I was privileged to take a "Steampunk Hearts" class last Friday with Christi at the CHA Craft SuperShow. She did an excellent job of bringing the begi...moreI was privileged to take a "Steampunk Hearts" class last Friday with Christi at the CHA Craft SuperShow. She did an excellent job of bringing the beginners up to speed with the basics, while allowing the more experienced poly clay artists the freedom to move at their own pace. She was sweet, patient, eager to answer questions, and encouraging of everyone's efforts. Plus, I love an instructor who isn't afraid to make fun of themselves.
This book is terrific for beginner & intermediate poly clay artists. The instructions are thorough & easy to follow with lots of tips and extra ideas sprinkled along the way. The book shows the basic instructions to create a dragon pendant, and then has follow-up sections on adding techniques to vary the embellishments, the styles of dragons, and different uses (pendants, pins, statues), etc. She also gives her dragons little stories, and uses one as an alternate narrator, which was a nice twist too.(less)
Book 3 of The Phoenix Chronicles (Any Given Doomsday and Doomsday Can Wait are Books 1 & 2) -- Despite Psychic/Shape-shifter/Vampire Elizabeth (Li...moreBook 3 of The Phoenix Chronicles (Any Given Doomsday and Doomsday Can Wait are Books 1 & 2) -- Despite Psychic/Shape-shifter/Vampire Elizabeth (Liz) Phoenix's efforts, somehow the Gates of Hell have been opened and the Apocalypse is at hand. Demons are flooding the earth and if Liz can't prevent Satan from taking control, humanity will end. Her newly acquired vampire abilities are her secret weapon against the demon hoards, but she still needs to acquire the Key of Solomon and the Book of Samyaza (Satan) to stave off the Apocalypse -- without losing herself to her inner demon. With the aid of her ex-lover Jimmy Sanducci and mysterious Navajo shaman Sawyer, Liz discovers that someone she thought was dead isn't and will destroy everyone Liz loves to bring about the Apocalypse.
I've really enjoyed this series and am looking forward to Handeland's 4th novel Chaos Bites. (less)
I have loved and read most of Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels -- they are, in fact, one of my favorite series. However, there was a period of time when I...moreI have loved and read most of Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels -- they are, in fact, one of my favorite series. However, there was a period of time when I stopped reading them, and I haven't read a dragon-centric novel in a long time. Except for an excerpt from Dragon Haven (the second book and current release in the Rain Wild Chronicles), the last dragon novel I read was Christopher Paolini's Eldest. While I thoroughly enjoyed his first novel Eragon, Eldest was a struggle for me to finish, and I've yet to read Brisingr to finish the series. After that, I decided to avoid dragon themed novels.
I am happy to say that while I haven't read any other Robin Hobbs novels, Dragon Keeper hearkens back to McCaffrey's ability to create a fully realized world filled with interesting, well-developed characters. Proof of that is my interest in reading her other series to see how they fit into this one.
Due to the title, I was under the impression that this novel was going to be centered on dragon keeper Thymara and her relationship with the dragons, so initially I did find it odd that it also focuses heavily on self-proclaimed dragon scholar Alise. Fortunately, Alise's story is interesting not only in her struggle to make something of herself, but also in comparison to Thymara. Thymara is a child of the Rain Wild canopy lifestyle and due to physical deformities is ostracized by her people. Alise, on the other hand, is the curious and intelligent daughter of a trader family, but her plain looks and book smarts set her apart from her shallower contemporaries who focus on parties, frilly dresses, and finding a husband. Both are outsiders who leave their old lives behind for a chance at adventure through meeting the Cassarick dragons and helping to lead them to the legendary Elderling city of Kelsingra. Hobbs' does an excellent job of describing the societies of the merchants, the people of Rain Wilds, and the recently hatched dragons, while building engaging characters within each Despite the focus on building this world, the novel is a page turner without bogging the reader down with endless pages of description or dialogue that doesn't move the plot forward.
My only disappointment ... since this story focuses primarily on the background and character development of Thymara and Alise, the journey to discover Kelsingra has only begun when the novel ends. Therefore, I am anxious to continue this trip by reading Dragon Haven.(less)
Dragon Haven begins right where Dragon Keeper left off (which was in the midst of some action, and for this reason, I don't recommend reading this ser...moreDragon Haven begins right where Dragon Keeper left off (which was in the midst of some action, and for this reason, I don't recommend reading this series out of order). Having temporarily stopped their trek up the Rain Wilds River to find the ancient Elderling city of Kelsingra, the dragon keepers, dragon scholar Alise, and Captain Leftrin are trying to help the sickly copper dragon recover before moving onward. But secrets amongst the keepers, the hunters, and the crew of the Liveship Tarman are brewing; the dragons are growing stronger and more volatile; and the hardships that the Rain Wild River keeps throwing at the expedition are threatening to tear the group apart. Whereas Dragon Keeper introduces the reader to these characters and their expectations, Dragon Haven poses the question of whether they will find out if Kelsingra is real by locating the ancestral home of the dragons and Elderlings or will they just die trying.
Hobb did such a fabulous job of creating engaging characters and immediately enveloping the reader into the world of Dragon Keeper that moving straight into the action and intrigue of Dragon Haven is eagerly anticipated. My only complaint is having to wait to find out what will happen hereafter because I really want to spend more time with these characters. Without a doubt, this is the best Dragon series that I've read since Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels. (less)
I finally started reading the "free samplers" that Penguin/Ace/Roc Books distributed at SDCC 2009. Several novels seemed promising, this being one of...moreI finally started reading the "free samplers" that Penguin/Ace/Roc Books distributed at SDCC 2009. Several novels seemed promising, this being one of the most intriguing.
I really, really enjoyed it. Great characters, great story and lots of action -- just what I'm looking for in UF books! I hope that Huff decides to expand on this world and give us more tales about Alysha & the Gale family, because I will be waiting to read them!(less)