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text 2019-03-23 09:54
Reading progress update: I've read 81 out of 304 pages.
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

"This has to be a joke," said a theater critic in Chicago, staring at the names glowing on the slice of crystal the Esca held up helpfully at her eye level. "Yoko Ono?" [...] "Well, she's dead, so, no," said a leather-clad teen punkster in Toronto. "And so is Kraftwerk, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Tangerine Dream, Brian Slade, the freaking Spice Girls, are you kidding me? Ugh, okay, Insane Clown Posse got themselves paralyzed from the neck down screwing around with magnets, Björk lost her voice in an accident with a narwhal and a spinning wheel years ago, and just go fuck yourself, no, Skrillex is not going to go down as the savior of humanity. It's just not happening. I'd rather die in a sea of nuclear fire."


I can't say I've heard of Skrillex, but substitute Air Supply and I'm right there with the teen punkster from Toronto.


"What's ... what's wrong with you? Why do you like this stuff?" asked a middle-aged graphic designer in Berlin, "Grace Jones, I get. Brian Eno, I suppose, if you must. Even RuPaul, I can almost understand. But Jefferson Starship? Nicki Minaj? Hüsker Dü? Courtney Love? I mean, really? And Donna Summer just seems wildly out of place with all the rest of them. There's no aesthetic unity here at all."


"I love "MacArthur Park."


"Right. Okay. Cool. No, sorry, it's not cool, that's awful. Good Lord. [...] A moment ago I was nearly pissing myself in terror, but now I'm just ... well, I'm just a bit offended, frankly."


 "I don't even know what to say," said a psychologist in Perth, Western Australia.  "This is just embarrassing for everyone involved."


Let's all stop for a moment and imagine that the only thing standing between Earth and total annihilation is ... Ace of Base.

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review 2019-03-22 01:46
Tech Mage by Chris Fox
Tech Mage (The Magitech Chronicles #1) - Chris Fox

I have no idea why I chose this book to read. I was skimming thru some books on Amazon and decided to try it.  Reluctantly I started reading the book when I forgot the book I wanted to read because I was at a place at work with no wi-fi.  I was really happy I chose to read it.


Don't let the 3 stars fool you.  For me, that's not a bad book, it's just not a memorable story, but it is entertaining. It has space pirates, a Confederate Militia not unlike the Star Wars saga, giant wyrms, and even larger Dragons, all intelligent and can do magic.   These are the bad guys trying to take over, well everything.  The good guys are different races, again sorta like Star Wars and some of these can perform magic.  There are different types of magic in this series, like Earth, Wind, and Fire (wait, that's one of my favorite bands) that people can perform and the more different forms of magic you can perform, the stronger and more dangerous you are.


So what we have is a space opera that is not based on tech but on magic.  Even the weapons are based on and made from magic.  Now you get the gist of what the book is about but I won't go further into it, as Doctor Who says, 'spoilers'.


I like this so much that I've already started the 2nd in the series, Void Wyrm and it seems to be just as good as the first book.


Tech Mage by Chris Fox

Book one in The Magitech Chronicles series

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text 2019-03-20 08:37
Reading progress update: I've read 32 out of 304 pages.
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

Yes, life is the opposite of rare and precious. It’s everywhere; it’s wet and sticky; it has all the restraint of a toddler left too long at day care without a juice box. And life, in all its infinite and tender intergalactic variety, would have gravely disappointed poor gentle-eyed Enrico Fermi had he lived only a little longer, for it is deeply, profoundly, execrably stupid.



I was expecting funny, and I was expecting space and all the sci-fi vibes, but I was not expecting the deeply philosophical, edgy writing that has more than a tint of Terry Pratchett-like anger lurking around the edges, giving the tone of the writing a definite red hue.  


But in the end, all wars are more or less the same. If you dig down through the layers of caramel corn and peanuts and choking, burning death, you’ll find the prize at the bottom and the prize is a question and the question is this: Which of us are people and which of us are meat?


Of course we are people, don’t be ridiculous. But thee? We just can’t be sure.

On Enrico Fermi’s small, watery planet, it could be generally agreed upon, for example, that a chicken was not people, but a physicist was. Ditto for sheep, pigs, mosquitoes, brine shrimp, squirrels, seagulls, and so on and so forth on the one hand, and plumbers, housewives, musicians, congressional aides, and lighting designers on the other. This was a fairly easy call (for the physicists, anyway), as brine shrimp were not overly talkative, squirrels failed to make significant headway in the fields of technology and mathematics, and seagulls were clearly unburdened by reason, feeling, or remorse. Dolphins, gorillas, and pharmaceutical sales representatives were considered borderline cases. In the final tally, Homo sapiens sapiens made the cut, and no one else could get served in the higher-end sentience establishments. Except that certain members of the clade felt that a human with very curly hair or an outsize nose or too many gods or not enough or who enjoyed somewhat spicier food or was female or just happened to occupy a particularly nice bit of shady grass by a river was no different at all than a wild pig, even if she had one head and two arms and two legs and no wings and was a prize-winning mathematician who very, very rarely rolled around in mud. Therefore, it was perfectly all right to use, ignore, or even slaughter those sorts like any other meat.

No one weeps for meat, after all.


I was also not expecting the prolific number of run-on sentences.


But so far it's all working and it's working brilliantly.  So far, I really, really like Catherynne M. Valente.


Plus, who wouldn't love a purple flamingo showing up in their flat?

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text 2019-03-19 07:33
MbD's Snakes and Ladders Poll Results...
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

Surprise!  Not.  I was pretty sure this was going to be the solid winner when I added it to the poll last night, and as I've been eyeing it on the TBR for a few weeks now, the timing will never be better for me to give it a try.  As anyone knows who reads any of my comments/posts, I'm not a fan of anything space related in either fiction or non-fiction.  It's just not my jam.  But several of my BL friends have read this one and their status updates at the time made me think the humor would easily over-shadow the space setting, promoting me to add it to the TBR pile. 


Time to find out if Earth survives.


Quick pie chart of the results for the stats lovers out there:

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text 2019-03-18 09:09
MbD's Snakes and Ladders: Vote on the book for my final square!
Rooted in Deceit - Wendy Tyson
Uncorking a Lie - Nadine Nettmann
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente
Murder a la Mocha - Sandra Balzo
Help me choose my final Snakes and Ladders Read:
Rooted in Deceit by Wendy Tyson


Uncorking a Lie by Nadine Nettmann


Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente


Murder à la Mocha by Sandra Balzo


Created with Poll Maker


Rooted in Deceit by Wendy TysonIt’s no summer vacation for environmental-lawyer-turned-farmer Megan Sawyer when a high-end yoga retreat opens in the next town over. But when up-and-coming artist and her ex-best friend Thana Moore is strangled in the back of her car, Megan is once again thrust into solving the latest mystery in Winsome.

Megan has no interest in the new retreat, but then the detectives on the case discover her father’s wife Sylvia had an explosive argument with Thana hours earlier, and the murder weapon is a scarf that looks suspiciously like Sylvia’s. Worse, Maria, the wife of Washington Acres Cafe’s superior-yet-grumpy cook, Alvaro, was fired after being suspected of destroying one of Thana’s paintings. Would Maria kill her out of revenge? Despite her attitude, would Sylvia truly be guilty of murder?

Megan must dive into her past to find Thana’s killer, even if she doesn’t like what she may find out about herself. If she doesn’t uncover the truth in time, will this idyllic Winsome summer turn into a nightmare.


Uncorking a Lie by Nadine NettmannIt was the kind of invitation sommelier Katie Stillwell had only dreamed about: a dinner party at the Sonoma mansion of famed wine collector Paul Rafferty to celebrate a rare bottle. Everyone enjoys drinking the $19,000 wine, but Katie realizes it's not the vintage listed on the label.


When she confides in Mr. Rafferty, he asks her to investigate, and she soon discovers the deception goes beyond money—it includes an accidental death that might just be murder. As Katie falls deeper into the world of counterfeit wine, she learns everything is at stake...even her life.


Space Opera by Catherynne M. ValenteA century ago, the Sentience Wars tore the galaxy apart and nearly ended the entire concept of intelligent space-faring life. In the aftermath, a curious tradition was invented–something to cheer up everyone who was left and bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity, and understanding.

Once every cycle, the great galactic civilizations gather for the Metagalactic Grand Prix–part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past. Species far and wide compete in feats of song, dance and/or whatever facsimile of these can be performed by various creatures who may or may not possess, in the traditional sense, feet, mouths, larynxes, or faces. And if a new species should wish to be counted among the high and the mighty, if a new planet has produced some savage group of animals, machines, or algae that claim to be, against all odds, sentient? Well, then they will have to compete. And if they fail? Sudden extermination for their entire species.

This year, though, humankind has discovered the enormous universe. And while they expected to discover a grand drama of diplomacy, gunships, wormholes, and stoic councils of aliens, they have instead found glitter, lipstick, and electric guitars. Mankind will not get to fight for its destiny–they must sing.

Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeroes have been chosen to represent their planet on the greatest stage in the galaxy. And the fate of Earth lies in their ability to rock.


Murder a la Mocha by Sandra Balzo Uncommon Grounds coffeehouse owner Maggy Thorsen is full of good intentions when she attempts to return Mocha, a lost chihuahua who jumped out in front of her car, to her owners. But a trip to the Satterwite's house and meeting their dog-sitter give Maggy a bad feeling... and leads to an even worse discovery. Can she solve another deadly puzzle?


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