draggonlaady: (Teddy)
A fairly quick read (as you might notice given the time stamps between this entry and the one prior), Merrie Haskell's Handbook for Dragon Slayers was very, very good. A young princess chafing at her duties, and convinced everyone hates her because of her lameness, Mathilda's strongest desire is to be an author. I highly encourage you all to follow her adventures as she is kidnapped, rescued, faces dragons and The Wild Hunt, and battles sorcery with wits.

My only complaint is that we never get to hear how Frau Dagmar managed her part!
draggonlaady: (Teddy)
I just finished book 1 of the Princess series by Jim C Hines, and it was a lovely, fun read. Had some predictable bits, of course, but that'll happen when you're basing your characters on well known fairy tales and legends. And there were some wonderful (and wonderfully awful) twists on those fairy tales, too. Basic premise is that after Cinderella's wedding, her stepsisters didn't just fade quietly into the background - they returned for revenge and kidnapped the prince. So Cinderella sets off in company of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty to rescue him. Quick paced and light hearted, it was just the sort of story I needed to distract me from worries about taxes.

Moving on now to Handbook for Dragon Slayers, by Merrie Haskell.

Redliners

Nov. 18th, 2012 05:52 pm
draggonlaady: (Default)
Just finished Redliners, by David Drake. I don't think I've read any of Drake's stuff before. This was... well, a redemption story, I guess. In a way. It was also explicitly a PTSD/shell shocked warrior tale, so potentially triggery on said topic. I think it was quite well done, but it was not always exactly enjoyable to read. Then again, I can't imagine any war stories that really are always enjoyable are very much about war, so there's that.

I had a few moments early on in the book where some of the science struck me as forced for plot, but once past the initial battle, things revolved primarily around characters and character interaction, and less around the science aspect of the sci-fi. For those who fear that sounds awfully "Hallmark Special-y", don't worry, there's not much sappy. In scanning the author profile, it seems Mr Drake is a veteran himself, so he's potentially writing on a subject he's had experience with, and he doesn't try to brush everything up and make it all roses.

Anyway, that's kind of a twisty way of saying I think it was a good one, but don't read it if you are hoping for cheery fluff.

Bad Streak

Aug. 19th, 2012 09:35 pm
draggonlaady: (Default)
Hmm. Well, first book I tried tonight was a fail. Fables in Slang, by George Ade, which is supposed to be modern and funny but I find myself put off by the random capitalization and at least the first 2 stories (all I've read/will read tonight, at least) were not amusing to me.

Moved on instead to Four Infiltrations and a Wedding, another Smashwords download, by Lichfield Dean.
It has potential, but needs a good editor. Some amusing bits, fairly predictable bumbling romance. I am a bit disappointed in that the woman isn't really portrayed as clever enough to hold up her end of the screwball comedy routine, she's got the sweet bit down, but seems frightfully naive for her supposed role in life.
Okay, I admit it, I'm just in it for the hats: "hats that... did things. Crazy things. Outlandish things. Things that hats had no business doing, especially the one that kept performing double somersaults with twist."
Hmm. Ending was a bit sudden... Definitely could use a good editor.

Okay. enough free download stuff. Fables it is. Book 6: Homelands.
draggonlaady: (Default)
I read a couple short stories while away from the computer and The Sky So Big and Black, so brief summaries:

Chewed through 2 Cory Doctorow stories; I Row-boat and A Place So Foreign. Both are available for free download from his website. I encourage you to go try some of his stuff if you haven't.
I Row-boat was twisty and fun, and other than feeling sorry for the parrotfish (you'll understand if you read it), I really liked it. A fairly short story, so a quick read, and I really enjoyed the concept of spam as the origin of successful artificial intelligence.

A Place So Foreign was good, but I didn't enjoy it quite as much. I am a bit slow, sometimes - I sort of half-caught some things but didn't understand the underlying meanings until much later, which had me pretty confused and distracted from the story for a while. Also, I think Bruce may have gotten tired of seemingly random questions like "Hey, who wrote The Island of Dr. Moreau?" and "No, I a CERTAIN Verne didn't write War of the Worlds, what the Hell, has Doctorow lost his mind?" It made sense eventually, but I had a harder time getting into this one.

I also attempted but gave up on Breaking Down, by Lelanthran Krishna Manickum (downloaded from Smashwords). Yeah, yeah, I know, it's only 8 pages long, but I still only made it half way. Just not into the whole "God was a mis-understood, lost alien" concept, I guess.

I did make it all the way through Samantha Warren's Battle of Black River, which I apparently downloaded from amazon at some point. It was decidely mediocre; the intro to a series, apparently, but not one that I think I'll be pursuing.

And now I'm gonna pull up something nice and fluffy, cuz The Sky So Big And Black seems to've left a bit of a heavy spot in my emotions.
draggonlaady: (Grinding Bones)
Yeah, so the "grinding bones" avatar seems morbidly appropriate given the end of that chapter (pg 290). I sure hope the ability to repair/replace limbs in that world is well advanced, because damn. And much proud/happy that Teri got over the bigotry to make that hike.

Wrapped it up... the whole meme thing is fascinating and spooky. No detail was ever given about how the fixed Teri's legs. The Narrator didn't become someone likeable until he had half his personality and memories ganked and re-written. All in all, I think I could have done without the Narrator, just followed Teri and been happy with it. It got off to a slow start, but Teri's part was definitely a good story. I am left wanting to know more about where she goes from here, and really still very curious about the Marsforms.
draggonlaady: (Filtered)
Yep. That chapter was just about depressing as Hell.

Off to float on the river for a while, will be back to read about the after effects of the Sunburst later.
draggonlaady: (Vampire Cat)
Thoughts continue:

There's a cat named Pywacket. ok, thought 1: i have a patient named piewacket. I really should look up the origin of this name. thought 2: they brought cats with them? that seems... cool, but unexpectedly bowing towards frivolous for a desperation refugee colony. So I looked it up, and it's probably from Pyewacket, the imp familiar of an accused witch.

Page 100: "We used explosives all the time, but if we had tried to carry as much as we needed for a season, we'd have been weighed down pretty badly, not to mention prone to abrupt disappearances into clouds of pink mist." heheheheh

Page 104: I knew Perry was bad news. Dipshit. Though it's really sounding more and more like he was a loser not worth her effort in the first place.

Page 110: Really? you think your da will not notice that you didn't schedule time for a freaking wedding? He knows something's wrong, woman, just fess it up!

Page 147 and the gig is seriously up for loser Perry. And he deserves every night of sleeping alone he's got coming up, the ass.

Page 154: Dad gives good advice. "You'll like yourself better, sooner, if you get out and around right now, before you have too much inertia to overcome. Get out, get around, give people the impression you've already shaken off the dumb son of a bitch and six more like him."

Page 157: "Next guy, I told myself, would be just as good looking, ten times as smart, and not serious at all.

Page 163: half way through and we start getting some info on the memes everyone is scared of.

Page 171: Hey, narrator guy said something amusing: "If I can show that Ted did whack Bob with an ax until such time as Bob's head did separate from his shoulders, and that Bob was clearly established to be alive until and including the moment when the which said axe did strike his neck, and Bob was dead afterward or shortly afterward, together with the coroner's statement to the effect that very likely the cause of death was decapitation, then we need know nothing of Ted's genes, memes, or toilet training, and it is a waste of my time and taxpayer's money to ask."
We now return the narrator to his regularly scheduled drinking binge.

Page 202: "I just wanted to wish you good luck and everything and say it wasn't anything personal."
"Perry, there were all kinds of reasons I was crazy about you these past couple years, but posreal, your brains'as never one of 'em. You dumped your fiancee and married another girl. It had fucking well better be personal, cause if it was all just business then you're not only a bigger bastard than even I would've thought, but you just blew the biggest deal of your life, too."

Bianca was a very proficient attention seeker, and always so bouncy and glad to be alive that any sensible person would want to wring her neck; the kind that teachers, who are never sensible people, just love.

Alik was a perfectly easy kid to get along with as long as you remembered that he was ten years old and limward precocious, made big allowances for that, and then tied him to a chair and gagged him.

And looks like we're at the end of fun times for Teri, so I'm gonna save the trauma for next time. Sleep sweet, ya'll.

By Request

Aug. 12th, 2012 10:01 pm
draggonlaady: (Vampire Cat)
This review is going to be a little different - I was requested by [livejournal.com profile] sagaciouslu for thoughts on a couple books, so I'm going to be writing as I read instead of just a quick "I liked it" summary at the end. That means there will probably be spoilers. Get over it - the book's been out for a decade. The Sky So Big And Black, by John Barnes

[livejournal.com profile] sagaciouslu - before you start reading this, keep in mind that I pick things apart and proofread compulsively. Just cuz I point out negative details doesn't mean I don't like the overall total! Though If I don't like it, I'll tell ya... :D

First page and we've already got a phrase I like: I raise my glass to my own reflection in the mirror by the door; lately this is as close as I get to drinking with a colleague.

Hmm. We've got 15 pages of establishing that the narrator is a lonely guy who drinks too much... time to move on?

Ok, we're at 20 pages and whiskey number 4... as-yet-nameless narrator has been waxing philosophical about the next generation for several pages. I am perhaps a bit impatient, but isn't there supposed to be action about here? I understand you have to establish the characters but...

Page 22 we get to what I think is the main character, based on the back of the book.

Page 26; I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about the details of terraforming. I kind of like the concept of getting paid for spreading shit, though.

"Your aunt Callie is real nice about accidentally getting luxury goods to wander into our mail."

So I'm a bit confused here. Earlier, we were told specifically that folks mark age by earth years still, but everything else by Mars time. Now we're in Teri's story, and the only age indicator we have is the year she was seven... but she's talking about getting married and Dad says he got married younger than she is? Clearly there's been some time lapse there, but it's never really stated.
Okay, 5 pages later we have mention of "next 10 Mars years, so you probably won't be forty yet", which makes her about 20 Earth years? Maybe? Makes more sense for marrying, but I feel like trying to work this stuff out is a bit distracting from the story.
Page 41 we get a definitive answer, she's 15. In the meantime there was some pretty interesting discussion of Marsformed humans (as opposed, of course, to Terraformed Mars surface) and the debate about whether it's better to fit their descendants to the planet or fit the planet to themselves. Also, I want a picture of the Marsform, it sounds interesting.

ooh, deep driller sounds seriously dangerous and cool.

Clearly I am a total geek. Teri and her geography lessons are way more interesting to read than narrator and his philosophizing.

hahahahahahahahahahaahaha! "The next time...I hope you're a full adult, so that I can give you a beating and have it be simple assault instead of child abuse." (page 62 now, going a lot faster since we've been following Teri instead of narrator.)

Her dad had a bad habit of telling his little girl the truth, too. Probably spoiled her for life.

Page 80. The more I hear of her beau, the more I think Teri can do better for herself.

Bed time for me. More later. There's clearly been a lot of research put into this book, in geology and astronomy especially. Not a fluffy sort of sci-fi with randomly unexplained major precepts. Makes me wish I knew more about it. Liking Teri steadily more as we go, though her hang-up about the Marsforms is kind of grating on my anti-prejudice nerves.
draggonlaady: (Vampire Cat)
I have just finished Mayer Alan Brenner's Dance of the Gods series, wrapped up with Spell of Apocalypse.

I quite enjoyed the series, but must warn you that editing seemed to get a little more lax with each book. Some of my favored lines from the aptly titled Apocalypse:

"He's a bit too dangerous for that, like deciding to train an asp as a house pet. It can be done, but why bother?"

"You'd think as a freelance, currently beholden to me, you might have a little more discretion where you sling your insults."
He looked thoughtful. "Could that be why I've never had a regular job?"

My brother has a regular diet of appetizers made from people who though they had the drop on him.

"I am not ready to retire. There is always enough energy for revenge. This is a central tenet of godhood."

It would be nice if they could just conveniently destroy each other, which was exactly why it was hopelessly unlikely that would ever come to pass.

"Will you kill him now?" Svin asked.
"No," Gashanatantra said thoughtfully. "I think there's been a bit too much of that lately, don't you?"
"He seemed ready to kill you!," Jurtan pointed out.
"Yes, well," said Gashanatantra, "I think he was only having his fun. I could have most likely talked him out of it."

"For anyone fond of the old order, or of civic order in general I suppose, the situation is fairly apocalyptic."

"If it's all the same to you," stated Shaa, "personally speaking I would rather not be the proximate cause of death to thousands and eradication of races. My medical training, you understand."

The potential audience might be reduced somewhat if it was necessary to learn a defunct language before you could start on the first page.

_____________________________

I shall now move on to The Sky So Big and Black, by John Barnes. :)
draggonlaady: (Vampire Cat)
Another book finished - this one ended mid-action abruptly enough that I made disgruntled growling sounds upon discovering the last page. Bruce asked if someone in the book had died unexpectedly. JUST THE WHOLE DAMN BOOK! Good thing I already downloaded the final book in the series, bwahahahahahahahah.

Anyway, this one was a bit more serious/action, with context-driven jokes building up over several pages and fewer one-liners. But I saved you a couple:

Eden and Zalzyn Shaa had their eccentricities, but Arznaak, the first-born, had a far more intimate relationship with the borderland of sanity.

But then why was she feeling these curls of electricity? Why, although she didn't particularly like cats or cat-based metaphors, did she feel like nothing other than purring of all things?

Anything approximately human but unambiguously male might do for Dalya in a pinch.

"He seems to specialize in making people nervous," commented Leen. "You seem better at making them aggravated."

"I am requisitioning your vehicle."
"You couldn't fit inside it," Favored yelled back through the speaking-tube, "and you couldn't fly it if you could!"
"Of course," the god said impatiently. "I am requisitioning you too."

Books

Jul. 22nd, 2012 09:49 pm
draggonlaady: (Vampire Cat)
Finished Spell of Intrigue, which was funny and convoluted and entertaining and I recommend it. Will move on to the third of the series this week I think. Took a brief break from that world to wade through Tales of the Starbuck Avenger, by Jeffrey Channing Wells.
Superhero comedy for the win! You can read TotSA at the esteemed Mr. Wells' livejournal, or go to this post for a downloadable ebook version. I opted for the ebook download, but he's got a bunch of short stories and other stuff well worth checking out on the original livejournal, and I fully intend to read more of that in the future. :)

For now though, sleep. Sleep will be had, as morning will creep in to disturb me entirely too soon.
draggonlaady: (Vampire Cat)
Work is busier than busy this week, so free time is lacking. Still reading Spell of Intrigue and chuckling along. Thought I'd share another quote or three with you:

"Vermin infestation, that's a nice turn of phrase. Do me a favor though, don't use it as a form of address when we're with these folks, okay? Trying to talk somebody into doing something they don't think they should do isn't made any easier by calling them Your Verminship."

On being a detective: "Thought is thought, I said. "That's all it is and that's all it takes, that and a willingness to talk to people, get lied to, get beaten up occasionally just like a regular person, spend a lot of your time frustrated and bored, and ultimately find out things you didn't really want to know in the first place."

I was trying to annoy her, at least a little. I didn't want her to start feeling happy I was around, or worse yet, comfortable. As long as she though we were married, I didn't want her to get the idea that maybe whatever was wrong between us was on the way to being reconciled.
draggonlaady: (Vampire Cat)
Some time ago, I read a book by Mayer Alan Brenner, Spell of Catastrophe. I promptly downloaded the rest of the series (available from the author's website, no piracy here!) and then never got around to reading them. I'm gonna fix that now, and rejoin the adventures of Maximillian the Vaguely Disreputable. Today I started Spell of Intrigue, and 14 pages in am already encountering lines I feel the need to share. The hell did I wait so long to continue this series? Bah.

"Adventuring is an improvisational art."

"It's my kids," he said, "I should never have had kids in the first place. That was the beginning of the end. They warp your whole sensibility. You should have some."

Max was fully at home with the company of a highly functioning mind. The Lion, Max had discovered, had a brain with which no one could find fault, but was reticent to the point of pulling teeth about actually using it...

I had deep reservoirs of total incompetence whose surfaces I had barely begun to scratch.
draggonlaady: (Vampire Cat)
A wonderful, wonderful man in Pullcow (howdy, E!) introduced me years ago to the amazing worlds of Charles de Lint's imagination. It has been probably 3 years since I read anything by him, and I've been missing the eerie overlap of this world and that world that is the hallmark of de Lint's writing. So I picked up The Riddle of the Wren at a used book store recently. This is the first of his young adult that I've read (and I wasn't even aware he wrote young adult fiction until I nabbed this). It is also the first of his novels that I've read - prior experiences have been chains of short stories, many with recurring characters and/or shared worlds. Turns out this is the first novel he wrote, so kind of appropriate that it's the first I read, I guess. It is set in its own universe, a universe of many balanced worlds that can be traveled to and from if one has some magic and knows the secrets of the gates. The main character is a 17 year old girl from a backwater, magic-less world who is tossed headlong into the wider universe after an encounter with a malicious wizard. It was a very fun and satisfying read, and I recommend it, but ultimately wasn't what I was looking for - no fault of de Lint's writing or the story, but I was hoping for a return to the traces of wonder in this world sort of stories of Jenny Coppercorn and her lot. Any disappointment I found was for having expectations in blind disagreement to the description on the back of the book. So read it. And read anything else you can find of Charles de Lint's works, they are fabulous.

Reviews

Jul. 3rd, 2012 07:35 pm
draggonlaady: (Vampire Cat)
Whole buncha stuff to review, get ready to read.
Currently watching Lifeforce, which is a really...uhm...odd movie. The science is sketchy at best, and clearly the characters have no concept of quarantine, and have never seen a horror movie. Currently, Patrick Stewart is being possessed by a french brunette girl who is also a vampire from space. Yeah. and the male lead may be about to kiss Patrick Stewart. yup. he kissed him. now flashy lights and bad special effets with totally unexplained telkinesis? Right. You get the idea. Watch it with wine, the movie brings the cheese. (Bruce complains that the nudity has dropped off as the weird has picked up.)
Dammit, I totally should have done a running commentary on this movie from the start! MUPPET PATRICK STEWART IS BLEEDING FROM HIS FACE! hahahahhahahahaa (oh, trust me, it was funny).

And books I've read since last I reviewed:
Stolen, by Kelley Armstrong. This is the second in a series, and I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about the series. Overall good--as you'll note I keep reading them--but she insists on intermittently throwing in things that just grate on me, like comments about Rottweilers not knowing how to do anything but kill. I did think her evasion of gun details was hilarious (main character states "I'm Canadian. I don't know anything about street guns. He did something with it.") and overall enjoy the characters and stories. I picked her books up because of a short story of hers that I read a while back (http://draggonlaady.livejournal.com/330846.html), and her sense of humor stays true through the books I've read.

Count Zero, by William Gibson. The sequel to Neuromancer. Very good, but rather hovers in Neuromancer's shadow, and doesn't really set itself apart until about 2/3 of the way through. Definitely worth the read, and I'll certainly read Mona Lisa Overdrive too, but he may have hit the high mark with Neuromancer.

The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag is a collection of short stories by Robert A. Heinlein. As usual when picking up one of his books after a time away, I am reminded of why I so love Heinlein. His works are such an enjoyable mix of the silly and the philosophical. I was especially fond of the last story in the collection, "He Built A Crooked House".

Raft, by Stephen Baxter. I actually didn't finish this book - I just could not get engaged with the world or the characters, and so after an evening of reading and making it about a quarter of the way through, I set it down and picked up a different book the next day. This was the first novel Baxter published, so maybe his later books are a bit easier to get into? Here's hoping.
draggonlaady: (Default)
Just finished Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld. For such a hefty book, it was a surprisingly quick read-I picked it up and finished it in one straight read of about 5-6 hours. Not bad time for 425 pages, I suppose. Good world concept, engaging story, and most of the characters were quite good...except that I really wasn't fond of the main character. Don't get me wrong; she's not a silly empty shell non-character, like the cardboard cut-out girl-shaped hole in the story that was the lead in Twilight. Tally is a very well-developed, well-written, and convincing character. It's just that she was so... lacking conviction? Weak willed, I guess. She didn't really start showing a spine and standing up for herself instead of just running away from each successive push until the very end of the book. I am pretty sure that the second book will be about redemption for the bullshit she allowed herself to be pushed into in the beginning of the first, but I don't HAVE the second book. Yet. Good sign for how engaging the writing is, I suppose, that I fully intend to acquire the sequel, Pretties, despite my lack of empathy with the main character through most of the first book.
draggonlaady: (Default)
I just got around to reading this Roald Dahl book. Yes, I realize it's shocking that I'd never read it. But now I have, so you can stop being shocked. I am uncertain how well I liked it... I feel like it was a reasonably good book, but I'm still disappointed and that may be because I had over-high expectations, because it is such a classic? Not sure... also I feel sorry for all the seagulls left trailing silk ropes around their necks indefinitely. But maybe I'm weird?
draggonlaady: (Default)
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest was delightful, in a grim and zombie-infested sort of manner. This book actually precedes the last book I reviewed from her, Dreadnought, so you should read Boneshaker first, but you should read both. :)

I've also finished off Nightbirds on Nantucket by Joan Aiken. I rather enjoyed it, though not as much as I enjoyed her book Wolves of Willoughby Chase. Both are children's books, but Ms. Aiken has a lovely way of not talking down to her young readers. She also manages to do a good bit of suspense without resorting to the gore of most suspense books written for adults. And she manages to avoid being utterly predictable in her suspense, which rather helps with the whole suspense thing. Anyway, Nightbirds was a bit sillier than Wolves, but I liked them both.

And I'm sure you'll all be terribly surprised to hear that Patricia Briggs' latest Mercy book, River Marked, was a great addition to the series. FINALLY got some more detail on Mercy's background, which was fun, and this whole book was more of a Native American myth base than most of the series, which has dealt primarily with "imported" supernatural from Europe.

Book Review

Apr. 8th, 2012 01:01 pm
draggonlaady: (Default)
Finished Raven's Strike by Patricia Briggs. This was the second in a duology...you may infer from the part where I finished the second book that I liked the first. :D
I am generally fond of Patricia Briggs' work, and as usual was quickly caught up in her characters, and found it difficult to stop reading at sleeping time. I did think this one was a tad more predictable than many of her other books, as I had identified the "secret bad guy" long before the reveal. That didn't prevent me from enjoying the reading though, just that I had a couple moments of wanting to grab a character by the shoulder and shake them to draw their attention to something they should have seen. heh.

And now, on to Boneshaker by Cherie Priest.

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