H.P. Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft  – born today, August 20, 1890

He wrote many essays and poems early in his career, lovecraft_0.jpgbut gradually focused on the writing of horror stories. After the advent in 1923 of the pulp magazine Weird Tales, he contributed most of his fiction therein.
His relatively small corpus of fiction; three short novels and about sixty short stories, has nevertheless exercised a wide influence on subsequent work in the field. Though virtually unknown before his death, he is now regarded as one of the most significant 20th-century authors in his genre.

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. And the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

Forbidden, dark, esoterically veiled knowledge is a central theme in many of Lovecraft’s works. Many of his characters are driven by curiosity or scientific endeavor, and in many of his stories the knowledge they uncover proves Promethean in nature, either filling the seeker with regret for what they have learned, destroying them psychically, or completely destroying the person who holds the knowledge.

The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft
collects the author’s novel, four novellas, and fifty-three short stories. Written between the years 1917 and 1935, this collection features Lovecraft’s trademark fantastical creatures and
supernatural thrills, as well as many horrific and cautionary science-fiction themes, 
that have influenced some of today’s writers and filmmakers, including Stephen King, Alan Moore, F. Paul Wilson, Guillermo del Toro, and Neil Gaiman.


“I think it is beyond doubt that H. P. Lovecraft has yet to be surpassed as the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.”
 -Stephen King  The Call of Ctulhu

“I couldn’t live a week without a private library – indeed, I’d part with
all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor before I’d let go of the 1500
or so books I possess.” ~H.P. Lovecraft

A man after my own heart!
Who can relate?

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A Flight of Fantasy

magic_ball_library_columns_castle_63093_602x339I love fantasy fiction, especially when it is a bit different and outside the box (as fantasy fiction goes anyway.) I love books that enchant and leave the mind twinkling with imagination and magic. That is the inspiration behind this article and I hope it will captivate even the skeptics.

Worthy Fantasy-Fiction reads in all their phantasmagorical splendor:

Neverwhere
by Neil Gaiman
Richard is an unassuming young businessman living in London, with a dull job and a pretty but demanding fiancee. One night he stumbles across a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her and the life he knows vanishes. He has become invisible, and inexplicably consigned to a London of shadows and darkness a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He’s fallen through cracks in reality and landed somewhere that is Neverwhere.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
by Susanna Clarke
An epic tale of the two magicians who emerge to change Englands history. In the year 1806, in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars, most people believe magic to have long since disappeared from England — until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers and becomes a celebrity overnight. Another practising magician emerges: the young and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell’s pupil and the two join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic and soon he risks sacrificing everything.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Dynamic Duo Mocha
Orange-Mocha-Recipe-1.jpgA magical mix of cinnamon and orange in a mocha that’s to die for! Step 1: start slowly heating 1/8 cup or 3 small squares of dark chocolate (temping in double boiler or in microwave.) Step 2: When melted move to stove-top and mix in 1-2 drops of orange extract (or use orange flavored chocolate) and cinnamon powder to taste, then slowly whisk in 4-5 oz of milk of choice till smooth. Step 3: make coffee preferably pull a shot of espresso. Once your chocolate is hot and frothy and your coffee is ready cup your chocolate and pour in your coffee. Top with marshmallows and garnish with orange zest and cinnamon.

Dracula
by Bram Stoker
“There he lay looking as if youth had been half-renewed, for the white hair and moustache were changed to dark iron-grey, the cheeks were fuller, and the white skin seemed ruby-red underneath; the mouth was redder than ever, for on the lips were gouts of fresh blood, which trickled from the corners of the mouth and ran over the chin and neck. Even the deep, burning eyes seemed set amongst the swollen flesh, for the lids and pouches underneath were bloated. It seemed as if the whole awful creature were simply gorged with blood; he lay like a filthy leech, exhausted with his repletion.”

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Dark Tower: The Gunslinger
by Stephen King
Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.
Inspired in part by the Robert Browning narrative poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” (appropriate don’t you thik 😉 ) The Gunslinger is “a compelling whirlpool of a story that draws one irretrievable to its center”

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com


Book Bean:
The King’s Tea
a9241d03_snickers-pousse-cafe-001_thumb.jpgPour 6 oz of black or spiced hot tea into a pousse cafe glass, using a spoon in glass to prevent cracking. Add 2oz’s amaretto almond liquor, but do not stir. Top with on oz chilled whipped cream. Garnish with nuts and chocolate flakes. Enjoy.

 

The Once and Future King & The Book of Merlyn
by T.H. White

51yf9TfEUML._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg The Once and Future King:
A masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur is a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance and magic that has enchants.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

The Book of Merlyn:
This magical account of King Arthur’s last night on earth. Even in addressing the profound issues of war and peace, The Book of Merlyn retains the life and sparkle for which White is known. The tale brings Arthur full circle.

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com

The Eye of The World: Book 1
by Robert Jordan
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs (a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts,) five villagers flee into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and the light.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Tea & Cake Latte
4d0362963d474978c371f7bd88d94948Another magical dynamic duo, this time in respect to England it’s with tea! Start with  4 ounces of strong steeped black tea (brew 2 tea bags in 5 ounces of water.) Steam 8 oz of milk (or boil and put in a blender, to make hot and frothy.) Pour .5-1 oz Real vanilla bean syrup (if you’d like to make it yourself heres a link!) in to cup of choice. Add in white chocolate powder and/or flakes to taste. Next add the tea and stir. Last add the steamed milk. Sprinkle with white chocolate flakes and vanilla bean.

The Queen’s Poisoner
by Jeff Wheeler
King Severn Argentine’s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles…and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king’s hostage. And should his loyalty falter again, the boy will pay with his life. Seeking allies and eluding Severn’s spies, Owen learns to survive in the court of Kingfountain. When new evidence of his father’s betrayal threatens to seal his fate, Owen must win the vengeful king’s favor.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Under Heaven
by Guy Gavriel Kay
It begins simply. Shen Tai, son of an illustrious general serving the Emperor of Kitai, has spent two years honoring the memory of his late father by burying the bones of the dead from both armies at the site of one of his father’s last great battles. In recognition of his labors and his filial piety, an unlikely source has sent him a dangerous gift: 250 Sardian horses.

Inspired by the glory and power of The Tang dynasty, Guy Gavriel Kay evokes the dazzling 8th-century China in a story of honor and power.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Masala Chai
shutterstock_168107177Bring two cups of water to the boil. Add 3-4 tsp tea leaves, 1 chunk dried ginger, 3-4 crushed cardamom pods, 3 whole cloves, one piece of cinnamon, and 1-2 whole black peppers. Bring to boil again for about 15 seconds. Let stand for one minute. Warm milk in a pot. Filter the above tea into cups. Warm desired amount of milk in a pot. Filter the above tea into cups. Add warmed milk and sugar to taste. Garnish with Anise.

The Golem and The Jinni
by Helene Wecker
A chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on an enchanting journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.

Chava is a golem; creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.
Ahmad is a jinni; being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in NYC, though entirely free.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

That concludes the list but here are A few other notable fantasy reads:
            

I purposely left off selections that I have featured before,
I want to keep it interesting.
So for more of my fantasy picks and favorites click HERE
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and HERE
Narnia, The Count, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Ring, Potter etc. and a few other great titles are featured elsewhere as well.

What are your fantasy favorites?

Medieval Fare and Fiction

38de0f422fffb271a3f9006077becc55I love historical fiction and I also love fantasy fiction, so this showcases a little of both. Thanks to a little prompting from Robin C. Farrel I decide to compile a list of well known and highly rated Medieval & Fantasy fiction. I also shared a few drink pairings that I thought would compliment these books and do justice to their era. I hope you enjoy what I’ve come up with, and add your own favorites to my list!

Here is my Friday list of fabulous Medieval Fair and Fiction:

The Sunne In Splendour
By Sharon Kay Penman

A glorious novel of the controversial Richard III; a monarch betrayed in life by his allies and betrayed in death by history

In this beautifully rendered modern classic, Penman redeems Richard III; vilified as the bitter, twisted, scheming hunchback who murdered his nephews.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

The Inheritance Cycle
By Cristopher Paolini

An unforgettable, worldwide bestselling saga of one boy, one dragon, and a world of adventure.

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com
Spiced-Persimmon-Turmeric-Tea-Recipe-Gourmande-in-the-Kitchen.jpg
Book Bean:
 Hot Mulled Persimmons
Wash, peel, and slice ½ cup’s worth of ginger. Put it into a pot or kettle. Add 5 cinnamon sticks, handful of pine nuts, and 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and boil for 15 min. Lower heat and add 5 dried persimmons and 1 cup of sugar, simmer 30 min. Serve hot with ginger/pine nut garnish. As a non traditional option; add 5 satchels (or equivalent in loose leaf) of desired tea (white works well) for the last 5-10 min.

The Pillars of the Earth
By Ken Follett
A spellbinding epic story set in twelfth-century England. This book tells the story of the lives entwined in the building of the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has ever known-and a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.
Before this novel was published, Follett was known for writing in the thriller genre. The Pillars of the Earth became his best-selling work.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Ivanhoe
ivanhoe-walter-scott-paperback-cover-artBy Sir Walter Scott

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

Ivanhoe was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. This is a classic historical fiction with knights, action, and romance.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

IMG_3411.jpgBook Bean: Mulberry Almond Steamer
Bring  8 oz of almond milk to a simmer, drop in a teaspoon of mulberry syrup (or more to taste) add in 2 drops of almond extract (or to taste.) Mix well, pour, and serve.

The Way of Kings
By Brandon Sanderson

Widely acclaimed for his work completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga, Sanderson now begins a grand cycle of his own.

The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Here Be Dragons
By Sharon Penman
The turbulent clashes of two disparate worlds and the destinies of the individuals caught between them spring to life in this magnificent novel of power and passion, loyalty and lies.

The book that began the trilogy that includes Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning, Here Be Dragons brings thirteenth-century England, France, and Wales to tangled, tempestuous life.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

6870ac08bc6c0aba30275a718ebaa0f8.jpg
Book Bean:
Soft Honey Mead
In a pot mix: 1 part white grape juice, 2 parts honey, and 3 parts water (part = an ounce or a cup etc. depending on how much you want to make.) Add in cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cardamom to taste. Bring it to a boil then simmer for about 30 minutes. Strain & chill.

The Mists of Avalon
By Marion Zimmer Bradley
The magical legend of King Arthur, vividly retold through the lives of the women who wielded power from behind the throne. A new twist on an enchanting tale.

Most of the events of the traditional Arthurian legend are presented in this re-telling. However, it is fascinating how the story normally told through the eyes of men, changes when experienced from the experiences of woman.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

The Last Kingdom
By Bernard Cornwell
An exciting, yet little known (although now on the rise) story of the making of England in the 9th and 10th centuries, the years in which King Alfred the Great, his son, and grandson defeated the Danish Vikings who had invaded and occupied three of England’s four kingdoms.

Told through a dispossessed noble, who is captured as a child by the Danes and raised by them. By the time the Northmen begin their assault on Wessex, he almost feels he is one.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com


18d3059138f98fc4380ac7b082e2815bBook Bean: 
Spiced Pear Cider
Start with 2 liters of Apple juice in a big pan, then add 2 thumb sized ginger pieces, 2 sliced ripe pears, 2 cinnamon sticks, 4 cardamom pods, and 3 Tbs. brown sugar. Add the juice of 4 limes, and zest of 2. Bring everything to a boil then simmer until all of the sugar has dissolved. Serve hot in mugs with cinnamon stick. Spiced rum can also be added.

 

Fun fact: In Medieval Europe coffee was not around. Coffee didn’t make it’s way over till the 17th century. Also, milk was not something that was common to drink, especially if you did not have a cow or goat in your possession (freshness and all that.) So mead, almond milk, and cider were more common options.

So what are your medieval/fantasy fiction favorites?

Mid-week Meet n’ Greet

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Lets get to know each other:

Share about your love of books
and/or coffee/tea!

Source: Cafe Meet n’ Greet


Fictional Genres
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What are your Favorite Fiction Genres?

Tributea: Garth Nix

garthBorn today July 19th 1963 Garth Nix is an Australian writer who specializes in children’s and young adult fantasy novels. A full-time writer since 2001, more than five million copies of his books have been sold around the world and his work has been translated into 40 languages. Garth’s books have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly (US), The Bookseller(UK), The Australian and The Sunday Times (UK).


I personally fell in love with the Abhorsen trilogy, I found them refreshingly, original, and engrossing
.

 

 

 

 


(Click any picture for links to the books amazon page.)


These two books were continuations off the original Abhorsen Trilogy. Although Clariel is listed as being book 4… Neither is as good as the original 3 but they are still good fixes for anyone who is a Abhorsen fan. 

 

A 5th book will be released on October 4th 2014

Have you read anything by Garth Nix? What did you love?

Profound Paragraphs IX

Today is a 2-For. I have been listening to the audible version of The Fellowship of The Rings, and it has been an absolute delight. Listening to it gives a whole new perspective and feeling to the beautifully written words.

I am ever in awe of the brilliance of J.R.R Tolkien, and forever will be. 

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them?
Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.
For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

This audio rendition is absolutely amazing, the narrator is astounding.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Both of these paragraphs are so wonderfully thought provoking and reflective. I love that Tolkien can take us into the fantasy realm
full of beauty and adventure, yet his words still
strike home in the most relevant ways.

What “Fellowship” quote resonates with you? If you can choose just one 😉