So I wrote a book...


I would like to officially announce to the readers of this fine blog that I have written and published my first book!

First things first, it is called 'Telluria' and is the first book of a small series. Or at least at the moment, I think it will be a small series. George RR Martin also thought the 'Song of Ice and Fire' was going to be a trilogy at one point and look at how well that turned out. 

'Telluria' is currently available at all of these fine places:

Barnes & Noble


You might be wondering at this point, what is 'Telluria' about in the first place? Keep reading for a brief synopsis.

"The earth was on the brink of a futuristic utopia when a new and deadly disease threatened to wipe out humanity. Telluria slowly dissolved its victims into one of the four primordial elements of water, fire, earth or wind. Terra was a child when her parents caught Telluria. The corporation New Atlantis developed a cure and distributed it for free just in time, saving her parents and the world from extinction. The world was just beginning to rebuild when Terra caught Telluria herself. She planned to simply go get the cure, but when her best friend Grey is killed by New Atlantis officials for trying to warn her against it, Terra is on the run for her life and the truth."

If you are interested in reading further, you can read the first two chapters for free here.

Join Me on The Reading Quest!

Hey, guys! So today I’m talking about something a little different. I’m taking part in a reading challenge! What’s a reading challenge you may ask? Well, the rules tend to change from challenge to challenge but the general idea is to get a whole lot of reading done in a given amount of time. I’ve participated in a few reading challenges before, but nothing quite like this. 

This particular reading challenge is called “The Reading Quest” and will be taking place from August 13th to September 10th. It is hosted by Aentee at Read At Midnight. All the amazing artwork was created by CW at Read, Think, Ponder

Your first task is to create your character and pick a class. You can pick knight, bard, rogue, or mage. You also have the option of creating your very own character card with your name and stats. Here’s mine: 

Your next task is to assemble your TBR. "The Reading Quest" uses the quest board below to act as your reading prompts and to guide you on your way. Your chosen class dictates what quest path you follow. As I choose the mage, the first books I’ll be reading all involve magic and other worlds. 

Once you’ve completed your initial quest line, you can choose another class and complete another quest line. However choose carefully! Once you’ve chosen a quest line, you can’t read books from the other paths until you finish the one you’re on. 

But that’s not all! See all those blue quest boxes in the middle? Those are your side quests. Side quests can be completed at any time with any class for extra points. 

If the quest board wasn’t unique enough for you, there are also experience points and health points. Experience points are gained by finishing books or by finishing quest lines. For every 50 XP, your character levels up! Heath points come from how many pages you read or how many minutes of audiobook you listen to. Be sure to check out Aentee’s post here for more information and complete rules. 

Before I let you know what books I plan on reading, I’m going to let you know how much I’ll be reading. Since it’s impossible to say how busy the next month will be, my low bar goal is just to finish the mage quest. My second tier goal, the one I actually want to reach, is to finish the four class quest lines. This will be 16 books in just under a month. This one is defiantly doable. Of course, I would love to finish the whole board, and I will try to get as far as I can. My only concern is 25 books come to nearly a book a day and some of my picks are HUGE. Thankfully I’ll be mixing audiobooks with regular books, making it a little easier. 

Now without further adieu, my books!

Mage Quest

A Book With a One Word Title

Menagerie by Rachel Vincent - This was an easy pick for me simply because A) it’s a one-word title and B) I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf wayyyyy too long. Menagerie is about a girl named Delilah who unexpectedly finds herself as part of a travelling circus Metzger’s Menagerie. In short, it sounds dark, intriguing, and overall awesome. 



A Book That Contains Magic

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard - Another one that’s been sitting on my shelf for way too long. I bought this beautiful hardcover immediately after finishing Red Queen. Defiantly looking forward to continuing the series. 




A Book Based on Mythology

The Hammer or Thor by Rick Riordan - Really any Rick Riordan book could have gone here. But lately, I’ve been super interested in Norse mythology. Pity I finished reading Norse Mythology last month. But, I love Riordan’s take on the Norse universe. 




A Book Set in a Different World

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi - This category was a bit of a free for all. Mostly because I read A LOT of fantasy books and a great many of them don’t take place on our earth. But who doesn’t love a story rich with Hindu influences, curses, and royalty? 




The First Book of a Series

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh - The Wrath and the Dawn is a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights. I’ve heard so many great things about this book I just want to dive right into it. ((And it’ll probably be the book I finish first.)) 




Knight Quest

The First Book of a Series - See Mage

A Book with a Verb in its Title

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth - This one was a little harder to come up with. At the end I just went through my Kindle library, looking for anything with a verb. I can’t believe I haven’t read this yet!





A Book with a Weapon on Its Cover

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - Look at those swords! They defiantly quality! Plus, royal assassins? Yes, please. 





A Book with a Red Cover

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen - I’ve previously read the first couple chapters of this book. It was intriguing, but for whatever reason, I never finished it. Hey well, it has a red cover. Time to give it a second chance. 




A Book That has a TV/Movie Adaptation

The Maze Runner by James Dashner - The series never interested me before but the movie was okay. I’m hoping, in the general law of books, that the book will be better.




Bard Quest

A Book That has a TV/Movie Adaptation - See Knight

A Fairy Tale Retelling

Cinder by Marissa Meyer - Cyborgs count as fairy tales right? They must when the cyborg in question is Cinderella. 






A Book Cover with Striking Typography

The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke - This book took a bit of a search. Sure plenty of books have pretty typography, but few have something that stands out as much as this. 




A Book Translated From Another Language

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank - My Mother will be so pleased I’m finally getting around to this. This is one of those books that seems to be on everyone's list of “Must read in a lifetime”.





A Banned Book

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - Because what list is complete without a little dystopia. 






Rogue Quest

A Banned Book - See Bard

A Book Cover with a Partially Obscured Face

Three Maids for a Crown by Ella March Chase - Do I get extra points for THREE obscured faces? Plus, it’s about Lady Jane Grey! I write a flipping web series on the girl. ((Shameless self-promotion of the Lost Letters)). 




A Book with <500 Ratings on GoodReads

Fully Present by Susan L. Smalley, and Diana Winston - This book is something of an oddball in the group. It’s a non-fiction book about mindfulness. Mindfulness is essentially the mental act of being in the present. This was TECHNICALLY a university text book, that admittedly I never read. But recently I’ve found myself regaining interest in mindfulness. 


A Book Published by a Small Press

Stardust by Devon Ashley - I had such a hard time deciding on a book for this category. I’m just hoping that self-published counts as small press? Sort of? 




A Book With a One Word Title - See Mage

Side Quests! 


Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan - About two boys with the same name who happened to meet. Written by two authors who just happens to write together. 






A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - Time to finish that one sided conversation with my sister about how awesome this book is. 






The Passage by Justin Cronin - This book came as something of a surprise to me. I must have, at some point, put it on reserve on my library’s website. I don’t remember anything about it, but apparently, it’s available so….





The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis - This book is the only book in the way of finishing the Narnia series. The reason I didn’t finish it? Eustace. I think this time around I’ll just slam through it as an audiobook. 




Animal Companion

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle - Challenge just asks for an animal in the title. Never said it had to be a nice one. :D 







Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur - I don’t read poetry. I like the idea of poetry, but I’ve never found a place to jump in. Milk and Honey has been described as very human. The poems are of loss, of pain, and love. 






The Son of Sobek by Rick Riordan - This was the first book that came to mind for this challenge, though I may swap it out for something else. If I don’t go with this, I’ll probably read The Witch’s Betrayal by Cassandra Rose Clarke.




Time Warp

Written in my Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon - This is the only book in the challenge I’m worried about being able to finish. I love the Outlander books and it is perfect for this challenge but it is so very long. 




Open World

The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke - This book could have been literally anything. I went with The Pirate’s Wish because it would be awesome to finish a whole series during this quest. Even if it is just a duology. 




That’s it for this one folks! Be sure to stay tuned for updates. Also, feel free to join yourself and/or follow #TheReadingQuest on Twitter.

The True (And Super Romantic) Story Behind The Personal Memoirs Of Ulysses S. Grant

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Near the end of his life, Ulysses S. Grant was dying, penniless, and wanted to ensure his wife Julia would be able to live in comfort after his death. This is the story of how this Civil War hero, and two-term president, came to write his historic memoirs.

Ulysses S. Grant was born Hiram Ulysses Grant on April 27, 1822, in Point Pleasant, Ohio. Grant was working in his father’s leather shop when he was called to join the American Civil War. An effective leader, Grant rose quickly through the ranks and was eventually promoted to Commanding General of the United States Army on March 9th, 1864.

During the war, his wife Julia Dent Grant would follow him whenever she could. Their marriage was one of life-long loyalty. When she was unable to be with him, Julia would stay with her parents.

Grant helped lead the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy. An American War Hero, his success led to his presidency which began on March 4, 1869. During his two terms as president, Grant established the National Parks Service. Julia would describe this time as the happiest in her life. With other Cabinet Wives as her allies, Julia entertained lavishly in the White House.
After Grant left office, he and Julia went on a world tour. The expensive trip was a celebration of their triumph, however, it did spend more of their savings.

Back home in America, Grant first joined a business venture that planned to build the Mexican Southern Railroad. This business soon failed. Later, Grant joined a brokerage house with his son and one other man named Ferdinand Ward. Grant invested $100,000 of his own money into the firm. Unfortunately, Ward swindled Grant out of the money and that business also failed.
It was around this time that Grant was diagnosed with throat cancer. At a national outcry for his well-being, Congress reinstated his title of General, which he was forced to give up when he became president, with full retirement pay. However, Grant wanted more for Julia than the widow’s pay such a title allowed.

In an attempt to restore his family’s reputation, and to rebuild the family fortune, Grant began writing articles about his Civil War campaigns. The articles sold for $500 a piece and were well received. It was then suggested to him that he write his memoirs so that the royalties could go to Julia after his death.

His son Fred Grant helped with references and proofreading. Grant’s friend Mark Twain offered a book contract that would give Julia a 75% royalty. Ulysses S. Grant died on July 23rd, 1885, shortly after completing the final pages.

The memoirs went not to be a critical and commercial success. However, Julia received $450,000 in royalties and was able to live in comfort for the rest of her life. Grant’s memoirs also carved a new means for ex-presidents and veterans to make money in their later years.
Before her own death, Julia wrote her own account of her life with Ulysses. In it, she said, “the light of his glorious fame still reaches out to me, falls upon me, and warms me.”

What other memoirs do you know about that have great stories behind them?

Originally Posted On

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

"But how awful would that be? How terrible to live surrounded by the stark, sharp, hollowness of things that simply were enough?” 

The Slow Regard of Silent Things - Patrick Rothfuss

Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle Book 2.5
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★★

I ordered this at the same time I ordered "A Wise Man's Fear". While I wasn't planning on bringing it on my honeymoon with me (as I did with "A Wise Man's Fear"), I was aware that the story followed Auri, a character from the Kingkiller Chronicles that I was more than willing to learn more about.

Auri is a mysterious pixie of a character who lives beneath the University. Little is known of Auri's origins. She was at one point a student of the university. She lives in the "Underthing", often keeping herself tucked away in her own little world. In the Kingkiller Chronicles, Kvothe befriends her by luring her from the Underthing with music. The pair often exchange gifts when Kvothe visits her. In this novella, Auri knowsthat Kvothe will be visiting in seven days, and she sets out on a quest to find three perfect gifts.

This novella was adorable and the illustrations were enchanting. Patrick Rothfuss included the story of how the novella came to be, along with a warning that you might not like this book. It is a very peculiar little story, but then again, Auri is a peculiar girl. No "sensible" story would have been right for her. 

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

"There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man."

The Wise Man's Fear - Patrick Rothfuss

Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle Book 2
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★★

My husband I recently went on our honeymoon to New York. After my love for "The Name of the Wind", I opted to bring it's sequel with me. It fit my preferred traveling criteria; paper, chunky enough to last, and interesting enough to get me through the long flights. Somehow during my honeymoon of all times, I nearly finished it. If that's not an indication of how much I enjoyed this book, I don't know what is.

The second novel of the Kingkiller Chronicles continues to follow Kvothe on his adventures around the university and beyond. This novel sees Kvothe's true legend come to life. Even in the young age of his teens, the world is only hearing the beginning the Kvothe the Bloodless.

I thoroughly enjoyed "A Wise Man's Fear". Possibly more then "The Name of the Wind" (though obviously one cannot exist without the other). The adventures are wider, the perils deeper, and it's not over yet. 

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

"I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

My name is Kvothe.
You may have heard of me"

Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle Book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★★

I spotted this book in a bookstore. Before that moment in time, I heard good recommendations, but I didn't have the foggiest idea what the book was actually about. The back cover content didn't help matters either. All I knew, that it was somewhere in that new-to-me area of epic fantasy and I had just finished George R.R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons. So I opted to stay in the genre a little longer. 

The story centres around a boy named Kvothe. We meet Kvothe working as an innkeeper in his adult years. Kvothe has led a life that had left a legend in his wake. However, most legends are a far exaggeration from the truth. A scribe known only by Chronicler offers Kvothe the chance to tell his story as it really happened. 

Kvothe begins his story at, well, the beginning; as a young boy living in his parent's caravan. He is presented as being incredibly smart. Often his mind is the only weapon against the obstacles that plague the early steps of his legend. 

The world Rothfuss as presented is rich and with the depth of Mariana's Trench. From the very beginning, you are immersed in varying cultures, beliefs, religions, and languages. It is the type of world where every character, every bandit, and pickpocket and scribe, has their own life they live beyond Kvothe's little corner. 

My final verdict is that this novel was stunning, immersive, and a fun ride. Immediately after finishing, I purchased the sequel A Wise Man's Fear as well as the accompanying novella A Slow Regard of Silent Things. If that's not an indication of how good it is, I don't know what is.