Review: Tiger Burning Bright

HOW HAVE I NOT REVIEWED THIS ALREADY. I feel like an idiot. I realized the other week, I haven’t reviewed this one!! So I have to do this: Tiger Burning Bright by three of the most amazing women authors ever Andre Norton, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Mercedes Lackey. I first picked up this book from my local library when I was in middle school. I can still remember where it belonged on the shelf. I knew this because I think I checked it out of the library 10 tens times in the next three years or so. Then I stopped. Then I went to college. Years passed. I never forgot this book. One day, when I had a little money in my pocket I went looking for it again. It took me a minute, but I found it. And I bought it. Why do I love this book? Well, there is definitely some sentimental attachment for sure. I remember loving

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Writing: Science Fiction Evolution

I am reading some classic science fiction (Foundation Triology) and have found an understanding why I didn’t enjoy science fiction as much as fantasy when I was younger. There is a trend in the genre to be plot, world, and science focused with characters only being a carrier for these things to be explored. Asimov, Heinlein, Butler, and even Douglas Adams. It generally isn’t the characters we love and quote from these authors. Dune was an interesting books, but I didn’t connect with any specific character. The world, the politics, the exploration of different societies on different worlds feels like a core to book. Heinlein’s characters are notoriously flat and repetitive (if I read 3 Heinlein books in a row, I begin to confuse names they are so alike). Butler’s book I read was amazing and emotional, but it wasn’t the characters. Then I compare to the fantasy I loved when I was young: Tamora Pierce, Mercedes Lackey, Mary Herbert,

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Review: Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I’ve Learned

Anyone who reads my book reviews has probably noticed a dearth of non-fiction. I don’t read much of it. I generally read for escapism and reading something real isn’t escape. There are exceptions to this rule. Alan Alda is a fun actor. I’ve known of him pretty much my entire life – mostly from M.A.S.H. I don’t know when or why I picked up his memoir, but I needed something different to read recently and so I started it. It was very interesting. I had no idea he was a child of vaudeville although it makes perfect sense to his acting style. I will admit, I had to struggle some to separate “actor” from “character” (Hawkeye) and stop trying to pigeon-hole the actor into the character. As I did, I feel like I got a better glimpse of the creative process of the creative artist behind the character. I never would have guessed some of his struggles, emotional or professional.

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Review: Diving Universe

So my general rule has always been to avoid reviews until I have read an entire series. The problems come when a series is begun, but incomplete. The author has more to write. Do I review or not? Well, I think I have decided if I have read all available published in a series, I will review. Mostly because there are several series I’ve been reading that I haven’t been reviewing and it’s making me feel like a slacker. I’m not reviewing! I AM reading though. So I am going to start this new rule with a good one: Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Diving Universe. She has been writing novels in this universe since 2009. Sometimes short stories, sometimes novellas, and some full-length novels. I have read the novels. All of the short stories I’ve read were already in the novels, so for this review I am going to stick with the novels and novellas. As of today, this is the

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Review: Things Fall Apart

I picked up this book several years ago and put it on my “to read” shelf with great gusto. And promtly forgot about it. I wish I had read it sooner. Hell, if I was a high school English teacher, this would be part of my curriculum. It is good. I can see why it’s been aclaimed. Why the author, Chinua Achebe is aclaimed. The book isn’t long or dense. It’s a pretty easy read over all. It is more a character exploration than anything else, digging into the “whys” of human choices than following the what in a direct path. The book is broken into three parts which are unequal in length and depth. The first part is the longest in words. It is building the picture of the world of the protagonist Okonkwo and his own mindset. At the very start of the book I was a bit confused, but it did not last long. The cadence is

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Review: Black Jewels Trilogy

This is not my normal fare of fantasy. These three books by Anne Bishop; Daughter of the Blood, Heir to the Shadows, Queen of the Darkness. They are borderline romantic, without the erotic elements most romance novels feature. Reading these three books, it felt like I got dropped into a world without a lot of context. But since this was her debut novel, it’s not like I accidentally picked up a trilogy in a world she’s written other books in (I did that with Mercedes Lackey before). I want to start here that I would not recommend this book casually. There is too much dealing with trauma and abuse to just say “everyone would enjoy!” and not in a “everyone would learn good lessons from her approach” way. A LOT of people would be made very uncomfortable with the issues it addresses. These issues are very interwoven throughout the three novels, although the most in the first novel. By the

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Review: Book of a Thousand Days

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale is written like a diary, the entries numbered by days. The story itself is an interesting melding of eastern and western fantasy. I like that the world isn’t a direct correlation to Chinese or Japanese imperialism. At least not anything so directly recognizable. The plot is such a cool retelling of Rapunzel. Sort of. Which I love. I love when authors give me what I think is a story I know, put it a cool twist on it, and drop me with a swift kick in the expectations. And this book delivers all that inside an intriguing medium of the “diary” storytelling method. Which is challenging. And I love the illustrations (James Noel Smith does them and they are really good). The villain is well written and evil and scary and yet realistic (in the world Hale created). The magic is there but not blatant. The romance is subtle and kind of funny and

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Review: Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea: One man’s mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time has taken me about three years to read. It was my toilet book and for a very long time, I would look at it feel utterly intimidated by it, so I would read and re-read the first chapter or two. I finally started making myself read a paragraph at a time. Once I did, I began to steadily devour it. Then I had a kid and often my bathroom time was too rushed to even try. Or worse…. I had a crying baby in my arms while I tried to do my business. But finally this year I finished the book. I feel bad because this books deserves so much better than this. I will go back and re-read this book someday over a vacation at the beach while I make my husband play with the kid in the sand and I just read. However,

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Review: The Belgariad

My brother gave me these books by David Eddings when I was in middle school and they are an old favorite. With everything going on in the world, I have been struggling to read. This is breaking my heart, but it’s true. My brain just can’t process new things from books right now. New worlds and characters are too much. So I borrowed the first book on audio book from the library just to have something comforting. I devoured them all over again. This series was a warm blanket of comfort. The characters are not extremely rounded. They are in fact mostly two-dimensional. They were tropes when Eddings wrote the book. The world is kind of flat. Very flat. Nations are not made of diverse people, the people themselves are tropes. There are only two languages (apparently) and one of them might still be more “extreme dialect difference” rather than actually a different language. Like Spain-Spanish vs. Mexico-Spanish. And somehow

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Review: Qualityland

Qualityland was originally published in German, but the English edition came out in January 2020. And I picked it up as an audiobook for my commute. My initial impression is dammmn. It is definitely a book addressing issues of the day. Some of the references are already dated or will be within just a few years, and I don’t understand why the author seems to have a strong hatred for Jennifer Anniston romantic comedies. But the concept of personal data and online profiles is very contextual to today. I wish there had been less foul language. If it had used four-letter words slightly less often I would be able to call for this to be read in every high school. Like EVERY high school. 1984 level. The entire concept is that the main character, Peter Jobless, is struggling with who he is, how he fits in society, and how to feel like his own life is meaningful. The anti-capitalism message is

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