The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley

The second audiobook I listened to and imagine my pleasant surprise when I heard Simon Vance’s voice coming out of the speakers again. When I’d bought the audiobook I’d not looked at who narrated the book, but now I can say that in terms of narrators, this audiobook has an incredible voice actor that’s easy to listen to. Only once did I find his voice jarring, when a young girl desperately asked for help, but that might be the limit for a male voice actor. Still, that was a short scene and the overall narrating is top of the line. Continue reading

River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay

The books by Guy Gavriel Kay have been highly recommended and that made me interested in reading (or in this case listening to) one of his books. Especially Kay’s prose is praised and it was definitely one of the highlights of River of Stars, an incredible book all around. This was the first audiobook I listened to after staying away from audiobooks for years (mainly because I’m a very visual person and my hearing’s not the best). It took me some time to get back into listening to a book, but the narrator, Simon Vance, did an amazing job and I transitioned from reading books to listening to an audiobook very smoothly. There’s a reason the man gets so many awards and praise and I believe you can confidently pick up any book he narrates without having to worry about the quality of the voices.

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Looking for Feedback!

As I’ve promised in the post yesterday (Overthinking and Doubt) I’d like to ask you to give me some feedback on my blog. I’m now already writing the blog for about 16 months and while I get the occasional “like” I’m lacking real feedback. I want to improve my blog, but I cannot do this without help!

The feedback I’d like to get is twofold:

    • Content: Everything to do with what I’m writing about. What kind of posts would you like to see more of? I’m generally writing about a lot of stuff, most at least remotely related to either the fantasy genre or writing. You can just comment on this post or reach me through one of my other channels (Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads/Contact From). Just tell me what you think! I’ve got a poll for you too where you can select multiple answers. I’d appreciate it if you’d take the minute to help me out there!

web polls
    • Blog and Online Presence: Everything about the blog itself. Whatever you like or don’t like, tell me about it. Every pointer on how to make things better is definitely appreciated. This can range from the structure of the blog to every single detail. You can tell me what you think about my entire online presence too, from my blog to twitter or Facebook. Here’s another poll with multiple possible answers for you too.

survey services

I’m looking forward to your feedback! Don’t feel obliged to hold back your criticism, I can only improve if I know what doesn’t work so well. I’m really counting on everyone here. If you ever found an interesting post or review here, please take a few minutes to think about it and complete my polls. The polls are only there to make it easy for everyone to give a short feedback and I’d be thankful if you took the time to write me a few sentences with your feedback. Feel free to give me feedback on whatever comes to your mind!

Oh, and there’s a Reward too: Imaginary Cookies for everyone that participates. They are as delicious as your mind allows and can possibly be endless! Yay to (imaginary) Cookies!

Overthinking and Doubt

Note: It speaks for this post that I wrote the beginning in March 21, but let it lie dormant for six months.

On Overthinking and Doubt

I’m a master of the sad art of overthinking everything. This post addresses you as much as myself. Sometimes, we are aware of the solution, but cannot easily adopt it. Overthinking is born through a fear of failure and overbearing self-consciousness. It hampers one’s advancements and leads to stagnation. It is a feeling that is very easily discernible while writing. For example critiquing your writing while still writing, or going over the last pages and feeling disgust at the own failing. I don’t know how many stories I’ve started, only to stop after a while to throw everything out the window. And how could I ever compare my measly sentences and paragraphs with those I read in the books I loved? Or with the pictures I have in my mind that I’m unable to paint with words?

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A Predicament while Reviewing

I sometimes get review requests through my blog and my most recent one provided a predicament for me. I’d read The Manifestation of Light (Review here) and after writing the review, I wrote to the author telling him about my decision and the rating I’d give the book. If you’ve read the review, you’ll know that it’s not a very favorable review and I informed the author that I’d rate the book at 2 Stars when I upload my review onto Goodreads and Amazon.

The book has a lot of problems and I felt that rating was justified, but that’s of course not something an author wants to hear. This sounds like the prelude to some horrible email conversation right there, but no, the author handled it professional. What I’m getting at is that he asked me to no post my review. I can fully understand that request, as such a review can hamper the sales of a book, especially a self-published one. And one thing I definitely don’t want to do is be a stone in the road of a new (or any kind of) author.

I’ve the highest respect for any writer and even more for authors that manage to finish a book and get it into a form they can proudly upload to amazon or sell in the traditional way. For my favorite authors, you could definitely call me a fanboy that shakes with excitement for every new book from them. Something I don’t want to be is a hindrance to anyone that wants to write and maybe even make a living with it. That goes against my nature.

Still, I believe in the truthfully reviewing of books and make that known to everyone requesting me to review anything. I’ll even put my fanboy-hat to the side and read every book without regards to who wrote it. I’ll weigh a book on its own merits and write a review about every good and bad part I found (because of a review’s length not always every detail). I’ll try to find good in every book, but some are just not ready to be sold yet.

While the decision wasn’t easy for me, I decided to publish the review nonetheless. Why, because I wanted to kick the author in the nuts? No, definitely not. I published it because I’m writing my reviews for you readers. I want you to find good books you didn’t know about or weren’t sure of if you should buy them. And I want you to know which books aren’t ready to be read yet. I try to find the best possible books, tell you what makes them so good, and recommend them based on this or that reason. Obviously, not every book can be a great or even good book and I think making readers aware that a book is lacking in this or that regard is only fair.

I’ve always made it obvious that I’d be truthful in my reviews and I’m a bit sorry that might come back to bite an author in the behind, but I’ve never and will never promise to just write good reviews. This might maybe come back to bite me in the ass sometime, as authors and publishers might think it too much a risk giving me their book before release with the danger of having a not-stellar review up early on. Well, I don’t get many review copies anyway, so nothing’s truly lost.

The decision might still leave me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, but I believe it was the right one. My blog is geared towards other fantasy lovers and readers and as such you’re the ones I’m catering to, not any author or publisher. I might not get much feedback here, but I get the occasional “like” through Amazon or Goodreads and that’s already a win in my book. If I helped someone shop for a book they might come to love I’ll be happy. If I helped someone avoid a book they might not have liked, that’s good too.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising by Pierce Brown is a bloodydamn great book! It’s one of my favorite books of this year, and I’ve read my fair share of outstanding books so far. There’s a quote on the cover of my book that likens the protagonist, Darrow, to both Ender and Katniss. Can’t say much about Katniss, as I know her only from the movies and I wouldn’t call her anything remotely resembling a “genius” character there. But while being older, Darrow definitely resembles Ender with his ability to think outside the box and come up with solutions to even the hardest problems. Continue reading

The Manifestation of Light by Ryan A. Shimek

The Manifestation of Light, the first book by Ryan A. Shimek, starts out interesting but doesn’t manage to carry the engaging beginning over the course of the whole story and dwindles out pretty soon. It’s a book with a lot of potential that would have needed the help of an experiences editor to really shine. The good approach is often hampered by unfinished plotting and the lackluster prose. If you want to sample the book, the first chapter can be found here. Continue reading

Guardians of the Galaxy

Finally managed to go and watch Guardians of the Galaxy. While I’d definitely wanted to watch the movies, I’d been of two minds. I like the Marvel Superhero movies, but they aren’t great. They often have their problems and are a bit too much action-heavy for me. I have nothing against action (like it quite a bit, in fact), but a good movie needs some depths too, otherwise it won’t stay long with me.

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