Review: Stain

Stain by A.G. Howard was released in January. I am trying to get better about finding the new releases as they happen. This is one I am really glad I saw my library had available. I had to wait a minute because others read it ahead of me. This book is not a retelling of a fairy tale. I was expecting to see bones of something familiar – and although there are a few references, this is definitely it’s own story. Supposedly it’s based on “the princess and the pea” but I think it’s got significant legs of it own. Lyra can’t talk and usually a “silent” protagonist is really difficult, but Howard does a good job. My biggest critique is how long it takes to get to what I felt was the “meat” of the book. The first 1/3 of the book or so has a perfect tone of a fairy tale. But it takes too long. I think

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Politics: It Isn’t even ABOUT “choice” – it really IS about “life”

I have seen a LOT of posts about abortion lately. News articles about the New York law that passed, constant articles of other states (including GA) trying to prevent access or availability to abortion options…. and people claiming it’s murder of a life. And as someone 7 months pregnant with a much-wanted child…. I don’t want to imagine the pain of a mother who has to make a choice at this point. To me, it goes way beyond the womb. 150 years ago (ok, probably more like 300+ years, but I bet it still happened in the 19th century) if a family had a child they couldn’t take care of, they might take it out and leave it exposed. If you ever read The Good Earth by Pearl Buck, there is a point where they have 2-3 kids and when the next one is born during a horrible famine…. it is implied that O-Lan kills her (I read it as “smothered” the

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Short Story: Squirrels in the Attic

Originally posted on Dream by Day:
The family had three cats and a dog.  Two of the cats were hunters and came from the same litter – Taffy and Cinnamon. There was a long debate about which cat to put into the attic the first time the family heard squirrels.  Taffy was far and away the superior hunter.  He brought in everything from snakes to bats.  Alive. Apparently bringing them home and letting the humans play with them was the most affectionate thing he could think.  No matter how many times he got yelled at. No matter how often he was reminded “you bring it inside, you lose it!” Cinnamon might or might not be an amazing hunter; she was smart enough not to be seen bringing in her prizes. The only time anyone knew she had been hunting was when remains were discovered.  Her favorite spot to take these “toys” was the bathtub in the hall.  Somehow she learned that if you put…

Review: Binti Trilogy

Over the holidays I read the Binti Trilogy (Binti, Home, The Night Masquerade). Now, I was intrigued because it’s Nnedi Okoafor (I lovedAkata Witch). So Binti went on sale and I picked it up. I didn’t realize these are novellas, so they are quick little reads and thoroughly enjoyable. What I love about Okoafor is her great twists on genres. In Akata, she brought african mythology to the traditional western fantasy genre. She approached a similar idea with Binti. The main character, Binti, is brilliant and imperfect in some of the best ways. I don’t want to spoil the plot, and I’m not sure I can sum up beyond the first few pages of book 1 without spoilers. So… let’s just say the plot kept me so engrossed I was sad to leave the universe she had built. I firmly believe Binti and her companions have further adventures – they have to. They are too good together not to get into more shenanigans. My

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Life Events: Water Heater Adventures

This weekend was a roller coaster. It rained a lot last week, and sometimes when it rains the water comes in under the garage door. So I don’t think too much about a little water on my side of the garage when it’s raining. But it was dry all day Friday. I went to go get pizza for dinner. I came home and parked in the garage. There was water. I followed the water path to the hot water heater and the wooden boards it was on (it was rested on 4 cinder blocks with a board on top) was soaked. Oooooooh. Shit. We’ve known since we bought the house that the water heater is old. Like 15 years or more (there isn’t a date on the thing). So we knew it was going to go at some point. Our plan was to finish the kitchen and bathroom renovation, see what our water consumption was for a few months and

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Writing: Women are automatically YA Writers???

This came up when a friend asked for women of color or women writers’ books. So I pulled out my goodreads and gave a few suggestions. I included Dragon Pearl because- well because I kind of loved it and I want a bazillion people to read it. I made a comment “YA but doesn’t feel like it.” Someone raised a question with a link to this article. Ok…. Breathe deeply and don’t get angry. So fifteen years ago when I first started looking at being a writer – specifically a Sci-fi/fantasy writer – the general was that women writers were predominately romance novelists. Apparently, they’ve been allowed to break into YA – but GOD FORBID they write for “real” sci-fi or fantasy fans. If The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin is “Young Adult” than so is every single book by John Scalzi – and they are NOT Young Adult. He is not classified as a YA author on any chart I know. The foul language alone in

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Review: Frankenstein

Whew – that was. Interesting. So I knew the story pretty damn well. Despite not reading it before, I really felt like there were few surprises. The only big surprise to me was the super-secret of how he made Frankenstein. That is one the movie-makers really confused me on with the whole lightning thing. I even went to Gutenberg and searched “lightning” – it’s only mentioned 5 times in the whole book and all AFTER the monster is created. I was looking for that!! Ok, I’m not going to stress about spoilers because…. well the book was originally written in 1818 and anything 200 years old (Damn, I wish I’d read it last year) I think should be pretty fair game. If you need to, you can go to Wikipedia, although it definitely is worth the read. Now, for my take on the book. I think Frankenstein made the monster up because he is mentally ill. I don’t know enough psychology

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Manner: Bagging Groceries

I was a grocery store cashier during high school. It is NOT a thrilling job. It is not mentally demanding. Emotionally – but not mentally. So in order to stave off boredom I came up with my own mental games to play. Things like racing the computer to compute change (I always lost). And optimizing grocery bagging. This past weekend, I went to the grocery store. I bought some pasta, pizza rolls, a bunch of yogurt, and lettuce. Not a ton of groceries, enough to get me started this week. Somehow my yogurts (granted, I bought like 10 of them), ended up in 3/4 bags. The pizza rolls were alone in the first bag. Then the spaghetti noodles and ~3 yogurts were in a bag. The lettuce and ~6 yogurt were in another bag. The mac n cheese and the rest of the yogurt were in a third. What is wrong with the bagger?!?!?!?! So when I get home I need to carry

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Review: Dragon Pearl

I devoured this book in a way I don’t normally these days (I try to savor a good book). It came out on Tuesday. I got a library notification it was automatically checked out for me. I downloaded it in the morning. Started reading at lunch. Came home and finished it. Now I am trying to decide when/where to go pick up a physical copy to put on my shelf. I expect I’ll be reading this again and again over the years. This is a middle grades novel, so it is marketed for ~11-14 year old kids. It is not however childish. It deals with issues that are very, very real – gambling addiction; honor (and recognizing the dishonor of adults); trust and friendship and betrayal – of all kinds; and definitely death. These aren’t childish ideas or themes and Yoon Ha Lee does not shy from them nor preach about them. They are facts of life and must be

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Review: Writing “Bad” reviews

Interesting conversation popped up this week that made me want to respond. Read this: https://www.theringer.com/pop-culture/2019/1/10/18176366/bad-reviews-jeff-weiss-a-o-scott-greta-van-fleet-post-malone-bohemian-rhapsodyThen Read this: https://whatever.scalzi.com/2019/01/12/yes-theres-a-point-to-bad-reviews-in-2019/ So I ran across these through Scalzi’s blog (I like his blog, I find it funny and enjoyable). I read these in the order I recommended to you. I then decided I don’t think Scalzi or Harvilla hit on some of the important things I think make a “bad” review actually very valuable. In the past year I think I’ve only post two “bad” reviews – and both of those I would definitely put in quotes because even on those… well let me link them and then defend them:Simon Sinek: https://librinlatone.com/2018/11/20/review-simon-sinek/Freedom: https://librinlatone.com/2018/08/07/review-freedom/ I think there are two reasons people would/should read a review (negative or positive): either they find the review itself entertaining OR they are looking for an informed opinion IF they even want to read a book (or watch a movie, go to a play, etc.). If those are the

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