Hello, and Goodbye…I’m changing things up

Hello, and Goodbye…I’m changing things up

For years now I wanted to create something that allowed me to express my thoughts and opinions for others to listen to or watch, and maybe learn from.

I created this blog to do just that, and have loved doing it since I started it.

I’ve hit a few bumps along the way, and I’ve gotten over them and have always come back to this blog and am super grateful that I have.

Because of this blog, I have also started a Podcast about the Wheel of Time series, called The Winespring Inn.

I really enjoyed doing it at first, but it quickly became a lot of work that I couldn’t find time for and I lost interest.

It was kind of lonely doing a podcast on my own, and I am half glad half upset that I won’t be continuing with it any more.

I’m no expert on the subject matter, compared to other people, and I find myself dreading the time researching stuff to make the script.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy making a podcast, it’s just I’d prefer to focus my attention on other projects that I want to try out.

My podcasts used to come out on Saturdays, when I did post them.

Now that I won’t be continuing it, I want to start a new review series…reviewing TV shows and Movies.

I know this doesn’t really fall under the “book” category, but I think it does in the sense that it is storytelling. Movies and books are part of the same umbrella of storytelling. Movies are visual, books do the same, they just use your creativity and imagination.

The one stipulation for a movie/TV show review…it needs to be adapted from a book.

That’s how I am going to tie it into the book genre that I currently follow.

I hope you are all as excited to do the book/TV show reviews. I think it’ll be less time consuming for me, but also more fun for me and for all of you.

For the most part, I’ll try to cover modern movies that I’ve seen, but I’ll probably throw in a few classics/older movies if things slow down.

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When and where do you like to read?

When and where do you like to read?

This is a bit of a weird topic to talk about, because it seems like such a simple part of life.

Everyone has their spot they like to read, and everyone has certain times of the day they like to/can find time to read.

Some are in bed, just before they go to sleep. Some people like to cozy up in a nice comfy chair after supper, and I’m sure others like to read in the bath, when they are absolutely relaxed.

There’s not really a wrong answer to this. Everyone has their preference of time and spot.

For me, I prefer reading on my couch. Legs up, in a nice comfy position and a good book on my lap, I could sit there for hours.

My problem, is that I don’t find the time often enough to read in my favorite spot.

I’m usually pretty busy, between work and friends and school and dogs, there’s a lot to do that keeps me from reading.

I don’t often get the chance to read while curled up on the couch, but I still find time to read.

The place I read the most is on the bus to work. It gives me about 20-40 minutes of quality reading time, depending on traffic and other bus occupants. I can channel out the noise for the most part, and I can usually snag a seat somewhere in the back corner which gives me a chance to whip out my book to read for a bit.

Other than that, I don’t get a lot of time to read. I try to read now and then, but with so much going on, I can hardly find time to sit and read a few pages even.

But enough about me. What about you? Where do you like to read, and when do you find the time to read your book? Do you sit down for hours, or do you steal a few moments now and then?

One Piece Arc Review: Baratie

I never started watching One Piece until after Baratie. I think it was closer to Marineford or even when the time skip happened, but Baratie was one of the best moments in the East Blue Saga.

Before Baratie, the arcs were pretty lighthearted. Yeah there were some plots to kill people, kids whose parents died or abandoned them, or someone who had an ax for a hand, but in the One Piece world, that’s on the lighter side of things.

One of the defining aspects of all members of the Strawhat Pirates is that they all have a tragic backstory.

Luffy’s is actually pretty good considering his crewmates. Zoro’s is sad, but in the grand scheme of life, losing your best friend isn’t high up on the tragedy scale. Usopp’s was pretty sad too, but he seemed to handle it pretty well since he had some friends in his village.

Sanji’s backstory, or what we get of it at this point, is the worst one we’ve had up to this point in the story. Basically, he was shipwrecked with this pirate cook on a small rock that left them stranded for months. There were two bags of food, and so the pirate cook, Zeff, took a bag and gave Sanji the other. They went to opposite sides of the rock and basically never spoke to eachother for about 2 or 3 months.

Sanji was growing pretty hungry, and decided to go steal some food from Zeff, and saw that Zeff’s bag was full of gold, and instead of eating, Zeff ate his own foot to survive instead of eating Sanji’s food.

Fast forward a few years and Sanji and Zeff are working on a boat they paid for with that gold, and are using it as a restaurant to feed hungry people of the sea.

Luffy and his companions (Nami, Usopp, and Zoro) find the restaurant ship, when a pirate, Don Kreig, attacks the restaurant. Luffy helps fend him off and basically tells Sanji that he’s joining the crew.

There are a lot of good things about this arc. There’s the Mihawk “fight” with Zoro, Zoro’s pledge to never lose a fight again, Luffy jumping from piece of driftwood to piece of driftwood to fight Kreig, Nami “betraying” the Strawhats, and plenty of others.

From what I know, a lot of people became fans of One Piece because of this arc. It was the first serious arc, and the tension was building to finally make it to the grandline. The Strawhats just got their ship, Sanji was going to be their cook, and they had Nami working with them as the navigator. They had everyhting they needed, and all they had to do was find Sanji, the cook.

Sanji doesn’t want to join at first, but inevitably does because his goal is to find the All Blue.

Even though this arc was full of great moments, the one that really did it for me was Don Kreig actually. He had amassed this enormous pirate fleet, he was the most powerful known pirate in the East Blue, and he had weaponry that Franky would swoon over. He had everything he thought he needed for the grandline…and he still failed.

He still lost almost immediately after entering the grandline. His loss created a horror and a fear for this mystical grandline that Luffy and crew had been dreaming of for dozens of chapters, and it scared the strongest man we had seen at this point.

This was the first real foreshadowing of what would come. Yeah, we knew about the grandline, and we knew it was the goal of the Strawhats and everything, but this was the first real moment we got to see how scary the world could really be…and what’s best of all is that Luffy smiled.

He smiled in the face of this “danger”. He was ready to embrace the danger and take it head on. Because of Don Kreig, we got to see a part of Luffy that we really hadn’t seen yet. We got to see the childish, adventure seeking, excited character that Luffy is, and this is where a lot of people fell in love with him, and with the story of One Piece.

Guest Book Review: Sarah Houser

This week I had the absolute pleasure of working with the amazing blogger Sarah Houser on the first, of hopefully many, guest post for On My Bookshelf.

Sarah is an amazing, and well-known book blogger, who comes out with some very thought provoking content…and she LOVES Vikings. She also loves to review Sci-Fi and Fantasy books, along with some graphic novels.

If you’ve never heard of her, I definitely recommend taking a look at her blog, Hamlets & Hyperspace, or her twitter @MickMouser313. Ever since I discovered her blog my TBR list has doubled, and then doubled again, and is probably close to doubling another time. She’s always reviewing books that I find fascinating, and her reviews make you fall in love with the book before even reading it.

I approached Sarah about being my first ever guest book review, and I am glad I did, because her review is amazing. I told her to give her honest opinion of the book, and she did exactly that. She doesn’t pull her punches when it comes to a book she doesn’t like.

I asked if she wanted to cover a book about Vikings, and she was more than happy to read Blood Eye by Giles Kristian. I just want to thank Sarah again for taking time out of her busy schedule to give us this awesome review. She’s got a lot going on in her own life and she’s running a blog of her own, so for her to take the time to write an extra review is nothing short of kindness. Thanks again Sarah!

Make sure to read her review of Blood Eye below and give Sarah lots of love in the comments or on her posts.

“Blood Eye has been on my radar for awhile. It’s about a young man named Raven whose village is pillaged by the Norse. The Norse value him for his ability to translate between them and the English, so he is taken along on their adventures. 

Blood Eye came highly recommended by some of my GoodReads friends who have also enjoyed Bernard Cornwell’s fabulous Last Kingdom series.  I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I loved those books, but I was expecting it to be better than it was.  

While the books themselves are very similar, following similar formatting and including many similar elements, I think that was the key downfall of Blood Eye.  

Unfortunately, Raven felt like he was trying far too hard to be Uhtred, but without any of those things that makes Uhtred so wonderful.  There’s some blatant hero worship coming from Raven in regards to Jarl Sigurd.  He spends too much time telling the reader how fearsome, ferocious, clever and god-like Sigurd, and all the other Norsemen are.  

There’s nothing wrong with this (he’s supposed to be young, and that shows), but I want to read about a character who stands on his own two feet and can become his own person, not someone who only strives to be like others.

Both series, in their own ways, glorify violence, but where the Last Kingdom books do it subtly, Blood Eye throws it in your face, line after line after line.  

There is a part in this book- in the next to last chapter- where this glorification of violence and combination of hero worship is taken way too far.  

One of his Norse friends brings a young girl (in the book it’s noted that she is around 16) to Raven, meaning for Raven to rape her.  

Raven’s inner monologue clearly shows the reader that he knows what he is doing is wrong, but he does it anyway, never mind, that he likes another girl. He then finishes the book feeling incredibly guilty about what he’s done.

Well then why did he do it?  So he could be like his friends?

 His friends weren’t pressuring him, weren’t teasing him about it, so I’m not even sure the peer pressure argument applies. I just didn’t understand the motivation for the character, I didn’t understand why the author felt the scene needed to be included, and I didn’t appreciate the implication that all men must have acted that way back then because it was accepted or because their friends did it.

 I understand historically- this did happen, but I don’t think implying that all men became rapists when the opportunity presented itself is a message I agree with.  

Aside from that- there is no plot in this book.  The reader is asked to follow Raven along on his adventures and stuff happens to him, skirmishes and fights and the like, but there’s no end goal, and with no end goal, there is no suspense.

In the beginning the reader is told that Raven doesn’t know who he is or where he comes from.  I thought at first maybe Raven was meant to discover his roots, and perhaps he does eventually, but it doesn’t happen in this book, and he doesn’t seem to care all that much about it.

I can forgive this in a book that is character driven.  I don’t remember the plot of Prince of Thorns all that much, but I remember Jorg was such a fascinating character that it didn’t matter what he was doing.  Raven is not Jorg- and for that matter, he’s no Uhtred.  The book needed a plot.

Finally, the book comes across as incredibly preachy.  In the beginning- Raven is Christian.  After like a day with the Norsemen, he’s suddenly a full blown pagan, and he spends all his time talking about how weak the Christian god is in comparison to the Norse pantheon.  

It droned on and on and on, to the point where every page had some reference to it, and I found myself groaning every time I turned the page and spotted the reference.

I gave it two stars despite all the above, because I can see that Kristian is a talented writer.  He describes the scenery very well and definitely has some decent quotes.  But a book needs more than pretty writing to convince me it’s worth reading.

I don’t think I’ll be continuing with this series- but some of his other series have ended up on my TBR also, so I may give them a try.  I believe Blood Eye was a debut, so I am hopeful the plotting and characterization has grown stronger in other books.”

What do you guys think of Sarah’s review? If you liked it, I definitely recommend checking out her blog again. it’s worth the visit, and definitely the follow. Show Sarah some love for helping me out for this week’s book review.

I would definitely have Sarah back at any time for another guest review. Her reviews have taught me a lot about writing my own reviews, and she has been someone I’ve looked up to in the book blogging community since I discovered her blog. AND she’s one of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, so thank you again Sarah!

One Piece Arc Review: Syrup Village

The Syrup Village Arc is one of my least favourite arcs in the entire manga, and it introduces my least favourite Straw Hat member… Usopp.

Now this isn’t a discussion about how useless Usopp is, or how much of a coward, or even how he is only around to foreshadow future events in the story, it is a review of the arc itself, so let’s break it down.

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At the beginning of the arc we meet Klahador, Kaya, Usopp and the Usopp Pirates. Klahador, or Kuro, is by far the only interesting person in this group, and he’s as stale as a cracker. The only thing interesting about him is how smart he is.

I mean the guy is a genius, and the only reason his plan failed was because of Luffy, Nami, and Zoro who happened to show up as his plan was being put into action.

There wasn’t a lot of fighting in the arc. Luffy fights Kuro, obviously, and Zoro takes on some cat brothers who give him a bit of a hard time, but he can handle it.

Nami is pre Alabasta, so she isn’t useful in a fight just yet, and we don’t have any other crew members. I think that’s the weakest part of One Piece, is that the early arcs don’t have a lot of quality villains, and there isn’t a lot of crew members to interact with the world around them.

Overall, I’d probably give this arc a 2.5/5. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great. The best part about it is that it’s short, its got a few funny scenes with Jango, and we get to see Kuro absolutely destroy some of his own crew members, because he can’t control his powers at the time.

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This is also where we get to meet the Going Merry for the first time. It’s Kaya’s ship, but she loans it to the Straw Hats to sail it around the world, and we all know what happens there. I kind of hope there’s a scene in the future where all the Straw Hats go back to their towns or whatever, and talk with the people, sharing their stories, before heading off to save Luffy from the marines or something. I just think it could be cool to see Usopp cry at Kaya’s feet because he tried to keep the Merry safe, but couldn’t do that. Plus he could tell her all about how the Merry “came to life” and saved them from Enies Lobby.

Before I forget, this is technically where we meet Gaimon too! He comes before the Syrup Village portion itself, but he’s a nice little part of the story at the time. I hope we get to see him again in the future, maybe he has finally broken out of the chest he was stuck in.

 

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Luffy also tells us that Usopp’s dad Yassop is a great pirate, and a member of the Red-Haired Pirates, which gives the audience a nice connection between Shank’s crew and Luffy’s, which im sure can lead to some cool moments in the future, though I kind of hope Shanks and Luffy never meet up, until Blackbeard kills Shanks, and Luffy rests the hat at his grave or something, but that’s just predictions.

 

 

 

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

With Mother’s Day comping up in just under a few weeks, it’s time to start thinking of some cool gift ideas for that special mom in your life.

We all know she deserves the best, so if she loves books, think about getting her these cool gift ideas.

#1 Book Scented Candles

Everyone who loves books love the smell of old books. I didn’t know this was a thing, but you can buy scented candles that smell like old books.

 

#2 Customized e-reader cases

E-readers are becoming more and more popular, and I’m sure some of your moms have them, and use them pretty often. You should think about getting her a customized e-reader cover, with a special message telling her how much you love her on it.

 

#3 Book of the Month Club

Has your mom run out of books to read? Or maybe she is always willing to read new books. If that’s the case, think about getting your mom a Book of the Month subscription. There are lots of different ones out there, so I’m sure it won’t be hard to find one your mom will enjoy.

 

#4 A personal Library Kit

If your mom prefers old-school books, she may want a personal library kit. Plus, if she likes giving books away to family and friends, this’ll help her collect those late fees.

 

#5 A Personalized Embosser

Books, gifts and letters convey more meaning and value when distinguished by your personal stamp. Get your mom a personalized embosser so she can put her own flare on her book collection.

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