Saturday, July 4, 2015

[Book Review] The Do It List

The Do It List / Jillian Stone

Gracie Taylor-Scott is a blistering talent in the advertising field, throwing her life into her work and helping raise her young niece while her widowed brother-in-law works late shifts in the emergency room.  It doesn't leave much time for a personal life or dating, but that works just fine for her, a nice shield between her, intimacy, and emotional scars.

Then she ends up trapped in an elevator with the gorgeous company transfer Bradley Craig during a power-outage on their way to an after-hours work party.  Trapping in a dark box raises some fears and opens some chinks in her personal armor, and some serious sparks fly.

What started out as a fear-fueled fondle opens the door to satisfying their own "do it" lists, erotic encounters with no strings attached.  But is it just chemistry between them, or something more?  And can they find the right balance to stay on top of their professional game while dealing with their emotional pasts?

The Do It List is a contemporary romance that gets all sorts of hot and heavy, with some intense emotional honesty.

In some ways I'm definitely the wrong audience for this book.  There's so much attention paid to high end and expensive fashion that literally means nothing to me.  The amount of cash the characters drop on clothing and accessories is literally mind-boggling to me.  I suppose historical romance often has equivalent amounts spent - but not in such familiar or identifiable amounts of currency.  They're not so rich that expense is no objection, but they definitely pull in a salary that's beyond my conception.

Bradley is made up to really be an ideal guy.  Potential family man, good with kids, protective, adoring, and finds Gracie sexy no matter what or when.  He's adventurous, patient, understanding, focused on her pleasure, and ever ready.  He even volunteers to buy tampons for her.  There's a period sex scene that you'll either love for Bradley's unlimited affection and attraction to Gracie, or be squicked out by period cunnilingus.

The Do It List also deals with college/fraternity rape with surprisingly, and depressing, frankness.  The encounter is something in the past, and relayed through a retelling memory, rather than as a violent present.  The emotional trauma and scarring is realistic, as is the sheltering that often happens when the assaults are perpetuated by the wealthy or happen within the grounds of a campus or organization.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Netgalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Link Smorgasbord, June 2015

Long Before Snowden, Librarians Were Anti-Surveillance Heroes
On the privacy efforts by librarians over the past decade.

The quest to save today’s gaming history from being lost forever
Digital preservation is a huge challenge, bit loss, planning for accessibility, and for format and technology obsolescence.  On top of that copyright law actively interferes with independent efforts to copy and preserve.  Video games that often have patches and expansions that result in profound changes to the game itself.  Add in the different platforms, add-ons, social aspects, and even the different modes of play (including private servers for MMOs), its a bit of a tangle.

Recently Discovered Original Script For STAR WARS Finally Confirms Who Shot First
Librarians for Han Shot First.

“Let's talk about genre”: Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro in conversation 
"The two literary heavyweights talk about the politics of storytelling, the art of the swordfight and why dragons are good for the economy."

‘Putting Readers First’ At BEA: Gatekeepers, Curators, And ‘Too Many Books’ 
BookExpo America is an event I absolutely love attending, it's also grown from just an industry event to an event for the public and readers with BookCon.  

History of LGBT Characters at DC

Why Science Fiction Is a Fabulous Tool in the Fight for Social Justice 
The socio-political commentary/exploration of Science Fiction is one of the things that I've always loved about the genre.  In particular this article discusses Octavia Butler.

What Google’s Algorithm Change Means for Library Websites
Not just for library websites, but for research in general.

College Student Wants Four Graphic Novels “Eradicated from the System”
What makes me saddest about this is the statement that she wants the four graphic novels "eradicated from the system."  I'm familiar with the graphic novels mentioned, and I can't help be puzzled at the accusations of "pornography."  More to the point, I can think of many staples of literary education that are far more explicit that any English major can expect to encounter, let alone numerous Young Adult romance novels that are more explicit.

50 thought-provoking quotes about libraries and librarians
A pretty good collection, including many of the more well known quotes about libraries.

An app I'm definitely considering playing with, just haven't yet.  I'm a little concerned that it seems to be focused on items owned, because of how many books I read that I don't own.

I Read The New “Fifty Shades” Book, And It Is Absolutely Batshit
This book was already on my "do not want to read" list, but at the same time, I'm really glad someone else has read it and has shared the torment with us all.  I highly look forwards to more lambasting as others take on the task of sharing their read throughs.  I know this book will be in high demand in the libraries, because a lot of people really do like Fifty Shades, and that ultimately means I will likely need to read this just because of the sheer number of reader's advisory queries I will get.

University of Iowa Receives 18,000 Volume Science Fiction Library
Not going to lie, working for a Science Fiction Library/Special Collection would be a dream job for me.

Pratchett’s Daughter Says No More Discworld Books and That’s OK
I love Discworld, but I am glad that someone else won't try to add to them.  Even his last books which he effectively had a co-author I felt suffered from the change of voice.

Piktochart Design Series: With These 8 Articles You Can Now Design Like a Pro
On the art of infographic creation.

The 2015 open source summer reading list
Some great books (not all of them computer science either!), and a give-away.

Adding The Sandman to Your Library or Classroom Collection
Resources for defending the collection choice of this excellent and highly challenged graphic novel (one of my favorites, and what got me into comics in the first place).

Hiring: The First Librarian of Congress for the Internet Age
On the impending new Librarian of Congress.

2015 Locus Awards Winners
Well, hello expanding reading list.  Every book that I have read that is on this list was excellent, and I'm really happy to see one of my favorite publishers (Angry Robot) represented.

The weird worlds of African sci-fi
More reading to seek out.

The Essential Cyberpunk Reading List
Excellent collection.

Genre Wars, Amazon, and the Market for Heart: Where Do We Go From Here?
Worth a read.

Friday, June 26, 2015

SCOTUS passes same-sex marriage 5-4

"The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. Same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

[Book Review] How to Marry a Royal Highlander

How to Marry a Royal Highlander (Renegade Royals) / Vanessa Kelly

Eden Whitney was found in an embrace with a known rake, and well, somethings just aren't done.  Had her mother and the biggest gossip in the ton hadn't come around the corner just then maybe things could have been smoothed over.  But gossip, and tempers, have a way of getting out of hand, and sometimes you just need to hide away until society latches on to another scandal.  "Rusticating" in the Scottish wilderness sounds less than thrilling, but throw in the exasperating and irrepressible Alasdair Gilbride, and Eden fears for her sanity.  They're not completely removed from scandal and society though, with Alasdair returning home to face an engagement he's avoided for over a decade, and one he still hopes to escape from.

A cute, light read with the expected ridiculousness of society and family drama of a highlands/historical romance.  The official blurb describes Eden's feelings towards Alasdair as "the man is so exasperating she'd likely kill him before they reach the border," but I can't say I ever witnessed anything even close to that level of frustration and annoyance.  I think some of their previous antagonism must be looked for in the earlier books in the series, as Eden and Alasdair definitely find each other attractive (if a bit trying).  Fun read, if some slightly crazed family, there's a good chance I will seek the earlier books in the series.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Netgalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

[Book Review] Fool's Quest

Fool's Quest (Book II of the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy) / Robin Hobb (Powell's Books)

Previously Reviewed:
Fool's Assassin (Realm of the Elderlings: Fitz and the Fool Trilogy) (Powell's Books)

At the end of Fool's Assassin, Fitz's life has been again thrown into upheaval.  The life he's pulled together in the wake of Molly's passing and raising their small, strange child.  The sudden reappearance of the Fool, near death and mistaken for a beggar, takes Fitz away from his home and his family in an effort to save his friend.  Unbeknownst to Fitz, strangers have come in his absence, raided his home and stolen away his young daughter.

Back in Buckkeep, Fitz is pulled back into his old life, of intrigue, intelligence, and Skill.  Little does he know the journey his life is about to take, of the threats to his daughter, and the ways his life will never be the same.

I don't know where to start with this review, I'm just so angry with this book.  How could she have ended it like that?  Not with just one cliffhanger, but two, and they're both huge.  I think now I understand the rage and frustration often felt by fans of the Game of Thrones TV show.  These are Carnivale season finale type cliffhangers.

Once I started reading Fool's Quest, I didn't want to put it down.  Fitz of Fool's Assassin fully embraced his role as an aging holder and father.  The Fitz of Assassin's Quest is uneasy, driven, and deadly.  In many ways this book is about Fitz rediscovering himself, and about the relationship between Fitz and Fool.  Fitz, Fool, and little Bee have been pulled into the plots of a faction trying to steer the fate of the world.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Netgalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


For Christmas my other half gave me the gift of beer.  More specifically, the gift of supplies to make a beer I'd been dying to try but that sold out pretty much as soon as it hit the shelf.


One part über boozy, three parts über geek, this one-of-a-kind imperial stout from masterminds Wil Wheaton, Greg Koch (Stone Brewing) and Drew Curtis (founder, has been likened to drinking the booze-soaked contents of an old-fashioned candy store. Deep and complex, w00tstout pours pitch black with a clingy cappuccino head erupting in an oaky, nutty bouquet of caramel and vanilla, roasty dark malt and a hint of bourbon.
I don't know about you, but that sounds amazing to me.

Downside to all of this is that my kitchen is an exceptional mess due to going through boxes of my mom's stuff.  Also, working four part-time/temp jobs plays havoc on my interest and ability to clean house.  January was a pretty crazy month.

But, we did happen to have one hell of a snow day on February 2nd (actually, it was the first many snowdays that month).  Not only that, but when I went out to shovel one of the other tenants said they were about to snow-blow everything!  So with minor shoveling (still had to take care of the porch and around my car) finished up, and a little more time spent containing the disaster zone of my kitchen, it was brewing time.

Brewing itself isn't horribly complicated.  At the most basic it's not much different from making tea with a few additional steps.  Boil water, add sack(s) of ingredients, let steep, cool, add yeast, ignore for a few weeks or more.  Due to time, space, and equipment I'm using extract kits, not full grain, so that simplifies things.

The massive amount of snow was also great since once the boil's finished the next step is to cool several gallons of liquid as fast as possible.  Yes, snow also has insulating properties, but it's still cold, I can keep moving snow in around the pot as it melts, and it's less wasteful than a cold water bath with constantly running water.

This wort had a lot of sugars in it, so I definitely worried about explosive fermentation.  I am happy to now report that there were no tragic brew explosions in my closet.

This is not a beer for the impatient.  One month in the primary fermenter, two months in the secondary fermenter, and then a month to condition.

We got a preview of what's to come during bottling, sampling some of the flat beer.  And man, we could taste the bad news bears in this beer.  It clocked in at around 11% ABV... and then we added more sugar for carbonation. This bad boy is dark, complex, and dangerous.

So after all that waiting I finally get to try my creation.

Holy crap.  This beer.  I'm pretty sure that it's over the target 13% ABV now, but the bad news bears have gone stealthly.  The first bottle opened had a surprising amount of sediment, but that that may be due to it being one of the last bottles filled.  The flavor, however, is out of this world.  The harshness of the bourbon smoothed out into a highlight in this dark, smooth, malty flavor.  This is a sipping beer, you want to savor it and enjoy the aroma.  Drinking faster than that will hit you like a truck.  Actually drinking a pint slowly hits me like a truck.  A fantastic sharing beer, splitting the pint with friends.  Definitely a beer worth waiting for.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

[Book Review] Stormbringer

Stormbringer : Book Two of the Wyrd / Alis Franklin

Previously Reviewed: Liesmith : Book One of the Wyrd

Ragnarok has come and gone, and both the world and the gods are still around.  After the defeat of Baldur, Lain, who is perhaps both Loki and Baldur, must return with Odin's spear to Asgard.  Odin, Thor, and many of the others are dead and gone, the god's children seek to claim the former power of Asgard's glory, Hel was slain in combat and seeks to claim her place among the honored dead, and the Wyrd twists lives, pulling gods and mortals alike.

Sigmund is both a young man, a low-level IT tech, and the avatar of a Norse goddess who was the wife of Loki.  Em and Wayne are the reincarnations of the Valkyries slain in battle.  Still coming to terms with what they are, and what that means, they all must reclaim roles to prevent a second Ragnarok.

Stormbringer is a story of relationships, between friends, lovers, family, and enemies.  A story of duty, secrets, vengeance, devotion, and fate.  It pulls widely on Norse lore and creates a post-Ragnarok future, one where old slights are remembered, and change doesn't come easily.

An engaging read, suitable for YA audiences for those that enjoy mythology and complex relationships.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Netgalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.