Showing posts from December, 2015

My Arisia 2016 Schedule

I've got some awesome panels this year, though I did have to drop one.  If you're attending Arisia hope to see you around. Lovecraftian Intimacy: Body Horror & Mind Melds (Sat 2:30 PM, Mariana 2) Can you have noneuclidean love triangles? In this panel, we'll discuss telepathic bonds & body horror & how they play upon themes of separation, alienation & intimacy. These two tropes present with very different connotations and judgments placed upon them. Telepathic bonds are often portrayed in positive terms, where body horror has its connotation in its name. Are there instances where the horror of telepathy comes forward or where change and melding of the physical body are seen as positive?  The Drowning World (Sat 8:30PM, Mariana 1) From The Water Knife to Hurricane Fever, how are science fiction and fantasy taking on climate change, and what second order consequences are we missing? The Future of Disability in Literature (Sun 8:30PM, Mariana 2

YOLO Book Club

That's right, YOLO.  Because the teens decided that Teen Advisory Board was super boring, and settled on one of the options that works as an acronym for YOLO (I think it's Youth Offering Library Opinions).  Totally fair opinion, and it is their group. For clarification purposes, I'm not a Youth Services or even a Teen Services Librarian, though I'd totally love to work as the latter (but not the former).  Actually, at this library I'm not even working in an official librarian position, but rather in a non-professional supervisory position, not that it stops me from librarianing (small library, and the only librarian position besides Director is Youth Services).  I like finding projects and challenges to try out, and that's been a really important part of my professional career to this point. We have a really amazing Youth Services Librarian, who is super busy with everything but is actively trying to increase teen engagement in the library (including the

[Book Review] Midnight Taxi Tango + Giveaway

Midnight Taxi Tango (Bone Street Rumba) / Daniel Jose Older Coming out on January 5th, Midnight Taxi Tango !  Get ready by reading the first book in the series, and enter for a chance to win a copy of Half-Resurrection Blues .  Giveaway open through January 5, 2016! Midnight Taxi Tango is available for pre-order ! Kia may only be 16, but she's a force of nature and with growing experience to the supernatural thanks to her work at Baba Eddie's bot├ínica and friendship with Carlos.  A series of violent "accidental" deaths in a small region aren't merely coincidence, and events conspire to bring separate players onto the same playing field.  And pieces from Kia's past aren't so gone as she thought they were. There is so much I loved about this book, and the filthy mouthed librarian that is pulled in just is icing on the cake. Half-Resurrection Blues really set the stage for Midnight Taxi Tango , introducing us to Carlos' world and the existe

The Hobbit : An Expected Journey - Chapter 18

The battle was won, but the aftermath still must be faced. We are filled in on the heroics and despair that wove through the day.  Our original party is down by three, though Thorin does get a chance to make amends with Bilbo and break free of the spell the dragon hoard cast over him.  Fili and Kili fell defending Thorin, who would have fallen in battle if it wasn't for the fury of Beorn. Beorn himself is probably the biggest factor in the tide of battle.  The eagles were big, but Beorn is in many ways a force of nature himself. With Thorin and the last of his line fallen, his cousin Dain becomes King Under the Mountain.  Dain honors the deals made, and shovels out a 14th share of the hoard.  Laketown ends up with more wealth than it knows what to do with, enough that it can't really even give it away.  As was mentioned earlier, we're talking ridiculous amounts of wealth. The forces of good have won a huge victory with the battle of the five armies, with the g

[Book Review] The Empire Ascendant

The Empire Ascendant (Worldbreaker Saga #2) / Kameron Hurley The dark star Oma is on the rise, bringing splintered realities back into alignment while tearing the outliers apart.  The worlds must be reunited into a single reality, but crossing over is only possible when your analog is dead.  Invading empires crash into and over the existing nations, and their hope for salvation lies in the hands of a scullery maid and illegitimate ruler.  But at what cost, and who do you trust when the enemy has the face of those you love? This sequel to The Mirror Empire gives no mercy to its readers, diving in immediately on the heels of a cataclysmic ending.  The plots twine around each other as the end of the world approaches and last hopes die. Recommended for fans of Game of Thrones and The Emperor's Blades .  Intricate, unforgiving, and fascinating. Advance Reader Copy courtesy of Angry Robot Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galle

The Hobbit : An Expected Journey - Chapter 17

In which everything comes to a head. Thorin... well he's matching a bit of what we've been seeing in the movie.  On revelation about the Arkenstone, Thorin expresses anger, disbelief, and violence.  "Why should I purchase my own?"  The gold has enough hold on Thorin's senses and his pride that Gandalf's reappearance and support of Bilbo's actions and words leads Thorin to believe they are all in a conspiracy against him. It is probably worth remembering that Thorin has yet to show himself as any sort of strong leader.  He has the birth right, the dreams, the pride, and possibly the charisma, but he has yet to lead on his own.  Our "burglar" has a better concept of what it takes to lead than Thorin, and considerably more charity, sacrificing his entire share of the treasure in order to avert a war that he could simply slip away from.  Gandalf's chastisement of "You are not making a very splendid figure as King Under the Mountain,&q

Spoilers, Sweetie

I'll be starting up as a contributor over at 5 Minute Librarian 's Spoilers, Sweetie  new review feature.   By and large, these reviews won't be showing up on this blog - I try to avoid spoilers as a courtesy, and they'll be conveniently held on a blog specifically for  spoilers.  This doesn't mean I won't link to my content over there, but at that point you will have been warned that I'm ruining the surprise. Right now we (the various contributors) are picking from a list of book award winners.  I have my name down for Three Body Problem , Saga , and Lock-In .  Something will be up within the next two weeks for these (hey, deadlines!). Interestingly enough, I did  say at the beginning of the year one of my goals was to be published somewhere, and then as life tipped back into insanity I let that slide.  This kind of does meet that goal in an almost trollish way.

[Book Review] Rat Queens Deluxe Hardcover Volume 1

Rat Queens Deluxe Hardcover Volume 1  / Kurtis J. Wiebe, Roc Upchrurch (ill), and Stjepan Sejic (ill) ( Powell's Books ) Have you read Rat Queens ?  Why the hell not?  Seriously, stop reading this review and go find a copy to read right now. Rat Queens Deluxe Hardcover collects the first two trade paperbacks of Rat Queens , Sass and Sorcery (Volume 1)  and The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth (Volume 2) into a single set (I'm assuming the whole hardcover bit lacks any need for further explanation). Now, I wasn't unaware of Rat Queens , but for the sake of my wallet I actually try to avoid the comic store beyond picking up my limited (and slowly growing) comic pulls.  So I skirted reading it.  Then I came across this blurb: "This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that reads like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!" Where can I sign up for this? I don't even know where to start on

The Hobbit : An Expected Journey - Chapter 16

The siege continues, Thorin's obsession teeters into madness, and Bilbo plots treason. Well, at least it's treason to the King Under the Mountain, but let's be honest, Bilbo's been the de facto leader for some time now even if everyone pretends he isn't.  Unfortunately pride and greed has gotten in the way of reason on both sides, with Laketown demanding a full twelfth of the treasure and nuking any chance of reasonable discussion. In many ways Bilbo has reached the apex of his growth into a hero, facing down not only what amounts to an entire army but risking expulsion from the company of his friends.  In facing Smaug the worst aspect was the unknown, the moment in the dark where everything that could go wrong flashed through his mind.  He's faced down his own fears and real monsters, but this is the first time he takes an action that actively betrays a friend's trust and desire no matter if he's acting in the over all best interests.  His hero&#

[Book Review] Fair Weather

Bookburners: Fair Weather (Season 1, Episode 3)  / Margaret Dunlap, Brian Francis Slattery, Max Gladstone, and Mur Lafferty Even the best magical tools in the world cannot always predicted impending disaster, but at least this one's close to home.  Still, a smoking pile or rubble where a bookstore should be in this case is a good sign that the team is too late (in other cases it could  indicate that Bookburners were already there...). The Bookburners have a collector to deal with, entangled civilians, and a leaking demonic book. Just another day at the office? Excellent continuation of the series, it just keeps getting better. Episode 1 review here Episode 2 review here Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Serial Box via Netgalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.

Well, at least the kobolds are gone

In our first adventure, no one died to kobold falling rock traps.   The players had their training wheels dungeon crawl, so now I get to start messing around with things.  Our monk couldn't make it, but we had the addition of a bard by the friend who was the peanut gallery last time. The towns folk are happy, the baby-stealing kobolds have been eradicated, and our neophite heroes can spend a few days resting on their laurels. Until another baby goes missing. Now, clearly I'm used to a specific type of gamer.  The ones that decide to poke at everything .  Instead I get the ones that go "Oh, there was a crime?  Let's find the sheriff!"  Come on guys, stop making me come up with characters on the fly As indicated above, the players wanted to find the sheriff's deputy (the sheriff did show up, but they still wouldn't take the bait).  So en-route they encountered a hysterical and panicked woman, babbling something about her brother, her sister-in-law, a

Book Talking Comics for Teens - YALSA 2015 Top Ten

So, a series of events today led me to unexpectedly book talking comic books to a handful of teens at my library. The basis was YALSA's 2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten list.  Great start, but not enough about each title to really talk about it.  So time for research (and some quick reading).  I also wanted to see which titles we had available as ebooks. Let's expand a little on that list and add in some additional recommendations.  Disclaimer, I have not read everything listed, this is based on a mix of what I have read combined with research.  In my defense, I had a few hours, not a few days, to prepare for this. 1. Afterlife with Archie / Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Francesco Francavilla Jughead convinces Sabrina to resurrect Hotdog, after the beloved pet is run over by a car.  Unfortunately, meddling with dark forces has consequences, with Hotdog as a vector for a zombie outbreak, and the ever-hungry Jughead as patient zero. Noteworthy is that this

The Hobbit : An Expected Journey - Chapter 15

We're nearing the end now, with only a few chapters to go. The dwarfs learn of the fall of Smaug and of the forming armies.  Wisdom also comes from an ancient raven (not crow, which are "nasty suspicious looking creatures"), advising the party to not trust the Master of Laketown, but that Bard will meet them true, and that peace may cost dear in gold.  As we might expect, Thorin gets angry at the messenger.  Dragons and dwarfs are not so different when it comes to guarding gold, and the last chapter shared how dwarven courage and pride is inflated by riches. Again we get dwarven music, "much like the song they had sung long before in Bilbo's little hobbit-hole," but about might and power not seeking to reclaim a home long lost.  Point of note - this can be sung to the same tune(s) as the Misty Mountain song.  Bilbo, is right to note the change in sound, singing of "foes shall fall," is a departure from their starting goals and intent. I&

Running behind

Running behind on the Hobbit post for today... will try to get it up by Tuesday night, but I am aiming for sooner.

[Book Review] Dreams of Maryam Tair

Dreams of Maryam Tair : Blue Boots and Orange Blossoms  / Mhani Alaoui ( Powell's Books ) Dreams of Maryam Tair  is nested and parallel tales, knotted together by lives and stories.  It is a book of culture, belief, myth, legend, and magic.  Revolt in Casablanca, intertwined beliefs, and lives written out of history.  Sheherazade and Lilith, God and Adam, a story that has happened and is yet to happen, and a girl who carries the scent of orange blossoms.  The power of words and knowledge. "Her mother taught her how to create talismans from discarded words and objects. And Zohra knew, instinctively, that the small pieces of paper or raw leather that were given to barren women and impotent men were covered with the very signs and symbols that she had glimpsed in the Green Book and that were forever inscribed in her memory. She poached in the green pastures of endless phrases and wisdoms with her own chants and incantations. She transformed old men's fortresses into wil