18 August 2010

I have returned!

Hello again, fellow bloggers and passers by! I'm back from my little excursion to Egypt, and what a trip it was! I shall blog about my experience soon (in a 3 part epic, no less), but for now I'm here to announce some alterations to Mithril Wisdom. I thank the guest bloggers who've contributed to this blog while I was away. I figured since I've been away and have now come back, now is the time to tinker with things a little bit.

  • I am going to redo my labelling system so things can be categorized a lot easier. Here's a few examples of what I mean:
    • Self Indulgence - This is when I post about me and my experience. Hopefully it'll still be good stuff, so bear with me.
    • Blog-o-sphere - This will be anything to do with the blog itself, or specifically referring to other blogs and their links/articles etc.
    • Reviews - This will be more or less unchanged, though as well as fiction and movie, I intend to include a DVD review (where I review the special features as well as the movie), TV show reviews, more video game reviews and a CD review (this will be almost exclusively power/progressive/symphonic metal, but I'm wide open to suggestions).
    • None of my Business - Things that aren't fantasy in any way shape or form will end up here. Mostly science fiction, no doubt.
    • Flash fiction - I'll try to post up some flash fiction every week.
    • Trailers - more than just movie trailers, I'll be posting book trailers and trailers for TV shows too.
  • I'll probably go back to my older posts/reviews and give them all the same format. In the beginning I changed the layout with every review, so I want to make them all consistent.
  • The first Mithril Wisdom award with be given out pretty soon too.... when I figure out what it's going to be for and how it's gonna look like, hehe.
That's all the changes for now. If any of you have any suggestions then please let me know. It's good to be back!

13 August 2010

Bitten by the True Blood Bug by Karla J M Brading

True Blood Tru Blood promo

Throw your copy of Twilight in the bin and forget about it. If you want something that really puts a fire in the blood, then sink your teeth into the absolutely fang-tastic series, True Blood. I promise you, these vampires are far from soppy, sentimental teens!

Based on the novels by Charlaine Harris, the title is derived from her invention of a synthetic blood, designed by the Japanese (naturally) to help sustain vampires who have - for want of a better term - come out of the closet.

Set in Bon Temps, True Blood is a hugely entertaining depiction of what life might be like if vampires and humans lived harmoniously together - though the harmonious side of it is debatable. There are those who oppose viciously and actively to vampire rights and there are those who aren’t entirely afraid to admit they find vampires sexually appealing.

Enter Sookie Stackhouse. Beautiful, blonde and bubbly; she’s a waitress at Merlotte’s and has a hell of a time socialising with friends or playing the ‘dating game’ due to her troublesome mind-reading ability. I mean, what self-respecting young woman would want to sit there and eat dinner with a guy who just leers at her and repeatedly thinks, ‘I wanna fuck... I wanna fuck her so badly,’ before they've even reached dessert? It’s no wonder she’s stayed single her whole life!

And so, when handsome, old-fashioned Bill Compton arrives - the first vampire to settle in town - Sookie finds the silence of his undead mind fascinatingly alluring and his fangs, a real turn on.

A vampire’s blood, when drank or injected in small doses, can boost a persons sex drive to unforgettable levels - ironically making blood-suckers victims to being drained and left for dead. But in some cases, their blood can be used to heal injuries - a real stroke of luck for Sookie Stackhouse, who seems to get herself into bucket loads of nightmarish incidents each week.

But True Blood is not for the faint hearted. If you like your vampires to be sweet vegetarians with gelled hair, golden eyes and sparkly skin then this show will NOT tickle your fancy.

To say it’s graphic is an understatement.

Though there are plenty of touching moments (vampires aren't all doom and gloom you know!) there are also scenes where it gets borderline pornographic and you'll find yourself getting all hot around the collar. 

But in my opinion, that’s where this show really hits the nail on the coffin.

This is how vampires should be and there isn't a moment that goes by when I'm not gripping my seat with anticipation, or hooting and cheering when the characters start to *cough* well... you get the idea.

If you like your hunks with bite, your women strong and admirable, your relationships a tangled mess of life and death situations and you aren’t shy of a few naked torsos, then the question on my lips is: Why haven’t you watched True Blood already?

[image source]

Karla J.M. Brading
Karla Brading has a 1st Class Honours Degree in Creative and Professional Writing; she models as a hobby, as well as paints and if she has the time, writes the occasional book review for Buzzmag, Cardiff. You can follow her on her Twitter profile.
See all posts by Karla J. M. Brading

6 August 2010

Top 10 favourite authors by M.L. Chesley

Hi there!  My name is Mel.  I go by Caledonia Lass over on my blog: “Writings, Musings and Other Such Nonsense”.  I'm a fantasy author by day and well, that's about it.  I do have a household to run with my hubby, kids and cats.  The cats are worse than the kids sometimes.

Anyway, while Jamie is away having a wonderful time, I offered to give him a guest post.  I'd like to give you my top Ten fave fantasy authors.  Why fantasy?  I've always been interested in fantasy.  I like making up new places and plopping people down in the middle of their nowhere and sending beasties after them.  I played Dungeons and Dragons for a long time and loved making up my own campaigns.

Okay, so enough about me, let's get on with the list shall we?

10 – I'd have to say... Melanie Rawn.  I would have put her closer to the top of my list at one point, but now she's here at the bottom.  I loved her Dragon Prince books and looked forward to her next series.  I believe she was two books into the newest series and suddenly things got put on hold.  I have yet to find the rest of it.  I look every so often.  However, while in the supermarket one day, I stopped to check out the books.  She had a new one out, but guess what?  She had jumped on the Vampy bandwagon.  Yep.  She wrote a vampire story.  Agh!  So, there is my rant to go along with this blog.

9 – Mercedes Lackey.  Now, if you are a huge fan of hers, bear with me for having her so low on my list.  I have just barely begun to read any of her work.  I like her style and have enjoyed the few books I have read, but she's quickly becoming a favorite.

8 – Jennifer Roberson.  She's kind of low on the list as well, again because I haven't read much of her work, but what I have read, I like.  I first discovered her while reading “The Golden Key”, written by her, Melanie Rawn and Kate Elliot.

7 – Brian Jacques.  Anyone who can write fantasy and use little furry creatures to do it is okay in my book!  “Redwall” is the first one I have read and I am currently waiting on find the rest.  I have a few, but not all.  So when I am done with them, I will finally be a happy little camper.

6 – Terry Brooks.  I like some of his books, though admittedly, not all.  But I cherish the ones I have read.

5 – Robert Jordan.  I have to include this fantasy icon.  I had started reading the “Wheel of Time” books some years back, then sort of stopped while waiting for the next book to come out.  So yet again I am waiting til I have them all before moving on.  But I do enjoy his writing style!

4 – J. K. Rowling.  She's fantasy as far as I am concerned.  I adore the Harry Potter books and anyone who can get millions of kids into reading definitely deserves to be on anyone's top ten list.  Her world, while most of it was already available to her, has its own unique flavor.  Her writing and her books grew with her target audience as well as with Harry.  I cannot wait to read more of her work whether it is Potter related or otherwise.

3 – Raymond E. Feist.  If you have not read “Faerie Tale” by Feist, you are SO missing out!!!  That was his first book I read.  After that I was hooked.  I love his writing style and his sense of humor.

2 – David Eddings.  All I can say is, “Wow” and all I can do is grovel at the man's feet for continuing a story like Garion's on for 10 books + two more for Belgarath and Polgara.  The history in his books is rich and full.  A creation like his is one most fantasy authors strive for, but sometimes fail at mastering.

1 – J. R. R. Tolkien.  Come on now, I'm a fantasy author.  You knew this was coming!  However, I do confess this every time I speak of being a fantasy author.  I never read Tolkien's work until the first movie came out.  ::Shame::  Feel free to slap my wrist.  Even after being told I had a Tolkien-esque style, I did not pick up his books.  But you better believe that after the first movie, all books were devoured before the second movie came out.  Tolkien is a master as well!  In my opinion, the Father of Fantasy.  He took fairy tales and folklore and ran with it!  Creating his own languages... one can only hope to aspire to be like Tolkien.

Okay, so we've finally come to the end.  I hope I have not bored you too awful much.  Leave complaints with Jamie.  Just kidding!  However, if you feel up to it, drop by my blog sometime.  I'm currently in hiatus myself as I have family visiting me up here in Alaska and am in the process of moving and getting settled in.  

About the author
M. L. Chesley is an Alaska based author, online blogger and MMORPG junkie. She has been writing fantasy for several years. Between writing, work and family she barely has time for much gaming, but some days, raids take precedence over all.
You can follow her on her Google+ or Twitter profiles.
See all posts by M.L. Chesley

1 August 2010

Review - Dante's Journey by JC Marino (Star Publish)

Dante's Journey
Dante's Journey by JC Marino
Published by Star Publish
Paperback - 368 pages
Published February 2010
Review copy given by the author

Dante's Journey is based on the original vision of Hell taken from Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy. Joe Dante, a Boston cop from the 1960's, finds himself in Hell after pursuing drug lord Filippo Argenti, the man Dante believes is responsible for murdering his family. Guided by the mysterious Virgil, Dante must traverse the nine Circles of Hell in order to gain the vengeance that he desires, battling all that Hell can unleash at him in the process.

As a fan of all things Inferno, I was keen to see what the environment of Hell would be like in this novel, and how the different circles would be interpreted, given this more modern twist. Dante's Journey does not disappoint. From the innocence of Limbo and the turbulent winds of Lust to the Wood of the Suicides and the Ice Plains of the Traitors, each level of Hell is captured wonderfully, portraying the irony that links each sinner to their eternal fate. What works particularly well in this is that Dante meets people from the past as well as the future, so the reader can see how the Nine Circles would work in today's world. The heavy metal frontman and the New York agent were particularly effective as showing people who were completely alien to Dante's worldview but could engage with the reader.

The character of Joe Dante himself is also excellent. His development from a sassy, dry humoured cop to his final revelations at the end of his journey is brilliantly portrayed, and even during his darkest moments you find yourself rooting for him at all times. His interactions with people from his own past are poignant, and aid his development throughout his journey.

A great addition to the story are the 'thoughts of home' chapters that deal with the weeks preceding Dante's descent into Hell. Here the reader is given trickles of information that take them one way and then the other, adding twists and turns as the story unfolds for both them and for Dante. These chapters are intrinsically tied in with Dante's character flaws and his assumptions, and make his revelations all the more heartwarming.

The pacing of the novel is excellent. The further Dante descends, the more frantic things become. Once Hell's minions are onto him, the action becomes more intense with each level. There are great cat-and-mouse chases as well as periods of suspense as Dante attempts to leave Hell whilst at the same time avoid the demons who are after his head.

Dante's Inferno is an insanely addictive novel that does justice to the original Inferno while at the same time injecting a new energy and intensity that won't allow you to put it down. From start to finish, your soul will be forfeit to the amazing adventure that is Dante's Journey.

You can also find this review at Prinkipria and GoodReads.