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Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : X. Of the Sindar

We change gears for a bit, looking at the Sindar, those that started the "Great Journey," but who stayed in Beleriand instead of crossing the ocean.  After all, there's more than just Valinor.

I have to assume if you're reading The Silmarillion  you're at least vaguely familiar with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.  But if you aren't, I hope that the fact that Tolkien makes specific mention of the birth of Lúthien stands out.  Spoiler, she's kind of a big deal, and not just because she's the daughter of the Maiar Melian and the Elven King Thingol.

The focus here is of the meeting of the Dwarves and the Elves, and what came of that meeting.  The
Elves experienced a bit of a shock on learning they were not the only creatures who spoke and crafted (Valar and Maiar excluded, of course).  The dirty secret being, of course, that the Dwarves predate the Elves, and were just in forced hibernation for awhile.  The Dwarves keep their secrets though, and le…

[Book Review] A Scandal in Battersea

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A Scandal in Battersea (Elemental Masters) / Mercedes Lackey

The Christmas season has come to London, along with a new moon, and there are things that take advantage of the dark of night (reviewer aside - why Christmas Eve and not Solstice?).  Among all the gifts and cheer, a Book finds its way into the hands of a resentful young man who desires power.  What starts as a sacrifice and invocation, soon proves dark and alien, to a dangerous end.

So.  Mercedes Lackey has written a story with Lovecraftian flavor.  This has resulted in probably the coziest "C'thulhu Mythos" story I have ever encountered.  Note: there is no direct reference in name or language to the Mythos, but the traits are heavily present throughout.  It also gives us more of her vision of Sherlock Holmes & Co, as introduced in A Study in Sable, and stars the ever steady Nan, Sarah, and their birds.  If you want more Nan and Sarah, or just want cozy Mythos story, give it a try.  If the idea of a cozy Lo…

Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : IX. Of the Flight of the Noldor

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The Trees are dead, their light existing now only in the Silmarils wrought by Fëanor.  So, of course, they ask Fëanor to release the light within his Masterwork so that Yavanna might heal the Trees.  Of all the Valar, only Aulë the Maker understood exactly how much they asked of Fëanor, the destruction of his life's work and a piece of himself, and being asked by beings of greater power and authority so that a request weighs as heavy as an obligation.  During this debate of action, Melkor slips into the home of Fëanor, killing his father and Silmarils.  In his anger and grief Fëanor curses Melkor, naming him Morgoth, and holding Manwë in part responsible for keeping him away from his father and his home in a time of need.  In this grief he claims the kingship of the Noldor and calls on his people to leave "the kin of my father's slayer and of the thief of my treasure."  And in this he calls for freedom from the Valar, speaks of what the Noldor lost by coming to this …

October Read: Viscera

Sometimes I put a book on my book club list because I desperately want to read it but other books keep getting in the way.  Yes, this is a problem in my life.

I discovered Gabriel Squallia when we were co-panelists for Lovecraftian Intimacy: Body Horror & Mind Melds at Arisia 2016.  Long story short, I found Squallia inventive and fascinating, descriptions which I would both apply to their first novel, Dead BoysViscera promises fantasy, horror, comedy, wit, and wonders.  Sounds like a good October read to me.

Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : VIII. Of the Darkening of Valinor

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For a time Melkor avoids those hunting him, still empowered with the ability to change shape or pass unseen.  Meanwhile, Ungoliant, a creature of whom her origins are wondered at by even the Eldar, made her home within Avathar, taking on the form of a giant spider, and consuming any Light that fell within her grasp and spinning it out into shadowy webs.  Ungoliant is the progenitor of the Spiders we meet throughout The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Shelob and her ilk, dark creatures in spider form that are burned by blessed Light.  Melkor seeks her out, taking on his guise of a Dark Lord he bore in Utumno, a form in which he remains, and strikes a deal.  "Do as I bid; and if thou hunger still when all is done, then I will give thee whatsoever thy lust may demand."

Under a cloak of darkness woven by Ungoliant, Melkor strikes at Valinor in the midst of a celebration of thanks giving and forgiveness.  Fëanor comes in simple presentation, and reconciles with Fingolfin before…

[Book Review] Sweet Revenge

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Sweet Revenge: Passive-Aggressive Desserts for Your Exes & Enemies / Heather Kim

Sometimes I'll pick a book up just for it's title or it's cover.  If it's a cookbook we're talking about with the promise of gratuitous puns, well, I'm pretty sold.

The book delivers on promised tone and puns both, fun, snarky, and well explained.  The recipes veer into the unexpected, with the inclusion of various snack foods such as Doritos and Hot Cheetos as part of the flavor, texture, or highlight of sweet treats.  But even if you're conservative when it comes to flavor combinations, there's plenty for you here, and a number of recipes you can make a more traditional version of by simply sidestepping the inclusion of the salty munchie in question.

A fun addition to your cookbook collection, and if you're in a library one I think that will definitely circulate on amusement value alone.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Capstone via Netgalley; differences may …

Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : VII. Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor

During this time Fëanor creates his Masterwork, the Silmarils, in which he captures the light of the Trees.  Varda imbued the rings "so that thereafter no mortal flesh, nor hands unclean, nor anything of evil might touch them," (which leaves me wondering how the Silmarils and the quasi-mortal half-Elves would interact) and Mandows foretold that the very fates of Middle Earth lay within them.
I'm going to assume no one here is surprised that Melkor wants them for himself?  I actually find Melkor's desire and frustration regarding the Silmarils backing for his claims about teaching Fëanor being little more than lies.  He could make many great and terrible things, but these lay beyond his power.  That being said, there's nothing to say how much knowledge from Melkor made its way indirectly to Fëanor.  What cannot be denied, however, is how skilled and insidious were Melkor's lies.  He spoke to them of favoritism, of ambition, and glory.  And, it cannot be denied…