Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tales
My current book review policy is behind the LJ cut. Click to read it.Collapse )

(Art by hamburger.)

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Sixth of the Dusk by Brandon Sanderson
Rating: 4/liked (1-5/hated-loved)

I made a mistake when I bought this book. I love everything Brandon Sanderson writes, so when I saw he had something new just released, I grabbed it. Unfortunately it was only after I read it that I saw it was just a section taken from another book.

Sixth of Dusk is one of the four stories in Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology. But the stories are only part of what Shadows Beneath has to offer: With each one, the author explains not just why they wrote it, but earlier drafts of the story, how the ideas evolved, how it was edited, the whole process from first idea to final draft. Sixth of the Dusk is the final draft of Sanderson's story in Shadows Beneath.

From Amazon: For years the hosts of Writing Excuses have been offering tips on brainstorming, drafting, workshopping, and revision, and now they offer an exhaustive look at the entire process. Not only does Shadows Beneath have four beautifully illustrated fantastic works of fiction, but it also includes transcripts of brainstorming and workshopping sessions, early drafts of the stories, essays about the stories’ creation, and details of all the edits made between the first and final drafts.

Come for the stories by award-winning authors; stay for the peek behind the creative curtain.

So, yeah. I'm reading Shadows Beneath next.

But! For now, Sixth of Dusk. It's set in set the Cosmere universe (where the Mistborn, Stormlight Archive, and a bunch of his other books are set), and tells the story of a young man (a trapper) on an island full of animals who hunt by sensing thoughts, in a world where birds bestow magical powers to people. But larger than that, it's a story of post-first contact with an alien race.

Typical of Sanderson's books, Sixth did not hook me from the very first page. With every book I've read by him, I started out thinking "Oh well, guess I'm not going to like this one..." then it starts growing on me and never stops until I get to the "This is the best book ever!" level. Because this was a novella, the slow building of my love didn't have time to get to the "Best ever!" level, though I did like it a whole lot.

It's interesting that that 'quickly hooking the reader' arrow is missing from Sanderson's quiver: Every other author I love hooks me right from the first page. I think it's because of what he offers: Amazing world-building and very realistic characters -- things you can't show in the first paragraph. (Other than the Chaos Walking series, man those books had everything).

As there is less than a week left in 2014 (eeek!), this is likely my last book of the year. I'll do a summary of the year sometime next week.

Happy holiday, everyone! Thanks for reading! :)

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Current Mood: thirsty thirsty

Just a slight heads up to folks: I'm making some cuts to my friends list this week.

People who don't post anymore. (Edit: Except a couple people who don't post but use their LJs to comment!)
People who post political stuff. (People 100% chance have the right to post whatever they like in their blogs, but everyone else has the same right to read it or not.)
Anyone who spams about the Interview movie (only one person, a rather famous person who in no way will know or care that I've unfriended him).
People who I never really clicked with (no conversations/comment exchanges).

I'd like to keep everyone, but I'm just having a hard time keeping up with my friends list.

As always, you're of course free to defriend me at any time. :)

Current Mood: hungry hungry

Thor by Wayne Smith
Rating: 3/okay (1-5/hated-loved)

One of my favorite kind of story is one told from an animal's point of view. That's a more challenging style than it might seem, because if the animal knows too much, the story becomes unbelievable, yet if the animal doesn't know enough, the story can be impossible to tell.

Based on only storytelling and believable of the dog protagonist, I'd say this was the best 'told from an animal's POV' book I ever read. However, that does not mean this was a good book.

Though published by major company, this book was full of errors and issues. On the very second page of the book, there was a major error (wrong pronoun used for a character). Peppered through the book were lots of other errors, mostly word switching, typos, and letters or words dropped (like 'do' instead of 'dog', and 'To' instead of 'Tom"). Add on top of that that, while the dog was a very believable dog, none of the human characters were realistic or believable. There were major plot holes? errors? as well (like the cop agreeing to "I'll tell you everything I know if you tell me everything you know", then the cop told him everything... then just left without getting a single bit of info from the other guy).

The plot of the book was interesting (a dog had to protect his family from a werewolf, the werewolf just happening to be the brother of the family's mother and living with the family). I enjoyed the first two-thirds of the book, but the end was really heavy-handed and contained errors related to earlier in the book, so I started skimming.

The writing was amusingly dated, even though it was published in 1992. There were multiple references to Richard Nixon. For example:

"So," Uncle Ted said, nervously tucking his shirt into his pants and sounding as innocent and nonchalant as Richard Nixon...

Would I recommend this book? Maybe. If you like stories told from animal POVs, it's entertaining enough. All in all though, probably not. It had just too many basic editing mistakes.

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Current Mood: okay okay

With as much as goes on in the world, it's impossible to not miss out on stuff. However, some things are so easy to keep up with, it feels like a shame that I'm missing out.

I rarely watch things on YouTube. Now and then, when someone links me to something, I'll watch it. If it's especially good, I'll post it here. But I never spend time watching a video and following where it links me, for hours at a time.

Thus I miss out on a whole lot.

More so than I had realized.

This video takes clips from the most popular 233 videos of the year and made them into a six minute long video:

So much exciting, crazy, fun stuff in there! And how many of those videos had I seen? Three, maybe four. Out of 233.

I think I need to spend more time on YouTube.

Current Mood: tired tired

Survey Ship by Marion Zimmer Bradley (Book not linked on purpose.)
Rating: 2/disliked (1-5/hated-loved)

Reading books on the Kindle, cover images are in black and white, and smaller than LJ icons. Sure once you open the book you could see the whole cover as big as your screen, but by default the book starts you on page one of the story, not on the cover. Usually I try to go back to the cover and start from there, but sometimes I don't.

This time I hadn't. I should have.

I loved the prologue so much. The story went somewhat downhill from there, but I was still generally enjoying it. So, when I had a chance, I googled to see who wrote it and if s/he had written anything else. I was unhappily shocked.

In case you hadn't encountered the news yet, Bradley sexually abused children, including her own daughter. Her daughter wrote:

"The first time she molested me, I was three. The last time, I was 12, and able to walk away … She was cruel and violent, as well as completely out of her mind sexually. I am not her only victim, nor were her only victims girls."

If that's not bad enough, "Most notably, she actively aided and abetted her husband, Walter Breen, in the sexual abuse and molestation of children.".

So, yeah. I had to decide what I was going to do about reading this book. Since I already owned it, and had mostly enjoyed it thus far, I decided to keep going with it.

That turned out to be a mistake. This story was about three things, in this order:

Teenagers thinking. (70%)
Teenagers having sex. (25%)
Teenagers in space. (5%)

All I could think about is how she might have used her abuse of children as some sort of research (purposefully or not) for all the sex in this book. It turned my stomach.

I did try to judge the book based on the story alone (thus 'disliked' instead of 'hated', since I liked the prologue so much and I did finish the whole thing). But even without the foul background of the author, the story was just pretty darned boring. Six basically perfect teenagers who spent most of the space trip thinking or having sex. So. Much. Thinking. Often thinking about sex. Page after page after page of nothing but them thinking.

Every problem was solved in, at most, a couple pages. Most of them the next page.

The author had a love affair with exclamation points. The characters! Were constantly! Talking! Like this!

The copy I had was a scan of the physical book (thankfully apparently I didn't buy it), so it was full of errors (like 1 or l in the place of an I), but there was one amusing one. One character screamed:

"They left us out here to live or Jive!"

Teenage jive contests in space. I'd read a book about that, unless it were written by this author.

Currently reading: Thor by Wayne Smith.

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Current Mood: disturbed

Despite its initial letter, "Thursday Twofer" does not have the same ring as "Tuesday Twofer". Clumsy subject line aside, have a second great Disney song for the day:

Hellfire (from The Hunchback of Notre Dame) sung by a woman. In the video description, she asked that people ignore her use of "righteous man", that there wasn't a good replacement for it.

She has quite the voice, and it's really interesting to hear these lyrics sung by a woman.

Current Mood: impressed impressed

It's a tag! It's a title! It's Thursday!

1) I had a very hard time not laughing out loud at work over this video. Mulan's I'll Make a Man Out of You, translated repeatedly through an online translator, sang by an entertaining fellow. With special guest star: President Obama!

2) I've been trying very hard to make time to watch Reign (I'm so far behind, still in season one!), and I was able to watch three episodes this week. Last night's was the most amusing one ever!

While the episode is a year old, I'll cut it anyway, just to be safe.

[Sexual defenestration's not my thing / I would not do it with the king.]
Bwahahaha he fucked her out a window! This was the best episode ever! Not just that with a thrust of his kingly hips did she get pushed out a window, but then the king and queen trying to deal with the body!

"Why's it so hard to get the blood out of this rug?! How do the servants do it?"
"They...dip it in something."

I love this show so much. It's sort of like those Xena/Hercules shows from the... 80s? 90s? but with a whole ton of endlessly sexy people, beautiful costumes, and interesting settings. Camp and sex and endlessly amusing storylines. Plus King Henry in his skintight leather pants is the hottest thing ever.

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Current Mood: amused amused

What a way to spend a day off from work. Was pretty sure I had an infection in my toe (I keep getting ingrown toenails), so went to the walk in clinic. He sent me off to the podiatry department. The same toe that had the nail reduced by 50% six months ago now has another big chunk gone. There's only like 25% left of it. Since I was going through all the pain of removal anyway, I kinda wish they had taken the whole thing.

It is, quite literally, a bloody mess at the moment. I'll resist going into details beyond that.


Informatzia by Catherine Keegan (loupnoir)
Rating: 4/liked (1-5/hated-loved)

I've been waiting for this book for so long. :) How hard is it to not bug the author when they're right there on your LJ friends list? It was really great to see all the characters again!

In a way, you could say this book series was Harry Potter fanfic with the serial numbers filed off, but that's not really the case. The Durmstrang Chronicles (written by this author and what the Informatzia trilogy was based on) was always pretty stand-alone. It had no canon Harry Potter characters (Lupin had a walk-in role in one of the stories, but that's it). The whole world was so wonderfully dark and mature. So it's more like Informatzia is two steps removed from Harry Potter.

The main character of Informatzia is an animagus werewolf, but neither that nor magic were the focus of this story. It was more a tale of spies and the Russian culture.

While I love the main character, I found myself wishing to be able to see so much more of this world. The few glimpses of the "magic cops" (special members of the FBI) made them seem so interesting! And the few mentions of Rose Jones (main character of Durmstrang Chronicles) made me itch to have her show up in the story.

Not so totally unrelated, I named one of my Flight Rising dragons Rose Jones.

Ahem! Anyway, I quite enjoyed the book! I can't wait until the third one. :)

Currently reading: Survey Ship by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I've had it on my Kindle for a while, well before all the rape/abuse stuff around her and her husband came out. I feel a little icky reading it; I hadn't even originally realized it was by her (the covers on the Kindle are so small, all I can generally see is the title).

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Current Mood: sore sore

Apparently I need to post more disgusting stuff. This is the first time this ever happened! To be honest, I didn't even know a popular post list existed:

Hello! Your entry got to top-25 of the most popular entries in LiveJournal!
Learn more about LiveJournal Ratings in FAQ.

Thanks to everyone who clicked the cut link! You can pick up your reward, a semen-boiled My Little Pony doll, from the table to your left.

Tonight's link is more funny than gross. I love porn parodies of real movies. Unsurprisingly, someone made one for The Hunger Games: The Humper games. Surprisingly, you can watch the whole thing online for free, officially, from the company's own website:

The Humper Games (NWS, duh).

The first five minutes and the last couple are genuinely funny! The middle 30 minutes or so is bad (so bad) porn sex. But it's really worth watching the opening and the ending of it.

I need to find opportunities to use "May the odds be ever in your beaver.".

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Current Mood: amused amused

Name: Thistle
Lyrics to live by
No life can escape being blown about / By the winds of change and chance / And though you never know all the steps / You must learn to join the dance / You must learn to join the dance
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