Showing posts from October, 2010

Short: Skin Trade (Anita Blake 17)

Skin Trade (Anita Blake 17) Laurell K. Hamilton, 2009 Just in time for Halloween, I'm catching up on my Anita Blake. Premise: Anita is called to Las Vegas to help hunt down a vampire serial killer. While there, she has to try not to have sex with were-tigers....This series is so surreal. This one was really not bad. I continue in my opinion (from book 16) that it does feel as if Hamilton is trying to write her way out of the hole she'd dug for the series. After books and books of angst and ridiculous new powers every time you turn around, this one had a sense that things were beginning to stabilize. I had quit after Harlequin (book 15), which I felt sunk to new depths of idiocy, and while I did break down and read Blood Noir (book 16) and felt that it was somewhat better, I didn't return to the series until recently. There is still a great deal of ridiculous repetitive business about beasts and sex and such that mostly gets in the way of the story here.

Book Blogger Hop Oct 29

  The Book Blogger Hop is a blog party/link list hosted by   Every week there is a question for the bloggers to consider. This week: "What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?"   Hmmm... this is difficult, because I am fairly happy with my reading life. I have a severe lack of space for new books, but now I have a Kindle.  I was thinking: What would I love to have a really nice edition of?  But I have a good Collected Works of Shakespeare, and a Complete Holmes with original illustrations, all of the Vorkosigan novels in nice editions and a lovely hard cover LOTR...   So I'm going to say, if I won the lottery, I would like to have a bookstore.  (The lottery part means that I don't have to sell popular but boring books to stay in business.)  Where I could read and talk to people about books all the time, and encourage the sales of books that I love. Yeah, I think that works.

Comics Briefly: Action Comics #894, Batman: The Road Home: Oracle and Ra's Al Ghul, Wonder Woman #604

This was a lame week, overall. Favorite book this week: Action Comics #894 Least favorite : All the other ones All comics new in stores on 10/27/10 Action Comics #894 (1st story) Writer Paul Cornell, Artist Pete Woods (2nd story) Writer Nick Spencer, Pencils by RB Silva I enjoyed this issue. Nothing too amazing, but solid work here. Much fanfare was heard over the fact that Death was going to be in this issue, and so she was, with her usual flair. I really liked the brief touch on what must pass for theology in the DCU. The second story was a really fun romp about Jimmy Olsen entertaining some friendly aliens who just want to party. Who is the blond reporter he's talking to? I love her. Batman The Road Home: Oracle Writer: Marc Andreyko, Artist: Agustin Padilla Ugh, this was lame. This is what I have to say about this issue: it was a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Well, that and: why does Oracle have evil-anime-glasses


Cryoburn (Vorkosigan Saga #14) Lois McMaster Bujold, 2010 This is a shiny new book, and that in itself makes me happy.  PLUS: Yes, it is true.  This hardcover edition comes with a CD that contains ALL Vorkosigan books up to and including this one, except for my favorite: Memory .  On the CD are versions to read in html, epub, mobi, etc... Also speeches, interviews, cover art... this is amazing. Premise: Lord Auditor Miles Vorkosigan and Armsman Roic are on Kibou-daini to investigate a sketchy business venture that one of the cryofreezing corporations based there has planned for Komarr.  Complications ensue, as usual. I liked this book, and was slightly sad that I did not love it.  I do want to emphasize that I did enjoy it very much, and had it not been for sky-high hopes, I would probably have loved it without reservation.  This is the double edge of having authors that you trust to be great: you can be disappointed if they're not amazing. Many of the Vorkosigan b

Comics Briefly: Batman Beyond #5, Darkwing Duck #5, The Last Unicorn #5, Batman The Road Home Catwoman and Commissioner Gordon

Another big haul this week, although fewer out-and-out winners than last week.  All comics in this post were new in stores Wednesday 10/20/10. Favorite Book this Week: Darkwing Duck Least Favorite: Batman: The Road Home: Commissioner Gordon Batman Beyond #5 Writer: Adam Beechen, Pencils: Ryan Benjamin Inker: John Stanisci Like most of the issues of this mini-series, this issue had ups and downs.  Bruce talking Catwoman Beyond or whoever she is through field medicine was pretty cool, but the reveal on the plot was if anything, stupider than the half-reveal last issue.  On the other hand, it had some good moments, good beats.  Man, that show was awesome. (Hinty-spoiler for my problem with it:)   Dear writer: I wasn't a huge fan of that JLU episode either, but breaking characters' motivations to make your plot work is not a productive way to deal with one's dissatisfaction. Darkwing Duck #5 Writer: Ian Brill, Artist: James Silvani I am so glad I started

Andersen's Fairy Tales

Andersen's Fairy Tales Hans Christian Andersen, originally written in 1830's-40's translation date unknown One last free Fairy Tale collection and then I'm on to something else. I had more Kindle version formatting issues this week, I'm afraid.  There are a few points at which there should be poetry or quotations (italicized, indented text) but they are missing.  Not a huge problem, but this means a long poem is missing from “The Shoes of Fortune” and the punch line of “The Old House” is lacking. Aside from that, I found this collection uneven, and remembered why as I child I largely preferred Grimm's Tales. There are a few real winners.  I forgot how much I like “The Snow Queen”.  It's a long meandering tale with plenty of intriguing minor characters and the edges of lots of other stories surrounding the core.  The scene in which Gerda hears the story that each flower knows was beautiful and very surreal.  I adore the side plot about the vicio

Comics Briefly: Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5; Batman: The Road Home: Batman And Robin, Red Robin, The Outsiders, Batgirl; Khan: Ruling in Hell

DC has my number.  I bought a lot of books this week, but I guess I can't resist linked one-shots.  All Comics were new in stores 10/14/10 Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5 Writer: Grant Morrison, Penciller: Ryan Sook, Inks: Mick Gray, Art (pgs 22-31) Pere Perez We've been collecting this miniseries throughout, and this issue had been delayed and delayed.  It's become a bit silly that #5 (of 6) is dropping the same week that the big Bat-Family reunion is taking place in normal continuity.  (Background: about a year ago, Batman apparently "died".  Of course he's not dead. Actually?  LOST IN TIME.  This mini-series has been the story of Batman adventuring through the ages.  In each issue, Bruce gets dropped off in a new time zone with partial amnesia.) This issue has a bit more forward movement than some of the earlier ones, and maybe (just maybe), it's going to make some sort of sense in the next and last issue.  Bruce is not too

Grimm's Fairy Stories

  Grimm's Fairy Stories Unknown date, unknown translation As you know if you've been reading here recently, I downloaded a bunch of free fairy tale collections to my Kindle.  If you are considering doing the same, do not bother with this one. Almost all the stories worth reading are also in The Blue Fairy Book . Note the title.  This is a slim selection of fairy tales, in fairly poor translation, not the full Grimm's Fairy Tales collection.  There are places where the stories seem to drop off or change direction suddenly mid-stream.  "The Little Brother and Little Sister", for example, is missing a paragraph found in other versions, which is needed to follow the plot. A few stories seem to have no point or plot, or extraneous boring digressions, although "Catherine and Frederick" is only a little worse here than in other versions I have found.  Only notable bits: "Bearskin" is one that isn't in every collection of Grimm'

A Time for Heroes

I've been thinking recently about favorite characters, both in books and movies/TV.  I still love all the usual suspects: strong women, troubled heroes, characters of ambiguous morality.  But what I love about them changes over time. It's only been a handful of years... 5 or 6? since I was introduced to the work of Lois McMaster Bujold, and now she's one of my very favorite authors.  ( Sample book free at Baen! ) Her main series, The Vorkosigan Saga, is a great example of what I'm talking about.  When I first read the books, all in a rush, I loved all of them, but was most interested in the first few about Miles: his adventures as a young man, the warrior women who tended to surround him and their daring escapades.  I still enjoy those books, but the ones I reread now are mostly the later ones, that center on coming to terms with adulthood, his parents' long romance, and the strength of Cordelia and Ekaterin, both strong female characters who are mentally, emot

Comics Briefly: American Vampire #7

Only one book this week that I was interested in.  Next Week DC really gets into their all-Batman-all-the-time push, I'll probably glance at some of those books. This book was new in stores on 10/6/10 American Vampire #7  (Devil in the Sand Part Two) Written by Scott Snyder Artist: Rafael Albuquerque I've been following this book from Issue #1, and I'm still enjoying it for the most part.  I thought the art got a little sketchier than normal this month.  This is the second issue of the second story arc, based in Las Vegas when the Hoover Dam was under construction. I don't dislike Cash, the cop at the center of this story arc, but he's nothing too special yet.  I'm intrigued by what's revealed in this issue about the ulterior purpose of federal agents Jack Straw and Felicia Book (those sound like real names to you?)  And if there were any question why American Vampire is "suggested for mature readers", the nude women on the first two page

The Blue Fairy Book

The Blue Fairy Book Edited by Andrew Lang, 1886 Another free Fairy Tale collection this week.  The Blue Fairy Book is one of the earliest collections of fairy tales in English.  Andrew Lang and his staff collected, translated, and edited fairy tales into twelve collections, but the Blue Fairy is first.  He had good taste. The stories in this collection have an amazing range, and Lang is good enough to cite his source for almost all of his tales. There are 37 stories total, including six selections from Grimm, five from Perrault, a couple Scots tales (in dialect, sort of), a few British traditionals, three from the Arabian Nights, the part of Gulliver's Travels about Lilliput, and a full retelling of the Perseus myth with different names.  It's almost overwhelming. A few of them are really unique ones. “The History of Whittington” is a British rags-to-riches folk tale based vaguely on an actual historical figure. It's interesting to me because of its dips in

Comics Briefly: Star-Spangled War Stories #1, The Last Unicorn #4, Wonder Woman #603

Yup, I'm trying something new.  I read comics as well as books, so why not let you know what I'm following?  The following comics were new in stores on 9/29. Star-Spangled War Stories #1 (One Shot) Written by Billy Tucci Pencils by Justiniano and Tom Derenick Inker Andrew Mangum, Colorist Tom Chu Now, you first have to know that while I know relatively little about the character, I kinda love Mademoiselle Marie.  I have the doll.   So of course I picked up this one shot story featuring DC's WWII resistance fighter.  Overall it was a decent one-shot, with a few really enjoyable scenes.  Marie parachutes in to deliver cash to a resistance cell in France, but accomplishing her mission is hampered by both her allies and her enemies.  Unfortunately, at some points the dialogue was hokey and the French badly chosen, a couple transitions were missing, badly breaking the flow, and it had an art error that confused the story for me.  On the other hand, it read a lot better on my sec