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A Stack of Books, Part 15

Hi, y’all! How has April been treating you? Over the past few weeks I’ve been able to dive in to quite a few books – some awesome, some mildly less awesome – adventures new and old. I even packed in a couple of rereads (although they won’t be on this list, which is for new, untried reads). I am so excited to share these with you, since so many of them were buckets of fun.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

The Story of With by Allen Arnold

The Story of WITH — Score 1 for non-fiction, since I read it so seldom. Every good thing said about this book is true. If you’ve ever felt stuck or alone or attacked, this is a great resource. I read the first chapter and knew immediately that what the author was saying was something I needed to hear, resonating with my own thoughts and emotions in regards to my creative passions. It talks about pursuing your dreams, and not just for God, but with God, who is the first creative being and made us creative, too, so that we can be creative together with him and with others. I’m not one for marking up books, but I want to go through this one again with a highlighter.

Divine Summons by Rebecca P. Minor

Divine Summons — If I say grumpy elf, do I need to say more? I mean, that’s all I needed before diving into this book! Vinyanel is a difficult character for those around him to get along with, which is precisely what made him so much fun to read. I enjoyed his voice, and the story itself is a classic adventure of a seasoned warrior being called to something greater. To ride dragons and wield divine powers against nefarious foemen. Solving mysteries, rescuing damsels, being rescued by damsels— all that good stuff.

Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

Sea of Rust — Confession time: I didn’t actually finish this book. I slogged through about two thirds of it before finally deciding to give up. The cover was beautiful, and the idea of the story was interesting, focusing on robots in a dystopian America, but the story itself felt rather flat. It held true to the promise of grittiness, and if you don’t mind crass language and subjects, then that aspect, at least won’t be too much of a bother. I did not appreciate it. That aside, the AI spoke, behaved, and thought so much like humans that I couldn’t actually picture them as machines, despite all the techy lingo. I skipped ahead to read the last chapter to see if it ended in a manner worthy of pushing through, but it didn’t, resolving almost nothing, open ended in a gaping, ragged way. The book disappointed me in every respect.

The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley

The Outlaws of Sherwood — I love Robin Hood stories, so naturally I snatched this book up as soon as I laid eyes on it. Every version of the tale is so interesting in how it’s told, and this one was such a fun read! Awesome characters, witty banter (possibly my most favorite), and a sweeping story contrasting honorable outlawry and corrupted justice. The storytelling had a classic feel to it, comfortable to read, and a bittersweet twist at the end that I did not see coming.

Mercury on Guard by Steve Rzasa

Mercury on Guard — I heard about this book through the Realm Makers Awards ceremony last year, and it sounded fun. And since I’ve begun branching into sci-fi I figured this was a safe bet. I won that bet. I mean, smarmy protagonist? Fiendish jelly-octopi monsters? Dimensional rifts? Sign me up. There were a lot of things about this story that were pretty cool, and the battle scenes are intense. Mercury is a guy I both enjoyed reading and wanted to slap once or twice; a hero who is more in touch with the antihero than the Boy Scout. Refreshing. The characters were diverse, with motives that took me by surprise. I didn’t see the twists coming. The only real bummer for me was the prevalence of typos and the inconsistency with tense. Otherwise it was an exciting read, a great story about sacrifice and hope, believing in and fighting for something greater than yourself. About family, belonging, and pizza.

Trollhunters by Daniel Kraus

Trollhunters — I discovered the show first, while scrolling through Netflix, and loved it. So of course, when I learned it was based on a book, I HAD to read it. The two are very different, as per usual, but both are thoroughly enjoyable. The book is much darker, somehow blending a marked gruesomeness with whimsical flair and humor to tell an age-old story in a captivating and fresh way. I loved Tub and Jim and how they played off each other —  their dialogue is a riot. Blinky is quite possibly the best. His eloquence and trollish pride shines through in both written and animated characters. The narrative itself is also a work of art, vast in colorful descriptions that add a gritty light to the story. On a whole it was a delight, and over far too quickly.

The Tea Cyclopedia by Keith Souter

The Tea Cyclopedia — This is a nifty little book about tea, full of comprehensive information on the subject. Each section and chapter focuses on a different aspect, like history, science (with cool experiments), etiquette, RECIPIES, etc. I learned some neat things, and will definitely be referring back to it in the future. If tea is your jam, I would recommend adding this to your collection.

Oath of the Outcast by C.M. Banschbach

Oath of the Outcast — A whole lot of YES. Great story, the bonds of brotherhood, wisecracking dialogue, a dour protagonist loved by his men, roguish outlaws, the very word ‘Highlands’ . . . y’all, there’s very little not to like. I thoroughly enjoyed the Scottish theme to the landscape and worldbuilding, as well as the hue of Robin Hood in the Mountain Baron and his outlaws – another plus. I mean, how can you possibly go wrong with a name like The Mountain Baron? I loved him from the tip of his pessimistic head to the tips of his grumpy toes. All in all, apart from typos like dandelion dust, the redundancy of certain gestures, and text formatting, I could not get enough of this book and its characters. Loved it to bits.

So! What have you been reading lately? Any new favorites? Old favorites? Have you read any of the books on this list? What are your thoughts? Any title on this list spark your interest? Do tell!

Published inBook Stuff


  1. I LOVED The Story of With so much!

    I did not know Trollhunters was a book?! How did I not know this? I loved the show, I shall have to find the book.

    Divine Summons, Mercury on Guard, and Oath of the Outcast are all on my TBR pile… and your reviews have re-intrigued me. I shall have to move them higher up the list!

    I’ve been reading a mix of old and new lately. LOTR – old, Pratchett – new, HL Burke’s superhero series – new, Goose Girl by Shannon Hale – old (but wow, I don’t remember it at all! It’s been a long time!), and The Kingkiller Chronicles, which is old and new, as I re-read Name of the Wind, but am not reading The Wise Man’s Fear for the first time. 🙂

    • Trollhunters is such an awesome book you’ll love it!? The others are great, too!

      Ooo, I’ve been meaning to re-read LOTR (and, like, a whole lot of others), but I keep getting distracted by all the plaintive stares from my stack of unreads, so . . . yeah. Someday, though! And don’t get me started on The Kingkiller Chronicle! I LOVED Name of the Wind SO MUCH. The Wise Man’s Fear? Not so much. The very beginning was great, as was the very ending, but a huge chunk in the middle was less than awesome for me. Kinda slow, kinda boring, and . . . a bit uncomfortable. But ?‍♀️. I’ll be flabbergasted if book 3 ever comes out, but at least TWMF ends well enough that the wait isn’t excruciating.

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