There’s still time!

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In honor of February, I posted the question: what/who is your favorite fictional couple? You still have time to respond! I’m curious to see who you may choose.

Now, what’s funny about this question is that love stories are not my favorite genre.  I don’t pay to go see Rom/coms…or really even watch them for free on TV. If love blossoms between two characters in the throes of an action packed story, or amidst the stars in a foreign galaxy then I can handle it. Even so, I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen…go figure. Ok, ok, you can throw the sisters Bronte in too, I suppose.

All that said, I do have some favorite couples.  Relationships that I fell for despite my hardened heart. I will be sharing them on Valentine’s Day. I would really like to reference your favorites too!

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When did you first fall in love with stories?

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Do you remember? Do you remember the time when you realized you couldn’t wait to find out what happened next in a book? Or when you couldn’t sleep and you hid under the covers with a flashlight because the wizard was going to conquer the evil king? What about the first time you watched a movie and felt your chest constrict with an aching sadness because a character died? Not to mention the favorite TV show that had you checking your watch, or hitting record on that DVR (or for some…the VCR…Beta???).

Whenever that moment may have been, story is a major part of our lives. It is our lives! The sum of our time here on earth is an epic odyssey unique to each one of us. We walk by living stories when we go to school or take the metro. We sit next to them on the plane. They live in our homes.

For me, story was a part of my life before I can remember. Books have been companions since my earliest days. I remember nights stretched out at the foot of my mom’s bed while she read to my sister and me before we would go to sleep. I remember the night we all wept tears of sadness and loss together when Leslie drowned in Bridge to Terabithia. And when we cackled at Bradley’s predicaments in There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom. Books and the characters they described kept me company many a day. Where the Red Fern Grows was the first novel I read, finished and then promptly opened back up to page one and began again.

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…a portal to any world I wished to visit.

But story wasn’t just on the page for me. And I am willing to bet that is true for most of you, as well. When I was younger, we lived in a grey house on a fantastic road. In this grey house there were french doors that led out to the back yard…But not for me. I knew what they really were. They were a portal to any world I wished to visit (shhhhh, don’t tell). My sister was almost always my traveling companion. We ran from pirates. We survived on acorns and wild onions. Sometimes we were runaways looking for a new home…not unlike The Boxcar Children. Most of the time we inhabited the forest with fairies, elves, gnomes and other magical creatures with only the fireflies to light our way back home.

 

Now I listen to my very own magical creatures beginning to write their stories. My little sprites flit and move about with wild abandon – playing out their lives with extreme enthusiasm….and still, I can’t wait to find out what will happen.

 

(Images: Frodo in tree – readingrainbow.com, magical door – pinterest.com)

 

Question of the Week

Just a little update on my reading adventures for the week. I can’t get enough of the Crown and Key series! It is so action packed and that is my favorite kind of story! I love excitement and overcoming danger against all odds! The Griffiths’ characters are flawed heroes who have their own personal issues to face, while the group pushes forward together to defeat an, as yet, unknown foe. If only my little sprites didn’t have to awaken at the crack of dawn I would stay up all night and finish!

A favorite quote and taste of the humor in The Undying Legion: Crown and Key Book 2

“‘Miss Kate, are you not using silverware because I’m a werewolf?'”

“‘No, dear…We’re not using silverware because we melted it all for weapons when [the other werewolves] attacked us.'”

If you are interested, I came across a fellow blogger who posted an interview with the Griffiths when the trilogy was published. The BiblioSanctum features the interview and a detailed review of the books.

 

In honor of February, I thought a discussion question about romances might be fun.

What is your favorite book couple?

Why are they your favorite? We wouldn’t have story without characters! And many characters fall in love. So what makes this couple stand out to you? Can’t wait to read your choices.

 

February Reading

I may love movies and TV, but there are hardly words to describe how I feel about books. I hope that you will join me and either continue to hold them passionately dear to your heart, or come to experience books in a whole new way. My desire is to use The Story Realm to introduce you to new books, re-examine older books and delve deeper into all books. I do hope you will come along for the ride!

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The Shadow Revolution: Crown and Key
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Yesterday, February 1, I finished this first installment of the Crown and Key trilogy. The authors Clay and Susan Griffith are a husband and wife writing team – which I find really fun and I’m not usually interested in team written works.

 

Today I jumped right into the second installment: The Undying Legion. So far, I’m super engrossed and really excited to find out what happens. The book is extremely fast paced and action packed! The story is reminiscent of the newer versions of Sherlock Holmes in theme and wit. The fantasy and alchemic references mirror that of my all time favorite anime, Fullmetal Alchemist (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood). In as far as the first book goes, I highly recommend it.  I’ll keep you updated as I finish the series. (Also – a shout out to Columbia, South Carolina’s Richland Library that has brand new editions of all three books. Buying books is always awesome, but don’t forget to support your local library.) (Rated: adult fiction/fantasy – PG-13 for violence)

February Read Alongs

In other reading news, I have joined some new Instagram friends in a couple of read alongs for the month of February.

The High Ladies @thecourtofbooksandreaders and their Good Reads is currently reading The Siren by Kiera Cass. So if you are a fan of The Selection series, you may want to give it a go. (YA novel – haven’t started it yet so I can’t rate it.)

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Image from: @thecourtofbooksandreaders

Also, @babblingbooks and her blog spot: babblingbooks.com.au has a read along going for The Lies of Locke Lamora. She does warn about language and adult situations in the book.

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Image from: @babblingbooks and babblingbooks.com.au

I’m 6 chapters in and I would definitely give this one an R rating.  But the characters and setting are intriguing and I am interested to figure out this Locke character. (Rated: adult fantasy fiction – R)

 

Come on in! The readings fine!

Movie Monday

**DISCLAIMER** Clearly it is NOT Monday. However, I began this post on Monday with every intention of finishing said post ON MONDAY. Unfortunately, 2 of my little sprites came home from school sick – and since all magical creatures need nurturing and care, I was called away from my writing duties.  Soooooo, let’s try again.

Mondays will heretofore be known as “Movie Monday”! Who wouldn’t rather think movies on a Monday than….well, than anything that usually occurs on Monday.  You’re welcome.

When I was a kid, I spent lots of time with my dad engrossed in Star Trek and Star Wars. I know, I know. Most nerds out there want to be one or the other, Trekkie or Jedi, Marvel or DC, monsters or aliens…do we really have to make a choice? On this forum, NO! We don’t! We are going to embrace it all – from the “Trouble with Tribbles” to A New Hope. That’s how my dad raised me – to treat all syfy entities the same.

A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY…

And so, it is with great enthusiasm that I embark on this discussion about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I know some fans were less than pleased with the new installment, however, I found it enjoyable, fun, exciting, memorable and an excellent tribute to the original Episodes IV, V and VI.

BB8 found its way into our hearts as the lovable android sidekick. And following in the footsteps of R2D2 and C3PO, almost stole the show.  Everyone is happy that Epi VII didn’t experience another mishap like JarJar Binks…

The filming itself was simple and understated.  It seemed that with the newer installments of Epis I-III that filmmakers were trying to awe the audience with over the top special effects. Star Wars has no need for special effects – IT HAS LIGHT SABERS! ….and a Wookie.

I was super excited to have Chewie back in the game. Harrison Ford and Ms. Fisher were spot on.  Their presence made the film endearing and almost like coming home.  Thank goodness no one let slip any spoilers before I was able to see the show – otherwise I wouldn’t have nerded out with a shout of excitement and joy when the Millennium Falcon made its first appearance.

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The acting was on par with previous Star Wars features.  No one is going to win an Oscar for the series, but he or she will certainly find an incredible fandom previously unknown.  Daisy Ridley was memorable as Rey and portrayed a remarkable, budding young Jedi. She was strong willed and persistent without being offputting as a character. John Boyega’s character Finn was a great complement to Ridley’s Rey. The two played well off one another and both are characters I look forward to seeing more of in future episodes.

So what are your thoughts? Did you like the new installment? Or not? Either one is perfectly acceptable. Jump on in with your thoughts. Oh, and may the force be with you.

(Star Wars images from: Rey: hitfix.com / Finn: thesource.com)

 

The Walking Dead 2 Week Count Down: Let’s Talk Weapons

In honor of our two week count down to the best written drama and my all-time favorite show on television, The Walking Dead, I thought I would open up some discussion on symbolism in this artfully crafted series. One thing that stands out is the choices of weapons for each character. When a warrior chooses a weapon it is almost certainly an extension of himself (or herself). Whether it is Batman and his batarang, Captain America and his shield or Thor and his hammer (although that one may have been more of a family thing) the weapons chosen are an extension of the warrior and his purpose. Should the occasion ever arise in which I myself should need to choose a weapon, I would most definitely choose twin broad swords…although when this should actually be needed, I remain uncertain.

The extension of warrior by weapon is no less obvious in The Walking Dead. There are so many options to cover even down to Merle Dixon’s bladed prosthetic – so appropriate for his weapon to be melded to his body. And his brother Daryl could have chosen nothing other than the “bad-ass” cross bow to go with his Harley and ripped leather coat.

Michonne and her Katana

Michonne for example – and her Katana. A sword is an intimate weapon.  Perhaps not quite as much so as a dagger or knife, but far more intimate than a gun or crossbow. The sword is a weapon that moves as the body moves and has no other propulsion than that of human momentum. The sword forces the warrior closer to the target – often within the enemies striking range. The sword cannot be used at a distance. The warrior must be close enough to hear the enemy breathe, feel the heat radiating from the other body, and in this case, smell the gore of the walking dead. What an incredibly perfect weapon choice for Michonne who has always seemed more intimately entwined with the zombie apocalypse than most other characters. She is the character who lives among the walkers  by disguising herself with her zombie pets. When the group scatters from the prison, it is from deep inside the throngs of a horde that Michonne has her rebirth. It is from within this horde she awakens and comes forth out of the dead with new found hope. But we can even see that in Alexandria, her Katana cannot stay mounted on a wall for long – warrior and weapon are connected.

Then there is Rick Grimes. Rick and his trusty revolver. At first Rick tries to keep up appearances of order and humanity by continuing to wear his sheriff uniform. As his new reality begins to take shape, he first lets go of his hat. A gift and symbol of manhood and

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A reminder that the past is gone. The world has a new reality and that humanity has a whole new face.

hope for his son. Then the shirt and pants are replaced. The one thing that remains a constant is his revolver.  Even in the moments when others in the group are taking up arms with automatic weapons and rifles, Rick keeps his holster belted firmly around his waist, a reminder of who he is and that humanity will survive.

When the group arrives at the prison, Rick buries the revolver and with it, Sheriff Rick Grimes. We see Rick struggle internally with the loss of himself.  He debates with Hershel the idea that they can never come back from the reality of their current situation or the things they have done to survive. Rick is eventually convinced that “the world needs Rick Grimes” the sheriff and he retrieves the weapon. Hershel’s hope is that Rick would find that hope that humanity will prevail. Instead, I think that the revolver becomes a new symbol for Rick. A reminder that the past is gone. The world has a new reality and that humanity has a whole new face.

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And Carol and her tench knife. Talk about intimate weapons! Carol will never awaken from the apocalypse because she is born in the apocalypse. She has found her strength and her identity in this new reality. She cannot leave it outside the walls of Alexandria – it is part of her. The intimate choice of weapon brings her in direct contact with her foe. The strength she has drawn from the new world around her propels her forward in a way in which Carol herself seems to be the weapon and the trench knife an unnecessary redundancy.

But there are more! What character’s weapon choice stands out to you? When the zombie apocalypse befalls us, what will be your choice of weapon?

(The Walking Dead images – amc.com)