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text 2018-06-03 23:57
Fantasy Flights June Meeting - Urban Fantasy
Shadowshaper - Daniel José Older
Owl and the Japanese Circus - Kristi Charish
Zero Sum Game (Russell's Attic) (Volume 1) - SL Huang
Drink, Slay, Love - Sarah Beth Durst
Broken Monsters - Lauren Beukes

The librarian usually sends out links for each months topic. This month, her links include an article titled something like "what is urban fantasy" that only says it's a marketing category and a list of "where to start" that has more male authors than female authors. I, just, I don't know, ya'll. If I were introducing someone to UF, I'd probably talk about the use of noir tropes in contemporary fantasy settings, broken vs unbroken masquerades, and Carrie Vaughn's theory, "these books are symptomatic of an anxiety about women and power." But, sure, here's a dude saying it's meaningless marketing and a list of mostly dudes to read.

 

The other big UF reader in the group is going to be out of town for this one, so I'm trying to psych myself up to deal with a room full of guys all talking about Harry Fucking Dresden. 

 

I'm also bounding myself by recommending in-progress series or stand alone books. A few months back, one of the members asked for recommendations for completed UF series that weren't PNR, and I want to avoid repeats. Okay, he didn't say PNR, he asked for books that weren't all about vampire sex. So at least one person may have some non-Dresden. . . take a deep breathe, Saturdays, you don't want to start another fight in book club.

 

Whatever. I love this genre. 

 

Shadowshaper - Daniel José Older. So far this series has 2 novels and 3 novellas and is dynamite. The protagonist is an artist who discovers her legacy includes channeling spirits into physical forms. She makes her graffiti come alive. Yeah, that's right, I talk all that shit and then start off with a book by a man.

 

Owl and the Japanese Circus - Kristi Charish. Action packed with an unlikable heroine, this series follows an antiquities thief and her vampire hunting cat through endless poor decisions and explosions. I adore that she isn't good with weapons and doesn't have powerful magic abilities. I just recently finished the 4th installment, and the heroine is consistently a train wreck.

 

Zero Sum Game (Russell's Attic) (Volume 1) - SL Huang. Fast paced, plenty of violence, and her magic power is being really good at math. Do I need to go on? 

 

Drink, Slay, Love - Sarah Beth Durst. A teenage vampire gets stabbed by a unicorn and finds herself able to go out in daylight. Her family decides to enroll her in high school so she can lure teens back to the rest of the bloodsuckers. This is a lighthearted, almost rom-com book that is exactly as much fun as my first sentence indicates.

 

Broken Monsters - Lauren Beukes. The protagonists are all human in this not-quite police procedural where strange murders point toward incomprehensible motives.

 

 And I think I'll stop there. I really want to add about 10 more books. We'll see where the night leads.

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review 2016-09-27 00:00
Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir
Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir - Eddie Hua... Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir - Eddie Huang I'll give two stars because of the honest look at life that the first half or so the book offered. A nice, if bit awkward, kid dealing with other people's misconceptions and outright racism. He had heart and stubbornness to get through the bad times and then bam...

Eddie Huang screams against racism by becoming openly racist, violent and appropriating black culture. If that's not enough he goes in to a downward spiral of crime, hated of anything white and laughs or gloats about all the people he's hurting. Seriously.

In the end Huang is lucky to somehow get a second rate tv show out of this whole thing because his frat boy douchebag personality isn't going to last him long. I do hope he can keep up his food hustle but I don't know how anyone can get anything out of this book other than
"kid rages against stereotype by becoming another racial stereotype then using it to berate stereotypes".

There are people comparing Eddie Huang to Lisa See and Amy Tan? Seriously? They're not my usual taste either but at least they can spin a narrative. All Huang can do is spread racist rhetoric and use his parent's abuse and other people as excuses for his behavior.
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text 2016-08-29 13:04
July Wrap-Up
The Count of the Living Death (The Chronicles of Hildigrim Blackbeard) - Joshua Grasso
A Country Doctor’s Notebook - Mikhail Bulgakov
The Sociopath Next Door - Martha Stout
Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal - Conor Grennan
The Haunted Forest Tour - James A. Moore;Jeff Strand
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition - J.K. Rowling,Jim Kay
Specimen 313 - Jeff Strand
Suckers - J. A. Konrath, Jeff Strand, Read by Dick Hill
A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin
Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir - Eddie Huang

So, this is long overdue. I'm not posting my August reading list, for obvious reasons, but here's a list of what I read the previous month broken down by rating.

 

Books Read: 11

 

5 star: 0

 

4 star: 4

The Count of the Living Death

A Country Doctor's Notebook

The Sociopath Next Door

Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal

 

3 star: 6

The Haunted Forest Tour

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Illustrated Edition

Specimen 313

Suckers

A Wizard of Earthsea

Fresh Off the Boat

 

 

2 star: 1

The Gilded Chain

 

1 star: 0

 

Reviews Written: 4

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review 2016-07-13 15:18
Fresh Off the Boat
Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir - Eddie Huang

As memoirs go, this was a bit of a disappointment. I really can't stand reading memoirs, where the author keeps making the same mistakes over and over again with no sign of learning anything. The author keeps doing the same things ad nauseum and gets the same results. Even when he claims to have received a wake-up call after being arrested, there's really no change. Reading a memoir written like this, its like the author is asking for a pat on the back and somebody to reassure him that the problem isn't him, it's other people.I also really couldn't get over the way he talked about and treated women. For someone who talks about the feminism classes he took in college, you think he'd be a little more aware of how he treated women.Despite these issues, I did find it interesting to read
about him trying to stay connected to his roots in Taiwan and how he ultimately managed to do that by turning to cooking. I really enjoyed the descriptions of different dishes sprinkled throughout this memoir and that is what led to my rating of 3 1/2 stars.

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review 2016-06-16 05:38
Fresh Off the Boat
Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir - Eddie Huang

2 Very Important Notes: 1)I listened to this book and devoured it, I'm not sure I would have liked it so much if I had read the physical book. 2) This book is not for everyone, I think it's a love it or hate it book without much middle ground.

 

Eddie Huang is incredibly smart and talented.  He speaks authentically about his experiences as a first generation Taiwanese American, getting into trouble, and his love of hip-hop and food.  This book is heavy on the slang and vulgarity. The way he talks about getting into trouble is off putting to some readers because of the way it comes across.  That being said I'm sure Huang knows exactly what he is doing.

 

This book resonated with me. I connected with a lot of the feeling he discussed in this book.  As someone who reads memoirs with a fair amount of regularity I really enjoyed this one.

 

Eddie Huang is a problematic person, but he is also kind of amazing, and I think there are a lot of lessons in this book

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