Teaser Tuesday: Crystal Keepers (Five Kingdoms, Book III) (again)

Teaser Tuesday post for 2 June 2015 from Crystal Keepers by Brandon Mull

Crystal Keepers by Brandon Mull
"Possession of that crystal is treason, punishable by death.  Many organizations here in Old Zeropolis would enforce that punishment as eagerly as the authorities in the new city."
—————————————————————————————– Teaser Tuesday logoTeaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:• Grab your current read • Open to a random page • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
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Teaser Tuesday: Crystal Keepers (Five Kingdoms, Book III)

Teaser Tuesday post for 26 May 2015 from Crystal Keepers by Brandon Mull

Crystal Keepers by Brandon Mull
Cole blinked and strained his eyes, but there was absolutely no light.  He could hear the thundering approach of the mounted Enforcers.
—————————————————————————————– Teaser Tuesday logoTeaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:• Grab your current read • Open to a random page • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser Tuesday: Rogue Knight (Five Kingdoms, Book II) (again)

Teaser Tuesday post for 20 January 2015:

Rogue Knight (Five Kingdoms, Book II) by Brandon Mull“I can alert the dwarf,” Spark said sheepishly.

“Then he can unleash an inferno indeed!” Minimus said stoutly.

from Rogue Knight (Five Kingdoms, Book II) by Brandon Mull

 

Teaser Tuesday logo

———————————————————————————–

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Teaser Tuesday: Rogue Knight (Five Kingdoms, Book II)

Teaser Tuesday post for 13 January 2015:

Rogue Knight (Five Kingdoms, Book II) by Brandon Mull“If you want to help, stop bugging me and figure out how you charged up that sword.  That might actually be useful.”

from Rogue Knight (Five Kingdoms, Book II) by Brandon Mull

 

Teaser Tuesday logo

———————————————————————————–

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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BookBlogWriMo – Days Nineteen, Twenty

BookBlogWriMo.  Book Blog Writing Month.  Created by “Book Bumblings” as a book bloggers’ version of NaNoWriMo.  I found it through “Shattered Hearts Reviews“.

Day Nineteen – TBR (To Be Read) Books

(reread) Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

(reread) Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Beowulf as translated by J.R.R. Tolkien

Five Kingdoms:  Rogue Knight by Brandon Mull

Five Kingdoms:  Crystal Keepers by Brandon Mull (to be released March 2015)

Storm Siren:  Siren’s Fury by Mary Weber (to be released June 2015)

Neverwinter Saga:  Charon’s Claw by R.A. Salvatore

DEAD POET…Once Removed:  The Poetic Works of Walter J. Wojtanik (Volume I)  by Walt Wojtanik

There are, of course, many other books I plan to read, but these are the ones off the top of my head that I hope to read sooner than later.

Day Twenty – Best Books of 2014

While I read many good books this year, including most of the Harry Potter series (again), these are the only that I can identify as new this year, so they make my best of 2014.  They are also very good books, which is why Mull and Weber have sequels on my TBR list above.

Storm Siren by Mary Weber

Five Kingdoms:  Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

The Fury Triad:  This Crumbling Pageant by Patricia Burroughs

The Reading List Archive – 2013

This is the archive of the books I read (or started) in 2013.  For the books I’ve read or am currently reading, check out The Reading List.
I’ll put an X behind those that I recommend and a XX behind those that I highly recommend. Books with one X will likely only be popular with those who are fans of the genre, while XXs are those I’d recommend regardless of genre preference.
106.  Dreamsongs: Volume I by George R. R. Martin (28 Dec 2013) – XX
—–A great collection of short stories.
105.  The Thief of Always by Clive Barker (21 Dec 2013) – XX
———-Read:  My review of The Thief of Always
104.  Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It by Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake (6 Dec 2013) – X
—–Interesting, but rather repetitive.  I guess that’s to be expected when the book is trying to convince us that it’s a mostly usable roadmap for a national U. S. cyber security policy.
103.  Knife of Dreams (The Wheel of Time, book 11) by Robert Jordan (7 Nov 2013) [re-reading to review- still highly recommended as part of this series]
———-Read:  My review of Knife of Dreams
102.  Hunting Ground (Alpha and Omega, book 2) by Patricia Briggs (30 Oct 2013) – X
———-Read:  My review of Hunting Ground
101.  Cry Wolf  (Alpha and Omega, book 1) by Patricia Briggs (21 Oct 2013) – X
———-Read:  My review of Cry Wolf
100.  On The Prowl by Patricia Briggs, Eileen Wilks, Karen Chance, & Sunny (7 Oct 2013)
—–Other than “Alpha and Omega”, which kicks off Briggs’ series, I found nothing worth reading in this book.
———-Read:  My review of On The Prowl
99.  Crossroads of Twilight (The Wheel of Time, book 10) by Robert Jordan (7 Sep 2013) [re-read to write a review – still highly recommended as part of this series]
———-Read:  My review of Crossroads of Twilight
98.  The Cleric Quintet by R. A. Salvatore (23 Jul 2013) – X
—–A great early book by Salvatore, but not likely for non-fantasy readers.
[read Head First HTML & CSS, 2nd Edition in between Winter’s Heart and The Cleric Quintet]
97.  Winter’s Heart (The Wheel of Time, book 9) by Robert Jordan (6 Jun 2013) [re-read to write a review – still highly recommended as part of this series]
———-Read:  My review of Winter’s Heart
96.  The Candy Shop War: Arcade Catastrophe by Brandon Mull (29 May 2013) – XX
———-Read:  My review of Arcade Catastrophe
95.  The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull (19 May 2013) – XX
———-Read:  My review of The Candy Shop War
94.  The Path of Daggers (The Wheel of Time, book 8) by Robert Jordan (19 Apr 2013) [re-read to write a review – still highly recommended as part of this series]
———-Read:  My review of The Path of Daggers
93. Tomb Seven by Gene Snyder (9 Apr 2013)
—–Tomb Seven was fairly predictable, with little worthwhile action.
———-Read:  My review of Tomb Seven
92. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. (31 Mar 2013)
—–While this story had some interesting parallels to the non-fiction book “How the Irish Saved Civilization”, it was very slow going, and a bit difficult to follow at times.
91.  Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (22 Feb 2013) – XX
———-Read:  My review of Beautiful Creatures
90.  A Crown of Swords (The Wheel of Time, book 7) (20 Feb 2013) [re-reading to write a review]
———-Read:  My review of A Crown of Swords
89.  Labyrinth by Kate Mosse (2 Feb 2013)
—–Slow going.  Couldn’t get into this one.  Was like work to get through it.
———-Read:  My review of Labyrinth
88.  The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card (28 Jan 2013) – X
—–An interesting system of magic, a young protagonist, but not a young adult book
———-Read:  My review of The Lost Gate
87.  The Legend of Drizzt Anthology, The Collected Stories by R.A. Salvatore, Edited by Philip Athas (22 Jan 2013) – XX
—–A collection of short stories centered around Drizzt and the Companions of the Hall, as well as a few focused on Jarlaxle and Artemis Entreri.
86.  A Memory of Light (the Wheel of Time, book 14) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (10 Jan 2013) – XX
———-Read:  My review of A Memory of Light

Looking Forward: Five Kingdoms by Brandon Mull

Brandon Mull is one of my favorite authors. He writes youth and young adultish stories, such as the Fablehaven series, and The Candy Shop War and its sequel.  His upcoming “Five Kingdoms” series sounds really cool and I’m looking forward to reading the first one, Sky Raiders, when it comes out in March 2014.

Here’s a link to the author page of his Five Kingdoms website. There’s a YouTube video embedded there where Brandon gives a quick overview of his new world: http://www.enterthefivekingdoms.com/author/

Review: The Candy Shop War: Arcade Catastrophe

The Candy Shop War: Arcade CatastropheTitle: The Candy Shop War: Arcade Catastrophe
Author: Brandon Mull
Published: 23 October 2012
Author’s Website: http://www.brandonmull.com
Genre: Fantasy, Youth

Review:  Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon, find themselves having to save the day again.  John Dart, the agent who polices rogue magicians has been abducted along with Mozag, the powerful magician in charge of policing the rogue magicians.  Two other agents show up in town to request the aide of the gang that now includes Lindy, the young, memory-wiped Belinda White, former owner of the Sweet Tooth Ice Cream and Candy Shoppe and rogue magician.  With her mind wiped she recalls nothing of her time spent trying to become the most powerful magician in the world.  The gang volunteers to help find and rescue John Dart and Mozag since they helped them previously.  The investigation takes them to the new arcade in a neighboring town.  The gang is able to infiltrate the operation, becoming “recruited” along with a few other kids, to procure certain items the latest rogue magician needs to then go after the big prize which will make him the most powerful magician in the world.  Armed with magical stamps that provide longer lasting benefits than candy, the gang begin working for the magician, waiting for a chance to find and rescue John and Mozag.  Things progress quickly and they are eventually forced into a now or never situation.  Of course, this being a youth-targeted book, they succeed in saving the day.

Bottom Line:   Brandon Mull delivers another fun, action-packed story that he never intended to write.  He says in an afterword that he planned on The Candy Shop War being a single book, but he got enough goading and pleading that he finally wrote this sequel.  And he did it well.  The characters all have the same feel and voice to them as thy did in the last book, but the pace is a little faster.  Much of the “magic” and side-kicks in this story are tweaks of those in the first book, but there are a few new ones.  While the plot line may be similar to the first book, it works again.  Just enough is changed to not make it feel like a rehash.  He also mentions there may be another sequel.  I hope it breaks from this pattern.  In the meantime, I highly recommend this book.

Review: The Candy Shop War

The Candy Shop WarTitle: The Candy Shop War
Author: Brandon Mull
Published: 16 September 2008
Author’s Website: http://www.brandonmull.com
Genre: Fantasy, Youth

Review:  Nate, the new kid in town befriends three small town kids, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon, when he moves in shortly before school starts.  He almost instantly  becomes a member of their “club” when he stands up to the bully’s the locals have had to deal with for years.  As the school year starts, the group checks out the new candy shop, finding the owner to be a kind, grandmotherly woman who promises them magic candy if they help her find some special ingredients.  The kids are skeptical, of course, but have nothing to lose so they follow her instructions and, Voila!, everything happens just like she said.  Once they get to try out the magic candy, they’re hooked.  She promises more candy in exchange for more favors.  Each progressively more questionable than the last until they finally draw the line which leads to Mrs. White, the candy shop owner, “hiring” the bullies.  A race for the treasure Mrs. White is after ensues with the kids having to decide which adults to trust.

Over the course of their dealings with Mrs. White, the kids learn that there are “magicians” and magic, strange creatures and sidekicks, that everything isn’t as it seems, and most importantly, that all decisions have consequences.

Bottom Line:  A fun adventure for kids involving magic candy with names like Moon Rocks, Shock Bits, Creature Crackers, and Flame Outs, among others.  In all the excitement, the reader gets to see kids have to make moral choices, show intestinal fortitude, and use their brains to survive and save the day.  This book also has a section for guided learning at the back for use by classrooms or home schoolers.  I highly recommend this book.  The target age may be late elementary school based on the age of the protagonists, but older kids will enjoy it, too.

The Reading List Archive – 2010

With the exception of number one, which I started in 2009, this is the archive of the books I read (or started) in 2010.  For the books I’ve read or am currently reading, check out The Reading List.
I’ll put an X behind those that I recommend and a XX behind those that I highly recommend. Books with one X will likely only be popular with those who are fans of the genre, while XXs are those I’d recommend regardless of genre preference.
35.  Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (23 Dec 2010) – XX (but read the first 12 first) —–This is the thirteenth volume in The Wheel of Time series — the whole series is fantastic.  I am eagerly awaiting the fourteenth and final book.
34.  Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King (18 Dec 2010) – X
—–A great collection of four stories by the Master, who gets his Dark on.  As the title implies, there is not much happy happy, joy joy here.
33.  A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (17 Dec 2010)
—–Kind of difficult to get into this as it was written in 1859 and that English and style of writing doesn’t flow as easily to my eyes.  Taking a break for my new Stephen King book at no. 34.  Will likely come back to this one at some point.
32.  Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (8 Dec 2010) – XX
—–Year Seven –but mostly not at Hogwarts.  A fantastic finish to a grand series of adventures.
31.  Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (30 Nov 2010) – XX
—–Year Six –Another great book brings the death of a main character and a discovery of a way to potentially defeat Voldemort for good.
30.  Harry Potter & The Order of The Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (18 Nov 2010) – XX
—–Year five –Have you seen the 101 Dalmations with Jeff Daniels where the little kid tells him that a good villain in a video game doesn’t just make you dislike him, he makes you want to utterly destroy him?  D. J. Umbridge fits that role of villain perfectly.
29.  Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (9 Nov 2010) – XX
—–Year four –The introduction of other wizarding schools, The Tri-Wizard Cup, murder, and “He’s” back… in the flesh.
28.  Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (2 Nov 2010) – XX
—–Year three — things are getting a bit darker.  Still good stuff.
27.  Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (25 Oct 2010) – XX
—–Year two for Harry at Hogwarts.  Doesn’t matter how many times I read these, they are great stories.
26.  Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton (22 Oct 2010) – X
—–Michael Crichton tells very good tales –this one based on real people.  Once the action gets started, it’s one thing after another for Captain Hunter and his crew.
25.  unclean:  The Haunted Lands Book 1 by Richard Lee Byers (17 Oct 2010) – X
—–The Haunted Lands trilogy is off to a good start.  Good fighting, multiple plot lines.  While I’m not crazy about his writing style at times, it’s worth reading if you’re into D&D-based fantasy.
24.  Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling (12 Oct 2010) – XX
—–Fantastic book that launched the 7 book series and introduced “The Boy Who Lived” to the world.
23.  Kingdom of Fear:  The World of Stephen King edited by Tim Underwood & Chuck Miller (1 Oct 2010) – X
—–17 Essays on Stephen King’s writing through about 1985 with brief commentary between essays by Mr. King.  He also provides the foreward.  Interesting to read what these folks had to say over 20 years ago about Stephen King, his writing, and the movies made from those works.
22.  On Writing by Stephen King (22 Sep 2010) – X
—–I read this first about 10 years ago when it was newly published and I’d love to give this two Xs, but the casual reader probably isn’t going to find this exciting.  Honestly, it won’t have much appeal to fans of Stephen King’s work unless they are also writers/aspiring writers.  I liked it very much, though.
21.  Write Great Fiction:  Dialogue by Gloria Kempton (12 Sep 2010) – X
—–I almost didn’t give this book an X as a recommended read.  My problem is that there seemed to be a lot of repetition in this book.  There weren’t many times that struck me as “hadn’t thought of that” or “good point” moments.  There are lots of exercises at the end of every chapter, a Do and Don’t chapter, and a checklist with which to gauge your dialogue.  I don’t usually have a difficult time with dialogue.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t find a lot of “Aha!” moments.  I can see that it might be helpful to those looking for tips on how to use dialogue, though, which is why I went ahead and gave it an X.
20.  Duma Key by Stephen King (31 Aug 2010) – XX
—–A great read, or should I say, another great read by Stephen King.  The master of horror slowly builds the tension until it snaps and the horror is released.  It’s like you can see the train coming, but can’t get off the tracks fast enough.
19.  Ranger’s Apprentice – Book 6: The Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan (18 Aug 2010) – XX
—–I really like this series.  It is great for showing kids that they don’t have to be the big, strong, captain of the football team, type of guy to be a hero.  This may be my favorite of this series so far.
18.  The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing edited by Meg Leder, Jack Heffron, and the editors of Writer’s Digest (11 Aug 2010) – X
———-> Read: My review of The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing
17. Harry Potter and Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts edited by David Baggett and Shawn E. Klein (31 July 2010) – XX
—–This is a very interesting read.  It is a series of articles grouped together by subject to discuss a number of philosophical issues and how they can be argued for/against based on J.K. Rowling’s best-selling  Harry Potter series.  There were a couple articles that I found dry and rather pointless, but overall, the article selection was thought-provoking.
16. Up Till Now: The Autobiography by William Shatner (7 July 2010) – X
—–William Shatner’s autobiography is both frank and funny.
15. Emerson (3 July 2010)
—–This is a collection of his writings and essays and speeches and …it wasn’t doing much for me.  While some of it was thought provoking, the parts I read were rather dry.  Maybe I’ll come back to this some time, but for now, I’m done with it.
14. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (29 June 2010) – X
—–I’ve read less direct translations of Don Quixote’s exploits and I thoroughly enjoy the stories, but this particular book seems to be a very direct translation and I just couldn’t get into the style of writing.  Maybe it’s the translation.  Either way, I recommend Don Quixote, but not this version.
13. Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer (23 June 2010) – X
—–I re-read this book because the movie (when I read the book) was getting ready to be released.  I like to read the books again before I watch the movies so that I can better identify where the book and movie diverge.  Like the other books in the series, this one is well written and folks who like the first two will likely enjoy this one, as well.
12. Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary by Brandon Mull (16 June 2010) – XX
—–This is the fourth book in the Fablehaven series and I think I like it better than the first book.  The first book was great, too, but I like the pace, plot, and twists of this one better.
11. A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons (8 June 2010) – X
—–Another good horror story from Simmons. While not really a sequel, it follows up about 40 years after the events in Summer of Night.
10. Summer of Night by Dan Simmons (26 May 2010) – X
—–Good horror story. Kind of reminds me of Stephen King’s ‘It’ in the way it flows and builds suspense.
9. The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons (5 May 2010) – X
—–The final chapter that began with Hyperion does a good job of bringing things to a close. Like the third book, Endymion, this story flows much better than the somewhat disjointed tales of the Hyperion Cantos. I liked it.
8. Endymion by Dan Simmons (21 Apr 2010) – X
—–The writing in this book is consistently good throughout. The story was good, as well. While it is beneficial to have read the previous two stories to understand a number of references, it wouldn’t be critical.
7. Dracula, Prince of Many Faces: His Life and His Times by Radu R Florescu and Raymond McNally (31 Mar 2010)
—–It’s an interesting book about Dracula, his real life, and how that life has influenced the fiction about him.
6. Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons (23 Feb 2010) – X
—–This is actually two books: Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion
—–I’m not sure whether to recommend this book or not. It has some great moments, but it also has some very tedious, not-overly-original moments, as well. If you check out the reviews on Amazon they range from best Sci-Fi book ever to burn it. It was ok. I’ve now read it twice and will continue before long with the two others that follow it. All of this having been said, I do like Dan Simmons as a writer.
5. Under The Dome by Stephen King (8 Feb 2010) – XX
—–Very good and, although it is over 1,000 pages, it moves along well.
4. The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull (1 Feb 2010) – X
—–An entertaining read. Early teen is probably the target age, but I could probably let my (almost) 9 year old read it.
3. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini (18 Jan 2010) – X
—–This is the third book in The Inheritance Cycle –don’t let the movie (Eragon) fool you, the story is great.
—–This is a good installment in the series. It moves the story along well and has some good action.
2. The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (5 Jan 2010) – XX (but read the first 11 first)
—–This is the twelfth volume in The Wheel of Time series — the whole series is fantastic.
—–I would have to read the series again to be sure, but I think this may be my favorite, so far. I actually got a bit misty-eyed very near the end.
1. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien (approx. 23 Dec 2009) – XX
—–if you’ve read the first two, and they’d both be XX, as well