Book Club Picks: The Illustrated Man

Thirteen weeks after a Friday the 13th, we have another

Don’t worry I got you covered with my new post.

So as you all know I started a book club last year. I have fallen behind with my posts, but I am now right on track!

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want.

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

I don’t remember when I first read this book, but I know it was after Fahrenheit 451Out of all his short story collections; this is my ultimate favorite. The stories range from funny, thoughtful, and downright creepy. It is an incredible collection and once you start, you just can’t stop. I’ve talked about this book before, but here we go again:

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

Since I have posted on this before, I am only going to discuss the stories we went over in our book club.

The Illustrated Man starts with an average joe taking a walking tour in the summer of Wisconsin. As he stops for the night he is come upon by an illustrated man.

This man used to work for the circus, but back in 1900 he broke his leg. Looking for a way to make money while he rested, he went to a tattoo artist who covered him from neck to belt. What he didn’t know was that this tattoo artist was a witch.

Yes, she infused his illustrations with magic making them be alive and always moving telling their story.

However, there is one blank spot on his back. If you are a woman, you see your whole life from birth to old age. If you are a man, you see how you die.

The illustrated man warns his companion not to look, but he doesn’t listen and has to see them…

Illustration I: The Veldt

The Lion King

This is what the DCOM Smart House is loosely based on.

The live in the future in a smart house that does everything for them. They even can change the pictures on the walls to be anything they want them to be. The children constantly want it to be a veldt with lions.

The parents try to discipline their children and get them to do more but all they want to do is sit around and have the machines do everything for them. The parents determine it is time to turn off the house and go back to how things are supposed to be. Will the parents be able to change their kids? Or will the kids make sure their parents can never boss them around again?

“The lions look real, don’t they?…I don’t suppose there’s any way—–‘

‘What?’

‘—that they could become real?”

No one else really enjoyed this story as they felt it was too sad. I like it as it is a great blend of creepy and thrilling. It shows you why you should not spoil your children-and a big wake up to having your kid just sit in front of a tablet, phone, or TV. I love it, and think you should check it out.

Illustration III: The Other Foot

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Mars has been colonized only by African Americans. Now they hear that European Americans are traveling to Mars and decide to institute a Jim Crow law for them. Will they decide to make them pay for past wrongs, or will they all be able to start a new life in equality?

“This is the other shoe, Mayor, the other foot…”

We all loved this story. It has such a great message and a fantastic ending!

Illustration V: The Man

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A crew arrive on a planet ready to have glory and fame, but find the people uninterested as the person who came before them brought extreme happiness and bliss. One crewman believes him to be Jesus and wants to learn from the people. The Captain, however, is set on getting his glory and will stop this man any way he can.

“Leave these people alone. They’ve got something good and decent, and you come and foul up the nest and sneer at it. Well, I’ve talked to them too. I’ve gone through the city and seen their faces, and they’ve got something you’ll never have–a little simple faith, and they’ll move mountains with it. You, you’re boiled because someone stole your act, got here ahead and made you unimportant.”

The member who chose the book, this is her favorite story. She loves how it plays out and how the character’s testimony was so strong it helped the one man believe and have faith. She compared it to Christianity and Jesus. We all enjoyed this story as well. 

Illustration VI: The Long Rain

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We have colonized Venus, but it is a horrible place of endless rain. Sun domes were built to help us stay sane and in health, and this story follows a group of astronauts as they hope to make it to the dome, but will they?

“Drops fell and touched other drops and they became streams that trickled over his body, and while these moved down his flesh, the small growths of the forest took root in his clothing.”

We all enjoyed this story as well. One member posed a very interesting question: Does the sundome exist or is it just a mirage?

Illustration VII: The Fire Balloons

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A group of priests go to Mars to start a church and help bring peace and morals to a crazed group of colonists. One priest makes it his mission to try and bring Christ to the Martians.

“We feel absurd here—even I; for it is something new, this business of converting the creatures of another world.”

One member just loved this story. He felt that it was a perfect illustration for missionary work and just loved how the one priest had such a fire and desire to be there for the fire balloons and try and show them God’s love.

Illustration IX: The Last Night of the World

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A married couple realize that today is the last day on Earth. How would you spend your time if you had such an inclination?

“What would you do if you knew this was the last night in the world?”

One member just loved this story. She felt that if it was her last night on Earth she would spend it the exact same way.

Illustration X: The Exiles

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On Earth, countless literature from Edgar Allen Poe to William Shakespeare to Charles Dickens have been banned on Earth. They remain alive on Mars as their last books are still undamaged there. But when humans decide to completely destroy every page, these characters and their creators decide to wage a war on them. Will they win?

“His last book gone. Someone on Earth just now burned it.’

‘God rest him. Nothing of him left now. For what are we but books, and when those are gone, nothing’s to be seen.”

I love this one. Books fighting back, trying to survive in a world that feels they aren’t needed, a great story.

Illustration XVII: Zero Hour

Miscommunication is always funny as a kid. Not so much later on in life.

Kids are playing that aliens are coming, an invasion in which they will rule and the grow ups will be gone. But what if it isn’t a game?

“Mom, I’ll be sure you won’t be hurt much, really!”

All agreed super creepy, but a very good read.

Illustration XVIII: The Rocket

From the film Stargate.

From the film Stargate.

Fiorello Bodoni has saved $3000 to send a family member into space, but only one can go. Which one?

“We will remember it for always, Papa. We will never forget.”

We all loved this story. Just the love this family has and how much they care about each other. A fantastic read!

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: The Masterpiece

For more books by Ray Bradbury, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For more on The Illustrated Man, go toEach Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

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It’s Strange: Doctor Strange (2016)

It’s Strange.

Maybe. Who am I to judge?

So I was never super into the Doctor Strange comics. The only time I ever encountered him was through his interaction with Spider-man.

I wasn’t planning on checking it out, but then I had some friends want to watch it and we did. Let’s see, what did I think of it:

First of all let’s talk about the most awful thing in the film-Benedict Cumberbatch’s American accent.

Ugh.

It was so weird. I mean I know what he really sounds like from his other shows, so hearing him try to be “American” was so hard and made it impossible to get into the film fully.

The other issue I had with the film was the visual effects. I know everyone loves CGI and they love the crazy things they do in her. But I have really bad vision, really bad. So whenever things get blurry or moving everywhere it gives me such a bad headache and makes it difficult for me to get into it.

Then we had the character.

I felt the story was really boring and something we’ve seen again and again. An egomaniac who has no time for anyone and does all kinds of great things; then he gets injured and can no longer do what he did before; he goes on a big journey of self-discovery; and becomes a new person. It wasn’t bad, I just felt this plot was overdone.

For me I just found the whole thing to be:

Meh.

It’s not the worst Marvel film, but definitely not one of the best (to me).

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to Sometimes, Dead is Better: Pet Sematary (1989)

For more superheroes, go to The Cruel Giggling Ghoul: Teen Titans Go (2016)

For more on Benedict Cumberbatch, go to Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-try

For more on magic, go to Those Aren’t Men They Are the Living Dead: White Zombie (1932)

I Would Go Through Anything for You: Sleeping Beauty (1959)

It is time for our annual animated film pick! This year I am going with:

Most Romantic Moment #9

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Sleeping Beauty (1959)

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE Sleeping Beauty. It was my favorite Disney film and she was my favorite princess.

Sleeping Beauty

I could go on, but let’s proceed with the review.

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After the King and Queen have longed for a child for so long, they are finally able to conceive. All are happy except, an evil fairy Maleficent. She curses the child to die on her 16th birthday after touching the spindle of a spinning wheel.

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The fairies are able to save her by having her not die, but fall asleep. They then decide to take her away and hide her, in the hopes of outwitting Maleficent’s curse. There they live in a tiny cottage and try to forgo magic to act “normal”.

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Maleficent hasn’t been able to find her and as the end of Aurora’s birthday draws closer she is more determined than ever. Prince Phillip, Aurora’s childhood betrothed, is out riding on horseback when he hears Aurora’s voice and follows it. The two meet, and Phillip falls in love with Aurora, who is actually the only Disney Princess to not fall in love at first sight but is uncertain though willing to meet up again.

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However, the fairies reveal she is the princess and spirit her away to the castle before she can talk to Phillip. Through this Maleficent has finally tracked her down and sets upon her evil trap. She has Aurora fall into her 100-year-old sleep and captures Prince Phillip so he can’t wake her up.

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Will the fairies be able to save her? Or is she stuck in endless sleep?

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Most Romantic Moment: I Will Go Through Anything For You

So originally I was thinking about posting the Once Upon a Dream song but I was looking at a some pics I used from a previous post and realized, out of all the Disney princes I think Phillip goes through the most for his princess. I mean he wants to marry her, and if he can’t because he is a prince he has already decided that he would gladly give up the throne.

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When the fairies come in and let him out of the prison he is kind of weirded out like what’s going on, but all he hears is that the girl he loves is in trouble and he springs into action. Fighting demon creatures:

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Having to push through a field of thorns:enhanced-buzz-9325-1375809888-11

And even fighting an evil fairy turned dragon by the powers of hell:

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I mean at any time he could have turned back or gone home saying this relationship is too hard. They are asking too much of me. (Lord knows that guys in this modern time who go through a lot less say stuff like that.) But he doesn’t give up. He doesn’t stop trying. He does everything he can to save her.

So romantic!

So romantic!

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To start Romance is in the Air: Part V, go to I Did It for You: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For the previous post, go to I Don’t Care About Money or Class, I Love Her: Episode Three, Doctor Thorne (2016)

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For more on Sleeping Beauty, go to Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-try

For more Prince Phillip, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

For more Disney, go to Night on Bald Mountain: Fantasia (1940)

 For more fairy tales, go to Why I Still Love My Fair Godmother

Each Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

Day 19) S is for Short Stories: Choose a collection of Short Stories

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The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

I don’t remember when I first read this book, but I know it was after Fahrenheit 451Out of all his short story collections; this is my ultimate favorite. The stories range from funny, thoughtful, and downright creepy. It is an incredible collection and once you start, you just can’t stop.

bookshotdate

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The Illustrated Man starts with an average joe taking a walking tour in the summer of Wisconsin. As he stops for the night he is come upon by an illustrated man.

This man used to work for the circus, but back in 1900 he broke his leg. Looking for a way to make money while he rested, he went to a tattoo artist who covered him from neck to belt. What he didn’t know was that this tattoo artist was a witch.

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Yes, she infused his illustrations with magic making them be alive and always moving telling their story.

keanu Whoa

However, there is one blank spot on his back. If you are a woman, you see your whole life from birth to old age. If you are a man, you see how you die.

OMG gasp

The illustrated man warns his companion not to look, but he doesn’t listen and has to see them…

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Illustration I: The Veldt

The Lion King

This is what the DCOM Smart House is loosely based on.

The live in the future in a smart house that does everything for them. They even can change the pictures on the walls to be anything they want them to be. The children constantly want it to be a veldt with lions.

The parents try to discipline their children and get them to do more but all they want to do is sit around and have the machines do everything for them. The parents determine it is time to turn off the house and go back to how things are supposed to be. Will the parents be able to change their kids? Or will the kids make sure their parents can never boss them around again?

“The lions look real, don’t they?…I don’t suppose there’s any way—–‘

‘What?’

‘—that they could become real?”

Illustration II: Kaleidoscope

Space Mountain

The crew of a space ship has been torn apart, and this records their last thoughts as they hurl toward Earth.

“It was so very odd. Space, thousands of miles of space, and these voices vibrating in the center of it.”

Illustration III: The Other Foot

HateTwilightZone

Mars has been colonized only by African Americans. Now they hear that European Americans are traveling to Mars and decide to institute a Jim Crow law for them. Will they decide to make them pay for past wrongs, or will they all be able to start a new life in equality?

“This is the other shoe, Mayor, the other foot…”

Illustration IV: The Highway

supernatural impala

A husband and wife live by a highway in rural Mexico, where people stop all the time. Something seems to be more pressing than usual, but what?

“Oh, please hurry!’ one of the girls cried. She sounded very high and afraid.”

Illustration V: The Man

Bethphage-Jesus-enter-Jerusalem

A crew arrive on a planet ready to have glory and fame, but find the people uninterested as the person who came before them brought extreme happiness and bliss. One crewman believes him to be Jesus and wants to learn from the people. The Captain, however, is set on getting his glory and will stop this man any way he can.

“Leave these people alone. They’ve got something good and decent, and you come and foul up the nest and sneer at it. Well, I’ve talked to them too. I’ve gone through the city and seen their faces, and they’ve got something you’ll never have–a little simple faith, and they’ll move mountains with it. You, you’re boiled because someone stole your act, got here ahead and made you unimportant.”

Illustration VI: The Long Rain

rainbreakfastattiffaneyscat

We have colonized Venus, but it is a horrible place of endless rain. Sun domes were built to help us stay sane and in health, and this story follows a group of astronauts as they hope to make it to the dome, but will they?

“Drops fell and touched other drops and they became streams that trickled over his body, and while these moved down his flesh, the small growths of the forest took root in his clothing.”

Illustration VII: The Rocket Man

startrek

Astronauts are hard to come by and a hard life, so those that are astronauts are paid a lot, but gone for months. This story is the relationship of the mother and son as they deal with the father/husband’s absence.

“Doug…I want you to promise me something.’

‘What?’

‘Don’t ever be a Rocket Man.”

Illustration VII: The Fire Balloons

finishtherace

A group of priests go to Mars to start a church and help bring peace and morals to a crazed group of colonists. One priest makes it his mission to try and bring Christ to the Martians.

“We feel absurd here—even I; for it is something new, this business of converting the creatures of another world.”

Illustration IX: The Last Night of the World

TheEnd_Title_2

A married couple realize that today is the last day on Earth. How would you spend your time if you had such an inclination?

“What would you do if you knew this was the last night in the world?”

Illustration X: The Exiles

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On Earth, countless literature from Edgar Allen Poe to William Shakespeare to Charles Dickens have been banned on Earth. They remain alive on Mars as their last books are still undamaged there. But when humans decide to completely destroy every page, these characters and their creators decide to wage a war on them. Will they win?

“His last book gone. Someone on Earth just now burned it.’

‘God rest him. Nothing of him left now. For what are we but books, and when those are gone, nothing’s to be seen.”

Illustration XI: No Particular Night or Morning

nightmare before christmas nothing turn out like it should

Two friends are traveling in a spaceship, as one determines that nothing exists that he cannot touch. Is he right and there is nothing in space but emptiness?

“So I began to find gaps between everything. I doubted I was married or had a child or ever had a job in my life…I couldn’t prove anything.”

Illustration XII: The Fox and the Forest

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In the future, the world is an ugly one full of war and life in a factory creating more weapons of war. The one bright spot is the ability to travel back in time. A couple, William and Susan Travis, decide to run for their lives by remaining in 1930s Mexico. But will their plan work, or will they be captured and sent back?

“Save me, hide me, help me! Color my hair, my eyes; clothe me in strange clothes. I need your help. I’m from the year 2155!”

Illustration XIII: The Visitor

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Mars is a place where those with deadly diseases go and live out the remainders of their days. One day a young boy comes with the ability to create any image or bring back any memory. He plans to use it and rule over the others; but will they be willing to share or will they take him for what they want?

“Come on. Don’t you realize what’ll happen once they discover your talent? They’ll fight over you. They’ll kill each other–kill you–for the right to own you.”

Illustration XIV: The Concrete Mixer

The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Mars goes to invade Earth, but instead finds the people welcoming them. One Martin, Ettil, never wanted to travel to Earth. He finds that although the Earthlings hope to exploit Martians, the Earth ways will also mark death for the Martians.

“Don’t you feel it?’ he whispered…Something’s going to happen to us. They have some plan. Something subtle and horrible. They’re going to do something to us-I know.”

Illustration XV: Marionettes, Inc.

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A man is tired of his clingy wife and pays for a cyborg double to take his place so he can go off and have fun. But what if the puppet is no longer satisfied at being controlled and wants to control the strings?

“Your wife is rather nice,’ said Braling Two. ‘I’ve grown rather fond of her.”

Illustration XVI: The City

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A group of astronauts land on an uncharted planet and find an empty city. But they soon realize this city is not as empty as it looks, as it has been waiting to unleash what it was made for.

“I am no longer your captain,’ he said. ‘Nor am I a man.’

The men moved back.

‘I am the city,’ he said, and smiled.”

Illustration XVII: Zero Hour

Miscommunication is always funny as a kid. Not so much later on in life.

Kids are playing that aliens are coming, an invasion in which they will rule and the grow ups will be gone. But what if it isn’t a game?

“Mom, I’ll be sure you won’t be hurt much, really!”

Illustration XVIII: The Rocket

From the film Stargate.

From the film Stargate.

Fiorello Bodoni has saved $3000 to send a family member into space, but only one can go. Which one?

“We will remember it for always, Papa. We will never forget.”

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In the end the last image is shown, our narrator’s death by the illustrated man. He runs for town, but will he make it?

Along came a spider morgan freeman running

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But the good kind of trauma.

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to She Struck Him as a Fixer-Upper, a Block of Clay Ready for Pygmalion’s Chisel: The Overnight Socialite

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For more on Ray Bradbury, go to It’s A Fan World After All

For more on aliens, go to I Can Make You all Go Away! Any Time I Want To!: Charlie X, Star Trek (1966)

For more bible verses, go to So You’re the Little Woman Who Wrote the Book that Made this Great War: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

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In The Exiles, they mention how no one believes in Santa Claus and he has become a shadow of the man he was, a skeleton in red. No more Christmas, no more.

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This reminds me of the song I Believe in Santa Claus. This was written by Maury Laws and Jules Bass and used for the Christmas Special, The Year Without a Santa Claus.

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I never believed in Santa Claus, but I like this song as it reminds you that no matter what happens you must hold on to the spirit of Christmas.

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No matter what, always believe in its goodness and love.

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This song was performed by Mickey Rooney and Ron Marshall

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For more on The Year Without a Santa Claus, go to A Baker’s Four Dozen

For more Christmas Carols, go to A Quest of Swords and Wizards: The Crown Conspiracy

A Quest of Swords and Wizards: The Crown Conspiracy

Day 17) Q is for Quest: Choose a book in which the characters go on a Quest

Quest

So a quest? Which book to do? There are so, so many to choose from.

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I thought and thought and finally settled on:

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The Crown Conspiracy (The Riyria Revelations #1) by Michael J. Sullivan

I know I’ve talked about this before on here, but I wanted to bring it back as it was such a fantastic story.

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And I think more need to know about it.

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So four years ago I had just come back from class and after dropping off my bags and books I got on the computer to check my email. When I went on, I was notified by the school’s post office that I had received a package and needed to go pick it up as it was too big to put in my box.

ooh!

ooh!

I was surprised as I hadn’t ordered anything or was expecting anything from anyone, so I couldn’t wait to pick it up. When I got it, I didn’t recognize the sender’s label and had no clue who it was.

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When I got home I opened the package and saw Theft of Swords-Volume I of The Riyria Revelations containing The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha by Michael J. Sullivan.

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I was completely puzzled. Who was this who sent this to me? How did I get it?

suspicious Hmm

Then I realized, I must have won it on GoodreadsGoodreads does drawings in which you win a free book, and all you have to do is give an honest review and post it on the site. I used to enter in every drawing for every book and the books I had won prior to this all had not been very good.

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So when I received this book I wasn’t very thrilled to read it. In fact I put it off for a long time until my curiosity got the better of me. One day I decided to read a few pages and see what it was all about.

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Well one page turned into many as I just couldn’t put it down.

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After I consumed the novel I had to keep going, reading the second book and then trying to locate the rest. There weren’t any at the local or college library so I had to Inter Library Loan them and wait…

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Finally they came and I just devoured them, the rest of my life taking a back seat as I had to find out what happened next.

Or class. Or lunch. Or anything!

Or class. Or lunch. Or anything!

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Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melbourn are two of the greatest thieves you could ever go against. Their duo goes by the name Riyria, that name being known throughout the land.

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At the beginning of the novel, the two are heading to work on a job when they are stopped by some thieves. All they have to do is say who they and they scare the others off like rabbits.

Run Away

They head off to try and rob Archie Ballentyne, the Earl of Chadwick, by breaking into his impenetrable tower.

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Meanwhile, Archie Ballentyne has been waiting for Marquis Victor Lanaklin. Archie has unsuccessfully been trying to woo his daughter, Alenda, as he is after the Lanaklin lands. He has managed to intercept some of her private love letters to the rebel Degan Gault, and wants to use them as leverage with the father. In order to keep them safe he has locked then in his study in the crown tower, a gigantic tower with only one entrance, the only one who can open it being Archie.

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But when he goes to show the letters, they are MISSING! They have been stolen, along with the Marquis’ carriage. Who could have done this? Riyria.

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They return back to their pub and deliver the goods to Alenda, receiving their payments.

Today life is great

Today life is great

But just as one job is finished, there appears there is another who wishes their services.

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Hadrian goes to meet with the man, Baron Delano DeWitt. He has a job that needs to be done tonight. Sadly, Baron DeWitt has committed the biggest mistake anyone in that region could, he looked upon the wife of the master swordsman, Colonel Pickering. Colonel Pickering will duel anyone who stares at his wife, and with his skill he is impossible to beat.

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His only weakness? His special rapier that he cannot fight without. Baron DeWitt has stolen the sword and hid it in the castle’s chapel and he wants Riyria to smuggle the sword out of the castle before they search and  find it.

suspicious Hmm

Now Riyria has a rule about accepting rush jobs, they don’t. But Hadrian isn’t really a thief, he has a warrior’s heart. He likes things to be fair or to fight for something “right”, justice, etc.

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He has felt a little disheartened at stealing things for royals, then notifying the party they stole from to get payment to steal it back. This is a job that will mean something. Plus the pay is really good.

Hmmm....

Hmmm….

Royce was raised on the streets and has been a thief as far back as he can remember. He has no qualms about what they do, and because of what he has been through he is also extremely suspicious. He does not want to take this job, but Hadrian convinces him it is worth it as they will get 200 gold tenets.

That's a lot of money

That’s a lot of money

That night they sneak into the castle and into its chapel. They go to search for the sword but find the king, dead.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

As their minds grasp the situation, a dwarf starts screaming out that they killed the king. Guards swarm on them and they end up locked up in the dungeon.

Not good

Not good

Yes, someone murdered the king and framed them. But who? And why?

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Alric Essendon wakes from a tumble with a maid to discover he is the new King. He is furious over the death and prepares a horrible punishment as his revenge.

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Alric is a little lost at what to do, but his Uncle Percy Braga is there to lend a hand and assist him. Meanwhile, Hadrian and Royce await their fate in the dungeon; Hadrian wishing he hadn’t tried to take the job and Royce wishing he had talked Hadrian out of it. To their surprise they receive a royal visit from princess Arista Essendon.

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Arista questions them, so Hardrian tells her the story, claiming they did not kill her father. And to their surprise, she believes them.

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Arista is not like other women. Her father sent her to University and she studied the lost art of magic. She had been given a warning about the threat upon her father’s life but unfortunately didn’t heed it. Now she wants to hire the two to kidnap her brother.

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Hadrian and Royce are surprised, but Arista explains that she thinks someone is after the Essendon line and wants to kill her brother as well. She wants them to smuggle him out of the castle and go to Gutaria Prison, the secret ecclesiastical jail. They they will meet the wizard, Esrahaddon, who will be able to guide her brother. They think it is odd, but faced with death, they take the job.

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Arista has a complete plan in place. She will send two monks in to administer the last rites and have the two unchained to pray. They will knock the monks out, switch clothes and meet her in the kitchen where she will have Alric.

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Everything goes off without a hitch as they head off to the prison to find Esrahaddon, the wizard. As they continue their quest they run into a monk with a photographic memory that survived a massacre; a hidden prison that not only is built into a rock wall but once you enter cannot leave; the great wizard Esrahaddon who has been alive for eons; and secret church and government plot to answer the legend of the god Novron’s son and unite all the kingdoms under one rule!

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Meanwhile, Arista tries to rule in her brother’s place but finds treachery very close to home. They try to brand her a witch and kill her.

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Will this ragtag group be able save the throne? Or will they be outwitted and destroyed by these agents of Novron.

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The book was so fantastic, that I won’t reveal the ending. You must read this book and rest in the series yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

May

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to So You’re the Little Woman Who Wrote the Book that Made this Great War: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

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For more on The Riyria Revelations, go to Portrait of a Fangirl

For more magic and wizards, go to The Unknown Princess Nevermore

For more on Jane Smiley, go to Is This Really Just the Same?: Daring Chloe

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Speaking of magic, there is just a magic of Christmas that cannot be beat. It is just an amazing time of the year. That thought leads us to today’s Christmas Carol, Christmas Needs Love to be Christmas. It was written and recorded in 1993 for Andy Williams’ Christmas Album. It was released in 1994 and marked his first appearance on Billboard 200 album chart in 20 years. That’s magical.

I like this song because it reminds you what the heart of Christmas is, love.

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For more Andy Williams, go to When I Get Into a Novel

For more Christmas Carols, go to The Great Depths of the Ocean are Entirely Unknown to Us: Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

The Unknown Princess Nevermore

Day 6) F is for Free: Choose a book you got for Free

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Princess Nevermore by Dian Curtis Regan

Do you remember the Scholastic book fairs they used to have at school? I loved it. There were  bunch of books at the school and in the catalog. Even though we couldn’t spend a lot, my parents would always buy me at least one item. No matter how many books I already owned, I could always use more.

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Well if you bought so many and did a certain amount in school you were able to get a free book! I was so excited and picked out a ton of different books I wanted to get.

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But my mom pointed out that the free book had to be $4.50 or under. So we looked through the catalog and it turned out that there were only two books that were eligible.

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Yeah, what a scam! Anyways, out of the two books Princess Nevermore, intrigued me. I read it and quickly loved it!

Now one of the reasons I choose this book to include in the 30 day challenge is that is seems to be one no one knows about which I think is a shame as it is a great book and needs more attention.

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Princess Quinnella, Quinn for short, lives in Mandria, a magical world that exists under our feet! Once they lived in the world of men, but had to relocate as magic with humankind wasn’t working out.

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See ya!

The only place to view our world from Mandria is in the wizard Melikar’s chambers. There he has a magic pool that gives the Mandrians a view into our world, but we cannot see into their’s.

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Quinn has grown up dreaming and wishing to visit the other world. She and Melikar’s assistant, Cam, have conspired on how to get there.

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Quinn feels as if time is running out as she will soon be sixteen: a woman, betrothed, and focusing on ruling her kingdom.

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One day she is visiting Melikar when out of nowhere Cam comes crashing into her, his magic ring transporting him there instead of where he was desiring to go. Melikar tells Cam to check the magic book and see what is wrong with it.

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Cam goes and gets an idea, he decides that now is the time to send them to outer Earth. He shoots Quinn a look, and she quickly catches on and distracts Melikar until it is too late.

“Anger, fear, love, and mirth.

Send Quinn and Cam to outer earth.”

The pool’s water comes down and surrounds Quinn dragging her up and over to the other side.

Not good

Not good

And just Quinn!

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As you can guess Melikar is furious! Not only was Quinn sent into the other world, but there is no way to bring her back until she choose to return, a clause that Quinn has no clue off.

Not good

Not good

Yes, Cam was foolish and acted too quickly or else he would have realized that it was a bad idea.

ouch Hermione

In order to bring the princess back, she has to go back to the pool, wish with all her heart to return, and turn in the pool, stirring it. And the catch, the spell can only be done once and is strong only for a quarter moon, that’s seven days. If she misses her window, she will never be able to return.

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The first thing they must do is buy some time, drugging the royal family so that they will sleep through most of time that Quinn is away.

Yes, like in Sleeping Beauty

Yes, like in Sleeping Beauty

Quinn find herself in the real world and is unsure what to do next. She always planned for her to be with Cam and them being able to visit the world, but return whenever they desired.

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Then a girl comes across her path, one she sees daily coming to the pool and wishing for beauty. A boy calls out her name, Sarah, and she calls him Adam. Adam tells her they need to leave now as Mondo has declared it is time to go.

Quinn decides to follow them as they make her curious and she has no idea what else she can do.

He did buy it.

She follows them onto a giant dragon creature, a bus, and is questioned by Sarah and her brother is surprised when Mondo recognizes that she is from Mandria and gives the sign of the Lorik, a symbol to seal an oath and mark of friendship in this case. Mondo takes Quinn with them to their apartment.

Quinn shares the history of who she is with Adam being surprised and completely taken with her; and Sara slightly jealous at her beauty and the attention Quinn is receiving.

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The next day they head off to school, Quinn fascinated and lost and confused. At first Sarah is helpful and kind to her, but then when her long time crush shows interest in Quinn and continues to ignore Sarah.

Not good

Not good

Quinn and Adam grow closer as he not only teaches her about the world, but they begin to fall for each other.

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However, while young love blooms; Mondo is not pleased with it. Quinn can’t understand why he would be so upset over it.

Thinking Hmm

As for Quinn she finds herself wondering about Adam. He isn’t royal, but she could abdicate her throne for her cousin and live in the human world, them visiting back and forth.

It could work, like The Little Mermaid

It could work, like The Little Mermaid

Back in Mandria, Cam and Melikar have to take another into their confidence. Ameka, Quinn’s tutor comes to Melikar’s place and discovers Quinn’s disappearance. They grow worried as Quinn not only seems to not want to leave that world, but Melikar can sense danger coming as Quinn has the magic ring.

Not good

Not good

Quinn found the magic ring stuck on her dress and promised not to use it, unless absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, she used it to get pizza, zap Zach, and get apples for lunch. However, Zach senses that there is something weird about her and gets Sarah, who only wants to impress him, to ‘fess up about her cousin.

It is horror and funny at the same time!

Halloween approaches and Adam asks her to the dance. Quinn is thrilled to go with him, but then Zach enters and the testosterone goes flying as he tries to bully them into letting him take Quinn. They decide to “duel”, Quinn choosing jousting.

Them's fighting words!

Them’s fighting words!

As there are no horses in the city for the teens to access, Adam’s friend Roger develops a “modern day” jousting. Adam does well, but Zach cheats and wins Quinn as his date. Zach isn’t interested in Quinn, but wants her secrets of magic.

It is horror and funny at the same time!

This is bad.

The day of the dance, Quinn tries to speak to a hurt Adam, but he manages to elude her at every turn. That night as she prepares for the ball, Mondo decides it is time to tell his story.

He was a nobleman and used to visit with Melikar, just like Quinn. He would look at the wishing pool and see a girl come everyday. He feel head over heels for her and asked Melikar to send him over. He promised to remain there for a few hours and bring her back.

Sadly, she never came so Mondo went in search for her as he couldn’t go back without her. He found her, but she wouldn’t leave so he remained above. The two married and had a son.

Yes, but that’s not the whole story. When Mondo arrived the year was 1830. One year in Mandria was three years on Earth. Mondo was happy with Hannah, even though she aged more rapidly than him. But he was only thirty-four when she died at the age of seventy. And while they had love there were a lot of issues with it. They had to move around A LOT, pretend to be mother and son; grandmother and son, etc.  By the time he lost her, and his son as he left him with anger over his lack of aging; he thought about going back but it was too late with all the modern convinces to head back to the Middle Ages.

So now Quinn has a choice to make. Should she stay in our world or return home? Risk the lack of aging for her love?

Thinking Hmm

And with Zach’s intentions, what will happen to her? Will she even be able to make that choice?

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I’m not revealing the end as I thought it was too good. I loved this story and how the characters were and the ending. An ending I thought was better than Age of Adalind and all those other films that have a similar premise.

It is hard to find a copy of it, but try your local library. It is definitely worth a read.

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to I Think I Have Found a Means of Conveyance…An Elephant: Around the World in 80 Days

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For more on free, go to Free, for Lack of a Better Word, is Good

For more on princesses, go to For She Filled Their Lives With Sunshine

For more Virginia Woolf, go to I Found this Blank Book of Stitched Together Pages…I’ll Record the Details of Our Confinement: Book of a Thousand Days

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So today’s carol I thought about how Quinn’s not sure if she will make it home, and settled on I’ll Be Home for Christmas. 

I’ll Be Home for Christmas was written about and for the soilders serving overseas and wishing to be home with their loved ones. The song is supposed to be from the view of a soldier, asking them to get things ready, even though he isn’t sure he’ll be back.

It was written in 1943 by Kim Gannon and Walter Kent. No one would record it, as they thought it was too sad, until Gannon sang it to Bing Crosby who loved it. Bing Crosby was the first to record it, but it went on to be recorded by numerous singers.

Now I remember first hearing it be sung by a woman, not a man, and went with Karen Carpenter’s version.

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For more on Bing Crosby, go to Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

For more Christmas Carols, go to Harvest Pumpkin Scones