Where Have I Been?

Seriously. Where have I been? I just logged in and I haven’t posted anything since April. There goes that resolution.

Well, let’s see. I’ve been reading and now I’m having book hangover. I bought the eARC of Monster Hunter Siege and read that as fast as I could. I never buy the eARCs but I just couldn’t help myself this time. It’s a darker tale. Kind of left me feeling a bit blue. Part of that is the letdown that always occurs after reading a book by your favorite author (the realization you’re going to have to start the waiting process … again!) and part of it is the content. Not that it’s a letdown, just that it’s not all jolly, jolly. Dark times, my friends. Dark times.

I got a friend of mine into Monster Hunter International. She’s become a complete addict, reading them all back-to-back obsessively. My work is done on that score. Can’t wait until she reads Grimnoir.

I also read Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner. I’ve been waiting about six years for this book. Whenever she has a new one out I try to savor it. They’re not long books. It’s not like Diana Gabaldon taking six years to put out a giant tome, these are more … tidy. So it might seem like I would be resentful that she takes so long for each installment, but I can’t argue with the results. They’re great stories and I reread them again and again. Right now I’m listening to the new book after having read it a few weeks ago. I try to spread this addiction, but so far I haven’t achieved it. I’ve even bought the books for people and they just don’t follow through. They have no idea what they’re missing.

I read the final two installments of Ilona Andrews’s Hidden Legacy trilogy. Not as good as Kate Daniels or Innkeeper, but definitely better than a lot of things. Some nitpicks and pet peeves will take away some star value, but I wouldn’t turn away more stories in this world.

Okay, that’s it for me tonight. I’m tired. I guess that’s why I never blog. I’m just too freaking tired by the time I have a moment to sit down at the computer. But here I am so I may as well cast something.

Milo from Monster Hunter International:

Yep, that’s Haley Joel Osment. He’s changed a lot, and is probably chunkier than Milo, but he’s awesomely talented and he’s got a good start on the beard.

That’s all for now! Sweet dreams!

Larry Correia on World Building

Larry Correia — reminder: I’m a true fangirl — has made a blog post about world building. I’ve seen posts by him that describe all that was involved with creating the world for Son of the Black Sword, but they were FB posts so not really anything I could link. Now there’s a nice, long, blog post.

His take on world building is interesting and instructive. I think authors often have an idea, but they don’t follow through to the absolute minutia of the world. The monetary system, the traditions, the laws, the dress and the where and why of it. And so much more. You can see the lack down the line in a series when things go haywire because they haven’t settled those systems.

So here’s the post. I think it will make a good reference tool later on.

Ask Correia 18: World Building

Casting: Ilona Andrews’ “Kate Daniels” Part 3

After this post I’m going to pause on the Kate Daniels casting for a bit. It’s just a fun time waster anyway.

My next casting attempt is Mahon. Now, I always pictured Michael Clarke Duncan as Mahon and that’s whose voice I hear when I read. But in looking for a good picture of him for this part I couldn’t quite find it. So I decided to go with something closer to Mahon’s description in the books. That’s always stumped me.

And then I remembered Jeff Bridges. He’s not as huge as Mahon is described, but he does make it to 6’1″ and that’s taller than a lot of Hollywooders. And he’s just a fantastic actor. Now that I’m thinking about it even more, I can easily see him playing this part.

So: Mahon

He looks like he’s about to say something that’s going to piss off Curran or George. It’s perfect!

Mahon is married to Martha. She’s described a little bit in the books, but I hadn’t really put much thought into her character until the last book where she and Kate have a very nice scene. She’s African American, which is great because — since I always pictured Michael Clarke Duncan, I then pictured George as being African American. So it all works out even though I’m no longer picturing the late, great MCD.

I looked and looked for an actress that would work. Martha is strong. Physically, as well as emotionally. She’s married to a cranky old Kodiak and she’s a shifter herself. She hasn’t been in the books very much, but she’s made an impression every time she’s shown up. I finally settled on Angela Bassett. She doesn’t look it, but she’s 58 years old, which puts her at a very good age to be George’s mother and Curran’s “adopted” mom. And Angela Bassett has always kicked ass.

So: Martha

 

That wraps up the casting frenzy for now. I’m sure I’ll come back to it. For instance, I’m not sold on Rafael. And there are many other characters in the books I’ve yet to even think about casting-wise. It’s a fun exercise in any case.

Sweet Dreams!  photo d29c1cc4-c064-4c77-a13d-c4eb4bb55603_zpsxyqt7mxa.jpg

Casting: Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews

I’m not going to review this series right now. I’ll get to it, but it’s another one that I feel I have to put more heart into in order to do it justice. It’s amazing, and I can’t just blurp out a review because I want to fill some blog space.

BUT — I can blurp out some casting ideas. So here’s me. Blurping.

First and foremost — Kate. What’s she like? Well, she’s striking, athletic, intense. She’s got long, dark hair. She kicks ass; it’s her raison d’être.

I’ve had such a hard time coming up with someone for Kate, but then I saw the execrable Batman vs Superman and Gal Gadot stole the movie as Wonder Woman. I looked at her and immediately thought she’d be wonderful as Kate Daniels. Of course, already being Wonder Woman, she probably wouldn’t accept another kick ass female part, but she’s my Head Kate from now on.

Only Kate would  never wear those earrings. It’s bad enough she’s got long hair that can be pulled out of her head in a fight, she doesn’t need her earlobes shredded as well.

Now on to Curran. What’s he like? Well, he’s powerful, only about 5’10” or 5’11”, but he seems bigger because of his intensity. He’s got short, blond hair. Kate often refers to him as a psychopath.

I used to picture young Dolph Lundgren for Curran, but Lundgren is way too tall. Now I picture Charlie Hunnam.

He’s got a stick! He’s gonna hit somebody!

Now I feel I really need to cast Andrea. She’s a little bit of a tough find because Andrea is a small, blond woman who’s kind of cute/pretty but is extremely deadly. But I’ll give it a shot.

And so I chose Dakota Fanning. I kept seeing her name pop up as I searched, but I dismissed her until I saw this picture. This is a good look for Andrea, I think.

Beautiful, but older than her years in that picture. That’s Andrea. Heck, that’s pretty much all the characters in this series.

I’ll have to come back and do some more casting tomorrow. There are a lot of characters and I’m too tired to manage it right now.

I love the photos of Kate and Curran above. She looks like she’s about to skewer him with a wisecrack for his tough-guy-with-a-stick routine. Ha!

Sweet Dreams!  photo d29c1cc4-c064-4c77-a13d-c4eb4bb55603_zpsxyqt7mxa.jpg

Brandon Sanderson on writing

Keeping with the theme of writing and learning to write, here’s a link to the first video from a class taught by Brandon Sanderson.

Who is Brandon Sanderson? I figure most know, but he’s one of the top fantasy writers in the genre. He was selected to finish the beloved Wheel of Time series and his “Mistborn” world is one of the top favorites of fantasy fans.

He teaches a class on writing and the videos of the class sessions are shared on YouTube. On purpose! That’s pretty amazing. So this is a nuts and bolts education on writing from a world class author.

Here’s the first episode:

Brandon Sanderson – 318R – #1 (Course Overview)

 

Larry Correia on Writing

Larry Correia is hands down my favorite author right now. I have several that are way up there, but he nudges to the top.

I haven’t reviewed any of his books/series here because it’s just too much right now. I’m such a big fan I want to start fresh and make sure I do it justice.

His series are: Monster Hunter International, Grimnoir Chronicles, Dead Six, Malcontents, Forgotten Warrior. He’s also done a bunch of short fiction that isn’t necessarily part of any of the aforementioned series.

He has a blog where he posts a variety of things including political rants and fiskings, updates on works in progress, and writing advice. His writing advice is excellent and he’s great at laying it out there bluntly and without a bunch of self-aggrandizing falderal.

http://monsterhunternation.com/2011/04/14/ask-correia-12-the-writing-process/

And since I’m talking about Larry Correia, I may as well cast a character from one of his books. Hmmm. Who should it be? I know! Agent Franks. Everyone’s favorite psycho.

Eek! Scary guy. Which is fitting. That’s Nathan Jones who is a WWE wrestler, but who also does some acting. I like to imagine he’s about to respond to Owen Pitt mouthing off to him in this pic. I figure that’s the expression he always wears when he engages with Pitt.

If you like reading action, fantasy and fun, read Larry Correia. He’s a total blast.

On that note: good night. Sweet Dreams!  photo d29c1cc4-c064-4c77-a13d-c4eb4bb55603_zpsxyqt7mxa.jpg

Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series: books 1 through 3

I’m just going to start with the first three books since there are a lot in the series so far. I’ll try to get through them eventually.

Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…(book blurb – Goodreads)

This was probably my first kick-ass urban fantasy heroine series. I have to say that I’m really glad this was my first because I’ve tried a lot since then and with the exception of a few really good ones, they can tend to be duds. Briggs does the genre proud and thanks to her and Mercy, I’ve found a few other authors in this genre that I really like.

Mercy is a capable, interesting heroine with a huge heart and incredible courage. She’s immediately engaging. When the action really starts to happen (pretty early on) she lives up to the “kick ass” trope.

The world building is fascinating and it’s clear that Briggs put the time and effort into the little things. This is where many authors fall down. They get the broad strokes of a world, but they forget the minutia and the mundane that actually bring the world to life for the reader. This tiny little building blocks make a huge difference down the line and authors who forget them or just don’t care about them often run into trouble.

The Mercy Thompson series is populated with intriguing and fun characters that drew me in right away. And the males are hawt. Shoooo. Adam? Gimme.

But I digress. This is not a romance novel. This is urban fantasy with a romantic thread. You get hints of romantic interest in this book, but that thread is not the main concern in the story. And even though some characters have a “hotness factor” it doesn’t mean they’re cardboard cutouts. There’s depth and there’s story and world development. It all comes together to make a satisfying read.

Most of my friends have already read this series if they like urban fantasy so I’m not telling them anything new. But those who are interested should seriously jump in.

I’m giving it four beans. Why not five? Why the missing bean? Because the culmination of the mystery is kind of … “what the? … really? … he couldn’t think of any other way to accomplish that? … seriously?” It’s fairly convoluted and, ultimately, contrived. But everything up until then is so well crafted that it’s still a joy.

Rating: 30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg30 photo bbf17e9d-3786-47c6-aaa8-2056ad082597_zpsp5dtihlf.jpg

Continue reading