29 January 2013

Review of Sasha by Joel Shepherd

Sasha (A Trial of Blood & Steel #1)Sasha by Joel Shepherd

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sasha made me grin like an idiot, laugh, and cry. However, there were also parts that made me yawn in boredom, or rage at the grammar. Mostly, though, it was a very enjoyable read.

The main character, Sashandra Lenayin, is the daughter of the Varenthane king, but she has renounced that life, and is living in a small town with the "uncivilized" Goeren-yai, practicing swordwork. She doesn't know it, but she is destined to become a hero, a saviour, of both peoples. Yes, it is that cliched. But I didn't really mind.

The characters are well-drawn for the most part. My favourites are Jaryd Nyvar, the pampered nobleman's son; and Sasha's sister Sofy, the spoiled princess. Both surprised and impressed me with their growth over the course of the story. Sasha herself is unfortunately not as interesting; I've seen this character before.

There is one race of nonhumans in this world: the serrin. Unfortunately, we aren't told much about them, except that many Varenthanes think they are demons. The only serrinim who appear as characters show up very near the end, are described as incredibly beautiful, and are deadly fighters. They are nearly perfect in every way. I found myself imagining Tolkien's Elves.

It seems that Joel Shepherd has no idea that comma splices are incorrect grammar. Or he doesn't care. The text is riddled with them. I would probably not be exaggerating if I said that every single page has at least one. There were very few grammar issues besides. In one place, Sasha muses that "her plan trap worked." This jarred me since I've never seen that phrase used before. Another time, Sasha sees a friend and instead of "saying" his name, "'Andreyis?' she recognized." As far as I am aware, "recognized" is not a dialogue tag.

I found that the plot took a long time to get moving for me. It took me over a week to read the first half, then a day or two to finish. I prefer books that I can read faster than that. I used to read everything, no matter what, but I no longer have the time or the energy to do that.

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24 January 2013

Doctor. Doctor Who?

I've been a trifle obsessed with a certain doctor lately. My sister introduced me to the series, and my husband and I have been watching it on Netflix. It's taken us a couple of weeks--starting with the Ninth Doctor--to make it all the way to halfway through Eleven's first season.

I've also recently started playing with an online image editor called PicMonkey. I find that I love manipulating images. So, of course, I had to do this:
Ten wearing 3D glasses. Your argument is invalid.

The 3D glasses allow him to see the effects of the Void. Really. Besides, they look awesome.

I love how he really couldn't care less if he might look silly.

Seriously. Let's go already.

Fans of Dr Who (Whovians) will recognize the quote here immediately. The Tenth Doctor says this a lot. It means "Let's go," in French.

Interestingly, the last thing he says just before he regenerates into the Eleventh Doctor is "I don't want to go."


"Molto bene" is another of Ten's catchphrases. It's Italian for "very well," but he uses it more like "cool" or "awesome."

The TARDIS is like a universal translator, so he really doesn't need to speak in more than one language, but he does anyway. Just because.

Just answer him already!

It always makes me laugh when he says, "What? What?! What?!!" He's a Time Lord, and he can see the whole of time from beginning to end (or so he claims), but sometimes events still surprise him.

And he looks so bewildered and perplexed and discombobulated.

Cue fangirls squeeing...

One night, after we had watched several episodes of Dr Who, and we were getting ready for bed, my husband smiled at me and said, "If I had two hearts, they'd both be yours."

(Time Lords have two hearts).

I just had to make this. All credit for the quote to my husband Mark.

Everyone loves Rose. Everyone.

This is actually the very first Dr Who graphic I made.

This might be a spoiler.
After watching the end of season 2, I couldn't get Johnny Cash's song "Give My Love to Rose" out of my head. The quote on this photo is a line from the song, but I've attributed it to Jack Dawson from Titanic.

If you've never seen a Troll Quote before, it's a picture with a quote and speaker printed on it, but that person never said that, and that picture is someone else. However, they are similar enough to be misleading. Click the link for more details.


I made this image today. It makes me sad. The doctor is so lonely. He just wants a friend.

If you can't read the text, click on the picture.

See all of my images (plus a few that I didn't make) here: Just the Doctor.

So far, Ten is my favourite doctor. I think that's simply because David Tennant is such an amazing, incredible actor. I first saw him in Harry Potter as Barty Crouch Jr. When he appeared onscreen as the doctor at the end of season 1, I couldn't banish the image of Barty's creepy, flickering snake-tongue. For about ten seconds. Then, David convinced me that he was the doctor, and I forgot all about Barty Crouch Jr. Like I said, wonderful actor.

I've only just started getting to know Eleven, so my favourite may change. But I doubt it.

(By the way, feel free to share any of the pictures in this post. I'm not going to send the copyright police after you.)

14 January 2013

The Truth is the Truth

In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act. 
George Orwell

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. 
Arthur Schopenhauer

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth. 
Mahatma Gandhi

The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable. 
James A. Garfield

No matter how many times you tell a lie, it doesn't become true. If you don't believe that, it doesn't really matter. The truth doesn't care what you think of it. As Ghandi said (quoted above), the truth is the truth. Believing doesn't make something true; it's either true or it's not all on its own. This is why I kind of hate movies where the magic doesn't work unless enough people believe in it. Could I walk on air if enough people believed I could? Hollywood tells me I can.

11 January 2013

No More Mr Nice Guy?

There's a lot of love for bad boys. The leather-clad, sneering jerk seems irresistible. Fiction tells us that nice guys finish last, and the bad boy gets the girl. Well, the bad boy who learns something and kinda turns out good by the end. Nice guys are boring, plain vanilla. Bad boys are fascinating, tasty tin roof sundae.

I've always liked Han Solo, but my favourite Star Wars character is Luke Skywalker. Why? Because I have a thing for nice guys. Yes, I'm weird. I'm attracted not to the testosterone-driven type with an attitude and snappy one-liners, but to the kind, gentle, maybe a bit nerdy, nice guy.

I've recently started watching Dr Who on Netflix, and I've noticed that the Doctor is a truly good person. He always tries to do the right thing, and he is devastated when someone dies (anyone, even an enemy). I love this quality in a character.

I've read that Han Solo is the true hero of Star Wars because he grows and changes throughout the trilogy, learning to care about others and not always put himself and his paycheque first. It is argued that Luke doesn't change and grow since he starts out good and nice. I would argue, however, that Luke starts out whiny and immature, so he does too change and grow. Character growth does not have to be so simple as a Han Solo type of arc. There are many ways for someone to grow and mature.

Do you like bad boys or nice guys? If you're a writer, which do you prefer to write?

06 January 2013

Review of Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Heartless (Tales of Goldstone  Wood #1)Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A main character should act, not be acted upon. Princess Una is the most pathetic, passive main character I've read in quite a while. But she's not the only passive one here. The only characters who really act are Aethelbald and the Dragon.

The plot is bizarrely strange too. For some reason, dragon's breath--while poisonous to the point of killing people--can turn someone into a dragon. Oh, and all dragons are evil, just because. The language used to describe them is over-the-top, beating you on the head that they are evil. And ugly too. Because everybody knows that dragons can't be beautiful right?

I wanted to like this book; I really did. But I just couldn't.

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04 January 2013

From the Ashes Cover Release

I'm not sure how it all went wrong.

The concept was simple.

The Trials were made to test us. They were made to challenge our strengths; our bravery.

We were supposed to come out better.

Winning the Trials would make us Superior citizens.

It would bring us honor and demonstrate our loyalty to the Imperial Alliance. I knew exactly what I wanted.

Until I met him.

There was something about him. Something dark. If only I had known the danger it would put us in.

I thought I knew the risks.

But I never imagined the price we'd pay.


An insightful look at the good and bad that exist within us, McKendry's debut is a high-octane adventure that pushes the imagination to the limit as it lays bare the nature of self-reliance, self-confidence, and teamwork. Playing with the concepts of dark and light and how they affect our lives in multiple forms, her novel is a complex coming of age story that encapsulates the heroine's journey from student to leader. A dark tale of love and revenge, From the Ashes is a powerful reminder to think for yourself instead of blindly following what you've been taught to believe.

O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!

I know that not everyone believes the same things I do. I try not to get into arguments over politics and religion because I don't see the point. You're not going to convince me, and I'm not going to convince you. So let's talk about something else, mkay?

However, I'm going to talk about religion a little bit. A lot of people believe in something. I do. I believe that the universe was created by God. I believe that I was created by God. I don't believe that I evolved from apes or monkeys or anything. A lot of people believe as I do, that everything was created by a deity of some kind. That's our prerogative. However, many do not believe this. That's their prerogative. Let's not argue about it.

When I was in university, a science professor told my class, "Science can't prove anything. It merely disproves theories until there is only one remaining, and that is the accepted explanation until another theory comes along. Then the process starts over." Since science cannot disprove God, this gets a little sticky. Shall we dismiss the spiritual, and claim that it is disproven, because it cannot be measured through the scientific method? What about those people who claim personal experience of the supernatural? Are they all loonies?

I've seen people on the internetz claim that, yes, we are all loonies. Every single person who believes in any kind of religious or spiritual anything is insane. That's a lot of nutters walking around. Should we be afraid? They could be capable of anything.

Or maybe we're all just stupid. We believe in the supernatural because we'd believe anything. We probably believe that Dr Who is real too. (Hey, don't bring the Doctor into this! Sorry.) Well, if we'd believe anything, why do we insist on sticking to one thing? Why don't we change our minds every time someone challenges us? "Oh, yeah. You make sense. You've convinced me. I have now changed my entire world view." I know I don't do that. Some of my beliefs have slowly changed over time, but none of those changes have been very large, and it takes a long time.

We are not crazy. We are not imagining things. We are not stupid. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." (Hamlet Act 1, Scene 5)