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Search tags: july-2015
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review 2019-09-05 23:46
Discount Armageddon / Seanan McGuire
Discount Armageddon - Seanan McGuire

Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night...

The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity—and humanity from them.

Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right?

It would be, if it weren't for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family's old enemies, the Covenant of St. George. When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed.

To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone's spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city...

 

I read this book to fill the Cryptozoologist square of my 2019 Halloween Bingo Card.

Hail! Cake and cheese for all sapient rodents!

I still love this silly little series and the Aeslin mice. Verity Price may not be the world’s sharpest detective and Domenic De Luca may not be the most desireable romantic partner for her, but the mice fix everything with their charming presence throughout the book.

My memory is obviously not what it used to be, because I had completely forgotten the book’s opening, in which the mice feature prominently. Somehow, I didn’t think they appeared until Verity’s adventures in the Big Apple. I also had forgotten the significance of cake and cheese even in this very first book. Once again, I thought that the emphasis on these two foodstuffs came in later books. They were probably overshadowed in my memory by the whole take-out chicken scene! Showing that it does pay to re-read your favourites.

I still enjoy this series, featuring a manic family of ardent cryptozoologists and their crazy adventures, featuring any mythical beastie that you can think of and some which the author must have made up (like the Aeslin mice). I love the snark, the cute, and the smart. Each book is a lovely little vacation from reality.

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text 2016-07-20 16:27
Hunting Ground / Patricia Briggs
Hunting Ground - Patricia Briggs

Anna Latham didn’t know how complicated life could be until she became a werewolf. And until she was mated to Charles Cornick, the son — and enforcer — of Bran, the leader of the North American werewolves, she didn’t know how dangerous it could be either...

Anna and Charles have just been enlisted to attend a summit to present Bran’s controversial proposition: that the wolves should finally reveal themselves to humans. But the most feared Alpha in Europe is dead set against the plan — and it seems like someone else might be too. When Anna is attacked by vampires using pack magic, the kind of power only werewolves should be able to draw on, Charles and Anna must combine their talents to hunt down whoever is behind it all — or risk losing everything.

 

I think I like this splinter series of Patricia Briggs more than her original Mercy Thompson series.  The first Alpha & Omega book annoyed me because it assumed that I knew things that I didn’t.  I hadn’t read the short story that kicked things off.  But with that in the past, I can appreciate this second book for exactly what it is.

 

I always love urban fantasy that includes the Fae.  They are far superior to vampires & werewolves in my reading experience.  I’m not sure what it is about the fairy tale aspects that grabs me—maybe it’s my Scandinavian background that makes me love a good troll.  And this story contains just enough Fae elements to keep me happy.

 

Then there is Charles and Anna’s relationship.  It’s a done deal and it’s working well.  There’s none of the “will s/he or won’t s/he” questions that occupied so much time and energy in the first several books of the MT series.  This seems to me to be much more interesting—how do two people work out their differences and make a relationship work?

 

A very satisfying urban fantasy and I will definitely be moving on to the third installment soon.

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review 2016-07-20 16:12
White Fang / Jack London
White Fang - Jack London

In the desolate, frozen wilds of northwest Canada, White Fang, a part-dog, part-wolf cub soon finds himself the sole survivor of a litter of five. In his lonely world, he soon learned to follow the harsh law of the North—kill or be killed.

But nothing in his young life prepared him for the cruelty of the bully Beauty Smith, who buys White Fang from his Indian master and turns him into a vicious killer—a pit dog forced to fight for money.

Will White Fang ever know the kindness of a gentle master or will he die a fierce deadly killer?

 

***Wanda’s Summer Carnival of Children’s Literature***

 

Well, Jack London got to have his cake and eat it too, didn’t he?  White Fang is like the mirror image of The Call of the Wild.  While The Call of the Wild was about a domestic dog going wild, White Fang is the tale of a (predominately) wolf becoming domesticated.

 

It’s a very sentimental story, structured to get us to identify with the animal.  The structure sets us up to view Gray Beaver as fair but unloving, to see Beauty Smith as hateful, and to understand that White Fang’s final owner is the ideal.

 

Oh the changes that our society has been through since these two books were published!  London makes a lot of assumptions.  He assumes that European culture is superior to that of Native Americans.  He assumes that domestication is superior to being wild (it was in Call too, when Buck was owned by John Thornton).  He assumes the rightness of the class structure.  Each of White Fang’s owners slots into his spot in this world view.

 

I remember have the Classics Illustrated comic book version of this story when I was a child, but I didn’t recall a single detail of the story.  It was good to read it again in the unabridged version.

 

I think it is still an excellent book to help children identify with “the other,” to think about the lives of other creatures.  It is an empathy building book. 

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text 2015-08-10 16:48
There's been about a hundred quotes so far . . .
And Sometimes I Wonder About You: A Leonid McGill Mystery - Walter Mosley

. . . that I wanted to share, but just kept reading.  This one though, requires me to take a break long enough to post it here.

 

"'I need you to do some research for me.'

'That's what I'm here for.'

'There's supposed to be a law firm in Frisco called Briscoe/Thyme.  I think the last name is spelled like the Simon and Garfunkel song but it could be temporal.'  I liked talking to Zephyra because she knew all the words in five or six dictionaries."

page 89

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