thistlechaser: (Book with cat 3)
I know there are colder places in the country and the world. That doesn't make me feel any warmer.

When I lived in New York, I frequently went out in the snow without a coat on and in a short sleeved shirt. I seemed to never feel the cold.

Ever since I moved to California, I've been getting colder and colder every winter. It doesn't help that the apartment building I live in has no insulation, just brick walls (so it holds the cold and radiates it in, and in summertime it's like living in a brick oven). You can feel the cold coming off the walls. I keep the heat on 70 and I still have to wear a knit hat and fingerless gloves while at my desk (near a wall).

I went out for lunch and I got chilled to the bone. I've been home an hour and my fingers and toes are still icy cold. (With gloves, socks, and slippers on.)

What in the world happened to my ability to keep warm? (Part of it is that I have short hair now. While I love my new ("new") haircut so much, short hair is so so so much colder.)

Now, books! I got up to 30 books for 2012, which broke my goal of 25. Woot! Here's a rough scale of how they broke down:

Loved: 12 (Trading in Danger, The Pride of Chanur, The Wind Through the Keyhole, Jurassic Park, The Children of the Sky, Beguilement, Legacy, Passage, Horizon, Life as we Knew It, Leviathan, Behemoth)
Liked: 2 (Marque and Reprisal, The Enemy)
Neutral: 4 (The Mist, Five Short Stories by GRRM, A Fire Upon the Deep*, The House of Silence)
Disliked: 5 (Flowers for Algernon, The Warrior's Apprentice, This World We Live In, Prey, The Handmaid's Tale)
Hated: 7 (Thrall, Engaging the Enemy, His Majesty's Dragon, Fur-Face, The Dead and the Gone, The Fear, Next)

* Only because it was a reread. First time I read it I loved it.

The 30 books back here... )

Lessons learned:
I cannot count to 30. I made two mistakes, but at least they canceled each other out and my total really is 30. A nice round number to end on.

I was worried I hated all the books I read this year. Further evidence that I have the memory of a goldfish! I loved 12 of the 30 books, and hated only 7!

I'm going to keep my goal 25 books for 2013. Also, I'm going to keep posting about them. I like being able to look back and see what I read and what I had felt about them.
thistlechaser: (Moon)
I do this same thing all the time. I get a string of books I don't like or RP scenes that don't go well or TV eps I don't enjoy, or whatever, and I think it's my fault.

I've been having bad luck on books lately, and so my thought process went in the usual direction: "I guess I haven't been in the mood to read..." "Maybe I was distracted..." "Maybe I don't enjoy reading anymore?" "What's wrong with me?!"

Then I picked up Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld and I knew from the first page it hadn't been me.

This was One Good Book. I fell in love before I was through the first page. I knew I was going to like it from the first paragraph!

Leviathan is an alternate version of World War I. I'm no military buff and not really all that into history, but you don't have to be. You could think of it as some generic fantasy war, though it does make it more interesting that there are ties to RL.

On one side are the Darwinists (the British), who use genetically altered (to put it mildly) animals in their war efforts. The title of the book comes from the name of the ship most of the plot takes place on, the Leviathan. The Leviathan is made of "life threads" from whales, jellyfish, and a number of other animals. It's a "hydrogen breather" (though to be more exact, it's a hydrogen storer). More than that, it's an ecosystem -- a bunch of other altered plants, animals, birds and other things help keep the creature/ship aloft.

On the other side are the Clankers (the Germans). They use machines for warfare, though not as we do in the real world (two-legged walkers, for example).

As interesting as all that is, that's just the backdrop for the story. The book starts with two plots (royalty being assassinated and a girl pretending to be a boy so she can join the military), though soon enough the two merge into one.

I loved the characters. Even the minor ones were realistic, believable, and interesting. I LOVED (L-O-V-E-D!) the use of "life threads" (genetics) -- again, it was fully believable, even though this was taking place in WW1. The writing was outstanding. There was not one thing I disliked about the book.

As an added bonus, the book had some illustrations! How long has it been since I read a book with them? I can't even remember. Just small black and white drawings of an animal, scene, or machine. Previous to this book I would have scoffed at a book with pictures in it, but it made this one feel special and even better than it was.

Unfortunately the series is only a trilogy, though luckily all three books are already out. Highly, highly recommended!
thistlechaser: (WoW: Thistle hugging Penny)
Two topics in one handy post!

I'm sorry, Michael Crichton, but you're off my Christmas card list and out of my To Read pile for good. I really did enjoy rereading Jurassic Park, then I read a second book by you and it wasn't very good, then I tried a third one and it was worse...

Don't get me wrong. Book #28 for the year was Next, which was about... I don't know. Something about generics. I got 30% into the book and we hadn't had more than a couple pages about plot (certainly not enough for me to have more than the most basic idea what was happening with the story). The rest of the book was chapter after chapter of facts and nonfiction. Which universities make the most money from genetics. The patenting of certain genes. The "history" of genetics (in the "Professor Marsh was married to Dr. Smith and they had three kids. The oldest became a teacher at blah blah blah school (paragraphs of info), the middle became (paragraphs of unrealted info), and the youngest went into genetics. He studied at (blah blah) where he had a part time job at McDonalds...).

If you wanted to write a nonfiction book, Mr. Crichton, you should have done that. A third into your book and no sign of a plot? Chapters, entire chapters, with nothing but information dry technical information? Not even disguised as dialogue? I'm done with this.

I wonder if I've read more bad books than usual this year, or it's only now that I'm writing it down and tracking it that I'm remembering them all? Sometime nearer the end of the year I'm going to go back and count how many of the books I read in 2012 that I loved/disliked/etc. Should be interesting!

---

And on Republicans! This amused me greatly. Papa John's, Applebee's And Others Pay Huge Price For Anti-Obamacare Politicking.

It's like people being surprised that Mitt Romney lost a popular vote after saying that he didn't care about the majority of Americans. "What?! You mean people listen to my words and react?!!"
thistlechaser: (Pride flag)
A long time back, [livejournal.com profile] veloxe (and others, I think?) recommended Moon to me. Tonight Tivo recommended it as well, and since it helpfully changed the channel to it without asking me, I watched it.

Wow!

What a great movie! :D So dark and wrong and good and eeee. Only problem is, I cannot describe it at all without spoiling it! The most I can say is that it's about a man on the moon, alone. You'd think that would be boring, but anything but! So much emotion and so much happens and it's just so wrong and good!

I had a slight, slight, slight issue with the ending. (spoilers) )

Book #27 for the year: The House of Silence by J.A. Jaken. (Amazon is down at the moment, link goes to Goodreads.)

I considered making a custom lock for this. Though I think she's not active on LJ anymore, the author is on my friends list. Even though there was nothing wrong with the book, it was well written, professional-level edited, and delivered exactly what it said it would, it didn't work for me, and I hate worrying that I'll make the author feel bad.

I've not read an erotic book since I was a young teenager. I have zero issues with sex, porn, erotic writing, or anything of the sort, but it turns out an erotic book isn't for me. I like sex scenes, but I like my books (and fanfics) to be mostly story, with sex here and there, while (shock!) an erotic book gives mostly sex, with story here and there. The book was well written, and though self published was very well edited. It just wasn't for me. I got to just over halfway through, rolled my eyes at another sex scene, and decided I wasn't enjoying it and deleted the book.

The next book is *cough* Next, by Michael Crichton. I'm barely a chapter into it, so no comment on it yet.

I'm making fast progress through my To Read pile! Soon I'll have to actively seek out new books to buy. :D
thistlechaser: (Girl with flowers)
Happy Thanksgiving to American-types! Happy Thursday to everyone else! It was a quiet, relaxing day for me, even though I ran to the grocery store in the middle of the day. Talk about mobbed!

I finished another book for the year. Book #26: The Handmaid's Tale, which is one of the most depressing books I have ever read. Dark book? Yay! Dystopian novel? Woot! But a book where nothing but bad is heaped upon bad upon bad upon more bad? That is way, way, way too possible to happen RL? I worried this book was going to make me kill myself before I could finish it.

It started with a staged terrorist attack to kill off the president and most of the congress (all happened off-screen in the past and just got a one-line mention), and a new theocratic government was formed. Slowly rights were taken away from women until they had none at all, they were property and nothing else, to be used or killed as men saw fit.

What made the book so depressing was how reasonable each step was, believable, all this could easily happen in our country.

I never recaptured that one time I heard the "music" of the book, either. So too soon it started to annoy me how there could be page after page of literally nothing happening, page after page of talking about word choice or some meaningless memory or pages about a shade of red or arg!

By the time I was three-quarters through the book, it felt like we had had about a chapter of plot progress (which is too bad, as I was interested in the world and where the story would go). It's almost like she was challenging herself to write as much as possible about nothing.

The book made me want to tear my hair out, because the story wasn't bad, the world building was too real and believable, and she did write in some clever tricks, but it was just so damned endlessly depressing. There was not one bright spot in 300+ pages (except maybe once when she was looking at a flower... but even then it was all darkness and depressingess around it).

With the subject matter, I don't expect sunshine and unicorns, but there's no way I'd recommend this book to anyone other than someone I hope would kill themself. ;)

'Themself' should be a word. I hate that it isn't.

The worst part of the book? The ending. (Cutting to avoid spoilers) )

It didn't help that I wanted a light book. Sometimes picking your next book to read by randomly pulling from your To Read pile doesn't work out.
thistlechaser: (Book with cat 3)
There's an insult I don't understand. "Mouth breather". Ever since I was a little kid I've had allergies and sinus problems, so it's rare I can breath through my nose (usually only after multiple medications). So perhaps, as a life-long mouth breather, I'm missing something. I'd rather breath through my nose, it's nice when I can, but why aren't both ways valid? Or is it just that one is "different" than the norm? Or is it more along the lines of "gay" as an insult and most people frown upon it being used as an insult?

Book #24 of 2012: Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge. Book #24! I was hoping to hit 25 books this year, half of the [livejournal.com profile] 50bookchallenge goal, and I'm going to make it for sure. Woot!

Gullstruck Island is an odd book. Fantasy, it was about a population of people spread across islands, so they had to use the "Lost" to communicate with each other. The Lost are the rare members of their population who can send their senses out elsewhere. One could send his hearing towards the moon, his vision under the sea, his sense of touch into his neighbor's house, all at the same time. Then boom, one day all the Lost fall over dead. The book is about what happened to them, what might have been behind all the sudden deaths, etc. It's a mystery!



It should have been a wonderful match for me. I loved the world-building. The "magic" was subtle. There were different languages used in the book (which were well done and made sense). The characters were mostly believable. There was nothing wrong with the book. Yet it put me to sleep. I can't explain it, I should have loved it, but instead it dragged page after page, for 500+ pages. Never once did I have the "Can't stop! Just one more page!!" feeling.

Yesterday I started book #25, The Enemy by Charlie Higson. It's fun going into a book knowing nothing about it other than seeing a thumbnail version of the cover. I must have heard things I liked about this book when I bought it, but that was a year or two ago and I long since forgot. Being an ebook, there wasn't even a back cover to check.

Turns out it's a young adult "end of the world" type story. Something happened and every adult either died or turned into a flesh-eating monster. Unfortunately the writing isn't very good, the author never learned the "Show, don't tell" rule.

The Amazon blurb says: "Full of unexpected twists and quick-thinking heroes, The Enemy is a fast-paced, white-knuckle tale of survival in the face of unimaginable horror." That's opposite of the book in every way so far. Everything that happens is telegraphed (one character is described as the smartest kid ever, the story says outright that they always do what he says because he's right 100% of the time... yet when they go into an abandoned building and he says five or six times that it's a trap and they should leave, they don't listen. And guess what, it's a trap!), the "heroes" are stupid thus far, it's not fast-paced, it's about as white-knuckled as drifting off to sleep is, and "unimaginable horror" is the biggest laugh at all: as the author doesn't describe anything, just tells you the adults are all monsters, there's not a single bit of horror to it. Hopefully it'll get better, but I suspect I'll be moving on to something else before I finish it.

(I google image searched "It's a mystery!" and Paul Ryan came up. His expression amused me, so I decided to go with that image.)

WoW: And the last horse crosses the finish line! I finally hit 90 day before yesterday, the last person of everyone I know. My first thought was "YAY now I'll never have to quest again!" which later made me laugh, as there are endless dailies to do. I'll give it to WoW though, I haven't been bored since then.

I'm focusing on just the Tillers for now. Everyone and their brother are on the new mounts, and I like my stone panther mount, so I don't need to push for the new ones. My farm makes me happy though, along with cooking stuff for NPCs, so I'm going to stick with that. I'm dabbling with the raising your own mount folks, and even lighter dabbling with Nat the Fishing Guy. (I'm more interested in fishing than mount-raising, but Nat is more out of the way, so I stumble onto him less often.)

The AH is going well and poorly. I've not sold one of the TCG mounts yet (EEEEEK), but I've also doubled the amount of gold I had since MoP dropped, so I'm back up to a comfortable range. I'm not where I was before buying all the TCG mounts and 13 Deathchargers, but I'm getting there. When/if they ever sell it will be a nice bonus.
thistlechaser: (Moon)
Before we get to the book, Google made me blink earlier today. I think I'm allergic to my hairspray (I only use it on one section of my hair, and that section of my scalp itches and burns every day), and I wanted to find out how common that might be.



I... um... what? What in the world are people doing... I just... what?

Anyway, the book! I enjoyed rereading Jurassic Park so much that I decided to grab a few more of Michael Crichton's books. I picked five or six of them at random and tossed them in my To Read pile (thankfully not an actual pile anymore, since they're all ebooks). At random I picked Prey.

I love learning new things when I read, but in this book Crichton takes it way too far. The story will be merrily trotting along, then BLAM! The whole plot pauses for a few pages as he talks about some technology. It's totally outside of the story other than the character is daydreaming about it or thinking about it or whatever. Then the plot will continue a bit until BLAM! A few more pages on the history of that technology. More plot, then BLAM! Another total halt of the story as he talks about how that tech might be further explored, how it relates to other sciences, whatever. Scenes go something like this:

Mary says, "We're glad you were able to come today, Mike."
Mike's attention drifts. Nanotechnology first came about in 1992 when Jack Mercer, a computer engineer specializing in software development, of CalTech and Jane McKay, a biologist with twenty years of field experience in India, now working at Intel got together...
[Three pages of information about the history of nanotech.]
Mary says, "Are you listening, Mike?"
Mike says, "Oh, yes, sorry."
[Plot continues for a while, as if that pages long break never happened.]

The story was okay at best. I think it would have been a much better movie than a book (the whole thing had an action-adventure feel to it, other than the walls of information dropped in at random). Basically it was the exact same story as Jurassic Park, except with nanites in place of dinosaurs. Stupid and/or greedy people with higher tech than they should posses losing control of it and it ends up eating a bunch of people who deserve it, the good people walk away at the end.

I started my next book last night, Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge. It hasn't hooked me yet, but I'm only a few pages in. Unfortunately the writing style doesn't thrill me, and it's written in the British style of single quotes around dialog), which keeps knocking me out of the story.

Looking at the Amazon page again, it's odd that it has only one review... It's been out for years, won awards, and is from a major publishing house (as opposed to self published). Strange that it has only one review. Hope that's not a bad sign.
thistlechaser: (Moon)
This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffe, book three of the The Last Survivors series I started in book #20.

That doesn't add up, does it? I read the first book of the series as book #20, and book #21 is the third book of the series. I just noticed that as I was getting URLs to link from. Luckily book #2 and #3 seem to be able to be read in any order, so I guess that works.

So. This World We Live In. It started out one month after the previous book, Life as we Knew It, ended. That's an important fact, as all the characters seemed oddly different. A big theme of the first book was that family comes first, before anyone and everyone else. You help no one else. There's no option, everyone was starving to death, to share was to die. This book opened with the mother trying to stop her daughter from "robbing" other houses (all the owners were dead or long gone, this family had been living alone for months). It made no sense. What happened to putting family first?

Suddenly all characters were fighting about stupid little things that had long since been resolved in the first book, too. It reminded me of RP where the people involved liked conflict better than anything else, so they kept resetting things back to keep the characters fighting.

Also, first person from a teenage girl's POV worked when the world was ending. It did NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT work in a book about relationships and her finding "true love" and no one else understanding it, and she's going to marry this boy after only knowing him for days and ARG. Stupid teenage relationshop crap. So painful to read. If I wanted to read about how she would throw her life away for him and he was so ~sparklingly perfect~ I'd read Twilight. (Edit: To be fair, the main character did see the boy's flaws, but they didn't matter because ~true love will find a way~.)

Seriously. The main character knows this boy for just a couple days and she has to make a choice between her whole family dying and getting an object he told her to get, and she pickled the object. It was clearly a life or death situation, a tornado racing towards the home and she stood at a literal fork in the road between the two goals.

While character flaws are great, all the characters made such stupid decisions, in a setting where one bad decision could mean death.

Blah. I loved the first book so much, I really wanted to like the second (third) one just as much, but I couldn't.

I started the third (second) book, which takes place at the same time as the first book, but it features the boyfriend from the third, which makes me all frowny. I didn't like him in the book I read, I hope this book makes me like him more...

---

And an Ellie update! Because I haven't written about her in ages. Day after tomorrow will be a year and a half of her coming to live with me, and she's THIS CLOSE to being a normal cat. :D She has Opinions on things, and some things she has great dislike for, but she shows very little fear anymore.

She went from not wanting to be touched and sure as heck not wanting to be picked up, to being so demanding about being picked up that half the time I have to hold her while I exercise in the morning.

She has one dislike-bordering-on-fear left, and that's her feet/cutting her claws. When I stopped cutting Dax's, they grew in a circle and cut back into the paw pad, so I want to try to keep them trimmed. Plus Ellie is a ... pawsy? cat, she reaches for my hand to bring it to her, tries to hold it when she wants more pats, paws at my legs and feet to try to get me to stop, all that. We're working on cutting them. Slowly. I get one or two claws cut a day, when she's really relaxed. By the time I get them all cut, it's time to do the first ones again. :P

She has a couple fears/dislikes left that I don't understand. She has no fear of me left, no fear even of my feet when I'm walking (sad she lost that one!), but she has this insane fear of me when I'm horizontal. If I lay down in bed, she goes running. If I sit on the sofa with my feet up and legs straight, she won't come near me. I don't understand where this comes from. Do humans look bigger when flat? I wouldn't think so. Did she get rolled over on by someone as a kitten?

There are small bits of her personality that I feel bad about. If I walk near her food bowls (or even in her general direction) while she's eating, she goes running so fast she loses moist bits of food out of her mouth. I'm kind of glad I don't have a second cat, since I suspect they might bully her away from her food.

I wish I knew what her life was like before me. But whatever it was, I'm happy for her now. She must be happier, not being scared all the time. Being able to accept (and seek out!) pats. Endless pats. She'd have me pat and scratch her for hours if I had nothing better to do with my hands.

I wish she'd sleep with me at night, but the whole scary-while-flat thing. Maybe one day that will go away, too. (Has anyone heard of that before? Is it a common cat fear? I've not run into it previously...)
thistlechaser: (Book with cat 3)
Boy, I'm speeding right along! My goal for the year was to hit half of the [livejournal.com profile] 50bookchallenge goal, and after lagging behind for months, I'm zooming!

Anyway! Life as we Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer was book #20 for this year. Even if the previous two books I read hadn't been seriously meh, this book would have been so amazingly wonderful!

In my book #18 (The Warrior's Apprentice) review, I said "I don't need a book to be totally dark for me to enjoy it" -- I don't need a book to be 100% dark for me to enjoy it, but apparently that helps me to fall head over heels in love with it. :D

This was one of my favorite kind of books. 'Something awful happened, now the world is ending and nearly everyone is dead, so how do the survivors cope?'. Unlike many other books of that type, As We Knew It didn't rush through the 'something awful happens' and 'everyone is dying' parts of that. It was also written first person, and between those two elements, it was delightfully dark and hopeless.

Oh so so so hopeless. Not even reading the Game of Thrones books did I think it was a likely ending that EVERY character would be dead at the end! (Don't take that as a spoiler, I'm not commenting on the ending.)

The book started with an asteroid hitting the moon (which the scientists knew was going to happen), but it turned out to be denser than they thought, and it knocked the moon much closer to the Earth. Tides changed, earthquakes, volcanoes, and other things, all seen through the eyes of a teenage girl trying to survive it with her family.

Bad thing after bad thing after bad thing happens (all perfectly reasonable, and I laughed as I guessed the source of one bad part -- it made such sense!). I can't explain why it's such a delight to read about so much darkness (I certainly do not wish it on anyone RL!), but there's something satisfying about it and it always seems to make it into a better story for me.

Unfortunately I read a small spoiler by accident, so I knew a little about the ending, but it was still wonderful to see how it all happened. On the plus side, through the spoiler I learned this is a series! :D :D :D Guess what books #21 and #22 will be!

If you like end of the world stories, run (don't walk!) and get this book.

Related: Even after all this time of having an ereader app, it still delights me that I can get a whole new book in seconds. One click on the Amazon site, maybe five seconds to download, and I have a new book! Amazing!

Also related: I have so much respect for the author. She wrote a fourth book for the series, it was with the publisher and ready to go, and she pulled it at the last minute because she didn't feel the quality was there. There's someone who's not in this for the money!
thistlechaser: (Moon)
Wow, it's been almost a week since my last post. To be fair, I did write one a couple days ago, but made it private an hour or so after posting (it was a whine whine whine one).

Book #18 was The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold.

(Note: I often use Amazon links for the books I read. I don't have one of those deals where if you click through my link I make a couple cents, it's just that often that's the best source of an official review as well as reviews by readers.)

I couldn't believe she wrote Warrior's Apprentice. After reading the Sharing Knife series and the Curse of Chalion books, I was so in love with her work. Then I remembered something. She said she only writes a book every other year, and there had been more than a dozen books in the series. Googling, I confirmed that this was in fact one of the first books she ever wrote.

I'm afraid I didn't enjoy it hardly at all. There was a moment in the middle of the book I liked (couple pages long) and I liked the end more than the rest of the book together. But the characters (which currently are her strong point in writing) were so boring that even at the end of the book I couldn't remember who they were. More than that, I didn't care.

The whole book was way, way, way too light and fluffy for me. The one moment I liked was a sole dark moment (when his bodyguard/armsman was discovered to have been a torturer and raped women and was raising one of their babies as his own daughter). I don't need a book to be totally dark for me to enjoy it, but chances are I won't enjoy one that is 100% (well, 99.9999%) fluff.

I'm not giving up on the series, but I think when I return to it, I'll read one of the later books. I hate to read a series out of order, but I'm done with finishing books I'm not enjoying. My reading time is too limited to waste it on things I'm not enjoying.

And speaking of not enjoying... The sorry excuse for a MoP "opening event" (not an opening event) was released on WoW. Cut for spoilers, just in case. )

I just... I'm so burnt out on WoW. I wanted MoP to be fun. I do want to like it. But... Why couldn't there have been some fun world event? Something EVERYONE could take part in (not just 85s with the gear to do heroics or whatever). Even the sucky Cata one where we had to run around the world doing something with portals was better than this one.

I'm so tired of being disappointed by Blizz. Unless 1) Blizz gets control of this dupping situation, and 2) MoP is fun for me, it's going to be time for me to move on from WoW. Well, I should add on 3: Unless I get back to RPing and have fun with that.

Blah, see, this is another all depressing post. I hate writing those. To end on an up note: The high point of my day is when I rewatch an episode of Homeland. I'm so glad I bought the DVDs and am rewatching it. There are only 12 eps, I'm trying to restrict myself to one ep per day, but sometimes I fail.
thistlechaser: (Angry scribble cat)
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik.

I should be in bed. I was reading this book before turning the lights off, but my annoyance grew so strong I had to come post instead of sleep.

I know some people on my friends list liked this book. You might want to stop reading my post.

This book offended me. Every time I pick it up, it offends me. I do not know how it got published. Not only does it use a semicolon in every other sentence (or more, sometimes it's every single sentence in a paragraph), it uses them incorrectly. This is not a book published through self publishing, it comes from a major publishing house. How in the hell did it get published? Did the author sleep with someone? Is she the daughter of the CEO? The writing is so technically bad, there's no way for me to describe it other than that it offends me.

And the story? You can basically take everything I wrote in my Sharing Knife review and reverse it. Not one character, from most minor to main, was believable. Not for a moment did any of them come off as real people.

The dialogue, both internal and external, was AWFUL. When I first started reading, I said to myself "This sounds like an American trying and failing to write British dialogue" and I was right. None of it rings true, I couldn't picture hearing any of it spoken.

I'm about 60% of the way in and hit nearly the last straw: The main character is the biggest Gary Sue to ever grace a published page. He has zero flaws. He has the most unique dragon in all of Europe. He learns everything fast and easily. When others bait him, he always takes the higher ground. When left out of things, he always understands that it's natural. When he can take no part in conversations, he listens to "educate himself". Never does he have a negative reaction or emotion (or if he does, it's explained away in seconds). Never does he lose control. Never is he not the better man.

The story isn't working much for me either (though I suspect her writing isn't helping that). I'm not a history buff, I don't care about the Napoleonic Wars. I find myself disliking RL names popping up in the middle of my fantasy book.

I may finish the book, I don't like dropping one without finishing it, but I don't know. I've been ready to quit the book since page one, and I'm to the point where it's annoying me too much to want to read more.

But seriously, how in the world did this thing get published? A semicolon every other sentence, used incorrectly. I am not exaggerating. Poorly written (technically). Main character is a huge Gary Sue. I know so many good writers who are struggling to get published, how does stuff like this get through?
thistlechaser: (Moon)
Well, I certainly picked up the pace there! Books 14-17 were the four in the Sharing Knife series (Beguilement, Legacy, Passage, Horizon) by Lois McMaster Bujold. SO GOOD. I'm hoping so hard that she writes more. (There's room for more! Honest, there is!)

Usually I hate romance mixed into my stories -- most of the time, in my opinion, it takes away from the tale. In this case, I loved it so very much. The characters were so real and the relationship felt so perfect (imperfect!).

She's such an amazing author. I kept logging off WoW just so I could read more, which is a rare thing. She built such an interesting world, with a unique "magic" system (not really magic). But it was the people, the characters, that really made the book. Main character or tiny background person, they were all so realistic. I really, really need more of these books. D: She has to write more!

#18 will be His Majesty's Dragon. I started it last night. It's going to be a tough, slow read. The story seems fine, the characters seem interesting, but I have not a single clue as to how the book made it through the editing process. It has nearly as many semicolons as it does periods and commas. Every paragraph (most of which are short paragraphs) have 2-3 semicolons in it. Nearly every sentence has one. It makes the book nearly unreadable. Seriously, how did an editor give it a pass? Didn't anyone in the publishing office raise their eyebrows? Don't get me wrong, I like semicolons, they're useful things, but you should not be using them in every other sentence.

WoW: SIGH. SIGH, I say. The duppers are back. Why is Bliz not shutting this down? Taking the dupped items back? Fricking 30K deathchargers are flooding the AH. I want to cry. I'm 100% willing to take the blame when I make a wrong guess about the AH, but how in the world was I supposed to foresee this? *I* bought my horses at fair market, pre-duping prices, now I'm going to lose 100K each on 13 of them? 1.3M gold lost, though no fault of my own.

While looking up dungeon info yesterday, I came upon an interesting blog. He wrote about his first time in Northrend, before wiki had a single bit of info on the area. Such a fun read!

Also, he pointed out that Northrend is Australia:



Ha!
thistlechaser: (fox - talking)
Book 11 of 2012: A Fire Upon the Deep, by Vernor Vinge (reread).
Book 12 of 2012: The Children of the Sky, by Vernor Vinge.

I liked Fire Upon the Deep so much the first time I read it, I wanted to reread it again so I could fully enjoy the direct sequel, Children of the Sky. My last two books (Flowers for Algernon and Jurassic Park) were rereads as well, so I thought this would work out. It didn't.

Algernon and Jurassic Park worked as rereads because it had been so long since I last read them, it might as well had been the first time. Fire was too new, I remembered way too much of it. I skimmed a lot of the book (which is sad, since I enjoyed it so much the first time, but I knew all the big plot twists, so it felt like there was no point).

Children, on the other hand, I loved. Vinge is so amazing at world building, I loved seeing his Tine aliens again. In some ways, the humans were too human though -- they were so realistic that it almost (almost!) made the book hard to enjoy: how people can ignore or change or misunderstand reality for political/religious-ish reasons. (How's that for a clunky sentence!)

Book #13 I just barely started, but I'm so much in love with it already. Beguilement (The Sharing Knife, Book 1) by Lois McMaster Bujold. I'm only three chapters in, but it's so hard to put down. Such a wonderful fantasy! I love the magic (I think that should likely be in quotes, "magic") of the world she's writing.

Books!

Jun. 17th, 2012 06:34 pm
thistlechaser: (Moon)
Book 9 of 2012: Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes.
Book 10 of 2012: Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton.

Both books were rereads, but for both of them it had been so long since I read them, they might as well be new.

I finished Algernon while on vacation, but had no net access so delayed posting about it. Plus, unfortunately, it wasn't very post-worthy.

Like many people, I read the Flowers for Algernon short story in school. When the teacher mentioned it was based on a book, I ran out to get it and read it. I loved it at the time.

I wish I had left it at that. What a dark, slow-moving, unenjoyable book to read. I don't mean it was bad, it was just hard to enjoy. The main character was teased when he was slow (what horrible people everyone else was!), and when he became smart he was unlikable... and I knew going in how the story would end. Plus it was really slow, page-sloggingly slow. I wish I hadn't reread it, I wish I had left it as a good memory. (I can also see why it worked as a short story. There was so very much that could have been cut out and left the story intact!) (Edit: Oh. Reading the wiki, it seems Algernon was a short story first and then expanded into a novel. Interesting.)

Jurassic Park was day-and-night different. What a fun, exciting read! I read the book when it came out, and I watch the movie every month or so (whenever I catch it on TV). The book is quite different than the movie, and I loved every page of it. The characters were deeper and more complex than in the movie (not surprising!). The book is a little dated, but that really didn't take away from the story at all.

I have five or six other Crichton books in my to-read pile, and I'm looking forward to getting to them.

But first! I learned through [livejournal.com profile] djinni's LJ that Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep now has a sequel out! EEE! But I wanted to reread Fire first, so I could fully enjoy Children of the Sky (plus I loved Fire dearly). Only problem was... where was my copy of Fire? It wasn't in my Kindle app, either active or archived. Could I have read it in physical form? Turns out I had. So I settled in to read the dead tree version... but the text is too small. D: (How in the world did I read it the first time?!)

Online to the rescue! I believe in books and I like supporting writers. I'll happily buy a copy of a book once... but I won't twice. I *cough* found a copy online, so I can read it that way.

I'm falling further and further behind for the year. :/ I had thought I could make half of [livejournal.com profile] 50bookchallenge's goal, but now it's looking like I won't even reach that. I sure do wish I had more time to read (and watch TV and play online and and and...).
thistlechaser: (Cat before moon)
Book 8 of 2012: The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel by Stephen king.

I loved this book so much. So very much. King is such a good storyteller, and a story is exactly what this book was...

Minor minor spoilers back here. )

I feel like I'm behind in my reading, though I have no real schedule*. I had been hitting two books per month, which was a nice pace, but I'd need to finish two more in the next two weeks to maintain that. Cruise is coming up, but unfortunately I'll likely have even less time than usual to read (which seems backwards...).

On words, now there's even more reason to like merriam-webster.com. They have comments enabled on all of their definition pages. "What made you want to look up [word]? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible)." It's so interesting to read!

Today the word "tupping" came up in RP. It's unusual for me to not know a word (happy day! New word!), I usually just look things up to find out the spelling. Look at the variety of comments on that word! So interesting. :)

* I started tracking the books I read because of the [livejournal.com profile] 50bookchallenge comm. I knew I'd never get to 50 in a year, so I'm posting here instead of there. My goal was half that, 25 books in a year, which would mean basically two per month.

Edit: Oh hey, YAY! I just noticed my IC Twitter account crossed the 10,000 message (tweets/IC "pages") mark! Luckily the books are ICly magic, otherwise Thistle would get a backache lugging around a 10,000 page book. :D Here's to 10,000 more IC posts!
thistlechaser: (WoW: Dandelion cartoon)
Today is National Peanut Butter Lovers' Day! If for some reason you miss eating peanut butter today, don't forget that National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day is coming up on April 2nd!

Book 5 of 2012: Marque and Reprisal by Elizabeth Moon, book two in what turns out to not be a trilogy...

Pigs-- Er, People...In...SPACE! (No spoilers) )

I started counting books this year because of the [livejournal.com profile] 50bookchallenge comm. I knew 50 books in a year would be impossible for me -- nearly a book a week? When I generally have less than an hour a day to read? Not going to happen. I thought I was reading a book a month, but turns out I'm about double that, so I'm pretty happy so far. A book every two weeks really isn't all that bad. Sure when I was a kid I could read a book a day, but things were different then (plus my eyes would never ever hold up to that much reading anymore).

In WoW news, I bought a second Crimson Deathcharger this afternoon. I overpaid for it (150K), but I've been kicking myself for passing them up in the past. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, other than not resell it (MINE MINE MINE). I think I'm going to just hang onto it. On the off chance Thistle ICly becomes some other class, the new alt would need the mount, too. So for now, the wonderful horse lives in my guild bank with the Tabard of the Lightbringer. Poor Reed (paladin) was supposed to get the tabard, but I haven't been able to bring myself to bind it to him.
thistlechaser: (Happy/sleepy/stretching cat in fez)
Old computer is still chugging away, running perfect. I've been camping my door all morning waiting for the UPS man to bring the new one. Wish he'd hurry up!

Happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] fealubryne! To echo [livejournal.com profile] firebyrd, you sure are getting old! ;) All the <3s to you! I hope you have a great birthday!

Book 4 of 2012: Am I really only up to four? I guess it just feels like a lot more. Book 4 wasn't really a book, though I wish it had been. Five stories by GRRM. I had been looking forward to reading these, but my hopes had been too high. Details on the five stories here, might be minor spoilers. )
I really wish it had been a book, so it would have cost me less. I spent $2-$4 per story, and most of them weren't worth it. I slogged through the reading, it was so slow to get through them all.

Book #5 is Marque and Reprisal by Elizabeth Moon. The first book of this series was book #1 for this year. Usually I like reading a book series one right after another, but for some reason I felt like I needed a palate cleanser before starting the next one.

Cooking: [livejournal.com profile] lokyst suggest I try Garam Masala on my chicken, so I bought Shan Zafrani Garam Masala Mix to try. The box that arrived had different packaging (it said "Hot/Spicy Powder!" on it, which worried me a lot). But I tried it (using just a little bit, worrying it would be hot/spicy) and I liked it a lot. I'm not sure I gave it a fair tasting though, because all I tasted was cinnamon. Maybe it settled? Next time I use it, I'm going to empty the foil pack into a ziplock bag so I can mix it up and make sure I'm getting the full mix of spices.

Who would have thought that cinnamon on chicken would be good? Speaking of, I still need to order the book [livejournal.com profile] nicenewra recommended, The Flavor Bible. I hate buying a physical book, but I think I will in this case. Cooking + iPad = messy screen. Ordering it now...

Edit: What the heck? Hardcover version of the Flavor Bible is $20.49. Paperback is $51.20. o.O
thistlechaser: (Moon)
Being only 19 days into the year, finishing my third book might sound impressive. (Or might not, depending on how much free time you have in your life for reading.) Unfortunately it sounds more accomplished than it is. Book #1 I read most of in 2011, just finished in 2012. Book #2 was that horrible Thrall self-published book, which I deleted off the Kindle app a few pages in. And this book, #3, turns out to be a novella instead of a book (though that it's by the verbose Stephen King pushes it to nearly book length).

Book #3: The Mist... )

I have no idea what book #4 will be. I poked briefly through all my unread ones, but nothing caught my eye. Will probably decide tonight!
thistlechaser: (Grammar)
Sorry for two posts in one day, but this annoys the heck out of me. I started the year's second book, and it's BAD. I mean bad-bad. Self-published bad. The first paragraph:

"By the gods, pull the damn sword out," the man on the floor howled out into the tavern. Although down the bar, Glorias' ears heard him well enough. The aged warrior looked over at the figure laying face down on the dirty boards. A man screamed in agony while a halo of patrons surrounded him.

So many 'buh?'s in one paragraph! The first sentence is horrible. Remove everything outside of the dialog, add an exclamation mark. That doesn't make it into a good first sentence, but it makes it better. What the hell is up with the second sentence? Why "Although"? Third sentence is okay, other than I'd hyphenate "face-down" (complex adjective). The fourth sentence is the worst. What man? Why "A man"? When paired with the third sentence, it makes it sound like a totally different man is now being talked about!

Plus, on the very first page is a simple grammar error!

While a plump drunkard shambled over to shut the wooden door, Glorias' leaned out from the far end of the bar.

Glorias's what?

Plus their use of possessive on Glorias makes me all frowny. I know there's no ONE TRUE WAY to make a name ending in -s be possessive, but way I learned it (Strunk&White), a ' with no S after for possessive is used only in ancient, biblical names.

Charles's cookie.
Jesus' pie.

The publisher is Seventh Star Press, which I never heard of. Their website is ugly and clunky. I can't find mention of them elsewhere on the net. I'm assuming it's not self, based on this from their site:

Seventh Star Press does not accept or open unsolicited manuscripts. We are currently focusing on our 2009 release schedule and are not adding any new authors/projects at the moment. Please feel free to check back here, as any changes regarding this will be posted here..

Hi typo in their site, too! One or three periods! Pick one! ARG!
thistlechaser: (Moon)
I decided to make spaghetti sauce this weekend. It's one of the few (only?) things I can cook that come out great every time, but the problem is that eating a lot of tomato-based stuff gives me horrible heartburn, so I try to resist making it.

While I was at the supermarket to pick up the stuff for it, I noticed that the $5 Friday special was a roasted chicken. Since I needed lunch, I grabbed one. It turned out to be a very meh lunch (way too greasy), but it was sitting in so much "juice" at the bottom I figured it would make outstanding soup. Me? Cook two things in one weekend? Impossible!

Turns out that was right. I came home after work to my apartment smelling VERY chickeny. "I'm surprised how much smell escaped the fridge," I thought. Turns out I left the chicken on the counter by mistake. c.c Bah!

Books: I've been going back and forth about making my 2012 book posts private or letting folks see them. I won't always write big reviews about the books, so I thought private would be better (so I wouldn't feel like people were expecting something of me), but I think I'll just LJ cut them instead.

Book #1 of 2012... preview of book #2 )

Edit: This is the funniest, cutest dog video ever:

Credit to [livejournal.com profile] treuegrit for linking me!

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