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Showing posts from February, 2017

Lord of the Rings : The Return of the Read - Book 6, Chapter 4

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In which some shit has gone down.  Also, Eagles have a comeback tour.

With the destruction of the Ring, Sauron's power breaks... and the counter power falls on our allies.  I note that it does not say Sauron is gone, just that he is defeated at this moment.  But Gandalf knows the power of careful oration, and of leaving the actual combat to the leaders of the armies, so he and Gwaihir the Windlord seek out two hobbits on the slopes of an erupting volcano.

You know what?  I have no shame in admitting Frodo and Samwise facing their own mortality makes me tear up.

The biggest sign that the war is over, that they are safe and recovering, is the return of laughter.  Reunions with friends, returning of treasures, and reminiscing are all tied up, but that they can experience joy again is something long missing.

They are all changed, deeply and in ways that are both visible and invisible.  The growth of Merry and Pippin is comical, but they are truly nothing like the hobbits they were whe…

Lord of the Rings : The Return of the Read - Book 6, Chapter 3

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This chapter is a lot like wading through depression.  You know you need to keep going, and if you can badger yourself enough, you might just manage to keep going.  Friends may try and help, but it's not something you can necessarily share the burden of.  Food and drink are necessary, and maybe even desired, but joy is rarely derived from it.  Left unsaid is that they can shed gear because they are unlikely to survive long enough to need it again.

And of course, we get Sam's iconic line, "I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you."

A question I suppose for the hypothetical pondering jumps out at me... I wonder if the similarity between "Gorgoroth" and "Golgotha" is deliberate?

The agency that has offered gentle aid and protection to this quest again extends its hand.  Sauron's eye is held by the conflict at the gates, and both Frodo and Samwise feel the urging that the time to move is now.

In previous readings I seem to have missed som…

Lord of the Rings : The Return of the Read - Book 6, Chapter 2

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This chapter is a mix of a brutal slog and fortuitous timing.  Tolkien is weaving together elements of plot happening synchronously, and in many ways this is the only thing that keeps Samwise and Frodo on the path of their quest.

To be honest, their situation sucks.  Volcanic fumes, enemy territory, and no water... and that's without the whole Ring deal.  I want to be sympathetic to Frodo, and I know I'm not the best person when fighting a depressive cycle... but I get seriously annoyed at how useless he is and how he treats Sam.  Much of this chapter involves Frodo whining and Samwise making sacrifices.  Sam holding Frodo's hand while Frodo sleeps just breaks my heart.

Mordor itself is not a united land.  It's troops are fractious and frustrated, and even the land itself is struggling between life and death.  No one looks at the two hobbits as anything but two goblin deserters, not bothering to look beyond an initial assessment of their armor.  A poetic irony consider…

[Book Review] Small Favors

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Small Favors : the Definitive Collection / Colleen Coover

Annie's all about some self-love... so much so that a personification of her conscious steps up and assigns her a keeper in the form of the adorable (and just as horny) Nibbil!  Abundant sexy adventures ensue.  The graphic novel beautifully inked, and near the end we get a story in absolutely gorgeous watercolor.

This one came up in NetGalley almost right after I'd talked about sexy comics/graphic novels at Arisia... and man do I wish I had known about this one before the panel.  In itself, the story isn't fantasy where you get magic and elves, but a contemporary setting with just a hint of the fantastic in the form of anthropomorphic representation of a character's inner self.  However, for the other meaning of fantasy... yeah, this book is all that.  Small Favors proudly wears the label of "critically-acclaimed girly porno comic."  It's a fun and creative celebration of sexual fantasy and affecti…

February Read: Signal to Noise

For some reason I've delayed reading this book for over a year.  No clue why as Signal to Noise has also been on my To Read list for over a year.  Maybe it's the promise of coming-of-age magical realism, which I've found all to often disappointing.  Or maybe it's just I'm always in the middle of too many books I need to read.  Either way, I have a copy in hand and it's this month's book pick.

What I can say is that Moreno-Garcia has a lyricism that serves her fiction well.  All of her story concepts grab my attention, and I'm repeatedly torn between reading reviews or just staying with the teaser text.  I don't want expectations and third party descriptions to ruin the text, though if you're looking for a review, NPR does a decent job of handling it without destroying anything.

At this point I'm a few chapters in, but reading with a slight reluctance as I wait for the hammer to fall.  We're warned early on that "magic will break you…

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

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Our story turns back to the Ring itself.  Frodo has been taken, Samwise is now the Ring Bearer and alone within the realm of Mordor.

While we've read descriptions of the Ring changing the wearers perceptions, but I think this is the first time the bearer has registered that they truly see clearer with the ring off.  But Sam always was different than the others, perhaps that's what leads him to observe what others overlook and to notice details such as Mordor's construction to keep people in rather than out.  I think that Sam understands the Ring on a level that I only see demonstrated by Gandalf and the elves such as Galadriel and Elrond, but perhaps in a more visceral than intellectual way.

This chapter is also all about Team Samwise.  He's center stage, taking actions and experiencing the type of luck that only Heroes can count on.  The Lord of the Rings doesn't overlook Sam persay... but it rarely features him, instead letting him remain in Frodo's shadow.  …

5 in 15 - Urban Legends

In December I recorded a Readers' Advisory video for the Mass Library System, it's since been processed and uploaded (though it's official share date will be 2/15).  Of course since I recorded it, I've had a chance to read Battle Hill Bolero, but at the time I had to leave my review of it slightly vague.
Urban Legends: Urban Fantasy that's not Paranormal Romance
Script Slide 1 Welcome to this Massachusetts Library System 5-in-15: Member Edition!
Slide 2 I’m Tegan Mannino, and among the many hats I wear I can be found as the Circulation Supervisor and Cataloger at the Monson Free Library, as a book reviewer, and as a freelance library technology consultant.

I’m also in the middle of far too many books, but a few are:
Snow Queen / Joan D. Vinge You Can’t Touch My Hair / Phoebe Robinson (audio) Slide 3 This month I’m talking about Urban Legends – Urban Fantasy that is not Paranormal Romance, and for something a little different I’ll be talking about series ins…

[Book Review] Norse Mythology

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Norse Mythology / Neil Gaiman

Gaiman has put together a lovely little introduction to Norse mythology in this collection of cleanly written tales.  The narrative voice is one that you could imagine belonging to a storyteller, sharing stories.  Some of my favorite myths are found in these pages, and several I had not yet read.  Overall the selection reads like a continuing story, rather than simply a collection of individual stories.  An enjoyable read for both those new to and familiar with Norse mythology. 

Advance Reader Copy courtesy of W. W. Norton & Company via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.

Lord of the Rings : The Return of the Read - Book 5, Chapter 10

Some of our party rides out to meet battle, but not all.  Merry, and others still healing, are left behind in Gondor.  This journey is neither quick nor subtle, and that Sauron prepares a trap in wait is no surprise.  Their presence is a clear and deliberate provocation of Sauron, and one that is nearly countered by the brief capture of Frodo.  I think that if it were not for Gandalf the armies would have quailed, recognition by items that the Mouth of Sauron is referring to one of the hobbits.  Of course, the key piece not mentioned in all of this is the Ring... and the fact that if Sauron had the Ring already the parlay would not even be necessary.


This chapter is definitely one that was ripe for translation to the screen.  Cinematically it is both an apex and a cliffhanger, on top of the whole launching into likely doomed battle.  Jackson made some pretty good decisions here to visually ramp up the tension.  I can't really argue with the decision to have all of the Fellowship p…

[Book Review] Sunstone

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Sunstone (TPB Volumes 1-5) / Stjepan Sejic

Sunstone is a beautiful story about two women who fall in love with each other, as well as some of the misunderstandings that get in the way.  When I say beautiful here I mean that in more than one way.  The artwork itself is stunning and sexy, and for all of its erotic content, manages to appear more like exotic pin-up artwork than erotica.  The story is just so human in its emotions and developments.


At the risk of a spoiler, the story arc does have a happy ending, but they have to work to get there.

The story starts with Ally and Lisa going from an online friendship (and flirtation), to meeting in real life to explore their kinks and fetishes, to navigating the difficult transition from friends-with-benefits to an emotional relationship.  Along the way we meet new and old friends, learn about skeletons in the closet, and get to learn Ally and Lisa beyond the faces they present to the world and each other.

I loved this graphic novel, and eag…