I was predisposed to be charmed by these stories. Look at the cover artwork with the tiny princess having tea with the dragon! Look at all the story t...moreI was predisposed to be charmed by these stories. Look at the cover artwork with the tiny princess having tea with the dragon! Look at all the story titles about grumpy dragons and precious things! The stories themselves feel traditional and modern all at the same time, and Price's hand on the writing is sure and smooth and fun.
Five-year-old me would have demanded this book be read to her every night at bedtime.
Ten-year-old me would have pulled this out concurrently with volumes of Brothers Grimm and other folklores and sincerely try to read all of them at the same time.
Seventeen-year-old me would have stumbled upon this while reorganizing her bookshelves with a Huh, I remember this. and spent the next 30 minutes rereading it without a trace of shame.
Oh, ha ha, this was excellent. The stories are brilliantly creative along the one solid theme, and I really like the illustrations that accompanied ev...moreOh, ha ha, this was excellent. The stories are brilliantly creative along the one solid theme, and I really like the illustrations that accompanied every story. (I’d say I was charmed by the surprise of finding them here – I hadn’t realized there were to be illustrations at all – but ‘charmed’ isn’t a word that gracefully accompanies an anthology of this theme.) I finished it practically in one sitting. Five stars.
You’re not reading this book for the story. You know the story. If you’re picking up this book, you’ve seen movie – movies – more times than you can c...moreYou’re not reading this book for the story. You know the story. If you’re picking up this book, you’ve seen movie – movies – more times than you can count. You’re reading this book for the execution. And let me tell you – the execution is hilaaarious.
Now you might be a little leery, what with George Lucas’ undo preference for a ‘revised’ Star Wars coupled with his tight control over the copyright of the franchise, and fear that not even the language of Shakespeare can make worth entering into that whole mess again, and that’s understandable. But unwarranted. Ian Doescher’s got you covered:
HAN: —Nay, not that: The day when Jabba taketh my dear ship Shall be the day you find me a grave man.
GREEDO: Nay oo’chlay nooma. Chespeka noofa Na cringko kaynko, a nachoskanya!
HAN: Aye, true, I’ll warrant thou has wish’d this day. [They shoot, Greedo dies.] [To bartender:] Pray, goodly Sir, forgive me for the mess. [Aside:] And whether I shot first, I’ll ne’er confess!
This is brilliant. By god, I hope Quirk publishes more. Five stars.
An ARC book was provided to me by the publisher through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program. Quote pulled from pp. 76-77 of ARC version of ISBN 978-1-59474-637-6. Finished copy may differ in pagecount and wording.
This blend of fantasy, horror, and science fiction is so directly keyed to my personal tastes it’s scary, and I ca...moreShortlist: Best book I read in 2013.
This blend of fantasy, horror, and science fiction is so directly keyed to my personal tastes it’s scary, and I cannot tell you how much fun it is read a story where the main characters start off as a solidly married pair. (It’s sad that’s so rare as to be notable.)
I’m not familiar with Staples artwork, but I really liked it here. It’s so clean and effective; nothing wasted and yet so evocative. I particularly liked how distinguishable every person is, each distinctly themselves. I can have problems identifying characters in some graphic novels (I’m looking at you, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and it was never a struggle here. Also notable is Staples’ use of color: the bulk of the book is done is blues, grays, browns, muted colors, and the electric pinks, yellows, and whites really pop when they’re used. And who did the lettering for this? I loved it; it seems to pull from some of the most effective aspects I remember from The Sandman.
But, oh, it serves me right for getting invested an ongoing series that's at Volume One. I don’t know why I wouldn’t have expected it to end on a freaking cliffhanger. Fortunately, Volume Two is supposed to be out in a couple months.
Oh, this was exquisite. I had completely misunderstood
I just won an ARC off GoodReads, and it was extraordinary. Completely different than what I thought it would be (which had been along the lines of 'young girl falls in love with/saves vampire' except with a genie -- and this was not the plot. So not), and I fell in love with it utterly.
I thought, as I was reading it, about sending the ARC on to you; but then I got to the end and I don't think I can let this copy go quite yet.
Advisory note -- This has become less a review and more a collection of topical essays.
March 2013: Oh, thank you thank you thank you for giving me resp...moreAdvisory note -- This has become less a review and more a collection of topical essays.
March 2013: Oh, thank you thank you thank you for giving me respectably scary monsters again. And for making every character in this book a potentially scary monster. And for giving me a world full of so many new and different scary monsters — everything's so turned on its head here. Gosh, it's hard not to squee.
I really liked this. This was really, really good. Maybe not perfect — there are a bunch of dangling plotlets sprinkled throughout that only aggravated me because I wanted to read those stories now, and sometimes the explanations were a bit abrupt and heavy-handed, which is kind of Bishop's style — but it was a moving, flowing novel and I loved it. I've been a big fan of Bishop's work since the publication of the first novels in her Black Jewels series, and Written in Red has given me so much of what I loved about the Black Jewels in an entirely new form. I can't wait to read more.
Highly recommended to any fan of horror or fantasy, and particularly to anyone finding the trend of sparkly vampires / high-school werewolves to be unpalatable. Five stars.
ETA -- I'm surprised to see a recent negative review of this that mentioned a lot of issues with its alternate-North American setting (link). I actually had really liked that about the book. Most of the urban fantasy on the market seems to build the basic plot premise of, 'This world is just like your world, with added werewolves,' but Bishop seemed to give this a better grounding by considering, 'What if werewolves had been here all along? What if exploring Europeans did not discover reasonably hospitable and exploitable native inhabitants but instead inhabitants that licked their lips and thought, yum?' I wasn't as big a fan of some of the renamed North American locations (Sparkletown being the silliest), but there's a limit what you can do to denote your alternate-North American location as alternate and still North American.♥ And... I'm sorry I'm not sensitive enough on racial concerns to register if a character is one race or the other? Seriously, unless specifically told in the book, 'Character X is African-American,' details like that pass me by completely.§ And the reviewer's concern with Meg's implications of self harm I thought had already been handled within the book. And still neither of those issues made me particularly unhappy or altered my enjoyment of the book.
♥ A limit that Lion's Blood subverted in depth. Still my favorite alt-history of all time.
§ This statement is probably showing off my ethnocentrism. Sorry.
And I really like how the character of Meg is shaping in this excerpt. I've read a lot of books lately where the characters are very reactive, responding reasonably to the story stimulus but still responding to action rather than acting themselves. Meg is introduced as a character who has just actively escaped from captivity. Her successful escape has caused other characters to pursue her, she evades them by finding a hiding place, she gains tentative acceptance in that hiding place by finding a place of employment.† She feels like a character a tentative step ahead in the plot, rather than racing several steps behind. Man. Refreshing. I like that.
† Contrast this with how Briggs first introduced Mercy. There she was, just minding her own business, tinkering in her shop, when suddenly unexpected visitors wolfing out! Which forced Mercy to run, which lead Mercy to inadvertently kill, which she then needed to report to the local pack, which kicked off every other pack interaction. Not a bad opening by any means and it certainly snagged my interest when I read it, but I find I'm a bit tired to that plot device now.
Oh, and I really like how her magical ability seems to be set up. It's a rare ability, but not unheard of‡ (Simon will recognize it when she shares it with him); and it's implied to have limitations and a very clear cost.♠ Yessss.
‡ Although McKinley's Sunshine did the unheard-of-magical-ability thing really, really well.
♠ Contrast this with how Hamilton's heroines have a habit of receiving a Whoops—magical power up! whenever the plot of each new book might call for it. I find that that trick a little dull.
December 2012: I have to admit I'm more than a little werewolf-and-vampire'd out. The publishing market is glutted with books of that theme, and I've largely stopped reading them even when written by authors I like (Patricia Briggs, I'm looking at you). But now it's Anne Bishop entering the urban fantasy subgenre. Anne Bishop. If I have one favorite author, at present it's her. I have a complete collection of all her works, down to the last obscure short story.♣ (Except Summer in Mossy Creek. Did anybody read that?♦) I can't begrudge her for chancing an entry into this extremely lucrative subgenre. And honestly, who am I kidding? I preordered this book the moment it became possible.
♣ Oops, that's a lie. Bishop published "She Moved Through the Fair" just last year in some limited-release chapbook that I cannot find a copy of. Drat.
♦ I felt very bad about this statement, so I requested a copy through interlibrary loan. They only had a large-print at their disposal. Review.
Oh, this was loads and loads of fun. Many of the ER books I've won lately have been real chores to read, suffering a lot from blurb mis-marketing and...moreOh, this was loads and loads of fun. Many of the ER books I've won lately have been real chores to read, suffering a lot from blurb mis-marketing and new-author-itis, but I started Evil Genius with the reaction of a gleeful Hee! and the feeling carried the whole way through the end. I thought the pacing stellar, the characters fascinating, and the mystery/drama-focus (rather than romance) spot on. Highly recommended, particularly for fans of Jennifer Crusie or Rosamund Pilcher.
If I could have changed anything, it would have been to include page appearances of Ana's other siblings — that would have been all kinds of awesome — but I'd be fully satisfied in later Ana books if the sibling cast rotated. (Let there be later Ana books. Hint, hint.)
Denver Vacation Read #1: One of four brought with me.
AWESOME. FABULOUS. MUST READ MORE POWERS. I am a bit sad that...moreShortlist: Best book I read in 2011.
Denver Vacation Read #1: One of four brought with me.
AWESOME. FABULOUS. MUST READ MORE POWERS. I am a bit sad that my copy is rather beat up to the extent that I nearly opted to leave it behind at the vacation house, but decided instead to drag it home and lend it out to friends.
Must pick up a pretty copy for my permanent library. Must must must.
Still on the Atlanta Business Trip, Read #2: Still too exhausted to tackle something new.
Ah, Pratchett. I have nearly all his Discworld books now, and...moreStill on the Atlanta Business Trip, Read #2: Still too exhausted to tackle something new.
Ah, Pratchett. I have nearly all his Discworld books now, and Monstrous Regiment remains one of my, well, top ten... tenish of his. This is Pratchett at his wittiness in a genuinely moving, transformation story. He's a master of playing with cliches and expectations, and I have so much fun reading and rereading this book. ♥
I'm really taken aback by the number of low-rated reviews for this book. I was riveted reading it, and I'm already make lists of people I want to lend...moreI'm really taken aback by the number of low-rated reviews for this book. I was riveted reading it, and I'm already make lists of people I want to lend my copy to. Now I'm hoping I can sneak time to visiting Hamilton's restaurant, Prune, the next time I visit New York.
I read the paperback edition released in January 2012 (ISBN 0812980883), and it included an extra essay not found in the original release that worked as the perfect epilogue for the book. I'm not sorry for accidentally waiting for that option -- I think the extra essay rounds out the book in a way that wasn't possible beforehand, and I loved the additional details that answered all the last remaining bits of my curiosity the original writing didn't quite cover. Bon Appetit was the original publisher of the extra essay, and it's freely available for reading here.
Abby is a gifted young rider in 1960s California who, at twelve, is beginning to walk a careful line between her home life with her highly religious p...moreAbby is a gifted young rider in 1960s California who, at twelve, is beginning to walk a careful line between her home life with her highly religious parents and public life among a broader set of peers and authority figures. Her relationship with horses grounds her in both aspects of her life, but that relationship is the root Abby's need to change.
Jane Smiley is not an author I have particular awareness of: I stumbled upon this book during the 2010 National Book Festival. My mother, whose taste in books is much more bent towards the literary than mine is, had read Smiley's Pulitzer novel A Thousand Acres some years ago and we joined the attendance of Smiley's book talk because of our vague recognition of her name. Smiley turned out to be an engaging and passionate public speaker (a webcast of her talk is available on the LOC website) and her reading of the first chapter or so of The Georges and the Jewels made me want to rush out and read the rest of the story (which took me a mere eighteen months to act on).
Outstanding work for juvenile and early YA readers but probably best for horse-crazy girls. Still, I as an adult horse-crazy girl found it riveting. Five stars.(less)
Beach Vacation Read #10, Last: In all fairness, Dad's the one who dragged this down, but I'm the one who made a point to drag it home.
Heaps of fun to...moreBeach Vacation Read #10, Last: In all fairness, Dad's the one who dragged this down, but I'm the one who made a point to drag it home.
Heaps of fun to read. In many ways, this memoir is the urban American vet version of James Herriot's country English. Herriot is more beloved and less irascible, lived longer and published more, but Camuti is undeservedly overlooked. I'm so happy I had stumbled upon this one.
And another worthwhile companion to those two would be Loretta Gage's modern (well, 1990s) veterinary student memoir, If Wishes Were Horses.