Recently Read: Fireborn by Toby Forward

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Fireborn by Toby Forward

This book is fun, fun, fun. The lyrical writing style is a smooth river flowing. It carries you along without any weird obstacles. Race-read this one.

Bee seems to be the main character at first, though the main focus shifts halfway through to another character named Cabbage.

Wonderfully, brilliantly, the children are the true heroes of the story. They make all the most important decisions and discoveries.

The magic is always there. It’s not so complicated as to require excessive description.

Unfortunately, the ending doesn’t feel like an ending. There’s a moderate amount of resolution at the end with a lot left unanswered. Now I have to find the sequel.

  1. Drawing power *

Definitely draws you into the world. It’s almost like the writing is “magical”. Hmmmm.

  1. Interest 1/2 *

Toby Forward’s characterization and plotting makes you want to know how the story goes, but the non-ending ruined this for me.

  1. Offense *

Non-offensive. If you’re squeamish about insects, this story might frighten you.

  1. Range of emotion *

Wide range and realistic drama.

  1. Character *

Advanced character collisions make Fireborn massively entertaining.

  1. Technic *

I’ve already mentioned the lyrical writing style. It is well-deserved to mention it again and to say Toby Forward should continue writing and creating melodies within the literary world.

  1. Length

No ending.

Grand total: Fireborn by Toby Forward receives 5 1/2 stars

The Most Quotable Movies

Chances are, if you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, you’ll also be watching a movie. If your house is like my house, you won’t need a movie. The movies will be quoted throughout Thanksgiving dinner. Mashed potatoes will be sculpted and someone will invariably say, “This means something.”

Even if your house isn’t like mine, maybe later, after the turkey-nap wears off, you’ll be in need of some entertainment. You’re going to wonder which movie to choose. The following are some of the absolute most quotable movies, and my suggestions for your choosing.

The first two don’t even need examples. Seems like everyone knows all the lines from these two movies. You likely have your own favorite quotes from these. I’ll only include one each of mine.

1. The Princess Bride

When Fezzig is in the holocaust cloak at the castle gate: “I am here. Soon you will not be here!”

2. The Wizard of Oz.

“I do believe in spooks.”

3. Spiderman (the best one by Sam Raimi)

“You don’t trust anyone.”

“I trust my barber.”

“Bonesaw is ready!”

“The cunning warrior attacks

neither body or mind.”

4. Apocalypse Now

“That gasoline smell. I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

“Them monkeys will bite.”

“The horror.”

“Some day this war’s gonna end.”

(I especially love this last quote, because Robert Duvall does a fantastic job making you wonder if he does or doesn’t want the war to end.)

5. Rubin and Ed

“It is el warmo out here.”

“How would you like a kick in the taco, buster?”

“My cat can eat a whole watermelon.”

6. Nacho Libre

“I smell cookies.”

“Do you not know I have had diarrheas since Easters?”

“Chancho, let me borrow some sweats.”

7. This Is Spinal Tap

“What day did the Lord create Spinal Tap, and couldn’t he have rested on that day too?”

“He exploded on stage.”

8. The Hudsucker Proxy

“You know. For kids.”

“Only a numbskull thinks he knows things about things he knows nothing about.”

9. The Emperor’s New Groove

“You threw off my groove.”

“Why do we even have that lever?”

“No one’s that heartless.”

10. Wayne’s World

“We’re not worthy.”

“Psycho hose beast.”

And finally, to round out a dozen, two more that you probably could recite all the way through from memory:

11. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

12. Star Wars

Enjoy the festivities. Enjoy the movies.

Square Eyes

Whatever you say about another person’s method of living is what you say about yourself. You impart more information about yourself in your censure of another than you do about the person you’re criticizing.

Oddly enough, there are many in this world who know this. They know the fact of the matter is their own character is displayed when they fight and bite, but they do it anyway. They can’t help themselves. The reaction is so long-practiced the vitriolic review just pours out like a flood. Whether it’s a wordy, mouthy retort, or a wordy thumb response on a digital device, it is a habit to avoid.

Challenged to keep their mouth shut, some people hear a trigger word, or read a trigger subject, and they leap in the conversation like a jaguar on prey. They hunger for the negative concupiscent word volley.

And is it only certain subjects that trigger? For some this is true. For others, further from sanity, any and every subject will do. There are some who can find the negative aspect of any topic.

Perhaps we should call the ones who are only triggered by one subject the fortunate ones. Possibly we should pity the ones who find everything controversial. It’s a difficult task to pity the ones who bring poison and hate into every conversation. Most people learn to avoid poison. Most people don’t drink the abrasive or devour the rotten. We tend to avoid that which brings us pain. We tend to reject that which causes us sorrow.

So what is the answer to the problem of finding negativity in conversations?

The first thing is to recognize when it’s happening. You have to see it when it starts. It comes at the first thought of negativity. Before you even talk about something, you have to square your sights on the words you’re going to use. You have to focus on the way you’re going to approach a subject. It’s at that moment you need to shift your crosshairs. You have to be able to say, “Hold on. Am I going to bring this conversation down, or am I going to bring it up?”

(Have you ever seen Terminator? The scene where the robot assassin scrolls through a menu of possible responses and chooses one? This is how humans work too. We have a series of possible responses. We can choose the angle at which we attack any subject.)

The second thing to do is to keep it up. During a conversation where a negative thought enters your head, there will be other points when the conversation can steer toward the negative. So, you have to keep your guard up.

Third, you have to practice positivity, even when you so want to point out the stupidity, the ironic views, the contradictions, and the bad habits of another.

And is the irony of my observation of these uber-critical people not obvious to me? It is obvious. I must be hypercritical or I wouldn’t know these people so well, eh?

Recently Read: Arena by Karen Hancock

An amazing novel by Karen Hancock, Arena is like an allegory, a virtual reality adventure, and an exercise in dramatic suspense all rolled up into one.

What amazes me most is this novel was not written in first person. I suppose I might stereotype female writers as always wanting to write in first person to maximize on the emotional aspect of the story. Karen Hancock easily and skillfully breaks my mental construct. She may have sacrificed her majority audience by not writing Arena diary-style, but the novel is presented intelligently and with such expert writing style, it would not have been as great if written in first person. Who wouldn’t rather have a superior quality novel than a popular one?

One consequence of the chosen point of view is the novel Arena hits the moments of tension with extreme accuracy. There’s a functional element of suspense in the writing, which is fun for the reader because the reader actually cares about what happens next.

The main character, Callie Hayes, appears to have gotten herself into a virtual world. It’s real enough she can’t easily escape. There are dangers at every turn, not the least of which are the other participants in the same virtual game. There are wild animals and treacherous landscapes. She is challenged to make choices all along the way. Some choices are good, others bad, many unclear—until later. Her challenges are multiplied when she meets others who want to help her, especially a rough and rugged man named Pierce.

I particularly enjoyed that Callie Hayes is not one of those characters you read about making one stupid mistake after another. She makes good choices at times, bad choices other times, and is still affected by the rotten choices of those around her.

There’s beautiful balance in Karen Hancock’s characterizations. Not all heroes are infallible, not all enemies are incurable. Friends turn on each other and then turn back. Much like life.

Like any good writer, Miss Hancock is a student of life, an observer of people, and a documenter of them all.

  1. Drawing Power  *

The writing style has such flow, the reader is easily drawn into the story and pulled along through to the end.

  1. Interesting  *

There is accuracy in the tense moments. There is great detail in the scenery, the dialog, the situations, and the props. Enough in all to make you want to keep reading.

  1. Offensive factor  *

Non-offensive, yet real enough for any calloused reader.

  1. Range of emotion 1/2 *

Within Arena there are a wide variety of emotions described. I think some of them, describing the way female emotions work, are lost on this man. Still, the emotions I felt while reading coincided at least half the time with what the writer was trying to convey.

  1. Character factor  *

Excellent characterization. Top scores for Karen Hancock creating real characters, believable characters.

  1. Technic  *

Karen’s style is pleasant. Her flow is smooth, plotting is without excess or obstacles, and she has the ability to get the right details in the narrative to make the reader care.

  1. Proper length  *

Just right. No word padding in this one.

Grand total: Arena by Karen Hancock is a * * * * * * 1/2 * 6 and 1/2 * star novel.

Blog blog

There should be a blog about snowshoeing. There should be a blog about snowshoeing while wearing a kilt. There should be a blog about lacing snowshoes while wearing a kilt without getting your little tushy in the snow.

But not this one. Not my blog. Yours.

There should be a blog about how to learn how to love reading. Because. . .teenagers. Pfft. Ornery teenagers. “I don’t even like reading,” they say.

There should be a blog about how to play the harmonica. There should be a blog about how to play harmonica in the rain. There should be a blog about how to play the armonica. . .yes, they’re different. (Though, I don’t have any idea what the second one is. Don’t ask.)

If I get interested in something, there should be a blog about it. Who will fill the need for all these blogs? There will be millions of them.

In the summer, there should be a blog about summer sports and summer activities. In the winter, a blog about winter sports.

There should be a blog about backgammon. I don’t think anyone on earth knows how to play that game. Someone should figure it out and write about it.

And if there was a blog about how to solve a Rubik’s cube, that would be helpful. Oh wait, there are those. Many of them.

There should be a blog about how to reuse everything. Reduce, recycle, reuse. That’s what we always say. But how to do it may be something of a mystery. It’s always good to know how to practice what we preach.