20 August 2021

Bookishness / Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore

Land of miracles
Holds dark secrets betrayed.
Hero, where are you?

It sometimes takes a single word to spark an intrigue, and in Kristin Cashore's latest book, that word is zilfium. During an age of exploration, the backward kingdom of Monsea discovers a shiny new neighbor: the eco-tech country of Winterkeep. This frosted nation is filled with airships, democracy, telepathic beasts, and more: mysteries surrounding the energy-producing zilfium, mysteries that some would kill to protect. Winterkeep (Graceling Realm Book 4) is a rather refreshing read after the disappointment that was Jane, Unlimited (2017), with the vivid world-building and intrigue that Cashore is known for. But the moments of moral preachiness and plot unbelievability distract from what is otherwise a new exploration of the Graceling Realm.

07 August 2021

Changes for email subscribers

A view from a plane, with sculpted clouds below and an impossibly blue sky above.
Looking beyond, at 50,000 feet. From my first flight since January 2020.

Hi folks,

This PSA is rather late, but for those who receive email updates from this blog, Feedburner will be discontinuing their automatic email subscription service for the Blogger platform this month. I've been considering some alternatives, so if you receive an email from me later this month from a different email service, do pay attention because you may need to resubscribe to continue receiving updates (which I certainly hope that you will!).

RSS feed readers shouldn't be affected, but watch this space regardless because I might be doing some more blog maintenance in the future.

Seriously, website and blog maintenance can sometimes be a pain, especially juggled in the midst of other pains. But this site has needed some TLC for a while, so I hope I can show it some additional care in the coming months. It's called Building Beyond, after all -- building beyond current limitations, building beyond into new things -- even including a more functional blog post delivery system.

More soon, dear readers.


04 June 2021

Bookishness / The Theft of Sunlight by Intisar Khanani

There is no looking away from injustice.
The only choice is to journey into the dark,
in the hope of bringing light. 

I'll be upfront, dear reader: I've had quite a bit of trouble writing this review. Perhaps my writing barriers are due to an excess of love because I fell into The Theft of Sunlight and want you to love it, too. So I will try to be straight-forward -- just as Rae, the no-fluff protagonist would be.

I read The Theft of Sunlight (Dauntless Path Book 2) by Intisar Khanani in a heartbeat, prior to its release in March. Just as Thorn (Dauntless Path Book 1) has the persistent Princess Alyrra as its backbone, we have Rae at the helm of Theft. I loved Alyrra's quiet strength, yet I am now thoroughly part of Team Rae. She's the older sister you wish you had in your corner, with such a fierce protectiveness for those she loves that she becomes relentless in her quest to find her best friend's missing sister and solve the mystery of the snatched. A country girl taking on kingdom-wide challenges? Rae is no mage or fae, yet she steps up to the intimidating task.

27 May 2021

Rainbow people and golden mountains

My niece and husband are reading side by side on a couch. The girl's face is covered by her open book (The Rainbow People), while the man's face is concentrated on the book in his lap (The Power and the Glory).
Do not disturb. Thank you.

Recently, the Tall Man and I visited my family for our first face-to-face meet up in nearly a year and a half, which is a long time for adults but a seeming eternity for kids. I planned to bring some books for my niece and nephew -- affectionately referred to in my head (and here) as Little Peep and Big Peep. I scanned my bookshelves to assess my old favorites. Some had made the long journey from my childhood home to college, then grad school, and now would be making the full circle back. Perhaps one of them would become a Peep favorite, too!

After making my selections, I packed a box and headed off. Once we gathered together, though, all was forgotten amid the flurry of hugs and dim sum. My brother's sheepdog remained at the Tall Man's side as he petted her with one hand and ate with the other -- the ultimate in multitasking. Then I felt a wet tongue lick me from elbow to shoulder, and I jumped in my chair. It was hard to tell whether the dog had fully accepted me as part of the family, or if she just wanted a bite of my fluffy char siu bao.

It was only later, after taking refuge from the scorching sun, that the box and its contents resurfaced. I was resting in the bedroom when Little Peep brought the parcel upstairs. "Goo-Goo,"* she said, plopping the box down on the bedspread beside me, "Uncle [Tall Man] told me to ask you which book I should read."