The better to see you, my dear
Review
3 Stars
Mixed bag, but I so want this magazine
Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 71 - Sofia Samatar, Neil Clarke, Kij Johnson, Catherynne M. Valente

I came to this issue by clicking on other Valente's stories besides "Silently and Very Fast".

 

Mantis Wives by Kij Johnson was... a gory allegory? I'm unclear and I didn't quite care for it. Pity, because Ponies, of the same writer, was too a gory allegory that is awesome in it's absolute cruelty.

 

Honey Bear by Sofia Samatar was damn freaky in how fast it pulls you in an unexpected, creepy direction. Full stars.

 

Fade to White by Katherine Valente reads like the beginning of a Dystopia novel. Leaving it there makes it a damned grim and hopeless, but it's an engrossing and disquieting piece.

 

As for the articles, Magic Systems felt thin, arbitrary and too anglo-centric. Plausibility and Truth was awesome. Finding the Good is a bit heartwarming, but not unexpected to my geek self. Somewhat fringe communities tend to flock to beloved members. The Conversation with China was interesting, and I might end up reading something of his.

 

An uneven whole, but interesting. I wonder if the is a printed version of this, and if the magic of globalization would ever drop some issues in my corner of the word for me to purchase.

Reading progress update: I've read 25%.
Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 71 - Sofia Samatar, Neil Clarke, Kij Johnson, Catherynne M. Valente

 

Now, kids, don't forget to register your gift with the Ladies' Auxiliary. We wouldn't want your Daddy to get two of the same gift! How embarrassing! That's why Gimbels carries the complete Whole Father line, right next to the registration desk so your Father's Day is a perfect one.

 

Wuh? OMG! No wonder his "job is here" and the days alloted, and... damn! They are the only ones that don't go to war, aren't they?

Review
5 Stars
Interior world
Silently and Very Fast - Catherynne M. Valente

This was so fucking weird. Gorgeous mind-screw. There is no way to really understand unless you walk the fine edge between paying close attention and just letting it flow. I can't even give a proper summary without diving into spoiler territory.

 

Dream-like and powerful in imagery, heavy on symbol, it draws a lot on traditional narrative devices and gives stark, analytical spins to them, (sometimes to such a violent degree, it becomes surprising or disquieting, and I've done my fair amount of research on the psychology of myth and fairy-tales; that's Valente for you). Monomyth is a concept that comes up a lot. Turing test too, to an ironic (bittersweet, vindictive, awesome) final mention.

 

It's a slow piece, patchwork style and complex. It demands you to think, about what you are reading and about things like the definition of feelings, of love, of being and self, of likeness and difference, of knowledge against imitation, and where the line is drawn. I had to reassess many of them in my mind as I read, and that's really something.

Review
3 Stars
Rose Lady
Shalador's Lady - Anne Bishop

Nothing remarkable about this one. Like the previous install, it read more like a romance set in the Dark Jewell's world, with some glimpses in the main cast if you "are just here for Godzilla". That said, it does OK, or at least it didn't make me want to throw it against the wall out of the sheer stupidity inside like Tangled Webs.

Review
5 Stars
Spoiled sour meets spoiled sick
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

LOVED it. Sour Mary, spoiled Colin, chatty Martha, angelic Dickon, curmudgeon Ben, wise Mother, the whole thing.

 

Best part for me was where Mary starts shouting to Colin over his hypochondria induced tantrum. Lord, was the girl vicious! It was funny in an overboard, freeing way.

 

A very sweet classic  that makes you love unlikely leads.

Talk about characters you hate to love
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

This is an awesome begginning! I'm torn between amusement, pity and annoyance (much like when in front of one of those cluelesly spoilt children) and it's grand.

Review
3 Stars
This is not that book
Insomnia - Stephen King

I reckon I'll have to come back to this one after I've read the whole Dark Tower saga. Knowing the broad strokes of King's over-arching mythos I got most of what was going on, but I don't think I enjoyed it as much as I might.

 

That said, it was not what I expected. I thought it would explore a failing mind by sleep deprivation into scary country, with some supernatural thrown in. This is not that book. Just letting you guys know, if you come with the same hope. Because that stuff in the hands of King would be freaking amazing.

Reading progress update: I've read 150 out of 272 pages.
The Phantom Tollbooth - Jules Feiffer, Norton Juster

I'm having serious trouble finishing this one. It's pretty clever and punny, yet I can't listen over five minutes without becoming drowzy. It's putting me to sleep like no bussiness, and I keep backtracking to the last bit I remember making sense. Maybe I should try the text instead?

Review
3.5 Stars
Catch'em all
One Fell Sweep - Ilona Andrews

The end WAS a bit rushed. The hand-waive quality was most egregious in the last two sentences. And the Arland/Maud thing was so conveniently neat it was eye-roll inducing

 

BUT, like it always happens with this writting team, it was enormously fun. And the insta love finished burying that triangle (have you noticed how little they care for the device? More awesome).

 

I laughed and hooted in many places and couldn't take myself from it., so a win again.

 

Marias quoting galactic rules to some rogue ET just took the cake

(show spoiler)
Reading progress update: I've read 15%.
One Fell Sweep - Ilona Andrews

Arland looked at me as if seeing me for the first time. Yes, the princess you were expecting put on her armor and left to kill the dragon. So sorry.

 

Ha!

 

What was the poor warrior's widow to do? Avenge her husband, of course. Duh

My Twelve Tasks of the Festive Season

I'll be traying to takle Moonlight's and Obsidian's challenge

 

 

Task the First: The Winter Wonderland:

 

- Read a book that is set in a snowy place.

- If you are lucky enough to live in a snowy place, or even if you aren't, take a walk outside and post a picture of something pretty you encountered on your way.!

 

Task the Second: The Silent Nights:

 

- Read a book set in one of the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and/or Denmark), where winter nights are long!

- Get your hygge on! Hygge is a Danish concept that relates to being content and cozy. Put on your fuzziest socks, light a candle, and spend some time (reading) in front of the fireplace or your coziest nook. Post a picture if you want!

 

Task the Third: The Holiday Party:

 

- Read a book where a celebration is a big part of the action. Examples would include holiday parties, country house hunting/weekend parties, weddings, etc.

- Make something that is considered party food where you are from, and post a picture of it on booklikes.

 

Task the Fourth: The Gift Card:

 

- Read a book that you either received as a gift or have given as a gift.

- Give a book to a friend and post a picture of the wrapped present.

 

Task the Fifth: The Kwanzaa:

 

- Read a book written by an African-American author or set in an African country.

- Make a small donation to a charitable organization that operates in Africa.

 

Task the Sixth: The Hanukkah:

 

- Let the dreidel choose a book for you: create a list of four books, and assign a dreidel symbol to each one (Nun = miracle; Gimel = great; He = happened; Shin = there, i.e. Israel). Google "spin the dreidel," and a dreidel comes up for you to spin. Give it a spin and read the book that the dreidel chooses! 

- Make a traditional Hanukkah food like doughnuts or potato latkes. Post a picture, or tell us how they turned out!

 

Task the Seventh: The Christmas:

 

- Read a book set during the Christmas holiday season.

- Grab your camera (or your phone) and set up a Christmas bookstagram-style scene with favorite holiday reads, objects or decorations. Possibly also a cat. Post it for everyone to enjoy!

 

Task Eighth: The Movie Ticket

 

- Read a book that has been adapted to a holiday movie.

- Go see a new theater release this holiday season (during November/December. This does not have to be a holiday movie, so yes, Fantastic Beasts will qualify).

 

Task the Ninth: The Happy New Year

 

- Every year you get a little bit older! Read a coming of age novel or any old favorite comfort read to start the new year right.

- If you're feeling brave, post a holiday picture of yourself from your childhood or misspent youth.

 

Task the Tenth The Holiday Down Under

 

- Read a book set in Australia or by an Australian author,  or read a book you would consider a "beach read".

- Christmas crackers are a traditional part of an Australian Christmas. Buy some (or make your own) to add to your festivities and share some pictures!

 

Task the Eleventh: The Polar Express

 

- Read a book that involves train travel (such as Murder on the Orient Express).

- Read a classic holiday book from your childhood (to a child if you have one handy) or tell us a story about a childhood Christmas you'd like to share.

 

Task the Twelfth: The Wassail Bowl

 

- Read a book set in the UK, preferably during the medieval or Victorian periods (for those of us doing the Merlin read-along, the Crystal Cave works for this task).

- Drink a festive, holiday beverage, alcoholic or non-alcoholic. Take a picture of your drink, and post it to share - make it as festive as possible!

 

This will be so much fun!! *grins* I'll be thinking about which books to place where.

Review
2.5 Stars
Another dystopian teen meh
Wither (Chemical Garden) - Lauren DeStefano

It wasn't BAD. It wasn't good in any different or outstanding way either. Too many of it's type crowding the shelves, and some of them are decidedly better.

 

There were some nice bit's on the relative strengh of the realtionships betweend sister wives and wife and husband, and there was some ring of truth in the blurriness between a self preserving act, compassion and true caring.

 

Most lacked any meat for me, and since it was set up as a first volume and little else, it did little to satisfy me in any respect unless I choose to take on the following.

Review
2.5 Stars
Victorian les-yay
Carmilla - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Docked some stars because the general's niece's story was one huge repetition of the story so far, and it got booooooring.

 

That said, I'm mind-boggled by the barely conceiled, heavy lesbian undertones. There are a couple of scenes that are thinly disguised orgasms and one that could easily be read as Carmilla using Laura's hand to achive it. Clearly, I'd had a gap in my Victorian reading.

Review
4 Stars
So here I am, finished with the re-read
Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels) - Ilona Andrews

Eighth part is not so shiny on a second round. Compared with the previous volume at least. The episode contained is engaging, and there where some developements, mostly showing where everyobody fits now the landscape has changed so drastically. In a way, it is a necessary install to get things settled before going forward, and the plot is a way to carry the overarching details.

 

I missed more pages with my favourite characters, but we got Mitchell, who was interesting, and some detail to Luther, who was a passing name in the 5th and is a blast.

 

Mahon makes me feel like getting me a bear-rug.

Review
3.5 Stars
Always entertaining
Apprentice in Death - J.D. Robb

Double points for the adult fear: that was sucky parenting in a real every-day way.

 

Love Eve's continuing dread over children and dolls.

Review
2.5 Stars
Trampoline
Danse Macabre - Stephen King
King is a very personable author, one of those few who "talk" like they write, and can charm and engage you without the use of a plot. For me, this volume amounted to an entertaining book long list of things I want to read and see with flashes of insight an a lot of summaries. Not so great, but something I'll come back for reference. My tbr pile is weeping under the added weight.

currently reading

Progress: 150/272pages
Progress: 160/237pages
The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket
Under the Lilacs - Louisa May Alcott
A Painted Goddess (A Fire Beneath the Skin Book 3) - Victor Gischler
On Writing - Stephen King