The Waking Land

The Waking Land

The Waking Land  by Callie Bates

To be published: June 27, 2017

Lady Elanna Valtai (El for short) was kidnapped at age five by the King of Ereni because of her father’s political connections and designs. She is raised as the adopted daugher in King Antoine’s court but never fits in because everyone thinks her family are traitors. Fourteen years pass and El has cut all ties to her family and considers herself Ereni. That is until the King is mysteriously murdered, and she is blamed for it. She escapes with the help of a mysterious young man with magical abilities named Lord Jahan and his party of Caerisi supporters. She soon has to deal with her parents that abandoned her so long ago, and the semi-dormant nature magic she has been keeping secret for years. Magic is forbidden and is punishable by death. Will El be able to lead the rebellion that will determine her destiny and possibly her future love? Recommended for ages 14+, 4-1/2 stars. 

I adored this book! The world-building was great and the author really did manage to create a rich detailed novel. El could be a spoiled princess who cares about nobody but herself (like her adopted sister Loyce), but she is way more than that. This is especially true after she realizes all that is going on her around her – i.e. her role in the political machinations of her father and the kingdom of Ereni. Eren reminded me of late medieval/early Renaissance England, while Caeris reminded me a lot of Scotland with a splash of Ireland, and a little bit of Diana Gabaldon with the magic stones and power of the earth element of the story. I loved the El and Jahan story! Finn totally reminded me of Leith from the TV show Reign, in fact the actor is who I picture in my head whenever I read about him. He’s got that whole innocent caught in the middle vibe, especially in regard to being the next king, and I do feel a little bad for him as he’s seems to have feelings for El. That marriage to the land scene at the end of the book…wow is all I can say.

There were two things I didn’t like about this book. The first was that the story dragged a bit in the beginning and end, which dragged the story out unnecessarily, and made it hard to get into and then I was praying for it to hurry up and end. Second, there was not enough background information on one of my favorite characters besides El, Jahan Korakides. Seriously, he’s El’s love interest and all you know are some vague details about the guy and he’s the most interesting character because he’s a sorcerer who completely hides this fact and manages to live amongst royalty. 

 

Male Anime/Manga Characters

I’ve been reading mangas since 2nd grad school (Dec 2009) and have been watching animes for at least that long. While I am not the most prolific reader, as I tend to read mainly shoujo manga (girly romance mangas about high school/college students), I like that they are so brief and I can usually finish one in about an hour if I read straight through. Plus the stories are so addictive and some series go on for 20+ books! I have been kind of bored blogging lately, mostly because once again my personal life is insane, so I figured I would start up again with a topic I love. I’m currently reading the Honey So Sweet series by Amu Meguru, and I adore Taiga (the main leading guy). 

Since there are so many series and characters, I figured I would describe them based on the series vs the character as some of them I like multiple characters. 

Inuyasha (anime – though there is a manga)

Inuyasha: My first anime love. The half human/half fox demon is what started my fox fascination, and I love the way he is stubborn about everything, mostly because he feels inadequate in comparison to his full-demon brother Sesshomaru, and probably not good enough for Kagome.

Kamisama Kiss by Julietta Suzuki (manga and anime)

Tomoe: Fox demon, what can I say? I do find it amusing that originally the manga was supposed to be an erotic hentai series because it definitely has overt sexual overtones. Plus there’s just something about manga/anime characters with violet eyes. 

Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori (manga and anime)

Hikaru

Hikaru: Red hot-headed Hikaru who never knows what he wants until it is almost too late. I’m really pissed that Haruhi never ends up with him as I think he loves her more than Tamaki ever would. 

Mori

Mori: The strong silent one, Mori is my tied for my favorite overall one (along with Kyoya),  even though he never says much. 

Kyoya: The cold calculating guy who never does anything without a good reason, but he lets Haruhi into his heart and I think it makes him a better person. 

Kimi Ni Todoke (From Me to You) by Kahuro Shiina (manga)

Ryu and Chizuru

Ryu: While everyone I’m sure likes Kazehaya, he is not my favorite character in this series. Once again, I like the strong silent type, in this case, he is named Ryu. He falls in love with the exuberant Chizuru who was always in love with his older brother, and patiently waits for her to notice him finally after so many years of treating him like a brother. 

High School Debut by Kazuna Kawahara (manga)

Yoh

Yoh: This one was such a weird story, but I love Yoh’s character. The main character, a girl named Haruna is hopeless when it comes to guys. She is an athletic tomboy who has never really attracted boys before, so she enlists the help of a popular non-chalant guy name Yoh, who of course promptly falls in love. He gets too embarrassed showing affection and Haruna is so clueless about love and attraction. 

Dengeki Daisy by Kyousuke Motomi (manga)

Kurosaki3.jpg

(Tasuku) Kurosaki: I love stories like this where there’s a supposed bad guy that turns out to actually be really caring and affectionate given the right girl. “Daisy” has been watching out for Teru since her brother died, but she never knew who he was. She later discovers, when she is 16, that he is the 24 yr old janitor at her high school and is actually an internationally known computer hacker who is not the malicious guy he originally seems to be. There is a bit of a perv vibe because of their age difference, but at heart Kurosaki is a really nice guy who got caught in some bad stuff has been trying to atone for it, and finally finds the love he has needed since he was an orphaned kid after his father was killed when he was very young. 

Honey so Sweet by Amu Meguru

Taiga Onise: Tai is just like Haru from My Little Monster in that they are both misunderstood violent “juvenile delinquents” who end up finding happiness with the most random girls (Nao in Tai’s case – a completely mousy girl who most guys would probably ignore). He decides he wants to date Nao with the prospect of marriage and eventually she feels the same way. I’m only 6 volumes in, but I love this series. Tai and Nao are too cute! His hair and piercings remind a little of Miyamura from Horimiya (see Miyamura under the Megane section below). 

The Demon Prince of Momochi House by Aya Shouoto (manga)

Aoi and Nue

Aoi: He is almost too pretty to be real with that dark hair and blue eyes. After Himari Momochi (an orphan) inherits Momochi house when she turns 16, she discovers that she’s not the only one living there. There are also three gorgeous squatters: Aoi, a mysterious boy and his two shikigami (helpers). Yay for reverse harems!

The Nue: The most effeminate demon I’ve ever seen, he is Aoi’s demon form and the protector of Momochi House (the gateway between the spirit/demon and human worlds) that is part fox, butterfly, and cat demons. He reminds me a lot of Tomoe with the way he moves/acts. 

Black Butler by Yana Tobosco (manga)

Sebastian2

Sebastian Michaelis: Bound to Ciel Phantomhive, this demon from hell is bound to the twelve-year old boy and they have a very odd relationship. Like you’re never quite sure if they have “that kind” of relationship or it is simply a very efficient servant and his master, mostly because it looks like Sebastian could literally devour him in a moment (which is technically true as he is waiting to devour his soul). 

Library Wars by Kiiro Yumi (manga – though apparently there is live action and anime version as well)

Instructor Dojo: He’s such a hard ass the first half of the book and so in love with Kashara, but there are both too afraid it to admit to each other because of the whole superior/soldier relationship they have for majority of the series. They were so awkward it was so adorable. I hated the way this ended  (it was a bit too tied up in a bow). 

Megane

Kyoya glasses

I liked Megane characters before I even really knew what they were. Megane or Megane Danshi literally means “attractive men with glasses”, and refers specifically to teenage/adult men who wear glasses in anime and manga. Apparently this is a fetish, or versions of it are. I don’t consider it one, just because I’ve almost always worn glasses, I like guys with them too. According to the following webpage, there are four basic types:

  • For sweet, shy guys with glasses who inspire Moe feelings of protectiveness, see Meganekko (technically this term refers only to girls with glasses, but for convenience boys of this type go under the same trope).
  • For guys whose glasses indicate that they are studious, aloof, or stoic, see Stoic Spectacles.
  • For cruel lovers (mostly men) with glasses who inspire kinky masochistic fetishes, see Bespectacled Bastard Boyfriend.
  • For glasses explicitly treated as a fetish object, see Sexy Spectacles.

According to this website, “Glasses on a male character often denote a cultured, cool, and collected nature. Their signature pose is probably them adjusting their glasses, looking pensive all the while. The megane danshi is almost always an aloof and attractive intellectual. The person below that image may be sweet, shy, or even sadistic.”

Favorite Megane Characters:

Kyoya Ootori (Ouran High School Host Club): He is probably my favorite one, as he is sexy, smart and attractive (not to mention sarcastic). Plus he is so not a morning person. He is usually portrayed as having a cold personality, but I think most of it is just a front to protect himself. I wish he would’ve made a move on Haruhi, as I think they are a better match than her and Tamaki. 

Kousei Arima - Your Lie in April

Kousei Arama (Your Lie in April, known in Japan as Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso or just simply Kimiuso): I discovered this one on Netflix as I’m always looking for good anime to watch, and I fell in love with this character. He’s super shy and has only ever been identified as a piano player but after having a break down after his mother passed away, he hasn’t touched it in years. But a new girl coming into his life changes all that. He is the seriously most adorable character ever!

Miyamura Izumi - Horimiya

Miyamura (Horimiya): Discovered this one by accident and just fell in love with his character. He was bullied as a kid, and so got tattoos and piercings to cope. He has to hide them in high school, as the shy quiet kid, and does successfully until meeting Hori and falling for her in this other guise. As I was always a shy kid growing up (and a bit now), I can identify with both Hori and Miyamura.

Sousuke Kogure

Sousuke Kogure (Honey So Sweet): Sou is Nao’s guardian and uncle, but only about ten years older than Nao. He quits his job to take care of her and for awhile, she thinks she’s in love with him. 

Other Examples:

Sebastian - Black Butler

Sebastian (Black Butler): He doesn’t need glasses but he wears them occasionally. He is gorgeous with or without, must be the demon thing.

Shigure Sohma - Fruits Basket

Shigura Sohma (Fruits Basket): Usually only wears them when he writes (he’s a novelist), he’s such a smartass, but also a really good guy.

Tasuka Kurosaki (Dengeki Daisy): Only wears them occasionally, but I love this character. He feels unworthy because of his hacker past but he is really a great guy who deeply cares about Teru, originally his charge and later he falls in love with her.

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 7-9

So I am apparently bad at remembering to do these day of, but I figure at least they are getting done.

Day 7: List 10 Songs You are Loving Right Now

  • Ed Sheeran Shape of You – Current fav song
  • Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland – Promiscuous – throwback to undergrad days
  • B’52s – Love Shack – fav song growing up, even karoake’ed this song in undergrad once
  • Usher Yeah! – another throwback to undergrad
  • MC Solaar Bling Bling – no idea what he is saying, just love the song and it always cheers me up when I listen to it
  • The Raveonettes – Love in a Trash Can – fav song ever of theirs, on my happy mix for a reason
  • The Chainsmokers and Coldplay – Something Just Like This – just discovered this one
  • Ariana Grande – Focus 
  • Flo Rida – My House – this one both me and my 5 yr old love for different reasons
  • DNCE – Cake By the Ocean – crank this one every time it comes on the radio
  • Aerosmith – Cryin’  – throwback to my youth, loved that song then and now – has kind of become one of my theme songs lately

Day 8: Share Something You Struggle With

Self-Confidence/Self-Love: Truthfully I have struggled with this forever. I had it the first two years of high school, then I moved the middle of high school to a completely different school in a different state and I went from being somewhat cool to the new awkward kid who according to a friend that I got to know better in college “the obsessive loner”. I’ve always been self-conscious about my body ever since I got snubbed because of it in middle school by the person I thought was my best friend (who I was also in love with), and it has been a very love-hate relationship based on the atmosphere around me. And yes, I know I need to love myself before anything but it has taken me a long time to learn that. It got better in undergraduate and very good the first year of graduate school when I finally came into my own. It kind of took a nose dive the first time I got dumped by my ass**** of an ex-boyfriend who I later learned was pretty much using me in undergrad. So I decided to have as much fun as possible when I was in Scotland in grad school, when I got my first sassy short haircut. There were a lot of gorgeous smart guys that year and I had a good time getting to know them, even if not all of us saw eye to eye as well as I would’ve liked. 

When I first met John, I felt on top of the world and on top of my game. Even more so when we got married, had Liam, and for awhile things were amazing. Then I started to lose sight of myself. It wasn’t him and me separately anymore, but us as a couple, and I really lost sight of myself. I am just starting to gain myself back and practice some self-discovery to see who I really am and what I want. I realized in the beginning of the last eight months that I need a lot of work and I’m working through it one day at a time. It’s funny because I know friends and acquaintances have said “What are you talking about? You are so full of confidence I’m jealous sometimes,” and all I can say is that “Yes, I can be an exuberant person, but that doesn’t always equal self-confidence.” I’ve always described myself as an extroverted introvert, meaning I have moments of both depending on mood and what else is going on in my life. 

Day 9: Post some words of wisdom that speak to me

I adore quotes and have been collecting them since I was little. I found this one recently and it really applies to my life right now: 

Plot Twist

This one from Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu says it all about God and his views (sorry folks, I believe in a benevolent God not a vengeful one): 

Desmond Tutu quote

Had to include one from Neil Gaiman, my favorite author. He always has some brilliant quotes as well, including this one: 

Mistakes - Neil Gaiman quote

And what librarian would I be without a book quote, lol. I love this one from Lyndon B. Johnson that I found recently that I’ve added as my tag line on my personal email: 

Most Effective Weapon

 

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 4-6

These are late because I couldn’t really think of someone for Day four and then was off yesterday and forgot to post, so here’s Thursday, Friday and Saturday’s posts together. Here is the original post so you know what I’m talking about. 

Day 4: Write About Someone Who Inspires You

I honestly can’t think of someone who inspires me, per se, but rather someone I admire. That person is one of my closest friends here in Phoenix, Joanna. She has been through a lot of personal drama, but still manages to be one of the nicest, most generous, hard-working, and selfless people that I know. She believes in social justice and change and is one hell of a macro social worker, even now when her job is in libraries and not in her chosen profession. She does a lot of good work and I hope she will open the hearts and minds of the people she works for at her branch library, as well as the community. 

Day 5: List 5 places you want to visit

I am going to assume they mean five places you’ve not visited yet that you want to, and I’m going to list why. So I know some of them are countries versus individual cities, but they were hard to encapsulate in a single city. 

Graben, Vienna Austria

Graben (street) in Vienna, Austria

  • Vienna, Austria – I have technically been here for 2 hrs, but couldn’t stray far from the train station as it was a stop on the way to Prague. The food, culture, opera, and history has always been fascinating, so it seems like a cool place to go to.
  • Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
  • Brandenburg Gate – Berlin, Germany
  • Berlin, Germany – I’ve never been much to eastern Germany (I was born in the western US-occupied part), but Berlin is the capital and center of history and art – mostly it’s because of the awesome art museums
  • Temple of Hatshepsut, Deir el Bahri, Egypt
  • Temple of Hatshepsut, Deir El Bahri, Egypt
  • Egypt – I love studying about Egyptian history and art, so naturally I would love to visit the real stuff. 
  • tokyo-meiji-jingu_l
  • Meiji Jengu, Tokyo, Japan
  • Japan – Always been fascinated by Japanese food, art, culture, and history and always fascinated with the juxtaposition of ancient and modern culture in the same setting, even more so with all the parks/temples in modern citiesknossos_02
  • Knossos recreation – Crete, Greece
  • Greece – My parents have been talking for years about how much they loved going there, especially my dad. Again with the food/culture/art/history fascination, but also because I have friends that live there or have family there, so I would at least have a place to stay. 

Day 6: Five Ways to Win My Heart

This is some interesting timing as things in my personal life have recently made me re-evaluate topics like this. 

  • Emotional Maturity – By this, I mean the ability to express their feelings and emotions, and can say “I love you” without prompts b/c they mean it not because they feel they have to because I am. 
  • Good with Kids – This is kind of a given as I have a five year old son, but I also work with kids, so it’s important.
  • Good Sense of Humor – laughter really is the best medicine, esp if I’m having a rough week or things feel out of control
  • Educated (at least a Bachelor’s Degree or interested in personal learning on their own) with Ambitions/Goals
  • Nerdy/Geek – I am a giant nerd/geek so would be nice to find someone either with similar interests, preferably someone who liked to read, and would be cool nerding out with me (ex. Star Wars, Dragon Age, video gaming, or whatever) 

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 3

Day 3: What are your top 3 pet peeves?

  1. People who can’t use their turn signal. Literally it takes so little effort to do this and be considerate of other drivers. If you can talk on your phone or text and drive, you can signal to indicate whether you will turn left or right before your turn. And not the second before you do it either.  See this video which encapsulates this peeve of mine (warning: cussing).
  2. Parents that dump their children in the library [or rec center], especially during the summer. I love my job. I love working with kids and their parents, even teens at times. However, I hate parents that completely disappear and leave their kids in the Children’s Area like we’re a free babysitting service. While I don’t mind watching out for your kids, they are not my responsibility. Be a parent. Act like you give a damn. Jul6th_2015_quote_good_manners_will_open_doors_featured.jpg
  3. People with no manners or common sense. This kind of ties in with number 1, but I will expand upon it. Nowadays it seems like no adults, or children for that manner, have either of these. For help on common sense with kids, check out here and here. Maybe I’m extra sensitive because I was raised in the Southeast and we were brought up with both, especially manners, but c’mon people! There is nothing wrong parents with teaching your kids manners and believe me, people will thank you for it. Esp teachers and librarians. Breaking News about Common Sense

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 2

Day 2 of Writing Challenge: Write Something that Someone Told You About Yourself That You Will Never Forget

This story is in About Me section of my blog, but it has always stuck with me as both a celebrity story and one of the nicest things anyone has ever said about me. When I was in a freshman in college, the real Patch Adams came to visit my church. He was friends with the priest at my church St. James Episcopal Church, Richmond, Virginia who invited him to come give a sermon there.

St. James Richmond

Ok a preface to this conversation would be a brief history on Episcopal Churches on the East Coast. They tend to be full of old white families that are stinking rich, especially in the South East. The rich and powerful have been going to them since the start of the US, i.e. St. John’s Lafayette Square in DC  where all the presidents since James Madison have gone at least once, and politicians still do this in Virginia (or at least did when I was in school there). St James is one of the oldest ones in the city and I adored going there because it was right across the street from my apartment, the community was awesome (great Young Adult meetings and they were nice to everyone even college students – not every Episcopal Church in the area was, it was my 2nd or 3rd one that I tried in the city) and I got to be in the choir, and we always sang amazing music. So St. James was full of these bowtie-wearing old established families, sitting in their historical church with the Tiffany stained glass windows (which really were lovely), and then Patch Adams does the sermon. I’ve never laughed so hard during one and I have been to many sermons as a PK (priest kid). People got up and left during the sermon, especially after he stood on top of the stool inside the pulpit and got completely inside of these clown pants he was wearing, it was brilliant. 

Anyways, after church, Patch was going to speak at VCU. My Young Adult group was helping set it up so we all went over there early. Before his talk, he was going to sign copies of his new book. I, being a broke college student, didn’t have any money but I still wanted his autograph so I stood in line for about half an hour waiting for his signature. Once I finally got up to the front of the line, he asked me for my book and I explained that I couldn’t afford one. He told me to go get one, so I did and went to stand in the back of the line. I knew how long it had taken me to get to the front but I didn’t think it was fair to cut in front of all the other people who were waiting, so I stood in the back. After about ten minutes, there was a commotion at the front of the line and the guy who was standing behind me originally in line, came back to say “He wants you to come to the front.” So I followed him up and Patch said “You were going to wait back there?” and I said “Yes.” So he says “You know, if there were more people like you, there wouldn’t be any wars.” This made me grin like an idiot, and he signed my book and I got to hear him speak again. 

30 Day Writing Challenge

30 day writing challenge

I haven’t done anything like this, so I thought it might be fun to try. 

Day 1: List Ten Things That Make You Really Happy

In no particular order:

  1. My son (he really makes my day brighter)
  2. Playing Dragon Age games (Origins, Awakening, DA2, or DA: Inquisition)
  3. Writing – blog posts, poetry, and Dragon Age fanfiction
  4. Reading during any spare minutes I have – esp if they’re ARCs (Advanced Readers Copy so I get to read and review them before anyone else)
  5. Talking to anyone who will listen about art and sharing my knowledge and appreciation of it – doubly so if I get to teach an art program like Art Explorers or the ones I used to do for Kids Cafe
  6. Having intellectual conversations with cute educated guys
  7. Nerding out/Fangirling while watching Star Wars/LOTR/Miraculous Ladybug/anything vaguely Anglophile (see my Pinterest page for more of what Nerdy/Geeky things I mean)
  8. Going to Comic-con in Phx – maybe one day I can do the big one in San Diego
  9. Traveling – last trip was to Alabama to visit my family so not sure that really counts but last trip before that was to Prescott/Sedona/Northern Arizona area which I hadn’t really explored since before I moved here to AZ so that counts. I haven’t been on a good trip since college, esp a “dropping me in the middle of a country where I don’t speak the language but still manage to have fun”, but here’s hoping for more in the future. 
  10. As corny as this sounds, doing my job at work. I got a Masters Degree in Youth Services in a Public Library and I really do love helping kids and their families, so anywhere I get to do that is awesome, i.e. during Preschool STEM storytime, during Baby Storytime, Kids Cafe, Reference Desk, Readers Advisory, or helping out with other programs.