The Banished of Muirwood

I don’t know if you have noticed but I have been reading some pretty HEAVY stuff lately. Four of the reviews I’ve done this month have had the word “dark” in them. Two of the others have been about war. Whoa, Haley. I think it’s time to back read something lighthearted, and soon.

You guys ok, out there? Sorry for all the doom and gloom! It wasn’t on purpose, I promise!

I’d love to tell you this review is better…but, it’s another book of war. *grimaces* Sorry….but it is a magical war, so that has to count for something. Stick with me.

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Jeff Wheeler apparently woke up from a dream one night with a girl in his head. He luckily had paper in his nightstand and ferociously began scribbling about her evil father and the man hired to protect her. Since then, he’s written stories about his world of Muirwood, but is finally releasing Maia’s story.

Maia is born princess to a king who doesn’t quite know how to handle his own power. He’s almost a Henry VIII kind of guy, and banishes her mother so he can take on another queen and thus another kingdom. In doing so, he must banish Maia and disown her, even as he claims he loves her. Along her path, Maia finds herself with a great deal of magic, and even greater trouble.

While this is definitely fantasy, Wheeler built his world of Muirwood upon a base of real ancient history references. Or, at the very least, references to places from real authors. There is a character, “the kishion,” which when I Googled, pointed to Kadesh in Galilee. Another reference, “aurichalcum” is a metal Plato references when he talks about Atlantis (obviously that one is more about the author than the place). There’s a few more things that build upon ancient Greek culture or works. I mention this because while the premise for the story came from a dream, and there were certainly made up places, names, and language in the book–it was obvious to me while reading that Wheeler had done quite a bit of research before sitting down to write. I would be so interested to see his notes. It fascinates me how authors create and build their ideas and from where they pull inspiration.

I will say, that at first I was unsure about the writing. Maia was banished, running, in obvious danger. Then she just shows up at a random inn and the hunter she needs is at that exact place (very Strider from LOTR), and she just gives him her full name, title, problem, all of it. And he agrees to help her with no suspicion or confirmation whatsoever. Well, ok then! There were a lot of holes in the first 10% of the book. It made me a little weary.

However, shortly after I made that note in my journal, the book picked up and I started getting answers pretty quickly. Maia is still pretty naive, really throughout the whole book. But, I think that’s more of a character flaw than a writing issue, once I got into the meat of the story. Give it a chance past the first 20%, it’s a slow starter, but it does become a valid fantasy after that. I’ve added the rest of his Muirwood history to my TBR–I am wondering if those would help the beginning holes at all. Sounds like he’s also working on a second book to Maia’s story, woot!

NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review. To be released on August 18.

To Buy:

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Daily Bookish Challenges | Day Five

If you liked this… You should try this…

People ask me all the time for book recommendations, and since my tastes are so varied, I usually can give them something. I tend to read whatever I can get my hands on, and that is EVERYTHING.

Here are a few recommendations based on popular books:

If you like…

Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, you should try The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

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The DaVinci Code, you should try The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury

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Gone with the Wind, you should try The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

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The Giver, you should try Breeder by KB Hoyle

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TreesofReverie December Readathon – Daily Challenge #1 – Introduction

Show or explain to us what your collection of books looks like. Do you have a specific way or order to how you like to keep your books?

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am mildly obsessive about certain things. My reading habits are where I am the most compulsive, probably because it is the one thing in my life that has been the most constant.

My books HAVE to be arranged alphabetically by author, then title. There is no other way to do it, in my mind. They have always been this way, and they will remain this way. Every time I get a new book, it immediately gets shelved, and that can be a painstaking process sometimes, because everything has to get shifted–especially if that book is towards the beginning of the alphabet!

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There are a few exceptions to the alphabetic rule…but very few.

I have a To Be Read shelf now, but those books are also in order by author, of course.

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I also have pulled some “reference” and “miscellaneous” books out of the regular collection, mostly because they just didn’t fit into any real order and they were messing up the aesthetics…and most likely they are going to end up in a closet soon, because I’m running out of space in my two bookcases.

Do you have a moment in your life where your love of books and reading became significantly evident? Is there a particular thing, event or person that influenced your passion for books?

I don’t remember not reading. My love for books is more like breathing than an actual hobby. My mom told me once that when I was little, before Kindergarten, she came upstairs and found me sitting on the floor reading one of her romances. I looked at her and said, “Mommy, this book has people kissing, and they aren’t married. You shouldn’t read this.” I can remember sitting at the base of our giant bookshelves up there and just being surrounded by books, pulling them all off the shelves so I could look at them all.

What sort of book or world is your favourite to get lost in?

I love fantasy the most–but it has to be the kind of fantasy that is rooted in historical legend. Books like Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. You know the kind I mean. The worlds that feel like you could almost step into it yourself.

I also really enjoy historical fiction based on real people, where the author has done extensive research. I want to be so transfixed that I feel like I am actually there, walking with the person.

What book/s would you recommend to others so that they could have a chance to get lost in your personal ‘bookish world’?

Any of the books I’ve already mentioned. The Thorn Birds, of course. The Secret GardenThe Slow Regard for Silent Things is another one of my more recent favorites, but they’d also need to read the rest of the Kingkiller Chronicles first.

 

Fandom Crazy

I inadvertently chose a really bad day to do the Fandom Crazy post.

Why?

Because today people are boycotting Tumblr. Oops. Tumblr did an update last week and changed all the formatting. Now, I don’t create gifs, I don’t code, I don’t pretend to understand any of the issues that people are upset about. On one hand, I like the wider pictures–everything seems bigger, bolder, prettier. I don’t so much like the posts where everyone is trying to match the blue Tumblr background and those weeble woble posts that mess with my post of reference.

But, the reason I’m staying off Tumblr today is because I know there are so many talented artists whose work went to absolute shit last week. That website is a spectacular place for geeks, nerds, and really everyone who is passionate about ANYTHING, to come together about that THING, and talk about it, post about it, create art about it. Graphic artists, designers, and just talented kids with a flair for turning TV clips into 5 second gifs have been posting things on this website more and more frequently over the years, all for our amusement (and maybe a little notoriety).

All of the sudden, with this update, Their artwork is glitchy and cut off. Again, I don’t understand the technical details, but something in the formatting has changed. There’s a petition going around, but the main jist–it’s not working. And like the Facebook updates…they probably won’t change it back no matter how much we complain about it. I hate to see all of my favorites leave the site or give up, so I hope things get figured out, but right now it doesn’t seem hopeful. From what I’ve read, there hasn’t been a lot of response from the staff.

So today, as hard as it is to stay off such an addicting site, and I sure do miss my friends…No Tumblr for me today.

 

 

This was supposed to be a completely different post, but about Sherlock and Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, but this seemed way more important. If you want to support the petition whose work has been affected, click here. There’s been about 48,000 signatures so far.

Tolkien

I told my husband I was going to do nothing but read this weekend, and since I’ve finished 3 books in 2 days…I think I’m doing pretty well!

When I first started getting into fantasy, I tried to watch The Lord of the Rings movies, and every time I did, I would get as far as the cornfield scene, and fall asleep, or get bored, and inevitably give up. Over and over someone would say “Haley, you would LOVE this, watch it!” But I just couldn’t get into them. And the idea of reading three volumes of that was just…ugh….no thanks.

But I kept seeing the excitement and obsession everyone had for Tolkien’s trilogy, and I just didn’t understand the fascination. What was I missing? And so, when I unpacked R’s book collection at our first apartment, and saw that he had not just LOTR, but also The Hobbit, I set out to conquer them. I was sure I’d hate it, but I had to know.

And then I couldn’t stop. I think it took me about a week to finish the four. And we watched the movies, of course. We haven’t gotten our hands on The Hobbit ones, and I’m dying to–we must, before December. (MARTIN FREEMAN AHHH WHY HAVE I NOT SEEN THESE YET).

And then I started learning more about where the myths came from, and reading online more about Tolkien. What a genius! I have a bunch of biographies tagged to read about him that I haven’t picked up yet, but the other day NetGalley sent me an ARC offer from Devin Brown, so of course I jumped on it.

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At first, Tolkien is a little choppy. Or maybe I should say, “listy.” Here’s an event or a place, and here’s the connection Tolkien used for his books. And Brown does that over and over for the first few chapters. But then, the bio sort of finds the flow once he gets to school and it gets better after that.

The subtitle of the book is “How an Obscure Oxford Professor Wrote the Hobbit and Became the Most Beloved Author of the Century.” That really tells you what you are going to get here. There’s not a lot about his nature walks or how he came up with his maps here–which is a little of what I was hoping for, since I’ve read about some of that online. This is very much about his days at school and his professorship, and his development into languages. There is a bit into his relationship with CS Lewis and his marriage, but none of this book is supremely personal or detailed. It’s also not a very long book–I read it in about 3 hours, starting last night and finishing this morning.

Tolkien is a very good introduction to the author. I very much want to know more now about the pieces of his life that were described here, and I will be reading more about this incredibly intelligent man.

 

Disclaimer:  I was given an ecopy of this book for review by NetGalley.

Hero/OTP

This weekend completely knocked me off my feet, so I’m sorry for the wonky blogging. I completely neglected yesterday, which was supposed to be Hero/Heroine. Today is OTP (One True Paring). Thankfully….I can cheat and wrap these up in one post! Phew, problem solved.

Let’s face it, my real OTP is Johnlock. No question. But…that’s TV (yes, I know it’s a book too, but it wasn’t really prevalent until Cumberbatch and Freeman, because…reasons), and this is a book challenge.

And so I flip to two more of our favorite paired heroes. Mr. Frodo and Samwise Gamgee.

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I know, I know. Heroes, everyone understands. But an OTP? Really?

I think I’m probably the only person in the world who ships them. But, for some reason, I always did. In the books, and ESPECIALLY in the movies, when they were closer in age. Sam obviously loves his Mr. Frodo, and Frodo, even in his distraction, needs Sam. He could not have completed his quest without him.

Ethereal

When I first saw this theme, I had absolutely no idea what the word meant. But as I read more and more about it, the only picture in my mind was one thing.

Galadriel.

Even her name is ethereal. Can you get any more “So perfect as to be otherwordly” than Galadriel?

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(Source:  SIREN)

That picture gives me chills. Kudos to the creator. 

Anyway, she was one of my favorite characters in the LOTR because she showed that even though she was inherently good and beautiful and healing, even she had a weakness. She was not invincible.

And now, my obligatory book picture, even though it could not compare to the one above. Sorry for the blurriness, I completely forgot about it last night and was rushing out the door this morning.

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