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text 2017-07-22 18:29
The Realm of Last Chances: 27/288pg
The Realm of Last Chances - Steve Yarbrough

Lately, he felt insubstantial, weightless, as if he were merely the idea of a person rather than the real thing. People weren't just a past or a present or a set of extinguished expectations. They had to have a future, too, and for himself he failed to see one. He felt as if he could readily be brushed off, as if right now, should he choose to, Nowicki could swat him aside as if he were no more momentous than a fly or a gnat. 

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review 2017-07-21 14:31
Not what I thought it would be.
Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and O... Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) - Roger Horowitz

When I first heard about this book I thought it would be a great read. I'm no expert at all as to what foods are kosher and really understand the basic tenants of it from school friends. But the title brought to mind of a story from the early 2000's where it was discovered that there were tiny organisms in the tap water causing a debate as to whether it was kosher and the move for people to install filters in their homes, restaurants to advertise they filter their water, etc. Or the stories of how Jewish people often go to Chinese restaurants on Christmas even though sometimes it might not be completely clear whether the restaurant's food is actually kosher, etc.

 

So I thought this book would be something like that and the author starts off by talking about his family and how he was driven to writing this book. Then the book quickly goes downhill from there.

 

Although there is generally some interesting information as to how Coca-Cola was kosher, how animals are slaughtered for kosher meat, etc. the book is dry, technical, academic, etc. It was best when he talked about his family but obviously that's not the focus of the book. I wanted to like it and did get some knowledge but it was a slog. Part of me wonders whether it's because I have a general lack of knowledge but I see from other reviews they also found the book pretty hard to get through.

 

If there's a specific topic of interest in the book it might be a good pickup. But I was disappointed to find the book wasn't what I thought it was nor was it very readable and I'm *very* glad I found it at my library. Otherwise I'd skip it.

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text 2017-07-19 22:00
So, B&N cancelled my preorder.
Golden Age and Other Stories - Naomi Novik

Uh-huh.   Pre-ordered it via Amazon now, because I didn't want to have to deal with shipping and handling on separate packages if I wanted Well's All Systems Red in paperback, too. 

 

Golden Age is something I definitely want in paper for the illustrations, by the way.  I was going to skip this.   All side characters from what I'd read, and none of them interest me as much as Temeraire. 

 

None other than Novik herself claimed this was like 90% Temeraire.   So, I immediately pre-ordered it after Readercon.  I tried from B&N because I could have gotten it with my employee discount.   I don't want to have to wait and remember - which I'll end up flaking on, especially since it's coming out soon before school - thus the Amazon pre-order.  

 

By the way, she's turning a fairy tale short into a novel, too, but not sure when that'll be ready/out.  

 

 

I also need to pre-order Akata Witch 2, and Binti: Masquerade both by Nnedi Okorafor.   Sadly, this will be the last Binti for a while, but she said she loved this world so it might come back in the future.   Fingers crossed. 

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review 2017-07-19 09:54
Golden Age and Other Stories
Golden Age and Other Stories - Naomi Novik

by Naomi Novik

 

I wanted to read something by Naomi Novik, but didn't realise this collection of short stories was fan fiction related to the Temeraire series, which I haven't read. Never mind, it's a good test of a story collection like this to see if it can stand on its own.

 

The first story, Volley's Cow, did leave me a little bewildered. I think there was an assumption of familiarity with the characters, both human and dragon, as well as adventures they had been through in the series. The second story, Planting Season, was more self-contained and stood on its own well.

 

This was followed by Dawn of Battle, which I think probably reflected the sort of military battle atmosphere of the series and gave me a taste of the dragons and how they work in this world.

 

Then there is the title story, Golden Age. This one is longer than the others and rather good. My impression was that it was an alternative history using the characters from the first book of the series and focused very much on the nature of the dragons.

 

The next story, Succession, takes place in China and tells about how the French came to have a Celestial egg. This is followed by Dragons and Decorum, about a young woman being recruited into the air Corp, because female dragons will only have female handlers. Although I haven't yet read Pride and Prejudice, the use of the names Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy suggest there might be a nod to that book in this story.

 

The book wraps up with a section of Drabbles, 100 word stories. These were amusing and gave me some snippets of the world in which this series manifests. thought it was a nice way to finish up the collection. The artwork alone is worthwhile.

 

Over all an enjoyable read that I'm sure will be indispensable to readers of the Temeraire series.

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review 2017-07-18 14:10
Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories
Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories - Gary Gianni,Gary Gianni

Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories was a real treat! I knew nothing about what to expect from this volume, (knowing nothing about the Hellboy series, in which these comics were originally released), so I went in with no preconceptions. I was seriously impressed. Here's why:

 

First, I LOVED the stories! The first 2/3 of this are different comics featuring a movie director named St. Lawrence, (who looks a lot like Vincent Price, BTW, and who you would think belonged in the 30's expect for the occasional glimpse of technology), and his friend Benedict a member of the Corpus Monstrum guild. Benedict is an immortal knight and always wears his knight helmet and a tuxedo. (I need to learn more about the background of this character because he was a blast to read about.) Together they fend off plagues of falling skulls, and other monstrous creatures.

 

 

 

 

Second, the last third of the book contains illustrated classic stories by the likes of Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, and William Hope Hodgson. I LOVED these! When reading these short stories, I couldn't help but notice how the first 2/3 of the book carried the exact same pulpy, adventure feel that these classic stories originally created. I think Gianni did a beautiful job of carrying on that feel in his comics and in his illustrations of these pulp shorts. In a way, I feel like these were his way of paying tribute to what came before, while also making them his own.

 

Again, I went into this with no preconceptions. I came away with much admiration and respect. I'm going to eventually read the Hellboy comics and I'm definitely going to search out Mr. Gianni and see what else he has on offer, because whatever it is, I'm in!

 

Highly recommended, especially to fans of the classic pulp short stories and to fans of incredible artwork.

 

You can get your copy here: Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories

 

*Thank you to Edelweiss and to Dark Horse Comics for the e-ARC of this volume in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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