A few weeks ago, I took my turn on My Favorite Things over at Speculative Chic. This is a regular column in which we typically invite guests over to share the things that they love best. The regular contributors take a turn every now and then, too. Here’s mine. My most recent edition, anyway. There’s a link to my first one within the text of this year’s column, so if you’re super curious, you can have two for the price of one.
That’s a line from yet another episode of Once Upon a Time, uttered by one Captain Hook upon his release from real-world jail. He states that he’s spent time in the “brig” before, but none so horrifying as our standard jail. Bologna can be pretty terrible, especially if you don’t know what you’re dealing with.
Yep, I’m still watching this delightful, visual crack-fest. I love it so much. It’s over-the-top, and the special effects are occasionally bad (as in, you can see bits of the green screen that was obviously used to create a LOT of the background sets), and the showrunners don’t give a flying fuck about accents. Belle, for example, is played by Emilie de Ravin, who’s Australian. A pre-iZombie Rose McIver plays Tinkerbell. Both of these lovely actresses use their native accents on the show. It’s a little off-putting, to say the least. I can almost buy the fairy having an accent, but Belle? Is the only one of her family who speaks the way that she does. It’s weird.
What I really love is the fact that the show takes every single public domain work of fairy and folklore that it can find, tosses it in a blender, and then pours out this delightful smoothie of weirdness. The main characters are dealing with the flying monkeys and the Wicked Witch of the West as I write this. I watched Snow White and Prince Charming fight Medusa a few episodes ago. Robin Hood and Sir Lancelot have made appearances. Doctor Freaking Frankenstein is in this show (and his episode is shot in black and white, which makes for a particularly fun experience).
If you want to read the entire thread, go on. I can wait. If not, long story short: somebody took an eARC of Seanan McGuire’s Middlegame and uploaded it to a book piracy website. I am beyond infuriated at this behavior. One, because McGuire’s probably my favorite writer. I am not exaggerating when I say that I am still alive because she is still publishing books. So to see that her work is being stolen? Sends me into a fit of rage so strong that my hands are actually shaking a little right now. The person who created one of my actual lifeboats had her work stolen, and her future work jeopardized because of potentially lost sales.
Secondly? As a book blogger who is doing her damndest to read and review responsibly with NetGalley so that I can keep a good rating and keep getting access to eARCs, I am LIVID with the person who got access to Middlegame and decided to just throw it up on a piracy website. This person is endangering the entire eARC process for the rest of us. I don’t get paid to do this; this is my hobby. I spend my time reviewing books because I love them, and I want other people to read and love them as well. I have purchased copies of easily two-thirds of the books that I received early access to, because I enjoyed them that much. Some idiot, the same idiot that has done this to plenty of other authors, is potentially poisoning the well for the rest of us. Other writers have managed to convince their publishers to skip eARCs; if McGuire’s publishers decide to stop offering her work via NetGalley, I’ll live. I’ll be pissed off that one person ruined it for the rest of us, but I’ll live. And I wouldn’t blame them one bit.
On March 2nd, having just finished the second InCryptid novel, Midnight Blue Light Special by Seanan McGuire, I decided to play a game. I have so many Kindle books. So many, indeed, that Mr. Price accidentally nicknamed my Kindle “Thousands of Books” — he came into the living room a few years ago, looking very disgruntled. He didn’t mind, he said, that I bought so very many books. He just wished that I would take better care of them. When I inquired as to what he meant by that statement, he replied that I had left thousands of books just laying on our bed. Then I got his meaning and had to smile.
Cut because I care. Read on if you want to learn about Kindle Roulette (and you do).Continue reading →
Once upon a time, I wasn’t the nicest of people. I wasn’t a part of the Let People Enjoy Things movement. So I wrongly looked down upon romance novels and those who chose to read them. A friend of mine told me about Jewels of the Sun in those dark, unenlightened days, and recommended it highly. So I read it on a whim and discovered that it was a romance novel with a hidden fantasy element. I was so enamored with it that I read the two followup novels, Tears of the Moon and Heart of the Sea immediately afterwards. I would go on to read almost a dozen or Roberts’s other fantasy-romance novels, with great enjoyment. I was still a little bit snarky about the romance genre, and I acknowledge that I was wrong. I know better now, and even if I’m not an avid romance reader, I do enjoy them from time to time.
I return! I was too busy being sick to string together enough sentences for any blog entries last week, other than my review of That Ain’t Witchcraftfor Speculative Chic. I really loved that book, and I can’t wait for the next one. It’s going to be a long year. It might be time for an end-to-end reread of the InCryptid series. In the meantime, I’m still working my way through Rivers of London! I have reached the graphic novel portion of the series.
My friend Lane, when she reviewed this series for Speculative Chic, mentioned that she didn’t read the graphic novels, and it felt like there were some weird gaps in continuity. So I treated myself to all of the currently existing graphic novels in the series, and dug up a reading order that included them within the novels’ timeline, and hopped in. This is partially because events that happened in Body Work and Black Mould are referenced in The Hanging Tree, and I wanted to find out what happened, especially given that Sahra Guleed (who is awesome) was involved.
I have been felled by some sort of cold. I feel as if this is becoming a monthly phenomenon, and frankly, I’m bored with it. I always get especially whimsical in the brain pan when this happens. I attribute it to a mixture of lack of sleep and the cocktail of cold medication that I gobble down each day to attempt to keep the symptoms at bay. Things get…interesting.
It was under this particular set of circumstances that I decided it was time to watch Once Upon a Time. I’d never watched the show, but one of my fellow contributors over at Speculative Chic wrote a post about season 7. In the process of editing and formatting the post, I watched a few minutes of the first episode of S7 out of curiosity. I also did a bit of research, and even though I’ve been spoiled on a few things, I’m still on board to watch.
I have so many thoughts. And not all of them were inspired by the frightening quantity of chemicals that are coursing through my veins right now. Continue reading →
After the last installment of the Rivers of London series, I was chomping at the bit to get to FoxgloveSummer. If you’ve read the book, or my spoilery review, you know why. Unfortunately for me, the massive, twisty not-quite cliffhanger isn’t addressed very thoroughly in this volume. That’s fine; it was still a great read, and I’m still exceedingly satisfied with my reading experience and this series as a whole.
Let me just say right now: you can’t really read and enjoy these books unless you read them in order. Too much either won’t make sense or will have little to no impact upon you as a reader if you aren’t already familiar with what’s going on. Aaronovitch expects you to keep up and unforgivingly gives very little in the way of plot/character rehashing.
A lot of ongoing series have a volume or two that takes our primary protagonist out of their primary setting. The author picks them up and plunks them down somewhere entirely new. This was the first of such books in this series. I’ve found that this type of book can be hit or miss for me. If it occurs in the proper place in the series, it generally works well. If the writer tries to do it too soon, for me, it doesn’t go over well. A series that I love with all of my heart and soul did this in the second volume. That, to me, was entirely too soon. We’d just started getting to know the heroine and knew next to nothing about her world and the way that things worked, then we’re whisked away to what was (at the time) an insignificant place to deal with insignificant things. Now I understand the reasoning behind this alternative setting, but I still think that it could have come a little later in the series and had the same overall impact. Plus, I feel like the book would be better received and enjoyed by new readers to the series. Anyway.
Some spoilers. I don’t ruin too much for you, because I’m a nice person.Continue reading →
I didn’t plan to update today, but thought better of it. It is, as of this writing, Valentine’s Day! Yay! It’s a great day, whether you’re single or attached. Why? Let me ‘splain.
It’s a holiday devoted to love, chocolate, and sexy time. What’s not to like? Sure, you may be sitting at your computer, scowling and thinking that I’m wrong, and that’s your right. What I want to point out is this: being bitter doesn’t make anything better for YOU. It doesn’t change a damned thing in the world. All it does is make you feel miserable. If that’s what you want to do to yourself, by all means! Have at it! But don’t inflict your bitterness upon the rest of the world. Let people enjoy things. (This has become something of a mantra for me in recent years, and it applies to SO MANY THINGS.)
Trimmed for ease in scrolling and to hide the positivity from those who aren’t in the mood to see it. Because I love you. (See what I did there?)Continue reading →
It’s weird, isn’t it? You read something in the news, or see something on TV that makes that particular part of your brain light up in excitement and curiosity. Maybe you listen to a song that suddenly unlocks a brand new room in your imagination. Something that caught my eye recently: a heartbreaking illness that affects the children of asylum-seekers, known as resignation syndrome. It’s quite sad, but mysterious at the same time. However, I know enough about my own writing to know that I’m not ready to explore this in fiction just yet. But I’ve been saving links in my research folder for the day when the story is ready to come out of the oven. Right now, it’s still just mise en place, waiting for me to come into the kitchen and start turning it into something new.
Another recent inspiration? A certain music video from a certain band. I’m not going to call it fanfiction, because I’ve taken the thing that caught my eye and twisted it inside out, dyed it a new color, and added plenty of rhinestones. The finished product won’t have much, if anything, to do with the video that sparked that first bit of inspiration with me, but should this project ever see the light of day, I’ll be sure to acknowledge that I couldn’t have found my way without that first nudge.
Before you ask, no, I’m not going to name the artist or the song. The project has already gone far beyond what inspired it, and I’m not one to talk about ongoing projects in a public space (at least, not at this time). I’ve only recently worked up the courage to start discussing my fiction with my husband, and we’ve been together for over eleven years. He’s amazingly supportive, and I’m fortunate to have a captive audience sounding board to bounce ideas off of. It’s still tough for me. I’m trying to draw my terrified, shivering creative self out into the light, but it’s a process. I’m afraid to spook her back into hiding if I push too hard.
In the meantime, I’m just going to keep working on this new project as long as I’m still having fun. And reader, I am having SO MUCH FUN. I think I’d sort of lost the joy of creating for a while. I’m so glad to have it back, even as I’m worried that it’s can disappear again with no warning.