Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Blog is Dead

Well, almost or this post wouldn't be here. I just can't keep up with The Magic of Ink anymore, or even the Facebook page updates. Skimming others' blogs--with a few rare comments--is about all I have time or energy for these days.

I do still read, and if you would still like to follow my readings, you may do so on my Goodreads account, which WILL be updated (as long as I continue reading, so essentially for the rest of my life). If you're just curious about what I'm reading, please follow my reviews without actually friending me. I have quite a few Goodreads friends to keep up with as it is. If we have a lot of books in common, please do friend me! Or feel free to PM me and ask for certain recommendations and the like; I'd be happy to help.

Happy reading!

-Ink Mage

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Facebook Updates

You may have noticed that this blog has fallen way behind in reviews/updates/announcements of any kind. Why? Other things are taking over my life. Sitting down to think out and then write about what I liked/disliked about the last book I read takes too long, so it's gone by the wayside.

I was thinking, shorter updates would probably work a lot better for me. So I started a Facebook page. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the population or so uses Facebook, right? And I uh, ahem, definitely waste enough time on mine. Now if you become a fan of The Magic of Ink on Facebook, I will more frequently update you on what I've been liking and not liking so much.

Happy reading and happy holidays! Here's to lots of books for holiday presents. :-)

Friday, October 9, 2009


by Kristin Cashore

I just finished Fire, the prequel-ish companion to Graceling. Although a little slow and, I thought, slightly confusing at the start, Fire will not disappoint readers of Graceling. The plot is driving and exciting, and thoroughly unpredictable. Like Katsa, Fire is a complex character who, during the course of the novel, learns about herself and others' perceptions of her in an interesting way.
Cashore's writing style has developed beautifully--not that it was bad before, but it has definitely matured.

I really, really liked Fire, and it kept me reading even after sitting there for several hours. Yet on my Goodreads account (friend me if you want), I only rated it 4 of 5 stars. Why? I think because Graceling resonated with me much more deeply than Fire did. Even Katsa's romance was a lot more to my taste than Fire's.

Fire comes with my high recommendations.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Okay, I'm trying something new. Very short summary or possibly just a trailer (if there's one I like) for books and then a review that's too the point. Writing my own summaries is time consuming and somewhat boring, and I always feel cheap stealing the official blurb. So on to the first review...

by the amazingly talented Maggie Stiefvater

(I had this beautiful music--which Maggie wrote herself--playing in my head throughout reading the novel because it fits so well)

Ballad brings James from Lament into the spotlight with Dee as a much smaller, almost background character and a new homicidal faerie who is fascinated with humans. And it was amazing!

Maggie Stiefvater's writing walks the line between beautiful and suddenly humorous. If you liked James before, you will absolutely love his narration and his egotistical thoughts and quick comebacks that have you laughing even in intense scenes. And believe me, there are plenty of intense scenes.

I loved Nuala as a character and though at first I wanted to smack her and get her away (*glowers darkly in Nuala's direction*) from James, she became incredibly easy to feel sympathy for. I wish Paul had been given a slightly more important role, but I'm thinking he--and Sullivan, too--will play a bigger part in the next sequel (...there will be one, right?).

On the whole, a thrilling novel that will keep you up into the late hours of the night!

Ballad will be available at indie and chain bookstores near you on October 1st.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: A Troubled Peace

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

A Troubled Peace
by L.M. Elliott
Sequel to Under a War-Torn Sky
Released September 1st, 2009

March 1945

World War II may be ending, but for nineteen-year-old pilot Henry Forester the conflict still rages. Shot down behind enemy lines in France, Henry endured a dangerous trek to freedom, relying on the heroism of civilians and Resistance fighters to stay alive. But back home in Virginia, Henry is still reliving air battles with Hitler's Luftwaffe and his torture by the Gestapo. Mostly, Henry can't stop worrying about the safety of those who helped him escape—especially one French boy, Pierre, who, because of Henry, may have lost everything. When Henry returns to France to find Pierre, he is stunned by the brutal after-math of combat: starvation, cities shattered by Allied bombing, and the shocking return of concentration camp survivors. Amid the rubble of war, Henry must begin a daring search for a lost boy—plus a fight to regain his own internal peace and the trust of the girl he loves. L. M. Elliott's sequel to Under a War-Torn Sky is an astonishing account of surviving the fallout from war.

Why I'm waiting:
Because all of the other books I've read by L.M. Elliott have been amazing, and I would love to find out the rest of Henry's story after the end of Under a War-Torn Sky. I'd known a sequel was in the works for a long time, but only just found out that it was finished when it appeared in my library's on-order books update. Can't wait!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Ballad" Trailer

Check out this awesome trailer for Maggie Stiefvater's forthcoming Ballad, the companion/sequel to Lament.

Visit Maggie's blog to find out how to enter to win an ARC of Ballad!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Create Your Debut YA Cover

I wanted to fade the top edge of the black bar at the bottom of mine, but forgot until after I'd saved it as one image and since I didn't save a project version, I am NOT making it all over again! So this is how it is.

What will yours look like?


1 – Go to "Fake Name Generator" or click

The name that appears is your author name.

2 – Go to "Random Word Generator" or click

The word listed under "Random Verb" is your title.

3 – Go to "FlickrCC" or click

Type your title into the search box. The first photo that contains a person is your cover.

4 – Use Photoshop, Picnik, or similar to put it all together. Be sure to crop and/or zoom in.

5 – Post it to your site along with this text.

Let 100 Scope Notes know that you made one by commenting here, and it'll be added to the gallery!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

Voices of Dragons

by Carrie Vaughn
Released March 1st, 2010

On one side of the border lies the modern world: the internet, homecoming dances, cell phones. On the other side dwell the ancient monsters who spark humanity’s deepest fears: dragons.

Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt knows she’s breaking the law by rock climbing near the border, but she’d rather have an adventure than follow the rules. When the dragon Artegal unexpectedly saves her life, a secret friendship grows between them—even though the fragile truce that has maintained peace between their two species is unraveling around them. As tensions mount and battles begin, Kay and Artegal are caught in the middle. Can their friendship change the course of a war?

In her young adult debut, New York Times bestselling author Carrie Vaughn presents a modern tale of myths and machines and an alliance that crosses a seemingly unbridgeable divide.

Why I'm waiting:
I love dragons, and this looks like it will be a well-done modern-day book on them.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Dragonfly by Julia Golding

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. I missed it last week because I'm running out of especially exciting books to post about. :-( This week I'm waiting on...

by Julia Golding
Released October 20th, 2009 (previously released in the UK)

Princess Taoshira of the Blue Crescent Islands is appalled when she is ordered to marry Prince Ramil of Gerfal in order to unite their lands. And he's not too pleased, either. They hate each other on sight. So, when Tashi and Ramil are kidnapped, they fear there's no escape - from their kidnappers or from each other. Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive ambush, unarmed combat, brainwashing, and imprisonment? And will the people they meet on their adventure help them or betray them to the enemy?

Why I'm waiting:
I'm currently in the middle of Julia Golding's Cat Royal Adventures (as many as have been published in the US, anyway) and find them very entertaining. While I'm thinking this will be rather different from Cat's, I'm hoping it will still be good. It sounds rather fairytale-like.

I LOVE My Library!

Because the library system orders so many books! Thanks to Wowbrary, a program that alerts you to your library's newest acquisitions, just this morning I placed a hold on:

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Fire by Kristin Cashore


Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Friday, July 10, 2009

Natalie's Good Fortune

A Tale of Piracy and Adventure
by Anthony R. Fanning

At sixteen, Natalie Scatterfield is the soft daughter of a wealthy man, destined to be married off for her father's gain.
However, off the coast of the Caribbean islands in 1722, her destiny is changed forever when the ship she's aboard is attacked by pirates.
Natalie summons her courage and escapes, only to find herself alone on an island and more in need of strength and backbone than ever before if she's going to survive.
But Natalie has fiery Irish blood in her veins and she might find she has a temper and stubborn desire to persevere to match!

Natalie's Good Fortune is a darn good classic adventure story with nothing dull about it. Although unlike them in plot and characters, fans of Pirates of the Caribbean, Pirates!, Bloody Jack Adventures, or Stevenson's Treasure Island will thoroughly enjoy Natalie's Good Fortune. The characters are easy to see in your mind's eye and the scenes and sequences that unfold keep your eyes wide with excitement.
Mr. Fanning's debut novel is utterly readable and highly entertaining--and you won't want to miss the sequel, Isle of Lost Souls. Also look for the upcoming third volume of Natalie's adventures in The Devil's Footprint (tentative title).

This is definitely recommended for ages 14+ due to suggestive content (pirates being lewd and teenaged boys being their usual selves). Nothing explicit, but there is quite a bit--enough that it makes the Bloody Jack Adventures look clean. It didn't bother me, but I like to let people know.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

by Maggie Stiefvater

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human...until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Why I'm waiting:
This won't be just another werewolf book.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

What We've Been Watching

Having recently signed up for Netflix, my sister and I have been watching a lot of movies. What have you enjoyed recently? What did you think of something I list here? (Please, no major spoilers in the comments!) For some reason I have a harder time reviewing movies than books, so here are a few mini-reviews:

BBC's North and South
Starring Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe
Based on the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell

I was unfamiliar with this lovely and moving story--set in England during the industrial revolution--before watching this adaptation, but it won me over quickly. Very powerful acting and lots of attention to detail in the production. North and South might just be a new favorite of mine.

Fan-made trailer:

Lost in Austen
Starring Jemima Rooper and Elliot Cowan

This was quite original in that the plot isn't based on Pride and Prejudice, but around modern-day Amanda Price appearing in Elizabeth Bennett's world. Where not everyone is as Austen wrote them, and Amanda's popping into their lives doesn't help anything. Soon everybody's falling for the "wrong" character--including Amanda herself.

ShakespeaRe-Told: Much Ado About Nothing
Starring Sarah Parish and Damian Lewis
Based on Shakespeare's play

Delightful retelling of the classic Much Ado About Nothing story, set in modern times. Although little bits of the original language appear, the dialogue is completely modernized--but still quite clever. I loved noticing references to the original work and also being able to enjoy how the scenes were modernized. Damian Lewis was a completely believable Benedick, and he and Sarah Parish played off of each other very well.
Highly recommended, though their version of A Midsummer Night's Dream is not. (The plot was hardly retold at all and the way the scenes were shot and setting were both very odd. It's presumably the 21st century and yet "Theseus" doesn't believe he's going insane when the king of the fairies comes out to talk to him? Come on.)
We have yet to watch The Taming of the Shrew, and decided to wait on watching Macbeth until we were more familiar with the original story in order to enjoy it better.

And we're currently in the middle of watching BBC's
Robin Hood
TV series
Starring Jonas Armstrong as Robin Hood, Keith Allen as the Sheriff of Nottingham, Lucy Griffiths as Marian, and Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne

This version of the legend includes "modern elements," but is still set in medieval times. A lot of the classic scenes usually depicted in the legends--like Robin's meeting with Little John--are done differently, which is actually quite refreshing. Of course the Sheriff is evil and Guy is his minion and Robin is good and Marian is his lady love, but so many stories can be made out of that setup. The series squeezes in more characterization into the roles and completely different plots, but expect the usual corny implausible escapes--but you have to forgive it; he is Robin Hood, after all. The first season was really good, and excepting the first couple episodes *shudders*, the second one has been, too (although I've heard season 3--not yet out on DVD--goes downhill).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

"Waiting on" Wednesday was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine, and is a way for bloggers to share the upcoming books that they're longing for. This week I'm waiting on...

by Sarah Beth Durst
Published October 6th, 2009

When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairytale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth to become a prisoner of the trolls. Now that Cassie is older, she knows that this was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, she is determined to become a scientist, and she has no time for make believe.

Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face to face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned in the troll castle. And that he can bring her back--if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairytale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knew will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her--until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.

Why I'm waiting:
Sarah Beth Durst's previous novels, Into the Wild and Out of the Wild, were great fun and very imaginative. The cover and summary of Ice makes it look like it will be an equally as well written book, but aimed at an older audience. And while I've already read two retellings of East of the Sun, West of the Moon (Edith Pattou's East and Jessica Day George's Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow), I think Ice will still be original--for one thing it's set in modern times, while the other two were not.

Monday, June 22, 2009

TLC Blog Tour: Starfinder

by John Marco

A new fantasy series from the author of The Sword of Angels.
Steam trains and electricity are rapidly changing the world. Moth of Calio is obsessed with the airships developed by his friend Fiona’s grandfather Rendor, and dreams of taking to the air one day like his heroes, the Skyknights. But not everyone is happy to see humans reach the skies. For thousands of years, the mysterious and powerful race known as the Skylords have jealously guarded their heavenly domain. But Moth and Fiona are about to breach the magical boundary between the world of humans and the world of the Skylords.

My thoughts: (which may be added to later)
Although it wasn't really meant for my age range, and it isn't usually the type of book I like especially, Starfinder was cute and original enough to stay interesting. Certain characters and ideas were particularly intriguing and unique (such as Alis and the rest of the Redeemers).
I think it would be most enjoyed by 9-12 year-old boys who are ready for a full-fledged chapter book, but not some of the more mature elements that often appear in high fantasy.