Showing posts from November, 2010

Holiday Schedule

The Blue Fairy's Bookshelf should continue to update as normal.  If I miss a post, it'll be because of the new holiday blog I'm co-writing with my husband! Come visit!


Outlander Diana Gabaldon, 2004 This was a Kindle freebie, and the longest book I've read on my Kindle yet. Premise: Claire Randall is visiting Scotland with her husband in 1945 when she tumbles through a time-portal to 1743. Unable to return home, she falls hard for Jamie, a fugitive Scotsman.  This book felt uncomfortably caught between genres. The time travel aspect was somewhat clumsily added to the romantic plotline, and so I was left unsure how much fantasy is possible in that world. Some things, like time travel and possibly the Loch Ness Monster, are real, but witches are an obvious myth? Really? It just feels like it wasn't completely thought through. Claire bugged me as a heroine at times, because she was sometimes clever, and sometimes PAINFULLY dense and naive. Maybe I'm just used to YA style world-travel, but she comes from the 40's, after the start of science fiction, after the publication of The Time Machine and Princess of Mars . If I fell

Book Blogger Hop Nov 26

This is the Book Blogger Hop, hosted at This week's question for discussion: "What is your favorite book cover?" I have to say, I am a sucker for covers with pictures of the characters, rather than abstract images.  When I was young, I took all my favorite ones to the color copy place, got them copied and enlarged, and decorated my bedroom with book covers.  Mostly of Dragonlance Books.  A few Redwall and Mercedes Lackey here and there too.  One of the best of those was The History of Dragonlance, which features this painting on the cover: On the other hand, our hardcover of Lord of the Rings is lovely. It's this edition: The dust jackets have beautiful Alan Lee paintings, while the cover itself is a lovely dark fabric with the Eye of Sauron inlaid in foil. Of course, I'm also proud of the book covers that I worked on, although neither depict characters: See Facsimile and For Love of Children on Amazon.  (Hint, hi

Adaptation Decay?

With Tangled opening, I thought it would be a good time to touch on fairy tales again, this time to talk about interpretations thereof. One of the complaints I've always heard about Disney flicks is that they 'tone down' or 'sanitize' the old stories. While I understand where the idea is coming from, sometimes I want to ask, tone down compared to what? Fairy tales and folk tales have been altered, changed, made more or less sexual, more or less violent, etc. throughout time. The people who finally collected and wrote down the stories had their own agendas and made their own changes.  Tales change from region to region. There is no true “original” version, just the oldest we have extant. I'm not saying I always approve of Disney's editorial decisions, just that you can't fully justify the argument that the writers are being “untrue” to the “original” story. Well, not when the story is a fairy tale.  When it's a history, okay.  Then I comple

Comics Briefly: Action Comics #894, Batman Beyond #6, Batwoman #0, plus Bonus: Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes #1

Favorite Book this Week: Batman Beyond #6 First three books new in stores on 11/24, Avengers was new on 11/10. Action Comics #894 (1st story) Writer Paul Cornell, Artist Pete Woods (2nd story) Writer Nick Spencer, Pencils by RB Silva The first story, Vandal Savage's obsession with Luthor, was entertaining and clever, but I think I needed some more background in what's been going on in DCU proper to fully understand.  I kinda skipped that whole Black Lantern thing.  Of course, I bought the issue to get the rest of the story with Jimmy Olsen and the partying aliens.  It didn't disappoint; lots of fun was had by me.  (I am including this, my favorite, panel for my super-knitting friends.) Batman Beyond #6 Writer: Adam Beechen, Pencils: Ryan Benjamin Inker: John Stanisci Art continues to be up and down, (faces could use a little less detail in some shots, actually) but the story really came together for the last issue of this miniseries.  A little too obvio

Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter S. Beagle

Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter S. Beagle Peter S. Beagle, 2010 Premise: Collection of short fantasy works by Peter S. Beagle. Mirror Kingdoms is a collection of short works, but not quite a book of short stories. Many are a little long for that term, and I find that I am not properly appreciative if I think of them as short stories. Most are more like modern fairy tales than anything else. The writing style is loose and dreamy in some, tight and present in others. I must admit, I didn't feel in the mood to read a whole book of them this week, though that's a fault in me, not in the writing. I'm glad I stuck with it, though, as the stories saved for late in the book are phenomenal. Let's get the main thing out of the way first: what did I think of "Two Hearts", the "coda" to The Last Unicorn ? Mixed, honestly. The tone is fine, the voice is great, but I'm just not sure of the point, either of the story itself or the reason fo

Kiss for a Killer

Kiss for a Killer G. G. Fickling, 1960 I picked up this book because: 1) It was $1.00 2) Awesome cover art 3) Back cover copy claimed: “The Ficklings are widely credited with creating American fiction's first female detective” Premise: Honey West is a private investigator, and like most, she has a talent for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  This time, however, her sometime flame Rip Spensor is messily dead, and Honey heads the list of suspects.  The rest of the list includes a Italian movie starlet, a reporter, and the leaders of a nudist cult. I'm a fan of classic noir and pulp, but I haven't read any in a while, and most of what I've read was from the 30's and 40's, not the 60's.  In short, I had to readjust my brain to get into this, but then I flew through it.  It's really short. I was disappointed with this book.  It starts strong, and has some good parts, some clever turns of phrase, but it's just not great.  I like

Comics Briefly: Batman Inc. #1, Darkwing Duck #6, The Last Unicorn #6

Only a couple notable books for me this week. Favorite Issue of the week: The Last Unicorn #6 All comics were new in stores 11/17/10 Batman Inc. #1 Writer: Grant Morrison, Penciller: Yanick Paquette Shrug.  This was okay (I also skimmed Batman: The Return, which had better art, but was way overpriced), but I could have done without the hentai joke in the middle, or the...well, any of it. I'm kinda bored with most of the Bat-verse just now. (Did not purchase issue) Darkwing Duck #6 Writer: Ian Brill, Artist: James Silvani, Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse This is such a fun book, and it always makes me laugh. Magica De Spell and Negaduck's evil plans proceed apace. Although not a lot of plot was covered in this issue, there was room for lots of fun little easter eggs in the art. The Last Unicorn #6 Written by Peter S. Beagle, Adapted by Peter B. Gillis Art by Renae De Liz, Color and Ink by Ray Dillon This is the final issue of the comic adaptation of the bo

Bullet (Anita Blake 19)

Bullet (Anita Blake 19) Laurell K. Hamilton, 2010 This book is definitely NC-17. My review is merely PG-13, but I'm sticking it behind the cut anyway because it is slightly spoiler-ish, but mostly for the general trend of the series.

Book Blogger Hop Nov 12

This weeks Book Blogger Hop is twofold: a challenge and a question.  I sadly have to admit that, while I put several new blogs on my reading list last Friday, and have read their posts this week in my RSS feed, I was very busy with work last weekend and Monday. Since then I have been catching up on other tasks (cleaning the apartment, formatting Facsimile (see sidebar) for ePub...) and didn't post five comments on any one blog.  Ah well.  I'll stick to my tactic of only commenting when I really have something to day, I guess. ;) Now today's question: "If you find a book that looks interesting but is part of a series, do you always start with the first title?" I am fairly inconsistent about this, actually.  Sometimes I am stubborn about reading the first book first, or reading all the books in a series. For example, I own all of Fleming's James Bond novels because I was reading them in order from the library and I just could not get the library

Continuity Conundrums

I learned the most delightful bit of fanspeak the other day. Watsonian Vs. Doylist. (Time-Sink Warning, that is a TVTropes link.) In short, this means the difference between rationalizing a story element within the context of its own continuity, or within the context of its author's purpose or circumstances. For example, a Watsonian might say: "I guess the character is right that they never noticed the vampires before because they were hiding", when a Doylist might say "I bet the author is just jumping on the bandwagon, there weren't any vampires in this series before!" Another example: whether a character was 'meant' to die in a particular TV episode vs. whether the actor wanted to leave the show. I am personally quite Doylist, more and more so as I get older. I am fascinated by authors, and the larger stories behind, for example, making movies. Audio Commentaries are often a Doylist's dream come true. But few people are always one

Comics Briefly: American Vampire #8, Batgirl #15, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6, Birds of Prey #6, Dungeons & Dragons #1, Khan: Ruling in Hell #2

Wide assortment of books this week, and they were all good to great issues. My Favorite Book of the week is American Vampire #8, even though Return of Bruce Wayne #6 and Khan #2 were both awesome. All issues were new in stores on 11/10/10 American Vampire #8 , (Devil in the Sand Part Three) Written by Scott Snyder Artist: Rafael Albuquerque Yay! More Pearl! (If you've missed this series, check out the graphic novel of the first arc. Pearl Jones, flapper era actress turned new breed of vampire, is one of my favorite things in comics right now.) This entire issue was really solid, I thought. All the parts of this arc are coming together nicely, and the art was pretty fantastic. I know I've said that I don't like “scratchy” art, but the heavy blacks really work for the tone here. Batgirl #15 Written by Bryan Q. Miller, Pencils by Dustin Nguyen, Inks by Derek Fridolfs Bought this one because I enjoyed the Batgirl issue of the Bruce Wayne: Road Home so much.

Under Heaven

Under Heaven Guy Gavriel Kay, 2010 Premise: After the death of his father the great general, Shen Tai chooses to honor his father's life by spending his mourning years laying the dead to rest in a haunted battleground. For this deed he is granted respect and honor from his native land of Kitai, and two hundred and fifty priceless horses from the neighboring realm of Tagur. Now Tai must return to civilization and relearn how to survive the delicate and deadly dance of life at the court at Xinan. At least long enough to use his new wealth to secure his family and figure out who could be trying to kill him.  "You gave a man one of the Sardian horses to reward him greatly. You gave him four or five of those glories to exalt him above his fellows, propel him towards rank – and earn him the jealousy, possibly mortal, of those who rode the smaller ponies of the steppes. The Princess Cheng-Wan, a royal consort of Tagur now through twenty years of peace, had just bestowed

Announcement - Facsimile is here!

Okay, time for a quick plug. Facsimile, a sci-fi novel edited by me and written by my husband, is now available on Paperback: $8.99   Kindle: $2.99 I may be a little biased here, but I honestly think it's quite good. Premise: Persephone lives in the near future, when most people use a profiling service for social networking. The company sells you a little camera that you wear constantly. Data that the camera picks up is used to create a highly realistic simulation of the user. Users can interact with their own profile to understand how they appear to the world (like seeing/hearing yourself on film, but interactive.) Some people use this to construct elaborate concepts of self-image or contemplate their identity. Most people interact with other people's profiles to decide if they would like to hire or date or befriend that person. Profiles cannot learn or change on their own, they can only respond to stimulus based on the way the subject has been recorde

Book Blogger Hop Nov 5

This is the Book Blogger Hop, a Blog Party and link list hosted by Today's question is: "What are your feelings on losing followers? Have you ever stopped following a blog?"    I have so few regular readers that to worry about losing them seems counterproductive. I just write what I would enjoy reading, and readers will either enjoy that or they won't. A lot of people stop by this site to get information on a particular book, and aren't interested in following the blog.  That's fine too. I find the second part to be sort of a double-edged question. It implies the sort of Follow-for-Follow rule that I just can't do, partially because I don't use Google Friend Connect. If someone comes by and leaves a comment, I'll check out his or her blog, and will probably follow it for a while (via RSS). I read all my blogs and feeds via an RSS reader, and I freelance, such that when I'm working, I don't have time to do anyth

Comics VERY Briefly: Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale

No comic books came out this week that I am collecting.  I did look at the hard-cover Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale graphic novel.  Apparently it was planned to be released as a mini-series, and then after many delays they decided to put it out as a slim graphic novel instead. I skimmed it, and while it looks decent, it doesn't look much better than the other Serenity comics, which have all been just okay, in my opinion. And I'm not going to pay $14.99 for 50 pages of just okay. Ah well, next week there are 6 titles scheduled that I have some interest in...

Flirt (Anita Blake 18)

Flirt (Anita Blake 18) Laurell K. Hamilton, 2010 Premise: Anita is actually at her day job, raising the dead, when she's interrupted by abduction and mercenaries threatening her loved ones. This is why super-heroes have secret identities. Wow.  Can I just say wow?  I admit that I am impressed. After having fallen so low, to be able to write up out of the hole, without actually ret-conning the mess out of existence. That takes some remarkable skill, or incredible luck. It was fun and exciting and dark in the right places. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and that's the first one in this series I can say that about without reservation probably since book number 11 or 12. The quote on the cover is right. It is good to see Anita raising the dead. In some of the recent books a reader could easily be forgiven for thinking she didn't have a day job. Part of what's so good about this one is the simplicity. It's a short book in which Anita has to make the ha