Friday, March 18, 2016

Beautiful People: March 2016

It's March. It's been March for eighteen days, and I've failed at keeping up with writing one blog post a week. So I'm aiming to at least get more than two blog posts in for the month. I've been faithfully writing toward my current WIP and The Fangirl Initiative, so my blog has suffered.

However, a new month means a new set of questions for Beautiful People! I'm excited, are you excited? Sometimes, it's hard for me choose which character to spotlight for Beautiful People because there are so many to choose from. However, as I read through these questions I knew exactly who to spotlight: Tiberius.

While I've introduced Tiberius before on the blog, he's never had Beautiful People all to himself. I'd say it's about time! (After all, Tiberius was the first character I truly formed in my head for this novel.) During the course of A Girl and Her Dragon, Tiberius is around the age of 34. He's an archivist for the kingdom of Greene with the task to document and organize the vaults, which have been collecting artifacts and treasure since the kingdom was first established. He's the instigator of the whole adventure since he found a dragon egg hidden in the vaults and decided to seek out other dragon eggs hidden in the world.

1. What first inspired this character? Is there a person/actor you based them off?
Tiberius came about because my other characters needed a mentor-figure. However, I didn't want to do the typical "wizened, old man" mentor. I wanted someone younger, someone with their own "hero's journey" story arc. He knows more than the others, but he still has room to learn more. Tiberius was the first character I pictured in my head--I knew he would resemble Tom Hiddleston (both in physical attributes and some personality aspects). Educated, handsome, and ambitious.

Describe their daily routine.
On a normal day, he wakes up and gets dressed in a crisp, casual suit (dress pants, collared shirt, tie/bowtie, vest or jacket). He eats breakfast with his pupil, Fitz. Then, he goes to the castle to teach the royal children. He sits in on the council sessions as the scribe. In the afternoons, he dedicates his time to his continual work in the vaults or his research. When evening comes, he retires to his cabin to eat supper with Fitz. They settle in for the night, doing quiet and relaxing tasks such as reading or drawing. Then, it's off to bed to start again in the morning. Rarely, he stays up late to finish a bit of research. When he was younger, he did that often, sometimes losing himself to his work. But this proved to be unproductive, so he changed his routine.

If they joined your local high school, what clique would they fit into?
Ahahaha, he's a bit old... but he'd be on the chess club and involved with academic challenge. He'd be in all the honors classes as well. So, he'd be in the straight A-student clique.

Write a list of things they merely tolerate. Ex: certain people, foods, circumstances in their lives...
-pratty princes
-stupid people (as in people who run their mouth and say stupid things)
-Lord Xavier (the King of Greene)
-grumpy, old council members
-his past

How do they react in awkward silences?
He thrives in awkward silences. He learns to use them to his advantage. He could work in silence for hours. It doesn't bother him; it makes him feel smug when other people get uncomfortable.

Can they swim? If so, how did they learn? 
Yes. He grew up on a farm. His sister taught him to swim in the nearby watering holes. However, he's not a fan of swimming. He doesn't like the water as much as he used to, and he would prefer never being near large bodies of water ever again.

What is one major event that helped shape who they are?
His sister died, which left him alone and without family. Before she breathed her last, she made him promise to use his mind to support himself and not return to the Guard. This promise started him off on his journey to become a scholar. Her death also has haunted him ever since.

What things do they value most in life?
He values life. He's been in many dangerous situations with his life on the line. He values his pupil, Fitz, and would do anything to help him and keep him safe with a good future. He values education and books. He values his loyalty to his kingdom.

Do they believe in giving other people second chances? Do they have any trust issues?
Yes. He definitely does because he has had to ask for a second chance too. However, he does have some trust issues. He certainly doesn't share everything he's thinking--not even with Fitz. He doesn't particularly care for many of the people he has to interact with. He doesn't trust just anybody; a person has to earn his trust. He's led a hard life where people have left him or swindled him, so he's learned to harden his trust against people. (Plus, he's studied human nature and knows how the majority of people act, so he believes this is sufficient reason to not trust people.)

Your character is having a rough day...what things do they do to make them happy again? Is there anyone they talk/interact with to get in a better mood?
He would never admit it, but talking to Fitz helps him feel better. He's quite proud of his pupil, so when he witnesses Fitz's intelligence at work, he's very happy. If he's having a rough day, he usually finds time to be alone and to work on something he cares about. It helps him calm any mixed emotions he might be feeling.

There you have it: Tiberius. If you'd like to participate in this month's Beautiful People, you can find the questions here. Let me know if you do, I'd love to hear about your characters!


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Siren's Song by Mary Weber--Book Review

*This review is for the third book in the Storm Siren trilogy by Mary Weber. I have tried my best to avoid spoilers, but if you have not read the previous books, I would advise checking out my review for the first book instead.*

About Siren's Song:
"The realization hits: we're not going to win. It's why I couldn't defeat Draewulf in Bron--because this power was never mine anyway. I drop my and let the energy die off. And turn around to face Eogan."

Nym has one last chance to stop Draewulf and save her world from darkness and destruction. But as she faces the first wave of his attacks, she begins to wonder if she has the strength and ability to stop the monster. In order to have any chance of winning, she must rally troops from her homeland and learn the secret to defeating Draewulf once and for all.

My Review:
I always find myself hesitating when I pick up the last book of a beloved series. If anything, the Storm Siren trilogy has easily jumped to one of my favorite series. I spent the first half of the book dragging my feet, hoping this wasn't the end to such a beautiful story. But then, about midway, I hit a spot that just tumbled me through the rest of the story in a fury as great as Nym's own storms. Let's just say, this book was gorgeous.

Sometimes I read a book series and the ending leaves me numb or disappointed or unable to quite decide how I felt. But Siren's Song did not do this. Instead, I finished--sobbing and laughing at midnight--and I just let out this great big sigh. I was content. I was relieved. I was left with this wondrous feeling inside of me. The story was over, completed, but I didn't feel shockingly sad. It was everything I could have wanted for an ending.

The story was full of action, romance, magic, and tension. The world building only continued to grow as Nym traveled to more lands and uncovered secrets of the world she thought she knew. The characters grew more distinct in this book. I connected to Nym in a way I didn't before. I entered this world fully as I read, and I kept hold until I hit the last page. Books don't normally evoke a physical response from me. I could sit and read, thinking a book is glorious yet make no emotion on my face, never laugh, never cry. But this book made me sob. It made me laugh out loud, it made smile like a buffoon and squeal, it made me bite my nails in anticipation.

While reading the first book, I longed to know more about many things: Nym's past, the other lands, how this world works. By the end of the third book, I had learned everything I needed to know. The final book brought together so many elements strung along throughout the three books to give it a final, solid resolution.

There is so much more I could say about Siren's Song and the rest of the Storm Siren trilogy. I could go on and on about how refreshing this story is to read these days. I could go in-depth about my love for the characters and their relationships with one another, about the world-building and magic and elements of steampunk fantasy, about the author's ability to keep my guessing up until the last pages. (I didn't guess the ending, only parts or possibilities. It surprised me until the end.) I could discuss how I love that this book series took off before the everybody else decided to write about "elemental" powers. (Good job, Mary, for being elemental before being elemental was cool. I'm going to tell people you made it cool.) I could mention how my favorite line was the very last where I choked on my own laughter while wiping away tears from my eyes.

But I'm just going to say: the world needs more YA fantasy like this. Not crazy long stories that go on and on. Not dark stories where there doesn't seem to be any hope in the end. Not kickass ladies who don't know how to embrace their gentler side in balance with their ferocity. Not romance stories where the two characters just pull out each other for their own selfish desires. No, we need stories like Storm Siren, Siren's Fury, and Siren's Song to give lovers of fantasy a breath of fresh air, a glimpse of sunlight, among the crazy YA fantasy storms.

(Is this too cheesy? Hey, whatever. These books are too special not to be cheesy.)

*I received this book for free through BookLook from Thomas Nelson publishing to give my open and honest opinion of the story, nothing more and nothing less.*