A couple weeks ago, Greg and I did something a bit crazy for us. We booked a last minute mini-vacation at the beach. We left on a Friday after work (around 1pm), drove 5 hours to Savannah, and spent the night in a cheap hotel (one of the ones that seemed less murder-y online). And then woke up super early and headed out to the beach at Tybee Island. By 9am, we were soaking up some rays (after liberally applying sunscreen). We read, went for a swim, walked along the beach, and even gave in impromptu marine biology lesson to two little girls about sand-dollars–And all that before lunch!
We headed back towards Savannah for lunch and ate at Wiley’s Barbecue — which was the first place we found that was easily accessible. It wound up being one of the top rated BBQ places in the country (and #1 in GA) according to TravelAdvisor. And OH MAN, did they deserve it. Not only was the BBQ super-delicious, all the sides were mouth-wateringly good. I’m drooling now just remembering it…
Anyhoo, after lunch, we headed to Fort Pulaski and spent the afternoon there (those pictures will come later). By 3pm we were back on the road, heading home.
June 21st is the longest day of the year, the first day of summer. I never knew that we could fit so much fun into less than 36 hours. It was a single day that was well worth the drive there and back again.
Trapped is the fifth full-length book in Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid series. I “read” the audio version narrated by Luke Daniels, who adds so much life and character to the stories that I cannot imagine how else the characters would sound.
The Iron Druid series has been great, and this addition is no exception. Trapped fast forwards in time, and it takes place 12 years after the events of the previous book. In it, the last druid, Atticus O’Sullivan, has finished training his apprentice Granuaile, and it is time to bind her to the earth. To do so, they need to be in a place where they can be undisturbed and in touch with the earth for months while Atticus tattoos the magical wards into Granuaile’s skin. But of course the peace cannot last. Atticus is being hunted down not only by Loki, the Norse god of Mischief, who has broken free of his bondage, but also by Bacchus, dark elves, and crotchety vampires—all for varying, though somewhat related, reasons. Atticus and Granuaile, along with Oberon, the trusty Irish wolfhound who doubles as sidekick and comedic relief, must set out to rid themselves of all these distractions to complete the binding ritual.
Oh, and they have to kill Fenris, a monstrous wolf of the Norse mythos.
All of the Iron druid books are filled with story, conflict, and humor. These elements are all expertly wove together by Hearne and brought to life by Luke Daniels. If you have not read this series yet, and are interested, please consider the audiobook!
Irish Facts is a little bitty coffee table book coming in at a total of 64 pages. It’s quite simply what the name implies–a book of facts. Each page has three to five trivia-worthy snippets of info that have been gathered and assembled by Meghan O’Rourke. It took me about 15 minutes in total to read.
So why did I sit down and actually read through this book? I figured I might come across one or two things I didn’t know about before that I might possibly put into the novel that Greg and I are working on–It’s about fairies, dontcha know. And I did come across a few things that peaked my interest.
I do have to admit, though, I completely skimmed over the part that include what famous people were born in Ireland and which ones had Irish parents–I just wasn’t interested in reading that and it wasn’t relevant to my research.
As far as the information–it’s quick and shallow, but I wasn’t expecting Britannica quality articles. This little book served its purpose and because it was so short, and I was able to take a few notes, I didn’t feel like it was a time waster. It’s a good one to keep on the back of your guest bathroom toilet.
As many times as I’ve been to Vogel State Park, I’ve never been on any other trail other than the waterfall/lake one. Apparently they have a few others, one of which is called Bear Hair–and there’s no way I was ignoring a trail with that awesome name. It’s a 3.5 mile loop that starts in Vogel State Park, but winds about in the Blood Mountain Wilderness/National forest area. There are a few climbs, and because of this, I would rate it moderate to slightly difficult. But it is a fun one. If you do it, make sure you take the short detour that takes you to the very tip top of the mountain that is supposed to over-look the park (but it’s a bit grown up), but the view and happy endorphins are worth it.
Kevin Hearne’s fourth installment of the Iron Druid Chronicles, Tricked, is a stark improvement over the previous title. I mainly believe it’s because Oberon and his witticisms are back in full force, but also, the story itself leads to a bit of closure.Tricked ties up several loose ends, but still leaves enough intriguing story lines available for additional books.
The book opens with Atticus faking his own death, with the help of Coyote. Coyote’s price for his help is that Atticus must move gold to a certain place in the local reservation so that the locals could open up a mine, and invest that capital into creating clean, renewable energy—wind and solar power—which sounds a bit too good to the druid.
Of course it’s not that simple. Nothing ever is. Hearne’s Iron Druid books do not lack for story. Within each book, there’s a central storyline and about an additional 4-5 subplots going on. In the case of Tricked, the main story is about the wrath of two skinwalkers who are terrorizing the Indians on the reservation. Also involved in this story are vampires, Hel (of the Norse mythos), draugr (aka, crazy strong undead dudes also of the Norse Mythos), several angry thunder gods of different pantheons, and probably others that I’m forgetting. There’s a lot going on, but Hearne manages to keep everything straight. Luckily, most of the subplots get resolved quickly and don’t drag on to butt heads with the main storyline.
I’m glad that this series of books was recommended to me, and I too recommend them to others, especially if you like The Dresden Files, ancient mythologies, or just plain ol’ good, fun stories. I recommend the audio version read by Luke Daniels, his reading and characterizations are perfect!
Dragonquest is the second book in the Pern series by Anne McCaffrey. It is the continuing story of the Dragonriders of Pern and their battle against the Threads that fall from the sky. Even with the reinforcements they brought through time, the dragonriders are getting tired, and tensions and infighting are growing rapidly. Brother F’lar and F’nor, along with weyrwomen Lessa and Brekke, search to find new answers to a problem many, many Turns old.
While this book certainly presented slightly more character development and depth than the first one, I still couldn’t find myself really getting into the story. The women are either flat or utterly contemptible. The men are mostly pigheaded and stubborn. F’nor is the only one of the human characters I really could identify with. The dragons, however, are quite intriguing, though they don’t really play a huge part character-wise. Their insights and quips are what really move the story forward. They seem wiser and more natural than the people riding them.
I have nothing but respect for Anne McCaffrey, especially for her being a woman in a field that was completely dominated by men back when she was writing these books (and still is, to some extent). The Pern books are pillars of the sci-fi and fantasy genre. But for all that, I just don’t love the books themselves. They’re good, but not frenzied fangirl inducing (at least to little ol’ me).