Showing posts from February, 2017

Monday Musings: O'Brien Read/Watch: The Secret of NIMH

I'm going to treat this post as something more like a running commentary than an actual review. What follows are my thoughts as I watched the movie The Secret of NIMH for the first time in (at least) 7 years. Wow. There's magic from the first scene of this movie. Which is based on a science fiction novel. Arthur C. Clarke, where are you? Nicodemus is a bit creepy with the warts and such, but I like introducing the mystery of Jonathan's connection to the rats this early. Nicodemus' book sets Jenner's character up and mentions Thorn Valley, though you can't read it all without pausing. (I had to go back because I missed some of the dialogue in this quiet scene.) Mr. Ages' house got moved from an old farmhouse in the book to an old combine in the movie. That's mostly an atmospheric change, I think, but it fits with the technological advancements of the rats. "Great Jupiter, woman!" -- Why don't we have exclamations like th

Saturday Snippets: February Edition (Albion Apparent)

Another month has already flown by! My writing got derailed a bit in the middle of the month thanks to a nasty cold (or a mild flu, I'm not sure which), but I still made some excellent headway on Albion Apparent . Without further ado, here are this month's snippets. Darity, Dénsmore, and D’Artangan, the three eldest daughters of the Norn Skuld, walked through the autumn woods of Asgard searching for answers. Being Norns themselves, the sisters ought to have been able to merely open their Second Sight and find the solution to their problem—if the Sight itself were not their problem. *** Grandmother Spider sat by the fire in her audience chamber, bent like an old woman at work even in her twilight years. The stories said she had made the stars with a dew-soaked web and brought fire to humanity. She was also the most knowledgeable of the Aeoni on matters of the Sight. *** My deepest anxiety had been easy to pinpoint, almost too easy, in fact. I had to reap Gab

Faith, Love, and Serial Killers: Dan Wells' I Don't Want to Kill You

I recently read the third of Dan Wells' John Cleaver mysteries, I Don't Want to Kill You . It was so good I wanted to share my thoughts at more length than my quick review on Goodreads . Beware, this is a spoiler-heavy review. Picking up the story shortly after Mr. Monster ended, I Don't Want to Kill You  finds John anticipating the arrival of Nobody, the demon he called at the end of that book. He's done the demon tracking-hunting-slaying thing twice now, so he must be an expert, right? Except Nobody hasn't shown her face yet, and John is getting antsy. Then the infamous serial killer the Handyman migrates from Georgia to North Dakota, and John thinks maybe Nobody is  the Handyman. Either that, or she is working with the Handyman, using one of her demon compatriots to distract John from his mission: killing her and the other demons like her. Not only is John's demon hunting not going quite as planned, but his social life (never the best, due to the w

10 Bookworm Questions Tag (Link-Up with Paper Fury)

Cait over at Paper Fury listed 10 Bookworm Questions  she posed for herself to answer and invited others to post their own answers. They looked like fun (especially the last one) so I thought I'd give it a go. 1. What are your top 5 reads of 2017 so far? This one was fairly easy to answer. I've got 26 books on my Goodreads Challenge so far this year (including several short stories I listened to via Audible and the last few volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist). These five titles rose to the top of the list: Goldenhand by Garth Nix The Heart of What was Lost by Tad Williams The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg The Dispatcher by John Scalzi I Don't Want to Kill You by Dan Wells (As a side note, the last two titles on this list are not  for the faint of heart. The Scalzi title is an Audible-exclusive novella that, while otherwise solidly written, has some intense use of vulgarity, heavy on the f-bombs. For that reason, I don't recommend it carte bl

Monday Musings: O'Brien Read/Watch: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

I'm starting off the read/watch marathon with the book that started me on this kick and inspired the film(s) that alerted me to O'Brien's work: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH . Before I get into my thoughts on the book itself, I want to take a minute to talk about my copy of the book, pictured below. I'd actually like to get a better copy, maybe a hardback. This one's a former library copy (hooray book sales!) that's in decent shape, although the front cover is being held on by library-grade book tape. More than that, it has the wrong title because it's a movie tie-in for the Don Bluth film (which I'll take a look at next week if all goes well). It does at least feature the original title in parentheses, but it doesn't have any of the requisite "8 pages of stills from the movie!" inserts. I'll try to avoid any more mentions of the film and its changes to the story in this post because that's what the movie post is f

ThrowBook Thursday: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

As I mentioned last Tuesday, while I was growing up,  The Wizard of Oz was a staple film in our household. I could sing all of the songs and recite most of the dialogue without much thought. (I can do this for a few other films, but my storage capacity seems to be reaching its limit.) Like a great many good movies (and and even greater number of mediocre and terrible ones), it was based on a book. When I discovered the book in our school library, I checked it out to see how it compared to the movie. Big surprise: in many respects, it didn't. The movie shortened the plot in a number of places (the journey to the Witch's castle, Dorothy's journey home, and even the trip to the Emerald City) and dropped characters, adding in a frame story with farmhands and a gloomy old witch. I don't say this to disparage the film. It's a classic and it tells the story well. But the book is a different animal in many respects. It fleshes out Baum's Americana fairyland with more

Albion Academy Blog Tour Round-Up

Over the last month and a half, I've been posting on blogs other than Inexhaustible Inspiration as part of a blog tour to get the word out about Albion Academy . While I've tried to make sure to link to them here and on the Facebook page, I thought it would be handy for everyone to have a list of all the links on one post. Here they are from oldest to newest: Redeeming Myths at SpeculativeFaith ( Mike Duran's rejoinder to the SpecFaith post ) Interview at Amanda Bradburn's blog Why I keep coming back to Arthurian legend at The Splendor Falls on Castle Walls Interview at Mirriam's blog The Magical Origins of Albion Academy at Further Up and Further In Interview at Lilly's Scribblings Guest Post about Real Life Locations in Fiction Guest Post on Mixing Mythologies at The Other Half of the Story

Monday Musings: My Definitive Ranking of the Kingdom Hearts Games

I'm not much of a gamer, but one game series I love is Kingdom Hearts. I bought a PS3 and a 3DS (with a Christmas's worth of gift money) simply to be able to play through this series. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the franchise, Kingdom Hearts is a series of games that combine Disney characters and worlds with gameplay and storylines similar to the Final Fantasy franchise. (The creator of Kingdom Hearts is actually a story and character designer and producer for Final Fantasy.) It follows the story of Sora, a young boy whose world is destroyed by darkness, as he attempts to reunite with his friends and battle evil creatures called Heartless. The games center on the themes of friendship, love, and the triumph of light over darkness. Having played through 99% of the series that's available to me (I still have the final boss and extras in KH II), I've discovered that I definitely have favorites when it comes to the games. So here is my listing of Kingdom Hea

Watercolor Wednesday: February Edition

I tried a couple of different things in this month's paintings. I used paints from both sets I mentioned last time, and did two sketches on the medium-sized pad I painted Night and the Moon on. The third piece I painted this month was a quotes word art piece with some of my favorite literary quotations. Hipster Tumnus was anachronistic before it was cool. For Narnia, I discovered how truly terrible I am with eyes, and Tumnus ended up with sunglasses. o_O I did feel proud of my rendition of his legs, however. The background isn't half bad, and I was able to try my hand with the scraping textures again. Mortimer and the door from Albion Academy Mortimer turned out well, though not quite as I'd envisioned him. I think my attempts at texture fell a bit short, but that may have been due partly to the size pf the salt I used (sea salt as opposed to kosher or table). I do like the color of Mortimer's skin here, though I wish I could have given it a smokier fe

Top 10 Tuesday: Evil Wizards

Since I talked about my favorite heroic magic-users in fiction last month, I thought I'd tackle the other side of the aisle this time. Again, I'm using the term "wizard" to refer to anyone using magic. Saruman the Many-Colored Saruman begins life as a Maia (or angel) of Illuvatar, the Creator of Tolkien's legendarium. Selected as the head of the Istari (wizards) sent by the Valar (archangels) to Middle-earth, Saruman soon abandons the proscription laid on him against taking up leadership over men by establishing himself in Isengard, an abandoned fortress. In his attempts to study the work of Sauron, initially to help the forces of good defeat the Dark Lord, Saruman becomes corrupted by his own fear, bitterness, and longing for power. Changing his name from Saruman the White to Saruman the Many-Colored, he betrays his closest ally and one-time friend Gandalf and eventually becomes little more than a wizened old man whose only power lies in his voice. (S

Monday Musings: Announcing The Robert C. O'Brien Read/Watch Marathon

Apparently, the classic sci-fi novel Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH  is getting another adaptation, this time as a  live-action film . Hearing this news has solidified a nebulous idea I have been toying with: rereading and rewatching the original book and film in order to share my thoughts on both with you all. Why? Because  The Secret of NIMH  was the first  sci-fi/fantasy film I remember encountering as something new. I had seen Disney films, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones at home. They were staples of my childhood. But one night during a sleepover at my aunt's house, we watched  The Secret of NIMH and I became enthralled. When I later discovered it was also a book, I checked it out from the school library. At the time, it was too long for me to finish in the initial checkout limit and it became the first book I had to renew. I remember staying up late in order to keep reading (this might have been my first up-later-than-is-advisable book as well).  NIMH  was part of what got