Monday, December 26, 2011

Omitted Stories

My brother: Number one on your list is Star Wars, right?
Me: Well... it didn't cross my mind what I was writing the article.
My brother: What!?
[A minute of reading later...]
My brother: Oh, okay. A worthy replacement.


A week and a half ago I wrote an article called the Top Ten Stories of All Time. I highly recommend you read it.

Unfortunately, there were some key stories omitted from the list. Either due to my forgetfulness, or because they just barely didn't make it on. Here are three of the omissions, in no particular order.

0. Star Wars
I don't know whether to go with the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, both combined, or everything combined with the Expanded Universe. I believe that Star Wars is, by a long shot, the largest franchise ever made. The films have a pretty great story, but they barely begin to compare to the vastness of the Expanded Universe, which consists of hundreds of novels. I have read many, but in reality I've only read a drop in the bucket. How this failed to get onto the list, I do not know.

Some people call it a bunch of little kid's toys, but I call it one of the most-overlooked fantasy series of all time. Heck, I don't care about the toys. The story is just awesome. As a young kid, (I'm guessing when I was about 9-12) I absolutely loved the books. The BIONICLE Chronicles, BIONICLE Adventures, and BIONICLE Legends series used to be my favorite books of all time. It's true, they're written for young people, but they're still pretty dang awesome. I've been a fan of BIONICLE since the beginning in 2001, when I was five years old, and still forever I'll stand up against people who claim it's "just a bunch of kid's toys." My favorite books in any of the series are Voyage of FearTime Trap and Legacy of Evil.

0. The Patrick Bowers Files
The Patrick Bowers Files by Steven James are my all-time favorite crime novels. James himself is my favorite author. It was omitted from the list due to other amazing stories placing higher than it, but it really is a masterpiece. You can't help but love the main characters, and the story grips you and draws you in like few stories can. If you're into crime novels, definitely check these out. But please, please, read the books in order. My favorites in the series are the first one, The Pawn, along with the third one, The Knight.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Reuben's Ramblings: Christmas Day/Eve

"Merry Christmas!"

Remarkable, isn't it? The amount of people posting on Facebook the day before Christmas to wish everyone a Happy Holidays? I get up in the morning to check my social networks and email and see, "Merry Christmas!" "Merry Christmas Eve!" "Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!" "Happy Holidays to all!" "Merry Christmas!" This leads me to ask a question.

Why is everyone saying "Merry Christmas" when tomorrow is Christmas Day?

Today is Christmas Eve; I'll give them that much. And for many who live in other countries, it really is Christmas today. Somebody gave me the argument that people want to spend time with their families on Christmas Day rather than spending time on Facebook, but I'm thinking they'll get on Facebook anyway. It doesn't take much to sign into Facebook, post a message and get off.

And what's also interesting is that tonight, I felt like wishing everybody a Merry Christmas as well. How quickly my viewpoint changed. This was just a random ramble anyway. One of far too many that will be coming in the days, weeks, months and possibly even years to come.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

THE HOBBIT Movie Trailer

It's finally here! The initial trailer to the far-too-long-awaited film adaptation of the renowned father of all present-day fantasy, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien! As a huge fan of the legendarium, I absolutely can't wait. The trailer just looks spectacular. I have seen the films of the trilogy dozens of times and I've certainly read The Hobbit myself. Yes, this is going to be one amazing journey! My main complaint is still having to wait a year... and then another year after that for Part 2.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Featured Shtuff: The Force of Fiction

Howdy, world! I'm starting a new "Featured Shtuff" article series. This is where I give shout-outs and feature blogs and the like of friends of mine or other amazing people who deserve much more traffic than they have been receiving.

The Force of Fiction is a review blog run by my good friend Adam Bolander. He is the author of the self-published novel Legends of the Saloli: Approaching Storm. At present he is looking for a literary agent and publisher for the novel and series, as almost nobody knows of its existence at this point. I have read it myself, and it is definitely worth the read.

This is where Adam posts his reviews of select media he enjoys, such as books, movies, video games and the like. This is similar to my blog, but his is more strictly devoted to reviews. In addition, I find him to be much better at writing reviews than I am, and overall he's a great writer in general.

If you enjoy good fiction, definitely check out his website. He is a very talented man and a great friend.

Click here to check out The Force of Fiction

Friday, December 16, 2011

20 Random Facts About Me - #2

So you think you know a lot about me, do you? Probably not, but here are 20 more facts that you might or might not have known.

  1. I am a very, very slow reader.
  2. My favorite school subject is Geometry.
  3. Right now I have no income whatsoever.
  4. My dream is to become a full-time fiction writer.
  5. My favorite author is Steven James.
  6. I can't swim.
  7. A New York Times bestselling author is naming a character after me.
  8. The only words I can write in cursive are my first and last names.
  9. My favorite candy is either Runts or candy corn.
  10. I am not a psychopath. (No duh?)
  11. The first true work of quality fiction I have ever read is Showdown by Ted Dekker.
  12. I have a passion for 2D platformer video games, which are extremely underrated.
  13. I win two or three book giveaways every week on average.
  14. My favorite comedy TV series (the only one I actually like at all) is Hogan's Heroes.
  15. If I ever have I son I will not name him Guy. (It's a real name.)
  16. My favorite singer is Dennis Schunke of Van Canto.
  17. I used to be a total Star Wars geek. Now I'm only sort of.
  18. My favorite channel on YouTube is FreddieW.
  19. I have never seen The Lion King.
  20. I find people's reactions to the above fact so hilarious that I don't plan on seeing it anytime soon.

I'll talk to you all later!

Click here for 20 Random Facts About Me - #1

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Top Ten Stories of All Time

I was given the choice of being a part of a group of bloggers who would all on the same day—December 15, 2011—post an article on their blog about their top 10 favorite stories of all time. This would include books, movies, video games, and heck, even songs! Entire series could count as one story, as they technically are the same story. The only downside is that there are many book series and video games that I haven't read or played that apparently have amazing storiesbetter than most I have experienced. So say my brothers, and I believe them. They have been trying to get me to read The Sword of Truth or play Tales of Symphonia for several years now. So don't expect this to be the only Top Ten Stories list I ever write. There may be another in a few years once I can read through that many super-long books and play through that many super-long games. I've already started playing Alan Wake and Chrono Trigger, but unfortunately it would be a little against the rules to add them to the list without finishing them. So, without further ado, enjoy!

10. Metroid
As one of my favorite game series of all time, I find the story intriguing and, frankly, pretty awesome. Metroid: Other M ruined it for me a little, but with that omitted I've found the story is quite amazing. I highly recommend you play at least one of the games in the series.

9. The Pilgrim's Progress
John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress is one of few ancient classics that I truly appreciate. It's hard to get through, as are most classics, but the story itself is intriguing and actually quite ingenious. It is quite hard to write an enjoyable allegory, but Bunyan was able to do just that.

8. I, Robot
The novel, I, Robot by Isaac Asimov, was a spectacular novel that I enjoyed very much, but this entry is of the movie adaptation. More often than not movie adaptations are horrible compared to their book counterparts. Many, I, Robot included, have very few similarities to their books. However, this is one of those almost-nonexistent number of movies that are just as good as their books, if not better. In this case, the movie's story far outweighs the book's, and it is one of my all-time favorite movies.

7. The Bourne Trilogy
I have not read the books, but the movies, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, make up one of the best film series I have ever seen. I have heard that the original books by Robert Ludlum are different but just as amazing. One reason I loved the movies as much as I did is because I believe antiheroes are often the best true heroes.

6. The Chronicles of Narnia
C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series has always been a favorite of mine. My favorite novel in the series is The Horse and His Boy, and I am very strong in the opinion that everyone should read the series in original publication order instead of chronological order.

5. Immanuel's Veins
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and Ted Dekker's Immanuel's Veins is a mixture between historical fiction and the amazing degree of fantasy he's known for. In addition to being a spectacular novel with a great story, it loosely ties into Dekker's fantasy mega-series, the Books of History Chronicles.

4. A Change of Seasons
The song, A Change of Seasons by Dream Theater, is the story of a man living through his life. It starts when he is young, moves through hardships and depression, hate and love, faith and mistrust, and ends with the man at the end of his life, much wiser, having learned from his mistakes. The reason this story is on this list is not that the story itself is amazing. It's the way the story is presented. Dream Theater paints a beautiful picture: you can see the colors, feel the emotions, sense the seasons passing by. It is impeccably well-done, and is one of my favorite songs of all time. When people complain that metal bands have bad lyrics quality, I just point to Dream Theater. The band is made up of some of the most talented musicians and songwriters ever to walk the face of the earth.

3. The 13th Tribe
This was coincidentally the latest book I finished. The 13th Tribe was an amazing story; it awed me and even made me tear up a few times. There are few words that can tell how much I loved this story. One reason it is so high on the list is because I just recently read it, so obviously I still love it a lot. Give it a few months and it'll definitely drop, though that will just be because time will have passed since I'd read it. Another reason is because it truly is an amazing story. I very highly recommend you read it when it releases in April.

2. The Lord of the Rings
The are absolutely no words to explain how much The Lord of the Rings and J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium means to me. The languages, races, worlds... everything the story did... how it changed the world of literature, specifically fantasy... and even how it inspired my own writing. The Lord of the Rings is possibly the greatest epic ever written, and it is absolutely spectacular. There is almost nothing that comes anywhere close to The Lord of the Rings in my book, no pun intended (not referring to my actual book I'm writing). It is... it is... I can't even describe it. IT IS.

1. Mirror of Souls
Mirror of Souls is a song written and performed by Theocracy. It is my all-time favorite song, and at present my all-time favorite story. When people argue with me that the rock genre is better than the metal genre, I ask them, "Have you ever wept after listening to a 20-minute rock story song?" Let me tell you this now: do not go to a site such as YouTube or Grooveshark and look up Mirror of Souls. If you're going to listen to it, do it right. That would be in a dark room with your eyes closed and no distractions. That's how I first listened to it, and I cannot describe the experience I had. I said that for the past few entries on this list, but it's true. If a person cannot describe the amazing experience of a story, then it truly is a good story. Without doubt..

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo

The 13th Tribe, Immortal Files Series #1

You start out on your adventure with a feeling of... "What the heck?"

The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo is one of the most unique novels I have ever read. The beginning completely throws you off track and you have no idea what is going on. Slowly, as the book progresses, things become more and more clear, and the pieces come together. It's a very fun process.
It began when Moses was on Mt. Sinai. Tired of waiting on the One True God, the twelve tribes of Israel began worshipping a golden calf through pagan revelry. Many received immediate death for their idolatry, but 40 were handed a far worse punishment—endless life on earth with no chance to see the face of God. 
This group of immortals became the 13th Tribe, and they’ve been trying to earn their way into heaven ever since—by killing sinners. Though their logic is twisted, their brilliance is undeniable. Their wrath is unstoppable. And the technology they possess is beyond anything mere humans have ever seen. 
Jagger Baird knows nothing about the Tribe when he’s hired as head of security for an archaeological dig on Mt. Sinai. The former Army Ranger is still reeling from an accident that claimed the life of his best friend, his arm, and his faith in God. 
The Tribe is poised to execute their most ambitious attack ever and the lives of millions hang in the balance. When Jagger’s wife and son are caught in the crossfire, he’ll stop at nothing to save them. But how can one man stand against an entire tribe of immortals?
The story of The 13th Tribe centers around a group of people who call themselves just that: the 13th Tribe. It turns out that they were formed around 3,500 years ago around the time of the Book of Exodus. They were cursed with immortality, forever destined to stay the age they were when their band was formed, whether infant or old weakling. Originally numbering forty, only eight members have stayed true through present day to carry on what they believe to be their mission: to eliminate those who would bring harm to the innocent. Or, in short, sinners.

As a mixture between historical fiction, science fiction and modern-day thriller, The 13th Tribe kept my attention until the end, though all of the mishaps, plot twists and stunning showdowns. Few writers can write hand-to-hand combat as does Robert Liparulo, and few can make their characters become so... alive. Through the entirety of the story you will grow to sympathize and love or hate each and every character, and in the end the main protagonist, Jagger Baird, became one of my all-time favorite fictional characters.

The book surprisingly had the occasional feel of a self-published novel, but that was for the mere reason that I read a pre-edited copy—the author's first draft, if you will. The novel releases to stores in April 2012, and I definitely recommend picking it up.

In conclusion, The 13th Tribe is a spectacular adventure of a sort I have never seen before. It contains plot twists and surprises that you really don't see coming, and when they're led up to you can almost feel your eyes growing bigger. It is full of action, drama, adventure, and just plain awesomeness. For sure, it was one of the best novels I have read this entire year.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cake Blogs

A cool feature with Blogspot blogs is that you can look up how readers found you or your blog posts: the exact URLs, the sites at which said URLs are location, or even words that people searched on Google on found you.

What I found particularly interesting was the fact that according to my records, since I started my blog in October 2010, six people found links to my blog by typing "cake blogs" into Google. I'm not lying; here's a screenshot:

What I found even more interesting was the fact that all six of those were in the past month, three of which in the past week. Eager to see what blog post people found by searching for dessert on Google, I searched "cake blogs" myself. Unfortunately, I found nothing. At the end of page 78, it stated:

In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 780 already displayed.If you like, you can repeat the search with omitted results included.

Well, of course I clicked that button and started again with the omitted results. Aaaaaaand... they were the same. 100 pages, and no Reuben Horst's Blog. I was disappointed, but then came up with an idea.

Send this blog post to as many people as you can. I'm not doing this to get popularity, I'm doing to so I can get more hits by people who search for "cake blogs" on Google! If you can get as many people as you can to view this blog page, eventually it'll get onto Google for every person who searches for cake blogs! Come on, let's make this happen!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stefan Schmidt - Van Canto Interview

If there's one thing I love, it's talented music that blows your mind to Kingdom Come. Van Canto is the first, and currently only, metal a cappella band in existence. The very first song I heard from them, Last Night of the Kings, drew me in like a whirlpool and I was mesmerized. Sometime later I remembered the song, looked it up, and then went on to listen to another of their songs—Lost Forever. That was where my mind was blown to Kingdom Come. Van Canto is a completely vocal metal band, with the exception of drums. Each of the six members play an important part in the band.

Due to virtually all of the "instruments" being vocals, I have never felt so much emotion in the songs of any other band. There are two types of people who listen to their music—those who instantly love it, and those who hate it. I, frankly cannot understand those who hate it. The more you listen to these days, the less their music seems like hilarity and the more you realize that it is... true art.

I recently talked with Stefan Schmidt, the founder of Van Canto. He's different from the other vocalists in the band for the reason that he plays the "guitar" solos. In truth, he sings into a guitar amplifier. No, that's not a cheat. That's legitimate.

Now, sit back with some popcorn and enjoy!


Reuben Horst: How has your life been recently, Stef?

Stefan Schmidt: Full. But great! After being on tour last year we produced the new album, played festivals and just finished our first European tour. So everything is busy but very nice.

RH: What have been your major influences over the years?

SS: For me as the main composer I can name all the bands we are covering. The only main inspiration missing is Europe.

RH: Have any of the members of Van Canto been involved in other musical projects in the past few years, or have they all stuck close to Van Canto?

SS: Before Van Canto we all played in regular metal bands. Bastian and me in Jester's Funeral, Inga in Fading Starlight, Sly and Strilli (our first drummer) in Synasthasia, Ike in (cp) Rono and Ross in Deadly Sin. Since then we all stuck to Van Canto and quit our former bands. Bastian is running a piano-oriented side project named In Legend.

RH: What is it like to write songs in English, as your first language is German? Will you ever come out with any albums in German?

SS: It's easier to write in English because you don't have so many people around you telling you that your lyrics make no sense, haha. But on Break the Silence we have our first German song with "Neuer Wind", and we got very many positive reactions on this. Concerning the future I cannot tell; we don't make "master plans" or anything like that.

RH: As the first song I ever heard from you, Last Night of the Kings quick became one of my favorites. Was there anything in particular that inspired it?

SS: You should ask Sly [a.k.a. Dennis Schunke, lead vocalist], because he wrote that one. But his inspiration was just the imagination of the story the lyrics are about. Entering a king's castle and to make the night his last one.

RH: If Blind Guardian, who strongly inspired you and worked with you several times, were to cover one of your songs, which do you think it would be?

SS: "Take to the Sky" would fit, because Hansi already knows parts of the lyrics, haha.

RH: Have you ever considered the possibility of recording a concept album?

SS: Yes, we started something like that with our transmedia project "Peer Returns", which will be launched by the end of the year. Break the Silence contains a preview song of it: "A Storm to Come".

RH: Of all of your original songs, which is your favorite?

SS: It changes from day to day. Today it is "If I Die in Battle".

RH: What do you see in the future for Van Canto?

SS: Playing gigs, recording albums, having fun, staying friends. As easy as it. ;-)

RH: What is your favorite food?

SS: Spaghetti.


Thanks once again for reading, and thanks to Stefan for letting me interview him.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving has got to be one of my favorite times of year. Not just because it's a holiday, not because I got free turkey (we actually ate pork, not turkey), not because I got to buy a ton of books for less than $10 (due to Black Friday sales), but because we got to make the long trip to visit my little old grandmother in Indiana! I got to hang out with my amazing, out-of-college cousins, play Boggle, drink caffeine-free Mountain Dew (yes, it exists), talk about video games and awesome books with my brothers and said cousins, and just overall have a good time. Doesn't sound that great? You weren't there! It was awesome!

What's a real shame is that throughout the day and the days surrounding it, I forgot to celebrate the holiday itself. I could tell a history lesson and inform you all of the story behind Thanksgiving, but you should just look it up yourself.

Now, a basic tradition of Thanksgiving is to... be thankful for things. I'd completely forgotten about this (hey, I was having fun!), so now, two days later, I will recall and be thankful for many things. I am aware that I most likely missed many people, and I apologize. It took me an entire afternoon to write this article.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 2011: The Month of Pure Epicocity

This month has got to be one of the most spectacular months of all time. Perhaps that's an exaggeration, but there have been some absolutely amazing releases this month. Here are just a few highlights.

Mistborn: The Alloy of Law - November 8, 2011

I haven't been a fan of Brandon Sanderson for long, but my brother has been. I read and reviewed Elantris, and my brother tells me that Sanderson's Mistborn series is even better. This is a sequel to the main trilogy, taking place about three hundred years later. From what I've read, it sounds amazing, as everything that Sanderson has written does. I highly recommend this man's books!

Awesomeness Level: 9/10
More information about The Alloy of Law here.

Call of Duty: Modern Warefare 3 - November 8, 2011

I'm not much of a Call of Duty fan, nor much of a first-person shooter fan for that matter, but I knew I wouldn't be able to write an article about how amazing this month has been without even mentioning it. I haven't played the game myself, but I hear from many, many sources that it's absolutely amazing. It's not necessarily something I was looking forward to, but it's pretty sweet nonetheless.

Awesomeness Level: 7/10
(low rating for the fact that it's just not my kind of game; doesn't mean it's not awesome)
More information about Modern Warfare 3 here.

Inheritance - November 8, 2011

Though I have only read the first novel in Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle, I enjoyed it very much. It was full of clichĂ©, but you must remember that Paolini first started Eragon when he was fifteen years old, after he already graduated from high school. That's what makes it an awesome series for me. He started writing it as a super-smart kid, and is still writing as a super-smart adult. I think it's a little cheesy that the finally book in the series is the same name as the series itself, but from what I've heard it's a great book. Yet another reason to get around to reading the rest of the books in the series!

Awesomeness Level: 8/10
More information about Inheritance here.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - November 11, 2011

I've been a huge fan of the Elder Scrolls games for years. The last two games in the series, Morrowind and Oblivion, were both groundbreaking games that blew gamers' minds to Kingdom Come. A day or two after Skyrim came out, I went to my friend's house and I got to play the Xbox 360 version. I just have to say, if this game does not win Game of the Year, as it's two predecessors did, then the gaming industry is full of idiots. This game is amazing. I very highly recommend it.

Awesomeness Level: 10/10
More information about Skyrim here.

Super Mario 3D Land - November 13, 2011

At first I wasn't at all interested in this game. After all, it's "just another Mario game," right? That's what I thought, but the more I heard about it and the more trailers I saw the more interested I became. (Isn't that the point of trailers?) I began to discover that this wasn't "just another Mario game," but rather one more masterpiece from one of the best game development companies of all time. I still haven't gotten my hands on the game, but I've heard from many reliable sources that it exceeds expectations. Needless to say, I'm excited to play it!

Awesomeness Level: 7/10
More information about Super Mario 3D Land here.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - November 20, 2011

After five years of work by over one hundred developers, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has finally hit stores! Already, in the couple days it's been out, many people have said that it may be the greatest Zelda game of all time. This would be a near-impossible feat after how absolutely amazing the franchise has been in the past. At present The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is one of my all-time favorite video games, but from what I hear, Skyward Sword may surpass it by a large distance. Though I still have not played the game, as I currently have no income (and therefore almost no money), it was easily the release I looked forward to most this month. Though I have to say, the next highlight came pretty close.

Awesomeness Level: 10/10
More information about Skyward Sword here.

As the World Bleeds - November 21, 2011

As many of you know, Theocracy is my all-time favorite band. I've been waiting for this album for the past year, and it's been in development for about the past two. All of the band members have full-time jobs, so they could not work on the record any time but late at night. Yes, it took forever to record, but yes, it was well worth it. It's high-quality and full of amazingly epic songs. Matt Smith, the founder, vocalist and writer, is one of my biggest inspirations, and he has pulled through to bring one of the best music albums ever to date. It's basically what I've been listening to for the past two days, since it came out.

Awesomeness Level: 10/10
More information about As the World Bleeds here.

There have been and will be many more amazing releases this month. These are just the few I decided to highlight. I seriously believe this has been one of the best months for releases in my entire life. You can expect me to critique one or several of the items on this list within the next while. I know not which yet, but the future will tell.

Now, have a happy November and a great holiday season!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Coolest Website EVER!

I was bored, so I found the coolest website ever made. Don't contradict me. Don't!

If you ever find a cooler website, send it to me or post in the comments! I doubt you'll ever find one, though.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Golden Resurrection - Identity in Christ

I came across this music video today and I salivated the entire way through. In short: I love it. I just figured I'd share it with you guys.

It is a Christian metal song, and I'd never even heard of the band before. The singer and the lead guitarist are just plain weird, but that adds to the awesome-ness of it.

Until later!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble

To clear things up, this is the second novel I ever read by Colleen Coble. For reading the first I was mocked and looked down upon. Wow, I was reading a women's romance novel, so I should obviously be made fun at, right? Seriously, guys? Haven't you ever heard the saying, never judge a book by its cover? I'm talking literally, here, as I'm talking about a book. Due to the shame that was brought upon me for reading The Lightkeeper's Ball, the only person who even knew I was reading this book was my brother, who when he saw it chucked and said, "Let me guess: the only reason you're reading that is because you got it for free?" Maybe I should start up my own website in Colleen Coble's defense. She's an amazing author.
Eden’s hope is rekindled when Clay delivers astounding news: their baby girl has been found.
Five years ago Eden and Clay Larson’s baby was stolen. When they went to pay the ransom, what happened changed their lives forever—the kidnapper’s car with Baby Brianna inside sunk deep into the river. Eden blamed herself, Clay lost himself in work. Their young and rocky marriage ended. Or so Eden thought.
Now Eden’s moved to a new town. She’s found faith and is trying to rebuild her life. She’s even dating again—a sweet guy named Kent who plans to marry her. But then Clay arrives out of the blue and delivers shocking news: he never signed their divorce papers, so they’re still married. What’s more, Clay has been searching for Brianna all this time. And he believes he’s found her: their daughter is in Bluebird, Texas, at a youth ranch. All five little girls there are the right age—he’s just not sure which one is Brianna. Or how she survived. 
To uncover the truth, Eden and Clay sign on as counselors at Bluebird Ranch. They move into small quarters in the bunkhouse and oversee the kids as they try to find out more. Working together, they rediscover their love for each other. But danger is closing in—Eden, Clay, and all their young charges are in jeopardy. As they fight to save their family, Eden realizes that God has been fighting for them all along. And His plans are for a more abundant life than they’d ever hoped.
First things first, I loved this novel. Colleen is an inspiring storyteller, and the novel was full of mystery, suspense, drama and romance. The romance was a little carried away, however, unlike the other novel I read by her. I also noticed a couple inconsistencies in the story, but overall it was great.

The characters were unforgettable, and the whole mystery feeling of "which one of the girls is the right one?" added flavor and intrigue. By the end the story had changed from a drama to an adventure, and try as I could, thinking as hard as I could, I could not figure out who the bad guy was until they revealed their identity at the end. And wow, I just used 'could' three times in the same sentence.

All in all, Lonestar Angel is a great book. I do agree it's geared more for women, and I do agree that it could be considered a romance novel, but I actually enjoyed it. So stop all your hating on Colleen! To further my point in the matter, there was no more romance in The Lightkeeper's Ball than in the average Ted Dekker novel. In all seriousness, I would recommend this novel to anyone.

Lonestar Angel will be publicly released on November 8, 2011.
This book was sent to me for free from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Far Off Dream

A Far Off Dream
An essay by Reuben Horst

Blood splotches overran the white piece of paper. The red ink was everywhere; showing what was wrong. All of it was wrong. I stared at the object which had once been my essay, now covered in a teacher’s disapproval. I shook my head. I had tried putting my best effort into my work. That had failed. I had tried not trying at all. That, quite obviously, had failed as well. No matter what I did to my writing works, to my essays and my stories, I could never satisfy myself or those who read what I had penned. I began to wonder, would I ever be the writer I wanted to be?

The first decent piece of writing that I ever wrote was a short story about a very strange convenience store on a made-up street in Chicago. It was my first stab at writing after I was exposed to some very well-written books, mainly by an author named Ted Dekker. Determined, I sat down and started writing a story having no idea in mind about how it would turn out. I had a basic idea. I started typing. The words came fluently. When I was done and I read what I had written, I was shocked at how ingenious it was. My family praised my work, and so did many other onlookers. I do believe that reading quality fiction has significantly improved my writing skill.

In early 2010 I started a web log, or “blog,” if you prefer. Though it and its next two incarnations were deleted by inane hosting websites, over the past couple years I have written many articles. Many have been reviews and critiques of various sources of media such as books, movies, video games, et cetera, but I have hosted interviews and giveaways as well. When people viewed my blog, they were impressed that quality writing could actually come from a then-fourteen-year-old boy. Ironically, this both built my confidence and insulted me at the same time, as it meant they initially had low expectations of me.

Time has passed. My writing has improved, but I still have that feeling that I’m not as good as I should be. Friends, family, and everyone else tell me I’m amazing; I have great potential. Why is it so hard to believe them? I have hope that someday I will not only surpass the expectations of those around me, but also my own. For now, however, that is only a far off dream.


Thanks for reading! Now, you all know how much I hate writing essays. But once I'm done, I feel so good that I feel like sharing it with the world! Much sweat and many tears went into this essay. I hope you had more fun reading it than I had writing it!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

One Hundred

Today is the one year anniversary of this blog! Coincidentally, this is also my 100th blog post! Pretty awesome, don't you think? Recently I've been writing a lot more blog posts, some seemingly for no particular reason, but the reason for this was to get to the number 100 by this day.

You must remember, however, that this was not my first blog. My first blogs were deleted by stupid and unreliable blog hosts, causing me to lose far too much data.

I have many plans yet for this blog. In the not-too-far future I plan on releasing more reviews, stories, interviews, etc. but also some new things as well. I have matured since I began, and I intend to use this to my advantage.

Though many consider me a geek, I am not without friends. I asked these friends of mine to ask me questions for my 100th blog post. Anything from questions about my writing to what video games I like to my favorite kind of snorkel! I got a lot of questions, of course, and here they are as follows.


What is your favorite book?
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

What is your favorite movie?
I love the Lord of the Rings and Jason Bourne trilogies, along with Cars and its sequel.

What is your favorite video game?
I would have to go with An Untitled Story.

What is your favorite band?
Theocracy! I also love Dream Theater, Symphony X, Within Temptation and Van Canto.

What motivates you most to fit in writing into your busy schedule?
Unfortunately, not much. Life is hard, and I really don't have all that much free time.

Do you feel that attending The Ragged Edge at your age will help you be a published writer sooner than your geriatric blue pals?
I don't know how many of readers will know what The Ragged Edge is, but yes, I think there is a possibility.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Piercings. Earrings are alright, but just about anything else will get on my nerves. Very much so.

What's it like going to high school after being home schooled?
I'm not necessarily going to "high school." It's a private school, and it is very different. I'm still being taught by my mother, though, since she happens to be the founder/principal.

What do you miss most about being home schooled?
If I worked hard I could get all my work done in the morning! Then I'd have the entire afternoon free!

What do you miss least?
Hmm . . . that's a real thinker. I would say learning American Government, except I need to learn that again this year anyway.

What is your definition of a perfect day?
A day that I physically feel good. It happens a couple times each year.

If you could snap your fingers and own any book in the world . . . which one?
The Oceans Below by R.J. Horst. It's the book I've been working on for the past month or so, and I'm going to start writing it soon. I want to own it because that would mean it'd already be finished, and that would be awesome.

Who has inspired you most and why?
I have been very heavily inspired by many people in my life. My greatest inspirations are Dream Theater and Randy Alcorn. Other inspirations include Ted Dekker, Erin Healy, my brothers, and my favorite band, Theocracy. Above all, of course, is my savior, Elyon.

If you were a fictional character who would you be?
I wouldn't want to be one, because then I wouldn't exist.

What is your favorite food/snack/candy?
Well, considering I can't eat anything, I really don't know. I think I'll go with Runts.

What do you want to be remembered for most?
An author who got published. That's all I ask.

What is your favorite subject in school?
What else? Geometry!

Your least favorite subject?
Physical Science. I have to do it again, since I dropped out of it in 8th grade. In the 2nd semester I'll have to do American Government, though, so that may become my least favorite.

What would be your dream career if you couldn't be a writer?
Hahaha, you'll get a kick out of this one. Video game designer!

If you had a pen name what would you choose?
I'm considering going by R.J. Horst for all of my fantasy/science fiction novels, and then Reuben Horst for all of my modern day novels.

What was your favorite moment when attending The Ragged Edge?
There are too many to count. Perhaps it was meeting my best friends in the entire world.

Do you see yourself as a perfectionist?
Nowhere close.

Where did the name "Arkatox" come from?
That one is a long story. Here's the shortened version. A long time ago I started writing a Bionicle fanfic and I asked my friend for an awesome name to use for a character. He suggested Arkatox, and so I used it. Eventually it somehow become my most frequently-used online screen name. Yup, that's it. At least the shortened it.

Why is there an old guy staring at me?
Why don't you ask him? I'm sure he won't do anything to you as long as you're in a public place.

What's your favorite type of snorkel?
You . . . weren't actually supposed to ask that question. But since mentioned it, I think this snorkel looks pretty awesome.

Which is better: Australian accents or British accents?
British, of course!

What's your favorite European accent?
British, of course!

Which is better: handrawn animation or CGI?
CGI, of course!

What is your favorite instrument to listen to?
Voice and piano.

Do you enjoy your top hats purple, or pink?
No comment.

Have you ever started randomly dancing in the middle of the night?
Yes, on more than one occasion.

Which of the Smurfs is your favorite?
I know almost nothing about the Smurfs, unfortunately.

Have you ever been to the great country of Flabbania or met one of the rare, but famously potatoriffic, Flabbinese people?
No comment.

Of all the authors you read for the first time in the last year, which is your favorite?
Brandon Sanderson, for sure.

Who do you like better: Meriadoc Brandybuck or Peregrine Took?
I really don't know. They're both awesome.

Which is your favorite of the Istari and why?
Gandalf, because he has an awesome personality.

Narya, Nenya, or Vilya - which of the Elven rings of power would you prefer?
Stop with the Lord of the Rings questions!

Does this question have an answer?
No comment.


Thanks everyone who took part in completely changing my life over the past year. I have no idea where I'd be without you guys! Thanks also to everyone who asked questions. In other words, the same people. ^.^

Love all you guys!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Essays Are Evil!

"Essays are the source of blindness to the wonderful concept that is Story."
-Evan Morgan

"Essays kill peoples' imagination. Like killing brain cells! But WORSE!"
-Taylor Bomar

‎"Printed essays are flammable for a reason."
-Adam Bolander

"Essays are dumb and should die a thousand painful deaths."
-Ashley Procko

"Death should die and write a thousand painful essays."
-Jason Fancher


Essays are my mortal enemies. We don't even respect each other as many adversaries do. We hate each other. I hate essays, essays hate me. That's completely okay, though, because essays don't have feelings.


"For in Calormen, story-telling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you're taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays."
-C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy

Steven Phillips - Crowned Warrior Interview


It's always interesting, the wonders you can find through Google. This particular wonder is named Steven Mark Phillips. He is the founder of a Christian power metal band, Crowned Warrior, and at present he plays all of the instruments and does all of the vocals. Pretty cool, huh? This is also very similar to how Theocracy, one of my all-time favorite bands, was started. Originally he had another member is his group, but they had to leave.

At present, Phillips is working with an organization to help him get off the ground. He has several songs recorded, which you can listen to on ReverbNation. When I asked him about them, though, he told me they were each recorded in 3-4 hours in his own studio, and that he could do much better if he put more effort into them. I was quite impressed.

I do feel a little bad, as this interview took place in July, and it's now October. But, then again, better late than never!


Reuben Horst: Hey Steve! How’s it been going lately?

Steven Phillips: Great! Things are moving along and I am growing both musically and spiritually. I have all kinds of musical ideas bubbling up as I like to say. Now I just have to find the time to develop them into songs.

RH: When did you start playing music?

SP: I wanted a guitar when I was 11 but never ended up getting one until I was 15. I am self-taught as we were fairly poor. I couldn't afford books let alone lessons. I figured out everything from basic major and minor barre chords to basic lead scales by listening to my favourite rock bands at the time.

RH: In becoming a one-man band, originally a two-man band, what have been some of your greatest influences?

SP: In power metal I would have to say Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and early Ozzy with Randy Rhoads. As far as early guitar influences probably the most influential on me were Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple, Rainbow), Brian May (Queen...early Queen...the good stuff ;-) ) and Allan Holdsworth. Of course there were many others such as Gary Moore, Tony Iommi, etc.

RH: If your record deal is successful, how long would you estimate it to take for you to complete an album?

SP: I am actually not working on a record deal per se, it's an artist development deal. There are many aspects to becoming successful in the music business besides talent. You need some guidance with developing the talent including song writing, vocal coaching, stage presence, audience rapport, etc. as well as the business side of things. But even more important is the ministry aspect. I am focused on being real and reaching out to people who have been through similar pains that I have been through. The folks I am working with are very focused on developing the ministry aspect along with everything else. They help you tap into your life experiences and what God has done in your life and help you bring that out in your music and on stage.

RH: I stand corrected. If you successfully release an album, do you think you will form a full band to play with you?

SP: That's a good question. I have always wanted to work with others in a collaborative way. My problem has been finding people who are as committed as I am, can play really well and can see the same vision. On the other hand it's not easy to get what's in your head and heart out in a way that others can reproduce what you are after. It's probably easier to do it yourself but then you lack other perspectives. So I am divided on it from a writing perspective and to some degree from a recording perspective.

If you think about it, classical composers do it all themselves then get musicians to play their music. That's one way to approach it I suppose.

Of course I would love to have some like minded and talented musicians to play with live.

RH: What is your favorite song, series of songs or concept album (by any band) that tells a story?

SP: Wow that's hard. I am an old Rush fan and I always loved the Hemispheres album. The story actually starts with a song off the previous album, "A Farewell To Kings" called "Cygnus X-1" then continues on the full side 1 (from the vinyl days) of Hemispheres. Then there's the old Todd Rundgren album with the so-called electric fairy tale "Singring and the Glass Guitar" but I am probably getting too obsure for you now. lol

RH: In the future, will you produce any story songs yourself?

SP: I'm not sure. I have always liked the fantasy story type of thing and have thought about it in the past. It's a bit more for the more progressive genres I think but that doesn't mean I won't explore it if I get inspired in that direction. I think it would be a lot more work to put it all together but it would be worth it.

RH: What exactly do you do for a living, and how does it compete with writing and performing music?

SP: I do computer work, from software development to systems integration, mostly server-based stuff. Of course I would like to work out of that and more and more into deriving a living from my music. It's not only a passion it's a calling so why shouldn't I be able to make a living at it. That's how I see it anyways.

RH: What are your dreams for the future of Crowned Warrior?

SP: I am taking a step by step approach. I am finally getting some music out there, mostly to get some feedback and see if what I am hearing, feeling and writing generates any interest, which it has. That makes me want to work all that much harder to put together an album of material that I can be proud of and can hopefully reach some people that may be searching for something more to life.

Beyond that I don't know because I think each step is built on the previous step so I won't know until I get there.

RH: What’s your favorite brand of soda?

SP: I don't really drink much in the way of soda but if I had to pick it would be A&W Root Beer.


Thanks for reading, and don't forget to check out Crowned Warrior on RevebNation!

Reuben Horst

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords (25th Anniversary Edition)

As a kid, Four Swords was like a hidden gold mine. I could almost reach out and touch it, but my inexperienced arms just weren't long enough to grab hold. The reason was simple: the game, for the Game Boy Advanced, required at least two people play the game. Not only did we not have two Game Boys, but we did not have two copies of the game. Alas, the best we could do was go to the title screen and listen to the amazing title music.

Recently, however, Nintendo did something that broke the bars to the mine. Just this September they re-released The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords for the Nintendo 3DS, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda series. This version not only included a lot more content, but also included a single-player mode!

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition Picture

When I first started the grass level, the feeling of goodness was overwhelming. Here I was, playing the game I could never play. So many times I'd tried to find a way around that dumb screen that tells you to hook up another Game Boy. So many times I'd failed miserably! But here I was, years later, playing that very game.

The game is actually split into levels, as has been implied. Three basic levels, after which you unlock the last level, after which you unlock three more awesome levels, after which you unlock three horrifying levels. The game is very colorful, and music is decent, and everything about it screams quality. You can't say the same for just anything on a Nintendo system.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition Picture

So after years of unknowingly waiting, I finally played, and one hundred percent-completed, The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords. The levels were fun and imaginative, the unlockable levels were awesome, and overall I just had a great time playing. The Hero's Trials were impossibly hard, to the point where I almost screamed a couple times. The final set of keys you get in the game, the Hero's Keys, were also nearly impossible to get unless you spent half an hour or more killing enemies for their rupees. But with those few glaring faults aside, this was an awesome game. It in every way met my expectations.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords 25th Anniversary Edition will remain in the Nintendo 3DS eShop for free until about February, so if you have a 3DS or plan to get one, definitely download this game. It's worth your time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ted Dekker!

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of NYT bestselling author Ted Dekker. I've read almost all of his books, and I even met him earlier this year. To celebrate the man's 49th birthday, I got together with some people—okay, a lot of people—and gave him the only gift anyone needs: love.

Click here to see what we did for this blue monkey's birthday.

Happy Birthday, Ted!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Inevitable End

I lie motionless, as I always do. The sludge beneath my aching body has almost come to grow around my would-be corpse. I lie here everyday. All day. I only move at night. The creatures passing by mistake me for one of the Hoed—the very reason I lie as I do. Sometimes I let out some mumblings just to make it sound believable.

I recently wrote a short fanfic for the novel I finished a week or so ago, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. If you have read the novel, check out the story here. If you have not, do not read my fanfic, but instead go and read that amazing masterpiece.

Until later,

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Defining Talent - Music

Noun: 1. Natural aptitude or skill.

That is the definition I got when I searched "what does talent mean" on Google. It's an accurate definition, and everyone has at least one talent. For me it's annoying the crap out of people by rambling on about things they don't care about. But really, no matter what talents people have, they all have at least one.

Talent is often associated with music and bands. If a band's song completely blows your mind away, that band has talent. Often it's the skill of the band members, often it's just how well the song is put together, and often it's the ingenuity of the lyrics.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

So Elantris was recommended to me by two of the most trustworthy people in the entire world—my brothers! (If you can't trust your brothers, who can you trust?) Brandon Sanderson is most well known for finishing the Wheel of Time series after the unfortunate death of the former author, Robert Jordan.
Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling. 
Arelon's new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god. 
But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself. 
A rare epic fantasy that doesn't recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It's also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.
The book starts out mildly interesting, every chapter alternating between each of the main characters—Raoden, Sarene and Hrathen. As the story progresses, however, Elantris turns into an epic tale of mystery, fantasy and magic. Locus magazine once said, "You'll swiftly forget you're reading a first novel . . . this is one heck of a debut!" I disagree about forgetting that it's a first novel, as sometimes it seems very apparent while reading, but I wholeheartedly agree about it being one heck of a debut!

Sanderson draws the readers in, introducing each character so that they make a mark in the readers' brains. At times it seems things could be worded a bit better—which are the signs of a debut novel to me—but as the book continues, your mind will be blown. Numerous times. At least half a dozen times in the book something happens that completely changes the direction the story is going. You thought you knew what was going on, and then everything suddenly changed in a way you couldn't conceive.

Elantris has truly shocked me by all of the culture and worldbuilding that Sanderson put into it. The magic system, the societies and countries, the people themselves, everything intrigued me. Something that made me laugh was the pronunciation guide that Sanderson has on his website—almost nothing is pronounced how I would assume! Truth be told, Sanderson's pronunciations do sound kind of cheesy, but also kind of cool. (You can check out the guide here.)

In conclusion, Elantris is an amazing novel of fantasy. The climax moved a little too quickly at the end and sterilized some of the emotion, but it was a worthy end nonetheless. The "plot twists" that fit everything together in the end are so simple, yet you never even begin to see them coming until they're revealed. I absolutely cannot wait until Sanderson writes his longtime-planned sequel. It may never be written, but I certainly hope it is.

Reuben Horst

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Heroines, Princes, and Mountain Dew

Does anyone want to tell me why, when I searched "Heroines, Princes, and Mountain Dew" on Google Images, a picture of Birdo showed up? That's just . . . messed up!

So, the title of this blog post is a play on words of the title of a certain interview I had a while ago with a guy named Daniel Remar. You might have heard of him. Then again, you might not have.

Anyway, though he was a few months late, Dan actually linked to the interview from his main site. I just thought that was really cool and was worth mention.

Okay, that's it. Goodbye. I'll see you all later. ^.^

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Announcement: As the World Bleeds by Theocracy

We've been waiting for three years... and it's almost here! The third album of the epic power metal band Theocracy has finally been announced with a release date of November 21, 2011 in North America. As the World Bleeds contains ten songs, and will be one of the best albums ever made. (You don't have to take my word for it if you don't want, but you definitely should!) Here is the tracklist:

1. I AM
2. The Master Storyteller
3. Nailed
4. Hide in the Fairytale
5. The Gift of Music
6. 30 Pieces of Silver
7. Drown
8. Alter to the Unknown God
9. Light of the World
10. As the World Bleeds

Theocracy is a Christian band, and is one of my all-time favorite bands. I would recommend them to anyone with a taste in metal. Saying I'm pumped for this album is a horrible understatement.

You can pre-order the album here or here, or read more about it here. Here is Theocracy's official website.

Reuben Horst

Monday, October 10, 2011

Frozen Snaps!

Yes, I know, it's a bad joke. But I couldn't resist!

I forgot to mention it initially, but at present the Humble Frozen Synapse Bundle is in affect, where you can pay whatever price you want to get three awesome independent games (Frozen Synapse, SpaceChem and Trauma). But if you pay above the average price, which is at present just below $5, then you can also get one of the past Humble Indie Bundles thrown in, meaning you get eight games (nearly $100 in value total) for as low as... less than any single one of the games. Very well worth it, in my opinion. Better get over there quickly, though, because it ends in 2 days! Click here for the website where you can purchase this bundle.

Until later,
Frozen Snaps, Ltd.
Reuben Horst

Saturday, October 8, 2011

False or True

Really funny thing happened this morning. My mom wanted me to drink some coffee (as I'd only done so once or twice before in my life), as she thought it might help me be able to focus more. Guess what? It didn't. It made me lousy all today. Made my limbs feel like not moving. Made me feel like the most bored person on earth.

I drank a bottle of Gatorade, and that surprisingly helped me revive a bit from the coffee, but the damage was already done. Now, with the day drawing towards its end, I'm just now finally getting over the coffee feeling completely. Now I know that coffee doesn't help me focus more. In fact, it does the opposite. It's pretty strange, though, because caffeine in soda only makes me relax and feel good, if it does anything. Coffee, however, can ruin how I'm feeling for an entire day.

Take note, self: Stay away from coffee!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Balloon Fight

Balloon Fight is a classic Nintendo arcade-style platformer game originally for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was later ported to Virtual Console, which is how I got my hands on it.

Balloon Fight is one of those games that there just isn't much to, but for that reason is extremely addicting. There is a single-player classic mode where you control the Balloon Fighter and try to defeat all of the birds on each level by hovering around and popping their balloons before they pop yours.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

20 Random Facts About Me - #1

So you think you know a lot about me, do you? Probably not, but here are 20 facts that you might or might not have known.

  1. One of my blogs was once mistaken to be written by somebody over 18.
  2. My life was changed over the course of August 12-13, 2011.
  3. Many of my reading tastes have come from my awesome brothers.
  4. My favorite band is Theocracy.
  5. I go to a private school.
  6. I am content with Windows XP.
  7. I infrequently wear glasses, but need to wear them to drive legally.
  8. I have terrible food allergies that threaten my survival as a writer.
  9. I own a Nintendo 3DS and have my friend code memorized.
  10. I am 26 days older than the Nintendo 64, which I first played when I was 2 years old.
  11. The first science fiction novel I ever started writing never got beyond ten words.
  12. My best friend is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do—a rank he first earned at age 12.
  13. I am a Follower of Christ.
  14. I am currently reading Elantris by Brandon Sanderson.
  15. I have met and talked to several of my all-time favorite authors.
  16. I have never had a girlfriend and, at this point in time, don't see the need for one.
  17. My favorite book is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.
  18. I have recently become addicted to Balloon Fight.
  19. I want to marry somebody shorter than me.
  20. I rarely wear red shirts, as I want to stay alive.

Until next time,
Reuben Horst

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

If you ask anyone I know, they'll tell you I hate classics. This is not entirely true, as I love many classics. Though, of course, most of the ones I care to read are written by J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis or Isaac Asimov. There's just something about classics. They're hard to read, often uninteresting, and sometimes just stupid.

I was assigned A Tale of Two Cities to read for school. It was the first novel I'd read by Charles Dickens, and it started out seeming like any other classic that I'd read (other than the good ones): utterly hard to read, full of sentence fragments, full of random punctuation, and an overall boring feel to it. Now that I look back, the beginning shouldn't have been boring; I'd just been too dead set against classics to see the ingenuity.

In the end, A Tale of Two Cities is a great read full of unique characters, a story you'll never forget, and the markings of an awesome author. I now know why a certain friend of mine has been trying very hard to get me to read Dickens' books. There are important happenings and subtle hints to future parts of the story hidden all along the journey of this wonderful piece of historical and French Revolution novel that once you finish you just want to start over!

The character development is inspiring, the hidden Easter eggs are ingenious, and the ending is beautiful. If you can get through the long, long beginning and middle of the book (which I'm sure will be much better the second read through), A Tale of Two Cities is be a great book to pick up. I highly recommend it.

Reuben Horst

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead

One piece of the Skin Map has been found. Now the race to unravel the future of the future turns deadly.

I reviewed The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead about a month and a half ago, and I said that I couldn't truly judge whether it was worth reading until I read the book that it leads up to—The Bone House.

First of all I would like to point out that this book is a direct sequel to The Skin Map. I highly recommend not reading this book out of order, as it starts exactly where the last let off. The first chapter could be considered the very next chapter, after the last chapter of The Skin Map.

First of all I'll point out what I disliked about the novel. It had numerous plot holes, though not as many as the last book. The characters are still quite less intelligent than you'd expect modern-day characters to be, though I'm thinking mostly of the main protagonist, Kit Livingstone. In addition, every other chapter seems to jump between perspectives, characters, and even times. The story could go straight from modern day to a hundred years ago without warning—without giving the readers any hint that it just did so. Overall, in other words, it's impossibly confusing.

But don't worry, the book isn't all about inconsistencies and confusing the reader to the point where they have no idea what's going on—or if what's going on even relates to the story in any way whatsoever. The book is jam-packed with all sorts of culture and it's overall... an intriguing book. It's very slow-paced, but makes you want to keep reading, though slowly. The fact that it draws you in but makes you want to read slowly at the same time was quite my downfall, and the reason why it took me so long to read.

If not for the intriguing nature of the book and the story that finally got good by the end of The Skin Map, I wouldn't like this book. But I because of these things I can say that I really enjoyed it and hate that I had to super-speed-read through the entire last half.

So back to the question I asked a month and a half ago: Would I recommend reading The Skin Map? Yes. Yes I would. The whole book feels like it's leading up to the story, and the story finally starts when it ends, but The Bone House is faithful and starts where it stopped. This series is turning out to be far better than I ever thought in the beginning.

The Bone House was publicly released on September 6, 2011.
This book was sent to me for free from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Reuben Horst

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Oh, and also...

A couple days ago I mentioned that I now have a Facebook page, but I forgot to mention the fact that I also now have an About page here on the blog. Check it out if you have time.

Reuben Horst

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Priest's Graveyard Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Heather Unrau for winning a signed copy of The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker! Thanks everyone else who entered as well. It was tempting to pick the winner manually, but I figured I would stick to my word and pick randomly. I used a program my friend made.

So where have I been? Well I'm sorry you missed it, but I had a birthday! I am now at 15 years of age. This has some upsides, such as I can now get my driver's permit, but it also has downsides, such as people won't be as shocked when they hear the age of the operator of this blog. Seriously, someone (David Hu, one of the administrators of Raptr) was surprised, after looking over one of my blogs, that I was under 18. I never even told him that at the time I was 14.

At present I have a very long list of books to read, so I'll hopefully review more soon. I am currently reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens for school, and I am reading The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead for pleasure. After that, I will be reading Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee, The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo and Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. There are about half a dozen other books I'll read afterward, but I don't have an order for when I'll read them.

In addition, Monday was Labor Day, so I have an excuse for not starting my new Monday weekly trend (song reviewing). Well, forget the fact that I did nothing abnormal on Monday.

So yes, that is an update on my life! What do you think? Should I have more giveaways in the future? If you think so, "Like" my new Facebook page and leave a comment on this post. Don't worry, I don't have that big of a fan following, so you'll have pretty good odds of winning future giveaways. :)

Reuben Horst
Age 15

Monday, August 22, 2011

Runaway by Brian K. Perry

I held the book in my hands. The front cover was an intriguing picture from inside a cave. Little did I know at the time why the author had chosen this image as the cover, or what the cave represented.

Runaway is Brian K. Perry's debut novel; a mixture between the genres of supernatural thriller, spiritual warfare and young adult. It's about a boy named Jay Williams, who was wrongfully arrested at a young age and sent to numerous group homes until he could be released at age 18. His latest group home was called the Carter County Home for Boys, but after just a couple days after unbearable treatment, Jay decided to runaway.

Evidence was found about the approximate time that Jay disappeared that pointed a serial killer being in the area. The FBI quickly suspected that Jay may have been kidnapped by this serial killer, and would soon turn up dead if they didn't act fast.

At the same time, an old, blind woman named Denise Kindred started having dreams where she can see, apparently sent to her by angels of God. These dreams told her all about the investigation and more, and before long she contacted the FBI to tell what she had seen.

Runaway is quite an original book. It's full of plenty of action and suspense. The characters are easy to bond with, and you often feel sad when things happen to them. The novel kept me up at night, and not only from me reading late. Some parts were certainly creepy.

It started out not being that well written. It was very interesting and I liked it, but frankly, I was disappointed with the writing quality. Thankfully, though, as the story progressed, the writing got a lot better, and by the end I absolutely loved the book. It was even left open for a sequel.

Runaway is full of great ideas and secrets, and even included some hidden Easter eggs for the readers to find. I generally have a grudge against "preachy" novels, as then less people want to read them, but some preachy books are just really good, and I would consider this to be one of them.

It could really use a proofread, and a partial rewrite is in development, but once the new version is out, I would recommend it to anyone who considers themselves a follower of Christ.

On a side note, I met the author, Brian K. Perry, at an event (the event of my life) in Nashville, TN about a week ago, and that is how this book came to be in my possession.

Reuben Horst

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Book Giveaway: The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker

Last night I got back from the event of my life: a writers' conference. Though, as New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker pointed out, it wasn't a conference, it was an experiment. Just like writing. I can truthfully say that it has changed my life, which I can't say for anything else I ever experienced.

While I was there I got to meet some of the coolest people in the entire world. There were only a hundred attendees, about a tenth of whom I knew already, and I made many new friends as well. When I got home, I was so excited that I decided to do what I've considered doing for a long while: hold a book giveaway on my blog.

Book Giveaway: The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker

How to enter:
-Follow my blog using your Google account to get +1 entry
-Post an appropriate comment on my review of The Priest's Graveyard to get +1 entry
-Share this giveaway on Facebook to get +1 entry
-Share this giveaway on Twitter to get +1 entry

Also, post a comment on this giveaway with evidence of your entries, along with your name and email so I have a way to contact you if you win. I promise I will not send any spam or other crap to your email. I'm not that much of a moron.

The giveaway will end on September 3, 2011, and soon after one winner will be chosen at random, though your amount of entries will have influence, to receive a signed copy of The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker.

So now, go and enter!

Reuben Horst

Friday, August 5, 2011

Is the background flashing?

Try to figure it out. Is my blog background flashing or not? The eyes can play terrible tricks, so what do you think? Flashing or not?

Reuben Horst

Update: I viewed my blog on the computer that my brother uses, and it doesn't look like it's flashing. If it doesn't, then just change your resolution or something, heheh.

Update Again: I viewed my blog on multiple other computers, and it seems to only flash on mine. What a complete disappointment.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


"Nicely written. It was simple and it worked well. There was a lot of emotion, which felt natural and understandable."
-The Engineer, via Budding Writers


This is a short story I wrote several months ago in honor of my grandfather. Someone once told me that while my grandpa enjoys my writing—he's a frequent reader of my blog—he doesn't always like the "violence" that is in my stories. I was a little surprised by this, as I didn't really consider my stories to be "violent", but I understood what they meant and started trying to think of a story I could write that wouldn't have any fighting or guns or... well... anything that could be violent.

The result was Memory. Though the word is not, I don't believe, in the short story, it is a fitting title. And besides, I couldn't think of a better one. There's a line in the story that you may be confused about (I won't say which one I'm referring to, in case you don't notice it), but it was intentional, not a mistake.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead

Kit Livingston's great-grandfather appears in a deserted alley during a tumultuous storm. He reveals an unbelievable story: ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legend or the weekend hobby of deluded cranks—they're pathways to other worlds. To those who know how to use them, ley lines grant the ability to travel the multi-layered universe of which we ordinarily inhabit only a tiny part.

Well, I should've known this would be a unique book as soon as I saw that the description used the term, "the stuff of legend." There is no way anyone in their right mind would use a term like that in their book description. Okay, maybe they would, because they would need to be in their right mind if they were to write a book as... interesting as The Skin Map was.

The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead is the story of three people. Or should I say, it is three stories, each with their own character, and only connected in subtle ways. One story follows Kit Livingstone, a very confused man who is not in his own world. The second story follows Wilhelmina Klug, a very confused woman who is not in her own world. Kit and Mina were very close at one time, but then were separated into different worlds and lost. The third story follows Arthur Flinders-Petrie, the man who created the legendary "skin map", and who also died a long time ago.

The Skin Map isn't a bad book, it's just filled to the rim with plot holes. It's obviously a British novel, as a lot of it takes place in London, and it has British spelling rather than American. It is one of those books that starts each chapter name with, "In which...," which is very annoying, in my opinion. Not only is it not necessary, but it sometimes gives away spoilers.

The book was long and, to tell the truth, boring at many parts. Through the entirety it felt as if the whole, long book was only leading up to where the story actually began. This was confirmed, as it seemed like the story just finally began in the last few chapters. Too bad for me, I need to wait until the second book comes out (The Bone House, coming in September) to see what the story actually turns into.

In short, the book was long, boring, and hard to get through. It was filled with plot holes, but every once in a while there were some really cool parts. The very end was good, but that was because the entire rest of the book simply led up to it. Three storylines, later turning into four, all started merging at the end... but then, you know, the book ended. It wasn't all that well written, either.

Would I recommend this book? Well, I can't tell you that until I've read the sequel. The Skin Map leads up to it in a way that I doubt someone who started the series with the second book would understand. So if The Bone House is good, then yes, I would recommend The Skin Map.

The Skin Map was publicly released on September 1, 2010, but was re-released for paperback on May 31, 2011.
This book was sent to me for free from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

For any of my readers who are Facebook friends with me, I wrote a document talking about some of the major plot holes in The Skin Map. If I knew how to change the settings so that everyone, not only Facebook friends, could read it, I would. The document can be found here.

Reuben Horst

Friday, July 29, 2011

Jett Rocket

I don't have many WiiWare games, but the first time I saw a trailer for Jett Rocket, I knew I had to get it. It's a cartoony 3D platformer from Shin'en, a game development company that is fast becoming one of my favorites.

The title character is a planetary defender, and he is asked by a... dolphin or something to save the planet Yoroppa from some sort of weird machines. Sound like an average cartoony 3D platformer to you? Well duh, it is! And that's what makes it so awesome! Well, there are other reasons as well.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nick of Time by Tim Downs

Never before have I ever been so ashamed to read a book. Yes, Nick of Time was a great book with unforgettable characters, but it's also smack in the middle of a series. I read it because I signed up to read it on a website, but now I wish I'd read the entire rest of the series first.

Nick Polchak is a forensic entomologist, which means he knows bugs better than pretty much anyone else on the planet. He has quite the messed up personality, too, so that's why everyone was shocked when he announced he was getting married.

Alena Savard is a dog trainer, but unlike any you've seen before. She's lived alone for most of her life, and there's no better partner for Nick. Yep, that's right, the Bug Man and the Dog Woman are getting married. There's only one problem: it's the week of the wedding, but Nick is nowhere to be found.

Nick went to a monthly convention—this much Alena knew—but it turns out a friend of his was recently murdered, so he set out to find his own answers—even though it was his wedding week and he had no way to contact his fiancĂ©e—and he eventually starts uncovering what could be a much more sinister plot.

Nick of Time is a great book. At times it had me shivering, at others it had me laughing. One of the plot twists you can't see coming, and when it's finally revealed, chances are you'll burst out laughing (if you're not the type to laugh out loud, then you'll at least chuckle in your head).

The characters were well-created, each with their own personality (it sounds like something that should always happen—and you're right—but some authors are just bad at doing it). The story was cool, and you could feel many of the emotions of the characters. Tim Downs is a great novelist, but I just wish I'd read the books in order.

Nick of Time was publicly released on May 17, 2011.
This book was sent to me for free from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Reuben Horst

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Blood Book

The Blood Book: Tales, Confessions and Rumors of the Worlds is a compilation of writings from various authors in Ted Dekker's fantasy universe in his mega-series, The Books of History Chronicles. This in-the-far-future world is mainly known as Other Earth, and the writings were compiled in-universe by Ba'al, the High Priest of Teeleh (Other Earth's version of Satan).

This book was a collaboration effort of Ted Dekker, Kevin Kaiser and Josh Olds. All three are followers of Christ and strong in their faith, though strongly oppose modern American Christianity. The writings of Thomas Hunter in this novel strongly suggests this, and many of Ted Dekker's other books plainly state it as well.

The Blood Book overall is amazing, though most entries are made by people who would fit only in the category of "evil". It contains writings from many characters, including Mustul, a warrior; Gushon, an alchemist; Thomas Hunter, a very great and wise man; Marsuuv, the queen of a bat-like race of creatures; and Lord Ba'al himself.

Many entries are about philosophy, while others are about the creatures and places of Other Earth and our modern-day world, called Ancient Earth. Though I know for a fact that the actual authors did not believe in the beliefs of their characters, Mustul, Gruson, Ba'al and Marsuuv all have twisted and evil points of views.

The Blood Book continues to expand the world of Other Earth, a bit like Cars 2 did to the cars world that it takes place in. I found it fascinating, and I also happen to be one of only about a thousand people who own it.

A great book and great idea, though possibly bad influence if taken the wrong way. I thought it was awesome, but I was taught well in my faith. You need to read many other books in the mega-series (I'd recommend reading all of them) before reading The Blood Book.

Reuben Horst