iPoll Fills Your Bookshelf: Must-Read Fantasy Novels

According to box office figures, fantasy films are big business. Consider the top five fantasy films and what they made:

•    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: $381,011,219
•    Lord of the Rings: Return of the King: $377,845,905
•    Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: $342,551,365
•    Alice in Wonderland: $334,191,110
•    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: $317,575,550

The rest of the top ten is filled in with more Harry Potty and Tolkien. Add it all up, and you’re talking several billions. What is fascinating is that the vast majority of fantasy films and television series started out as novels. Are you up on your fantasy must-reads? Let’s stipulate that you should have already read the Game Of Thrones, Harry Potter, and Lord Of The Rings series. Of those, Game Of Thrones is still considered “active,” which is good news for the fans. If you’re looking to add to your epic fantasy book series, might we suggest the following tomes:


Harry Potter Set

Where a master wizard goes to read. Image Source: Flickr user Karen Roe

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Written by Rick B.

April 4th, 2014 at 10:00 pm

iPoll Presents the Hidden Gems of Fantasy Films & TV

Don’t you just hate missing out on things? I’m not talking about the great birthday cake from the last office party, but rather those cool movies and television shows that everybody can’t stop talking about. Exhibit A: Game of Thrones. Before this show landed on HBO, there was already a devoted following of readers who lapped up every word inscribed by George R.R. Martin. They knew what was coming, and couldn’t wait to see how the show depicted memorable events. However, there were far more viewers of GOT who hadn’t read the books (present company included) and had no idea what to expect. What we got was fantasy storytelling at its finest. As movie and television shows go, fantasy and sci-fi are often lumped together. There are elements of sweeping narrative and far off worlds/realms that apply to both. For the sake of this discussion, we’ll distinguish fantasy as anything without robots or spaceships. If your love of Game of Thrones has you yearning for other fantasy gems, consider these fantasy films and television shows you may never have heard of.


Troll Under a Bridge

This is the exact type of troll that needs to be hunted. Image Source: Flickr user Antonio Campoy

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Written by Rick B.

April 3rd, 2014 at 11:24 pm

iPoll Takes You to Make-Believe Kingdoms: The Best Fantasy RPG Games

Do you know your MMORPG from your straight up RPG? A massively multiplayer online role-playing game lets you plug into a fantasy and go on a quest with players from around the world. A role-playing game lets you have the same kind of fun, but it’s just you and the fantasy realm. Either way, fantasy-themed games have been a big player in video game development. Of course, all fantasy video games owe a debt of acknowledgement and gratitude to the game that started it all: Dungeons & Dragons.

Long before there were home gaming consoles, there was D&D. The original version of this game was sold in 1974. The game is as simple as it is complex. Each player takes on the role of a character in the vast Dungeons & Dragons universe. A Dungeon Master is the referee/storyteller who, along with a roll of the dice, decides the fate of the characters. You need to bring your wits and imagination, as opposed to hand-to-eye coordination, to win at D&D. Although still popular, D&D is out-shined by the sophisticated content available for today’s gamer. Here are some of the best fantasy video games ever brought to market:

WOW Action Figures

Play the game. Own the figures. Image Source: Flickr user: Charlie Schneider

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Written by Rick B.

April 2nd, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Return to Westeros: iPoll Looks at What’s Ahead for Game of Thrones

Back when the Game Of Thrones series was first published, author George R.R. Martin was approached by Hollywood producer types to turn the books into a movie franchise. Mr. Martin politely declined their offer, knowing that his stories we’re too big to be crammed into a 2-hour feature. Boy, was he spot on with that decision! So far, we have 30 hours of GOT for our viewing pleasure, and there is no end in sight for the palace intrigue, backstabbing, surprises, dragons, and white walkers. The wait for the next ten hours is over, with Game Of Thrones returning to HBO this Sunday for season four. To get you ready, here’s what you can expect from the clans of Westeros. (WARNING: There be spoilers ahead. If you haven’t binge watched season three yet, then bookmark this post until later. That’s an order!)


Game of Thrones Transport

One way ticket to Westeros. Image Source: Flickr user Pop Culture Geek

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Written by Rick B.

April 1st, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Mobile Army Monday: Rise to the Power of iPoll

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some had greatness thrust upon them.” Old Will Shakespeare used this phrase in his comedy Twelfth Night. What many folks leave out is the opening to that famous quote: “Be not afraid of greatness.” Could the Bard of Avalon have had a premonition about the reign of kings? I’m not talking about British royalty, but the royalty of Westeros, the realm of Game of Thrones. Yes, the epic HBO miniseries returns for another season and I’m still getting over the Red Wedding. Fear not, friends. I shall attend to see who might rise to sit upon the throne this go round. Unlike some others, I haven’t read the bestselling books, so I have no idea what is coming. I like it that way. I run from spoiler alerts as if they were dragon fire. Of course, I do own the novels. I b ought them with my iPoll rewards a few months ago. I’ll wait until the series is over, however, before cracking them open. One thing I won’t wait for is another round of iPoll Mobile Missions. These are where the real power lies, if you think of adding money to your wallet as power!

Metal Dragon

There be dragons here. Image Source: Flickr user Dagny Moi

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Written by Rick B.

March 31st, 2014 at 11:56 pm

Hollywood Score Card: At The Movies

With the Academy Awards behind us, iPoll users were asked to take a look at the film industry and tell us what they thought of trends in movies. What makes a good movie? What are they sick of seeing? Find out what a little over 400 iPoll users thought!

Written by Tady

March 31st, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Women CEOs to Watch

There is a cliché image of Fortune 500 company boardrooms being populated by old men smoking cigars. Many movies portray these corporate types as the quintessential villain (Old Man Potter, anyone?). Don’t become disillusioned by these stereotypes. Today, you’ll find many thriving and successful companies that have women at the helm. Does this mean they’ve broken through the proverbial “glass ceiling?” Perhaps, but it could simply mean these women were the most qualified for the job.

Mary Barra: GM

For the first time in auto manufacturing history, a woman is running the show at GM. This was definitely a well-deserved promotion from within. Ms. Barra has spent most of her professional career within GM working on supply chain logistics, engineering, design, and program management. If you’re going to hire a CEO, it should be someone who knows the company inside and out.

Big Auto

This great auto empire is now overseen by a female. Image Source: Flickr user Andrea

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Game-Changing Inventions: iPoll’s Patent Review of Amazing Female Inventors

Have you ever had a “light bulb moment“ ? That’s when you get such a brilliant idea that a figurative light goes on in your mind. Imagine, the struggling inventors who were dreaming up things before the light bulb. Did they have a “candle moment”? A “torch moment”? Almost every single thing we use was invented by somebody else. If that person was smart enough, they got a patent to protect their work from infringement. When you typically ask for examples of famous inventors, the big three usually are named: Edison, Bell, and Ford. They were three powerhouse inventors to be sure, but we’d be prudent to add some women to that list. It might just surprise you want these industrious inventors came up with.

The Windshield Wiper

Most inventions are born out of necessity, and the windshield wiper is no different. It was during a road trip from Alabama to NYC that Mary Anderson came up with the idea. She watched countless motorists pull over to wipe snow off their windshields and she decided there must be a better way to tackle this problem. Mary was given her windshield wiper patent in 1905. Next time it rains and you flip on those wipers, remember to say, “Thanks, Mary.”

Rainy Drive

Simple invention that everyone uses sooner or later. Image Source: Flickr user Basheer Tome

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Written by Rick B.

March 27th, 2014 at 11:16 pm

iPoll at the Library: Influential Women Writers

How many books on your “must read list” were written by women? Although it is true that men have dominated the literary world in terms of output, that’s not to say that women writers haven’t changed the course of literature. They certainly have made an impact, and in some pretty amazing ways. Instead of pontificating in general terms (as I am wont to do), let’s get right to the literary powerhouse list. These are the women we should all be reading.

J.K. Rowling

It’s a safe bet to assume J.K. Rowling will go down as the most successful woman’s writer of all time. Her Harry Potter books have sold over 450 million copies worldwide. To many parents, she is credited with opening the world of reading for their children. After all, once you have a taste for reading, you’re never going to stop. Rowling’s career is all the more impressive when you consider her humble beginnings as a single mom who wrote her first Harry Potter novel during breaks at a coffee shop, with a baby in a pram by her side.

Waiting For Harry Potter

Kids in a bookstore. Priceless. Image Source: Shad Bolling

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Written by Rick B.

March 26th, 2014 at 10:48 pm

iPoll Presents: Women Who Made a Difference in History

March is officially Women’s History Month. This focus on women’s contribution to our world started out as a “week” back in 1982. Clearly, there is too much to celebrate in just a single week. That’s why, since 1995, the entire month of March has been dedicated to women, as it should. The official dedication goes like this: “The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.” So, let’s take a moment to consider how our world was shaped by some of these notable women:

Lady With The Lamp

A lasting tribute to the world's most famous nurse. Image Source: Flickr user Eamon Curry

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Written by Rick B.

March 25th, 2014 at 5:00 am