Category Archives: Book Reviews

Summer 2012: The Summer of Writing (And Reading)


It’s been a hectic academic year, guys. Mostly because of bedbugs screwing up my mental state and my living space and forcing me to move, but also driving me nuts enough that some of my school stuff suffered (hence why I’m glad Southern American Lit was an elective and I can retake Biology 112 and its associated lab online during the summer). I also was able to get very little writing done, partially because of that subconscious block and also because I work best at home, and home was infested with tiny little bloodsucking critters.*

Anyhow, that hell is over with (hopefully) and I can move on with my life. I’ve got one more semester of my undergrad left and then its time to apply for grad school! Also I’ve apparently got a contact through my mother at the Publishing Institute at the University of Denver, and so I might be going there for a few weeks next summer.***

Also I am done being mad at WordPress for overdrafting my account by charging me a domain renewal fee a month early. An exchange of a half-dozen emails could not seem to convey to the customer service rep what my problem actually was with what happened. I wish I could have just talked to a real person. But all that was something like six months ago and I’m going to move on.

I don’t have a ton to talk about today but I figured I’d give you guys an update. The polls I have out on Facebook about “what kind of content would you like to see?” aren’t really garnering any responses, so I’m just going to wing it until someone complains. Until then, write me something for the Qu33n of Spades’ Fiction Magazine and go ahead and read my latest book review below.

*****

A Princess of Mars (Barsoom, #1)A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Princess of Mars is pulp fiction in all of its glory, with the ultra!heroic hero, the unbelievably beautiful and devotion-inspiring heroine, the without-a-doubt evil antagonists. People coming to this book after seeing the movie will find several differences, but none of them particularly disappointing — each medium has things that work for it, and things that don’t.

As a previous reviewer mentioned, it is a bit difficult to listen to John Carter talk, in first person, to the read about how awesome he is. John Carter being the undisputed King of Awesome is not really a problem, given the genre — a cast of static and slightly flat characters is kind of “allowed” in pulp fiction — but as an audience, what we can accept has changed a bit since 1912.

This is a lovely read, something you could devour in a couple of days or just read one chapter a day. Names and places are easy to keep track of (something that is always difficult for me with contemporary sci-fi lit), and the science, while not necessarily accurate or realistic in some cases, is believable and a pretty good “guess” for Edgar Rice Burroughs writing in 1912.

It’s a fun read, if nothing else; you can imagine ERB sitting at his typewriter working away and then going, “Oh, damn! That would be so COOL!” and adding whatever cool thing he just thought of to the story. Will definitely be reading the next book in the series once I get around to it.

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* People will tell you that bedbugs are nocturnal. This is absolutely not true. We won’t get into all the horror I have endured since we first noticed this problem in September, but I will say that even after moving to a new apartment and being as careful as humanly possible, I am still freaking the flip out, and the paranoia is not fun.**

** In my nightmares, bedbugs look like this:

WoWScrnShot_072111_104127

I’m not kidding.

*** And I just remembered, I was supposed to call and chat with that contact several weeks ago… whoops, thanks for nothing pest problems and academia.

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Oh, Bother.


So, here’s what happened.

On February 4, 2011, I started this blog and purchased an upgrade which was, according to the site, supposed to last for an entire year before renewal. On January 7th, 2012, I was charged that renewal, despite not having the money in my account – which I WOULD have had if WordPress had actually given me a whole year and waited until the actual date. When I complained at WordPress, they were glad to reverse the transaction (which did not, however, take care of my overdraft fees)… but also removed my upgrade.

I’ve spent two weeks trying to explain to them that I should still have the upgrade, because one year has not passed since original purchase, but they’re being particularly obtuse about it, and I’m about to lose my cool. I just sent them another firmly worded-email accompanied with a screenshot showing the purchase date, hopefully that will get through to them. In some places I used capslock, I’m afraid.

Anyhow, apologies for all that. Until I get this sorted out, or the time to fix everything, you’re going to find several broken links. I’ll get to that eventually. Also, I’ll be getting back to regularly posted content here soon.

Until then, here’s a book review.

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Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, #2)Changeless by Gail Carriger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s been a year since I read the first book in this series, Soulless, and I was eager to pick up the second one.

Changeless did not disappoint. The main characters and their supporting cast stayed true to the personalities built by the author in the previous book, something that can be a challenge for other writers, as I’ve noticed. I had several laugh-out-loud moments, and a moment of genuine sadness that would have elicited tears had I not been in public.

The plot was a LITTLE too busy; there were some things that were left undone that were acknowledge even by the characters, in a sort of shoulder-shrugging “oh well” sort of manner that I found more maddening that anything else. The new characters that surfaced were intriguing and, in general, I liked them. Plus, anything that mixes steampunk with Scotland is a winner in my mind.

There are a few stylistic things that Garriger does that get under my skin; the switching of POVs in the same paragraph, and the habit of stating what a character’s personality traits are (although, in her defense, she does later do the actual SHOWING, and so I chalk the whole thing up to an Austen-like quality to her writing), and the occasional phrase or word that seems inappropriately modern even given the alternate-history setting.

All things considered, though, I devoured the last 150pgs of this book in one sitting, and am just now sitting down to start reading the next book in the series.

Things That Make Me Go “Squee~!”


Holy crap, you guys.

I do plan on writing a long blog post about the things Beth and I giggled about the entire time she, her brother, Techno Jesus, and I were at my roommate’s wedding on Sunday, but that will have to wait, because I am at my parents’ house for the next week or so and thoroughly exhausted and I’ve told the Wedding Story about four times since I got here, so I am temporarily Wedding Story’d out.

The bedbugs have returned to my apartment, and I was just inches from running away screaming from the premises. You have no idea. As it is, I may be able to get a fumigation arranged while I’m gone and quivering in the bug-less bed in the room I share with my sisters in my parents’ basement, so let’s cross our fingers.

Last night Techno Jesus and Chris of Binary Expletive and I went to go see Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows last night. I wore my fancy corsetry. When Techno Jesus finally sends me the pictures, I will post them here for you to see. Let’s just say my waistline looked very Victorian and very fantastic, and was very confusing to the employees of Steak ‘n Shake at 1am after we saw the film. The film itself was pretty good – there were a few slow bits and a few bits that made me roll my eyes and wish we could just move on (the physical fight Watson and Sherlock have while the latter is in drag is not something I can imagine anyone being amused by due to its monumental stupidity), but they did a fantastic job with Moriarty, if nothing else. While the film did not grab me the way that the first one did, as far as second films go, it was really not all that bad.

On the subject of films, when I saw the trailer for this one, I immediately ran to my father’s room and asked him on a daddy-daughter date to go see it when it comes out in December 2012.

He said yes.

Because I don’t have much to say in this post, here’s a cleverly-worded book review!

PegasusPegasus by Robin McKinley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Robin McKinley has never failed to enchant me with her work, and this book is no different. From the first time I picked up The Blue Sword in first grade, I have loved this woman and the way that she reinvents the way girls’ stories are told.

This is most definitely a YA book, but from page three I could not turn away or put it down. There is not much in the way of plot, if you consider plot to be “here is the definitive goal” and “here is the definitive conflict” and “here is the definitive villain.” A lot of it comes as a “slice of life” story, the main characters getting to know each other, while hints of a major conflict to come slowly but surely begin to form. You do not hit what I call the major conflict until the very end of the book, but since I’ve known before I picked it up that she was working on a sequel, my only qualm upon turning the last page was that I wanted to read that sequel now.

Pegasus is a lovely story that takes it’s time letting you get to know the history, the structure, and the people of the kingdom that McKinley created. What’s more, you get to know the main characters on such a deep level that you cannot help but know them as real people (or pegasi), and I almost didn’t care that there was no traditional conflict except for what was bubbling beneath the surface. I genuinely cared about the characters and wanted to see them succeed, be happy, interact. After the faith I’ve been losing in YA lit over the past few years, McKinley brought me back with this novel.

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