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Oct. 7th, 2014

Kengo: Master of Bushido

Released in 2000 and 2001, the game is playable in PlayStation 2. It has three modes, the single player mode, tournament mode and VS mode. Characters are unlocked in the tournament mode when you play the single player mode.
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Oct. 6th, 2014

Hesiod's Theogony, translated by Norman O. Brown

This short book provides an introduction and English translation of one of Hesiod's work. The first part is an excellent outline of the history, background, and contents of Theogony. I recommend reading the part first because it is an important guide of the themes, inconsistencies and the studies done by scholars over the years of the work.

However, I warn readers who are not into mythology. The introduction is lengthy and the tone is academic. Anyone without even the slightest background of Classical Mythology will be buried in all the information. For those who have read some of the Greek myths, Theogony is much easier to read because you'll know what to look for.

I've read Theogony a while back and I find this book helpful because of the introduction. Some of the passages make more sense now.

Rating: 10 out of 10

The Cold Commands by Richard Morgan

As presaged in the latter part of the first book of the series The Steel Remains, Ringil Eskiath is estranged again from his family; this time officially by his father. Some time after his encounter with Seethlaw and the other dwenda, Gil found a new mission and has vowed to disrupt the slave trade which he has discovered previously. Meanwhile, a messenger warns Archeth Indamaninarmal of a coming disaster, a disaster which might have something to do, or not, with Egar Dragonbane's discovery in the Afa'marag temple.
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Oct. 2nd, 2014

The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan

Ringil Eskiath is a bored hero of Gallows Gap. Although full of regrets of the past and is shunned by his family because of his sexual preferences, no one really notices it beneath his cocky and arrogant attitude.
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Sep. 28th, 2014

Orcs by Stan Nicholls

The volume is a compendium of three books of the Orcs: First Blood series. It includes Bodyguard of Lightning, Legion of Thunder, and Warriors of the Tempest. The story is set in Maras-Dantia, populated by various races who do not get along well with each other. There is an ongoing struggle between two religious factions, the Unis and Manis, and involves various races. Apparently, according to the elder races, Maras-Dantia is losing its magic and killing the land because of the invasion and abuse of the humans. The Manis, who have humans among its followers, believe this as well and are seeking to restore some of the power lost because of the human settlements.
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Sep. 27th, 2014

Grania: She-king of the Irish Seas by Morgan Llywelyn

History tells of a woman who defied tradition to follow her heart's desire and succeeded. Grania was the daughter of the Black Oak Dubhdara and Mairgret of clan O Malley. When most women were expected to fulfill their roles and housewives, Grania instead wanted to sail the seas. At a very young age she was known for her willfulness and insight. A natural leader known for her charisma and unconventional means to get what she wanted, she was a constant object of admiration and sometimes resentment of men and women alike.
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Lightning by Dean Koontz

Laura Shane was born on a night of a freakish lightning storm. Her life since then has been filled with both despair and mystery. Despite losing her mother and later her father at an early age, Laura grew up to be a strong and positive woman. Through most of the trying times of her life, from her birth then an incident with a store robber and more, Laura feels like she's being watched over by someone. This guardian appears during some of her life-threatening encounters and what's more puzzling is that he does not seem to age even as years pass. Ever since his last appearance however, Laura begins to doubt the existence of this blond, blue-eyed, gun-toting guardian.
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Bulfinch's Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch

This collection of the majority of European mythology will make the lover of myths cry out for joy. Bulfinch's Mythology includes Greek and Roman myths; Norse; Celtic; Arthurian and British legends (Beowulf, Hereward and Robin Hood); tales of Charlemagne's Paladins; and a few Egyptian and Eastern (Zoroastrian/Persian, Hindu, Buddhist) myths and legends.

The stories are limited however and only the more popular tales are included. It is a general overview of most myths but the focus, as expected, is still on Classical Mythology. The pages dedicated to the Greek and Roman gods take up most of the book, followed by Charlemagne's Peers.

Despite my disappointed to find that I'd be reading stories I'm already familiar with, the book does have its surprises. There is a chapter dedicated to monsters and how myths are formed. Some of the epics are summarized, much to my dismay, but it might be a good introduction for readers who find the longer versions too tedious. Egyptian and eastern myths are scarce as mentioned, but it is in this book that I have read about Charlemagne's Paladins or Peers for the first time.

The book lacks so many things but it is still a must-read for mythology lovers like myself. If you've already read most of the stories here, meeting the gods and goddesses, heroes and monsters all over again is still rewarding. The author provides some analyses as well but it is not the purpose of the book. Overall, the Bulfinch's Mythology is a good but limited introduction of of popular myths and legends.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Greece: Temples, Tombs, and Treasures

Greek history enthusiasts will find this beautiful volume an invaluable addition to their collection. Filled with vivid illustrations and photos, the book is a general outline of history of ancient Greece from its prehistory until Alexander's death.

It contains mostly descriptions of major architectural and archaeological finds and a narration of events at the time they were built or made. The book is informative but not detailed enough for the scholarly purposes. It however provides a good overview of architectural styles, art and a condensed history of the area.

I recommend this both for casual and scholarly reading. If you are interested in mythology, the book also mentions a few things. The text is easy to understand and reader friendly (however, the reader might want to check some updates on the progress of the study of finds).

Rating: 9 out of 10

San Antonio Spurs 2014 NBA Champions

Even more than months after the San Antonio Spurs won their fifth title, I still feel like everything is a dream. As a long-time fan of Tim Duncan, last year's loss to Miami Heat still feels like a nightmare whenever I think about it.
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