book haul!

So there was this book sale, and, uh, I got a little carried away.

But what was I supposed to do? They were all sitting out in boxes on tables and the pavement in the parking lot, and the lady offering empty grocery bags said I could buy as many as I could stuff in one of those bags for $4.

So how many books fit in a plastic grocery bag? 18. Now you know.

I can't quite take credit for the entire pile, as four of them do belong to Paul. But still. My near-empty bookshelf looks a lot happier now!

Click below to read the list of titles and authors.


Ruzniel: The Laws of Magic and The End of the Universe

by Daniel Nanavati

I received a free copy of Ruzniel from Daniel Nanavati early this year (January, perhaps?), and despite reading two books, I somehow still thought it was going to be published as one. Hence one review for two books (silly me). Also, please note that since this was an early beta read, the final products, which were officially published last week, may vary slightly from what I review below.

from Goodreads
Crilodach’s selfishness is legendary. Its desire to rule all life has been the cause of every war and every fight for freedom ever known. Now, in the last three days of the universe, the struggles of the great magicians against It, join forces with a spellmaker, the brilliance of the bears, a cloned human child, the mutated Arvernat, the three dragon brothers and a poet to ensure life in the new universe after the Big Bang will have the chance to be free. But will the laws of magic enable them to outmanoeuvre Crilodach, the first and unconquerable sentient being?

my rating

my review
Ruzniel is brilliantly woven together, and although in the end I decided that it's not "my cup of tea," I have to recognize that it reflects great talent. It is very dark, of course, but also incredibly poetic and even hopeful. When I started the book I felt as if I was listening to a bard.

The book is hugely long and so packed with information and characters that it threatens to be overwhelming, and yet somehow it's not too bad. If something doesn't quite make sense, further along it will fall neatly into place, and you might feel the need to stop reading for a moment to revel in it's brilliance.

While all of the characters are developed to some extent, only a few really have some depth to them. These, of course, were my favorites: Rimfelder the poet and Tobia the Ruzniel, two characters who each shone a light in the violence.

I was not a fan of the violence. The characters did often address and question it, though I was not always happy with their conclusions. I was very uncomfortable with many of the "good" characters' willingness to sacrifice others for the sake of the fight (noble as their cause may be).*

The ending was perfect. I don't really have much else to say about it other than after reading the last sentence, I felt satisfied.

*Daniel Nanavati responded to my concern on this topic, and I'd like to share what he had to say:

"The violence is a difficult one I do agree. Although conflict is the traditional story I am not one to be overly traditional, I felt that underlying this story was an attempt to draw together myths from many nations as well as give an overarching argument as to why nature has chosen to be so red, I have always wondered why life feeds on life it seems such an unethical principle. Yet if nature is unethical there must be a reason. In dealing with murder I didn't want to be unclear because I want readers to feel the horror of it, too often fantasy makes a comic of what is utterly revolting."

The Laws of Magic (Ruzniel, #1)



difficult as it may be to
release my happy grip on summer,
Autumn beckons
with its chilled yet welcoming embrace
to bask in crisp air, apples, leaves
live outside a while longer
perhaps in sweaters
but comfortable
as a question hangs in the near-empty air
of snowflakes and cocoa
and a warmth that even dear summer
cannot bring to the soul


Dragon's Bride (The Dragon and the Scholar #4)

by H. L. Burke

from Goodreads
Dragon Prince Ewan has promised his beloved, Shannon, that he will become a man again or die in the attempt. Now he will do anything to make good on that promise.

With the aid of his scholarly friend, Martin, Ewan consults the great Dragon Queen Harviss, who offers him a unique solution: return to the past to find Ewan's Fey ancestor and beg for her help.

my rating

my review
This fourth and final novel in the Dragon and the Scholar series contains a brilliantly-written dual plot (is there a better way to say "two subplots woven into one story?") that is equal parts frustrating and captivating.

First off, the fey: terrifyingly fascinating and just all-around awesome. I love their lack of respect for physics and how they explain this mentality. Meeting this race made the time travel--something I don't usually like--worth it.

Aside from time travel, I think the most frustrating part was how Ewan and Shannon handled being separated from each other. Or perhaps the loose ends still dangling after the last page. For instance, why did Acacia come squealing for Will? She was introduced as such a strong and interesting character, but dropped off the pages once her purpose was spent. I think there could almost be a fifth book featuring some of the more minor characters... I'd definitely read it!

H. L. Burke has a wonderful talent for writing fairy tale-flavored fantasy, and I can't wait to see what she has up her sleeve next.

*Thanks to H. L. Burke for sending me a free digital copy of Dragon's Bride to beta read! Its official release date is September 19.

Dragon's Bride (book 4)


words borrowed from Madeleine Mysko

Hora Tertia

On the monastery walk,
in the clear daylight after
the night of heavy rain,

I consider the moonflower:
how the big spent blooms look like
three linen tea towels rinsed and wrung out,
three yellowed towels someone meant to
pin to the line to dry.

And I consider this waning moon:
how thin it seems this morning against
the washed blue sky, like an old pearl button,
chipped, worn smooth, but still securely fixed
behind those sheer clouds blown by weather--
though I know that it, too, is moved
and beloved.