascension year is handled in a rotation.  Ok now that we have that out of the way lets get back to the story.  Eon. besides being a girl in disguise, has the added handicap of having a permanently injured hip.  This is offset by Eon's ability to see all the dragons, not just the one she is hoping will choose her, this is super rare and the reason Eon's master went through the trouble of training and hiding her gender.  As all good stories go all kinds of troubles and trials occur to hinder our heroines path to Dragoneyehood.  Unfortunately, she is not chosen by the Rat Dragon, her friend Dillion...who is still a surprise as he was not considered a real contender...was chosen instead.  The current Dragoneye to the Rat Dragon, Lord Ido, is an ambitious and cruel man who is not happy with his Dragon's decision.  Just when the excitement seems to be over, there is a commotion and out of seemingly nowhere the Mirror Dragon appears after over 500 years of absence.   The Dragon chooses Eon and chaos breaks forth.  Eon is treated like a lord and is moved to the palace to begin her brand new role as the Mirror Dragoneye. Eon is at a very sever disadvantage as she has no one to teach her the Mirror Dragonye's ways...since there has not been one in so long.  To help her at court she is assigned the Lady Dela, a Contraire, which is a person born one gender who lives as another.  In this case Dela was born male, but lives as a female.  In some parts of the world this is a sacred position as they are thought to possess two souls, one male and one female, in other parts it is seen as an oddity and worse.  Ryko is Dela's body guard and is a eunuch, as are most of the Emperor's body guards.  Now we start to get a feel for the political state of this world.  At the moment the sickly Emperor rules with his heir the Prince Kygo learning and maturing until it is his time to take over.  There is a catch however, the Emperor's brother Sethon, a decorated general, has plans to take over and has enlisted the ambitious Lord Ido to help.  Eon, especially after meeting the Prince, essentially decides to use her new powers to help the Emperor and his son.  There is a small problem though...Eon can't use the power of her dragon.  She should have learned her dragon's name when they bonded, to call it and use it's power...but so far...nope.  Lord Ido discovers that not only can Eon not use her dragon, but that she is actually Eona.  He uses this to try and control her.  Eon eventually tells Dela and Ryko who she really is, at first causing a rift, then later a deeper understanding of each other.  The Emperor dies, a whole bunch of crazyiness ensues and Eona discovers that the Mirror Dragon is actually a female, the only female of 12 dragons and the reason that she had disappeared for so long as no female candidates were presented...stupid boys lol.  Anyways...the crew discovers that Lord Ido has a plan to control all the dragons instead of just his own.  To this end he kills all of the other Dragoneyes and their apprentices, plunging the celestial realm into chaos.  Eona tell's the Prince who she really is and after some understandable anger he is convinced to go into hiding to protect his legacy.  Sethon appears and starts a wholesale slaughter of the royal family, including the Prince's mother and infant brother.  Eona runs into Ido, who tries to force a union with her to finally consolidate all the power in himself.  With the help of Dela and Ryko, Eona finally realizes that as the keeper of Truth her dragon needs her to be honest with who she is to truly unleash her power.  This revelation finally bonds Eona to the Mirror Dragon and she is able to break Ido down and escape with Dela and Ryko.  The story ends with the trio making their escape, hoping to find the Prince and defeat Sethon.  Eona learns to accept herself and now needs to learn to control her dragon's power.  And we now we have to hurry up and read the next book!  This is not even a billionth of the important things going on in this book, but hopefully it's enough to give you a bit of the flavor.
World Building - This world was pretty cool.  It was definitely inspired by Asian culture, and yet it was original and wholly it's own entity.  It was complete with it's own customs, laws, government, society and culture.  It is a I guess you would call it medievalish era, maybe a bit more modern time period with both practical and magic elements as part of the natural world. I was easily able to immerse myself in the world and felt like I mostly understood how everything worked.  This is the kind of world I can see myself going back and visiting over and over.  It has parts that are familiar and identifiable and parts that are completely new and they meld beautifully.  Very happy with the world building.

Story - Somebody compared this story to ones told by Tamora Pierce...who is one of my favorite YA novelists, so that got me excited.  I totally understand the comparison and it is a good one.  The story was complex without being overly stuffed, the various story lines were clear and all melded into each other in a way that made sense.  I wanted to keep reading the story, I wanted to find out what happened next, I wanted to tell the story to someone...You could totally see this story becoming a legend that got told over and over in this world it was set in.  It had all the elements that a good story wants, we had conflict, we had battles, we had personal moments, we had friendships, we had romances, we had difficulties to overcome, we had DRAGONS!  Loved the story.

Character - The characters were pretty much awesome.  Eon/Eona was not perfect, but she was also not overly bitchy, or overly tough, she was just a person who kept getting thrown into circumstances out of her control and it wasn't until she took charge of her self and accepted herself did she gain any control.  In fact that seems to be a theme with the characters in this book.  They were all varied and all had various motives for what they did, they were all layered and wonderfully complex without being ridiculous, but they all had to find a way to accept themselves before they moved forward...but more on that later.  The variety and nuanced way the author dealt with the characters was fantastic.

Editing - This book is a great example of how to take multiple storylines and ideas and find a way to pare them down and fit them together to be readable.  One of my literary pet peeves is when an author has all these great ideas and tries to squash all of them into one book and the editor does nothing to try and make it coherent.  In this case, the editor seemed to take the myriad of various storylines, characters, ideas and world building and figured out how to make it eminently readable. I can't really put my finger on why this book with it's fullness was so readable, when so many who try the same thing are not, but I'm gonna go with the editor was perfectly paired with the author and regardless it makes me very very very happy.

Acceptance Of Self - This book was chock full of alternate identities/lifestyles.  Some people chose a different life, some people had it forced on them and some just needed to discover who they were.  I would say gender identity was the biggest obstacle that a lot of the main characters faced.   Keeping in mind that this is a male dominated society with gender roles pretty clearly defined and adhered too. Eon/Eona as our main character was our biggest example of this as she had to hide so much of herself both by necessity and by choice.  The choice came in as she was born female, identified female and chose to live as a male.  The necessity came in when she felt that being a boy was the only way to achieve anything of importance in her life...oh yeah and when they would kill her if it was revealed she was a girl.  Dela on the other hand was a completely different ball game.  She was born a male, but identified as female, feeling she had no choice but to live as a woman because in her heart that is what she was. I found it interesting in some places she was revered for her ability to accommodate both the male and female within herself, while other places she was reviled as an abohrasion (I can not figure out how to spell that word...hopefully you all know what I mean).  Ryko was not given a choice when he was made a enuch, and yet he has learned to live and identify as a male, regardless of his equipment, not letting it define him.  On a less definitive note we watch as Kygo has to learn to trust and believe in himself before he can become a leader.  Lord Ido has purposely squashed all empathy as to become cruel, which is what he felt he needed to succeed, and it isn't until this is restored that he in any way becomes human.   The ultimate message though was the fact that it wasn't until Eona accepted her whole self, not just the fact that she was female, but also that she was smart and capable and fallible and needed help that she was able to in any way shape or form use her Dragon's power.  I love that this was the main message and that it wasn't delivered in a preachy way, or in a tell you what to think way, or that any one way was right.  Just until you can accept and trust yourself, your not gonna get very far.

Perfect Reading Situation - Like I mentioned earlier, part of the appeal of this book is that I go to read it in the most perfect of circumstances.  I got to read it in a place that was essentially desgined to match the books mood and setting.  Couple that with the fact that I spent half of the vacation in a tub so deep I could float with a glass of wine or whisky at my fingertips while reading also helped.  I was totally stoked at how much I wanted to just sit and read this book 'cause for once I had time to do just that.  This book will forever be associated with one of my vacations of awesome.  I love it when the literary stars align and I get to add a new book to my favorite list.  It will always be one of those book associated with something very specific and something very good in my life.

YA Reading Like It Should Be - I have a love/hate relationship with YA books.  I find them to be either amazing or horrible.  It seems that a lot of YA authors want to come across as too hip and write like they have never met a real teenager before.  Sometimes the books turn into nothing but an overwrought love story, or somebodies 20 year old wish fulfillment.  THEN you get books like this, ones that address realistic teenage issues while not talking down too, or over their heads.  You also get a great story that utilizes the unique position that teenagers are in, to straddle the world of innocence and childhood, and maturity and adulthood.  Books like this make me want to shout to all the other authors THIS IS HOW YOU WRITE A BOOK FOR EVERYBODY!  Given this is targeted at the 12-16 age group, and probably geared more for the females, but seriously I can see anybody of any gender and any age reading this and enjoying it.  This is a book you read and any age...and then reread again.  Yay!

Dragons! - Have I mentioned that I love dragons?  Seriously I am a huge dragon fan, especially in books.  The dragons in this book, again were fairly well realized and integrated perfectly into the world and story.  It is very different from a lot of the standard European dragons and I love the change of pace and the little original touches that the author put in...perfection.

Overall Impression - I think it's pretty obvious that I very much enjoyed this book.  It hit all the right notes for me and it was exactly what I needed when I read it.  There are some frustrating loose ends...essentially what happened 500 years ago that made the Mirror Dragon disappear and why did everybody forget...but the good news is that there is a sequel (that I am already reading!) that promises to fill in the gaps.  I really really enjoyed this book and hopefully enjoy the next one as well.  I am now on my way to buy all the other books by this author in hopes that they are just as good.  I give it 9 out of 10 Story Robes and recommend it to pretty much anybody, but especially those who are fans of Tamora Pierce, Anne McCaffrey, Brandon Mull, Rick Riordan and the like.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Week Of Bits Of Reading

Hi All,  as usual it's been an overly busy week with absolutely no signs of slowing down...and to be honest I wouldn't have it any other way.  Amongst the crazy however, there were little spots of perfect reading times that kept me sane.
Big Monster
Here we have one of my nephews starting to learn how to read as we cuddled up just the two of us for a read out loud marathon
Little Monster
Even the little monster found a book that he refused to let go through out the whole day.
Nice Day
Here I am sneaking a bit of outdoor reading time while the monsters are sleeping...ah sanity
New Stash
Here is my current reading pile...added to by one of my favorite firehouse book buddies
Dinner and Reading
After a looooooong day, some homemade dinner, a glass of wine and uninterrupted reading

All of these little moments of reading really do add up, and they are crucial to keeping my sanity.  I am glad that I get to have these moments and that I get to share them.  Happy Reading Everybody!