NaNo for the New and Insane by Lazette Gifford

NaNo for the New and the InsaneNaNo for the New and the Insane by Lazette Gifford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This a book about National Novel Writing Month, something I had meant to read before last year’s NaNoWriMo event but never got around to it. Basically is series of essays meant to help you stay on track and finish NaNoWriMo.

There are sections on tackling plots, surviving the forums, and staying motivated to write 50,000 words in one month. I love that the main theme is that whatever happens, have fun. NaNoWriMo is meant to be a fun writing challenge so that even if you don’t ‘win’ you still have a wonderful experience.

I especially enjoyed the interview with Chris Baty, the creator of NaNoWriMo. Essays are also pulled from Vision, a writing ezine, and blog posts from the author. I did find this ebook inspiring and do have some new techniques to try out with my writing routine.

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Series Review: Oz Series by L. Frank Baum

wizardofoz

If you’ve been following me, you’ll know that I finally finished reading all 15 of L. Frank Baum’s Oz series. Yes, there are 14 books that continue the story of Dorothy and her friends in the land of Oz. You can read them all as ebooks separately for free (or get the Kindle collection for 99 cents).  Or (as above) you can scour Barnes & Nobles for the three collective books. Now, onto some reviews (this gets long so be warned!).

The First Five Novels:

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Book One) is the story we all know and love, thanks to the classic movie made in 1939. Its still one of my favorites, and introduces all the major characters. The movie follows the book pretty closely, so if you’ve never read the book but have seen the movie, you’ll be able to follow along without any problems.

In The Marvelous Land of Oz (Book Two) we meet some new characters that reappear throughout the series, most notably the Sawhorse and Jack Pumpkinhead. It’s another adventure through Munchkinland against Mombi, but more notable is General Jinjur and her all female army. We also finally meet the dethrowned leader of Oz, but in a most peculiar manner (this is a reason this is my second favorite Oz book).

Ozma of Oz is the third book, where we come upon the Nome King for the first time. Unfortunately he makes trouble for many citizens in Oz and does so reoccurringly for quite a few more books.

Book four, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, is a bit of a filler book. The author wanted to write a book for his fans and so included many of their suggestions in this book. Its a new adventure for Dorothy and the Wizard, they meet many new characters, but none of them return in any of the next books.

In The Road to Oz (Book Five) we meet more new characters as Dorothy travels through more of Oz. The Shaggy Man, Button Bright, and Polychrome (another favorite) are introduced, and all of them return in future books. We also have a return to Baum’s original writing style.

Novels Six Through Ten:

In The Emerald City of Oz (Book Six) Dorothy brings both her Aunt and Uncle over into Oz, where they can live there happily ever after. Dorothy always finds trouble and ends up lost, while the Nome King returns to wreck some havoc on the citizen of Oz. I liked that Dorothy finally brought her relatives to live with her, and that is an important plot point in the series.

Book Seven: The Patchwork Girl of Oz (Book Seven) obviously introduces us to a new character, but Ojo is the star character(?). However, the Patchwork Girl and another new character (the Glass Cat) are the ones who return for another adventure. By this point, Baum is introducing new characters in each book, forgetting some along the way, something I don’t care for.

More friends arrive in Book Eight, Tik-Tok of Oz, and the return of the Shaggy Man who wishes to rescue his brother from, you know who, the Nome King. At least Dorothy and Ozma have a new playmate from Oklahoma (Betsy Bobbin, who returns in further books).

The Scarecrow of Oz (Book Nine) helps newly arrived friends from another Baum series, which makes this book a crossover (though I’ve never read that series). I’ve never read that series, but it makes this book very similar to Book Seven, and Book Four, and maybe some others.

I have a blog post review of Book Ten: Rinkitink in Oz , so I won’t go over it too much here, but it’s almost a stand alone book in this series.

Novels Eleven Through Fifteen:

I have blog post reviews of the last five novels, so I’ll sum this all up quickly. In Book Eleven Ozma is kidnapped and everyone (nearly) comes to her rescue, in  Book Tweleve, the Tin Woodman finally remembers his Munchkin sweetheart, Book Thirteen is Ozma’s party and final end to the Nome King, and in Book Fourteen Dorothy is kidnapped and then rescued. Book Fifteen is a short story collection that fills in some holes from the series. Below are links to reviews I’ve already done:

Overall Thoughts:

Most of you will be quite happy just to read the first book and leave it as such. After all the first book is the most popular having been made into movies on several occasions (The Wizard of Oz, The Wiz, Tin Man, etc) and therefore the most well known.

Some will want to know what happened next, and boy, is there a next. Fourteen books of next even. If you are a serious Oz fan that you might not be disappointed, but do be aware that the books repeat storylines, have enough characters that you’ll need a chart to keep track of them all (hey, there’s a thought), and become a bit predictable and anticlimactic after awhile.

Having said all that, I’ll probably read through this series again (and make that chart!).

[DVD] Movie Review – The Wizard of OZ

Another classic from my childhood and a book series I undertook reading a couple of years ago. The Wizard of Oz is a classic in many ways and many of you will already know the movie itself. After all, Somewhere Over the Rainbow is a beautiful, iconic song that can stand on it’s own, and Judy Garland does it justice.

Alongside Miss Garland, Ray Bolger, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Charley Grapewin, Pat Walshe, and Clara Bandick star is this wonderful children’s movie.

I was even an extra in my school’s rendition of The Wizard of Oz. I always found the forest of the Cowardly Lion and the first visit to the Wizard two of the scariest parts of the movie. My favorite part is the ending, where Dorothy makes it home after her friends have found their own rewards.

If you’ve never heard Judy Garland sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, you are missing out and therefore I provide you the opportunity to correct this. And for those of you who have already heard this song, I offer you a repeat chorus.

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The Introvert Love & Wealth Bundle by Tim L. Gardner

The Introvert Love & Wealth Bundle: 2 Books: The Quiet Cupid and The Lone Wolf TycoonThe Introvert Love & Wealth Bundle: 2 Books: The Quiet Cupid and The Lone Wolf Tycoon by Tim L. Gardner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have always known that my personality is more introverted than not, but have never thought of it as a positive, rather as a negative to overcome (which is why I like hiding behind a computer screen reviewing books). However, since reading my first book on introverts (this one) and relating to it very easily, I now know a few more things about myself.

I wouldn’t say this is an in-depth psychological look at personalities book, but the author does lay down some ground rules about being and introvert, the types of introverted personalities and the features of most introverts.

The author then turns those features (which I always thought as negative) into positives and then applies them to finding a romantic partner and succeeding in the world of business. Who knew?! I surely didn’t, and this discovery has made me want to seek out more books about introverts and what it means to be one.

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The Spook’s Bestiary by Joseph Delaney

The Spook's Bestiary: The Guide to Creatures of the Dark (The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles)The Spook’s Bestiary: The Guide to Creatures of the Dark by Joseph Delaney

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Just as an FYI this book is not technically part of The Last Apprentice series, but a supplementary book. If you’re familiar with Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series, this would be like one of the “map” books or Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook.

Also important, I am a fan of the TV series, Supernatural.

With all that out of the way…this read a bit like John Winchester’s journal. It’s a compendium of all the creatures that are kept at bay by a Spook (Hunter/Sam and Dean?) in County. It includes examples of times John Gregory (the Spook who ‘authored’ this book) encountered said creature, and quotes from his various apprentices.

I found it an interesting take on the creatures originally from mythology, especially the Old Gods which come from many different regions (Greece, Romania, Ireland, etc.), and how they were dealt with. The last chapter included some instance and probable new creatures that had yet to be identified.

Supposedly this series has been turned into a movie called Seventh Son (which I’ve never heard of, and has poor reviews), so I’m wondering how I missed that. But I’m intrigued enough to see if I can find an actual book from the series to see what the fuss was about.

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[Netflix] Movie Review – Mary and the Witch’s Flower

This movie that I stumbled upon on Netflix is based on a children’s book, The Little Broomstick, by Mary Stewart. Now I haven’t read this, and didn’t even know about growing up, but I found it on Amazon and put it on my wish list.

After watching the movie, I know how the “little broomstick” fits in. This is an anime type animated film from Studio Ghibli (a Disney company). I have and do watch Anime on a semi-regular basis, so this is nothing new for me.

I love that the kids are the stars and the adults are evil (well some of them). This is another movie where the kids are clearly underestimated by the adults who think they know better.

Even though Mary is the main character, I’d like to make an official petition for the Little Broomstick, which makes such a valiant effort throughout the entire movie, and it’s the name of the book the movie is based on.

If you have Netflix, I suggest a watch of this fantastic movie.

Dark Prince by Christine Feehan

Dark PrinceDark Prince by Christine Feehan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whew! Well, if nothing else, this experience has taught me that I am not an audiobook person at all. It was the only copy of Dark Prince my library had so I thought I’d try it, I’m glad I did, and I do like the story, but not the format.

With that out of the way…

I like all of Christine Feehan’s Dark series, while this is the first in the series it is not the first one I’ve read (probably more like the 10th?), but I do like how it sets the stage for the rest of the series. How the Carpathian species is dying out, and humans go mad when converted, and then Raven survives the transition and becomes the hope of the Carpathian people. Gregori’s torment because he’s near his limit (that was interesting), and in general the beginning of the saga that is now 33 books as of this review. I also got a better view of Mikhail, the leader of the Carpathians.

Would I recommend reading them in order? Yes. Would I recommend reading them out of order? Yes.

Both methods are fine, because I recommend reading them in general and since it is a large series and probably difficult to find them all at once and in order, the second is probably easier anyway and doesn’t really mar the story in any way. However, I won’t be ‘reading’ any more audiobooks if I can avoid it!

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