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About this blog

I love books.  I talk about them here.

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I'm sure the first thing that pops in your head is... why are there 5 different books here for a Trilogy?  Depends on how you look at things.  The hardcover (listed first) contains the 3 books listed next. (The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment)  The trilogy follows the life of Myrddin Emrys or Merlin if you prefer.  I love books 1 and 2 and found book 3 of the trilogy dry and boring.  This does boil down to my interest as in books 1 and 2, Merlin is young to middle age.  He's an old codger in the 3rd book.  Book 4 follows Modred, King Arthur's bastard son by incest with his half-sister (per this version of the tale).  This book is also quite interesting as Mordred is not a bad guy in this tale and the conflict with his father the King is not intentional.  

The reason I like the books... The Crystal Cave is the coming of age of Merlin.  The Hollow Hills is the coming of age of Arthur.  And The Wicked Day is the coming of age of Mordred.  Mary Stewart does a great job of coming of age.  The Last Enchantment is about the end of Merlin's days and that's not nearly as interesting to me, at least.




Mark Roeder has a pretty massive collection of stories.  Some of his early works suffered from poor editing, but his work improved a lot over time and I think he's even gone back and updated his early works with improved editing and cover changes. 


I really liked this story when I first read it mostly because it appealed to my 90's fascination with the Nifty Boy Bands section.  It definitely played up to some of the classics in that genre.  This was worth the read.



His name is Lavan Firestorm, a young man blessed—and cursed—with a special talent for firestarting. His legend has haunted the darkest corners of Valdemar, yet the truth has never been told. Here, at last, is his story.


Mercedes Lackey excels at telling stories of the coming of age of characters blessed... and cursed... with special powers.  Lavan is an interesting young man with a tragic story.  This story truly pulls at your heartstrings, which is one of the things Mercedes Lackey really excels at.  If you like reading fantasy stories, this story is well worth the read!



If you like the Nighrunner series, this anthology of short stories gives more insights to the histories of the characters.


Lynn Flewelling's Glimpses explores "lost" moments from her popular Nightrunner Series, events alluded to or passed over - Alec's parents and childhood, Seregil's early liaisons in Skala, Seregil and Alec's first night as lovers, how Seregil and Micum Cavish met. Each story offers a new perspective on events readers have speculated about for years. For new readers, it offers an introduction to the characters Romantic Times calls "two of the most memorable heroes in fantasy."


And the cover is cute too!

Definitely worth the read!


Sprout by Dale Peck

I was going back through my list of books that I had bought over the years and this one sprang to mind.  I think it is the cover that got me to read it.  Teenager with greenhair just begs the question why.  


Amazon Blurb - When Sprout and his father move from Long Island to Kansas after the death of his mother, he is sure he will find no friends, no love, no beauty. But friends find him, the strangeness of the landscape fascinates him, and when love shows up in an unexpected place, it proves impossible to hold. An incredible, literary story of a boy who knows he's gay, and the town that seems to have no place for him to hide.


This is definitely a layered story.  It has great character development and is interesting. I definitely found it worth the read.



Stalking Darkness is the conclusion of most of the threads set up in Luck in the Shadows.  It picks up where the last book left off.  Traitor's Moon moves in time a bit and covers the consequences of the first two books.  If you liked the first book, you'll definitely want to complete these two books.


Both of these books are good and have a nice emotional connection to them.  (And the slow burn on the romance final pays off).  There are further books in this series, but I found my interest in them dropping a bit and I have not read the last two released books yet.  I'll post them on this blog when I go get to them.



This week I want to bring up the Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling.  All of her books seem to touch on one LBGTQ issue or another.  Nightrunner though stars the adorable, naive Alec. 
From Amazon:


When young Alec of Kerry is taken prisoner for a crime he didn’t commit, he is certain that his life is at an end. But one thing he never expected was his cellmate. Spy, rogue, thief, and noble, Seregil of Rhiminee is many things–none of them predictable. And when he offers to take on Alec as his apprentice, things may never be the same for either of them. Soon Alec is traveling roads he never knew existed, toward a war he never suspected was brewing. Before long he and Seregil are embroiled in a sinister plot that runs deeper than either can imagine, and that may cost them far more than their lives if they fail. But fortune is as unpredictable as Alec’s new mentor, and this time there just might be…Luck in the Shadows.


I really enjoyed this book.  It is a slow burn on the Alec thing.  This is a pretty long series and I don't think I've even read the last two yet.  I think the first one is my favorite though.  If you like fantasy stories, this is absolutely one that is worth checking out.



For those of you that haven't figured it out by now, I'm a compulsive researcher in far too many ways.  I end up all too often with far more research than writing what I was supposed to write.  Having said that I picked up these two books a number of years ago to give a story I was working on more accurate flavor.  It didn't get posted, but it is in the backlog of things that I'm sure I'll polish up, complete and post some day.  Anyway, I found both of these books interesting and informative.  The SAS guide is more technical and the other guide is more hippy gone wild.  They both serve their purposes, especially if you're writing about a disaster-struck modern world.



The first book in this trilogy, Magic's Pawn, is one of the most powerful books I have ever read.  I've reread it a few times over the years and it makes me cry every single time I read it.  It's really emotionally moving.  Mercedes Lackey has stated that her formula is simple:  Make the reader love the character and then drop a mountain on the character.  The first novel is deeply touching and heart-wrenching.  The full trilogy is powerful as well.  The second and third novels are not as powerful to me as the first, but they are still very good.  The entire trilogy covers the life of the character and the sheer amount of stuff he has to go through.  I can't recommend the books strongly enough.

From Amazon:


The Last Herald-Mage Trilogy—three groundbreaking, Lambda Award-winning novels that established Mercedes Lackey as a fantasy tour-de-force and her Kingdom of Valdemar as a place millions of readers return to again and again.



There are something like 35 novels set in this world now.  I own them all and have read all but 5.  It is really scary just how much writing Mercedes Lackey does.  I also have her Joust series, which I really like a lot too.  I still have to check out her Urban Fantasy series which has a dozen more books in it.


If you are only going to do one... do this one:


Let me know if you feel the same about the book.  Or if you decide to check it out.



So, I thought I'd start with one of the first published gay books I've ever read.  I have this in both paperback and Kindle.  This book is outstanding in that it creates a fantasy world that has a very unique magic system.  I've never really read anything that was similar.  The fact that it has a gay teenager as a lead character just rocks my world.  There is an age struggle basically between an immortal 20-something? 30-something?  and a teenager.  It works very well since, by the time anything happens, there is certainly no coercion or even ability to coerce in place.  


I loved the book and have read a few times over the years.


By the same measure, I can't stand the sequels.  The sequels to this book suck to such an extreme it is hard to believe the same author wrote them.  So, by all means, check out this book.  Skip the sequels at all costs.



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