Towers of Midnight, Part III

JordanTowersOfMidnightBannerWelcome everyone to Book 13 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Towers of Midnight over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  is your host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments.  And Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers has intellect and teensy violins.

Sorry for posting late, late this week. I had a big show last weekend and this week I have been prepping for 2 smaller shows.

This week, we covered the Chapters 14-20. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. Egwene gets Nynaeve and Elayne to agree to obey her as Amyrlin. Then she slays a member of the Black Ajah and catches a glimpse of Alviarin. What do you think Alviarin is up to these days? How big a part will she continue to play? How will this turn of events change the relationship between our girls?

Well, it appears Alviarin is spying, but I am not sure if she is spying for herself or on someone else’s orders. I can’t recall if we have seen her in T’A’R before or not. I want to say, no. So perhaps she was given a dream ter’angreal by the Forsaken that ordered Sheriam to gather them up. If this is the case, then I expect we will see more of her.

I can see Elayne and Egwene coming at odds eventually. Elayne still refers to Egwene by her first name when chatting with the Kin, instead of using the title, Amyrlin. So, I think Elayne has some work to do. But Elayne is also looking at Emond’s Field and Two Rivers and seeing a potential ‘uprising’ there. Egwene being from there might be a bit peeved if Andor finally decides that the area truly does belong to the crown, after neglecting it for so long.

I think Nynaeve and Egwene will get on better and that there won’t be any major conflict until long after this series when Lan and Nynaeve are rulers and parents of the Golden Crane nation, newly reformed in the wake of saving the world.

2. Nynaeve heals madness. Will she be able to heal Rand? Does she even need to?

I tend to think the best healing comes with time and from the inside, but in this case, it wouldn’t hurt for Nynaeve to have a peak. If Rand is stable, then I think she should leave him be for the most part. After all, that bit of madness has brought his far, made him bolder, made him consider things he wouldn’t have before.

3. Sounds like Egwene wants to use herself as bait to capture Mesaana. Do you think this is wise? Will it work? Will she and Gawyn ever be married?

I am not convinced that Mesaana is running around the White Tower, so the ruse may only bring Seanchan assassins…..Still, there was that discussion about how an Aes Sedai could weave sounds and thereby trick everyone into ‘hearing’ them take the oaths on the oathrod. So if a Black Ajah slipped through the nets, she could tell Mesaana (if she isn’t there in person) and if Egwene sets up her trap loudly enough, word of the opportunity to take out Egwene could also get to Mesaana.

In short, if Mesaana falls for the trap, i expect it to work. We only have like 1.5 books left, so it’s time for some of our heroes to start capturing/killing the bad guys.

This is one of those series where the good guys get married and have kids. So, yes, I expect Gawyn and Egwene to get married – unless Gawyn dies. Then Egwene can feel bad for her very long life for having been so very harsh with him.

4. Ituralde seems to be in big trouble in the Borderlands. Do you think Rand will come through for him and keep his promise?

Yes! We need a superhero moment and this seems to be the perfect time and place for it. Plus, I like Iturlade and his fashion sense.

5. Berelaine and Faile have a heart to heart. Do you think their plan will work to dispel the rumors? Can they pull it off when they hate one another so much?

I think this will turn out to be one of those cutsy-wutsy female bonding things. At first the ladies will detest each other, but then through this ruse they will come to know each other and become true friends.

Personally, I think I would have enjoyed a duel much more.

6. What do you think of Mat and Elayne’s contract about Aludra’s dragons. Will this work? Cause contention?

I think it will work. After all, Aludra has more allegiance to Mat (more than she does to Elayne or anyone else we know of). If Aludra is smart, she has left out one or more important bits in those basic plans Mat handed over. With time, Elayne’s engineers could perfect it, but there isn’t time. So, they all need Aludra and Aludra likes Mat and still owes him for having her back a time or two.

Of course Elayne being bossy will cause contention and Mat’s skittishness about Aes Sedai and female leaders of any sort will make him contentious. But that is all part of the humor.

7. Share your thoughts–anything that stood out to you–on Nynaeve’s testing and her finally obtaining Lan’s bond.

I think most of the testers wanted to fail Nynaeve before she even stepped into the room. And those that didn’t at first probably wanted to take her down a few notches due to her ‘arrogance’. But I think she did very well. She couldn’t set aside the Aes Sedai cloak, even for this test, without taking away from Egwene’s authority (past and present).

That said, this test is suppose to be excruciatingly hard. I am not so sure it was any harsher than Moiraine’s raising. But having only seen two now, it is hard to say what is too harsh or not. I do believe Egwene should have to go through it at some point, even though she feels she has already been tested and proved her pace, etc. I think this kind of test provides deep insight for the one being tested and therefore is valuable to each woman on a personal level.

I am very, very happy that Lan and Nynaeve are finally Bonded! Perhaps each will sleep better at night, resting in each other’s minds. And the good sleep will make them each a bit less crabby.

Squatch having a snack

Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

I think Elayne is wise to give the Kin a home and a source of income in exchange for gateways (and free healing).

I really like how Egwene is hearing from multiple corners that the White Tower needs to evolve (or it will be left behind). Gawyn wants her to consider the Aes Sedai as a battle resource and the need for more Warders. Nynaeve wants her to consider that the love of someone/thing outside of the Tower balances the Aes Sedai, instead of weakening or distracting them.

Mat has given his medallion to Elayne for 3 whole days. Is he fucking insane? That is the only thing we know of that can harm the gholam, and that creature wants to harm Mat and/or his friends any way it can. I am a little worried!

Perrin & Faile shared some deep truths. Hooray! It’s been a long time since I felt that Faile was a worthy character, but I found her quite agreeable in this section.

Interview: Chris Bucholz, Author of Severance

BucholzSeveranceEveryone, please welcome Chris Bucholz. His book, Severance, jut launched via Apex Publishing! He made time to stop by and be interviewed. There’s plenty to entertain you in this one. Enjoy!

If you could run an obstacle course with 5 dead authors, who would you invite? Would there be a tasty drink involved?

Well that depends. If I’m competing against these other authors, I think I’d invite the weakest ones, ideally ones stricken by consumption. Kafka, Orwell, Chekhov, Keats. I think one of the Bronte sisters had it. And yes, for their own safety, I’d make sure they had plenty of fluids.

But if I’m cooperating with these authors, and physically rubbing up against or hoisting them places, then I’d probably steer clear of the sickly ones, because I don’t really need tuberculosis in my life right now. Let’s say the drinkers then. Hemingway, Chandler, Fitzgerald, Hemingway (again), and Faulkner. And sure there would be beverages, but only at the end of the course.

Reality in my fiction: how important is it? Lengthy travel, cussing, and bathroom breaks happen in real life. How do you address these mundane occurrences in your writings?

First and foremost, you have to give the reader a reason to turn the page. Whatever it is about your book that’s grabbed the reader by the neck, you have to keep giving it to them. If your readers are there for your fast paced plot, then no, there usually isn’t time for bathroom breaks. But if these mundane occurrences serve to illustrate some important aspect of character, theme, or setting, then yeah why not set something in the bathroom? Something interesting, which usually means something humiliating. Explosively humiliating perhaps.

What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

I briefly held a job where I had to call people on the phone and ask them to take a survey. I’m like a solid 2 or 3 out of 10 in terms of comfort level on the phone, so this wasn’t something I was very good at, and I spent an awful lot of my time there doing anything but. “I don’t think this is for you,” my boss told me. “And your crying is upsetting everyone.”

Writing is almost the exact opposite of a job like that, involving so much time sitting alone in a quiet room. I love it.

More and more we see fiction being multimedia – a book, a TV show, a PC game, a graphic novel. How do you see the publishing industry evolving to handle this trend? Any plans to take your works in the multimedia realm? 

Almost every work which ends up crossing different medias is still very much designed for one specific format first. It’s a movie first, then come the tie-in novels or games. Or vice versa. When writing something you can put in hooks, or design a setting that can be exploited by other media, but you still have to get that original work right first. And as far as I know, that’s what publishers are looking for: good books.

So yeah, my sole intent thus far has been to write good books first. And sure, I always have kind of dreamed about one of my novels getting turned into a really great breakfast cereal or something, but I haven’t let that affect my writing to the extent of putting in berry or marshmallow themed villains or anything.

In writing your bad guys, do you want the reader to enjoy hating on him/her, or do you want the reader to be waiting for that magical moment when they redeem themselves?

I’ve always tried to make antagonists their own character first. They’re the hero of their own story, and should have all the motivations and characterization needed for that. So I want the reader to hate them, while still kind of relating to, or even sympathizing with them. An antagonist who’s occasionally likable is a lot more memorable. Also villains, and generally anyone who get to color outside the moral lines, are great props for basing comedy on. They’re often the funniest characters in my writing.

Redemption is something I wouldn’t employ casually when describing an antagonist’s arc. It can happen, and it’s certainly worthy of depicting in a book. But a reversal of character like that is big, and really deserves to be treated as the primary thematic thrust of a book. I could see doing a whole book about redemption, but for most of my antagonists? Nah. They’re hilariously rotten to the last page.

If you were asked to create the syllabus for a college class in SFF literature, what books would be on there as required reading? As passing discussion? 

I guess the important thing would be to explore the key features of SFF – so, wildly varied and imaginative settings, with a strong focus on settings which reflect some aspect of our real world. Beyond that, I’d make an effort to show a broad range of subgenres and styles. So…

Neuromancer
1984
A Canticle for Leibowitz
Forever War
Rendezvous with Rama
Ender’s Game
The Hobbit
A Game of Thrones

And then in reading those, also mention The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Dune, Starship Troopers, Ringworld, A Brave New World.

Care to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work? 

I haven’t had to deal with too much gushing yet, having spent most of my writing career cowering behind the Internet. There’s been a bit though, and I still find it strange when friends and family members quote back to me pieces of my own writing. Although I’m conscious that I am writing for an audience, they’re normally always separated by computers and phone lines and bits of string and the whatnot. Not up in my face.

Also I use a lot of grown up language in my writing, and it’s weird imagining mom and dad reading that, and laughing and showing it to their friends, all beaming with pride about how I managed to cram “fuck” into a sentence eight times.

What is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in? 

Because getting rid of a mattress is a pain in the neck, I once tried to win an argument with my wife about mattress longevity by changing Wikipedia to make it read they should last 70 years or so. This didn’t actually win the argument, because I didn’t marry an idiot, but it does mean I’m not allowed to use my computer or phone during any more arguments.

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

I was reading long before I can remember anything, so that’s tough. The first things I can distinctly remember reading, probably because I read them one thousand times each, are those old Tintin books. They instilled in me my lifelong love for adventure, and are also probably responsible for the unusually high number of sea captains I’ve befriended.

Finally, what upcoming events and works would you like to share with the readers?

Well I’m glad you asked. My first novel, Severance is coming out on December 9th. It is hilarious and can be pre-ordered here or here:
http://www.amazon.com/Severance-Chris-Bucholz-ebook/dp/B00P032XSE
http://www.apexbookcompany.com/blogs/frontpage/15597417-an-excerpt-from-severance-by-chris-bucholz

During my day job, I’m a writer for Stardock, and the lead writer for Galactic Civilizations III and Sorcerer King. Both of those are in public beta right now, with full releases scheduled for some time in 2015. And of course, there’s my hilarious and educational column up every week at Cracked.com. http://www.cracked.com/blog/author/Robotman/

BucholzSeveranceGoodreads Blurb for Severance:

Severance, the debut novel from famed Cracked.com writer Chris Bucholz, the inhabitants of a generation ark find two unlikely heroes who fight to keep everything together.

After 240 years traveling toward Tau Prius and a new planet to colonize, the inhabitants of the generation ship Argos are bored and aimless. They join groups such as the Markers and the Breeders, have costumed orgies, and test the limits of drugs, alcohol, and pain just to pass the time.

To Laura Stein, they’re morons and, other than a small handful of friends, she’d rather spend time with her meat plant than with any of her fellow passengers. But when one of her subordinates is murdered while out on a job, Laura takes it as her responsibility to find out what happened. She expects to find a personal grudge or a drug deal gone wrong, but instead stumbles upon a conspiracy that could tear the ship in two.

Labelled a terrorist and used as a pawn in the ultimate struggle for control, Laura, with help from her friend Bruce and clues left by a geneticist from the past, digs deep into the inner working of the ship, shimmying her way through ductwork, rallying the begrudged passengers to rise up and fight, and peeking into an unsavory past to learn the truth and save their future.

Towers of Midnight, Part II

JordanTowersOfMidnightBannerWelcome everyone to Book 13 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Towers of Midnight over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, I am your host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  for cool fan art.  And Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers has intellect and teensy violins.

This week, we covered the Chapters 5-13. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Gawyn and the Warder Sleet are playing detective over the murdered Aes Sedai. Care to compare them to other literary detectives? Do you think Egwene is correct in thinking a Forsaken is behind the murders?

Well, they definitely aren’t Sherlock & Watson. Though Sleet could be a Miss Marple, quietly going about collecting facts and asking a handful of questions here there, all the while doing some leather work, looking so innocent wielding a little knife and leather punch. I picture Gawyn more as a Hercule Poirot, so proper and in everyone’s face with his properness.

I am thinking it is one or more of those pesky Seanchan assassins that were left to stealth around the Tower, killing as many Aes Sedai as they can before their time is up.

2) Graendal was interrupted while reading A Light in the Snow (what genre book do you think that was?) to have a meeting with Moridin, wherein he reveals the book or prophecies. What prophecies do you think the dark side has? And what about the prophecy that Perrin shall die at the bad guys’ hands?

I think it is a fashion magazine. I can’t see Graendal reading anything too heavy (like a biography) nor to think in plot (like a good epic fantasy).

The dark side seems to skew everything (but who doesn’t when it comes to world dominating politics?) so I would think that the prophecies have to do with the Dark One triumphing over all after several epochs of crushing all the fun out of the populace.

I don’t think this is the kind of series where one of our main heroes will be killed. So far, with very few exceptions, this has been a pretty PG13 series. So I expect Perrin will have a close call, maybe even be declared dead by some fool who runs off before hearing what a medic says. And if for some reason Faile lets Perrin be killed, he has some kick ass work he can do from the wolf dream world.

3) Did anyone else get a giggle when Morgase demands of Perrin, ‘Do you know my heart?’ in regards to her feelings for Talanvor? What did you think of Perrin’s & Galad’s meeting? How do you think the face off on the field of battle shall go?

Haha! Yes! Perrin’s nose tells him quite a bit about the people around him. So I am pretty sure that not only can Perrin tell that Morgase is in heat for Talanvor, that she also has deeper feelings for him and isn’t just looking for a booty call.

I was ready to vote for Galad, being all reasonable about the Whitecloaks in regards to the Questioners. But then it is like he decided to start storing his brains in his boots and just go with what his zeolist friends say about Perrin. Galad took one look at Perrin’s golden eyes and decided he was indeed a Dark Friend. I wanted to slap the idiot. Like golden eye color is the weirdest, darkest shit Galad has seen in the past several months. Sigh…. I may have to kill him.

Well, last week I was hoping there would be some sort of interruption (like Rand showing up with a big gateway and ordering Perrin and his army to go somewhere else) so that Galad could save face and maybe get some good done elsewhere. Now I hope they do get it on and that Perrin unleashes his Asha’men. The Questioners really don’t need to be around for the Last Battle and I am wondering if we need any Whitecloaks at all.

4) We run into Mat at the Seven Striped Lass tavern (is that yet another reference to spanking?) and toying with Verin’s letter. Later that night he battles the golem. Do you think the threat of the golem will be the thing that forces Mat to open Verin’s letter? Teslyn speaks plainly and honestly to Mat, thanking him, and then fights the golem with him. Do you think this will alter his attitude towards Aes Sedai in the future?

Yes, I think the golem’s threats to hurt/kill Mat’s friends will tear at his conscience and he will open Verin’s letter and we will finally know what her last machinations are.

I really like that Teslyn made this effort to treat fairly with Mat. However, I think he will need several more examples like this before he is able to trust Aes Sedai. Perhaps Teslyn will continue to work with Mat? That would be cool. It would be funny if Mat decided he needed to be a Warder to an Aes Sedai to get that extra bump in speed, strength, and endurance to achieve some task, like freeing Moiraine.

5) Elayne has to make a decision soon about what to do with the captives (those who did not support her). What do you think she should do? Also, she plans to take Cairhein. Do you think this is wise and will be as easy as she thinks it will be?

I think she should arrange marriages between the Houses that declared for her early on the Houses she holds captive now. This will bind those detractors to her supporters. Plus, there will be feasting during a trying time and everyone appreciates the chance to get toasted and fat.

Rand took and held the thrones of Andor and Cairhein for Elayne and she still had to fight for the Andorran thrown (or rather, she had to bullocks it up and Birgitte and Dyelin had to rescue her ass). I really hope that Cairhein is easier for her because we don’t have the time for another revolt. And I think Rand could, and would, step in and give her a hand even if she scowled at him for it.

6) Rand returns to Tear. Please comment upon his reunion with everyone there such as Min, Tam, Nynaeve, Cadsuane, the Aiel, etc. Where do you think Alanna has gone? Who will Rand set Cadsuane to finding? Will Rand be able to meet his toh towards the Maidens and the Aiel in general?

This was an awesome scene! I really enjoyed how Min could feel the total difference in him. It was great that he apologized to Cadsuane (even though she showed no grace in accepting it), hugging his dad, promising to help Lan, owning that he owes the Aiel toh. It was all great.

I am not sure where Alanna has gone but I would not be surprised if Rand snuck into her room and left her a note directing her to leave. Maybe he sent her to fetch/assist Aviendha in returning? Though he could do that himself….but he might get slapped for it. So probably safer to send Alanna.

I am not sure who Cadsuane will be sent to find. Before he tells her he has this task for her, he asks about Mattin Steppeneos, a ruler that Elaida stole from his own bed and was holding in the White Tower. I would think that sending her to find Fain could be very, very useful, but Fain may not be on his radar at all.

I think Rand’s future role in the Last Battle will almost assuredly meet any toh he has to anyone.

Squatch having a snack

Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

Graendal has a Dreamspike and Moridin’s permission to use his minion, the man with two souls (who I think is Slayer). This does not bode well for Perrin!

Morgase was being such a pill in her thoughts about the ‘upstart Two Rivers ruler Perrin’ and yet she refuses to step up and let the world know she is alive. I think she is something of a coward. If she were to take on rulership, or even just act as mentor to Elayne, she would have so many people (a nation of them?) to apologize to for her past bad behavior.

Mat’s letter to Elayne was terribly funny and I enjoyed his mix of frustration for having been ignored and apologies (sort of) for checking out her backside.

Grady wants to return to the Black Tower to see his family. I think he is sincere and has no ulterior motives. Still, I worry that if he goes back now/soon, then he will be held hostage or tortured for info.

 

Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson

SandersonLegionSkinDeepWhy I Read It: I really enjoyed Book 1, Legion.

Where I Got It: Own it on Audible.com.

Who I Recommend This To: If you enjoy detective stories and multiple personalities, then check this out!

Narrator: Oliver Wyman

Publisher: Audible Studios (2014)

Length: 4 hours 23 minutes

Series: Book 2, Legion

Author’s Page

Note: Even though this is Book 2 in the series, it can stand on its own.

Stephen Leeds is a kind of modern-day detective. He’s super smart, doesn’t stand out in a crowd, and has a whole team of specialists that help him out. What makes him unique is that he is the only one who can see, hear, and interact with his team; he thinks of them as his Aspects. Hence, he is sometimes called ‘Legion’. In this book, Leeds is hired by a tech company (I3) to track down a morgue and ensure it is cremated. The corpse use to be a leading scientist in a niche industry researching biotechnology and wetwear. He was working on a project that would allow humans to store info in their very cells; but because it’s a new science and there’s always unforeseen outcomes, I3 is deeply worried that corpse could release something biologically unwholesome on the populace.

I enjoyed this book even more than the first in the series. Since much of the mechanics of Leeds and his Aspects were already founded, I could concentrate on the plot. Stephen starts off on a date but soon is distracted by his bodyguard, JC, as he notices a hitwoman dining a few tables over. Of course Stephen’s conversation with JC is all one-sided to his date and pretty soon she is a bit spooked. But then Yall, who is one of the head managers of I3, calls with a job for Stephen (so he doesn’t have to linger over his failed date).

There’s plenty of humor, some suspense, and a good dash of very interesting cutting edge technology. The characters are interesting and I can see that they grow a little in this book (and if you read Book 1, then you can see that they have developed even further). The action is interspersed with either detective sleuthing or with Leeds doing some introspection. Put all together, it’s an excellent installment in this series.

As with Book 1, Leeds learns more about his Apsects and about what they can and can’t do. There’s not a few theories kicked around about just what Leeds’ Aspects are, and not a few of these are put forth by the Aspects themselves. I am very interested to see in future installments what Leeds’ final form will be with all his Aspects, if he ever has a final frm.

The Narration: Oliver Wyman did a great job once again. He’s a great voice for Leeds, but he also has a variety of accents, male and female voices for the host of characters. I especially like his voice for JC.

What I Liked: Interesting core mystery; plenty of humor; very cool biotech.

What I Disliked: Nothing – this was a great book!

What Others Think:

Pat’s Hot List

Thoughts  & Afterthoughts

Around the Blogosphere, November 2014

SandersonLegionSkinDeepHeya folks, plenty of goodness happening around this time of the year, including goodness on the interwebs.

First up, Brandon Sanderson has released his sequel to Legion. Book 2 in the series, Legion: Skin Deep, is FREE on Audible.com for the first month of its release! Hurray! I am very much looking forward to this as I so enjoyed Book 1 in the series! Here’s the little Audible blur about the book:

Brandon Sanderson is one of the most significant fantasists to enter the field in a good many years. His ambitious, multi-volume epics (Mistborn, The Stormlight Archive) and his stellar continuation of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series have earned both critical acclaim and a substantial popular following. In Legion, a short, distinctly contemporary novella filled with suspense, humor, and an endless flow of invention, Sanderson revealed a startling new facet of his singular narrative talent. In the stunning sequel, Legion: Skin Deep, that talent is on full display.

Stephen Leeds, AKA ”Legion’,’ is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the new story begins, Leeds and his “aspects” are hired by I3 (Innovative Information Incorporated) to recover a corpse stolen from the local morgue. But there’s a catch. The corpse is that of a pioneer in the field of experimental biotechnology, a man whose work concerned the use of the human body as a massive storage device. He may have embedded something in the cells of his now dead body. And that something might be dangerous… What follows is a visionary thriller about the potential uses of technology, the mysteries of the human personality, and the ancient human need to believe that death is not the end. Legion: Skin Deep is speculative fiction at its most highly developed. It reaffirms Sanderson’s place as one of contemporary fiction’s most intelligent – and unpredictable – voices.

And here is an audio clip of the book so you can hear just how great a narrator Oliver Wyman is:

https://soundcloud.com/audible/legion-skin-deep/s-7sgzP

So if your a Sanderson fan, you will be all over this. If you have been wanting to give his work a try, or simply want to give an audiobook or Audible.com a try, this is a great way to do it.

VintageScifiBadgeNext on my list of fantastic is the upcoming (January 2015) Vintage Science Fiction Month hosted by Little Red Reviewer. I have enjoyed this event quite a bit these last few years and I look forward to enjoying once again. Since I am all about the audiobooks lately, I will probably be checking out Librivox’s Science Fiction section. As many of you know, Librivox is the noisy sister to Gutenberg project, bringing public domain books to eyes and ears FREE around the world. Everyone is welcome to join, and you can read/listen as much or as little as you want. You can also toss in old radio programs or SF tv/movies. The only rule (and it’s not like folks enforce these things), is that it is pre-1979. Simple, and a lot of fun!

Finally, I want to put a plug out there for The Pigeonhole, a kind of global book club with weekly installments in the ongoing book. They also have their previously completed books available for download. The monthly subscription gives you behind-the-scenes stuff on the authors and the Stories, which is cool. It’s also another way to support upcoming authors. So check it out and see if it is for you!

The Interview: Law Firm Erotica by Silk Jones

JonesTheInterviewLawFirmEroticaWhy I Read It: I was curious to see if erotica could make legal paperwork filing interesting….

Where I Got It: Review copy from the author (thanks!).

Who I Recommend This To: If you have a spanking fetish, then you will probably enjoy this.

Narrator: Shoshana Franck

Publisher: Waterview Publishing (2014)

Length: 51 minutes

Series: Book 1 Law Firm Erotica

Author’s Page

Laura decides to answer a job ad for a submissive legal assistant. She had previously worked as an accountant but was laid off with a generous severance package. Right up front, she knows that BDSM is part of the job requirements and she has to admit to herself that she is pretty curious. Showing up for the interview, she considers leaving because she has no experience in BDSM and is worried that she won’t be qualified. However, she waffles too long in the waiting room and Mr. Hobbs calls her in to the interview before she leaves. As he goes over her resume, he asks her plenty of questions and also lets her know what would be expected of her. Things heat up when the interview moves to the hands-on portion!

This was a fun, quick erotica story. It was easy to get into and to have fun with. I felt it was a good balance between the two characters with dialogue and they share the narrative (though most of the story is told from Laura’s point of view). While Mr. Hobbs lead the action, Laura always had the opportunity to walk out of the interview. This particular scenario involved a heavy spanking. Most importantly, both characters felt satisfied at the end of the tale. There was a little cuddling and the beginning of affection between the two.

My little quibble is that I would have enjoyed the two characters vocalizing during the act. While it was a hot description, it was just that: an internal monologue description of the act by Laura. Surely Mr. Hobbs was doing some sort of animal-like grunting at the least with all the physical action he was doing? This criticism won’t keep me from listening to further adventures of Laura and the law firm.

Once again, my man conveniently popped in while I was listening to this audiobook and helped fold the laundry. He did this with Zane’s tales too. I really should listen to more erotica so that I get assistance with housechores. Hmmm… I bet this book would go good with cooking dinner.

The Narration: Shoshana Franck did a great job. There was no hesitancy with the erotica parts and she was good voice for Laura. She did a decent male voice as well.

What I Liked: This book had some heat to it!; Laura seeks out the experience; both characters are satisfied at the end; my laundry got folded by the husband as he eavesdropped.

What I Disliked: I’m sure the characters made some noises while in the middle of the act and I would have liked that to be part of the tale.

What Others Think:

Cocktails and Books

Towers of Midnight, Part I

JordanTowersOfMidnightBannerWelcome everyone to Book 13 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Towers of Midnight over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, is our host and can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  for cool fan art.  And Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers has intellect and teensy violins.

This week, we covered the Prologue – Chapter 4. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1.  Everyone who thought Graendal might not be dead can pat themselves on the back.  With Aran’gar’s death that leaves six.  Are there any others, thought dead, that you fear we might see again?

I’m afraid to look on the WoT Wikipedia for a round up of Forsaken names. Of course I want to know who killed Asmodean, but I am not worried about him coming back. Let’s see, who haven’t we balefired lately? Semirhage is balefired. Several of the male Forsaken (probably because it took Rand so long to get over his sissy squeamishness about permanently disabling women). Moghedien is still running around, but tightly leashed by Moridin.

Eh. We’ll see if any spring back to life. Who was it that Rand took out in Shol ghul and we had no body? Moridin helped him out that time. So we might see that pesky Forsaken again.

2.  Is this the first time we’ve seen Padan Fain since book nine? Running around the Blight setting world records for creepiness… What role do you think he has to play in what is coming?

I don’t recall where and when we last saw Fain. Sometimes he gets a short little bit in a book here and there and that’s it, so it fades from my might what book(s) that happens in.

Let me say that Fain has his shit together, unlike many of the other baddies. He didn’t rush his badness either. He let it bloom and swell slowly over many, many books. He is beholden to none (unlike so many of the Forsaken and all of the Darkfriends and Black Ajah). He has this major creepiness power going on that gets him servants for his evil bidding. And he is goal oriented. So many of our Forsaken don’t have a solid goal in mind. Also, I don’t think Fain cares about becoming Nebless – nope. He’s definitely has his own idea of power and domination to attain.

All that said (which kind of looks like a strange fan letter, now that I reread it), I think Fain will go on to march to his own drum which will screw up the few plans that the Forsaken and/or the Dark One have going on, making it that much harder to take over the world.

3.  The blightborder in Kandor is attacked and will probably not hold for long.  Meanwhile, Lan is in Saldaea, heading east. Will he even make it to Tarwin’s Gap, or will he be caught up in the invasion?  How many followers do you expect to see before he gives up the lone wolf plan?

Lan’s an idiot. He can’t accomplish any good by himself in the border, unless you count adding your bones to the soil in order to enrich it after the Trollocs have sucked out all the marrow.

Maybe some Asha’men will join him and make gateway(s) so he can get to Tarwin’s Gap and die in relative comfort.

And I think he already gave up the lone wolf crap when he accepted the supply boy into his entourage.

4.  Yet another reunion happens as Rand reveals part of his plan to Egwene, but she is not pleased.  Rand looks quite sane but Egwene is not so sure.  Do you expect this to be a big conflict before the Last Battle?  Who do you think is right?

No one is going to like the idea of breaking the last seal, so yeah, I expect plenty of people to be yelling at Rand for this idea. But I also expect Min (our little, quiet, knife-weilding brainiac) to figure out the riddles and then explain them to the others, speaking slowly and using small words, so they can absorb the content of the message easier.

I expect Rand is right but I also think that right now he doesn’t fully understand why. he needs Min too.

5.  It looks like we’ll be spending a lot of time this book with Perrin and Hopper in T’A’R.  Excited?  Anything special you want to see?  Will we maybe run into Slayer again?

Hooray! I am so glad that Perrin is finally girding his loins and tackling this problem that has been dogging him for so many books. Running from it doesn’t work. Hiding from it doesn’t work. Ignoring it doesn’t work. So, yeah, he has to go through this training and I bet it will be awesome!

I want to see the wolves explain to Perrin that his loss of control on the battlefield is more a human thing than a wolf thing; Perrin feels great remorse in taking a life, any life, no matter how justified it is. He needs to learn to either set that aside (until after the Last Battle) or let go of such a false notion.

It would be great to see Slayer again. He is so mysterious and deadly! (Ack! It sounds like I am some fan-flousy for the bad guys – I’m not! Really!)

6.  It also looks like we’ll see a confrontation between Perrin and the Whitecloaks, world champions in grudge-keeping.  How will this play out?  How do you think Galad is doing as Lord Captain Commander?

Ugh. The Whitecloaks have the biggest, thickest sticks up their asses. I use to think that Galad was pretty stuck up, but then he joined the Whitecloaks and I now see how mellow he is compared to them.

Once again, i expect Perrin will offer to submit to their judgement in exchange for a temporary truce between them. I hope that Galad will continue to play the voice of reason, will listen to Perrin’s truths of the slaughter of his family and the Whitecloaks’ role in the Two Rivers nastiness, and their with holding of assistance when the town was attacked by Trollocs. I think that once Galad corroborates that (which might have to happen after the Last Battle), Perrin will be free of the Whitecloaks.

Though it might be way cooler if Perrin had to square off one on one with the pesky grudge holder, smacked him down, and showed mercy by not fatally wounding him.

If the Whitecloaks have to be alive, healthy, and still kicking at the Last Battle, then I hope Galad is around to teach them the power of humbleness and acceptance of others. Galad seems to struggle with these things too, but I feel that he at least recognizes his struggle to accept others.

Squatch having a snack

Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

So Graendal can use doves, not just crows and rats, to do her spying. I am going to guess that she is not the only dark power to use other, less noticeable, animals for spying. I kind of hope Graendal does more spying with a plump dove and that dove is shot and eaten by the starving Randlanders, giving Graendal a nasty shock.

It was nice of Rand to take the time to give people apples. But I bet they will be sick of apples once all this is said and done. I would be surprised if we see decorative crab apple trees planted in Rand’s name after he saves the world, while they also plant peach orchards for main sustenance.

I was complaining to my man (who has already finished the book) that Asunawa (spelling?) really needed to be dead. And then, there it was, his head, without a body! It is like the book heard me griping and gave me a little present.