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moonlightreader

Moonlight Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Bingo host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Reading progress update: I've read 30%.

The Shadow Land - Elizabeth Kostova

This isn't at all what I expected when I made the request on netgalley. I'm going to persevere, because it is engaging enough, but I was expecting something with a folklore/mythology/supernatural tinge to it, and that's not this book. So far, at least.

The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan

Voyage of the Basilisk: A Memoir by Lady Trent - Marie Brennan

I had been awaiting this one with enthusiasm because Charles Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle has always enthralled me. I’m not particularly a ship/boat person, but the idea of a scientist travelling ’round the world studying the natural world is extremely appealing to me. So, this book would be, I hoped, the opportunity to read of such a fictional voyage.

 

 

A cross-section view of the hold of The Beagle

 

It was quite a satisfying tale, although there wasn’t quite as much travelling as I had hoped. Natalie doesn’t join her on this trip, although her son, now nine-years-old, does, and becomes entirely obsessed with ships. Lady Trent has the opportunity to swim with the dragon turtles!

 

But I did not need to be a champion swimmer to see the dragon turtles, for they are both huge and relatively fearless of human company. In shape they are more like enormous turtles than anything else. Their shell alone is often two meters or more in length, and when they extend their flippers, a swimmer feels positively tiny in comparison. The name “dragon turtle,” however, derives from the shape of the head, which is indeed like that of a Dajin dragon: a thrusting, squarish muzzle; flaps of skin depending from the jaw; long whiskers which dance in the current as the turtle swims.

 

And she visits an island where she ends up becoming embroiled in a political scandal, after scaring the natives who are convinced that she is “dragon-spirited” because her refusal to behave in a traditionally feminine manner. There’s a rather amusing part of the book where she ends up “married” to a local woman because that’s the only way to satisfy the native population that she’s safe to keep around.

 

“Do you believe you are neither male nor female?”

 

I almost gave a malapert answer, but caught myself in time. We had an established habit of intellectual debate, and I valued it; I would not discard it now. “So long as my society refuses to admit of a concept of femininity that allows for such things,” I said, “then one could indeed say that I stand between.”

 

Finally, Lady Trent rides a dragon. Well, a sea serpent who is a dragon, but still.

 

Whereupon I realized that we were, indeed, riding a dragon. I cannot honestly recommend the practice to my readers. Apart from the number of Keongans who have been killed attempting this very feat, it is not very comfortable. The ragged cuts on my knees and elbows stung unmercifully. Every time the serpent dove, I was buffeted by the water until it realized the error of its ways and surfaced once more. Again and again it drew in water and expelled it in a blast, for that was its defense against what troubled it, and the beast’s mind could not encompass the fact that this annoyance could not be disposed of in such fashion; but it came near to working regardless, for the shuddering of the serpent’s body whenever this happened threatened to dislodge us. There was no moment of the entire experience that was not a precarious struggle to stay aboard. And yet for all of that, it was one of the grandest experiences of my life.

 

At this point in the book, she becomes embroiled – once again – in a royal Scirling government scandal, and is basically sent home subject to the official secrets act after saving the life of a grateful Princess. I should probably also mention Suhail, a foreign archaeologist from a vaguely middle eastern country, with whom Isabella is quite taken, and from whom she is abruptly separated at the end of this book when his father, the Sheikh, dies unexpectedly and he is called home. All in all, this was an incredibly satisfying outing in the series, and I’m looking forward to the fourth book, In The Labyrinth of Drakes.

A Lady Trent free short story

 

For those of you who've followed my reviews on the Memoirs of Lady Trent, Marie Brennan published a fun, epistolary and snark filled short story on Tor.com. It's free, and basically non-spoilery, although it takes place between books 3 and 4.

 

If you're interested, you can find it here.

Jane Austen + Magic = Not As Awesome As I Had Hoped

Shades of Milk and Honey  - Mary Robinette Kowal

Overall, I found this book to be a disappointment.

 

I started out listening to the audiobook, and kept getting distracted because it moved so slowly that I decided to read it instead. I did finish it last night, rather quickly, so this is one of those rare occasions where my initial chosen format didn’t work for the story.

 

When I decided to read the book, I expected to like it a lot, because Jane Austen + magic sounds like the bomb. The problem that I had with the book was that the magic seemed incredibly weak and pointless to me. All anyone seems to be able to do with it is make their drawing rooms look extra pretty.

 

I also hated, hated, hated Jane’s sister Melody. She’s all of the worst parts of Lydia Bennett with none of the madcap charm. She was a total snot to Jane and I wanted someone to slap her into next Tuesday. I did not buy her whiny explanation that she was just jealous of all of Jane’s accomplishments for one minute. She was an unredeemably shallow, self-centered bitch, and it totally marred my enjoyment of the story. And Jane’s constant woe-is-meeeeeeing about her plainness was also pretty annoying. I kept wanting to tell her to buck the fuck up.

 

I also found all of the love interests to be unconvincing. We’ve got an obvious Mr. Wickham/Mr. Willoughby/Mr. Churchill stand-in who was even more obviously rotten than the other three. There’s also the romance between Jane and her suitor(s), which I again found pretty difficult to buy. The wrap-up of the romance was so quick that I couldn’t figure out how the two of them (and I’m not going to say who the ultimate winner of Jane’s hand was, since that’s a primary plot point that shouldn’t be divulged) actually ended up together. It was emphatically not as convincing as the Darcy/Lizzie pairing or the Emma/Mr. Knightly pairing. I couldn’t see it.

 

A lot of my bookish friends read and enjoyed this book much more than I did, and they saw depths to the book that I frankly missed, so I wouldn’t take my review as the final word on the subject. I also found the writing to be quite lovely. In addition, I’ve read that the series improves significantly after the first book, but they remain pretty expensive, so unless I can grab one on sale, I doubt I will be continuing. I may give the series one more chance with Glamour and Glass, but I’ve not decided yet.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods - Neil Gaiman

I decided that the time had come to read this in preparation for the Starz series, which looks amazing. I'll start by saying that I really liked this book, although I don't think that it has tipped The Graveyard Book out of it's Numero Uno spot as my favorite Gaiman. One of the most noteworthy things about Neil Gaiman is that each of his books is so unique. American Gods is very much an adult novel, and not simply because of the sexual content. The themes are grittier, and it lacks that undercurrent of sweetness that runs throughout The Graveyard Book.

 

American Gods is ambitious, setting out to do nothing less than put gods in the context of America. The book begins with an epigraph:

 

One question that has always intrigued me is what happens to demonic beings when immigrants move from their homelands. Irish-Americans remember the fairies, Norwegian-Americans the nisser, Greek-Americans the vrykólakas, but only in relation to events remembered in the Old Country. When I once asked why such demons are not seen in America, my informants giggled confusedly and said “They’re scared to pass the ocean, it’s too far,” pointing out that Christ and the apostles never came to America.

 

At the end of the book, Gaiman mentions that the question he's never been asked, that he thought he would be asked, was "How dare you." But the "how dare you" isn't the one that I personally expected, in the sense of "how dare you be such a heretic, talking about small g gods in the old U.S. of A, the most Christian nation in the world," but the question was "how dare you - as someone who is not an American - write a book about America.

 

I don't have a problem with the idea of Gaiman - someone who very much stands outside of America - writing a road trip novel set in America. I think he did a terrific job of getting at some of what makes America inexplicably different:

 

"No, in the USA, people still get the call, or some of them, and they feel themselves being called to from the transcendent void, and they respond to it by building a model out of beer bottles of somewhere they’ve never visited, or by erecting a gigantic bat-house in some part of the country that bats have traditionally declined to visit. Roadside attractions: people feel themselves being pulled to places where, in other parts of the world, they would recognize that part of themselves that is truly transcendent, and buy a hot dog and walk around, feeling satisfied on a level they cannot truly describe, and profoundly dissatisfied on a level beneath that.”

 

I'm not sure, are we the only place with roadside attractions? The corn palace, the Wall Drug, the bizarre shrines that pop up in the middle of nowhere, where people towing travel trailers stop in enormous parking lots to buy tiny commemorative spoons, paperweights and elephant ears? Maybe. I thought that aspect of the book was simply wonderful.

 

 

 

 

And, I loved the old gods. This was a whirlwind tour of folklore and myth, with Whiskey Jack, Czernobog and Mr. Nancy. Reading the book on kindle was tremendously helpful to me - I could highlight a name and wikipedia would whip out an entry that gave me an origin and a basic outline of the myth. Gaiman's creative use of non-standard mythology was inspired. I also enjoyed the roadtrip with Shadow - this book unfolds in layers, peeling back one at a time.

 

There were, however, two areas that I felt like the book struggled. First, while the old guys were drawn with depth and drama and pathos and humor, the new gods were . . . not.

 

“Now, as all of you will have had reason aplenty to discover for yourselves, there are new gods growing in America, clinging to growing knots of belief: gods of credit-card and freeway, of internet and telephone, of radio and hospital and television, gods of plastic and of beeper and of neon. Proud gods, fat and foolish creatures, puffed up with their own newness and importance."

 

Perhaps that was Gaiman's point: what we worship now, in 21st century America, is all flashing lights and emptiness. But, I have to say, there was nothing about the new gods that convinced me that they were actually being worshiped. If the gods come into being and power from belief and sacrifice, then the new gods should have had power. They should've been electric with it. And yet, they were bland and boring and ultimately sterile beings of nothingness. A dead woman dispatched them with ease, and they were outsmarted by the diminishing old gods. The most minor kobold operating in Lakeside had more power than the most powerful new god. And then, what happens when the new gods die? I'd like to know. Did the lights blink out? Did the television go black? Did the credit card machines stop functioning? Or are all of the gods, ultimately, sound and fury signifying nothing? Illusions, brought to life?

 

And, the other problem that I have with the book - and it's a biggie - is the utter absence of Christianity. Gaiman has him as just a guy walking down a road in Afghanistan. If Americans can conjure a god out of their credit cards simply by believing in them, then it is inconceivable that American Jesus wouldn't have a presence among the American Gods. We are a consumerist society, it is true, and Gaiman nailed that part of us, but we are also a deeply religious society. Much more so than his native England.

 

For better or for worse, for truth or for lie, for sacred or for profane, for sincerity or hypocrisy, American Jesus was absent from this book and that did not make sense to me. If this book were possible, I would expect there to be a hundred slightly different versions of Jesus presiding over parts of America, like the images in a funhouse mirror receding into mirrored infinity. You'd have your Lutheran Jesus, who eats jello salad with shredded carrots in church basements all around the midwest, and you'd have your angry abortion-clinic-picketing Jesus wandering randomly around the south with a gun, ready to shed blood for the babies, and your capitalist Jesus, dressed in an Armani suit, preaching the virtues of selfishness, a la Ayn Rand, surrounded by acolytes who all resemble Paul Ryan and who can't wait to shove the impoverished Americans out of the lifeboat. Without the many versions of Jesus Christ who are ubiquitous in American religion, the book feels incomplete.

 

What I’m trying to say is that America is like that. It’s not good growing country for gods. They don’t grow well here. They’re like avocados trying to grow in wild rice country.”

 

Gods may not grow well here, but old time religion certainly does, and that was absent from this book. I feel like it should've been in there, although that would've been a dangerous narrative choice for sure. Although anyone who would read this book would have to be willing to tolerate heresy, so I'm not sure that it would've made the book more likely to be controversial.

 

So, overall, I really liked this book, but I feel like it left some money on the table. It could've been better and didn't fully realize its promise. But it was damned good anyway!

Progress Updates: #AmericanGodsRAL

American Gods - Neil Gaiman

Parts 3 & 4:

 

Hopefully I will be able to put together an actual review in the next few days. This is the 5th book by Neil Gaiman that I've read, the others being:

 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Graveyard Book

Neverwhere

Stardust

 

Of those, this one is the grittiest and the weirdest. An eldritch book. One of those books that requires rumination in order to process it. 

 

 

It's easy, there's a trick to it, you do it or you die.

 

Part Two:

 

I finished Part 2 of 4 last night, and am at 70% - clearly Gaiman doesn't structure his parts with any sort of symmetry at all.

 

Lakeside is intriguing. There is definitely something going on there with all of the missing children, but as we've now left Lakeside, I'm not sure that I will ever find out what that might be.

 

I love Gaiman's description of Las Vegas:

 

"Las Vegas has become a child’s picture book dream of a city—here a storybook castle, there a sphinx-flanked black pyramid beaming white light into the darkness as a landing beam for UFOs, and everywhere neon oracles and twisting screens predict happiness and good fortune, announce singers and comedians and magicians in residence or on their way, and the lights always flash and beckon and call. Once every hour a volcano erupts in light and flame. Once every hour a pirate ship sinks a man o’ war."

 

I personally sort of hate Las Vegas, and this pretty much explains why. It is the fakest place that has ever been built, but not in an interesting way. In a vacuous, consumerist way. It figures that Vegas would come up in a book about American Gods.

 

What happened to Wednesday? Can he really be

dead

(show spoiler)

?

 

Part One:

 

Well, I finished part one this afternoon. One of the things that always strikes me when I read a book by Neil Gaiman is how unique each book is. He doesn't repeat himself, or fall back on the same themes again and again. 

 

Gaiman's vision of America is terrible and wondrous. He sees it from the outside, so he has really nailed some of the weirdest elements of our culture. I love the way that he talks about roadside attractions. I am an unrepentant fan of them myself, and am always up for a side trip to see Wall Drug, or whatever other shrine to the bizarre has popped up in the area of my path. 

 

 

"No, in the USA, people still get the call, or some of them, and they feel themselves being called to from the transcendent void, and they respond to it by building a model out of beer bottles of somewhere they’ve never visited, or by erecting a gigantic bat-house in some part of the country that bats have traditionally declined to visit. Roadside attractions: people feel themselves being pulled to places where, in other parts of the world, they would recognize that part of themselves that is truly transcendent, and buy a hot dog and walk around, feeling satisfied on a level they cannot truly describe, and profoundly dissatisfied on a level beneath that.”

 

So far, the new gods haven't made much of an appearance, showing up from time to time on television screens. The old gods are careworn, but much more interesting than what I've seen of the new gods

 

“Now, as all of you will have had reason aplenty to discover for yourselves, there are new gods growing in America, clinging to growing knots of belief: gods of credit-card and freeway, of internet and telephone, of radio and hospital and television, gods of plastic and of beeper and of neon. Proud gods, fat and foolish creatures, puffed up with their own newness and importance."

 

Epigraph:

 

One question that has always intrigued me is what happens to demonic beings when immigrants move from their homelands. Irish-Americans remember the fairies, Norwegian-Americans the nisser, Greek-Americans the vrykólakas, but only in relation to events remembered in the Old Country. When I once asked why such demons are not seen in America, my informants giggled confusedly and said “They’re scared to pass the ocean, it’s too far,” pointing out that Christ and the apostles never came to America.

 

Richard Dorson, "A Theory for America Folklore." 

 

All righty, then, the part with the man-eating vagina was certainly weird. 

Reading progress update: I've read 25%.

Voyage of the Basilisk: A Memoir by Lady Trent - Marie Brennan

"But I did not need to be a champion swimmer to see the dragon turtles, for they are both huge and relatively fearless of human company.

 

In shape they are more like enormous turtles than anything else. Their shell alone is often two meters or more in length, and when they extend their flippers, a swimmer feels positively tiny in comparison. The name “dragon turtle,” however, derives from the shape of the head, which is indeed like that of a Dajin dragon: a thrusting, squarish muzzle; flaps of skin depending from the jaw; long whiskers which dance in the current as the turtle swims."

 

I love these books so much. I wish dragon turtles existed.

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

The Falconer - Elizabeth May

I received a free e-copy of this book from netgalley.

I requested this book because I've been seeing the series by Elizabeth May popping up everywhere. Overall, I liked the book - it was sort of an 18th century Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with fae instead of vampires. I do have a few issues with the book, however.

First, it is awfully similar to the Karen Marie Moning Fever series, which makes it feel a bit derivative. In addition, one of the strengths of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was her relationship with her posse - Xander, Willow and Giles. It would've been nice to see some development of the supporting characters so that they could've been more active participants as opposed to being essentially window-dressing.

Finally, I do have an issue with the title of the book - it's a bit strange to call a book "The Falconer" when it doesn't even remotely involve falcons. I'm curious about book 2, and will likely continue the series. This one was enjoyable, but slight, and I doubt it will leave a lasting impression.

American Gods RAL: Let it begin!

Are you going to be watching American Gods on Starz next month? Do you want to read (reread) the book before the series starts? 

 

Image result for american gods

 

Join me for a RAL starting on April Fool's Day.

 

Tag your posts #AmericanGodsRAL

 

The series premiere is April 30th!

 

***

 

This is not an April Fool's joke! I am starting on this book once I finish my current read (and I'm at 80%, so soon). 

 

Anyone who is interested, find your copy!

The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan

The Tropic of Serpents - Marie Brennan

This was the third time I’ve read this book, and each time I like it a little bit more. I reread it in preparation for the third book, The Voyage of the Basilisk, because for some reason, I haven’t kept current on this series, in spite of the fact that it is one of my favorites on the strength of the first two books. Books 3 & 4 have been released, and the final book in the series, Within the Sanctuary of Wings, is scheduled for release on April 25.

 

In terms of the the plot, if you plan to read this series, and you haven’t finished book 1, it’s really impossible to discuss this book without spoiling two significant changes in Isabella’s life. When we left her at the end of book 1, she had just returned from Vystrana, after undertaking her first voyage of discovery as a “naturalist.” She returns, not as a wife, but as a widow, Brennan having conveniently disposed of Jacob, her husband. She also returns pregnant. The Tropic of Serpents picks up three years later, after Isabella’s son is born, as she begins to hunger for dragon-based adventures and discovery once again.

 

This series is actually more about women in science and in public life than it is about dragons. Dragons are the fiction around which Brennan builds her society, which is modeled on our own, late 19th century, world. Isabella’s scientific aptitude, her ambitious, intrepid nature and her unwillingness to be relegated to a traditional female role is the true north of the series. Everything else is an exploration of this – from her unfeminine interest in dragons (as opposed to more socially acceptable interests like horses or dogs) to her lack of interest in maternal things (which is acceptable in ladies only when their interest is diverted by frivolities, like dresses and gossip). Isabella is a deeply substantive woman, in a culture that doesn’t really know what to do with substantive women. And, aside from Lord Hilford, who manages to see her as a fully-realized human being and more than simply a walking womb, the men who surround her really have no idea what to do with her. She is changing the men she encounters as much as she is changing herself.

 

Reading that Mike Pence refuses to consume a meal alone with a woman peer immediately after reading this book is a disheartening reminder that, while we’ve come a long way baby, we apparently haven’t come far enough, and that there are still plenty of 21st century men who seem to be unable to view women as anything other than an ambulatory, speech-capable vagina.

 

On this outing, Isabella heads to the fictional Eriga, which seems to be somewhere in Africa, and gets involved in local politics. She manages to muddle about, immerse herself in the local (native) culture, and accomplish a feat of great environmental conservation all the while coping with a culture that is just as skeptical of women who act like men as her own. She plunges headlong into the swamp known as the Green Hell, and learns to fly, both literally and figuratively. We also meet Natalie, another young woman who is entirely disinterested in a typical female life, and I hope to learn more about Natalie in later books.

 

I am very excited for the Voyage of the Basilisks, as it sounds very much like the trip that Charles Darwin took on the The Beagle, a voyage that has captured my imagination since the moment I heard about it.

New mystery series for me to read!

Knife Creek - Paul Doiron

This was my first entry into the Mike Bowditch series, but it won't be the last. I've been a fan of C.J. Box Joe Pickett and William Kent Krueger Cork O'Connor series for several years, and I tend to read a lot of mysteries, so when I saw the cover of this book on netgalley, I initially assumed it was a new book in one of those series (unfortunately BL hasn't uploaded the cover yet - & I don't know how to add it!). I was very surprised when I saw that it was the 8th book in a series set in Maine that was totally new to me.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed Knife Creek. Mike Bowditch was an engaging character. I also really liked both of the secondary female characters, Dani & Stacey. I appreciated the fact that the author gave them competence and characteristics that were unrelated to their physical charms, even if Stacey is apparently intent upon being her own worst enemy. The mystery itself was interesting and well-done. I

 

have a huge weakness for series set in woodsy, northern locations, and this series hit all of those buttons. This book will appeal to fans of mystery, especially those who are fond of the woodsy/outdoorsy style of mystery like Joe Pickett. I plan to go back to the beginning of Mike Bowditch and work my way forward - Paul Doiron has acquired a new fan.

 

Thanks to Minotaur and Netgalley for providing me a free review copy of this book.

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent - Marie Brennan

As part of my Once Upon A Time springtime festival, I decided to finish the Lady Trent series. This has been a favorite series of mine, although I fell behind after the second book. The fifth and final book in the series, Within the Sanctuary of Wings, will be released on April 25, which gives me the opportunity to basically read the series right through in the next month.

 

I started Once Upon A Time by rereading the first book and reacquainting myself with Isabella. A Natural History of Dragons covers Isabella’s childhood and her early obsession with dragons. It is told in retrospect, by Lady Trent as an elderly woman looking back over her life – this one represents the first in her series of memoirs. By the time she is writing this book, she is a grande dame of society, no longer subject to its strictures by dint of her accomplishments.

 

Brennan does a fine job establishing Isabella’s character as a child who is deeply attracted to biology, to dissection, to “natural history,” which is really the Victorian name for “biology” at a time when society frowned upon girls being interested in intellectual pursuits. While she has constructed an entirely fantasy world, it is firmly based in the history of this one, with Scirling as a stand-in for Britain, with all of the shibboleths of Victorian culture.

 

One of the complaints that I read in other reviews of this series was that it was slow-moving, and that there weren’t enough dragons. I understand that criticism. If the reader is looking for a series like Eragon, or even Temeraire, where there is dragon/human interaction and overt magical intrusion, this is not that series. Essentially, Brennan has taken a character like Freya Stark or Isabella Bird and transplanted her into a world where dragons are real. This book shares much more with Amelia Peabody than it does with Harry Potter.

 

This first book in the series also describes Isabella’s first adventure to Vystrana, which is Eastern European in custom and description – a place like Hungary or the Czech Republic. Isabella is really hitting her stride during this expedition and maintains her adherence to many of the upper class customs and niceties of Scirling. She is under the protection of her husband, Jacob, and they are newly married, their explorations thus being both draconic and connubial. Isabella is not an easy wife, and Jacob is uneasy in his decisions. As was the case during that era, Isabella went directly from the protection of her father to the protection of her husband, and her unwillingness to be so limited is evident in both of those relationships.

 

I don’t want to spoiler too much, so I’m not going to say more in this review. Once I get to book 2, the major spoiler of this book will be revealed, but for now, I will leave it at this. This was a 4-star read for me.

Any Patricia McKillip fans out there?

I have somehow managed to never read one of her books, although I've heard such good things about her! I'm interested, but I have no idea where to start! If you're a fan, give me your top two in the comments below. If you've read one and liked it, let me know!

 

Thanks!

Once Upon A Time spring read

 

For many years, one of my favorite bloggers held a spring-time festival of all things fantasy, folklore, fairy tale and myth. He called it the Once Upon A Time Challenge, and it generally lasted between the first day of spring (the vernal equinox, which is today) and the first day of summer (summer solstice, June 20). Unfortunately, it seems to have gone by the wayside, since I went looking for it today and was unable to find any sign that it's coming back in 2017! He also had some of the most wonderful images, which I have borrowed for this post!

 

This is a major bummer for me. As fall, to me, is all about gothic literature, supernatural, terror, and crime, spring, to me, has developed into an opportunity to dive into epic fantasy and fairy tales. In spite of the fact that Once Upon A Time has been consigned, apparently, to the past, I'm going to move forward with the quest.

 

out10journey

 

The Journey:

 

The Way of Kings/Words of Radiance: I've been holding off on starting Sanderson's Stormlight Archive because I know that Sanderson is planning somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 more books, and therefore it will be frustrating, and I will likely shuffle off this mortal coil before he finishes. Nonetheless, the third book is planned for release in November, so I'm going to read the first two books for this project.

 

Lady Trent: I'm a huge fan of Marie Brennan's Lady Trent series, which is all about combining intrepid Victorian lady explorers in skirts with dragons!. I've read the first two books, and the fifth and final book is going to be released on 4/25. I'm going to reread the two first books, and then continue on with the final three to complete this series!

 

Series Rewatch TBD: I'm vacillating here between Grimm and Once Upon A Time. I've watched more of Grimm than OUAT, but I'm way behind on both. I'll advise once the decision is made. Suggestions are welcome.

 

Multimedia: I've been planning on re-reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell for a while, and while I am at it, I wouldn't object to watching the companion series.

 

American Gods: I've owned this book for years, and haven't ever gotten around to reading it. The series begins in April on Starz, and it looks amazing. I need to read this book, and I need to read it soon!

 

There will be more than this - fairy tales and folklore and fantasy will abound. I'd be interested in getting together a group read of something, if anyone else is interested!

 

 

 

 

Notice: Free Download for The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive, The) - Brandon Sanderson

To my fantasy reading friends, Tor.com is offering a free download of Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings on March 23 & 24. This is the first book in his Stormlight Archives series - the third book, Oathbringer, is scheduled for release November 14!

 

Grab the free download here!

 

And enjoy!

 

 

Devil's Claw by J.A. Jance - Book 8 in the Joanna Brady series

Devil's Claw - J. A. Jance

One of the things about reading a long series is that it can take several books for me, as the reader, to hit my stride in the same way that it can take several books for the author to hit her stride.

 

I've been enjoying this series, but at about the 75% mark in this book - the eighth in the series - I realized something. J.A. Jance writes horrible female characters. Aside from Joanna Brady, who is all things wonderful: bright, sexy, interesting, committed to justice, pretty badass, all of her women suck. SUCK.

 

Jance's portrayal of most of the older women in the series is incredibly, endlessly, one-dimensional and irritating. Joanna's mother is a superficial hypocrite who needs to be bitch slapped into next week. She is also just a little bit older than I am, which makes her utter lack of depth annoying as fuck to me, personally. We add Butch's mother to the mix, another older woman who seems to have been hit with the nasty stick more times than I can count.

Why is it that all of the older men get to be multi-dimensional characters whose flaws are balanced with fine, positive and at times even noble qualities, but every woman over the age of 50 doesn't work, has no real interests outside of being judgmental, and is a shallow bitch? Where is the local woman D.A. who has been a hardworking prosecutor in pursuit of justice for 20 years, whose been balancing work and family successfully for decades and whose children think she's amazing (I mean, hello, we exist!)? Where is the female bank manager? Marliss Shackleford, the gossip columnist, is essentially all of the negative qualities that I mentioned, whose horribleness is subsidized for profit. Could we please have a female character OTHER THAN Joanna Brady who engages in something more socially meaningful than being married and judging everyone within a 25 mile radius? Because that would be great.

So, Jance, this is bullshit. Fix it.