Magical March book review– Game of Thrones


I’m rather at a loss for how to sum up this book.  I finished it in a sleep deprived binge Friday into Saturday morning, and as soon as I have an opportunity to, I’m going to re-read it.

Game of Thrones is a book you don’t simply read.  It is a book you experience.  From the opening prologue through the stunning conclusion, you get sucked in and dragged along for a ride you aren’t sure you really want to be on, but you can’t manage to get off of.  You find yourself seeing things coming, and trying to shout a warning to the characters to JUST FREAKING STOP RIGHT THERE! But they can’t hear you.  Or don’t want to listen.

Martin does a brilliant job of creating complex, believable characters with strong motivations who are usually their own worst enemy, as we all are in real life.  And, as many of you well know, he isn’t afraid to treat them badly.  Very badly.  And because you come to see yourself mirrored in them, it hurts when things go wrong for them or when they do stupid, stupid things.  Just like life.  A happily ever after is not a given.







Because of my stupendous ability to be a spoiler magnet, and HBO’s ability to give me free service at exactly the wrong time, I knew Eddard Stark would meet an untimely end.  What I didn’t realize until reading the book was that his demise was a direct result of his own failings, his own ability to completely underestimate Cersi Lannister.  And dude, she warned him!  Multiple times.  I tried to also, but apparently he couldn’t hear me either.

I have a friend who is a major Martin junkie, and she told me that a lot of people who watched the HBO series were outraged when ol’ Ned got done in.  Apparently they hadn’t read the books.  But I think part of the problem was that they mistook Ned for the protagonist, which he is not.  In a story as complex with as many story lines as this one, it’s hard to pull out just one main protag, but at least in this first book, it’s definitely Cersi.  The protagonist drives the story, and Cersi is definitely the driving force here.

The other great thing about Martin’s writing , for writers, is that he presents a clinic on story tension with every paragraph of this book.   Every word serves to create micro tension, and as much craft as there is in every paragraph, I can see why it takes him so long to write the next damn book.  He also does a brilliant job of writing in different POV, and yet giving you enough that you realize what the POV character doesn’t.  Example:  Sansa.  All I’m going to say about her is that her choices led her to where she is and I really can’t feel sorry for her.  And plucky little Arya.  I’m afraid to get too attached to her, but it’s tough.

Anyway,  Game of Thrones is definitely not casual reading, but it’s great reading.  Experience it for yourself.  But…

I warn you…

Photo courtesy of Better Book Titles.












I will read all the rest of the books, and as long as it takes me I may be caught up by the next time he releases a book, say in five years or so.

* Bummer.  Apparently I didn’t get this posted in time for it to count for the Magical March challenge.  I didn’t remember seeing a deadline, but oh, well.  My bad.  So I won’t get my sorceress button.  Maybe next year.


Magical March Challenge book review– Graceling by Kristen Cashore


Loved this book.  Love, love, loved this book.

The characters were complex, rich and sympathetic, with unique gifts called “graces” that can be both helpful and harmful.  Not magic in a sense, but a unique ability that can seem almost magical.  The world is detailed enough to give you a strong sense of place, but not so much that you feel like you are in a geography lesson.

The main character, Katsa, is strong and tough and her relationship with Prince Po will wrench your heart a good bit.

The w riting style manages to be both lush and spare at the same time.  I had the second book in this series already and the only thing that kept me from diving right in was the fact that it wasn’t on my challenge list. ;(

I will likely reread Graceling in the near future and recommend it highly to all lovers of YA fantasy.  THIS is the kind of book I want to write.

Have a great day everyone!

Book Review of “Living Write” by Kelly L. Stone

Kelly L. Stone is a licensced counselor as well as a writer, which gives her a unique perspective into what goes on in a writers head.

“Living Write” is the third of Kelly’s books on developing a good mindset for being a writer.  “Time to Write”, the first of the three, helped me realize that I had exactly all the time I was ever going to have, and the excersizes helped me figure out where there were tons of little pockets of time I could use that were just going to waste.  And that I was allowing other “priorities” that really weren’t to interfere.  Unfortunately it didn’t give me more time, but at least I quit whining about  not having enough of it.  “Thinking Write” talks about developing techniques to connect with your subconscious.  I need to re-read that one, at the time I originally read it I didn’t have a WIP, so I’m interested to see if I get a new perspecitve from the book this time.

But “Living Write” has been a great new addition to my writer’s bookshelf.  In “Living Write”, Stone discusses developing a writer’s mindset, including spending some time developing a vision for success, goals that are realistic, challenging, but fluid.  Stone is also a huge advocate of writing daily, even if it’s is just a little bit, a few words, anything, to keep you connected to your muse and your craft.

Kelly also talks about self-image, and finding ways to rewire the negative script running through each and every one of our minds that tells us we aren’t talented enough, hardworking enough or just plain deserving of having success as a writer.

One thing that I’ve noticed lately as I’ve connected with other writers, is that as a whole, we are the nicest, kindest, most supportive people on the planet to each other, but we are mean as sh** to ourselves!  Not a single writer I know would ever say the things to another human being that we tell ourselves.  Somebody would get arrested!

The techniques in Kelly’s book will help you become aware of the negative self talk we engage in, and find ways to build ourselves up instead of tearing ourselves down. Stone uses quotes and interviews with dozens of established writers to back up her points and give insight into what has helped make them successful.

When reading craft books I’ve begun putting little post it notes as markers in passages that had an impact on my thinking, and that I want to be able to flip back to for a quick refresher.  Judging from the plethora of tabs and colors, “Living Write” will be a book I refer to frequently.

For more information on Kelly and her books, visit her website here.

I would recommend them for any serious writer who is struggling with time or self-doubt issues.