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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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review 2019-03-11 17:51
Beautiful graphic novel captures the drama of middle school and explores the trials of bullying, friendship, and first crushes through music
Operatic - Kyo Maclear,Byron Eggenschwiler

‘Somewhere in the universe, there is the perfect tune for you.’

 

This stunningly beautiful graphic novel is a treasure to hold in your hands. It’s a story with so many subtle layers, everything from bullying, to individuality, first crushes, and music history, all reflected within finely illustrated pages.

Charlie is nearing the end of middle school and while discovering the ‘soundtrack’ for her life for a school music assignment, she discovers opera and new friendships. While exploring the way we all identify differently with the music we hear, author Maclear tells Charlie’s tale of discovering the opera singer and diva Maria Callas, and those of her new friends Emile and Luka, boys who are alienated for liking bugs (weird) and singing (girly). Charlie recognizes how her classmates feel, their struggle to fit in and find their place along the cliques at school. The push of their class assignment encourages her to reach out to others as well as reach within and let her true self out.

 

The illustrations in this hardbound graphic novel (complete with a purple cloth spine and ribbon) tell so much of the story; they should be pored over and digested slowly. While the themes held within aren’t overt and initially obvious, ‘Operatic’ presents itself as a coming-of-age story that should be discussed and pondered to be absorbed, and it’s truly special.

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/40646241-operatic
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review 2019-03-09 06:37
A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White - My Thoughts
A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe (The Salvagers #1) - Alex White

I hemmed and hawed about rating this book between 3.5 and 4 stars, but I went for 4 stars because it was a lot of fun.  I saw it described somewhere as a Firefly-esque story mixed in with some Fast and Furious and that works for me. We have a rag-tag group of characters hieing their way across the galaxy in search of a rather mythical warship that would be one helluva salvage score.  It's mostly space opera with a hefty side order of magic and while the magic was never really explained, I found it didn't matter much to me.

There are some fun characters here and I became fond of most, if not all of them.  I loved the banter between them all and even if one of the main characters, the youthful race car driver, Nilah, made me want to shake her at times, it was an amused shake. 

Only a couple of things bothered me, and they were probably small, but whenever I came across them in the book, it threw me right out of the story for a moment or two.  Firstly, the author decided that ships aren't "she" in this far future universe, they are "he". Don't know why, there's never an explanation or anything, but every time the ship was designated this way, it gave me pause.  The other thing was that the Captain called his crew Miss Thing, Missus Thing, Mister Thing (whatever their family names were) and it felt so out of place in this futuristic universe that I was pulled right out of the story.  I found it peculiar. 

Anyway, all in all, it was a super fun read and if you enjoy KB Wagers Idranan Trilogy or James Corey's Expanse series, you'll probably enjoy this one. I'm looking forward to the next book - it's on my list. 

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