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Showing posts from February, 2015

[Book Review] Half the World

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Half the World (Shattered Sea #2) / Joe Abercrombie (Powell's Books)

Thorn is a girl touched by Mother War in a kingdom of men who raid and pillage and women keep the home.  Proud, aggressive, prickly and impetuous, she ends up with two choices, serve Father Yarvi in his machinations or face execution for murder.  Can she grow beyond an anger-fueled youth into a skilled warrior.  And can her country stand against the threat of war against half the world?


Half the World continues the story told in Half a King, in a gritty coming-of-age tale set in an unforgiving world.  Thorn is driven and complex, playing a part in a larger game as she literally fights her way to the top of a man's world.  Yarvi exists as a cunning mind, almost alien in the violent blood lust stirring around him.  Brand believes almost too much in doing the right thing.  Half the World does not pander to the reader, diving right in as the characters claw themselves through obstacles with determination borne of …

[Book Likes] Flex

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Flex / Ferrett Steinmetz (Powell's Books)

Freelance 'mancers are feared and reviled, beings of nightmares who's magic threatens tears in the fabric of the universe.  Fortunately 'mancers are rare, but the magic infused crystals allowing anyone access to 'mancy as a street drug costs lives.  Magic has two sides, flex and flux.  Flex is the manipulation of chance to impose your order on the world around you.  Flux is the the backlash as the universe balances your manipulations, backlash that you may not survive.

Once upon a time Paul Tsabo was a cop who survived a confrontation with a 'mancer.  Now he's a paper-pusher for an insurance company and struggling with his own emerging 'mancy.  Paul's life is turned upside-down when a flux-fueled fire engulfs his apartment building, nearly killing his young daughter.  Paul needs to master his 'mancy and find the 'mancer who is tearing the city apart.


Technically, Flex is an urban fantasy.  Toss out a…

[Book Review] The Glittering World

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The Glittering World / Robert Levy (Powell's Books)

In many ways a fey story.  Beautiful, deceptive, dark, and unreal.  We follow the story of Blue and his friends as he returns to his childhood home of Starling Cove, intending merely to settle his grandmother's estate before returning to life as normal in New York City.  But emerging secrets give light to a disjointed and jarring past, a legacy perhaps best remained hidden.

The story takes on a hallucinatory feeling as we Blue falls down the rabbit hole, dragging his friends behind.  It sways back and forth between beautiful and unsettling, but wholly creative throughout.

At the end I was left wondering if the story happened to the characters or if it was all a shared hallucination, a delusion born of creeping insanity permeating an entire community.

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

Love Quotes

Happy Horny Werewolf Day!It seemed to be the appropriate time of year to release this post, but to be honest, it's been sitting around in draft form for about a year since I was using this as a collection point while trying to figure out how to write a wedding ceremony.  The biggest problem I had finding romance quotes (particularly in wedding planning books) that were religion-free.  So, with that in mind, I'm sharing a small collection of (mostly) literary quotes about love.

Love is the degree to which you are willing to sacrifice your own interests for those of another. It doesn't matter what sex you are. It doesn't matter who you are or were. It only matters that you care more for someone else than you do for yourself. It's when you eat minlatta with tarragon oil even when you hate pasta because someone with you enjoys it. It's when you value being alone more than anything but agree to move in with someone because they need you. And believe this, Ellis Rog…

Orgasmatron : The Erotic & Not So Erotic in SF/F

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Content Warning: If you can't tell from the title, this post is going to involve a discussion of erotica and erotic content in science fiction and fantasy.  You have been warned.

My second Arisia panel was Orgasmatron : The Erotic & Not So Erotic in SF/F with JoSelle Vanderhoof (mod), Connie Wilkins (also known as Sacchi Green), and Victoria Janssen.  Originally N. K. Jemisin was also scheduled to be on the panel with us, but since she was on something like 15 panels over the weekend a few of them had to go.

Going in, I was intimidated about this panel, I was the only panelist who was not a published author and/or a professional editor.  But everyone was not only fantastic and friendly, but they valued the fact that I was there as a reader rather than writer/editor.  My notes for this panel went wider than SF/F erotica, because to be honest, there's some seriously sexy science fiction and fantasy that is not written as romance (and in my opinion, often has better written …

My reluctant reader, part 2

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In which I exploit my other half for blogging purposes.

I've mentioned this before, but while I read a ridiculous amount, my other half rarely reads recreationally.  We've been together for just over seven years (plus friends for years before that), and in the first six years of our relationship I saw him read one book.  In the past year he finished three.

And now he gets to deal with me actively seeking book matches.  Of course, I get to deal with responses along the lines of "Something like Ready Player One," and have to tease out further information regarding what exactly aboutReady Player One (or Ender's Game) that he actually liked.  On the other hand, this makes for fantastic Reader's Advisory practice, since we have such a small title base to work with.

Book's he's liked:
The Zombie Survival GuideEnder's GameReady Player OneEnder's Shadow (though not as much as Ender's Gamebased on time taken to finish) Going forward I have a few addi…

[Book Review] The Blondes

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The Blondes / Emily Schultz (Powell's Books)

This is an interesting book for me to review.  Honestly, I think it's a fantastically written book with a great concept, but I just didn't care for it.  You will need some suspension of disbelief in regards to how science works  Other reviews describe it as a "hysterical dystopia," "satire," and "devastatingly moving."  It just didn't click with me.

Hazel Hayes takes us through the story of The Blondes, from the first out break to her "now," as a pregnant woman on her own talking to her yet to be born child.  Before the outbreak Hazel was a grad student, working on her thesis on how women look and how we think women look in the context of the the Blonde in Western culture.  Suddenly women with blonde hair begin coming down with some sort of illness, a "blonde rabies" starting with headaches and ending with mindless frenzy.  No one knows the cause, or why it effects only women…

[Book Review] Vision in Silver

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Vision in Silver / Anne Bishop (Powell's Books)

Relations between the Others and humans has never been completely peaceful, but the presence of Meg Corbyn, an escaped cassandra sangue, a woman who sees prophetic visions when her skin is cut, has both disrupted the lives of the Others who have taken her into their protection and done more to improve the human/Others relations than could have ever been imagined.  Humans First and Last is stirring up dissent, and girding itself for a war against the Others, using lies and misinformation to turn fear of the others into rebellion, and using the blood of cassandra sangue to create drugs that cause frenzy or mind-numbing bliss.

Meg's visions and the rescue of the cassandra sangue from captivity may be the only thing preventing a wide-spread reclaiming of human land.  But can her addiction to the euphoria experienced when she cuts for prophecy be overcome?  Can she pave the way for other cassandra sangue to live normal lives?  And can…

[Book Review] Want Me

Want Me / Cynthia Eden

Bad boys and naughty girls.  Sophie has a penchant for bad boys, men with a fuck-you attitude who she can ride for a night then continue with her life.  Lex makes a living protecting others, with his body if needed.  When Sophie's life is threatened in her own bedroom by an obsessed stalker, she needs help.  She goes Lex, and his company VJS for protection, but history and rumor haunt her and her friends, and some secrets are too dangerous to share.


A novella with lots of lust and a liberal sprinkling of explicit sex.  This book could easily be a paranormal romance with werewolves.  Lots of testosterone, hair-trigger violence responses, and growling.  No one struggling not to turn furry, but I kept expecting that to appear in the text.  If you like PNR and feel like straying into regular contemporary romance, this would be a good book to start with.

The resolution/revelation of the threat seemed a bit too pat for me, and involves what, a decade of obsessive …

[Book Review] The Master

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The Master / Kresley Cole (Powell's Books)

Ok, so unlike when I read The Professional, I am now aware of Cole's non-YA work, and had a good idea of what I was stepping into.  All of you who are familiar with her body of romance titles are probably  laughing at my original surprise.
A need colder than Siberian winter meets an attitude hotter than the Florida sun in #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s sultry new Game Maker novel. Maksimilian Sevastyan is a man of rather singular tastes, ones that he prefers to take care of without entanglements.  Escorts know him as a man that pays well, knows his business, and never books the same woman twice.  Cat Marin had a blessed life, until she discovered the man she married was a monster, now she's in hiding with few friends, passing as an illegal immigrant providing house cleaning for the wealthy.  One of her sole friends is an escort who's home Cat cleans, and when a botox treatment goes wrong Ivanna convinces C…

[Book Review] Heir to the Jedi

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Heir to the Jedi (Star Wars) / Kevin Hearne (Powell's Books)

The Force and Mathematics!

We know that between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back that Luke Skywalker's skill with the force increases.  Heir to the Jedi tells how Luke begins to grow as a self-trained Jedi.  Heir gives us Luke's journey shortly after the battle of Yavin through a first-person narrative.  We get his thoughts, his confidence, his worries, and his growing connection with the Force.  The story is self-contained, giving us a little bit of romance, some math and science, and exploration of the force as a construct.

This book was also a very entertaining read.  The existence of a song known as "Vader's Many Prosthetic Parts" is a wonderful bit of flavor, and Luke's thoughts often made me smile.  "I hasn't read the histories of those 'seduced' by the dark side, but I doubted that any of them had been corrupted by a vegetable of questionable nutritional value."…

Link Smorgasbord, January 2015

The Politics of Comfort
About the inherent nature of politics in fiction, in the messages that books share, deliberate or incidental.  One of the things I most love about Speculative Fiction is the core concept of "what if?"  I love that these fantastical stories often ask me to think about issues.
There’s no such thing as pure entertainment, and I say that as someone who wrote a story about a muppet–eating werewolf. What “entertainment without politics” means is “entertainment that regurgitates the norm and doesn’t challenge my assumptions in any way.” - Jim C. HinesWhat Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2015?
Title is pretty self explanatory.

21 Books That Changed Science Fiction And Fantasy Forever
Regardless if you agree with the inclusion (or exclusion) of every book on this list, this is a pretty solid list of titles. 

Here’s What Happens When You Install the Top 10 Download.com Apps
Short version: it ain't pretty.

Obama wants Congress to incre…