Friday, August 29, 2014

British Isles Friday: Favorite King Arthur Books

I haven't done a British Isles Friday post in quite some time, but today I thought I'd tell you about some of my favorite Arthur books. For, as you know, I love anything to do with this wonderful British tradition. The story of a boy who pulled a sword out of a stone and became a king, a leader and a legend. I don't know what it is about this story, but it has it all and I never get tired of it.

When you look at the list of Arthur books, I've barely made a dent. Some of the ones I've read and loved are:

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley: an epic saga of a story!

The Once and Future King by T.H. White: a classic tale, what I envision the Disney version based from

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart: the beginning of a series where Merlin plays a strong role

Quenevere, Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalind Miles: the queen's story.

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell: told in verse, from the point of view of the Lady of the Lake

The Forever King by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy: a modern day time travelling twist

A couple ones on the classic end that I'd love to read some day are:

Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Mallory
King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle

And then, if I could, I'd catch up on a ton more from the massive list. What are some of your favorites? Which ones must I add to my read immediately list?

As a side note, one of the coolest places we visited when we were in England ten years ago was Arthur's supposed burial place... Glastonbury. This place is said to have once been surrounded by water, and was in fact an island, and it was called Avalon. The legends and stories told about this place are fascinating (and not just about Arthur.) I wish we would have had time to go more south and west to see where Camelot may have been along the Cornish coast, and to explore other Arthurian sites. Maybe next time!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Utah Book Month: Launch Party with James Dashner

Many events have been happening with authors and signings all during this Utah Book month, but the one I ended up at was Tuesday night's launch party with James Dashner for his new book, Rule of Thoughts, the sequel to The Eye of Minds. (Sadly, not my most favorite book, but, BUT, the ending was awesome enough I need to read this next book!)

We got there kind of late which put us at the back of the line when the signing time came, but we got there in time to hear the people, mostly kids, ask him some fun questions.

What writing piece are you the most proud of? A book of 100 limericks written for a high school project.

Who's your favorite character in The Maze Runner? Minho

Who's your least favorite character in The Maze Runner? I love them all, but Galley maybe? I love them even if I don't like them!

What thing would you do first in a zombie apocalypse? Watch the new to find out what to do!

What writing advice would you give to aspirings? go to conferences, network, and find an agent.

What are your favorite books? (not your own.) Anything by Stephen King, especially The Stand

What big name authors have you met? Rick Riordan, Veronica Roth, Jeff Kinney... and I can't remember who else he listed, though I'm sure the list is actually pretty huge. He has not met Stephen King, though he has corresponded with his son.

Will Eye of Minds be a movie too? I don't know! I hope so!

Did you have all of the Maze Runner planned out before you started writing it? Sort of, mostly. A loose outline, yes, but stuff happened during the writing too.

When it was finally our turn to talk to him, I asked him about the movie, and what's up with the Imax thing, and told him how cool I thought Dylan was going to be as Thomas. He told me that it will be in Imax at least a week...not in 3D, in case you wondered. He told me that Dylan was sweet and shy in person, but then he changes when he acts and has all the confidence in the world. He said that a certain sad scene is going to be awesome... that Dylan NAILED it! He'd already told us about the soundtrack for the movie, how excited he is and how you can listen to some of it here already. I'm very excited to hear the whole thing soon.

Oh, and it's been a long time since I've stalked him at a signing, but yay, he remembered me! :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Authors Pick Five: Michelle Argyle

As part of Utah Book Month, today I'm featuring Utah author Michelle Argyle. She is the author of several books, including The Breakaway and Pieces. (Links to my reviews.) 

I asked Michelle to respond to this one question:

What five books are most important
or influential to you?

Here's what she had to say:

THE AWAKENING by Kate Chopin

I'm not sure why, but this book above all others taught me the importance of underlying meaning, metaphors, and themes in literature. The rich, layered ways that Chopin weaves together colors into the plot and overarching theme is incredible, and has forever changed the way I write. THE GREAT GATSBY also did this, but Chopin's story of a woman breaking down walls in the only way possible for the time period has forever affected my view of fiction and its power.


This book, while nonfiction, actually inspired me to write my first literary short story. That short story later on earned an award and made me change my major from technical writing to creative writing while I was in college. Dillard's use of details and infusing them with spirit, power, and depth, is incomparable. She is both poetic and extremely grounded. I wanted to do this in my own fiction, and used her writing as a great example to follow.

THE CLIENT by John Grisham

I've always had a soft spot for thrillers, and this is the first one that inspired me to start exploring thriller elements into my own stories. Grisham is truly a master storyteller. I first read THE CLIENT when I was in my tween years. I'll never forget how it got my blood pumping and my imagination reeling.


This is the book that really got me to pick up a pen and start writing in my younger years. I became obsessed with kidnapping stories, and decided to write my own. THE BREAKAWAY was that book. 


This book has forever changed the way I view other people and how I interact with them. I understand myself better, and discovered that my daughter is an extrovert through and through, but is also extremely sensitive like me. That makes for a challenge, and I'm sure Cain's book and research will help me with my parenting far more than anything else I've ever read. This is a book I wish everyone would read. 

Thanks so much Michelle for taking the time to answer this question! I love your choices!

Here is Michelle's official bio:

Michelle lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. She adores cheese, chocolate, sushi, and lots of ethnic food, and loves to read and write books in the time she grabs between her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She believes a simple life is the best life. Michelle writes contemporary Young Adult and New Adult fiction (and other genres when she feels up to it).

You can learn more about her over on her blog, onTwitter, on Facebook, and Google+.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Book Review Discussion: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

Book: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Utah Book Month
From: Bought it at a signing last month

Short Synopsis: Haden is a prince of the underworld and in order to prove his worth to his crazy father, he needs to be the Champion and go to the Overworld and bring back the girl has been deemed the Cypher, who is the Key to solve all their problems with the Skylords. So.. Haden goes. There he meets Daphne and they clash, but they also are strangely attracted to each other. Daphne has problems of her own, including a crazy dad like Haden, and a new friend who is obsessed with finding his sister who disappeared years ago. In fact, he's been investigating and lots of girls have been disappearing over the years. He thinks Haden has something to do with it. Oh boy, and then things escalate from there and get crazy wild!

My Response: I loved this book. The plot was awesome and fun and a wonderful take on the Hades/Persephone myth with lots of other myths also alluded too. It was great. The characters are fun especially Haden who has this strange upbringing and is introduced to a world where this upbringing is completely wacko. He changes so much! Anyway, I just thought it was really fun and page turning and one of those books that I couldn't stop thinking about when I wasn't reading.

Bottom Line: Loved it! Can't wait for more of this story.

Let's Talk About: Books based on mythology. Are you a fan? We've talked about books based on fairy tales and I think most people love these. But what about mythology? I, for one, love them. But strangely enough, the ever so popular Percy Jackson books aren't my favorite. Maybe because they are geared toward middle grade age and I find them not as compelling because of that? I don't know. But mostly, I love myth retellings and I found this one to be particularly fun.

Other Reviews:

Daphne and Haden play to each other’s’ strengths, making it one of the few young adult relationships that does not require one holding power – literal or figurative – over another. From That's What She Read

Greek Mythology lovers hold onto your hearts!! This is the Hades and Persephone myth redone in a fresh, very unique way that will have you questioning what team you are on and which side of the mythology to believe. From Buried in Books

DeSpain is really good at painting characters that are individual and realistic. From This is Not a Cliffhanger

I can see this series going places, interesting and exciting places. So I recommend it, and I will be picking up the second in the series because I am sure that it will be worth my time, not to mention money ;) From Bloody Bookaholic

Sunday, August 24, 2014

As Seen on the Salt Lake Comic Con Blog!

Here's some of the fun articles written by my fellow "official Salt Lake Comic Con bloggers" that have appeared on the Salt Lake Comic Con blog these past few weeks. One of mine finally went live this week too! And I totally missed it until this very moment! Click on over and immerse yourselves in the geekdom.

How to Make Your Own Nerdy Comic Con T-shirts by Marissa from Rae Gun Ramblings

Ten Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Marvel Universe by Tim Drake

Summer 2014 Reading Picks by Suey

Geeky Activities to do in Utah by Miss Nessa

Cosplay Etiquette 101 by Marissa from Rae Gun Ramblings

Friday, August 22, 2014

Movie Review: If I Stay

Movie: If I Stay
Genre: Drama
Starring:  ChloĆ« Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley
Rating: PG13
My Rating: Two thumbs

It seems like there hasn't been many great movies this summer. Some in the beginning during May and then a long long wait and now it seems like there's a ton I want to see. And so many books to movies! And books I've read and loved and am actually quite familiar with! It's awesome. And it' scary too because you don't' want that book memory ruined. So scary.

So last night I felt the need and urge to go see a movie. We ended up going to the very first showing of If I Stay! And I loved it!

It's very true to the book, from what I remember anyway. The feel of it was just right. Adam, the character we all fell in love with, is awesome. (Though he does have a bit of a cursing problem, but no F words that I remember anyway!) The girl for Mia was really good too. They both did an excellent job with the music aspect of the acting. I looked it up afterward and the actor for Adam did in fact do all the singing and playing of the guitar. SWEET! See for yourself:

The accident scene wasn't too graphic, which I was happy about. My daughter who has read the book more recently said it was pretty graphic in the book.

And can I just say, there's LOTS of kissing in this movie! So if you ever go to a movie and wish for more kissing, I think you'll be happy with this one!

But the music is the best. So much fun. Both classical and rock.

Oh, and I loved the Mia's friend character. She was the comic relief and is so funny!

And the end? Let me just say that the audience gasped and moaned! It was awesome! :)

Bottom line: Don't be worried about this one ruining the book. They did a great job. And yes, you'll cry. Especially when the Grandpa shows up at Mia's bedside. Be prepared!

Summary: Oh, wait. I didn't even say what it's about, just assuming you've all read it. So, it's about two musical geniuses, one a classical cellist and one a rock star, and they fall in love. But they have issues because Mia wants to go to Julliard to study the cello. Adam's not so into that. But then one day, there's an accident that changes everything. Now, Mia is in a coma. She has to make the decision, should she stay and live, or should she go and die?

Here's the trailer:

Have you seen it yet? What did you think?

Other movies I'm anxious to see: Into the Storm, The Giver, Guardians of the Galaxy and... I'm really looking forward to The Maze Runner in a month! Woot!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Utah Book Month: Spotlighting the Orem Library

Orem Library
This is the "new" wing...the old wing is to the left.

Once upon a time when I was first married (we just had our 27th anniversary, so there you go) we discovered the Orem Library. I'd been there before when I was kid and visited a friend that lived in Orem. Since I didn't grow up in Orem, this had been my only exposure up until then.

But shortly after I was married, we found out that this library had quite the collection of CDs. Now remember, 27 years ago, CDs were just becoming the thing. We were blown away by how cool this new technology was and how awesome that this library had some we could check out! It was the best! We went often and pored over the several drawers full and took home a good handful each time. So much fun.

Then we discovered they had movies too. Oh, and lots of books of course! Back then there was only one wing, three stories. Fiction was upstairs and I went through my Orson Scott Card phase, and Anya Seton and M.M. Kaye phase. I can still remember where those authors could be found at the time. I would head there the minute we walked in the door.

I remember back then looking at the closed door to the offices and the behind-the-scenes of the library and wondering what these people did for their jobs and how lucky they were to be working there. Yep.

And then, I had kids. And now I came to this library every week without fail for story time. We'd go down stairs where the pictures books were housed (the CDs were still there in the basement too, but  a lot more now) and listened to animated enthusiastic librarians tell stories. The kids loved it. I loved it. However, sometimes I wished I could just leave them there while I browsed for my own books! But we'd take the stroller and ride up the glass elevator to that top story and check out my books after story time was over. (The glass elevator is no longer there and in fact the closed stack books are locked up in its shaft. Also the printer supplies which I get to inventory now and then!)

Half of the famous window.

When my third kid was a baby (he's now nearly 20 years old) they added on a whole huge wing to the library. We went to the ribbon cutting and grand opening. So exciting! Now the kids books were in a big light, open area with the most awesome stained glass window depicting fairy tales. We loved it! And the CDs and movies? Oh my word, but that collection was expanded to have its whole own section and they had thousands and thousands of items. We loved it!

A minuscule section of the CD collection

And just some of the movies.

Many years went by. My kids grew up and we stopped going to story time. But we started going to summer reading. It was the best! Every week we gathered and a new person would be there to talk to them about whatever the theme of the summer was. They even had a different group for the teens. One summer, they had to move to the mall while they remodeled the old wing, and my daughter sat in the window and modeled books! How fun is that?

My daughter and her friend sitting in the library window.

The bridge that connects the two wings.

We loved going. We went so much that I kept thinking how awesome it would be to come and actually get PAID for it. There had to be a job I could do there.

Meanwhile, we not only supported the summer reading, and continued to check out things like crazy, but we came to evening programs. I loved these. Awesome speakers all the time. I can't remember what else we came to in those days, but there was always something happening. And the CDs and movies? HUNDREDS of thousands of items now!

Then six years ago, I finally ended up with a job at the library! Weird how I'd thought about it for so many years and then it finally happened. And now I totally know what it's like to work behind the scenes and it's crazy I tell you. Crazy!
The view from where I sit!

So much is going on at the library. Let me just tell you some stuff:

  • There's a fun blog full of lists and recipes and staff highlights and much funny stuff. Check it out!
  • This next weekend is the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival... the second largest of its kind after the one in Jonesboro Tennessee. If you haven't seen these storytellers. . . the time is now. This event, in which the library is heavily involved, happens every Labor Day weekend.
  • There's programs and movie screenings, and chess, and writing groups and story time and all sorts of things all week long!
  • Each fall we have Orem Reads where a certain book is highlighted and then there are programs and events for two months long surrounding the theme of that book. I love it! This year it's going to be all about poetry. 
  • You can check out magazines, online!
  • Speaking of online, there's a huge resource of ebooks and audiobooks. 
  • Did I tell you about the CDs and movies? I think so. You should just come and LOOK at this collection. It's truly amazing.
  • Two wings, six levels of collection. That's a lot of books.
  • Awesome staff! :) I know. Believe me.
The day brothers Rob and Dan Wells visited.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I love this library so much. I've been coming for all these many years, and I'm not tired of it yet!


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