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Showing posts from February, 2016

[Book Review] Marked in Flesh

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Marked in Flesh / Anne Bishop (Powell's Books)

I'll admit to being somewhat surprised when I saw this book available for review.  Vision in Silver felt like it was the end of a trilogy, wrapping up the major plot lines with easily assumable future going forward.  Clearly, there's more.

The actions from Vision in Silver changed the power dynamics, with the cassandra sangue sheltered by the Others and certain radical human elements pushing for discord in order to profit.  Only, there are terra indigene that even the Others on the fringes of human society speak of only in whispers.  The Courtyards and the shifters have stood as barrier between humans and these Elders.  But terra indigene have learned from the humans before, and what they learn this time may not be to anyone's benefit.  And they Meg has piqued the Elders' interest as well.

This is a series that I definitely enjoy reading, and it's interesting to see characters struggle with their natures.  To some e…

Lord of the Rings : Fellowship of the Read - Book 1, Chapter 7

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A brief interlude in the home of Tom Bombadil.

Elements of this stay remind me of the stay with Beorn in The Hobbit, particularly considering the nature-druid spin they gave him in the film adaptation.  The Old Forest is not a place where our hobbits expected to find friends or friendly shelter, yet they find true sanctuary in Bombadil's home.  Other elements remind me of various interactions with elves, but with less artifice.  The elves often use song and merriment to hide their nature and power.  For Tom, song is much a part of him as breathing.

Tom himself refuses to be defined, but exists outside of time, predating even the elves.  The fact that the Ring has no effect on him is remarkable.  Even the Istari have something to fear from the Ring's influence.  Perhaps the lack of effect is related to his position as a Master with great power, but without any ownership.

"He is, as you have seen him," she said in answer to his look.  "He is Master of wood, water,…

[Book Review] The Beauty TP Vol 1

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The Beauty / Jeremy Haun & Jason A. Hurley (Powell's Books)

What if physical "perfection" could be attained through infection with a STD?  An elevated body temperature and increased appetite seems like a small price to pay for luminous beauty.  Some embrace it others fight, but what isn't known about the beauty could be a higher price than any would want to pay.

The Beauty makes for a particularly interesting read, with its take on our cultural obsessions of how we look.  The story is dark, layered, and well composed.  The story arc is solid, I'm not sure if the series is over with this volume ("Volume 1" leaves me thinking there will be more), but if it is, it ends at a very solid place.

The look at beauty standards is clearly limited to a narrow set of Western ideals.  The Beauty offers only transformation towards a specific body type and appeal, not something tailored for individual preference.  In some ways this makes for problematic facets, but …

Sometimes natural 20s ruin the GM's fun

Game number three was about getting everyone from point A to point B, getting people in a good place to address large gains from leveling, and of course, further messing around with the characters.

Ahead of time I statted out several random and not so random encounters.

Of course, this means queue up a player rolling natural 20's for random happenings during the night.  Mind you, this is our half-orc fighter, who has yet to roll any sort of critical when trying to hit something... but gets them instead for things like "does anything interesting happen tonight?"

I certainly didn't want to use my more interesting night-time encounter on the first night, so I pulled out something a little more on the random side, and had a bunch of awakened shrubs trying to dismantle the wagons.  This ended up as a less than glorious fight, with neither side doing much damage to the other for the most part.  The dragonborn barbarian spent the fight for the most part asleep and farting, …

Lord of the Rings : Fellowship of the Read - Book 1, Chapter 6

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Enter Tom Bombadil.

The old forest (and therefore the next few chapters) is completely excised from Peter Jackson's film translation... and commonly one of the least missed sections.  The general consensus seems to be that it would have turned into a weird, drawn-out passage adding nothing to the story of the Ring (all these years... and Hobbit films later, I think we've seen a number of examples of weird, drawn-out passages that add nothing to the story).  I will bow to Christopher Lee's opinion that the film worked out better without Tom Bombadil, regardless of any opinions I hold on how certain elements had potential for different types of danger to the flight from the Shire to Rivendell.

With the general outlook and lifestyle of hobbits, the Old Forest stands out as a bit of an anomaly.  It's a reminder of a conflict between hobbits and nature, one that nature remembers even if the garden-loving hobbits have largely forgotten.  The forest itself may explain why hob…

Cover Reveal: Orpheum & Scarlet Thread

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Taking part in a cover reveal and promoting a giveaway in conjunction with two paranormal romance books coming out soon.  Check it out!

The Scarlet Thread is a dark fantasy for fans of Greek mythology and Gothic romance. Fans of Fallen and Percy Jackson will be captivated by this mashup of fallen angels and forgotten gods.

Orpheum is a young adult dark fantasy romance based on Eastern European history, the myths and literature of Orpheus and Pythagoras’ theory of Musica Universalis, or the music of the spheres.

DEADPOOL! (DO NOT READ THIS POST, SPOILERS!)

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I've been excessively excited for this movie to come out.  Everything pointed to this movie being done right, with a cast and crew that both got Deadpool and went to town with it, and a brilliant marketing campaign.

So on Valentine's Day I heartlessly wrangled my other half out of bed before noon on his one day off and dragged him to the theater for a first showing of the day for Deadpool.

Short version: this was a fantastic idea and enjoyed by all.




I'm about to start talking about the movie, and while I'm attempting to avoid detailed spoilers, if you want to avoid them completely, stop reading here.  There are detail spoilers below.




The price of admission was worth it by the opening credits.  This bode well for the rest of the experience.

There was also some squeeing on my part since pineapple and black olive pizza has been my favorite literally as far back as I can remember.  Usually people look at me like "You want WHAT on your pizza?" when I bring it …

Lord of the Rings : Fellowship of the Read - Book 1, Chapter 5

"A Conspiracy Unmasked" always struck me as a most sinister chapter title, especially in the clearly darkening setting of this story.  But more than anything, this chapter serves to partially alleviate the clearly encroaching threat and to showcase the stalwart nature of hobbits.

Since the film completely skipped over the relocation farce, 99% of this chapter never makes it to the screen.  Tolkien has been introducing notes of danger all along, but the ramp up is slow.  Jackson instead has not only compressed the timeline and excised most of the history lessons, but is giving us greater extremes of tension offset by moments of levity.  The one thing from this chapter that makes it to the film is taking the ferry across the river, and making note that the rider will have to go miles to the nearest bridge.  But rather than the almost casual crossing our hobbits make in the book, the film has them racing in terror with a black rider in hot pursuit.

The history lesson that Tolki…

[Book Review] Driven

Driven / Kelley Armstrong and Xaviere Daumarie (ill)

The pack is not known for its tolerance for mutts, and for good reason.  But sometimes the sins of the family are not universally shared, and when Davis Cain comes running scared to the pack for help they can't completely ignore his pleas.  After all, if something is successfully hunting werewolves, they need to know about it.  If it's a trap, well, that's what back up is for.

On top of this challenge, Malcolm's back.  He's sought out re-admittance to the pack, and Elena's making use of him.  He may be a monster, but now he's their monster.


I'm so happy that Armstrong is continuing the Otherworld stories, especially those of the pack.  Elena is what drew me into the series, and while I've come to enjoy the other leading ladies, they came as a jarring shock at first.

Driven is a great continuation of the story of the pack, and while it can be read without reading the other novellas, it definitely ma…

[Book Review] Star

Star / Pamela Anderson & Eric Shaw Quinn (ghostwriter)

Star is the story of a lovely and optimistic ingénu from Florida with not much to her name but her smile, her dreams, and her... assets.  Her dreams are modest; save up enough from her two jobs to afford cosmetology school.  That all changes when she comes along as make-up artist to a friend's photoshoot, and connects instantly with the staff MUAs.  A few Polaroids taken while goofing around bring her to the attention of the search agents and they decide that she's exactly what they're looking for.  Paired with an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response to Star on a stadium jumbo-tron while she happened to be wearing a shirt emblazoned with a beer brand, her face (and body) become very much in demand.  Soon it's off to L.A., where her face, her breasts, and her naivete take celebrity culture like a storm.


I picked up Star as part of a buddy read.  None of us expected a huge amount from this, more of a "hey, wh…

[Book Review] Black Science Premiere HC: The Beginners’ Guide To Entropy

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Black Science Premiere HC: The Beginners’ Guide To Entropy / Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera

A dark and harrowing story of intersecting parallel lives all caught up in trying to fix their mistakes as they rebound across realities.  There's no true hero or villain here, just bad decisions, conflicting self-interest, desperation, and intentions gone wrong.

Grant McKay has created a device allowing him and his team to tear through the boundaries between dimensions, only sabotage has launched them (and his visiting family) into the unknown with no way to control their dimensional shifts.  Their journey takes it toll on both the travelers and the worlds they encounter, changing things in ways no one imagined.

Beautifully illustrated and high tension.  The different views and clashing realities disallowing any one hero or villain.

Advance Reader Copy courtesy of Image Comics in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.

[Book Review] Creature Delights: The Complete Collection

Creature Delights: The Complete Collection / Eva James

Here's the really short review: I was pretty thoroughly unimpressed with this entire collection of stories.

If you want more than that, read on.  Sorry if I get a bit crude.

From the Amazon teaser text:
The Complete Collection of the Creature Delights series! Warning: These stories was written to unlock your darkest fantasies and innermost desires. They are not for the faint of heart and are not your average erotica. They are not suitable for someone under 18 years of age. Read at your own risk...or delight! Inside The Complete Collection, you'll get 5 full stories, including: The Ogre’s Mistress The Forbidden Mermaid Taken by the Alien The Spartan and the Sexy Cyclops The Sexy Beast Under the Full Moon. Unlock your hidden desires! When you meet these creatures, it will not be fear you feel, but something else…something deeper…something sexier. Will you run for his life…or will you stay and discover a side of the mytholog…

Lord of the Rings : Fellowship of the Read - Book 1, Chapter 4

Our hobbits wake rested and refreshed, with no sign of the elves except breakfast (clearly the elves are not only fantastic hosts but know hobbits).

This is a rather thoughtful bunch of hobbits.  What with Frodo ruminating over things (thinking during breakfast, of all things), Sam reflecting on the elves, and Pippin's rather astute observations about the whole situation.  I actually think that Sam and Pippin have a better handle on what's going on than Frodo, be it that the Ring is sewing confusion in his mind or he's dealing with the weight of ring bearer and realization of how dire the situation may be.  Pippin nails it with his comment about the importance of the rider's sniffing, and Sam feels he has to go, he knows they have a long way to go and will face danger, but that he has "something to do before the end, and it lies ahead, not in the Shire."

The reflections on the elves is perhaps the most telling of elven interactions so far (including The Hob…

Link Smorgasbord, January 2016

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2016? Under the law that existed until 1978 . . . Works from 1959 
A general reminder and very informative.

Lawrence Lessig: Laws that strangle creativity
Really good video

Lifting the Veil on the New York Public Library’s Erotica Collection
On the cultural importance of erotic materials when looking on society.

Library of Congress Anoints Graphic Novelist as Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
Fantastic

'Diary of Anne Frank' Published Online as Copyright Expires
This whole copyright case was interesting to follow, and obviously one with a lot of emotional charge.

The Force Awakens RPG Madness
Hahahaha, so much yes.  I went to see The Force Awakens with my Star Wars group, and we spent a lot of the film thinking "that's something Team Stupid would do... oh I think we DID do that one..."

The librarians are coming to party
Wish I was able to attend ALA Midwinter this year, especially as is it's so close. …

[Book Review] The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road

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The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road / Abby Bernstein (Powell's Books)

I've always had a weird relationship with the Mad Max franchise.  It always struck me as something powerful, but it also never made ANY sense to me.  I've seen Road Warrior a number of times and it's not a particularly complicated story line and has pretty straightforward action and I'm always going "what is going on here?"  Of course, some of that might actually be part of the point...

As I've gotten older (plus experienced some emotional trauma), I've also gained a level of squeamishness that adds a layer of difficulty in watching at least the first two films.  This left me largely adoring Mad Max in theory or from afar.

Yet I was excited about Fury Road.  Maybe it has something to do with my love of cars?  The Fast and Furious films are certainly a guilty pleasure for me (particularly as they push the bounds of how few fucks they have to give and go more and more over t…

[Book Display] Book Display

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November is NaNoWriMo, which makes for as good of a theme inspiration as any.  Books concerning authors, writing, librarians, libraries, and books.  And I realize that I very well could also include Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on this list, but considering the past three displays featured a Harry Potter title, I'm leaving it off here.

I also then failed to post this for months, for reasons involving failing to transfer the photograph to a computer whenever I thought of it, and then finally deciding the display was not nearly exciting enough visually to deserve a photo.  When I get to posting the also lamentably late Dec display there will likely be a photo because it's a prettier than normal, and the Feb display will get one as well.  Beyond that, we'll see.

I did make use of this comic though:


Assorted books, across genres, styles, and audiences:Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library / Chris GrabensteinThe Book of Speculation / Erika Swyler The Library at M…