Two nuns go into a liquor store and buy a bottle of whiskey. The cashier tells them, "Now, that's not right! You're nuns! You shouldn't be drinking!" One of the nuns explains, "It's for medicinal purposes. Mother Superior is constipated, and when she sees us drunk on this stuff, she'll shit!"
I'm back, my pretties! Expect me to pop in sporadically until further notice!
Book two of the Sword of Truth series
In Wizard's First Rule,
Richard Cypher's world was turned upside down. Once a simple woods
guide, Richard was forced to become the Seeker of Truth, to save the
world from the vile dominance of Darken Rahl, the most viciously savage
and powerful wizard the world had ever seen. He was joined on this epic
quest by his beloved Kahlan, the only survivor among the Confessors, who
brought a powerful but benevolent justice to the land before Rahl's
evil scourge. Aided by Zedd, the last of the wizards who opposed Rahl,
they were able to cast him into the underworld, saving the world from
the living hell of life under Rahl.
But the veil to the
underworld has been torn, and Rahl, from beyond the veil, begins to
summon a sinister power more dreadful than any he has wielded before.
Horrifying creatures escape through the torn veil, wreaking havoc on the
unsuspecting world above.
If Rahl isn't stopped, he will free
the Keeper itself, an evil entity whose power is so vast and foul that
once freed, it can never again be contained.
Richard and Kahlan
must face Rahl and the Keeper's terrible minions. But first, Richard
must endure the ministrations of the Sisters of the Light, or die from
the pain of magic that is his birthright and his curse. While Richard
undertakes the arduous journey to the forbidden city of the Sisters,
Kahlan must embark upon a long and dangerous mission to Aydindril,
citadel of the old wizards, where she hopes to find Zedd and the help
only he can lend to their desperate cause.
torture, and deceit lie in their paths, and nothing will save them from a
destiny of violent death, unless their courage and faith are joined
with luck and they find the elusive...Stone of Tears.
MY RATING: 3 STARS
I just realized I misspelled a name in my review, yet I don't really care to correct it. *cackle* Anyhoo, here's the review!
I would probably give this
one more like 3.5 stars if I had the option. Where it was good, it was
great, but the only real trouble I had with it is that Goodkind spent way too
much time wandering around before he finally remembered there is in
fact such a thing as plot and he'd better get back to his in a hurry.
All the crap I heard about there being so much more sadism and
near-misogyny wasn't nearly what I'd been led to believe by a long shot.
So...Richard is a wizard and needs to follow Verna, a Sister of
the Light, to the Palace of the Prophets to learn to control his magic
before it kills him. Fine and dandy, but they have to cross all of
creation to get there, and Goodkind drags us along for the entire
trip. Only about a quarter of the book, if that, took place in the
Palace of the Prophets. The Stone of Tears, the only thing holding the
Keeper of the Dead in the underworld, is in the land of the living, and
if it falls into the wrong hands, the usual hell will break loose.
Sounds great, but the Stone itself was more of a minor detail until the
very end of the book, so that fell flatter than crepes. Kahlan needs to
get to Zedd in Adyndril, the city of wizards and Confessors, to see if
he can help Richard escape from the terrible, horrible, no-good, very
bad Sisters of the Light. All right, but she gets sidetracked fighting
wars with the army of the Imperial Order and spends more time killing
renegade soldiers wearing nothing but warpaint than she does in
Adyndril. Zedd himself is after Adie the bone woman for her knowledge of
the underworld. Cool beans, but they were attacked by a skrin and need
to visit these healing sorceresses or whoever they were to be cured from
the taint on their magic.
And so on and so on and zzzzzzzzzzzzzz...........
it just drifted along for nearly all eternity, but there were some
things I liked, like Richard's friendship with Gratch, for one thing.
That was just adorable. And at first I was a little put off by Kahlan's
one-eighty into a remorseless warrior queen since I thought the Mother
Confessor was supposed to be the soul of compassion, but I guess she's
also the guardian and protector of her people, so when they fell under
threat, she only did what was necessary to defend them. Denna had also
become my favorite character by the end of Wizard's First Rule
so I was glad to see her again here, though I just wish I could have
seen more of her. She's one of the more complex and intriguing villains
I've seen recently, and I love her as much as I'm sickened by her.
(Speaking of Mord-Sith, I spent the entire book looking for Cara! She
was more important in the TV series, and nonexistent in the book! I kept
thinking to myself as I read, "Where's Cara? Where's
I was more than a little
annoyed that the resolution of those infinite plot lines was rushed on
all counts, and irritated that it took forever to learn what Wizard's
Second Rule was only for it to turn out so trite and stale, and while it
wasn't as graphic as I'd expected it to be based on the reviews I read,
hearing about seventy-five percent of the female characters being raped
every time you blinked got...old. Was Goodkind going for shock factor?
He wore it out awful fast. Is he really some kind of perverted sexual
sadist? He played it pretty safe, considering the subject matter.
*shrug* There was some other seriously weird stuff going on, like
bestiality with a creature from the underworld and more of that ritual
sacrifice from the first book. It seems Goodkind can't decide whether he
wants to tell a story or make people vomit!
And I liked Richard a lot in the first one but here, well, he just got on my nerves way too often.
call this one about 60/40 so far as waste/valuables goes, but those
good parts were worth it. I think...I'm almost positive...I'm putting
this series on the low-priority section of my wish list.
Check this out! I was browsing the forums on phantomoftheopera.com (or as I usually think of it, my home within my home) and ran across a thread with this fascinating link to the original serial! It's just the first installment, and my French is nonexistent, so I can't read it, but still, isn't that amazing?
Look at it! (it's all the way down there at the bottom)
So...continuing my habit of killing waaaaaay too much time on YouTube...I found these about two months ago, and I'm still watching them. They're completely out there and make no sense whatsoever, but hilarious for all of that. Kinda like yours truly!
And, by the way, I'm posting all of them that are available. And no, I'm not going to apologize for it. They're too addicting, I tell you!
Random Editing - Phantom of the Opera
There you are. Have a party, and I'll see you next Friday. For more Phantom stuff, that is.
Book five of the Magic Kingdom of Landover series.
Former Chicago lawyer
Ben Holiday was proud and happy. And why not? The Magic Kingdom of
Landover, which he ruled as High Lord, was finally at peace, and he and
his wife, the sylph Willow, could watch their daughter Mistaya grow.
grow she did - shooting through infancy in months, learning to walk and
to swim in the same week. Mistaya had been born a seedling, nourished
by soils from Landover, Earth, and the fairy mists, come into being in
the dank, misty deadness of the Deep Fell. With dazzling green eyes that
cut to the soul, she was as lovely as her mother, and Ben wanted
nothing more than to enjoy his daughter's childhood and his peaceful
kingdom forever. But his idyll was interrupted when Rydall, a king of
lands beyond the fairy mist, assembled armies on Landover's border and
threatened to invade unless Ben was able to defeat Rydall's seven
Some counseled the High Lord to refuse Rydall's
challenge, but Holiday could not, for Mistaya had been snatched from her
guardians by foul magic. And Rydall held the key to her fate . . .
MY RATING: 3 STARS
And my GoodReads review (sorry it's another short one):
I think I'm having a review burnout lately...
took awhile for this one to get going, and I never really did warm up
to Mistaya. She was too...precocious. She just knew everything, and she
only went along with the grownups' wishes because it was her obligation,
and she was just so special and *raspberry*. It was pretty predictable,
even more so than the others in the series. I mean, I KNEW who Rydall
of Marnhull was the first time he showed up at Sterling Silver! There
was no point in dragging it out!
In the end, this one got three
stars for three reasons. 1) There was plenty of Strabo, and I love
Strabo. 2) Abernathy's dilemma of being transformed back into a man,
only to have to face becoming a dog again to save everyone just made me
love him even more. 3) Finally! We got rid of Nightshade! At last!
I remembered that I'm supposed to be rubbing it in the BBC's face this year, and that the next book on the list that I've read is Alice. I'm fully aware that as far as my usual reviews go, this one is sub-par, but...*shrugs*
Weary of her storybook,
one "without pictures or conversations," the young and imaginative
Alice follows a hasty hare underground -- to come face-to-face with some
of the strangest adventures and most fantastic characters in all of
literature. The Ugly Duchess, the Mad Hatter, the weeping Mock Turtle,
the diabolical Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat -- each more eccentric
than the last -- could only have come from that master of sublime
nonsense, Lewis Carroll. In penning this brilliant burlesque of
children's literature, this farcical satire of rigid Victorian society,
this arresting parody of the fears, anxieties, and complexities of
growing up, Carroll was one of the few adult writers to enter
successfully the children's world of make-believe, where the impossible
becomes possible, the unreal, real, and where the heights of adventure
are limited only by the depths of imagination.
MY RATING: 3 STARS
And now for my pitiful review:
but the twisted, eccentric bent in me prefers Tim Burton's adaptation.
On its face, you'd think this was just a nonsense book, and to some
degree you'd be right, but when you dig deeper there's more meaning than
you realize. We can certainly sympathize with Alice, flung into a world
she doesn't understand, but I particularly admire how she stays Alice
throughout her adventure. Her encounters with all the strange and rather
inhospitable inhabitants of Wonderland don't change her for the worse
in the slightest (she was only dreaming about them, but that's not the
point). The greatest wonder to me--no pun intended--is how Carroll wrote
these books. Think of it; a grown man in the era he lived in not only
possessing such a child-like imagination, but creating with it one of
the most beloved children's books of all time. Bravo, sir!
Yeah, pitiful...I feel kinda ashamed of that one...
Pardon me if I start slacking on posts again, but things are going crazy around here again.
Magic Kingdom of Landover, book four.
Everything should have
been quiet and pleasant for Ben Holiday, the former Chicago lawyer who
became sovereign of the Magic Kingdom of Landover. But it wasn't. Horris
Kew, conjurer, confidence-man, and trickster, had returned to Landover
from Ben's own world. Alas, Horris had not returned of his own
volition--he had been sent by the Gorse, a sorcerer of great evil, whom
Horris had unwittingly freed from the magic Tangle Box, where it had
long ago been imprisoned by the fairy folk. Now it had returned to
enslave those who had once dared condemn it. But first, it would rid
Landover of all who could stand in its way... Soon Ben found himself
imprisoned within the gloom of the Tangle Box, lost in its mists and its
labyrinthine ways. The only one who could free Ben from the Tangle Box
was the lady Willow. But she had disappeared, was gone from Landover on a
mysterious mission of her own....
MY RATING: 3 STARS My review: I'm glad Terry Brooks took that time from the series before coming back to it, because this one feels much better than Wizard At Large.
There's more depth of character and more care in the whole kit and
kaboodle, and thank God he's broken away from his usual patterns!
Kew, an exile returned to Landover through the magic of an evil being
called the Gorse, manages to trap Ben Holiday, along with Strabo and
Nightshade (will that old witch EVER clear out of here?!) in the
mysterious Tangle Box, a prison of sorts filled with fairy mists where
imagination is reality and your worst fears come to life. Willow can't
help him, as she's off on a mission to prepare for the fairy birth of
her and Ben's child. And Questor Thews and Abernathy can't help either,
as they've got their hands full trying to keep Landover from falling
apart in the King's absence. There's quite a bit going on, but each plot
line remains distinct while still keeping in time with the others.
is once again my favorite character, but I'm also growing fonder of
Strabo. Stripped of his identity (as everyone is in the Tangle Box), we
get to understand him more. And I was also happy to see Edgewood Dirk,
the prism cat, make an appearance again, though he wasn't around long
enough, in my opinion. What pleased me most with this one was that even
though Ben lost himself--yet again--he had companions for the ride that
added new complications and food for thought as I watched them interact
with each other. And three cheers for someone other than the goshdarned
Paladin saving the day!
The only thing that annoyed me was the
way Willow's story was handled. For being such an important event, she
felt like an afterthought between everything else, and in the end it
felt too anticlimactic for me. Oh well, can't have everything.
I realized it's been awhile since I did one of these, and listening to this song earlier today put me in the mood for it. As it happens, I'm really stuck on this decision!
Billy Joel original
How do I want to describe this? It's a brilliant song, and the execution is definitely in Billy Joel's style. What really attaches me to this version are the fond memories I have associated with it...such fond memories. There's more a sense of spirit present, especially when it rips loose towards the end. Am I the only one who feels like the whole thing is about to take off and fly? Probably the only negative thing I have to say about it is how the tempo slows down periodically and it seems to stomp its way through back to when it picks up again. No, wait, that is the only negative thing I have to say about it.
Garth Brooks cover
First off, those lyrics aren't accurate, but it's a pain in the neck to find a Garth Brooks song on YouTube that's actually sung by Garth Brooks. Too many covers! Anyway, it's a known fact that you can recognize a Garth song by the steel guitar. *wink* I'm quite attached to that, really. And the noted electric guitarist Chris Leuzinger, of course. But that's not the only thing I love about this version. I love the simplicity and power of it. There's just a piano, a couple guitars, some drums, and a background vocalist, and that's it. I think it's all in Garth's delivery that really hits me. He's clearly feeling it, and that in turn makes me feel it. The only negative thing I have to say about this one is that dratted echo! I can tune it out, but I still don't care for it.
Here's another one of those where I can't possibly choose a favorite, simply because I love both contenders so darn much. But then I stop and think, and I notice there's only one version I put on repeat, and that's Garth...so we have a winner after all!
Book three of the Magic Kingdom of Landover series.
It all began when the
half-able wizard Questor Thews announced that finally he could restore
the Court Scribe Abernathy to human form. All went well until the wizard
breathed the magic dust of his spell and suddenly sneezed. Then, where
Abernathy had stood, there was only a bottle containing a particularly
evil imp, who soon escapes.
MY RATING: 3 STARS
My review as posted on GoodReads, etc.
It's good to see that this
series has remained consistent so far. I can think of a few that have
gotten more and more disappointing as they carried on, but that's not
the case with this one. If anything, it gets to be even more fun.
the good news...the bad news is, this thing is starting to feel
formulaic. Uh oh! Ben has somehow lost the medallion again! We have to
get it back! There's an evil creature on the loose in Landover! We have
to stop it! Nightshade is making trouble again! Something must be done
about this! We must call... *moment of breathless suspense* the Paladin!
kept this from dragging down for me was the focus on Questor and
Abernathy. When the attempt to turn the scribe back into a man backfires
catastrophically, the wizard tries to set things right, and it's HIS
turn for some self-discovery (which is good, because if I had to sit
through Ben trying to figure himself out again, it wouldn't have ended
well. It's getting old.) And we finally learn a little more about
Abernathy, and that information just popped him up to the status of my
favorite character so far. He's only in this mess because a long time
ago, he tried to do the right thing. Now he's stuck as a talking dog on
Earth in the company of his worst enemy. Not good!
another appearance, and while I like the dragon's sarcasm and
irritability, I could see that surprise coming just by reading the
summary. I'll admit, I was cheering Questor on in his attempt to
persuade Strabo to help him save Ben and the others, and frankly that
scene was the highlight of the whole book for me. It was just too funny!
The other bit that stuck out was the climactic battle in which we may
or may not have seen the last of Nightshade. Really, it's too soon to
tell. Anyway, how she was defeated was pure genius.
Can I just
say that I might have predicted by the end of the book that Questor
would suggest trying to change Abernathy back again? I think I'm too
attached to him as a dog to want him changed back. Your humble book nerd, Angels
Depending on whether or not you stalk me on Facebook and Twitter, you might be aware that I'm up to my eyeballs in a new story. (Yes, I'm avoiding the Gargantuan Novel Re-Write for another Phantom fic! Sue me, OK?) I take a sick pleasure in putting the characters in situations I've never seen other writers put them in, and indeed the only incentive I need to go for it is the fact that other writers won't do it. So far, I've stuck Erik in therapy, beaten him to death, had Raoul shoot him, made him kill Raoul and Christine, made Christine kill herself, and took a trip into Christine's head to examine her motives. But I have NEVER seen the story that takes this turn I'm about to. NEVER. I've seen one that comes pretty damn close to it, but never really went after it. So...cue the incentive.
My problem? It's a hell of a lot harder than you'd think to take a character you love so much and make them go completely berserk, and when it's a character millions of other people know and love it makes it that much harder. The temptation is to draw back and shy away from the intended goal, if not to just drop the whole thing like a hot potato. There's only one way I'm going to get away with this one, and that's if the writing itself totally effing delivers.
Here's where it gets really hard. To create your best work, you have to dig in deep, then go even deeper. I think the way Ernest Hemingway put it was "There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit at the typewriter and bleed." Well, that's putting it rather mildly, but that's the sum of it. To move someone else, you have to get to what moves you first. This piece calls for a LOT of rage and fear and resentment and despair and agony and a whole lot of other things no sane person wants to get within shouting distance of. And I have to go there. I have to reach back into the dark corners of my mind and haul those monsters out into the light of day.
What's my point, you ask? I have to tear down the walls around what I've kept locked up for years and shed some light on those dark corners. It's a terrifying prospect, and in the two weeks I've been working on this story I've felt close to the worst I've ever felt in my life, dwelling on things I've nearly driven myself crazy trying to forget. I'm not just doing this for the sake of the story, though. The story was only the catalyst. The driving motive now is the need to overcome the fears and memories that have given me hell.
But of course, it's not easy. Thank God for an amazing beta reader who put me back on track when she saw me starting to flinch! After having my eyes opened, I spent some time with my mental drill sergeant going over the rules of engagement and there was a whole lot of attitude flying around. If you've ever taken a look at Chuck Wendig's blog before, you'll see what I mean. I put on the appropriate music to get into the mood, yelled at myself a bit more to get all fired up, then went for it. It was draining to the extreme, but purifying.
Which goes to show, writing is therapy!
My summary for this little lecture is as follows.
Sometimes you have to take risks no one else will, no matter how scary
When you're willing to take that risk, it's even more important to go into it with colors flying
Before you can even think of making a reader feel something, you have to feel it yourself. If you can't handle that, you have no business writing.
The hardest part, but also the most rewarding, is the struggle to face your demons and bring life to the page, conquering that part of yourself in the process.
When in doubt, call in the A-Team. Get a beta! Pick yourself up off the floor and get back in the game! Whatever you gotta do, do it!
Assuming, of course, you don't mind being lectured by a stranger over the internet, and are willing to take the advice of a well-meaning, obsessive-compulsive amateur...
A year had passed since
Ben Holiday bought the Magic Kingdom from the wizard, Meeks. But
unbeknownst to him, he has been the victim of a trap by Meeks, who has
succeeded in stealing the Paladin and appropriating his face. Suddenly
none of Ben's friends know him, but all of his enemies do. He must win
it all back again--only this time on his own!
MY RATING: 4 STARS
And as usual, my review as posted on GoodReads:
Even better than the first one!
See? I TOLD you we hadn't seen the last of Nightshade! And I knew there would be more with Strabo and Meeks! I knew it!
might be a bit premature to say this, but it's good to know that Ben
Holiday is still on a character arc. Even after all the lessons he
learned in his efforts to secure his throne in the original, he still
has that much more to discover about Landover and especially himself.
The fairies might have sent him Edgewood Dirk, the prism cat, to help
him out a bit, but Dirk's not about to just give him the answers. That
was the best part for me, for Ben, once-lawyer and now exiled king, to
have to work out the truth of the magic Meeks had used on him.
it just me, or did there seem to be even more magic in this one?
Missing unicorns, spells of deception, dancing wood nymphs and a strange
cat from the fairy mists? I liked it! Right up my alley! All that's
missing are a few mermaids, but I think the River Master and his ilk
still fill that void.
Well shucks, what else is there I can say?
It was just as much fun as the first one, and again, I liked it even
more. Now onto the next one!
I've realized how bored I am with introductions, so I'll do away with them this time. August's featured artist is, drum roll, please!
Oh dear Lord have mercy, this man is incredible! He's a musical theater actor with such roles under his belt as Raoul (The Phantom of the Opera), Mariusand Javert (Les Miserables), and El Gallo (The Fantasticks), and he's also a talented singer/songwriter. Some of my audience might know this, but he and Ramin Karimloo formed a group known as Sheytoons, playing a mix of folk and bluegrass. He's releasing an album sometime...next year, I think...and that's yet another one I'll have to add to my wish list.
How Many Times
This is one of those he wrote himself, and the performance was Sheytoons' recent concert in Ontario. What I would have given to be there for that!