Books I Loved and Never Wrote Reviews For

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This week’s challenge was a tough one. (Check out the others on Long and Short Reviews) I’ve written lots of reviews over the years for various sites and I am fairly consistent about leaving reviews on my kindle books as soon as I finish them. I know how much it means to the authors and how much it helps. I don’t leave reviews of DNF books or books I hated. If I write a review, it’s because I loved something and want to share.

There are a few books I read before the easy e-book age that I feel deserve more credit.

Barbara Neely’s Blanche series was out of print for a while; they are now readily available as downloads and worth every cent. I read the series, which is about a Black maid who solves crimes. It’s grittier than a cozy mystery, but not crime or noir. Blanche is insightful, intelligent, and a narrator that is easy to admire. I loved these books and I encourage fans of mystery to give it a try.

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Liz William’s is a beautiful writer. I love her style and her creative mix of science fiction/fantasy/ surreal. Her books aren’t easy but every page is a treat. Banner of Souls is about technology that gets energy from the realm of the dead. And there is a famous warrior from Mars who uses the technology. 

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Just read it. It will make sense then. 

I mention this one mainly because I got this book as a Christmas gift some years ago. I love The Dark Crystal and the artwork. I am looking forward to Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance later this month. This is a truly beautiful book and just looking at the sketches and ideas and images that go into Froud’s deep creativity are astounding. 

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This was another Christmas gift. I loved Trisha Biggar’s designs. I enjoyed reading about how see thinks through her ideas as well as how she chooses the fabrics and motifs. 

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I’ve been out and about for the summer visiting family. And steady at work on my writing. I hope everyone is around for the Long and Short Reviews Anniversary party. Two of my books will be featured along with lots of other great ones.

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Favorite Quotes from Books

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This week’s post from Long and Short Reviews is…Favorite Quotes from Books.

 

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

“I don’t much care where –”

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” 

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

“Nothing belongs to us. Everything is something that is rented out. Our very heads are filled with rented ideas passed on from one generation to the next.” 

Thomas Ligotti, Teatro Grottesco

“The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed.” 

George Orwell, 1984

“When your rage is choking you, it is best to say nothing.” 

Octavia E. Butler, Fledgling

“So the universe is not quite as you thought it was. You’d better rearrange your beliefs, then. Because you certainly can’t rearrange the universe.” 

Isaac Asimov, Nightfall

“Whatever happens, they say afterwards, it must have been fate. People are always a little confused about this, as they are in the case of miracles. When someone is saved from certain death by a strange concatenation of circumstances, they say that’s a miracle. But of course if someone is killed by a freak chain of events — the oil spilled just there, the safety fence broken just there — that must also be a miracle. Just because it’s not nice doesn’t mean it’s not miraculous.” 

Terry Pratchett, Interesting Times

Coming Soon: Terran Temptation

I have a new release coming soon with Changeling Press. This is my first SFR/Futuristic romance. Cover art by Angela Knight. And thanks to my wonderful editor Kira Stone.

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Dr. Annalisha Montague has earned a glowing reputation as a Terran scientist. She has also attracted the attention of two men, a senator who wants her for her bloodline and a Terran commander who wants her heart and soul. Will she choose to honor her bloodline or her heart?

Fictional Worlds I’d Love to Visit

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This week’s topic: Fictional Worlds I’d love to visit

I am a fan of the craziness of Alice and Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass so it’s always fascinated me. The book version, the Disney film version, and the live action version with Carol Channing as the White Queen.  (1984) There is also a fairly decent 1995 TV version too. I remember it from when I was young back in the days of video tapes and I rewatched it until the tape wore out. I also enjoy books (romances!) that play around with  the Alice in Wonderland world.

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I have been rewatching Babylon 5 recently and it makes me realize how much I like that world. I wouldn’t mind finding accommodations on Babylon station; maybe even a trip to the Minbari homeworld if I were invited. 

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There are a lot of urban fantasy worlds I’d like to live in. I devoured urban fantasy and paranormal romances and it’s still a healthy portion of my entertainment. One of my favorites was the Elfhome series by Wen Spencer. I’ve never been to Pittsburgh-but her Pittsburgh with a half of the Elf world on it is fantastic. I love this series and I love the way it combines real world with a well-developed Elf world.

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Books that should be made into movies

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This week’s blogging topic…Books that should be made into movies.  Check out some other authors at Long and Short Reviews.

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I read The Priory of the Orange Tree primarily because I wanted a fantasy novel that was in one volume. I don’t have the time to commit to multi-volume, multi-year sagas all the time, but I do love high fantasy. This one turned out to be even better than expected. With contrasting European, Central Asian, and East Asian influences. Well-developed characters. Dragons. I think it would look great in movie form.

I am clearly an Octavia Butler fan. I’ve heard rumors that her Parable series was being optioned for TV/Movie, but those things come and go. I actually thing the Patternist series is a better choice. It begins with an immortal who selectively breeds humans in his seed villages and ends with a Patternmaster who can control humans through thought. It’s one of the best takes on telepathy I’ve seen used and I really enjoyed the series. 

I first became a Thomas Ligotti fan after reading “My Case for Retributive Action” in an anthology. Since then, I’ve become a devoted fan of his work. He’s a short story writer, but I think his Teatro Grottesco collection would work well together because the stories follow the same theme of a nameless, faceless corporation, the Quine Corporation. Once again, I’ve heard tales of adaptations but nothing else. His dark, beautifully written horror in the hands of the right director could be wonderful. It’s be a great Netflix binge. 

Humorous Book Titles

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This week’s blogging challenge is Humorous Book Titles. I chose a few of the oddest that I found.

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I wonder what this says about the future of our species and what is happening to our planet. I think I do know the difference between an abandoned Costco cart and and abandoned Sam’s Club. Does it distinguish between a Walmart and a Target?

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Well, something speaks through my cats but I don’t think it’s God. 

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There are times when you need to really think through your title more.

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What genre is it? Who is the target audience? What is going on here?

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Today’s youth use smartphones so much that this may someday be a classic study.

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I know a fair bit about Genghis Khan, but next to nothing about dentistry. Now I have a chance to learn it all in one book. 

Anyone out there with some great choices for odd books? Feel free to leave them in the comments.

 

Favorite Book Covers and Why

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This week I’m back to blogging with the Long and Short reviews challenge. Check out some of the other bloggers by following the link.

There are a lot of book covers that I like for a variety of reasons. I love hardcover books, old books, those fancy, expensive art books too. And because I am an SF fantasy fan, I occasionally buy books featuring the art or costume design of a favored franchise. For this post, I decided to pick a genre: historical romance.

I love history. I think what I love about historical romance covers, admittedly, is the clothes. There is just something about long flowing dresses that look so beautiful on a cover. So I picked a few.

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 I’ve been reading Beverly Jenkins novels for a long time. Her contemporaries are good; but my love is for her historical romances. She writes deep complex characters and had so much information about African American history. Love them. 

 

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Alyssa Cole writes multicultural romance across the board. Contemporary, historical, paranormal, IR/MC romances, LGBT romances. 

 

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PJ Dean writes SF romance, but also historical romance.  I particularly loved this one and she has so much original research about African American history in the early Americas and Native American history.

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Piper  Huguley writes inspirational romances. A few historical and some contemporaries.

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Vanessa Riley. This hadn’t been on my radar but it’s a regency. Regency romance has never been my thing, but I’m willing to expand my horizons.

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Roslyn Hardy Holcomb  and Lisa G. Riley have a series which is historical paranormal, The Eshu Chronicles. 

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And here’s another Beverly Jenkins just because her covers are always lovely.

SF Obscure- Star Trek:The Animated Series

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So, I decided to watch Star Trek: The Animated Series. I’d seen a few episodes here and there, but decided a full rewatch was in order. It premiered in 1973, and I am not sure how often it’s been in syndication. For a while, it seemed to disappear, but it’s on Netflix now.

I watched some of it with my daughter-who grew up with far more sophisticated animation. So her observations were ‘why do all the faces look the same?’ and ‘ why do their mouths just move up and down like that?’ She also noted that there are only about four pieces of music used over and over.  And there is a separate animated series theme rather than the classic Alexander Courage theme. 

Still, even if you’re not watching it with snarky offspring, the animated series was enjoyable. The animated series is meant to be a continuation of the original series. It was to appeal to all ages. Some of the more romantic themes in TOS are dropped, but it never became a ‘kiddie’ show. It’s solid Trek for the most part.

 The original crew is back -minus Chekov. He’s replaced by  Arex(voiced by James Doohan), a tripedal alien and another feline officer, M’Ress (Voice by Majel Barrett).  Because of Nimoy’s intervention Nichelle Nichols and George Take-originally cut-were asked back for voice overs. Walter Koenig was also cut, but did write a script for one episode.There is also the appearance of the first Enterprise captain, Robert April and his wife, Sarah,  the doctor on the first Enterprise. The animated series gave them the chance to have more alien looking aliens that were not possible with special effects at the time of TOS. There are some neat ones introduced; a few goofy ones (“Bem”) and at least three feline aliens. Someone much really love cats.

 And it gives more screen time to other characters-Uhura gets more command time and away missions; and Sulu actually uses his weapons expertise. It’s not all Kirk-Spock-Bones.  Most are solid, old style TOS episodes with powerful godlike beings who are really just advanced aliens; science saves the day; reflections on the goals of the Federation, etc. There’s a goofy Tribbles/Klingon one (“More Tribbles, More Trouble”), and a few silly science (“The Counterclock Incident”).  The episode “The Slavers” was written by Larry Niven is a crossover from his Ringworld universe.  I particularly liked this episode’s use of Uhura-Sulu-Spock; rather than the usual Kirk and Spock. The animated series is debatable canon, but there are recurring characters from TOS.  The episode “Yesteryear”  was clearly mined for used in the 2009 movie and in Enterprise’s season four Vulcan episode arc.  And there is also a pre-cursor to the holodeck. (“The Practical Joker”) Oh, and apparently, a giant clone Spock is still out there. You’ll have to find that episode on your own.

I had a great time watching this.

Lesson I Learned From a Book Character

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When I first read Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower I was struck by the fact that the character was so real because she seemed so much like me and the people that I know. #Representation Matters is a very real thing. For those who haven’t read the Earthseed Books it follows the tale of Lauren Olamina as she lives in a post apocalyptic America. Her father is a minister  who loves and protects his family in worsening chaos. Butler pays a stark picture of a future California of limited resources, increasing violence, and homelessness. With the loss of her family, Lauren has to  survive in a harsh world which leads her to starting a new religious faith.  What I really loved about it-as in all of Butler’s books-is that all the characters are fully developed. She shows people who are helpful and kind; but also the ways in which people can be cruel and petty. Yet, somehow, there is always a hopefulness in Lauren’s character that carries you throw the difficult things. I plan to re-read it soon, because it’s been to long, but I’ve always loved this character. 

Another great character of Butler’d is Lilith Iyapo of her Lilith’s Brood series. Like Lauren, she has to adjust to a changed human world-in this case the arrival of an alien race who alter humans to create new creatures. Watching Lilith try to understand her own children-who are only part human and very alien-was a fascinating ride. I guess what I admire about Butler’s characters is the ability of her heroines to deal with extraordinary change. And even though I doubt I’ll have to deal with aliens and (hopefully) not an apocalyptic downfall of civilization I hope that I can always maintain a sense of ethics and humanity and hope regardless of what life brings.  I read both of these books just after college, and they had a powerful effect on me.

On a lighter note two other characters I’ve learned from are Precious Ramotswe from the No.1 Ladies Detective Series and Granny Weatherwax from the Discworld Universe. Precious Ramotswe, because of her optimism despite her past pain; and her complete acceptance of herself and love of her own culture. Granny Weatherwax is my fantasy universe alter-ego. If I get to be a witch, I want to be Granny Weatherwax. 

Anyone else out there have some unforgettable characters? Or characters that you learned from?

Books I love that became Films

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The Martian is one of my favorite books. I’ve read it at least three times. I love reading about science, and science used well in science fiction. I first found out about it from a suggestion thread in a FB group. Here’s the weird thing: I still haven’t seen the movie. Somehow, my attempts for a watch are always interrupted. But, yes, when summer vacation rolls around it’s on my TBR. 

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The Arrival is based on a short story “Story of your Life” by Ted Chiang. I first read his short story “Hell is the Absence of God” in an anthology.  I really loved the way he used real science with a beautiful talent for language. I bought his collection and it is one of my frequent re-visits. If you’ve seen the movie, and never read the short story, it’s well worth reading his whole collection. 

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Dune is a classic. The spice. The worms. The Bene Gesserit. I need to re-read Dune. I was first introduced to Dune by a friend who lived down the hall from me at my dorm room or so many years ago. She was a Dune fanatic. She had all the Dune books arranged on a shelf in her room and loved it. The truth is, it’s been so long now since I’ve read the novel, I doubt I remember it correctly. My feelings about Dune are largely based on the 1984 movie with Kyle McLachlan and Sting and the TV movie (which I remember as being pretty good)  and Children of Dune. I guess I’ll do a re-watch after the re-read. I have the soundtrack to Children of Dune, which I really love. A Dune movie (2020) is in the works-but as the cast grows larger and the rumors spread-one wonders what will actually happen. I will probably go and see it out of some weird sense of nerd/fandom loyalty regardless of its reviews.

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