Book Review: Aftershocks

Title: Aftershocks
Author: Marko Kloos
Genre: Sci-fi, Military Sci-fi, Space Opera
Year Published: 2019

Aftershocks by Marko Kloos is a military sci-fi novel following four characters. The main character, Aden, a POW on a foreign planet, is freed and makes his trek to a new home. Things don’t go as planned and he ends up working for another group of people under a fake identity.

The other characters are minor to Aden, but they equally share their stories: Solvieg, a young vice president of her father’s business has just started her position when terrorists attack her city. She’s also Aden’s younger sister; Idina, a ground soldier whose team was destroyed in an ambush; and, Dunstan, a fleet captain whose cargo ship also comes under attack.

The story is about interplanetary treaties and things going awry when one or more groups choose not to keep their word. Those on the planets agreed to work together due to limited resources, but due to power control, the planets with the most resources have the upper hand and those in charge then manipulate the others, leading to confusion as to who started what and who to trust.

This is book one of The Palladium Wars. The ending was a cliffhanger which makes sense being that it will continue in future books.

I enjoyed the military and space opera writing. Kloos is an amazing in-depth military storyteller. I loved all the details and space/military terms. It was well done. I thought Aden was put together well. I like how his story started and where it ended. Dunstan wasn’t so bad either. He didn’t have a lot of chapters but I’m guessing there will be more of him in the following books. What I didn’t enjoy so much were the two female characters. Idina was tough at the beginning but then her character changed. I wasn’t sure what role she played after the ambush. And, Solvieg seemed way too young to be vice president of a large company. She’s 23 and came aross clueless. Initially, it came across as though she worked hard for the position but then as her story grew, it felt more like she was handed the position. I wasn’t sure if that was the point or if she was meant to be a strong, intelligent character.

Overall, it was a good read.

Book Review: The Burning White

Title: The Burning White
Author: Brent Weeks
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy
Year Published: 2019

The Burning White by Brent Weeks is the fifth and final book in the Lightbringer series. I’m not sure how to review this book because it was a whole lot of everything. The plot basically was to defeat the enemy but there were assassins and spies and people you don’t know if you should trust that it created this huge organized mess of a story. In this story, we learn a little more about Gavin Guile’s father, Andross. We also learn that this story is pretty much all about the Guiles, including Kip and Zymun.

I’m not the man you think I am,’ he’d told Ironfist. Ironfist had replied, ‘Are you not the man I’ve served these past ten years?’ ‘I am.’ ‘Then perhaps, my lord, you’re not the man you think you are.’

Gavin himself overcomes the struggles he’s had with himself since the first book, The Black Prism. In The Burning White, he spends pretty much all his time finding himself. That wasn’t what he had set out to do, but it became so.

Kip, always being the hero, continued to do what he knew best: save the people; save his friends. He is so much like his father, Gavin.

Andross in this book was interesting. Throughout the first four books, he came across sort of like the enemy. You couldn’t tell whose side he was on. He never favored the White King (Koios, aka the Color Prince), but he never gave the impression that he was good. This made for a really intriguing ending.

“We keep secret what we fear makes us weak, not realizing in our fear that it is the keeping of secrets itself that weakens us.”

And Zymun. He was a very obvious character.

There were minor main characters such as Teia who showed what she was truly capable of; Liv who stood her ground. She really broke my heart; and Karris, who never seemed to give up. I loved how she finally showed her love toward Kip.

The fight/war scenes are always impeccable. They are semi-gory but they are my favorite action scenes. I was beyond happy to finally see black Luxin at work.

There was one thing I wanted more and that was Liv’s pov. I felt she had a lot to give and deserved more story time. She sacrificed so much to save her friends and nothing became of her. Near the end when she crossed path with her father, I bawled. I loved what she did for him, but I was sad for her. I so wanted her to see Kip face-to-face (it was mostly Kip whom she protected by surrendering herself to the White King), to see how he would react (from the damage of drafting superviolet to the extreme), or what he would say to her. Maybe it was left out because it would have been too sad?

Overall, it was a great read.

A hug didn’t fix everything. Perhaps it didn’t fix anything at all. But it did feel good.

Netflix: The Last Kingdom

I started watching The Last Kingdom earlier this month with husband. A friend recommended it a couple weeks earlier but I had forgotten and then husband pulled it up on Netflix and we got into it. I’m so glad. This is one great series.

I didn’t know this until I started doing some research after watching a few episodes, but The Last Kingdom is a novel series called the Saxon Series/Saxon Chronicles written by Bernard Cornwell. It’s about the history of England during King Alfred’s rule during the 9th/10th century. The story follows a Saxon man named Uhtred Bebbanburg as he helps Alfred through many of the wars over Wessex. Uhtred was raised (adopted) by Danes so he follows the Danes’ way of life. However, he also has Christian people he respects and helps. It makes for an interesting story. I enjoy learning this part of British history and love the “fiction” stuff within it. I may read the series one day (my tbr list is way too long) but for now, the tv series will do. It’s extremely well produced.

One cool thing about this series is, every time they show a scene of a town, they include the old spelling and then warp the words into the current spelling. For instance, “Wintenceaster” becomes “Winchester.” I don’t know why, but I love that!

I had also been in a funk with editing the sci-fi novella and this show helped me get back on track. Actually, it helped me write scenes in the trilogy (I had debated as to whether I should do a trilogy or not), and thus, got me excited on finishing the editing of the novella.

Chic Sparrow Austen Leather in Lady Catherine

I purchased this narrow traveler’s notebook from Chic Sparrow and have fallen madly in love. It’s gorgeous.

I currently have a similar leather, a Mr. Darcy Lemon Drop, purchased three years ago, which has patinated to a nice darkish yellow (photos of it further down). The leather of the Dr. Darcy and Austen are exactly the same. The name was just changed (and I can’t remember why). It’s a super sturdy, non-floppy full-grain leather. It’s also flexible and smooth. I can’t resist touching it.

The color is salmon but at times it can look darker or lighter. Love the striations and the sunburst on the front. This is a one-of-a-kind and it makes me feel a little special.

Here it is next to the Outlander Fraser B6 for color comparison.

Next to the Mr. Darcy Lemon Drop B6.

7″ Kindle Fire in between.

The plan is to use it for taking notes for my fiction stories.

Bujo Using Altenew Watercolor

I started bullet journaling not too long ago. I’d say, less than three years ago. This is my second official bujo notebook. I did some bujo here and there in other notebooks before going official. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to bujo so I followed a few Youtubers until I found what I needed for my lifestyle. As far as the artwork goes, I’m still working on that. Most the time I’m just tweaking from others.

I try to add my own touches like quotes. It’s not new or different. I just like flipping back and reading them. Some of them have meaning during that point of my life and others are just quotes that I liked.

Here was May’s page. For both May and June, I used this watercolor set from Altenew. Earlier in the year I learned Altenew was comging out with a pallet and it looked so pretty I had to have it.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how smooth the watercolor is to work with and by how vibrant the colors are. I’m no expert on the different watercolors, but to me, this one feels like it’s up there with the pros.

Book Review: The Pale Dreamer

Title: The Pale Dreamer
Author: Samantha Shannon
Genre: Sci-fi, paranormal, new adult
Year Published: 2016

The Pale Dreamer by Samantha Shannon is a prequel novella to The Bone Season series. It gives us a taste of Paige Mahoney’s first job with mime-lord, Jaxon Hall. The story takes place when Paige is sixteen, three years before The Bone Season.

In this story, Paige is given the opportunity to use her ability as a dreamwalker to prove to the mime-lord and her cohorts that she is worthy of working with them. The job was to track down a poltergeist as a team. It turns out, Paige did a lot more than what she thought she could do and what the others thought she was capable of. This gets Jaxon’s attention and he makes her an offer she can’t refuse.

I read The Bone Season series up to book three (The Song Rising). Book four is not out yet but should be later this year. The Pale Dreamer was a free download from the publisher on Instagram. I had plans to read this novella but kept forgetting and new books kept being added to my TBR list pushing this one even further back. I’m glad that I came across the ad. It was worth it to know how Paige joined Jaxon’s team of clairvoyants and how she became his most important member.

Book Review: Caraval

Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre: YA Fantasy

I first read Caraval in 2017. Last month, my 13-year-old daughter wanted to read this together so we read it at bedtime. She loved it! I really enjoyed it the first time I read it and enjoyed it again this time. The great thing with rereading is you always find new stuff about the characters or the story and that’s exactly what happened. We are now reading the second book in the trilogy, Legendary, and it’s turning out pretty exciting.

Here’s the review from 2017:

The story is about a girl who’s been trying for years for a chance at watching a magical performance. She gets the opportunity eventually and learns that it’s not what she had expected. It was no secret that the performance was a game and you either choose to watch or choose to play but there are real consequences if you play.

This was a very fun read with humor and some serious issues that made it realistic. The author did great at fooling even the reader as to what was real and what wasn’t. It was written very simply but done well. I really enjoyed the relationship between the MC (Scarlett) and Julian…it was cute. The only thing I wasn’t too fond of was how unintelligent Scarlett was. I get that these are YA, but I think I would love a YA story where the girl is at least as intelligent as her age and had more depth to her.

The second time around, I liked Scarlett a lot more. I may have been a little harsh with my review of her because there were parts where she just wasn’t smart enough, but I can see now why it felt that way. She was only concerned about finding her sister and protecting her sister and seemed “klutzy” in that sense. I also didn’t see how powerful the magic was. Scarlett was completely under a spell and found it very hard to break. Knowing that now, she was a pretty well-developed character. Sometimes, it takes a reread to really understand a character, and I’m so glad I did.

Foxy Fix Traveler’s Notebooks in B6

I began writing “Dear” letters to my daughters in hardcover notebooks in 2011 on and off. Recently, I merged their notebooks into softcover Moleskin notebooks and put them in a large traveler’s notebook to keep them in one place. I sometimes include photos or bits and pieces of things they’ve written and tossed, even drawings left behind, in these notebooks. In a few more months, when I’ll be done with the Moleskins, I’ll be moving into these traveler’s notebooks from Foxy Fix. I plan to make the inserts myself to create shabby chic style notebooks so it doesn’t look or feel too formal. Years down the road, I want them to read these letters, and look at the photos and bits, with a cup of tea in a sitting room, and maybe some nostalgic music in the background. A mom can dream, right?

These B6 sizes were from a mystery sale on the Foxy Fix website a month ago. The deal was so good (half off) that I couldn’t resist getting two. I had no idea what color I would get or leather type, but I’m very happy with what I received. One daughter loves purple and one loves pink so it was a perfect match.

These traveler’s notebooks normally come in a cloth dust bag, but because they are mystery items (items that Foxy Fix is getting rid of because of over production), they come in these plastic covers, which I don’t mind since I currently have quite a few dust bags from previous purchases I can store them in.

Leather/color, left to right: Sugar/Cherry Blossom and Sugar/Lilac