Book Spine Poetry Prophecy

Word on the ‘Net is April’s been National Poetry Month – i.e., the perfect excuse to finally get around to posting this book spine poem I composed back in February, inspired as I was by the Alexa Loves Books-hosted 2015 Book Blogger Love-a-Thon.

Some of you may recall the last time I shared such a poem (during the 2014 Love-a-Thon, as it happens.) Proud as I was of that piece of art, I do believe I like this one even better. Probably because it strikes me as sounding like some epic, ancient prophecy. Complete with rhymes. ^o^

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Spine Poetry Prophecy, Line 1

One more day on the Isle of Sound and Wonder inspired the Seventh Spell:

Spine Poetry Prophecy, Line 2

Transparent ink. The violet hour. The toll of another bell.

Spine Poetry Prophecy, Line 3

The Song Caster unhinged the door in the mountain; splintered the spirit war.

Spine Poetry Prophecy, Line 4

Vicious, marvelous spirit’s end – mistborn legends and lore.

<<<>>>

This lyrical omen brought to you by…

One More Day by L.S. Murphy and others (including yours truly) – available here

On the Isle of Sound and Wonder by Alyson Grauer – my review here

Inspired by Danielle E. Shipley – available here

The Seventh Spell (Book Three of The Wilderhark Tales) by Danielle E. Shipley – available here

Transparent by Natalie Whipple – my review here

Ink (Paper Gods #1) by Amanda Sun – found here on Goodreads

The Violet Hour (The Violet Hour #1) by Whitney A. Miller – found here on Goodreads

The Toll of Another Bell: A Fantasy Anthology by yours truly and others – available here

The Song Caster (Book Four of The Wilderhark Tales) by Danielle E. Shipley – available here

Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G. Howard – my review here

The Door in the Mountain by Caitlin Sweet – my review here

Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard – my review here

The Spirit War (Eli Monpress #4) by Rachel Aaron – my review here

Vicious by V.E. Schwab – my review here

Marvelous (The Books of Marvella #1) by Travis Thrasher – found here on Goodreads

Spirit’s End (Eli Monpress #5) by Rachel Aaron – my review here

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – found here on Goodreads

Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions by yours truly and others – available here

Got any cool book spine poems of your own – oracular or otherwise? I do hope you’ll share!

Top 10 Book(s that I own) Covers I’d Totally Put On My Wall

So I saw this post by The Book Rat that was all like “Top 10 Book Covers I’d Have as Wall Art”, and I was all, aw, man, how fun is that? I wanna do a post like that, too!

And me being the can-do, go-get-‘er-done gal that I am, I began that very hour to scour my shelves* for my picks.

*(Mind you, there’s no law that said I had to limit myself to books I own. I just figured I’d save myself a lot of dithering if I gave myself a solid guideline.)

Behold, therefore, in no particular order, precisely what this post’s title implies: The Top 10 Book(s that I own) Covers I’d Totally Put On My Wall!

1) “The Legend of Eli Monpress” by Rachel Aaron

eli type mockup

Okay, this one’s first for a reason. I fell hard for this cover from the moment I saw it, and I’m still smitten. Between the soft color scheme and the gorgeous rascal popping out of it, I cannot but swoon.

2) “Vicious” by V.E. Schwab

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

‘Cause it’s all coolly villainous, much like the story inside. (My recent review here, for those who’d like a recap.)

3) “The Outlaws of Sherwood” by Robin McKinley

Outlaws of Sherwood

In part because it’s associated with a book/legend I love. Also, archer in the beautifully-painted woods!

4) “Maximum Ride: School’s Out Forever” by James Patterson

School's Out Forever

Though, in my opinion, the series took a sharp downward turn following this second book in it, I’ll not let that disappointment sour me on what a cool poster this cover would make.

5) “Stone of Tears” by Terry Goodkind

Stone of Tears

Also on the list of Book 2s with epic cover art, notwithstanding the internal face I make every time I think about the series it belongs to. (It’s not you, Richard; it’s your author’s handling of your story.)

6) “The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood” by Howard Pyle

Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

Yeah, so what if I already included a Robin Hood book? NO APOLOGIES.

7) “Wildwood Dancing” by Juliet Marillier

Wildwood Dancing

Because the woods don’t need Robin hood to make me happy. A fairytale forest works, too. (Wowza, there’s so much going on in this picture!)

8) “Peter and the Starcatchers” by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

Peter and the Starcatchers

Because who says fairytales need to be restricted to the forest? Let’s take it to the skies! To the high seas! To by-gosh Neverland! That, and I really like the style/colors/composition this cover’s got going on.

9) Classic Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene

Nancy Drew covers

Going through the fifty-six covers in my classic Nancy Drew collection, I found I couldn’t decide on just one. What would be awesome is if there were a gigantic poster that featured them all, lined up together in rows. I’d love that!

10) “Rose Under Fire” by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire

I think it’s the gate. Together with the flutter of red and the airplanes in the sky overhead, it just all-around pleases me as an art piece.

Aaand there you have it, folks – my top ten, give or take fifty-six. Time shall tell whether they ever go up on my wall to join the likes of my sketch of Will Scarlet and Edgwyn Wyle clothes shopping and somebody’s awesome photo manip of Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson as LOTR’s Aragorn.

What say you guys? What would be some of your picks for book cover wall art? ^^

“Stars” or “A Review of a Book That Has Me Seeing Them and To Which I Give Lots”

What do you do when a book leaves you in such a state of excitement that you can barely put together a coherent review for your blog? Why, you embrace the chaos and roll with it, of course! (Good news, Daddy – you get to read me raving about this series one more time!)

...And boy, did it ever end with a bang...
…And boy, did it ever end with a bang…

The Book: “Spirit’s End” by Rachel Aaron.

Genre: Fantasy adventure.

Blurb: Normally, this is where I’d summarize the book in my own words. But this book’s got me such a beautiful wreck (and is a series-ender, and therefore tricky to recap without spoilers at every turn), I’m going with something new; namely, copying the tease on the back of the book. …plus commentary!

Eli Monpress is clever, he’s determined, and he’s in way over his head. [*Check, check, and oh-h-h, is he ever…*]

First rule of thievery: Don’t be a hero.

When Eli broke the rules [*back in “The Spirit War”*] and saved the Council Kingdoms, he thought he knew the price [*and he about gave me a bloody heart attack! What a way to end a book! Boo/attaway, Rachel Aaron!*], but resuming his place as the Shepherdess’s favorite isn’t as simple as bowing his head. Now that she has her darling back, Benehime [*who is even more star-struck by Eli and further out of her mind than I am*] is setting in motion a plan that could destroy everything she was created to protect [*THE WORLD*] – and even Eli’s charm might not be enough to stop her [*talk about a “You know you’re in mega-deep trouble when…” scenario*].

My Thoughts: Aw, people, I couldn’t handle it! …Meaning I couldn’t not handle it, meaning I couldn’t put it down. Something about the imminent doom of the world tends to make all heck break loose. Shocking deaths, shocking survivals, powers shifted (and if you’ve read the book, you’ll know how literally I mean that), and dangling ends from previous books tied up because, let’s face it, if the world goes under, when we will ever again get the chance to find out what’s up?

The characters were rocking the house. I mean, they’ve always rocked the house, or I wouldn’t have fallen for this series so hard. But the awesomeness levels were just off the charts! It got to the point where my heart was like, “Eli, sweetheart, I adore you, but don’t get jealous if I gaze at the Lord of Storms a little too hard…”

Oh, man, the Lord of Storms… He’s that guy menacing Eli on the cover, by the way. The dude was raining bad-A coolness. In buckets. And as my reading of this book and my viewing of the new “Les Misérables” film happened within the same time frame, I could not help but note the parallels between this fanatical demon-hunter and Inspector Javert – especially once my brain started rewriting the opening lyrics of Javert’s solo.

There, out in the darkness, a demonseed running;

Fallen from Powers; fallen from grace.

Shepherdess witness: I never shall yield,

‘Til we come face to face. ‘Til we come face to face.

I would pay big money to hear the Lord of Storms sing “Stars” – a performance which I imagine would sound like something between the Russell Crowe and Philip Quast, 10th Anniversary versions (the one’s resonance meets the other’s fire). Seriously. It’s too perfect a song for him. I’d tell you why, but… spoilers.

Fight Club

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): Not without reading the first four books! (E-book of the “Legend of Eli Monpress” omnibus on sale, this month. That’s the first three books of the series for $2.99. Are you kidding me? Somebody get on this!) After that, do not walk, RUN to read this! And then if, immediately after, you feel the strong temptation to read it again and rave about it to everyone and oh, gosh, why isn’t the whole world raving with you?!… well, you’ll be in good company.

“End” or “Over So Soon?/At Last!”

For those of you on the edge of your seats after the final pages of “The Spirit War”… for everyone taking bets on how long it would take me to post yet another blog centered around one of my favorite authors, Rachel Aaron, and her thief that made off with a spot on my character crush list, Eli Monpress… your wait is at “the point in time when an action, an event, or a phenomenon ceases or is completed; the conclusion”.

Same deal as in the past, folks: Rachel’s got free copies of her latest book, “Spirit’s End”, and she’s hosting a raffle on her blog to give them away, because she’s straight-up awesome like that. (How awesome is “straight-up awesome”? Awesome enough that she’s got a thread on the NaNo site’s fantasy forum where she takes time out of her own month of writing to answer any and all writing-related questions asked by inquiring Wrimos, that’s how awesome.)

So check out the giveaway’s rules, share to enter, and, perchance, win books. And let’s all find out how Eli’s fantastic story ends!

“War” or “Make Love (or Awesome Books Worth Loving) Instead”

Eli’s back!!! Not that the blog’s hyperventilating with excitement, or anything… *pant, pant, pant*

The bloggin’ Buccaneers have yet another outrageous demand: “Recommend or review a book of choice. Tell the interwebz why you love it!

Well, they’ve got the timing of a sea captain’s finest chronoscope, because there just happens to be a book I’ve been wanting to rave about.

The Book: “The Spirit War” by Rachel Aaron.

Genre: Fantasy adventure.

Blurb (because I seem to be incapable of just saying, “It’s about X and Y, and then Z happens.” Oh, no, I’ve gotta be all authorial about it.):

In a world where everything from doors to swords to grains of sand has a living spirit… they all adore Eli Monpress, rogue wizard and self-proclaimed greatest thief in the world. But as much as the everyday spirits love Eli, no one loves him more – or with more dangerous obsession – than the Shepherdess, Benehime, a formidable power with a disturbing lack of attention to responsibility. She’ll pull any stunt to get her favorite back where she wants him, even if it means letting the inexorable Immortal Empress loose on a world with no might to oppose her.

Preparing to make a stand nonetheless is the island of Osera. Its people beat back the Empress’s armies once before, and they are determined to do it again, with help from their truant prince. There is, however, one small complication: That prince is none other than infamous swordsman Joseph Lichten, accomplice and friend of a certain wizard-thief. The price on his head is now higher than Eli’s, and if anyone thinks Eli’s pride will allow him to take the situation lying down, they may have another think coming.

My Thoughts: I did not want this book to end – particularly not on the note that it did! There’s little I can say without giving it all away, but just know that the final pages of this fourth book in the Eli Monpress series had me craving Book Five even more than I already was. (“Spirit’s End”, coming in November 2012!)

For those who wanted a “state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties” story, this book delivers on its title’s promise. There are plenty of political head games throughout, and nail-biter battles as the conclusion draws near. There’s also a healthy dose of familial dysfunction, treason and treachery, and enough emotional warfare going on within characters’ own selves to rival the action happening on Osera’s front lines. Readers may even see some characters of which they’ve grown fond meet tragic ends ere the book’s close; certainly, one of the losses hit me rather hard. But, as I’ve been heard to say, the threat doesn’t seem real if nobody dies.

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): I’ve yet to come across an installment of the Eli Monpress series that I don’t think you should read. Whatever you’re waiting for, knock it off and buy the book. …Unless what you’re waiting for is to have read the first three books, in which case, knock it off and buy the omnibus.

“Favorite” or “Literary Folk I Adore and/or Admire… and, Oh Yeah, Those People Who Wrote Them”

The ship’s rail at my back. A blade at my throat. Sweat beads on my brow as I strive not to swallow. My eyes locked on the pair glinting opposite mine, I croak, “What d’ye want of me, ye soulless scalawag?!”

Leaning in so close I can sniff the rum on her mind, the dread captain snarls, “Who are your favorite authors and why?

For such are the life-and-death questions presented to we who sail under the flag of the jolly Buccaneer Blogfest.

Now, I don’t know how most people settle on their favorite authors, but me? I’m a character nut. So if an author writes a book that introduces me to a character I love, that author’s earned him/herself some serious “liked or preferred above all others; regarded with special favor” points. That being said, let’s compile a quick list – say, the first three I feel like writing about.

Author: Rachel Aaron. Book(s): The Spirit Thief and sequels. Character(s): Eli Monpress.

I’ve raved about his book here, and I’ll rave about another of his books two days from now, but to succinctly summarize, wizard thief Eli Monpress is my literary crush du jour, and I love Rachel Aaron for having written him into my life. I like a bunch of her other characters, too, when I can pry my attention away from Eli. And I like Rachel’s style – light, humorous adventure-fantasy that doesn’t take itself too seriously…unless things are getting serious, in which case they get serious hardcore, and you may be up all night turning pages. What I’ve seen of her on the internet has also convinced me that she’s just a generally awesome person. So take it all round, I’m a shameless Rachel Aaron fan.

Author: Robin McKinley. Book(s): The Outlaws of Sherwood. Character(s): The eponymous outlaws of Sherwood.

If memory serves, this was the book that made me go limp and doe-eyed over all things Robin Hood. I’ve read and enjoyed other work from her, as well (“Beauty” and “Sunshine” come to mind), but none of them took over my imagination the way “Outlaws” has. I’m not even sure I can properly express why I love her take on the Merry Men so much. I just got this really great sense of camaraderie – and it blended so beautifully with the way she presented their world, so that story and characters felt inseparable to me, if that makes a lick of sense to anybody – to the point where part of me wanted to go back to the days of King Richard and get myself run off my lands by Nottingham’s Sheriff, just so I could chill in the greenwood with Robin and the gang. I try not to let that part of me do the decision-making.

Author: Tirzah Duncan. Book(s): “Ever Actor”, plus some short stories. Character(s): Syawn, and Rowtan.

Sometimes I’m so busy considering her my best friend and writing buddy, I forget that she’s a legit author, too. An as-yet unpublished author, true, but no less an author for that. And in fact, I don’t know that we would have ever met, were it not for her novel’s MC, Sy. But fortune smiled upon me, for I read a quick bio about a thief lord whose name meant “fox”, and I was all over it. (This post is perhaps being too subtle about it for all but the keenest to grasp, but I have a pronounced attraction to thieves. …And I like foxes.) It was only after further familiarizing myself with her book (which has a new Facebook page, didja know?) that I likewise became a fan of her powerful mage, Rowtan. And now I hang with all three of them all the time in our imaginary pillow fort. Wouldn’t it be the coolest if we could do that with all our favorite authors? (:

Which literary faves would you hang in a pillow fort with, if you could?

“Sensational” or “Breaking Monpress News!”

Ah, Eli – you just aren’t happy unless you’ve got me drooling over one of your book covers, are you?

This just in: There’s a war on.

…Or, to put it slightly less sensationally in the “arousing or intended to arouse strong curiosity, interest, or reaction, especially by exaggerated or lurid details” sense, “The Spirit War” by Rachel Aaron is set to release in, like, 25 days, and in the meantime, there are pre-release giveaways to be had!

You all remember Rachel Aaron, right? Author of the “Legend of Eli Monpressomnibus which I may have mentioned once or several times around here? That charming wizard-thief-centric fantasy of which I wrote glowing reviews? Well, guess what? The omnibus is up for grabs again, too! (You hear that, J.P.? This is your chance!)

Says the delightful Ms. Aaron: I’m giving away 7 personalized signed copies of THE SPIRIT WAR (or the Eli Monpress Omnibus if for some crazy reason you haven’t read that yet, your choice!), one for each day until Thursday, May 17! Also, at the end of the contest, I’ll combine all the entries to pick one grand prize winner who will get signed copies of both THE LEGEND OF ELI MONPRESS Omnibus and THE SPIRIT WAR, plus a $50 Amazon.com gift card to spend on the books of your choice!

If that’s not sensational in the “outstanding; spectacular” sense, somebody tell me what is! What are you waiting for, people?? Get over to Rachel’s blog for all the details on how one or both of these books can be yours, all yours!

(I’m Deshipley, and I approve this message, because I really, really love Eli Monpress.)

“Reviews” or “How to Make Me Love Your Book Like My Own Flesh and Blood”

To my list of largely inexplicable mini-phobias, add the aversion to writing book reviews. Whatever the reason or lack thereof (a psychiatrist would have so much fun with me…), it is what it is. But when two super-nice authors give you their books for free (explanations here and here, for those who care) and you sincerely enjoy them, you can’t in good conscience keep that information to yourself. …Or maybe you can; but my conscience is sensitive.

            For the sake of literary honor, then, I shall hereby “write or give a critical report on” a pair of recently-read books and attempt to trick myself into thinking it’s no big, scary deal (‘cause, let’s face it, it really isn’t) by being all soothingly systematic about it.

            Book 1: “All Good Children” by Catherine Austen.

            Genre: Dystopian YA.

            Blurb (because I seem to be incapable of just saying, “It’s about X and Y, and then Z happens.” Oh, no, I’ve gotta be all authorial about it. I think I’ve found part of the reason I dislike trying to write reviews…): All the kids around Maxwell Connors are turning into unnaturally compliant, personality-dead shells of their former selves – a town full of zombies too terrifyingly well-behaved to even eat his brains – and Max has no intention of joining the ever-swelling ranks. But if Max can’t withstand the pressure of lying low enough to avoid the mandatory drug behind the horrible change, losing his brain to the drug could become a secondary concern: He might just lose his mind instead.

            My Thoughts: As a general rule, I’m not a fan of dystopian fiction. (I dislike being horrified!) Even so, I immersed myself in Max’s nightmare ungrudgingly. Why? Because I really, really like Max. He’s smart and a smart aleck, which made for really sharp narration and dialogue. (The whole book struck me as being quite well-written, by the way; always a massive plus.) He comes off like a jerk – and, well, partially is a jerk – but mixed in with the obnoxiousness was a really decent kid, and within I-don’t-know-how-many pages, I found that I’d grown to love him like a brother…or at least like a good protagonist.

            HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): The more you like dystopian YA to begin with, the closer to “absolutely” my answer goes. If you don’t tend to like the genre… well, if you made yourself read “The Hunger Games”, you may as well give this a try, too; I’ve read both, and I think I like “All Good Children” more. (Hard to be objective; “H.G.” 1 and 2 were good, but the third installment left a bad taste in my mouth. On a purely protagonist level, though, I personally prefer Max to Katniss Everdeen.)

Yes, you’ve seen this around here before. No, I may never tire of looking at it.

            Book 2: “The Legend of Eli Monpress” by Rachel Aaron. (Technically three books for the price of… well, less than three, so a definite bargain: “The Spirit Thief”, “The Spirit Rebellion”, and “The Spirit Eater”.)

            Genre: Fantasy adventure.

            Blurb (etc.): In a world where everything from doors to swords to grains of sand has a living spirit… they all adore Eli Monpress, rogue wizard and self-proclaimed greatest thief in the world. With a legendary-weapon-bearing swordsman and demon-powered girl at his side, and a gutsy, ghosthound-riding, spirit-wielding nemesis on his heels, Eli skips merrily from high-profile crime to high-profile crime in bold pursuit of a madman’s goal. And he may just be mad enough to pull it off.

            My Thoughts: Condensed version? I swoon for Eli Monpress. Yes, I’m also driven breathless by the hair-raising action, the hairpin plot twists and turns, the hairy situations from which surely there can be no coming out alive! What’s more, many of the characters, including a number of the spirits, are epic, amazing, and twenty kinds of cool. (Rachel Aaron can write some boss characters, y’all.) In truth, this oft-mentioned omnibus contains much to love. But even if it weren’t all-around awesome (which, I repeat, it is), I’d still probably cuddle the book and coo sweet nothings at the cover, because Eli has charmed me as he has the lion’s share of his world. And once I get attached to a character, I get attached hardcore.

            HSYRT?: Um, YEAH. And the Ink Caster wholeheartedly concurs. What are you waiting for? Go buy the books! Support this woman! She created Eli Monpress!

            So, the overall takeaway, here? Write a worthy character, and I’ll read anything to get to him. (…Or her. But frankly, the quickest way to my heart is a literary dreamboat.)