Book Recs – The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Book: The Rithmatist
By: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: YA

What it’s about: The main character, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatist’s are this worlds magic users. They use chalk to draw lines and creatures which can protect and attack other people by moving along floors, walls, and ceilings. Joel lives on the campus of the prestigious Armedius Academy where he watches as other students who have passed the test learn to become Rithmatists.

Why I read it, and why you should too: I had heard of Brandon Sanderson before, but I had never read anything by him. I think it was mostly a case of I read a lot of YA and he usually writes adult books. My husband is a big fan of his and recommended this book to me after he finished it. Since my husband is usually right when he says I will love a book I gave it a shot.

I loved this book! The magic system (I know, I know Brandon Sanderson writes amazing magic systems, but this was my first book by him) was interesting and a lot of fun. I enjoyed the characters and their development. The story also wrapped up well, but left me with plenty of questions for the next book in the set.

After reading this book I also started going through the Write about Dragons lectures. I have learned so much from watching those videos and I am still only about halfway through them. I can’t wait to see what else I learn as they continue forward.

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500 Words – The Tarot Reading

Drina slid open the cutlery drawer on her side of the wooden table and let her fingers glide across the decks of cards. The first deck was for lovers. Those who wanted to ride into the sunset one day with their perfect match. The woman across from her had two wedding rings. One on her finger, the second on a chain around her neck.

“Can we get started dear?” the woman asked. Her wrinkled hands clutched her purse in a shaky grip.

Drina smiled and grabbed the fifth and final deck. The one she reserved for clients who didn’t want love, wealth, health, or revenge.

“A mysterious person will help you with what you desire most. It could be a friend, or lover. It isn’t particularly clear,” Drina said.

“It will be a friend dear. I‘ve had my great love.”

At the end of the reading Drina reordered the cards and put them away.

“Come in,” she called to her next client. The woman was middle aged, with a wedding ring, glowing skin, red soled shoes, and a picture clutched in her hand.

Drina opened the drawer and lifted out her revenge deck.

“I’m Susan and I need to find my daughter,” the woman said.

Drina nodded and flipped over the first card while the woman hovered next to the table.

After a long silence, Susan asked, “is it bad?”

Drina shook her head and tried to put a reassuring smile on her face. “No. I haven’t started yet. Please hang your coat behind the door and take a seat.”

While Susan’s back was turned Drina tucked the card back in the deck and checked the next three cards. They were as they should be. Her shoulders relaxed and she put on a somber face as Susan settled in her seat, ankles crossed. “What now?”

“Focus your thoughts on your daughter,” Drina said, “then flip the top three cards and lay them in front of you. Past, present, and future.” She rested the deck in front of Susan.

Susan flipped over the first two cards. Drina stared at them. They were wrong. She had just checked, but the cards had changed. “Death.” Susan’s voice trembled as she read the heading on the second card. “My daughter is dead?”

When Drina found her voice she said, “it isn’t literal. Death is about change, second chances, and embracing the unexpected.” Drina tapped the deck twice with her finger.

The final card trembled as Susan laid it on the table. “Nine of cups. Is that bad?”

Drina leaned back in her chair and nibbled at her lip. “You will get what you desire.”

“My daughter,” Susan said with a smile. She placed the creased picture on the table.

With the tip of her finger Drina dragged the picture along the table until she could see it. She pulled her hand back as if burned, and looked up at Susan with wide eyes. “Why do you have my baby picture?”

Book Recs – Shadowland by Meg Cabot

Book: Shadowland
By: Meg Cabot
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: YA

What it’s about: This is the first book in Meg Cabot’s Mediator series. The main character is Suze, a teenage mediator. Suze’s mother has just remarried, so Suze has moved to a new house, new blended family, and new school. Because she can see ghosts she hates old buildings (this is where ghosts hang out).

Why I read it, and why you should too: I think I read this book because it was a recommendation in an article for those who liked the Roswell books by Melinda Metz. Lets just say I read these long enough ago that they were still under Meg Cabot’s pen name at the time.

The books are short and quick to read. I love the story between Suze and Jesse, the ghost who lives in her house. Suze is also a kick butt heroine. She doesn’t always go with the flow, and is even known to embarrass herself socially (not on purpose). As a somewhat socially awkward person her ability to do the wrong thing and keep her head held high appeals to me. If you are looking for a light YA supernatural story with a romance, this book is for you.

As an added bonus a new adult release for this series is set to come out in February of next year.

Have you read any of Meg Cabots’ books? What was the last book you read and loved?

500 Words – End of the World

I watch the sun rise over the wall of rock before me. They say you can see the end of the world from the top. I’m not sure who they is. Dozens of people have tried through the years to scale the cliff face. They either gave up, or were never heard from again.

The circle of rock around the kingdom I call home looks unclimbable from far away. Up close I can see cracks and small ledges. I see a few bird nests and for a moment I wish I can fly or speak to animals. The birds must be able to see past the cliff. Are we a small piece of a much larger place, I wonder. Does the world truly end on the other side?

It is unseemly to be curious about what lays beyond the wall, so I came early to avoid the patrols. The elders teach us it is useless to think and dream about what might be outside when there is so much to be done inside our land.

I can’t ignore the call of the wall though. I want to stand atop that cliff and see what is on the other side. I need to know if I am stuck here or if there is more world to explore. I reach out and touch the rock. My eyes close as my fingers dip into the grooves made by years of wind and rain. The villagers talk about the cliffs as if they are as smooth as glass. Most have never touched the wall. I smile at the imperfections I feel.

My hand finds a pocket in the rock and I tighten my grip. I lift my foot until I find a small ledge. With a jump I pull myself up until I can see the next ledge, the next shelf, the next place to put my hands and feet. The climb is slow and long. The wind pulls at my clothes, my arms ache, my toes are cramped, but I don’t stop. There is no turning back. I will climb or I will tumble and fall to the ground below.

My call of joy echos when my hand reaches the top. With a great heave I pull myself up to see what is beyond. My fingers scramble for purchase. The top of the wall is narrow and smooth with nowhere to grasp. The wind I ignored on my climb up now whips my hair. My fingers lose their tenuous grip and I fall. I don’t scream as I tumble into the abyss on the other side. In the distance I can see other small islands of land floating in the open air. The sun is above me and far below I can see the moon. I watch the water spill over the side of the nearest hunk of rock in a beautiful waterfall. I found the end of my land, but I can’t reach the rest of the world.

Book Recs – The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Book: The Raven Boys
By: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: YA

What it’s about: Blue Sargent, while not a psychic, comes from a family of psychics. Her mother, and all the other psychics in her life, have told her that one day she will find her true love. Unfortunately it is also foretold that if she kisses her true love, he will die.

Why I read it, and why you should too: I read this book because I am a fan of other titles by the author. This one caught my attention because the premise is both simple and gloriously complex. It kept my attention because of the characters. Blue lives in a smaller town that happens to be the home of an elite boarding school for boys. At the beginning of the novel she befriends four boys who go to that school. The rest of the book follows the five friends as they work to complete a quest. As expected there is a romantic side to this tale, but there is also a fun mystery and several good plot twists to keep things interesting.

Have you read The Rayen Boys? Did you enjoy it, or do you have another book you would recommend in its place?

500 Words – Mage of Water

Mandra brought her closed fist to her chest. She looked up, and whispered, “Please let an element choose me.”

“Next,” the Enchanter said with a wave of his hand.

She stood and approached the stage at the front of the room with slow steps. She kept her head up but her eyes down, so she wouldn’t see the Enchanter’s bored expression. While they waited on wooden benches to be called, he sat on his padded throne on stage. On the table beside him rested a glass of water with condensation dripping down the sides. She licked her dry lips.

Today Mandra would learn her fate. Her mother was a seamstress in one of the factories. If Mandra wasn’t chosen by an element she would sit at the machine next to her mother’s. Her schooling would be over. There would be no way to become anything more than she had been born, a lowly factory worker.

“Hurry it up,” the Enchanter called down. She heard the soft sound of his pants against the seat cushion as he shifted.

She reached the pottery bowl, set upon a wooden table, in front of the stage. It was time. She held her arm out straight, fist over the bowl. With a deep shuddering breath she opened her hand, and the pebbled she had held close to her heart all morning fell. She watched it drop as if in slow motion.

The pale pink pebble hit the bottom of the bowl with a hollow ‘tink’. She watched it spin before laying still. The colour of the stone changed to a dark pink. After a moment she realized it was wet. Water was slowly filling the bowl until it covered the pebble.

Mandra let out the breath she had taken before dropping the pebble. With trembling fingers she reached into the cool water and took the stone back into her fist. She didn’t notice the water in the bowl swirl up into a tiny tornado before disappearing.

For a long moment nothing happened. Then the herald at the far side of the stage called, “water.”

No one moved.

“What?” said the Enchanter. When Mandra looked up he was standing in front of his throne looking down at her with wide eyes.

Mandra could hear the whispers behind her.

“It must have been wind.”

“Did you see that?”

“There hasn’t been a water mage in almost 50 years.”

The herald cleared his throat and called again. “Water.”

She held the stone in her outstretched palm for the Enchanter to see. Water pooled around the stone in her hand until it dripped onto the floor.

The Enchanter bowed to her. When he looked up, he met her gaze and smiled. “Welcome, Mage of Water.”