Throne of Glass series

Aren’t they beautiful?

Sara J Maas. Have you heard the name yet? If not, you need to know that shes a brilliant author! She’s written the Court of Thorn of Roses trilogy and the Throne of Glass series. It’s the latter that I want to talk about today, since the last book of the series comes out in October! Kingdom of Ash has so many storylines to wrap up and it will have to be the most epic thing she’s written!

Throne of Glass, technically, starts with the book Assassin’s Blade. It is not one long story, but rather five short novellas that are a kind of prequel. You are introduced to characters who become important later on. I really recommend this as your starting point!

The first real book is Throne of Glass. It stars Celaena Sardothian, an amazingly efficient and smart alec assassin, the very best of Adarlan, who is released from the salt mines, where she was a slave. Her freedom comes at a price though, she must enter a competition to become the king’s champion (assassin). Prince Dorian and his friend Chaol, the captain of the guard, bring her back to the kingdom. The competition reveals many of the kingdom’s secrets, which sets up the rest of the series.

Crown of Midnight, book two, still follows Celaena through new adventures and devastating heartbreak. Characters we love leave us, causing Celaena to start down a new path, or a very old one, depending on how you look at it.

Heir of Fire brings Celaena to a new kingdom, new characters, and secrets revealed. Rowan, a fae warrior, comes on to the scene and he is a very harsh male. I will ask you to be gentle with him, he has reasons to be the way he is.

Queen of Shadows brings even more new characters, new problems to be solved. Celaena, or Aelin, is trying to do the right thing, for both her friends, and the kingdom, but her means are unbelievably crazy. The plans work out though, so stay with her to the end!

Empire of Storms will break your heart. It is amazing, and we get to know some older characters much better. Elide and Lorcan are my personal favorite as far as unlikely allies. There are many of them in this book. Enemies work together to try and stop a greater evil and ot makes for a great deal of reader entertainment! Remember, heart break, but worth it!

Tower of Dawn made a lot of readers angry. It’s just as brilliantly written as everything else, but at the end of Empire of Storms you have beloved characters in dire straights, only to skip back in time. We join Chaol on the southern continent and meet a whole new cast of characters. Chaol and Nesryn, another character from Adarlan, are in Antica to heal Chaol’s injury, and to hopefully raise an army to fight the evil trying to take over. Give this book a chance and, if nothing else, tell yourself that you need to know these characters before Kingdom of Ash!

Enjoy the books! They are beautiful and the although the stories can pull at your heart, they will also lift you up. My two favorite quotes from this entire series are

“The world will be saved and remade by the dreamers.”

and

“You could rattle the stars. You could do anything, if only you dared.”

Those two quotes can see you through almost anything, and there are many more inspiring quotes to be had. Along with funny and quippy ones. Have you read these books? What did you think?

Sara J Maas Nerdy Post Box

Geeking out hard today!

Today in the mail I got my first Nerdy Post box in the mail! I have recently discovered these geek boxes and this is already my second Sara J Maas one. It’s such a thrill when they come in!

Morrigan quote shirt

I knew I had to get this box as soon as I saw the shirt that was included. This gorgeous Morrigan quote shirt features Illyrian wings and the three peaks and three stars of Rhysand’s tattoo. Nevermind the fact that the quote is super inspirational!

Being an awesome geek box it also included the following goodies. All of them totally swoon-worthy for a true Sara J Maas fan!

Double sided bookmark. Featuring Rowaelin and Feysand.

Carranam lip balm. Carranam is someone you can link magic with.

Beautiful Starfall enamel pin.

Amazing postcards featuring cities in both series and a coloring one.

Two quote cards, one about Aelin and one about Celaena.

Beautiful quote poster.

Really pretty sticker.

As you can see, Nerdy Post did an amazing job putting this box together!

Have you ever gotten a nerdy or geeky box? What was your favorite? If you could get one, what would you want the theme to be?

Reading Log Progress

Are there any avid readers among us? I am a fanatic when it comes to books. All kinds! Romance, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, etc. I’ve yet to find a genre that I can’t enjoy at least a little. I do of course have my favorite genres and authors, but all books deserve to be appreciated!

Last year, another reader friend of mine from Romania (ah the wonders of the internet era), was flabbergasted that I would reread old books when there were at least six series that I HAD to read. So late last year I promised her that I would not reread a single book this year. Everything would be a first time read.

Here we are, the end of August and I have read 78 new books so far. Not all have been full length novels, some are short novellas. Cassandra Clare is releasing a series of Shadowhunter novellas this year, leading up to Queen of Air and Darkness this November, and I love me some Clare!

My reading log notebook

I’ve always known myself to be a quick reader, jumping all in with a story, but seeing it laid out like this I can’t help but be amazed at myself. That’s a lot of freaking books!

I’ve discovered new authors, new worlds, and new fandoms. It’s a beautiful thing to fall in love with a world and then connect with others who love it as much as you do.

Do you keep track of the books you read? Set goals for yourself? This is my first year giving myself a guideline of any kind for reading, and I’m enjoying it immensely!

Some of my favorite books/series that I’ve reviewed here:

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Bloodlines

Caught Up

Vampire Academy

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

The Fault in Our Stars

The Mortal Instruments

The Infernal Devices

In Death Saga

Lords of the Underworld

And shockingly, I haven’t reviewed any of the series I’ve read this year! The world of reading is deep and wide, dive in!

Pagan Pride Festival

Today the family, friend, and I hit the 9th annual Pagan Pride Festival and we had a blast. I am a Christian, born and raised, and I still hold those beliefs. I will say that we had a ton of fun though and plan to go back next year.

Goodies from the Festival

My son collects rocks, and they had a large selection of stones, rocks, and crystals for him to choose from. My husband, brother, and son like sharp things, so they purchased assorted knives. My daughter is a fairy freak, so she got a tiny pewter fairy statue and a star shaped jar of pixie dust. I got myself a Pagan Pride tank top and have a beautiful new paper towel holder made by a local blacksmith.

Needless to say the artisans, vendors, and local shops represented were amazing!

They had food trucks there that had an amazing selection and I had myself an early dinner.

We waited till Sunday to go because I wanted to see Tuatha Dea perform and was not disappointed. They had a wide selection of songs, from Irish choices to Rhiannon, a personal favorite.

We’re definitely planning to go back next year! I do want to add that these are happy people. No one was rude, or snide. There was no judgement for anyone, no matter who they were there with, what they were wearing, or how they looked in general. Don’t be quick to judge someone based on their beliefs. Not every pagan is a satanist, not every Christian is judgmental, and everyone deserves to be weighed (not judged) by their own merits.

Solar Eclipse August 8th, 2017

So how many of you were able to view any part of the eclipse a few days ago? I learned about it a few weeks ago, and decided this was something I wanted the kids to experience. Luckily, totality was visible a few short hours from where my parents live in North Carolina. It was a little funny because my kids started school on Wednesday, went Thursday, then I pulled them out Friday through Tuesday for this trip. Their teachers were all for it, it is kind of like a science field trip after all! 

This was the best picture I was able to get with my phone

It’s been 26 years since I was able to experience an eclipse, and it has been weird for me this time around listening to everyone freaking out. Schools in our area of Ohio were basically having a lock down, keeping all the kids inside during the entire event. When I was in school, we made eclipse viewers to watch the event with. Glasses were readily available, but people were against using them for fear of eye damage, a valid argument, yes, but a little research could’ve allowed anyone to watch this event.

We watched the eclipse from Lee State Park near Bishopville, SC. The rangers there had information about the eclipse available, crafts to entertain kids leading up to totality, and it was at a park, so it was a nice place to relax and enjoy during the event.

Allowing you to see the progress without staring at the sun

My kids especially enjoyed this eclipse viewer the rangers had, as it made seeing the progress very easy. No constant on and off with your glasses.

Almost at totality

Given our location, we had a short window of the sun being completely dark, and the experience was amazing. Night bugs started calling, nature seemed to hold it’s breath in confusion for a few moments, then the sun came back out and normality resumed.

Everything went dark

Arthur was amazed! Chiara was less than thrilled, but enjoyed being outside for the whole time, and the crafts. 

I know we’re all looking forward to the next one in seven years. Luckily no travel will be involved as we already live in the path of totality!

Ridiculously simple, but my favorite craft, made with chalk

Take Down the Monster

This game ended up being more fun than I expected. When I first had this idea, my Pinterest brain immediately jumped to cutting shapes out of a tarp for targets. Then Tony informed me that our soccer goal has this attachment with cut outs already in it. Awesome!

Start by having the kids make monster faces. If you know anything about Sailor Moon, you’ll know that the monsters range from scary, to pretty, to just plain weird. I just had ovals, kid-face sized, ready for the kids to draw on. Then attach a string to the face to hang on your monsters on your target.
I hit the Dollar General for some flying rings, the frisbee rings, whatever you want to call them. Another Sailor Moon tidbit, for those who don’t know, when fighting monsters, Sailor Moon takes her tiara off, it begins to spin, then she throws it like a frisbee. Once your monsters are attached to your targets, the kids can now line up and throw frisbees at the monsters, just like Sailor Moon!

Take down the Imperial Tie Fighters

I think of all the games we played at Arthur’s party, this was the biggest hit. Nothing more fun than shooting Nerf guns after all! 

First things first, you need to make your Tie Fighters. I just used cardboard and super glue. It may not seem sturdy, but these held up to a deluge after the party was over! You cut out your hexagon ends, then a connecting piece with a circular shape in the middle. Super glue the pieces together as shown, then spray paint them black and you’re set!

To mount these Tie Fighters, I skewered them with simple wooden grilling skewers and stuck the skewers into garden stakes. They spun around in the wind, and the effect was really cool!
To finish up this game prep, just gather your Nerf guns and let the kids open fire. When we had a little time leftover, this is what most of the kids went back to. No higher praise among 10 year olds!
Have fun, and stay strong in your fight against the Empire!

Blast the Landing Pad

This is another game that I pulled together last minute and meant to play up a little more. *sigh* Remember the scene from Rogue One where the rebels have landed on Skariff and they are setting off bombs on the different landing pads to create a distraction? That’s what I was going for here. 
All you need for this game is:

• landing pads  (I used wire baskets from dollar general)

• water balloons (these are fun bombs for kids when it’s nice outside)

• a marker for the kids to stand behind (I used the signs my kids got from school for being awesome)
Then you line the kids up and have the kids try to bomb the landing pads. My baskets kept flipping over when they were hit, so if we do this again we’ll have to weigh them down. You also have to watch the kids like hawks to ensure they don’t try to throw balloons at each other. My husband also thought it was funny to throw them over the house when we were all playing in the back yard. He almost got one of the moms! 
Have some fun, maybe decorate the baskets like landing pads, but enjoy some Rogue One fun!

Activate the Com Switch

I will be the first to say that I pulled the Rogue One games together last minute! That being said, Pinterest had no useable ideas for party games with this theme. I know, I was surprised too. Everything Pinterest gave me had a Jedi theme to them, which Rogue One does not have. My son’s choice, but as my sweet baby Arthur turned 10 this year, I had to wing it! I was playing around with assorted ideas for what would work and here is the first one I came up with.
Remember the scene where Chirrut crosses the open space, while Storm Troopers are firing, chanting “I am one with the Force, the Force is with me”, and manages to activate the Com switch? I decided to have the kids walk a plank of wood, blindfolded, and they had to slap the “com switch”, in this case a Foldgers coffee can. As much fun as it would be to be shooting at the kids while they were walking, I thought that would’ve been a bit much.

I was working with what I had on hand, so the board probably should’ve been a bit longer, but it was funny to watch them wave their arms around trying to find the coffee can.
All you need for this game to work is:

•a plank of wood, wide enough for the kids to walk on safely (probably best to leave it on the ground to avoid potential injury)

•a stick (more to simulate Chirrut in the movie, but it can be used to find the Com switch)

•a blindfold (we are simulating a blind guy after all)

•a small table or stool with a switch or something the kids can smack (try to aim for waist height on the kids)
Then you’re good to go. Have fun with it. These kids sure did!

A Day At Disney Hollywood Studios

Our Disney trip was last summer and I still haven’t covered it all yet! Slacking off here!

Above is the planned itinerary for our day at Disney Hollywood. Of course it is just a plan, so things change, but the plan sure helped us get the most out of it!

The day started off early for Arthur and I. We got up and caught the bus from the campground to Disney Hollywood to be there before the park opened. I wanted to be sure Arthur was able to attend Jedi training! Once the doors opened, we quickly made our way over to Indiana Jones stunt show area and got Arthur signed up. Then we had a little time to kill before everyone else arrived.

I’m in the process of raising geeks, so Arthur made our way to the Star Wars side of Disney Hollywood. We had a lot of fun meeting some characters and checking out the amazing displays they had set up.

It was really nice to get in early. We were in and out of character meet and greets in no time. 

We made our way back to the park entrance to meet the rest of our party. Then it was a little bit of wandering in and out if buildings to avoid the sprinkling rain. The rain was a little nerve racking because it could cancel out Arthur’s Jedi training, so we were constantly checking the weather reports. Thankfully we were good to go!

Jedi training is amazing! During signups, they give you a time to come back, when you arrive, they give the kids a Jedi cloak and have them march to the stage. Once there, the kids are given lightsabers and taken through a series of moves as a group. It is a bit of a show too, with the teachers interacting initially with Darth Vader, the Seventh Sister Inquisiter, and Kylo Ren briefly. Then the kids are given the opportunity to face either Darth Vader or the Inquisitor individually. Big tip for this one: make sure your kid goes to the bathroom prior to this show as they hydrate them before going on stage!

We used our fast pass for this park to see the Indiana Jones Stunt Show. This was amazing! It was stuntmen and women reenacting scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Rolling boulders, flaming airplanes, whip work and people flying through the air! The kids and adults in our party were awed through the whole show. There is also some audience interaction when they pull some of the audience members on stage to be bystanders during some of the stunts. Definitely a show worth seeing!

Chiara had another fun princess interaction, just like at Epcot, when she got to walk away with Sophia the First. She was the last one in line before the princess’ break, so Sophia took her hand and walked away.

Our lunch was at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante. Delicious option for a meal, but truthfully this was probably a little too heavy for lunch. Especially if you will be walking around more in the summer heat of Florida. Large portions, friendly staff, delicious food! There is the added benefit of getting to reserve your seats for Fantasmic, the amazing Disney Hollywood show. We ended up missing the show because everyone was wiped, but mom and I had seen it on another visit, and the show is amazing!

Other highlights from the day included the kids, and my almost 30 year old brother, making their own lightsabers. Arthur made his to look like Kylo Ren’s, Chiara made herself a purple one to match my Mace Windu one. Josh, my brother, made himself a green one. 

We also rode Star Tours several times! This is an amazing ride that starts off as a tour through the galaxy, but you go astray, end up in a battle, facing Kylo Ren, and finally making it safely back to the start. Arthur, my sweet little Star Wars geek, loved this ride a lot!

We may not have followed our itinerary very closely, but we still had a blast. That is the most important part of vacation after all!