Thor de Finland: Channeling the God of Thunder

Thor God of Thunder

Unboxing Thor

Light at last. After days of darkness and jostling in a cardboard sarcophagus, I was free again.

Oh times, oh manners. Isn’t this the age of aeroplanes and first class flights? If this is how people treat honored guests, I don’t want to know how they treat their enemies.

I am Thor, the God of Thunder. This time my world tour had brought me to Finland, the land of the fabled weather witches. If you haven’t been following my journey, the stories of the previous stops are really worth reading.

My gracious hostess was Reetta (what a tongue twister of a name), her husband and two children.

After polite greetings, I inquired if they had anyone named Barbie living in the house. To my relief, wanna-be Mrs. Thor had no relations here.

Dinner went well. Remembering the human ways of asking for another filling, I refrained from smashing any mugs and plates.

Thor baking

Thor baking

Dessert was a do-it-yourself thing. We baked gingerbreads. Even a god can experience new things.

Piglets, bears and various feminine shapes demanded a manly counterpart. Hammertime.

Thor baking Mjölnir

Mjölnir cookie

I haven’t done much crafting since divine pre-school. It was actually really fun. And this wasn’t the last of it. Father’s Day was coming and the children made cards for their daddy dear.

I have to say, I’m not very pleased with my old man for sending me on this earthly humble pie journey but you have to respect yer elders. So here you go All-Father.

Odin runes

Happy Father’s Day, Odin

This Reetta woman had a strange gleam in her eyes when she told me that she wasn’t going to take me to work with her. I heard some muttering of “mine, all mine.” Scary.

After frolicking outside in the snow, I discovered the Portal. Utterly fascinating, a whole new dimension I had never heard of. It wasn’t any of the Nine Realms, that’s for sure.

Thor Skylanders portal

Thor and the Portal

I was guided in the art of Playstation by a friendly giantess named Ninjini. I have been known to have a soft spot for exotic ladies but I swear I stayed true to Mum, err, Debra.

Thor Ninjini

Thor and Ninjini

The day passed in a whirl of new found digital addiction. When the children got home, they demanded their game back. Selfish brats.

Lets just say that put me into a mood. Luckily there was a worthy target for my wrath, Orcus, a demon prince and Lord of the Undead. Pretty fancy title, huh?

Thor vs. Orcus

Thor vs. Orcus

The little spoilsports had to foil that too. No fighting?! How in Hel do these humans have fun?

I… I almost can’t speak of what came next. Naughty spot. Curfew. *sob*

The humiliation. Bested by two little brats. I, Thor, who have not been bested by anyone but crone Elli, the Old Age herself. And well, Lara. And Sheila. And the previous human child…. But who’s counting. This globe tour better be worth the throne of Asgard.

I just can’t take it anymore in this household. Farewell Finland, it’s been an experience.

The first available plane flies to Malta… I sense an adventure waiting.

But alas, so we won’t part in too somber mood, lets end it with a song.

And this video made me like children again.

The End.

Now I want to hear from you. If Thor came to visit you, what would you show him? And do you have a favorite superhero?

Book Review: Wicked Sense by Fabio Bueno

TYA Urban Fantasy novel with witches

his week I had the pleasure to read Wicked Sense, an YA urban fantasy novel by talented author Fabio Bueno.

The beautiful cover and the blurb hooked me from the start:

Witches inhabit our world, organized in covens and hiding behind a shroud of secrecy—the Veil.

 

Skye’s London coven sends her to Seattle’s Greenwood High to find the Singularity, an unusually gifted witch who may break the Veil and trigger a dangerous new era of witch-hunting. Things get complicated when Skye meets a charming new classmate, Drake. Skye’s job becomes even trickier when she clashes with Jane, an intimidating rival witch.

 

Drake falls for the mysterious Skye, but odd accidents, potion mix-ups, and the occasional brush with death kind of get in the way of romance. Once he discovers Skye is a witch, he goes to war for her, even though his only weapons are a nice set of abs and a sharp sense of humor.

 

Fighting off wicked Jane and the other dark forces hell-bent on seizing the Singularity’s immense power, Skye and Drake will risk everything to save the covens.

 

Going on a date has never been harder.

In the beginning of the book I got some Twilight vibes (and that’s meant as a compliment). The setting explains some of it. Twilight is set to rainy Forks, Washington, and Singularity is set to rainy Seattle, Washington. Like Bella and Edward, Drake and Skye are high schoolers, and at first they’re fairly awkward with each others.

And as in Twilight, Drake finds out in a very dramatic way that witches exist. But from there the book deviates to its unique direction. No vampires and werewolves in this story. Not to mention much better writing.

Skye and Drake tell the story in turns and each gets about half of the chapters. I delved deep into their minds as the story unfolds in first person. Sometimes the point of view switched in the middle of a scene which was a little distracting at first but I got used to it quickly.

The whole cast is a real thing and I delighted in Skye’s and Drake’s friendships and relationships with their families. Since I’m a female, it was especially fascinating to get a peek of male dynamics.

The villain of the story, Jane, intimidates everyone with her biker attitude. We see only a tiny glimpse of her human side but she works great as a menace.

No punches are pulled for the characters. They make wrong choices, hurt each others and get into harm’s way. Without spoiling too much, I’ll say that a nasty school “prank” poor Skye was caught in would have made me hide in my house for the rest of the school year.

Something interesting happens in every chapter, and the identity of the Singularity was a mystery to me until the end. I suspected two other characters instead.

My only minor gripe was that if the search of Singularity was so important to the witches, why on earth did they assign an unexperienced, young warlock to lead the search (regardless of his Trust Charm). Also, Skye got no backup from the the local covens or from the leaders of the witches. But this way the focus was firmly on the main characters. And maybe we see more of the trust issues between the covens in the next book.

I was happy with the ending. With some threads left open, the sequel can’t come out fast enough. Fans of Realistic, Hopeful, Happy and Open endings will all be satisfied.

If you like YA urban fantasy with witches, strong characters and great conflict, Wicked Sense is a book for you.

 

But on to you. Do you read urban fantasy or YA? What do you think of witches in the popular culture?

What Went Wrong With the Star Wars Prequels by Kristen Lamb

What to do when it’s late Friday evening, your brain is fried and you need to write a blog post?

You’re damn greatful that you know people who write awesome posts.

Today I’m directing you to wonderfully funny Kristen Lamb’s blog where she talks about the Star Wars prequels and why they arent telling as good story as they could.

Here’s a taster of the post:

“I am a serious nerd. I grew up on J.R.R. Tolkein and played Dungeons and Dragons all through high school. Trekkie conventions, RPGs, Renaissance festivals, you name it. I had the punch mark on my Geek Card. I still remember being 3 years old standing in line with my father and uncle for hours as we eagerly waited to see this new epic film…Star Wars.

Two hours later, I was hooked. I grew up ankle deep in action figures, and logged so many gaming hours on Atari’s The Empire Strikes Back that even my dreams were pixilated. So when George Lucas announced, many years later, that he would be releasing the prequels to Star Wars, I was soooo excited.

Yeah.

Please do not send me hate mail. I didn’t like the prequels….”

Head to Kristen’s blog and find out why.

Baby Cthulhu and Fan Merchandise

Baby Ctulhu

Oh noes, kids have torn my heart apart

Hello little Cthulhu. Doesn’t the plushie look adorable?

H.P. Lovecraft must be rolling in his grave.

He wrote the creature as a thing from beyond the stars, so vast and alien that no human mind remains sane after encountering it.

And now it has become a cuddly toy for kids.

Such is the effect of the commercial world. For example George Lucas and the Angry Birds makers are making more money from the fan merchandise than of their movies and the game itself.

I don’t think that J.K Rowling is looking down her nose at the moola from Harry Potter wand and broom look-alikes and other items her books have inspired.

Some fans really want to be part of the world they love and the related knick knacks make the connection more real for them.

But where goes the limit before the items get way too tacky and become detractive, blasphemous even?

Han Solo in carbon chocolate? Darth Vader bobbleheads? Jedi bathrobes?

I have a dark confession to make.

I know why people want those items.

As a teenager, I used to write fan fiction in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time world. I also bought a Great Serpent Ring merchandise, just like the one his sorceresses wear.

I’ve even cosplayed as one of those sorceresses (that is, had a nice costume on so I’d look like one). It wasn’t Halloween.

Having fans that dedicated to a world I have created would be really awesome. And if a company offered to make stuff based on my books, I would seriously consider it.

But please, no bobbleheads of my characters. Naming your children after a fictional person is kind of weird too.

 

Do tell, how much is too much for you? Have you ever bought fan merchandise? Would you allow fan items to be made of your books? What kind of merchandise is tasty and what’s tacky?

5 Fresh Urban Fantasy Books To Read

So many great books, too little time. That’s the plight of avid readers as new promising releases come out every month.

My to-read list is a mile long. Here are 5 Urban Fantasy highlights from it.

 

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for magic… One moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters. Here skyscrapers topple under onslaught of magic; werebears and werehyenas prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds.

In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, she must choose to do nothing and remain safe or to pursue his preternatural killer. Hiding is easy, but the right choice is rarely easy…

 

How To Ditch Your Fairy by Justine LarbalestierHow To Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

If you lived in a world where everyone had a personal fairy, what kind would you want?

A clothes-shopping fairy (The perfect outfit will always be on sale!)
A loose-change fairy (Pretty self-explanatory.)
A never-getting-caught fairy (You can get away with anything. . . .)

Unfortunately for Charlie, she’s stuck with a parking fairy-if she’s in the car, the driver will find the perfect parking spot. Tired of being treated like a personal parking pass, Charlie devises a plan to ditch her fairy for a more useful model. At first, teaming up with her archenemy (who has an all-the-boys-like-you fairy) seems like a good idea. But Charlie soon learns there are consequences for messing with fairies-and she will have to resort to extraordinary measures to set things right again.

 

Blackbirds by Chuck WendigBlackbirds by Chuck Wendig

Miriam Black knows when you will die.

Still in her early twenties, she’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and slow deaths by cancer. But when Miriam hitches a ride with truck driver Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be gruesomely murdered while he calls her name.

Miriam has given up trying to save people; that only makes their deaths happen. But Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim. No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.

 

Unholy Ghosts by Stacia KaneUnholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane

The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead.

But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.

 

Restorer by Amanda StevensThe Restorer (The Graveyard Queen) by Amanda Stevens

My name is Amelia Gray. I’m a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I’ve always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.

It started with the discovery of a young woman’s brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I’ve been hired to restore. The clues to the killer—and to his other victims—lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I’ve vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.

 

What’s on your to-read list right now? Why did those books catch your attention? And what books have been on the list for a long time?

Light The Midsummer Bonfires

It sucks to be a vampire in the northern hemisphere this month.

Summer solstice, the longest day of the year, just passed on 20th of June.

But the Nightless Nights continue in Scandinavia, Siberia and Alaska. The sun barely sets at all.

We northern folks know how to take everything out of the rare moments with sun, and booze the living daylights out with abandon.

In Finland Midsummer’s Eve is a national free day (that’s today). Hurray!

As a result, it is one of our main drinking holidays besides May Day and New Year’s Eve.

For some reason Midsummer is also the day of the year with most boating accidents and deaths by drowning.

 

4 facts about Midsummer

1. In ye olde times bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits. They roamed freely in the world as the sun was turning southwards. Bonfires are still part of the tradition.

2. Christianity relabeled the old pagan holiday as the nativity of John the Baptist. As a result the day is called juhannus in Finnish.
John -> Johannes -> juhannus.

3. In later years Midsummer was supposedly the time when witches flew to a witch sabbat with their brooms to make deals with the Devil. In Sweden the sabbat place was Blåkulla and in Finland it was called Kyöpelinvuori.

4. Some Neopagans and Wiccans call Midsummer Litha. The holiday is named after the Anglo-Saxon months roughly corresponding to June and July (se Ærra Liþa and se Æfterra Liþa, the “early Litha month” and the “later Litha month”). Bonfires are also part of their fire festival.

 

How about you? Do you celebrate Midsummer in some way? What other summer festivals are there in your region? And does your family and friends have some special summer traditions?

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