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!

 

 

 

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D.I.Y. Magical Wand Tutorial

I might have moved under a rock for the past month or so, but I promise that it’s not because I didn’t want to write! Life has been hectic, especially when October rolled around. There were several events taking place at my workplace, Halloween, and my boyfriend’s Birthday on Halloween. Add my Barcelona trip planning on top of that, and I was/am a very busy lady. (More on that Barcelona Trip soon!)

So for Halloween, I decided to finally attempt to make my very own magical wand. As you may or may not know, I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I was planning on using it to go with my HP witch costume for Halloween, but I actually didn’t end up attending that party at all. Even so, I am very proud of the wands I made, and I plan to make more in the future.

In honor of the upcoming movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, here is a simple tutorial on how to make magical wands!

Supplies

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  • Wooden Dowels or Large Chopsticks – Wooden dowels are easier to find and cheaper, but you will have to use sandpaper to round out the end and taper the ends. Large chopsticks are harder to find unless you order them online. Wands are generally 9 to 14 inches in length although they can be as short as 7 inches and as long as 18 inches.)
  • Sandpaper – I used general purpose so it took a while to taper the ends, so I recommend getting a rougher grade.
  • Acrylic Paint – I chose a variety of browns.
  • Clear Multi-Surface Sealer – The Krylon sealer that I bought actually took the natural paint gloss away and gave my wands a more matted look. If you want a glossy finish, I’d suggest either looking for a glossy sealer or buy a separate gloss to apply after your sealer.
  • Glue Gun & Glue Sticks – For giving your wand that rugged wood look.
  • *** Optional Marbles/Gems – To press into your wand’s handle. I didn’t do this, but I will share how to add them.

Step #1: Sand it Down

(If you went with chopsticks, skip to Step #2)

First things first, you need to choose the thickness of your wand. A lot of wooden dowels will come in variety packs. For mine, I went with the medium size thickness since I’m a woman. Men with larger hands may want to use the thicker wands. A good way to determine which you prefer is by holding it in your hand. Does it look too thin? Too large? Also, is it comfortable to hold?

Once you’ve got that figured out, get your sandpaper out. I suggest putting down a tarp or something to catch the wood shavings if you do this inside. You’ll be using the sandpaper to thin down one end of the dowel so that it tapers toward one side and rounding out the tip so that it’s not blunt. To taper it down, place the sandpaper on your hand and then wrap your hand (and sandpaper) in a tight clenched fist around the one end while holding the opposite end with your other hand. Now twist your clenched hand to scrape away. Keep in mind that your hand may get tired and you may need to take a break or switch hands. Also, be sure to rotate the dowel in circles to make sure you are sanding evenly all the way around.

Rounding the tip is a little more difficult. You can do one of two things. Lay the sandpaper on your hand, cup your hand, and press and rotate the tip into the cupped sandpaper. This can quickly get tiring so I improved. I sat in a chair sitting with my legs together, placed the sandpaper in the crevice formed by pressing my legs together, and used both hands to quickly rotate the dowel while pushing it down into the sandpaper. Imagine trying to start a fire with wood and you have the right idea; only I was doing this in my lap.

Step #2: Hot Glue Handle/Designs

Glue time! I was most nervous about this part. I really thought it was going to be hard to make the glue look like natural wood. Ladies and gents, it’s not! I suggest looking at pictures of wands online to get an idea of how you would like your wand to look. You can do rugged, detailed, ringed, ect.

Firstly you’ll want to take up your wand in your hand like you’re about to cast a spell. Hold it comfortably and look at where your hand/fingers end. Give yourself another half inch or so beyond that and mark it lightly with a pencil. This will be where you glue handle/design ends. Unless, of course, you want the design all the way up the wand.

* Tip: Have 2 small glue sticks worth of glue ready if you want to do a full handle.

To start off, apply a larger bulbous glob of glue on the end to form the rounded tip for the handle. You’ll want to do this on any design since the dowel’s (or chopstick’s) other end is still flat. While holding the tapered side in one hand, rotate the dowel in circles applying generous lines of glue on the wood. If you want the natural wood look, apply the glue against the lines you already have, but don’t try to cover all the wood with glue. This creates the natural looking curves, bends, and nooks you would expect from actual wood. You’ll continue this until you reach the point your marked with pencil. At this point, I chose to add another circle of glue to sort of show where the handle ends more prominently.

* Tip: Try to avoid pulling your glue gun away from the wood too far or not at all until your design is finished if at all possible as this causes those little wispy strings of glue. Not only are they a pain for you, but they could stick to the rest of the glue and wispy bits aren’t very wood like or smooth!

The end result will look awkward, unfinished, and ugly even. No worries. That’s what the paint is for.

Note: Some prefer to wait until the glue is just about dry to roll it about in their hands to create that rolling crevice wood look, but I was impatient about waiting for the glue to reach this point to try it and so thus scared I was going to touch the glue while it was hot and burn myself. #wuss

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On the second wand, I did a ringed design. You start again with the bulb on the the flat end, and then do your first and thickest ring where you marked for your “handle” (design) to end. For evenly spaced rings, do your next ring right in between the two end points. The last two rings were then placed between the other points. Ta-da!

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Did I mention that a near essential ingredient to crafting is a deliciously spiked beverage? (For those of you that might have noticed the glass.) — For adults only, of course!

 *** If you wish to use gemstones or marbles on your handle, you’ll want to apply the glue and wait at least a minute or so before carefully pressing your goodies into the glue. That way the glue will still be warm and malleable to situate your shiny just the way you want.

Step #3: Paint Away

This is when your wand starts looking like a wand! Choose your preferred color and paint away. I bought 4 varying shades of brown for my wands. I even swirled some light and darker colors to get that inconsistent color actual wood might be for my first wand. The second I painted fawn per my best friend as it is a gift.

I really love the way my first wand turned out with all the natural looking crevices. The second turned out very pretty too!

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Step #4: Seal and/or Gloss

Time to seal all this awesomeness up so that it doesn’t get damaged. I highly recommend doing this outside due to the fumes and risk of getting sealer on your furniture, belongings, ect. Either way, you’ll need to put down something to set your wands on. I chose foil since I was doing it on my patio.

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Now follow the directions on your sealer! I applied several coats of sealer on mine because I am a tad overprotective. What can I say?

Step #5: Begin Casting!

If you are as impressed and infatuated with your wand as I was with mine, you may walk with it for a while practicing your “Swish and Flick” and annoying your significant other by waving it at them while rattling off every spell you know. I really couldn’t keep my hands off of it for the first few hours! Call me a geek and see if I care!

As you can see from comparing, the finished product is more matte and a bit lighter than the ones pictured above on the foil pre-sealer. I’m toying with the idea of leaving them as is or buying a gloss to put on them. Thoughts?

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Again, everyone, I’m disappeared without a trace there for a while. I will continue to try to make time for these posts.

I hope you liked it!

PS: Click on the pictures to enlarge them for a better view!

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.

 

infp

 

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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cho-g1

 

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!