BOOK REVIEW: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

I complain constantly about the lack of “diverse fantasy books” on the market. My friends family are probably both tired of hearing it, but it’s something that we keep saying we’ll address and then never do. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst is a giant step in the right direction.

In a single book Coulthurst has managed to discuss the political problems presented by and inactive government, provided her readers with two strong LGBTQ+ characters, and, doubtless the most important part, create a riveting plot!

This book ignores old clichés in favor of creating believable romance between the two main characters, Princesses Denna and Mare. Engaged to Mare’s brother, the Crown Prince Thandilimon, Denna has spent her entire life preparing for the marriage that would seal the alliance between Mynaria and Havemont.

Mynaria is a kingdom that harbors a deep mistrust of magic. Denna has never encountered such sentiments until her engagement, and unfortunately for her, they make it even more essential for her to hide a secret that she’s held for years.

With plenty of twists and turns, mystery and fantasy elements, and political intrigue, this novel makes a fascinating read and should hold a spot on everyone’s To Be Read list.

2016 Christmas and 2017 New Year’s Book Haul

I’ve never really done a book haul before, but I know that I enjoy watching videos of them, so I though I would give it a try. This will be organized into a number of categories, because there is a lot. 🙂 Continue reading “2016 Christmas and 2017 New Year’s Book Haul”

December TBR List


Heartless by Marissa Meyer

I’m in the process of reading this book. It came with the November OwlCrate (Wonderland themed, yay!) Definitly expect a review coming your way. I hope to have it out by Christmas.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

This is the first book in what is supposed to be a pretty popular series. I bought it on a whim in my birthday, and I look forward to starting it.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carol

Also included in the November OwlCrate! I adore this book and it’s nice to be able to sit down and reread my own copy of it. It also has a special cover, created by an artist on Tumblr.

Half the World by Joe Abercrombie

This is the sequel to Half a King, which I read last month. I really enjoyed that one, but just never got to this one.

BOOK REVIEW: Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

Vassa in the Night is a YA book I received in the September OwlCrate subscription box. Written by Sarah Porter and published on September 20th, 2016, this book is 296 pages of the most cleverly crafted magic realism I have ever read. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter”

Musing over Music

We all have our muses, whether they be our own lives, mythology, or other works of fiction. One of my own most powerful ones is music.

As a musician myself, I am often hyperconscious whenever a song is being played over the radio or on my phone. While I am aware of the words, I tend to pay more attention to the notes that the vocalist is singing and the instrumental supporting those notes. My director often says that the singer and/or the melody parts are the icings atop the musical cake, and the rest of the ensemble play various levels of support, whether it be counter-melody or background. As a trumpet player, I often have the melody more often than the others in my ensemble, which consists mostly of saxophone players, but tend to switch easily to other parts as well.

However, I am sometimes stopped dead in my tracks over the lyrics of particular songs. When I am listening to the words of some songs, I am struck by the visual imagery that they can create, and the deeper layers added to that imagery by the instrumental beneath those words. While writing a piece for my first rotation turn on The Sisters of the Pen, I decided to take advantage of one of these instances.

Twin Skeletons by Fall Out Boy is a song that has always struck me as important to my own creativity. In my mind, it’s a very contemporary Gothic piece, and has just the right amount of creep factors. As someone who spends a lot of time within the contemporary Gothic genre, I found it an immense help in writing the piece.

What are some of your thoughts on music and writing? I think they can stick together like the perfect Oreo, or sometimes fall flat like an untuned instrument. It depends on the person, I suppose, as well as the type of music and writing being done.

Best wishes,

Skyler