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July’s Book Haul

July Book Haul Fantasy

Okay… I know I already bought a ridiculous amount of books in June, and shouldn’t be buying more any time soon, but it’s not my fault! What else am I going to do when my mom says she has free shipping and a 15% discount code and asks if I want some books added to her order?

But mind you, there’s only 7 books on July’s list.

(Luckily, the 9 I bought on August 1st doesn’t count yet.)

July Book Haul Fantasy

The books I got were:

  • The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty
  • The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty
  • The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant
  • Truckers by Terry Pratchett
  • Diggers by Terry Pratchett
  • Wings by Terry Pratchett
  • War of the Spark: Forsaken by Greg Weisman

As usual, there’s some Terry Pratchett in the haul, as well with some sequels to books I read in June. Oh, and one new author!

Daevabad Trilogy

I enjoyed S. A. Chakraborty’s The City of Brass, so of course I had to get the last two books in the Daevabad Trilogy, The Kingdom of Copper and The Empire of Gold. And they’re beautiful, but it’s going to drive me absolutely crazy that The Empire of Gold isn’t the same height as the first two books…

The Kingdom of Copper and The Empire of Gold

The Court of Miracles

I believe Kester Grant is a debut author, and I look forward to reading her first book, The Court of Miracles. It promises criminal guild wars and personal drama in a Paris where the French Revolution failed, and I’m so in for that.

The Court of Miracles Kester Grant

The Bromeliad

July’s Terry Pratchett purchase was the Bromeliad books, one of his YA series. And for once I got a matching set!

It won’t be long before I own all of Pratchett’s books, but the next time I buy any, I will have to clear another shelf for this author…

(He already got two full shelves.)

The Bromeliad Terry Pratchett

War of the Forsaken

I continue my quest to learn about Magic: The Gathering lore with War of the Spark: Forsaken by Greg Weisman, the sequel to War of the Spark: Ravnica. This one is focused on hunting down the narcisstic necromancer Leliana Vess, and I have always had a certain weakness for necromancers…

War of the Spark: Forsaken Greg Weisman

That’s it, guys! Stay tuned for August’s book haul post, which will include half the contents of the discount boxes in Boghallen in Copenhagen…

Now, I’m off to rearrange my bookshelves!

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Editing at the Louring House

Editing Owl

As you might be aware, I’m currently hard at work, either editing Broken Melody or procrastinating from editing Broken Melody.

My editing process usually involves three rounds of going through the book myself before handing it over to beta readers.

Each time I read the draft I change the font and font size of the book. If the text looks different every time, you tend to catch different mistakes on each read-through. This time around I even went as far as to betray everything I stand for as a web and graphic designer and did one round of editing in Comic Sans.

Shudder

No one can say I haven’t suffered for this book.

But I also change the way I edit every time.

The first round is basically just a read-through where I replace all the placeholders and go through my editing notes on what to fix. It’s the round that takes the draft from a complete trainwreck that only I understand, to something actually resembling a book.

The second round (where I’m currently at) is where I read the entire book out loud to catch weird phrasing. This would be very simple, if I didn’t live with a tiny, judgmental owl that insists on giving his input. My reading today has sounded like this:

“Orrell tackled her to the gound as the explosion went off — shut up — shielding her with his body as the ceiling — shut up — above the door blew to pieces and — jesus christ, Artemis, mind your own business!”

My window is open, so I’m fairly certain my neighbors think I’m insane.

Editing Owl

The third and last round before throwing the damn book at the beta readers is simply running it through grammar software like Grammarly and ProWritingAid, and have a computer tell me how crappy my writing is. But unlike with Artemis, these judgmental bastards at least give me suggestions on how to fix it.

That’s a general overview of my editing process.

And, of course, it’s important to remember to procrastinate by stopping in the middle of editing to write a blog post about editing!

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The Bookish Owl – War of the Spark: Ravnica by Greg Weisman

War of the Spark: Ravnica by Greg Weisman

Next up is War of the Spark: Ravnica by Greg Weisman.

As the name might suggest, this is a Magic: The Gathering tie-in novel. I have not played the trading card game, but lots of my friends are obsessed with it and some of them invited me to join a Dungeons & Dragons campaign set in the MTG world Ravnica.

Do you know how hard it is to make a good character backstory when you know nothing about the world said character lives in?

It’s pretty damn hard.

So I went into research mode after the first session. But the info dumps I got from watching YouTubers talk lore were a bit hard to keep straight in my head. But luckily for a bookworm like me, there’s also Magic: The Gathering novels! And it turns out that they (or at least the one I have read at the moment of writing this) are even quite good.

It was a bit hard to keep track of the large cast of characters in War of the Spark: Ravnica, but it’s written in such a way that even Magic noobs like myself can easily follow the story. And when I played D&D last Saturday, I recognized a name mentioned in passing by an NPC (Kaya, who had failed the mission we were about to be given) and immediately knew what that meant. Even better,  I got to explain character lore to one of my fellow players who plays a lot of MTG.

Yes, I’m a smug bastard when I suddenly know things.

Long story short: This is a good book, and I now know who all the people trying to kill me in my D&D campaign are.


War of the Spark: Ravnica
by Greg Weisman

Teyo Verada wants nothing more than to be a shieldmage, wielding arcane energies to protect his people from his world’s vicious diamondstorms. When he’s buried alive in the aftermath of his first real tempest, the young mage’s life is about to end before it can truly begin—until it doesn’t. In a flash, a power he didn’t know he had whisks him away from his home, to a world of stone, glass, and wonder: Ravnica. Teyo is a Planeswalker, one of many to be called to the world-spanning city—all lured by Nicol Bolas, the Elder Dragon. Bolas lays siege to the city of Ravnica, hungry for the ultimate prize: godhood itself. His unparalleled magic and unstoppable army appear poised to bring the city to utter ruin.

Among those who stand in the way of Bolas’s terrifying machinations are the Gatewatch, Planeswalkers sworn to defeat evil, no matter where it’s found. But as they work to unite the other mages and mount a defense of the city and its people, the terrifying truth of Bolas’s plan becomes clear. The Elder Dragon has prepared a trap to ensnare the most powerful mages from across the Multiverse—and it’s too late to escape.

As forces great and small converge on the city and the battle rages, the stakes could not be higher. If the Gatewatch falters and the Planeswalkers fail, the curtain will fall on the age of heroes—and rise on the infinite reign of Nicol Bolas.


War of the Spark: Ravnica by Greg Weisman

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The Bookish Owl – Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett

Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett

Time to shoot some aliens, with Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett.

This is the first book in the Johnny Maxwell trilogy.

It might not have aged as well as Pratchett’s other books, but the overall message about how we’re numb to the horrors of war fits as well today as it must have done in the 90s. In the book it’s the Gulf War they’re referring to, but it might as well have been any of the wars over the last thirty years.

But despite the timeless morale, I think kids today would have a really hard time relating to this book, considering they have never known a time where space invader games were ‘cutting edge’…


Only You Can Save Mankind
by Terry Pratchett

It’s just a game . . . isn’t it?

The alien spaceship is in his sights. His finger is on the Fire button. Johnny Maxwell is about to set the new high score on the computer game Only You Can Save Mankind.

Suddenly, a message appears:
We wish to talk. We surrender.

But the aliens aren’t supposed to surrender—they’re supposed to die!


Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Make Me Smile

Books Pratchett Gaiman Jones

The Top Ten Tuesday post I did last week was a lot of fun, so I guess I’m doing another one this week!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blog prompt, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week the topic is Books That Make Me Smile. I might as well come right out and say that my list will be heavily Terry Pratchett-centered, but a couple other books also made the cut. I included a few quotes from each book that made me smile, which is why this post is so ridiculously long!

Guards! Guards! (Terry Pratchett)

Guards Guards Terry Pratchett


Guards! Guards! is my all-time favorite book. It is absolutely hilarious, and you can’t help but adore the dysfunctional characters that make up the Night Watch. There’s the new recruit, Carrot, the six-foot-something human who thinks he’s a dwarf and who is so by the book that he tries to arrest a dragon for murder. There’s Colon and Nobby, veteran guardsmen who know that doing their job is a sure-fire way to get into trouble and instead spend most of their time guarding bridges, just in case someone tries to steal them. And of course, Captain Vimes, who’s not sure how his job suddenly got so complicated.

Quotes

“A book has been taken. A book has been taken? You summoned the Watch,” Carrot drew himself up proudly, “because someone’s taken a book? You think that’s worse than murder?”
The Librarian gave him the kind of look other people would reserve for people who said things like “What’s so bad about genocide?”

Sergeant Colon owed thirty years of happy marriage to the fact that Mrs. Colon worked all day and Sergeant Colon worked all night. They communicated by means of notes. He got her tea ready before he left at night, she left his breakfast nice and hot in the oven in the mornings. They had three grown-up children, all born, Vimes had assumed, as a result of extremely persuasive handwriting.

“Might have just been an innocent bystander, sir,” said Carrot
“What, in Ankh-Morpork?”
“Yes, sir.”
“We should have grabbed him, then, just for the rarity value.”

Colon didn’t reply. I wish Captain Vimes were here, he thought. He wouldn’t have known what to do either, but he’s got a much better vocabulary to be baffled in.

The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett)

The Wee Free Men Terry Pratchett


I’m usually not a fan of child protagonists, but Tiffany Aching is my kind of gal. What’s a 9-year old girl to do when she sees a monster in the river?
Well, if you’re Tiffany, you use your little brother as bait, then whack the monster in the head with a frying pan.

Quotes

“I can see we’re going to get along like a house on fire,” said Miss Tick. “There may be no survivors.”

“They can tak’ oour lives but they canna tak’ oour troousers!”

“And then there was the headless horseman!” said Tiffany. “He had no head!”
“Well, that is the major job qualification,” said the toad.

Mort (Terry Pratchett)

Mort Terry Pratchett


It’s not often I say things like this, but Death is adorable.
In Mort Death takes on a human apprentice and it’s both hilarious and cute how hard he tries to be a good master to the kid, despite knowing very little about humans.

Quotes

Death was standing behind a lectern, poring over a map. He looked at Mort as if he wasn’t entirely there.
YOU HAVEN’T HEARD OF THE BAY OF MANTE, HAVE YOU? he said.
“No, sir,” said Mort.
FAMOUS SHIPWRECK THERE.
“Was there?”
THERE WILL BE, said Death, IF I CAN FIND THE DAMN PLACE.

The wizards, such of them who were still on their feet and conscious, were rather surprised to see that Death was wearing an apron and holding a small kitten.

“That’s Binky,” said the heap. “He’s just trying to be friendly. I expect he’d like some hay, if you’ve got any.”
With royal self-control, Keli said, “This is the fourth floor. It’s a lady’s bedroom. You’d be amazed at how many horses we don’t get up here.”

Going Postal (Terry Pratchett)

Going Postal Terry Pratchett


Moist von Lipwig is the most likable conman ever and his totally over-the-top ways of solving problems will always put a smile on my face.

Quotes

“Did I do anything last night that suggested I was sane?”

And the nice thing about a stake through the heart was that it also worked on non-vampires.

If he’d been a hero, he would have taken the opportunity to say, “That’s what I call sorted!” Since he wasn’t a hero, he threw up.

The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman)

The Graveyard Book Neil Gaiman


The Graveyard Book made the list despite the ending being heartbreaking, because it’s also a really heartwarming story about a cemetary full of ghosts raising a human boy.

Quotes

“You’re brave. You are the bravest person I know, and you are my friend. I don’t care if you are imaginary.”

“I think . . . I said things to Silas. He’ll be angry.”
“If he didn’t care about you, you couldn’t upset him,” was all she said.

Bod shrugged. “So?” he said. “It’s only death. I mean, all of my best friends are dead.”

Witches Abroad (Terry Pratchett)

Witches Abroad Terry Pratchett


The locals always fear tourists, but when those tourists are two elderly witches with a total disregard for everyone else and a total lack of understanding of other cultures, it just gets so much better. You can’t help smiling when you’re following Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg tackling ‘foreign parts’.

Quotes

“Blessings be on this house,” Granny said, perfunctorily. It was always a good opening remark for a witch. It concentrated people’s minds on what other things might be on this house.

“It pays to advertise,” Nanny agreed. “This is Greebo. Between you and me, he’s a fiend from hell.”
“Well, he’s a cat,” said Mrs. Gogol, generously. “It’s only to be expected.”

“Excuse me,” said Granny, empowering the words with much the same undertones as are carried by words like “Charge!” and “Kill!”, “Excuse me, but does this pointy hat I’m wearing mean anything to you?”

Howl’s Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones)

Howl's Moving Castle Diana Wynne Jones


Howl’s Moving Castle is quirky and charming, and definitely one of the books I would recommend someone who needs more smiles in their life.

Quotes

“I feel ill,” he announced. “I’m going to bed, where I may die.”

“I make that four horses and ten men just to get rid of one old woman. What did you do to the King?”

“Nothing is safe from you. If I were to court a girl who lived on an iceberg in the middle of the ocean, sooner or later— probably sooner— I’d look up to see you swooping overhead on a broomstick. In fact, by now I’d be disappointed in you if I didn’t see you.”
“Are you off to the iceberg today?” Sophie retorted.

Hogfather (Terry Pratchett)

Hogfather Terry Pratchett


Another book with Death being hilarious and cute. Hilarious because Death tries to do the Hogfather’s (Discworld’s Santa Claus) job, and cute because he tries so hard to be a good grandfather to his adopted human granddaughter, and fails spectacularly at it.

Quotes

HO. HO. HO.

One of the symptoms of those going completely yo-yo was that they broke out in chronic cats.

“You can’t give her that!” she screamed. “It’s not safe!”
IT’S A SWORD, said the Hogfather. THEY’RE NOT MEANT TO BE SAFE.
“She’s a child!” shouted Crumley.
IT’S EDUCATIONAL.
“What if she cuts herself?”
THAT WILL BE AN IMPORTANT LESSON.

The Colour of Magic (Terry Pratchett)

The Colour of Magic Terry Pratchett


The Colour of Magic might not be the best book, but it is funny and doesn’t take itself seriously at all, so it’s always good for a laugh.

Sometimes you just want to have fun and not worry about whether or not the book you’re reading actually has a plot…

Quotes

If complete and utter chaos was lightning, then he’d be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting “All gods are bastards!”

On the Disc, the Gods aren’t so much worshipped, as they are blamed.

“We’ve strayed into a zone with a high magical index,” he said. “Don’t ask me how. Once upon a time a really powerful magic field must have been generated here, and we’re feeling the after-effects.”
“Precisely,” said a passing bush.

Thud! (Terry Pratchett)

Thud Terry Pratchett


I was laughing my ass off at the scenes with Sam Vimes reading children’s books to his son. Especially the last one where he snaps and starts fighting off an army of – rather freaked out – dwarfs while yelling about not being able to find his cow.

Quotes

“That’s! Not! My! Cow!”

Standing around watching people was, of course, Ankh-Morpork’s leading industry. The place was a net exporter of penetrating stares.

“It’s not my cow. It’s a sheep with a pitchfork. Unfortunately, it goes quack.”


That’s it for me!

What books make you smile? Is it something funny, or maybe something sweet?