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Eqwina

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About Eqwina

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    Eqwina
  • Birthday June 19

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  1. Yay!!! That is excellent!! I could not agree more with the election distraction and fatigue. I am also an educator in a state and county where Covid is now in uncontrolled spread, so to say I have been distracted is an understatement. I did finish both of my reviews for the month and spent some time with the new YA fiction I was toying around with. This month I have just been trying to focus on getting some words on a page every single day no matter what.
  2. How is it going for everyone? I didn't take the plunge this year. I am a bit sad about it, but I have still been writing.
  3. It was a truly unique book, you will not be disappointed.
  4. Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston The world we are living in is rife with crisis and bubbling with change. This novel landed in my lap at the perfect time. As I read, I drew many parallels to our unpredictable lives in 2020. The standalone novel, Master of Poisons written by Andrea Hairston is a richly diverse epic fantasy saga. The story is filled with familiar fantasy accoutrement that is woven together with African influences. The book raised many poignant questions for me that are resonant with our lives today. What are you willing to give up in order to change the future? How do you stand up to corruption? How long can our planet withstand our blatant disregard for the warnings it's presenting to us? The African-inspired world Hairston created stands on the precipice of destruction. A poisoned desert is destroying their physical world and the world found in dreams and hearts, the Smokeland. The leaders who are supposed to be looking out for their people’s best interests only seem to care about their own gain. Djola, The Master of Poisons and the right hand of the Emperor is willing to give up everything to save their world. The rest of the council is unwilling to see past their own self-interests and limiting beliefs. Djola sets off alone in search of the cure for the poisoned desert but discovers so much more. In another part of the world there is a young garden Sprite Awa, who is trying to find where she belongs after being abandoned by everyone she ever loved. Her journey with the griots expands her knowledge of the world and its stories, but it also shows her the measure of her own inner strength. The epic journey of these characters was enough to pull me through to the end of the novel. Yet, at times I found myself referring back to the glossary, and rereading passages to gain further understanding. The world building was an immensely impressive feat that at times borders on overly complex. There were moments of brilliant prose that kept me aching for more. The chapters written from the view of the animals were always captivating, and the songs and spells woven into the text were beautiful. Master of Poisons is a novel that is worth a second read to fully gain an understanding of the layers of subtext. The magic system used is unique and unlike anything I have ever read. It gives me hope for the continued creativity of the fantasy genre. I truly appreciated the subtle way in which Hairston integrated issues of today without feeling as if I was being taught a lesson. Her ability to construct such a detailed world was inspiring to me as both a reader and a writer. I am looking forward to exploring her other works. Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller. View full news item
  5. Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston The world we are living in is rife with crisis and bubbling with change. This novel landed in my lap at the perfect time. As I read, I drew many parallels to our unpredictable lives in 2020. The standalone novel, Master of Poisons written by Andrea Hairston is a richly diverse epic fantasy saga. The story is filled with familiar fantasy accoutrement that is woven together with African influences. The book raised many poignant questions for me that are resonant with our lives today. What are you willing to give up in order to change the future? How do you stand up to corruption? How long can our planet withstand our blatant disregard for the warnings it's presenting to us? The African-inspired world Hairston created stands on the precipice of destruction. A poisoned desert is destroying their physical world and the world found in dreams and hearts, the Smokeland. The leaders who are supposed to be looking out for their people’s best interests only seem to care about their own gain. Djola, The Master of Poisons and the right hand of the Emperor is willing to give up everything to save their world. The rest of the council is unwilling to see past their own self-interests and limiting beliefs. Djola sets off alone in search of the cure for the poisoned desert but discovers so much more. In another part of the world there is a young garden Sprite Awa, who is trying to find where she belongs after being abandoned by everyone she ever loved. Her journey with the griots expands her knowledge of the world and its stories, but it also shows her the measure of her own inner strength. The epic journey of these characters was enough to pull me through to the end of the novel. Yet, at times I found myself referring back to the glossary, and rereading passages to gain further understanding. The world building was an immensely impressive feat that at times borders on overly complex. There were moments of brilliant prose that kept me aching for more. The chapters written from the view of the animals were always captivating, and the songs and spells woven into the text were beautiful. Master of Poisons is a novel that is worth a second read to fully gain an understanding of the layers of subtext. The magic system used is unique and unlike anything I have ever read. It gives me hope for the continued creativity of the fantasy genre. I truly appreciated the subtle way in which Hairston integrated issues of today without feeling as if I was being taught a lesson. Her ability to construct such a detailed world was inspiring to me as both a reader and a writer. I am looking forward to exploring her other works. Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller.
  6. My tentative plan is to work on a YA fiction idea. I usually try to work on my fantasy novel during NaNo, but since I usually just end up stressing myself out I think I am going to shelve that for the month. I am going to give myself some space from it and try something a little different. I am wrapping up my two reviews before the weekend and plan to spend Halloween hashing out my plans. My main goal is to just FINISH!
  7. Yes!! This is so exciting. Loving the enthusiasm! Welcome aboard.
  8. I am really not sure how we are back around to NaNo again!! I did not accomplish my goals last year and have been debating if I even want to make the attempt in 2020. Who knows...maybe this insane year is the year I make it happen?!?! I will mull it over this week while I finish up my book reviews (that are woefully overdue) 😛
  9. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi I have reached an important conclusion concerning my identity as a reader. I am officially a science fiction fan. I can go on to add a willing and excited reader of science fiction. I am new enough to the genre to know I still have a lot to explore, but my first few forays in the world of science fiction have been a triumph. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi is no exception. In fact, since finishing this book I have already gone on to begin book two. In my mind that is the highest compliment I can give to an author; to immediately read more of their works. I learned that for me to truly invest myself into the world a fantasy or science fiction author creates, there has to be a certain level of familiarity. A blend of what truly exists in our world and the unique features of the universe that they have created. It is a delicate balance to borrow and adapt without seeming to “steal” too much of our reality. It is a dance I face daily in my own writing, and one that I think Scalzi executes masterfully. Being a relative newb to this genre, I often find myself rereading passages to make sure I understand what is being conveyed. When reading The Collapsing Empire, the rules of the world were presented in such a fashion it was almost as if I had always known of their existence. I hesitate to give away too much of this gem, but the book is set up as the possible future of the human race after Earth has been lost, or at least deemed uninhabitable. The majority of the population is spread throughout the universe and living on planets that are not truly inhabitable. The only civilization that lives on a planet’s surface, is the End. In order to survive they make use of The Flow, to sustain trade and keep each planet supplied with that they need to survive. The Flow, which is essentially a one-directional worm hole between planets is essential to the survival of the entire Interdependency. The question becomes, what happens when this pivotal network no longer functions as it should? Since its founding, the Interdependency has been led by the Emperox from the Wu family, and as the story begins the leader of the Universe is dying and his unwilling daughter is preparing to assume the weight of the entire system on her shoulders. As is true of any ruler, there are those who wish to control, or even replace her right from the first moments of her rule. While most of the story is told from only three characters' point of view, we are shown the deep impact of their decisions on the fate of the human race. This succinct and captivating novel can easily be finished in one midafternoon reading marathon, and Scalzi’s characters are so engaging that you truly won’t want to put it down. As I read the last sentence, I found myself feeling very grateful that I was able to immediately begin the next book in the series. I think having to wait for the next book would have been a reader’s torture. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book to have on hand for when you have a few hours to yourself. I can confidently say that you will enjoy this highly accessible Space-opera. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller. View full news item
  10. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi I have reached an important conclusion concerning my identity as a reader. I am officially a science fiction fan. I can go on to add a willing and excited reader of science fiction. I am new enough to the genre to know I still have a lot to explore, but my first few forays in the world of science fiction have been a triumph. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi is no exception. In fact, since finishing this book I have already gone on to begin book two. In my mind that is the highest compliment I can give to an author; to immediately read more of their works. I learned that for me to truly invest myself into the world a fantasy or science fiction author creates, there has to be a certain level of familiarity. A blend of what truly exists in our world and the unique features of the universe that they have created. It is a delicate balance to borrow and adapt without seeming to “steal” too much of our reality. It is a dance I face daily in my own writing, and one that I think Scalzi executes masterfully. Being a relative newb to this genre, I often find myself rereading passages to make sure I understand what is being conveyed. When reading The Collapsing Empire, the rules of the world were presented in such a fashion it was almost as if I had always known of their existence. I hesitate to give away too much of this gem, but the book is set up as the possible future of the human race after Earth has been lost, or at least deemed uninhabitable. The majority of the population is spread throughout the universe and living on planets that are not truly inhabitable. The only civilization that lives on a planet’s surface, is the End. In order to survive they make use of The Flow, to sustain trade and keep each planet supplied with that they need to survive. The Flow, which is essentially a one-directional worm hole between planets is essential to the survival of the entire Interdependency. The question becomes, what happens when this pivotal network no longer functions as it should? Since its founding, the Interdependency has been led by the Emperox from the Wu family, and as the story begins the leader of the Universe is dying and his unwilling daughter is preparing to assume the weight of the entire system on her shoulders. As is true of any ruler, there are those who wish to control, or even replace her right from the first moments of her rule. While most of the story is told from only three characters' point of view, we are shown the deep impact of their decisions on the fate of the human race. This succinct and captivating novel can easily be finished in one midafternoon reading marathon, and Scalzi’s characters are so engaging that you truly won’t want to put it down. As I read the last sentence, I found myself feeling very grateful that I was able to immediately begin the next book in the series. I think having to wait for the next book would have been a reader’s torture. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book to have on hand for when you have a few hours to yourself. I can confidently say that you will enjoy this highly accessible Space-opera. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller.
  11. Eqwina

    DM News:Binti

    Binti by Nnedi Okorafor There is great beauty in a willingness to see the world through someone else’s eyes. I have come to find it even more important in our world’s changing and uncertain times to surround myself with media that helps to broaden my worldview. In my opinion it is truly one of the best things about literature, more so than any other medium. Reading requires you to use your imagination and visualize. A well written book can take you to another world and allow you to walk in someone else’s shoes. Binti is a 2015 award-winning science fiction novella by Nnedi Okorafor. Our main character Binti is a sixteen-year-old minority prodigy. She is offered a position at the prestigious Oomza University, something that no one else in her village would ever consider. Part of the Himba people, Binti was always destined to succeed her father in their business. The Himba people are deeply tied to their ancestral land, and they believe that if you move away you will begin to diminish. They even coat their bodies in a special material “Otjize” made from a red clay from the earth and the oil from local flowers. It is what makes Binti’s resolve to venture out into the universe even more inspiring. Surrounded by people foreign to herself, Binti finds similarities in a love of learning. She quickly makes friends and becomes more comfortable with the idea of being so far from home. Much like in real life, Binti’s leap of faith is not met with an easy road. She is faced with challenges and strife and is forced to find her own inner strength. I would recommend this book to fantasy and sci-fi readers alike. It is a quick read and offers a story that is richly woven with ethnic issues. I am excited to read the next two novellas in the series. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller. View full news item
  12. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor There is great beauty in a willingness to see the world through someone else’s eyes. I have come to find it even more important in our world’s changing and uncertain times to surround myself with media that helps to broaden my worldview. In my opinion it is truly one of the best things about literature, more so than any other medium. Reading requires you to use your imagination and visualize. A well written book can take you to another world and allow you to walk in someone else’s shoes. Binti is a 2015 award-winning science fiction novella by Nnedi Okorafor. Our main character Binti is a sixteen-year-old minority prodigy. She is offered a position at the prestigious Oomza University, something that no one else in her village would ever consider. Part of the Himba people, Binti was always destined to succeed her father in their business. The Himba people are deeply tied to their ancestral land, and they believe that if you move away you will begin to diminish. They even coat their bodies in a special material “Otjize” made from a red clay from the earth and the oil from local flowers. It is what makes Binti’s resolve to venture out into the universe even more inspiring. Surrounded by people foreign to herself, Binti finds similarities in a love of learning. She quickly makes friends and becomes more comfortable with the idea of being so far from home. Much like in real life, Binti’s leap of faith is not met with an easy road. She is faced with challenges and strife and is forced to find her own inner strength. I would recommend this book to fantasy and sci-fi readers alike. It is a quick read and offers a story that is richly woven with ethnic issues. I am excited to read the next two novellas in the series. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller.
  13. A Memory Called Empire By Arkady Martine Some of my first and fondest memories as a child are of hiding in my closet with a camp light so that I could read, undisturbed, for the entire day. I devoured all forms of fiction, with the exception of one.... Science Fiction. Over the years I have given several Sci-Fi novels a chance, but none managed to hold my interest till the end. When I was presented with A Memory Called Empire to review, I knew that for the first time that streak was going to come to an end. What surprised me was how thoroughly I enjoyed this science fiction novel. We are launched into a world where small, planet-less stations do what they can to remain just outside of the control of the Empire, Teixcalaan. A young Ambassador, Mahit Dzmare, is being sent from Lsel Station to Teixcalaan to replace her recently deceased predecessor. She is equal parts trepidation and excitement; with all the vigor of someone young and eager to prove themselves. Mahit very quickly finds herself utterly alone and unsure who she can trust among the stoic and expressionless Teixcalaanlitzlim. The entire novel takes place in the span of days, not months or years, which means that it moves along at a lightning pace. Many of the choices Mahit is forced to make are born out of urgent necessity. She is forced to think on her feet and move with profound purpose. Arkady Martines’ debut novel is a fantastic blend of political intrigue and personal ambition. I found myself repeatedly impressed with the depth of detail she created surrounding both culture and political conspiracy. At times the poetic nature of the language takes a second reading, and the intense vocabulary requires careful concentration. I am happily shocked to report that I am anxiously awaiting the next novel in this series. The story is beautifully designed to pull you into the Lsel Ambassador’s psyche and leave you aching to know of her future. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes and Nobel, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller. View full news item
  14. A Memory Called Empire By Arkady Martine Some of my first and fondest memories as a child are of hiding in my closet with a camp light so that I could read, undisturbed, for the entire day. I devoured all forms of fiction, with the exception of one.... Science Fiction. Over the years I have given several Sci-Fi novels a chance, but none managed to hold my interest till the end. When I was presented with A Memory Called Empire to review, I knew that for the first time that streak was going to come to an end. What surprised me was how thoroughly I enjoyed this science fiction novel. We are launched into a world where small, planet-less stations do what they can to remain just outside of the control of the Empire, Teixcalaan. A young Ambassador, Mahit Dzmare, is being sent from Lsel Station to Teixcalaan to replace her recently deceased predecessor. She is equal parts trepidation and excitement; with all the vigor of someone young and eager to prove themselves. Mahit very quickly finds herself utterly alone and unsure who she can trust among the stoic and expressionless Teixcalaanlitzlim. The entire novel takes place in the span of days, not months or years, which means that it moves along at a lightning pace. Many of the choices Mahit is forced to make are born out of urgent necessity. She is forced to think on her feet and move with profound purpose. Arkady Martines’ debut novel is a fantastic blend of political intrigue and personal ambition. I found myself repeatedly impressed with the depth of detail she created surrounding both culture and political conspiracy. At times the poetic nature of the language takes a second reading, and the intense vocabulary requires careful concentration. I am happily shocked to report that I am anxiously awaiting the next novel in this series. The story is beautifully designed to pull you into the Lsel Ambassador’s psyche and leave you aching to know of her future. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes and Nobel, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller.
  15. The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood Leaping into the unknown with a debut fantasy novel is equal parts trepidation and excitement. Will familiar themes enchant or disappoint? Will the author live up to the promises made in the book's synopsis? Can the book hold your attention to the very end? Diving into The Unspoken Name, I was intent to answer these questions and more. From the first few pages, the novel struck me as something wholly unique and exciting. I was instantly enchanted by our humanoid protagonist Csorwe, and her willingness to walk headlong to her own demise. She was young and seemingly pious, and completely resigned to her fate. Csorwe was the Chosen Bride. While alive she prayed, gave blessings, dispensed prophecy, and walked ever closer to the day that she would walk into her god’s shrine and never be seen again. Call it fate or simply a choice, but when the sacrificial day came Csorwe chose to flee her faith and live, rather than die in the tomb of her cruel god. She did not come to the choice to leave on her own, but rather was prodded towards heresy by a wise old wizard. From that moment the wizard, Belthandros Sethennai, became the compass that directed her life. Sadly, Csorwe’s life had been promised to her god from a young age, and debts such as those always seem to find a way to be paid. Throughout the course of the novel Larkwood repeatedly puts her characters in situations where they are forced to make a choice between who they are and who they want to be. The gift of choice is presented time and time again, and yet fate always seems to intervene. At times it can become almost dizzying to keep up. There is often an abruptness to major changes in the novel that left me feeling a bit dissatisfied. What kept me turning the pages was the beauty and uniqueness of the world and its magic system. A.K. Larkwood created a vivid universe that is a seamless meld of traditional fantasy, and science fiction. The lives of the characters are steeped in medieval mundanity and yet they travel using flying ships and a complex lace of a Maze that transports them between worlds. These two different styles were expertly blended and completely captivating. I also couldn't help but cheer the normalcy created around queerness. The love and lust felt between characters was both beautiful and compelling. The magic system, one which is derived completely through god worship and extracts a toll on the body, is also a compelling subplot throughout the story. In whole, The Unspoken Name is an intriguing and promising debut novel. It is a modern take on the fantasy genre that has me curious about what the future holds. While the novel could certainly be a stand alone, I have a feeling it is not the last I will read about this world. The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller.
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