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Showing posts from November, 2014

[Book Review] Spellwright

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Spellwright / Blake Chalton (Powell's Books)

Nicodemus Weal was once thought to be the prophesied Halycon, a powerful spellwright essential to mankind in the apocalypse known as the Disjunction.  But while Nicodemus can read and power magical text, his touch disorders runes and his his prose is inevitably misspelled.  Considered crippled, but still literate, he lives among wizards as still an apprentice.  Then a wizard is murdered with a powerful misspell, inflating the fear and distrust of cacographers such as Nicodemus, and his life is caught up in the machinations of factions wanting Nicodemus as their prophesied tool.


One thing I absolutely love about Spellwright is the concept of how dyslexia would affect a magic user.  Charlton executes this idea fantastically, along with some very clever wordplay.  This is the first book in a trilogy, and reads as such.  It tells a full story arc, and introduces us to the world, setting, and characters, but you can tell that there is more st…

[Book Review] Witch Lights

Witch Lights / Michael M. Hughes

In the fallout of the Blackwater incident, Ellen and her son, William, are presumed dead, with Ray as the prime suspect for their deaths in addition to the fallen cultists.  In return for their help in the Blackwater incident, and in hope of harnessing Ray's abilities for themselves, the Brotherhood is helping shelter the trio in South America.  They have more to fear than just discovery and extradition to the United States.  Lily, with her financial and occult power, is on the hunt.

But there are other players in this game.  Mantu, their protector since Blackwater, has grown uneasy with the changes in the Brotherhood's leaders.  And Ellen attracts the eye of a very powerful drug lord who offers protection from Lily, but is less than human or benign himself.


Witch Lights follows on the heels of Blackwater Lights, and suffers from the all too common middle book slump.  There is threat, tension, danger, and secrets, but the entire book failed to d…

[Book Review] Blackwater Lights

Blackwater Lights / Michael M. Hughes

Ray Simon has no interest in returning to Blackwater, West Virginia, a small town connected to a part of his childhood that people say doesn't exist, and that he'd rather not remember.  But when a desperate call from a friend and fellow survivor brings Ray back to Blackwater, memories and secrets start surfacing.  Secrets that threaten the life and sanity of Ray and of those he befriend in town.


While I'm not sure if Blackwater Lights pulls from the C'thulhu mythos directly, the story embodies the consuming desperation, confusion, and dark madness of the mythos in a contemporary thriller setting.  An engaging, twisted read.

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

[Book Review] Dark Triumph

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Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) / Robin LeFevers (Powell's Books)
Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. The convent views Sybella, naturally skilled in the arts of both death and seduction, as one of their most dangerous weapons. But those assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for? Earlier this week I reviewed Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1), and was left with the general feeling of while it wasn't a bad book it wasn't what I wanted.  Dark Triumph made up for my disappointment.  I was far more engaged as a reader and less inclined to put the …

[Book Review] Accelerando

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Accelerando / Charles Stross (Powell's Books)

Manfred Macx lives on the cutting edge of future thought, and the future is coming at us whether we want it or not.  The whole concept of humanity and sentience is changing. A singularity of human existence.  Only as we become the aliens we learn there may be something else out there, and it might not have our best interests in mind.  Accelerando is a multi-generational story of post-singularity humanity and evolution.

Accelerando was the July (yes, I know, it's November, this has been a difficult few months) pick for Virtual Speculation.  I find Charles Stross' Science Fiction intelligent, witty, and fascinating, with the added bonus of the author's strong information technology knowledge set.  His near future (or alternative current day) science fiction explores the what-ifs of technology and culture.

The book is curious and quirky.  An idea seeded from the experiences working in IT during the late 90's.  The what-if o…

[Book Review] Grave Mercy

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Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) / Robin LaFevers (Powell's Books)
Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart? I might have liked this book more were I not inadvertently comparing it to Kushiel's …

Link Smorgasbord, October 2014

After Some Victories, the Time Has Come to Legally Define ‘Fair Use’
About libraries, lending, fair use, and the wonderful world of "try it and hope you don't get sued" in testing the realm of fair use.

Adobe, Privacy and the Big Yellow Taxi
Good read on privacy, ebooks, and the displeasing data situation with Adobe.

Librarians Are Dedicated to User Privacy. The Tech They Have to Use Is Not.
The title nails it.  It's one of the thing that drives myself (and many of my professional colleagues) crazy.  But we're trying to find ways to address it.

Isaac Asimov Asks, “How Do People Get New Ideas?”
Neat read

3 Ridiculous Misconceptions About Dating a Librarian
Actually, buying me book is a pretty safe bet... if I don't already own it.

Terms of Service : understanding our role in the world of Big Data
A great graphic novel exploration of privacy and data collection.