Air Awakens – Review

A Library Apprentice, a Sorcerer Prince, and an Unbreakable Magic Bond…

Can we all just take a moment to appreciate how beautiful this cover art is?

 

I just picked up and finished “Air Awakens” by Elise Kova in three days. Oh, how I’ve longed for a book like this! I feel like it’s been ages since I’ve read a book that really engaged me, and that all the books between books like this are just fillers. Mediocre, barely decent fillers.

Air Awakens is set in a fantasy fiction world complete with magic and princes. Now before you start thinking that this is a fairy tale story, stop. I won’t deny that I rolled my eyes at the idea of it too. “Plain ordinary girl discovers she has rare magical powers, meets a prince, and is swept up into the war of her kingdom.” Excuse me? Is this a Disney movie?

The answer is a resounding no.

I implore you to ignore your knee-jerk reaction to what seems to be a bland repeat of an overused story. Air Awakens is so much more.

Let’s start with the setting. It does have a typical fantasy world with swords and magic. We have the kingdom of Solaris that is full of royalty, warriors, and sorcerers; some of which aren’t exclusive. Solaris is made up of the southern, eastern, and western regions. The northern region is the last that Solaris is attempting to conquer, and so they remain at war. The different regions also have different opinions on its sorcerers. Some are fearful while others are reverent.

I’m the latter. The sorcerers within this series are of the elemental variety. Each sorcerer has an elemental affinity that affects what type of magic they use. There are Firebearers, Windwalkers, Waterrunners,  and Groundbreakers; fire, air, water, and earth. Magic is not inherent in everyone, and it isn’t genetic. Magic chooses the person. Once it has, your powers remain dormant until they begin to “awaken”. I am really drawn to the way Kova’s magic works in this series.

Vhalla, our heroine, has been a library apprentice in the Imperial Library nearly her entire life until her powers begin to awaken. I really like Vhalla. She is intelligent, hungry for knowledge, and simply refuses to be ignorant. At the same time, she isn’t without her faults. The author did a very good job of making sure that her main character was balanced. Her development is also very well written, and you never reach a point where Vhalla abruptly becomes mature, all-knowing, and powerful. I can really appreciate that Vhalla’s personality stayed true to character throughout this first book. She struggles, and as a reader it made her all the more believable.

And then there’s the crown prince, Aldrik. Oh, he’s not the Prince Charming that fairy-tales have painted in all of our heads. He’s quite the opposite, although he is charming in his own unique way. Aldrik was the character that had me raising and furrowing my eyebrows all throughout the book. For me, he was the curve-ball that threw this story off of its dangerously close path to mediocre fantasy fiction. He was enigmatic, dark, unpredictably delicious. Ahem. I refuse to elaborate on him too much, but I will tell all the ladies that he is far more swoon-worthy than any other prince I’ve read about in the most untypical ways.

It is very special to me when I find an author that knows how to write and develop a romantic relationship properly. What I mean by properly is that the relationship develops at an appropriate pace while the character’s personalities remain true to themselves. Elise Kova has done just that. Vhalla wasn’t mindlessly falling head over heels for the prince, and Aldrik wasn’t immediately and inexplicably attracted to her. We don’t have two perfect characters falling perfectly in love with each other and riding off into a perfect sunset. Too many perfects? Exactly. These two have their faults, but they learn to appreciate each other’s good points and that eventually develops into feelings. Who would’ve thought?

I also have to commend Kava for even breathing life into her side characters. For once, I didn’t feel like they were just added (annoying) fluff. They had enough substance to them that you actually did care for them a bit, at least.

For an introduction to a new world, kingdom, magic, characters, ect., Kava does a great job of informing the reader of everything without dumping vast amounts of information at once. Because of that, the pace of the story isn’t dreadfully slow and it isn’t rushed either. There just the right amount of drama and intrigue to keep you turning the pages. I actually ended up reading this in the morning before work, during lunch, and in the evening before bed. I finished it three days, and immediately purchased the next book, Falling Fire.

I’m giving this book:

 5/5

I enjoyed it immensely! If you are looking for a new series that has pieces of fantasy, adventure, and romance all mixed in quite well, then I suggest you read Air Awakens.

Also, I’m crossing my fingers that someone else will read it because I really need to discuss this book with someone! 

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

Schools that Read Together: Cultivating Reading Communities at the Secondary Level by Heather Rocco

Here is an inspiring project by a middle school and high school to encourage young people to read. This truly warms my heart. I hope to one day be a part of such an initiative.

Nerdy Book Club

Approximately three years ago, Chatham Middle and High School teachers implemented an independent reading initiative for their students. There are many components to implementing an effective independent reading program, especially at the middle and high school levels.  To explain all we did (and do) requires a much longer blog post or, say, full texts written by brilliant educators like Donalyn Miller or Penny Kittle (our IR muses).  Instead, I’d like to focus this brief post on one of the most surprising, yet inspiring results of our independent reading initiative.  This initiative strengthened our school community.  

All our students have one thing in common – books.  They are readers.  They know the classmate sitting next to them reads.  They know their teachers read.  They know that they belong to this community.     

Community of Readers

Books bring people together.  Readers have book clubs, book stores, libraries, used book sales, GoodReads…

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You’re an INFJ! – Personality Test

As a kid, I was fascinated by astrology and its potential ability to teach you about yourself through your astrological sign. I don’t mean horoscopes, but more the traits associated with each of the signs. I couldn’t get enough of learning what it meant to be me!

As an adult, I’ve ran into the Myers-Briggs personality type test. Specifically, this assessment is a “psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions”. In simpler terms, it takes a deeper more scientific look at your personality.

This personality test is used widely among employers, but I don’t think it should be exclusive to the work environment. It can teach you a lot about your personality by breaking it down to four determining traits.

 

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For example, I am an INFJ:   I-introvert, N-intuitive, F-feeling, J-judging.

You are either:

Introvert or Extrovert

Intuitive or Sensing

Feeling or Thinking

Judging or Perception

 

The above traits are categorized as:

Introversion/ Extroversion  are “Attitudes”, preferences for the way that we function cognitively.

Intuitive/Sensing and Feeling/Thinking  are “Functions”, with intuition and sensing being information-gathering function and feeling and thinking being decision-making functions.

Judging/Perception  are “Lifestyle Preferences”, preferences to how we react to the outside world.

 

MyersBriggsTpes

 

 

If you are anything like me, you will find the results of this personality test ultra-fascinating. I really can’t get enough of learning about myself.

Nifty little fact: The creator of the MBTI was the same type as me!

*I’d like to note that if you do take the test, be very critical of yourself. Choose answers that best fit how you act and feel. Don’t choose answers that sound best to you or that are ideal in your mind because you may not always act or feel that way! That also won’t result in an accurate profile.

 

Here are two sites that you can take the MBTI for Free:

16 Personalities

Truity

 

After you get your results, feel free to come back to this post and view the charts below that will tell you your Star Wars and Harry Potter personality match!

 

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Random Topic #1: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

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I think the only constant in my desires for a career as a child were animals. I always wanted to do something that was related to animals.

Some of the first careers told to you as a child were:

  • Doctor
  • Teacher
  • Astronaut
  • Pilot
  • Veterinarian
  • Firefighter
  • Police Officer
  • President
  • Soldier
  • Actor/Actress
  • Writer
  • Artist

Of course, I wanted to be a veterinarian! I mean, it is the highest or near the highest paying career you can have that involves animals. I guess they really wanted us to shoot high! Go big or go home, eh?

So for a few years that was my default answer any time an adult asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. As a child, that was a common enough question. As an adult that does the asking or hearing others that ask, I wonder if we just do it to hear the cute answers they give us. I don’t think many adults take it seriously. I mean, we just sort of chuckle when they tell us that they want to be an astronaut or doctor, right?

Returning to the original topic, my answer to this question changed a few times. One that I remember particularly was that I wanted to own a pet treat business. I wanted a little shop where I could make homemade pet treats for pet owners! I’m pretty sure that I got this idea from watching something on Animal Planet, haha.

A little while later, I got it in my head that I wanted to be an animal trainer. I wanted to understand animal behavior and work with them in that respect. I’m sure I really had my heart fixed on working with more exotic animals, but I think I would’ve settled for dogs and cats.

I have to admit that I have many interests and passions. Throughout middle school and high school, the answer of what career I wanted changed a few times. They included animal behaviorist, environmentalist, writer, teacher, translator, and historian to name a few.

Because of my indecisiveness, I’m very glad that I decided not to start college right out of high school. That would have ended badly for me and my finances.

As an adult, I can now confidently say that I want to go to school to study English as my major with the hopes of working at a publishing company. I really want to be a driving force in releasing new books into the world. I want to make a difference in helping the book industry survive even as things convert digitally. I believe it is really important for young people to develop a passion for reading if not just an interest.

If not a publishing company for books, then I’ll probably seek out an online magazine or website to write for. I think I’ll be happy as long as I’m contributing in some form or fashion.

Here’s to hoping that works out!

So, as a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

 

cho-g1

 

Out with the Old & In with the New

I’m very happy to announce that I will be moving to Austin, TX at the end of May!

To be honest, it’s really got me thinking about fresh starts and new beginnings. I think that moving to a new city can really help you redefine your lifestyle, especially if that city’s culture is different (in a good way) than your current one. Austin is just that.

  • Austin’s general population is younger. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people my age before!
  • It’s a very green city, and puts a lot of effort into environmental awareness, Lovely parks and lakes everywhere.
  • It has a no-kill policy which means a lot to me as an animal lover.
  • Austin is very health and fitness oriented. It is very rare to see an out of shape Austinite.
  • It’s culturally diverse and rich with people from all over the world living there and influencing it.
  • Live Music Capital of the United States. Need I say more? The arts are strong there!

The list could go on and on, but those are the main reasons I am attracted to it. I’m an animal, nature, and arts loving person who wants to bring more fitness into her life. Was this city made for me?

To be fair, I won’t actually be living IN Austin, but just north of it in the Pflugerville, TX or Round Rock, TX areas. My boyfriend likes to point out that they are their own cities, but I feel as though the three cities bleed right into each other. This is especially true when its comes to the general lifestyle. Not to mention they’re only like 20 minutes apart. I mean, I can drive the highway for 20 minutes in San Antonio and still be in San Antonio. C’mon now!

I digress.

On the more geeky spectrum of things, I am just itching to explore the geek culture in Austin. A lot of people will yell, “Hipsters!” when they talk about Austin, but I have this feeling that I will feel more at home among a bigger geek society there. I know for sure that it hosts more geek conventions than San Antonio. That’s always a positive sign, right?

Of course, as I explore and discover the geek culture in Austin, I will be letting you all know how it is! Although I’m sure I will be posting before July, there is a particular event I am so damn excited to go to.

That is..

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Did your eyes just bug out as big as mine did when I discovered this? Yeah, I’m sure they did.

Being that I haven’t bought into the current newer consoles of the last few years, I set my sights to the past. You just can’t go wrong with the classics. In fact, I miss them! Video games are evolving in a way that I’m not particularly fond of. Well, minus MMORPG’s which I almost always love. FFXIV: ARR specifically. ❤

I will be attending this amaze-balls Classic Game Fest, and I will be overloading my phone with tons of pictures to show everyone. Luckily it will be at the end of our first month in Austin and I’ll let it dangle in front of my eyes like a treat the next two months to help push me through what I’m sure will be a stressful transition.

So let me ask everyone something even though it’s not January and we didn’t just celebrate New Years. What changes are you bringing into your life for the positive? Anything big? Not so big? Hey, nothing’s better than baby-steps actually.

Let me know!

cho-g1

Updates & Glasses

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Hello, hello!

I have a few exciting things to talk about which I hope will explain my lack of being active.

First off, as seen above, I got new glasses! I’m seriously loving them! ❤ I didn’t intend to go name brand when I was looking for frames, but I ended up choosing these Michael Kors. They’re a light tortoiseshell brown with purple on the inside and they were a perfect fit.

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They are style MK247 and can be found if you  want to search for this style! MK also has this style with green and navy blue on the inside.

In other news, I will most likely be moving to the Austin, TX area within the next month and a half! My boyfriend and I have been wanting to move there as that is where he was raised and his family lives. That and Austin is amaze-balls! It’s an eco-friendly, young, live-music capital of the U.S. If I’m not mistaken, there is actually geek culture in Austin where there is barely any in San Antonio.

Truthfully, I’m really looking forward to exploring there and settling in for a fresh start. I’m very excited!

So I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting much, but I will work harder to check in and post a few things here and there while preparing for the move. If y’all have any questions or comments, do type them up below. 🙂

Toodles!

cho-g1

Golden Age of Geekdom

What does it mean to be a geek in 2015?

The first thing that comes to mind is how differently people view geeks. When I was growing up, the terms “geek” and “nerd” still carried negative connotations. This is probably because games that were not physical were considered geeky or nerdy. (Both terms were used interchangeably when I was young.) To be accepted, you were physically active in sports. Playing table top games or even video games were still viewed in a negative light.

Being a geek in 2015 is now a common thing, and honestly, I’m ok with that.

Let me explain. I enjoy that my favorite things are a common sight in stores. I get to easily buy more of what I like. I also love that I run into more geeks in my everyday life since they are no longer ashamed for being the way they are. We don’t have to hide our geekiness in this day and age, and that’s a great thing.

Generations of geeks who were shamed are now grown and no longer afraid to show their true colors. In turn, they’ve taught younger geeks that it’s ok to be who they are. Basically we have generations of geeks that are no longer embarrassed to be geeks! Why should we be upset about that?

In no way do I mean that I’m ok with people pretending to be geeks in order to fit in.  There have always been people who lie to fit in. Even when I was young, people would do things out of their nature to be accepted. Today, that still happens. We have young people who want to fit in and being a geek is now one of those ways.

I will say, however, that a newbie may seem like a pretender. We may assume that because the person is unfamiliar with “X” subject that they’re a fake. This isn’t true, people! It may be that the person is simply new to that fandom, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ll be the first to admit that while I am a fan of Ironman, I’m not super knowledgeable on the character. That doesn’t make me any less of a geek or fan.

In 2015, we can be loud and proud that we’re geeks. We are sitting smack dab in the middle of a golden age for geeks. Yes, I went there!  The geeks of the past have grown out of being timid and so younger generations feel like they can be themselves. We’re in a time where we can turn on the TV and watch shows on comic book heroes, step into any department stores and walk out with geeky clothes, and wear glasses without being called four-eyes! Instead of worrying about who is or isn’t a geek or that anyone can be a geek (What a nightmare! <insert eye-roll>), we should be celebrating!

So while other geeks may be getting all worked up, I’ll be over here enjoying the fact that I get to live in this golden age!