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review 2015-02-11 18:29
Neuromancer - Can a book be one of your best friends?
Neuromancer - William Gibson

I've felt like I've been in a bit of a reading rut lately. It feels like I've been unimpressed by most of the books I've read lately, but I've been getting my recommendations from the same sources and following the same due-diligence procedures as I have in the past. I refuse to believe books are getting worse - while there are many more shitty books being produced then in years past, there are also more good books being produced recently as well. Therefore the most likely culprit for my malaise is myself. Have my tastes changed without my realization? Has my tolerance for anything less than completely amazing shrunk? Am I just generally grumpy and upset and taking it out on my readings?

When the going gets tough, the tough reassess their datum. So I reread Neuromancer for the umpteenth time last week. I don't even know how many times I've read it - at least three dozen times is a rational guess. I read it the first time as a wee lad when it first came out and it completely blew me away. This was back in the days when email addresses used exclamation points instead of ampersands, a megabyte was an unfathomably huge chunk of storage, and the nascent internet held all the promise of a bright and glorious future of an interconnected humanity sharing their science, hopes and dreams. We've come to an interconnected first world sharing pictures of cats, so I guess the dream isn't totally destroyed yet - but I digress.

Neuromancer has spoken to me throughout my life: as a troubled teen, an aimless young adult, an alcoholic adult and a sober middle aged person different parts of the book have syncopated with my thoughts and feelings and not provided answers as much as provided a language for mapping my internal spaces. The way the setting unfolds from every character's position like a tesseract designed by a technofetishist doing rails of coke the size of Sharpies, how every character is filled with loneliness and wrapped in fear but is searching for a way to accommodate their need for companionship resonates with me in a way I can't describe without sounding like a ridiculous fanboy. Which I am, to be honest, but I'll spare us all the details.

So, yeah, I reread my all time most favorite book to see if I'd changed unbeknownst to myself. It turns out I haven't. If anything I appreciate it more as I grow older. I don't look up to Case and Molly like I used to; I don't want to be them or imagine myself living their life (ok, maybe a little...) but instead I think I can appreciate them more as characters that live their own lives separate from me. Even as my relationship with Case, Molly, Finn, Dixie, Wintermute and Rio evolve the world they live in is familiar and comfortable as a well worn blanket, a safe haven of lawless bright lights and technomagic.

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review 2015-01-16 17:11
Good Omens - Not as good the second (sober) time
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett,Neil Gaiman

Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
blood: 1
boobs: 2
bombs: 0
bondage: 1
blasphemy: 3
Bechdel Test: FAIL
Deggan's Rule: FAIL
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL

Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.

I don't recall exactly why it seemed like a good idea to buy this and read it again; I believe I heard a mention that the BBC4 dramatisation will be available for sale soon. In an inexplicable fit of nostalgia I bought a copy and for reasons I can't quite fathom I actually reread the whole thing. I first read this book right as it came out in paperback - about the time I graduated high school. It must be understood that the young Mr. Brainycat was drunk nearly every night and stoned more often that not. Way back in the day, I thought it was brilliant satire that was sticking it right to the man where it'd hurt him the most. Neil Gaiman was the new Ambrose Bierce!

Growing up in middle America made any story set in England seem vastly important; it was the land of Monty Python, Benny Hill and Proper Tradition. England was a wonderland of glorious villages and endearing people with a brilliant sense of humor, and an affinity for anything English gave me a feeling of being cultured (superior) to the rednecks surrounding me. A quarter of a century later, six years sober and living in England has wiped the gloss right off of that fantasy in no uncertain terms.

I think being more familiar with the English culture is the biggest factor in my disappointment with this rereading. It doesn't seem cute and quaint; the difficulties of trying to do things in England (like drive around the M25) are cute when you're reading about them from 10 000km away; when you're living there it's maddeningly frustrating[1]. I didn't realize how much of this book is taking the piss out of the British way of doing things until now, but this time around I didn't find it LOL funny. It's cute, it's funny, and it's totally forgettable.

I had a notion to reread American Gods, which I liked when I was really high, but I think I'm going to let that one lie. Some things are best left as (scattered) memories and vague impressions. I believe the fact of the matter is that except for Sandman, I'm not a Neil Gaiman fan and as I grow older and more cynical I'm diverging further and further away from his canon. By the same token I've never disliked Terry Pratchet, but I've never been a huge fan either - I found the couple of Discworld books I read to be cute, funny and totally forgettable. This is a great pairing of authors but I don't think they worked out a whole that's any greater than the sum of their parts.

[1] Example: restaurants run and staffed by English people cannot get a meal delivered to a table in less than 45 minutes. This is an example of the attitude that lost them their empire.

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review 2014-07-20 03:38
4.5 moons - "Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night" by Kresley Cole
Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night - Kresley Cole

I read this book back in 2010 and finally got a chance to re-read this year (2014).  I never reviewed it back in 2010, so now here’s my chance too.  I was into binge reading back into 2010 and not reviewing, but I’m correcting it now by doing re-reads.

In 2010, I didn’t really enjoy this book like the others because of the male character Bowen.  Oh…how I hated his character. I had my reasons because the way he treated Mariketa at first.  If you read the previous book, you would know why I didn’t like him.  Although, after listening to this book I finally was able to understand and like Bowen better.  (I highly recommend listening to this book thanks to the narrator)

Kresley Cole managed to tell certain parts of the previous book in this book.  I will always be amazed how she has her books continue the story with different characters and different perspectives of certain situations that have already happened.  She is a master of telling a story with her characters and world building like crazy.  This is just a couple of reasons why Kresley will always be one of my favorite paranormal romance authors.

In Wicked Deeds of a Winter’s Night, the story picks up where Bowen has to save Mariketa from the cave, he had put her in.  Yup…he is has to go save the witch that actually cursed him.  He believes she not only put one curse on him, but another one that enchanted him to desire her.  (Bowen is going to meet his match, and Kresley Cole did an amazing job on giving him a character that put him through the ringer) Mariketa is making friends in that cave who are protecting her.  She’s not full immortal yet, so the demons in the caves with her are determined to keep her safe.  She is the witch that supposedly that is going to be more powerful than others.  When Bowen goes to rescue her, Mari doesn’t make it easy for him.  (I adored her in every turn of the book because how she handled Bowen.)

Bowen lost his mate a long time ago, and he was hoping to get back from winning the prize from the competition they were in.  If you read the previous book, you’ll understand why Bowen is depressed in this book.  He’s only depressed for a little while though because he’s starting to gain feelings for the difficult witch.

I could go on and on about this book, but for anyone who hasn’t read this series yet…I’ll quit now.  =)  I originally gave this book 3.75 moons back in 2010.  It didn’t grasp my attention like the others did and because of Bowen, but the second read of it did it justice.  Maybe because I was not binge reading this time. I know I will end up reading this book and the others all over again, but the IAD series will always be a favorite of mine.

I give this book 4.5 moons now and will continue listening the series in audio because it definitely gets me through them faster, especially when I have things to do around the house.

Source: booklovinmamas.com/2014/07/19/audio-review-wicked-deeds-on-a-winters-night-by-kresley-cole
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