This book isn't out yet, but I will buy it. I will read it. Why? Because people tried to do a pile-on due to the writer's politics, not the quality ofThis book isn't out yet, but I will buy it. I will read it. Why? Because people tried to do a pile-on due to the writer's politics, not the quality of her book. They *lied* about reading it. Last I checked, people could write whatever they wished to in this country--it's in the constitution. Read your Constitution (especially that pesky Billy of Rights thing). If you don't like what you read, write something of you own. That's how it works--not through censorship....more
I haven't read a regular, old-fashioned cowboy book in a long time, and this one had the double pleasure not only of being written in easy-to-follow dI haven't read a regular, old-fashioned cowboy book in a long time, and this one had the double pleasure not only of being written in easy-to-follow dialect, but of having a female hero. Kate sets out to avenge her father's murder, hot in pursuit of a vicious gang of kidnapper-killers who believe her father held the secret to a hidden mine full of a fabulous treasure in gold. Kate only cares about the gold inasmuch as it helps her to catch the killers, but she knows anyone learning of the secret might kill her to find it. As a result she disguises herself as a boy.
That's as far as I can go without revealing spoilers. I can say that Bowman presents a raw and honest picture of the old west, from saloon girls one step from marriage to hardened madams and other saloon girls; with Native Americans who may help or kill, but only for reasons of their own, and with good citizens and vile ones. There are surprises around every bend, and Kate deals with them all in as straightforward a fashion as she can manage. It's a romp and an honest look at a hard way of life....more
When my assistant brought this book home as part of her grad school semester reading, I thought I'd give it a try, remembering how much I liked the auWhen my assistant brought this book home as part of her grad school semester reading, I thought I'd give it a try, remembering how much I liked the author's RIVER OF GODS a couple of years ago. Now I have to say that McDonald is one of the best world builders I've ever read.
This is about the colonization of the moon by industrial entrepreneurs who supply an energy-short Earth where jobs for human beings are scarce and expensive higher education is needed for anyone to get ahead. The cast of characters is perfectly varied. One is a woman newly arrived from the earth and on her way to starving (of food and of oxygen) before she gets a lucky break. Other leads are members of one family, the Cortas, that is trying to claw its way onto the uppermost level of lunar rule, having reached its very outskirts. Most remarkable is the matriarch, who came when the moon is first being colonized/mined and formed as a new social, economic, sexual, and governing system based solely on gain and loss. Others of her family are as diverse as the culture itself: Carlos, the roughneck surface miner and fighter; Lucasinho, the spoiled darling son who bakes cakes, has sex with anyone who allows it, and struggles to defy his family; Lucas, the obedient son who desires more than anything to run the family company, and Ariel, the brilliant attorney who aspires to lunar, not family, power. Arrayed with these people are their servants, their mates, the women who carry, bear, and nurse their children, and the people who maintain their machines and their industries, in addition to their many cyber- and human guards. Against them are the four great families of the moon, who despise them as social and business climbers with no right to the affairs of the government's top table.
It only takes a few small battles, a few small betrayals, and one shift in the power structure for everything to change, and there's no way to tell if it's for the better or the worst. You'll have to read for yourself. It's fascinating, the culture(s) McDonald has created in this world. Sex is anything goes for anyone. There is an entire group of people that is born with a body chemistry that responds to phases of the moon, and prefers to associate--and run--with one another during some of those phases. There is a Christian Church that ministers to people here, but there is also a Sisterhood that is comprised partly of South American religions with other elements (many of the immigrants to this moon came from Latin America, the first part of the world to lose jobs and education to computers and robots). The world is built in layers tunneled down into the rock, and tunnels are adapted to luxury habitats for the wealthy. Everyone has a fixture in their eyes that registers how much air, water, food, and information they have paid for--and the gods help them if they run out.
Best of all, McDonald is one of those rare sf writers who does not over-indulge in info-dumps. Some are unavoidable in a story about technology, industry, and the medicine of the future, but I am green with envy over how much he conveys within the stream of the story. I've ordered at least three more of his books (yes! hardcover!), plus my own copy of this one to join what I expect will be a growing Ian McDonald shelf....more
I've been a fan of Deborah Blake's nonfiction books for Llewellyn Publishers for years, and they are old standbys on my magical research shelf. Then,I've been a fan of Deborah Blake's nonfiction books for Llewellyn Publishers for years, and they are old standbys on my magical research shelf. Then, last year, I discovered her wonderful Baba Yaga series for Berkley Sensation, and have been eagerly waiting for each new title. This is the most recent, the story of the third of the Americans who presently hold the title of witch-protectress Baba Yaga. Bella's territory is the mountainous and forested areas of the middle of the country, where she spends long periods of time with herself, the creatures of the forest and the air, and her companion dragon, disguised as an outsized (if you can imagine it!) Norwegian Forest Cat.
Something is seriously awry with this forest, though, where fires are popping up seemingly out of the blue. Is it possible that a renegade former Baba Yaga is responsible? Just as bad, the three immortal Riders who have come to the aid of the Baba Yagas of the two previous books have turned up missing, and Bella has been tasked with finding them. She finds aid--or interference--in the shape of a sexy, damaged former HotShot, a fire jumper damaged by a blaze that killed everyone in his team but him, leaving him able only to do firespotting from a lonely tower at the forest's heart, and a lively, equally lonely runaway teenager. It's a volatile mix of characters, passion, and danger from nature and from a vicious foe. I put it down only because I had to sleep and eat.
While the book is part of a series, it can be read on its own. However, you'll be denying yourself a serious treat if you don't read the previous two! ...more
What a romp! Vicky Vaughn is a demon-slayer, but by and large the demons she kills are those who attack humans in their dreams. The one demon she dreaWhat a romp! Vicky Vaughn is a demon-slayer, but by and large the demons she kills are those who attack humans in their dreams. The one demon she dreams of killing is the one that comes from the outside, the Hellion that killed her father and placed its mark on her.
Ever since a limited plague that left every living creature in one spot in Boston a zombie, or PA (Paranormal American), their rights have been a hot-button issue. Now, running for governor are two diametrically opposed candidates, one who wants to expand the few rights they have, and one who wants to eliminate them, leaving them vulnerable to scientific experimenters in places like New Hampshire, which doesn't protect PAs at all. Vicky has to deal one such crew of PA experimenters, who want someone of her family's rare bloodline, as well as a boyfriend who forgets she exists whenever the news is one (an attorney working for the liberal candidate and the rights of PAs), another very attractive police detective who is all too normal, and the possibility that a Hellion--THE Hellion--could become locked into Boston if the city's shield to keep demons out is repaired and the Hellion that's been summoned to the city is trapped inside.
Like I said, it's a romp. I don't normally go for zombie narratives, but now I have to track down the sequel!...more
This is one of the most unusual fairytale retellings I have ever read--I'd say so even if I didn't know the writer! In a way it's a new look at "GoldiThis is one of the most unusual fairytale retellings I have ever read--I'd say so even if I didn't know the writer! In a way it's a new look at "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" from the point of view of the bears, but in a far larger way it is not. The bears are well-to-do, civilized people, citizens of a town that is half human and half beings from what we would recognize as fairytales.
Coville has introduced some new wrinkles, particularly racism on the part of both populations, with violence rising in the human community. There is also a wonderful touch of romance for Ursula, the bear governess who comes to work with the family's son and ends up sheltering a human child who has been badly abused. Coville gives the fairytale characters their own, unique personalities, seldom all good or all bad. Ursula is a female hero who grows from girl into woman during the course of the book, finding the source of her own bravery, and the court trial is absolutely wonderful.
It is a read for more advanced young readers, but I'd also recommend it for adults to read aloud to younger childen. It's the kind of book that begs for someone to interpret the different voices and talk about the ideas that are raised. Adult readers too will find it a fascinating read, and Katherine Coville a wonderful new writer to watch! (Yes, the name isn't a coincidence--she's kidlit king Bruce Coville's wife and often illustrator who has found a wonderful new string to her bow.)...more
It's been a long time since I first read this book, and I can't begin to explain how over the moon I am that it's finally going to reach readers otherIt's been a long time since I first read this book, and I can't begin to explain how over the moon I am that it's finally going to reach readers other than Rick Robinson's betas. And yet, this is not the kind of book I write, for the most part.
Catherine of Lyonesse is heir to her country's throne, but her mother took her children and fled to her homeland of Aquitaine, where she passed away. Catherine spent years in a convent, until she got to be a bit too much for the rule the sisters lived by. Now she has lives at court, under the tutelage of the king's former mistress and her husband. This unusual couple is determined to teach Cat all sorts of interesting things, from royal graces to intrigue.
To this end Cat has been given two ladies-in-waiting, two lovely, intelligent young things with an eye to the future, and the main chance: a princess who might just become a great queen. They will need all their wits, because the court is filled with spies, people who would murder and/or romance their hot-headed young princess, and plotters who would be happy to take their own places. And that's just the Aquitainian population! Things are stirring in Lyonesse, and people there are starting to think about their princess, who is being raised by their enemies, and wonder if it's time to bring her home . . . in a box.
There are lovely ladies with plenty of smarts, lovely clothes, handsome men, lovely weapons, a smidge of magic to make things interesting, sword fights, gallops on horseback, and spies galore! The publication date is August 14, 2014. You may have to get it in e-format in the US until an American publisher snags it, but don't wait if you don't have to! ...more
At last Callie, the Dust Girl and Golden Girl of the previous two books, is reunited with her mortal mother, her unSeelie father, and her mortal frienAt last Callie, the Dust Girl and Golden Girl of the previous two books, is reunited with her mortal mother, her unSeelie father, and her mortal friend Jack, but they're still on the run from her uncle, who wants to use them to take the unSeelie throne. They hope to take a train to New York, but are forced to stay in Chicago, due to Papa's sickness when he travels in what is basically an iron box. (Fairies are famously unable to tolerate iron; Callie can deal with it thanks to her mortal blood.)
Problems beset them in Chicago as Jack disapproves of the the way Papa manipulates human beings, including his own family, and Callie discovered a whole new branch of fairy, called the Halfers--half fairy, and half wood, or paper, or iron, or stone--anything goes. Will they be enemies or friends when war between the Seelie and unSeelie courts begins? And what side will Callie be on, Callie, the only opener of gates between the two realms, once she steps through and discovers her true, enchanting heritage?
I found this one a knuckle-biter, and I read it in a day. Friends become enemies, enemies friends, and nothing is what it seems to be....more
This has to be the most maddening book I've ever read, and that includes books on the Vietnam and Second World Wars. As AIDS arrives in the world in tThis has to be the most maddening book I've ever read, and that includes books on the Vietnam and Second World Wars. As AIDS arrives in the world in the late 1970s, it strikes Africa first, then the American gay scene. Shilts documents the search for the virus in all its muddled, politicized, under-funded, disregarded insanity, during which gay men died quickly or slowly, without drugs that did more than eased their passing for years, in their homes or in facilities that had no more notion of how to care for them than they did, cared for by each other and, slowly, by medical personnel who knew they might be risking their own lives.
Here in the U.S. local, state, and national government issued claims of aggressive pursuit of the disease while doing the opposite. Agencies supposedly committed to the discovery and treatment of the new disease fought one another for credit for any advances in treatment and in finding the virus. Pharmaceutical companies kept to the years-long proving process for drugs which might buy years of life for sufferers, including seeking out pools of subjects who could get placebos, when in the case of this disease the receipt of the placebo was certain death, instead of the possibility of a few more years with an experimental drug. Doctors, blood banks, and drug companies vied to make money as gays, drug users, and recipients of blood transfusions who got blood while blood banks argued against testing blood for the disease because it was expensive died.
And the politicians who could have created hospices, units in hospitals, and information programs, did nothing.
It's a brilliant book about a heartbreaking time. HBO's movie "A Normal Heart" was written in 1985 by activist Larry Kramer, and you'll recognize some of his characters here: this is the story of what went on before, after, and in the rest of the world. If you're prone to fits of rage, you might want to warn those around you as you read. I lived in NYC during this time, and I had a lot of gay friends. I knew they were being ignored. I didn't know it was this pervasive, or this completely and utterly inhuman. ...more
I keep an eye open for every book Sherri L. Smith publishes, and I'm never disappointed. This is the story of a young woman of color, the daughter ofI keep an eye open for every book Sherri L. Smith publishes, and I'm never disappointed. This is the story of a young woman of color, the daughter of a flyer, who passes as white to join the WASPs and fly for her country during WWII. Her goal--to serve her country--is admirable, but can she find peace with herself and her color as well? You'll have to read to find out, and you'll be glad you did....more
A tense story about a father and daughter who are both trying to deal with post traumatic stress disorder, the father from his military service, and tA tense story about a father and daughter who are both trying to deal with post traumatic stress disorder, the father from his military service, and the daughter from living with a man who struggles with demons, liquor, unstable partners, and his own inability to hold down a job and home with his child. Reading this book, I felt like I was living on the edge of a cliff, and I was terrified that no one would be able to work out a way to live--you will feel the same way....more
Callie and Jack find that Hollywood, governed by the lovely and glittering Seelie Court (better known as movie stars and moguls), is a hard place to lCallie and Jack find that Hollywood, governed by the lovely and glittering Seelie Court (better known as movie stars and moguls), is a hard place to live, and the forces that it brings to bear on their friendship are driving them apart. They do make new friends, including the great actor Paul Robson, but will they be enough to keep the pair from being destroyed by their enemies.
This and its predecessor are great for people who are looking for American diversity in their fantasy. Callie has to endure the treatment that blacks faced in Hollywood: different doors, different jobs, no respect. It nearly killed me to read how Paul Robson, one of the greatest opera singers and actors of his day, was treated. The characters are completely believable, with no one too saintly or too despicable, except for the fairy characters who are single-minded in their pursuits....more
Tossed out on her ear by her uncle when she refuses to marry a young man who assaulted her the night before, Peggy is recruited by a mysterious gentleTossed out on her ear by her uncle when she refuses to marry a young man who assaulted her the night before, Peggy is recruited by a mysterious gentleman and his crew to take the place of a lady-in-waiting at the royal court, to spy on nearly everyone. She even has to find out who tried (and succeeded) to murder the girl she's supposed to be.
As in all good spy novels, Peggy learns she really can trust no one, not the dour maidservant who is assigned to her by her masters, not any of the other servants, not the other ladies-in-waiting to Princess Charlotte, daughter-in-law to King George I (and a very intelligent cookie herself), and perhaps not the two young men who are romancing her. (Peggy, not the princess.) There are all kinds of ins and outs, appalling descriptions of fashion, and tension that gets sharper and sharper throughout the book.