Monday, May 30, 2011


The first chapter of STARCROSSED starts off with a chase. A nighttime chase. A very intense paragraph of chase that introduces us to Digger, the heroine of Elizabeth C. Bunce's beautiful fantasy set in the world of Llyvaraneth.

After a job-gone-wrong, accomplished thief and liar Digger is forced to flee the perilous city of Gerse. Sheer luck leads her into the hands of four young "nobs," or nobles, out for a cruise on their river boat. They offer her passage out of the city. Digger, under the pseudonym of Celyn Contrare, accepts the offer. On the boat, she notices that one of the nobles, a girl named Merista Nemair, seems to have a propensity to magic, a dangerous thing in Gerse where magic is forbidden. She does not mention this, though, for to mention it would reveal that she, too, has an affinity to magic.

Digger is taken to the home of the Nemairs, the parents of Merista Nemair. There, she is offered the position as Merista's lady's maid, a position she accepts. Later, this position obliges her to travel with the family to their keep called Bryn Shaer, where they will celebrate Merista's coming-of-age birthday. At first, all seems well and good. But then comes Lord Remy Daul, a supposed friend of Merista's father, with a bitter secret and vengeful heart bent on destroying the Nemair fanily. With his arrival, Digger's world is turned upside down, and when Daul discovers her true nature, he blackmails her into assisting him with the search that will, he hope, lead to the Nemair's downfall.

Full of unexpected twists and surprising characters, STARCROSSED is an engaging, fascinating read.

I really enjoyed this story. The first chapter was a race to read, moved along very quickly, and kept my interest completely captivated. The next few chapters, when Digger is escaping Gerse and meeting the young nobles, is a bit on the slow side, but I understand the reason of this because the author is introducing us to the complex world of Llyvaraneth, with all its politics, classes of people, and beliefs. Once I reached Bryn Shaer, though, I didn't want to put the book down until I'd completely finished.

There are "religions" in this story, as well as reference to gods and goddesses, and though I don't approve of gods and goddesses in my fantasies, the author handled it with grace and skill. She did not shove it down your throat. It was simply presented as a way of life.

Digger was an empathetic character. She was believable, captivating, and spunky without being a brat. She had a sense of honour about her, and unexpected determination to do what she felt was right.

Perhaps one of the things that I didn't like, and "censored" as I read, were the subtle innuendos and slightly offish descriptions that very, very lightly peppered this book.

I would probably have given this book at least four-and-a-half stars, were it not for the offish bits. However, because of that, I offer her four stars.

My rating:

If you desire, you can read the Goodreads review of this story, and the Amazon review as well.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Writing from the Heart

How do you judge a book?

I love books where I really connect with the MC, and really empathize with the situation. I love it when I'm hanging on with every breath for the character, and can't stop turning the pages.

A good example of this is Starcrossed. I really loved this book. There was a little bit of inuendo that I didn't like, but it was minimal, and the main character, Digger, was so alive that I could "censor" the bits I didn't like and devour the rest. I started the book, and though I thought it started off a teensy bit slow, there was a point where it knocked a stone loose, and the rest of the story went hurtling down the mountainside at a niftly clip. I am looking forward to Elizabeth C. Bunce's other books in her Thief Errant series, the second of which is called Liar's Moon.

On the flip side, I just finished the book The Last Hunt, the last book in the Unicorn Chronicles. I've read the other books in the series, and of course I had to read this one. Bruce Coville is a really great author. I couldn't stop reading, for all his chapters ended on a cliffhanger, and you just couldn't stop there, you know? However, I just didn't connect with his characters, ANY of his characters, the main character, the protagonist, the secondary character, any of them. So I finished that book with a feeling of dissatisfaction.

What is your opinion on books? Will you keep reading, even if you don't connect with the character?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award, and Observations of Scotland.

I've actually just started becoming resigned to the fact that I'm here, back home in the good old U.S. of A., instead of in Scotland. My life has felt quite topsy-turvy since I've gotten back, and I've been very very very remiss in my blog posts. Apologies on that!

However, I found quite a pleasant surprise today in the comments on another post. I received the Stylish Blogger Award from Dawn Brazil, over at her Brilliant Babbles about Books. Thanks so much for the award, Dawn! I appreciate it so much.

In order to receive this award, I must now list seven things about myself that other people might not know about me. Having done this several times before, I'm beginning to run out of things to say! However, here goes.

1.) I am primarily a Fantasy writer.

2.) If possible, I will listen to conversations, but I'd really rather not engage or participate in the conversation, thank you.

3.) After the first few gasping minutes of pain and "giving-up-itis", I love to run. Once I get into my stride, running is the best thing ever!!

4.) I can be very melancholy, and down on myself.

5.) I don't notice when guys "check me out." I usually have to be clued in by my family members. :-)

6.) If I have a Borders coupon in my purse, I have to use it. I have to. It's an obsession.

7.) I have five stories that I've completed, but haven't revised yet. This is now Something I Must Do!!

Now, I need to pass on the award to some other bloggers that I feel thoroughly deserve it. These are:

Amanda at Old Fashioned Girl.
Maria at Fire, Fleet, and Candlelight.
Christine at Reading, Writing, and Random Thoughts.
Lynne at Making Stuff Up and Writing It Down.
Anne at Critically Yours.

All right, now on to random things about Scotland.
  1. First of all, they drive on the wrong sides of the road. Unless you've actually experienced it, you've no idea how bizarre and wrong that feels. I caught myself a couple of times from correcting the driver by telling him he was on the wrong side of the road. I mean, duh! In Scotland, the wrong side is the right side.
  2. Their steering wheels are on the wrong side, too... which is to say, on the right side. The first day I was in Scotland, I looked out the back window at a car that was alongside us, and my heart stopped. The driver was sitting and reading the newspaper, paying absolutely no attention to the traffic! When my brain finally kicked in, I realised I was looking at the person sitting on the left side of the car, and he was the passenger, not the driver. Whew!
  3. Their stoplights go from green, to yellow, to red. Then, they go from red, to yellow, to green. When you are the pedestrian waiting to cross, watch out and pay attention to the lights, because as soon as the red turns to yellow, all the engines rev up. If you happen to be in the middle of the street, taking your chances by crossing before the light has turned green, your chances are slim. When the light turns from red to yellow, the drivers wait for no man!
  4. All of their houses are made of stone. At least, all the houses in Edinburgh are. Even the great big hotels, hostels, and malls are made of stone. Most of the rows have iron railings about them, too.
  5. The streets are narrow. NARROW! I'm glad I wasn't the driver in Scotland. I'd have done some serious body damage just by driving on the road. Cuh-razy!
  6. They add a "U" to words like honour, armour, and humour. I confess, having read a lot of British writings, I generally write these words with the U. It was just nice to see that, in Scotland, I fit in. :-) They also spell words like theater and center with the "R" first and the "E" after, thusly: theatre and centre. And tire is spelled tyre.
  7. F*** is not a BAD bad word over there. Neither is b***ch. In fact, that word, the female dog word, is used as a term of endearment. How very odd.
  8. Scots don't usually say hello. They say "Hiya." And, when you're leaving, they don't say goodbye. They say "Cheers," or "Cheerio."
And a blog is just not complete without photos. So, here are some purty pictures of the world of Scotland.

So mon, thanks for reading, like. It was good, eh? I appreciate your interest. Until later, cheers. God bless.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

What To Take With You When Travelling...

... And, what not to take.

I went to Scotland, completely unsure exactly what I would need while travelling. This is the list I came up with, and how I'm going to travel next time I go out of the country.

Take a duffel bag, or a satchel, something big with a strap that you can loop over your shoulders. A duffel is important, because you can carry a sweater with you, should you need a sweater, a travel journal if you've brought one, your wallet if needed, your camera, and your sketchbook. It's also handy to have when you've purchased something and you don't feel like carrying it around in your hands for the rest of the day.

Do not take a purse. You'll find this only becomes an added weight that you really don't need to cart around with you.

Take your wallet. You can shove a lot into a wallet, especially if you are particularly talented at organizing space.

Don't take TOO too many books. If you're any sort of traveller, you're going to be spending more of your time writing in your journal and taking pictures than just reading.

Take a travel journal. Please, do yourself a favour and take a journal! You'll regret it if you don't. A travel journal is handy, because you can write down what you feel at a certain time, and it's also handy for holding any brochures and postcards you happen to collect for a scrapbook collage later.

Don't take more than one pair of shoes. If you've got a good, sturdy pair of walking shoes that don't give you blisters and you know you're going to be doing a lot of walking, one pair of shoes is more than ample. More than that, and you're simply going to be taking up valuable luggage space.

Don't take superfluous clothes. If you need to dress up an outfit, splurge and get yourself a fancy scarf or necklace later. Heck, the whole reason you're travelling is so that you can relax, take in a whole new lifestyle, and treat yourself. The less clothing you take (and you'll be surprised at how few clothes you can bring to create a whole two-week wardrobe) the more space you have for gifts.

Take initiative. If you see something you absolutely love and you don't think you ought to buy it, seriously seriously seriously consider buying it anyway. How many times do you think you're going to make it to such and such a country? Believe me, you don't want to live with "If only" remorse.

Take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Even if you're not a picture taker, FORCE yourself to take pictures!! There's nothing like having those memories to look back on, and remember that, "I stood here, and I put my hand on this cannon, and I looked over this country. I was here."

So, that's what I learned, anyway. I hope you liked all my travelling tips! Hope you all have a good trip too, now that I've inspired you to travel. (I have inspired you, haven't I? ;-)

God bless! Talk to you next time.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I'm back... reluctantly. :)

Yes, I've come back home from Scotland. I got back Saturday the seventh of May, and I've been too jet-lagged and homesick for Scotland to think about posting. For the first time, I'm feeling a rekindling spark of writing interest, so I guess it's time for me to return to reality.

There may be some people who can blog AND journal as they travel. Perhaps if I hadn't been quite so giddily busy every single day I could have done both, too. As it is, I relied heavily on my camera, and my trusty travel journal. I will now proceed to transfer my journal notes onto my blog.

So,for the next few weeks I'm going to post entries from my travel journal, sharing my experiences with you all. Believe me, it was an experience worth having. The best part is the setting for a story I've been thinking about has come vividly to life. That's a bonus.

The first post I do will probably be a post on what to bring with you when you travel. There were some items I didn't realise I'd use quite so frequently, and some items that I didn't use at all.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...