August - Adventure, Genre of the Month

Adventure Teas

 

Into the Dragon’s Tomb- Awaken and tame a Golden Dragon in 175F for a Golden Buttery surprise. (Yellow tea)

Mysterious Flowering Tea- An old lady comes up to you and hands you a little ball and says to protect it. You foolishly drop the ball into 175F water and it blooms into a lovely flower with a magical taste.

August - Adventure, Book Reviews, Genre of the Month

Review: Passage to Shambhala – Book One of the Explorers Guild by Jon Baird, Kevin Costner, and Rick Ross (illustration)

 

“Behind the staid public rooms of an old world gentlemen’s club operates a more mysterious organization: The Explorers Guild, a clandestine group of adventurers who bravely journey to those places in which light gives way to shadow and reason is usurped by myth. The secrets they seek are hidden in mountain ranges and lost in deserts, buried in the ocean floor and lodged deep in polar ice. The aim of The Explorers Guild: to discover the mysteries that lie beyond the boundaries of the known world.” – Inside cover of The Explorers Guild

The Explorers Guild is a unique book that is both wonderfully archaic and inventively modern. It blends stylized writing that recalls the golden age of adventure books by Jules Verne and Rudyard Kipling with graphic novels like The Adventures of Tintin. This does not mean that this heavy tome is meant for children or to be undertaken by the faint of heart. The language used is old-fashioned and the style even more so. That is not to say that it is dull or boring, but for anyone looking for a light read on the bus home, this is likely not for them.

The story itself follows a few different perspectives, and while it is not always easy to tell at first when there is a perspective change, each character and story arch is unique. From the washed up pseudo-adventurer, to the leader of a fearsome mercenary band, to the young boy with a mysterious past, each character has something deep and meaningful to add to the journey to discover the fabled passage to Shambhala. While it is obvious that the most growth is experienced by the youngest character, Bertram, it is exciting to watch the story unfold around Major John Ogden and his rough-around-the-edges dragoons.

The blend of dense, traditional prose and beautifully rendered graphic novel sections make this an endearing, amusing romp through the golden age of Victorian style adventure stories. However, the length at over 700 pages and the archaic languages make this a “love it or hate it” kind of book. If you love adventure, mystery, and old-fashioned storytelling, and you don’t shy away from the more difficult reads, this book is for you!

A solid 4 out of 5 stars. Gorgeously rendered, beautifully written, and co-written by one of the best storytellers in modern film, Kevin Costner, this book is highly recommended.

Australian Literature

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs

 

Published in 1918, The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie chronicle the adventures of two gumnut babies and their adventures in the Australian bush. The antagonists are The Big Bad Banksia Men who thwart the adventures of the gumnut babies. The two brothers set off on the adventures to see a human, something that they are curious about. On these adventures, they are joined by Mr. Lizard and Little Ragged Blossom, and have to battle not only The Big Bad Banksia Men, but also Mrs. Snake. Aimed at children, these stories can be read to younger children or read by confident readers. Each reading can reveal something new about these stories that might have been missed during other readings. This adds to the beauty and longevity of these stories.

August - Adventure, Genre of the Month

Jules Verne: A Legacy of Adventure!

Jules Gabriel Verne was born on February 8th 1828 in Nantes, France. He is best known for being the Father of Science Fiction, but that is not how it started out. In 1863, at the age of 35, he wrote his first novel, “Five Weeks in a Balloon,” which started his writing career.

He soon went on to write many more books such as “Journey to the center of the earth”, “Around the world in 80 days”, and “20000 leagues under the sea.” He wrote them as adventure novels and not as Science Fiction. We call them that today because of the technology and theories he created in his books. In “20000 Leagues Under The Sea” he invented atomic energy and periscopes years before there was a physical prototype. In “Around the World in 80 Days” he showed just how far technology had come in the speed of travel. In “Robur the Conqueror” he invented a zeppelin type flying machine that is still to be matched.

August - Adventure, Genre of the Month

Adventure Prompts

In honor of our Adventure month, here some open ended prompts to get your adrenaline pumping and your wanderlust burning! You can use as many of the Adventure themed prompts in any project you like, and we’d love to see what you come up with!


It was supposed to be a routine flight over the Himalayas. As looked over the wing I saw something that couldn’t possibly be what I thought it was; it looked like a white step pyramid, one even larger than the great pyramid of Giza. I didn’t get a good enough look at it, though, because as soon as I started flying in that direction my instruments went haywire, and I started going down. When I woke up the plane was a fiery wreck, I was the only survivor, and I was alone in a jungle. I had been nowhere near a jungle.

I should have known it was too good to be true. The government doesn’t just offer to buy out millions of dollars in debt to people like me. Now I’m stuck in a spaceship headed right into a black hole. They assured me it would be safe, and they only wanted to know what’s in a black hole, but the tether that is my lifeline is fraying and what I see on the other side… It can’t possibly be real.

I never believed the stories about mermaids and sea monsters, I always figured they were wind blown from old, bored sailors meant to entertain each other on long voyages. However, that changed when our ship wrecked on a misty cove off the edges of the map. It’s pretty hard to deny the existence of mermaids when one is staring you in the face.

I was commissioned to a freighter crew bound for Lagoon 4861, a gas cloud said to harbor huge creatures able to survive and maneuver in space. With our Solar Sails at full we set out at speed, and I finally met my captain. I thought his name sounded familiar, maybe from some old story I read when I was a kid, but couldn’t be sure. Then he told me of the white beast we were hunting.

I’ve dealt with many cursed objects before, it’s sort of unavoidable in my line of work. But when the golden scarab came across my desk, withering and rotting everything it touched, I knew this assignment was going to be a little more challenging.

The Underworld the ancients always talked about is very real. And if you’re clever enough, and know where to go, you can get there.

The Great War was upon us. In the midst of the roaring cannons, screaming horses, and gas filled trenches, something very strange shimmered over the battlefield. I was a courier trying to make my way to the next trench when an enemy soldier blocked my path. We didn’t have time to even aim our weapons at each other before the thing above us exploded in the brightest light I’d ever seen. When we came to, we were on some tundra surrounded by a herd of very agitated Wooly Mammoths.

Our airship went down over an unnamed, unmarked island in the North Pacific ocean. I had always thought the stories of Atlantis were just that, stories. But looking at the ruins on this island I’ve become a believer.

Student Scribe

Constructive Breaks

 

Having nearly two full weeks off from school is great. There are fewer time crunches and far fewer stressors that weigh on you when you get a little time off. It is so easy during these lower stress times to fall into a pattern of laziness and relaxation. Lord knows I am guilty of it myself. The problem with falling into that relaxed rut comes when classes start up again. Often times, it will lead to a sluggish start.

Luckily, there are ways to combat the slump. The best way is to find something to fill the void school leaves. For creative writing majors, a great way to do this is read. Take the 15+ hours a week you would normally use for studying and coursework and devote it to tearing through your reading list. Depending on how fast you read, there is a potential to put a huge dent in your list. If you don’t have a reading list, break time is a wonderful time to create one.

Features

Tributes, Initiatives, and Givers, Oh My!

 

In the vast world of books, there is one genre that has recently taken the spotlight–dystopia. There are so many out there…Hunger Games, Divergent, The Giver, The Selection (and those are only a small percentage!).

I think when it comes to understanding the love for this genre, you have to know what it is. A quick Google search reveals it as “an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one”.

Now, I can guess what you’re thinking…Don’t some of these occur in places that, well, aren’t completely bad. And you’d be right. Books such as The Giver take place in a utopia, which is basically just the opposite of a dystopia (though the concepts could be debated, especially in situations like the Giver). For the purposes of this article, I’ll be lumping them together.

Australian Literature

The Cass Lehman Series by Melanie Casey

 

Browsing bookstores and their online counterparts over the years, it would seem that Australians love a good crime story. Even our television shows have a proud crime genre tradition, one of the most iconic perhaps being the nineties drama, Blue Heelers. In book form, they are just as popular, whether from overseas or home-grown with Australian themes and Australian characters. Whilst television dramas have focussed on the police procedural aspect, series such as The Rowland Sinclair series by Sulari Gentill, and this week’s feature, The Cass Lehman series by Melanie Casey, have amateur detectives who are sometimes reluctant to help out in cases, but who have police contacts who assist them, or whom they assist.

These amateur detectives are often people from all walks of life who somehow become tangled up in a case. Whether they stumble across a crime in progress, or are somehow involved through a friend or family member asking them to help discreetly, an amateur detective can be reluctant or willing, or perhaps somewhere in between. Inevitably, they will find that, somewhere along the way, something goes wrong and they will find themselves in some kind of trouble linked to the case, which is usually where the detectives they have been assisting, or who have been trying to deter them from assisting, come in to help them out.

Adult, Book Reviews

Review: The Adventures of John Paul Chavalier by Nicklaus Lee

 

I purchased an eBook copy of this Novel from the Canadian Amazon site as a read and review request for an online book club. The Adventures of John Paul Chavalier is a work of fiction.

The focus of the book is an evil coin. The author rests everything important on the coin itself and the struggle it creates. Even the cover art is a depiction of the coin. The idea itself is quite brilliant.

The plot is a creative look at the struggle between good and evil that manifests within each of us. The coin is the object that brings that manifestation to light. I found myself asking moral questions of my inner self. – If I could wish for anything and have it granted what would it be? – Is it evil to wish for something that makes the world ultimately better? – Is it wrong to sacrifice the few for the sake of the many? Lee’s writing questions the lines that are drawn and in some cases redefines those boundaries that have been set by society as the norm. These parts of the novel are worth a 5 star rating. I give a round of applause to Lee for his ability with words to bring out these deep thoughts for his audience to ponder.

Book Reviews, Young Adult

Review: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

 

Ever wish Harry Dresden was a werewolf and a woman? Well that’s where you get Mercedes ‘Mercy’ Thompson. Her father, the only connection to finding out why she is the way she is, was killed before she was born. She hangs out with the werewolves now but when she transforms she is a Coyote. Her mother did the best she could to raise her, but gave her over to a pack of werewolves when things got too tough. The werewolves she met then used her for experiments trying to find a cure. Once she broke free she met other packs that were nowhere near as bad. The story takes place in Montana, a good place for werewolf packs to hang out if you ask me. She fixes cars for a living and doesn’t care if her clients are vampires, as long as they’re paying. It’s a different take on werewolves than most books; these ones are born. Female wolves can’t give birth to a baby because they would shift so many times in their pregnancy that the baby would not make it. The male wolves must have children with human mothers.