Friday, June 26, 2009

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

The King of Idris has known for years that he would send his daughter Vivenna to marry the heathen God King of Hallandren. He is convinced that war will break out between the two nations within a year. So, sending his daughter to the foreign court is a mere formality, a stalling technique. He questions using Vivenna, a wise, dutiful, pious daughter as a token when she could be a help to her people. Almost at last moment he decides to send his youngest daughter--Siri, rebellions, hot-headed, and flamboyant into the clutches of his enemy.

After being introduced into the court of Hallandren Siri discovers secrets about the God King that could put her, as well as him, in grave danger. The gods are posturing and aligning in preparation for the coming war, and Lightsong the Bold, who does not believe in his own divinity, is faced with difficult decisions. He has control over a large portion of the Kings armies, and others are tying to influence how he will manage them in the rumored conflict.

Meanwhile, Vivenna, decides it is time to manage her own fate, and makes a secret trip to Hallandren to rescue her little sister Siri from the God King.

So, I’ve been a Sanderson fan since the first Mistborn book. I totally got my husband hooked right after we got married, and The Well of Ascension came out. So we are a Sanderson fan household. My husband and I both agreed on this one. It is a good book, and a nice read but it doesn’t beat out the Mistborn series. Still, I enjoyed reading this one there is more romance, less fighting scenes, and a lot of political intrigue. I like the political intrigue, history, and economics that Sanderson puts into his books. It makes his worlds feel more real and complex. The best part is that he really knows how to center his characters in these conflicts so they can really shine. That was one thing Sanderson did really well in this book, to give all of his characters interesting internal journeys. I feel like all of the characters had to grow to overcome a conflict, which was then successfully resolved in this book, and that makes for a really satisfying read.

The only thing I really didn’t like is that when the book ends I’m not sure that the problems that existed in his world changed. When I put the book down I wasn’t sure if Hallandren and Idris were better off or worse off. I felt like the problems between them didn’t really change, or get resolved. This book felt a bit more edgy to me, but not offensively so. I could see conservative LDS readers getting mad because characters’ immodest clothing is described in detail. The court of the gods his immoral elements to it, referenced often in character dialogue. Nothing explicit in that area, and I’ve read worse, but I thought it would be nice to give a heads up. It’s annoying to get surprised by content from a book you expected to be completely clean.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Latin Book Titles! So, I promised a new feature the other day, and here it is! So, I was getting bored with my blog. It was just like all the other blogs, and didn't have anything really unique about it. I thought doing interviews would help. Nope. Other bloggers do plenty of interviews, so many in fact that I sometimes get tired of reading them because the question are so often the same. Interviews were interesting enough or unique enough, so I pondered. What is unique about Gamila? I like Latin! Hey, I have cool language skill! Hey, I should share my Latin obsession! So, thus was the Latin Book Title feature born.

So, the rules, disclaimers, and other governing Latin Book Title miscellenia.

1. I have degree in BA in Latin teaching. So yeah, I do know what I am doing to some extent. That having been said I am not a professional translator nor a genius so I reserve the right to make mistakes sometimes. If you have a correction please make a comment. You may have a cooler version of the book title or I may even be wrong. Traslating English into Latin never was my strongest point, but hey I can do two to five words right? I think I can and plus this will help me practice and keep some of my Latin fresh.

2. You can request that I tranlate the title of a specific book. I won't translate anything else. I almost want to bend that rule. I could do first lines to books, or pithy qutoes from books, or mottos. I fear I won't have the time or inclination to do that sort of thing. People get payed big bucks to translate little stuff like that, and they could do a better job than I. Plus, I'll probably get conned into doing someone's homework. So, I'm starting firm, and stating now. I'll only translate Book Titles at reader's requests.

3. Currently, I don't have a set day or schedule for when Latin Book Titles will be posted. I'm just playing it by ear for now to see how the whole thing works out.

4. I think that's all I have to say about that. Except I reserve the right to make more rules and other modifications! Muahaha!

Latin Book Titles:Brandon Sanderson

Latin Book Titles is going to feature the Epic Fantasy works of Brandon Sanderson this week, specifically, the Mistborn Trilogy and Warbreaker. There will be spoilers large and small in Mistborn section. The Well of Ascension translation note has major spoilers for book three. You have been warned.

Book 1: Mistborn

Caligo Nata or Nati Caliginis
Translation Note: Nati Caliginis is literally, those people born of the Mist]

Book 2: Well of Ascension

Fons Ascensionis

[Translation Note: This one was the harderst one to translate. I know it looks like a no-brainer. Just do the Latin form of ascending, right? Eh, often the most obvious translation is the worst one. I'm still not sure if I got this one right. I debated between Fons Potestatis, Fons Virtutis, Fons superatio, Fons Praestatio. Potestatis means power, but not just power, but ruling power. Power that carries authority with it. I considered this one because of what the well in the book gives to those that deal with it. It is an interesting way to think about the well, but not the best way to translate. Virtutis just plays on a similar theme. I discarded it quickly. The last two attempts were me trying to turn verbs into nouns both with meanings along the lines of excel, surpass, Stand above all others, etc. They really didn't work that well either. The main problem I had with Ascensionis was that is used rarely, and only really in the Latin Vulgate (bible). The vulgate isn't really classical, but in the end I came to the conclusion that the word's assocaiation with the bible was necessary. I think the title was chosen very cleverly in that ascension brings to mind The Ascension. The event where Christ goes up into heaven to assume his godly role there. This will mean more to those who have read the third book, where Sazed becomes a god. So, I decided to stay with the most obvious choice because of the implied imagrey. The religious tone was not a put off either since a main theme of the book is religion. I think this title foreshadows what is going to happen in the thrid book rather well. I'll stop now I've written enough ink over three words for the day. ]

Book 3: Hero of Ages

Heros Saeculorum or Vir Saeculorum

[Translation note: I like Heros better mostly because Vir is also a man. Heros is greek. The Romans were so entrenched in greek culutre and mythology that the word was probably incorporated straight across. The -os nominative ending is how you tell. Anyway, who is the Hero of Ages? Is he a man? Vin isn't a man, but is she the hero of ages? Or is Sazed? If I were the author and wanted the hero to be clearly male for any reason I would use Vir, but that would give too much away! Go with the more nuetral Heros to keep the mystery. I also think that for different readers at different times the idenity of the Hero of Ages will probably change so why peg it down to a man alone when Vin is a canidate? I think this one is my favorite. It is such a great title. It resonates with readers today, but I think it would appeal to classical audiences too. Heroes and the past were both revered and honored by Greeks and Romans.]

Bonus: Warbreaker


[Translation Note: This one was easy! I just had to brush up on some suffixes and done!]

Bloggiesta Recap.

How many Hours: 12-14 (that's a rough guesstimate)

What I Accomplished(Ta da!):

Wrote reviews for:
How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-boyfriend
Lemon Tart by Josi Kilpack
Fields of Home by Rachel Ann Nunes
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

began review for:
Princess of the Midnight Ball

rewrote and posted review for:
The Hourglass Door by list Mangum

Drafted posts for:
Spare Change by Aubrey Mace
Life in the Pit by Kirsten Landon
Keeping Keller by Tracey Winegar

Worked on Spring Reading Challenge

Emailed LDS publisher Review links
Read Amaranth Enchantment

Blog elements:
Got sick of my old yellow shade and went to Lavender
(still love the dark green text for some reason)
Made my own blog button (This took a really long time. I tried so many different button versions that if I told the whole story it would be a saga)
Added a really cute blog button from Susan’s blog Blogging 'bout Books.

Grade your blog
This was an awesome little tool I didn't know about. Tweaked a few things on it's advice, but not much yet.
Anchor Text
I have such a lazy habit with this one! I’m guilty. I didn't comment, but since I'm practicing using anchor text correctly on the blog I'm counting it!

I really liked all the little mini-challenges the few I read (I read more of them than I acutally participated in) had really good advice. So, this was a sucessful blogging weekend for me. I really needed to get those reviews written. I was getting a little bit behind on them. So, it was nice to have some extra motivation to do that. Three of those books I read before the move. Yeah, I was totally procrastinating!

Oh, and for the curious of mind. I used Cool Text to make my logo, and then put the book/extra text on it using Picasa. So it was completely free! Yahoo!

Friday, June 19, 2009


Maw Books Blog is hosting a challenge to spruce up your blog this weekend and I've joined the challenge! Yeah, I've already written several reviews that I've been procrastinating, and drafted posts of reivews that I wrote months back! Eeep! I am also plotting a new feature! Yes, all will be reavealed on Monday!

So, I'm having fun this weekend. Join the party! It's not to late!

The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum

The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum

Abby is just an ordinary teen at an ordinary high school. She plans on going to college in the fall, co-directs the school play, and has a cute and nice boyfriend. There is just one problem with her life—there are no surprises. She feels trapped in her ordinary plans, and in her predictable relationship with a boy she has know since before Kindergarten. Then Dante, an Italian exchange student, moves into town and joins the school play. While everyone agrees that there is something strange about him, Abby doesn’t really believe the rumors that he is dangerous, or on the run from the law. He is handsome, mysterious, and Abby is attracted to him. As she spends more time with him strange things start to happen. Will Dante tell her the truth about his past soon enough for her to protect those around her?

Alright, from the beginning of this book I got a Twilight vibes, and I was going to be mad if the big secret Dante revealed was that he was a vampire. So, I was pleased when the book went another direction entirely. So, while the book is similar to Twilight it is totally different. I also liked it a lot more than Twilight because the characters seemed a bit more realistic and honest. I really didn’t like that the author played up so much on the fact that Dante was dangerous/deadly because he wasn’t in the way you would expect. I would have preferred more of a mysterious secret/past angle. Yet, no doubt, a deadly boyfriend does lend itself to more conflict than mysterious past does. So let’s not quibble. This is a suspenseful romance with a time travelling plot that has its foundation in historic Italy. This really is an excellent book with clever twists, strong characters, and a great plot. I really would recommend.

Lisa's Website:

(Spoilers-Present-Post-Script=Gamila’s weird musings. So, I was a Latin major, and so this book should get extra points for quoting Virgil, right? But I never really liked Virgil. I always liked Ovid or Cicero better, but I thought I would share my awkward intellectual literary ponderings with you. So, you know how I like the underworld right? Go back tohere to remember. So, with Dante and Virgil obviously present and influencing the creation of this book. Can we say that the bank scenes in this book could be a sort of underworld? On the bank there is a river, which is a huge feature of many underworld geography. They have a guide system of a sort, and clear geography and etc. If I came up with a three column comparison and contrast chart and thought for a long time I could probably write a small paper that said something interesting about the connections. What would happen if we compared Abby to Dante or Aeneas? What did she learn on the bank(aka underworld) that helped her complete her Hero’s Journey? Eh? Eh? How’s that for intellectual ramblings?! I could totally write a paper, but I won’t because I don’t have too. Hurrah!!! Okay, one way this series could get awesomely cooler is if Abby actually got to time travel to Italy.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I went to the bookstore last week...

Squee! New books. The husband and I finally spent our Barnes and Noble gift cards from Christmas. We are also offically members of Barnes and Noble! The give pretty good discounts on hardcovers and since we got a lot this time it was totally worth it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Reunion by Ally Condie

Reunion by Allyson Braithwaite Condie

So, I previously posted about enjoying the previous book in this series, First Day. Reunion is more of the same, but with different viewpoint characters this time. We find out what happens to Ethan and Mikey, Dave and Avery, and hear more about Joel and Andrea, but the main story is about Addie Sherman (Dave’s little sister), Sam Choi(Mikey’s little brother), and Cate Giovanni(Andrea’s seminary student).

Cate is experiencing her first year at BYU-Idaho, and experiencing conflict with new her roommate, who is very troubled. Addie struggles to keep her grades high enough to continue snowboarding with her friends every weekend. Then her sister-in-law Avery gets put on bed rest during her pregnancy, and Addie has to sacrifice lot to help her after school. Sam’s family is busy with planning his older sister’s wedding, and struggling with the decision to go on a mission.

It’s really hard to get high school kids just right in fiction, but I think this series portrayal comes really close. I really love Condie’s characterization. Her characters are real, and their problems are relatable and true to life. They are also honest, funny, and sincere. Not every problem is fixed, life isn’t always perfect, and answers must be searched out. I especially liked how real the boys in the book were; they made me laugh lots. I’ve become a fan! I hope to read more books like this from Condie in the future.

Author's Blog and website:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The 13th Reality: The Hunt for Dark Infinity by James Dashner

The 13th Reality: The Hunt for Dark Infinity by James Dashner
(dust jacket summary)

It’s been a quiet summer for Tick, Paul, and Sofia, but the latest message from Master George changes everything.

The Realities are in danger — and from something more terrible than Mistress Jane and the mutated Chi’karda of the Thirteenth Reality. People from all Realities are unexplainably going insane. Worse, some Realities are fragmenting, disintegrating into nothingness. Master George has learned that Mr. Chu from the Fourth Reality is working on a mysterious new weapon called Dark Infinity. But no one has any idea how to stop the weapon — or even if it can be stopped.

To make matters worse, Tick and his friends have been kidnapped, forced to wink from Reality to Reality, solving impossible riddles in order to survive the deadly traps surrounding them.

Mistress Jane and Tick find themselves in a race to reach the weapon first — but who will destroy it and who will become its master?

I’ll admit, the sequel to the The Journal of Curious Letters didn’t immediately thrill me. The characters were all gathered at Tick house talking, and talking, and while I like them their conversations were kind of boring. So I stopped reading for a while, and then when I picked up the book again the plot started to pick up. The rest of the book had unexpected and enjoyable twists.

I didn’t expect Dashner to continue using riddles after the first book. Mostly because I didn’t know how he would incorporate it without it seeming odd. Yet, I loved the riddles in this book more than the first. They seemed cleverer, and the challenges were certainly more dangerous since the riddles were not sent from Master George, but from Reginald Chu. Mistress Jane was another surprise, and if people complained about her not being complex enough in book one, they find out a whole new side of her in this one. So, while the book had a really slow start for me, by the end I couldn’t put it down to see what would happen.

More than that I think The Hunt for Dark Infinity is a much better book than the first. The plot is more complex, the characters more authentic, and hook leading into the next book in the series is stronger.