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Found an ARC of this at Uncle Hugo's, I think-- whatever, it was in the to be read pile.

It's 10:37 at night and my bedtime is 9. I stayed up to finish reading this delightful book, written in a compelling first person narration, but with a twist. (I do not wish to say more about the narration for fear of spoiling the book entirely).

Yeine, a young woman and the ruler of a small 'barbarian' country, is also the granddaughter of the unofficial ruler of the world. She is abruptly summoned to court, and named an heir. The story of her struggle within that court is the heart of the book. The soul of the book, however, is the character herself. Deeply human, just as deeply flawed, impatient and trusting, naive and experienced at the same time, Yeine's perspective drew me deep into the book.

I have often said that I am tired of reading 'talented protag flail cluelessly about in complicated situation' books. This particular book has made me amend that statement to: 'if you must write a book in this subset of plot I dislike, it had better be as good as THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS.' Yeine's voice, her viewpoint, so infuses the book-- her digressions enrich the book, gradually leading me into speculation and inference, drawing that 'reader's 50%' from me so effortlessly that I find myself actually writing a review.

I will be picking up another copy of this book when it is published, both so the author gets her royalty, and so that I have a copy to keep and a copy to lend. Yes, it is that good.
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Holy crap, where can I get my hands on a copy of Hellspark? I must read everything else this author ever wrote...
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...it was about time for them. :)
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Mike: "And oh, no, you didn't just scream at Daddy outside the store, DID YOU?"

Moo: "I didn't scream. I did... I did just cry at you."
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For those familiar with the gorgeous, evocative writing of Tanith Lee, the tales of the Flat Earth are likely well known and well loved. Night's Master, the first volume in the Flat Earth series, has been reprinted by Norilana Books, and deservedly so.

Ms. Lee carries the reader along effortlessly through a series of linked short stories, the center of whom is Azhrarn, Lord of the Underworld, king of demons, beloved and hated and feared, and about whom the lives of so many mortals revolve-- whether they will it or not. Night's Master, I think, is the sensual sister to the Brothers Grimm-- or perhaps, the courtesan cousin of the old Norse myths. The writing is opulent and full of splendid images, and yet Ms. Lee uses the contrast of the occasional stark phrase to deadly effect.

Norilana Books has chosen a simple, near-monochromatic piece of art for the cover of this particular edition. The artwork upon the cover is rendered in what on first glance appears to be grey and black. A closer inspection shows hints of red, topaz, and even aquamarine within the cover art. Given the imagery and vibrancy contained within, the restraint of this choice makes it perfect: the most brilliant jewels are shown against black velvet, after all. [ETA: I am told the image was created by Ms. Lee and her husband, and that they will be creating the cover art for all of the titles in the TaLeKa imprint.]

The volume is relatively slim, but has a pleasing weight in the hands, and unlike so many of the paper books I read these days, is easy on the eyes, with a clear font and spacing that does not make my head ache to read it.

Overall, this is an impressive offering from a smaller publisher; if you do not own this volume already, I would encourage you to obtain it... and to support a small press while you are at it. :)

(Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with an ARC for the purposes of review.)
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These are books that aren't written, haven't been written, and I'm not sure will ever be written. Anyone with updates on these books or authors that can clue me in, I'd looooove to hear it.

1. Doris Egan/Jane Emerson - City of Pearl, City of Opal
Doris Egan/Jane Emerson - the next 3 Ivory books

2. Kate Elliot - the next Jaran novel

3. Wen Spencer - the next novel, period

4. Rosemary Kirsten - the next Steerswoman novel

5. Kate Brailler/Anne Groell - the next novel, period

6. Melanie Rawn - the last of the Lenfell triology

What books do you WANT with a WANT for which all other wants become pale shadows?


Dec. 31st, 2008 04:17 pm
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Having succumbed to my sister's nagging, I'm now on Facebook.


Dec. 20th, 2008 08:50 pm
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Mike is home, home, home. Robin has only head-butted him twice, and once it was an accident.

Everyone is glad to see him.

At one point today it sank in: this is what it's like to be part of a local community of friends. We... haven't had that in so long that it's taken me the last 5 years to realise it.

Thank you all, for being friends. For being willing to shovel the walk so that I could wrangle the children; for entertaining my cranky and not-entirely-well husband; for sitting with us while we waited and being good company; for baking cookies with Robin; for giving Lillian a bath so that I could pick up some acyclovir for myself; for the invitations to Christmas dinner and reminders of local events. Thank you again.

Words are inadequate. I am crying.


Dec. 9th, 2008 06:06 am
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Smartwool really *is* all that.

Why did you people never tell me this before?!
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We are full of dog. And hair.

Her name is Morgan and she is a Large Munsterlander. (You'll have to google images.)

She is 1.5-2 years old.

She is a rescue.

She was found in KY in a ditch with two 3-day-old babies. She had an ear infection and a skin infection. She was in the shelter for 2 weeks and then foster care with Safe Hands Rescue for several months.

She had never been inside a house before she was rescued.

You can still see all her ribs.

She was a good mommy-dog (Robin: "Why does Morgan have wattles on her belly?") to her puppies, and the vet says she had had more than one litter.

Being a rare breed, the puplets were likely worth $$$.

Who would do that to a dog?

Morgan has settled right into our hearts. We're fencing part of the yard for her. She gets love and scruffs and scritches. She gets playdates with Miss Ista. She gets food three times a day and walks at least twice. She avoids our cat (actively) and lets the toddler do Anything to her. (I mean anything, from belly flopping on her to pulling her tail and ears hard.) She cuddles with Robin and sleeps on our bed.

She's picking up leash manners fast. She is fully housetrained.

Best. Dog. Evar.

If I'd known what an antidote to depression having a dog was? I wouldn't have held out for so long.


Nov. 13th, 2008 05:02 pm
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In my pocket are six cough drop wrappers, two quarters, and a tag and connector for a dog.

It says:

our phone number

If all goes well tomorrow, we'll have a dog. Named Morgan. More on that later.


Today I admitted several kids to the hospital and sat and thought about some other puzzling problems with children who I'm following as an outpatient for various acute and chronic maladies.

Sometimes getting enough time to think is a problem

Fortunately, our entire voice mail system crashed three days ago. I haven't managed to figure out how to set my voice mail back up yet.

That gives me a little more time to think and call subspecialists for curbside opinions.


I need to cook and clean the rat cage tonight.

The rats are now part of what I laughingly call 'the Evans Ecosystem': they get rat blocks, cardboard boxes to chew on (the non-recyclable kind), and leftovers from kitchen prep and the table. Their litter is our junk mail, shredded.

I clean the cage once a week and compost all the litter and leftover food scraps (and rat poop!) into our worm bin.

The worms make compost by eating and pooping.

It's the cycle of life, only with more poop than I ever anticipated when I was a child.


Nov. 7th, 2008 03:17 pm
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"Mom? Can I have a dog?" (Robin)
"GEE OHHH GEEE GOGGIE! Geeee-OH-GeeEEeee...GOG!" (Lillian)

The kids have finally worn us down.

We're getting a dog.

More on this in a bit.


Today a set of 5 year old twins brought me some candy from their Halloween stash. They had been 'hanging on to it' all day to give to me.

I now have two free-form sculptures made of melted M&M and melted Nerds candies.


I skipped karate to buy tile this Thursday. We are re-tiling the shower. We need a tile cutter, but after both kids melted down at Home Depot and over an hour getting tile and checking out, I was too tired to go back. I was more tired, I daresay, than an hour of karate would have made me.
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do a google search on that word plus 'Radin'


Sep. 13th, 2008 07:02 am
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I'm sporadically reading LJ.

I'm having a tough time with several pieces of bad family news, one of which is causing the Asian side of my family to spasm and act in dysfunctional ways.

More later when things even out.
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Mom, you know, when you bust my chops, it really makes me want to blow my fuse.
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And its name is...


I bring my kid home seashells from VA Beach, and what does he do but sort through them-- not according to shape, but according to what sort of boat Nurk could make out of them.

I find a caterpillar in my swiss chard, and put it in a jar to show him. He wants to feed it a cheese sandwich and name it Baby.

Ms. Vernon, I salute you.
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So it's like this:

I'm working a lot.

Yeah, I hear some of you say. And?

And nothing. That's all I do. I haven't managed to squeeze karate in there at all lately, other than during vacation (and that is a tale in and of itself).

For instance: I'm on call tonight and working 9-5 Saturday and Sunday in the Urgent Care. Why? Gotta pay for the nanny.

"We never see each other," Mike protests to me last night at 11 pm, when I staggered home after karate and the post-karate meeting at Keegan's.

I open my mouth to refute this, but he's already asleep.

And he's right: Mondays I am teaching pre-karate, Tuesdays he does a track workout until late evening, Wednesdays he's up early to run and I go to karate at night, Thursdays I go to karate at night and he runs (and pushes both kids), Fridays is my late day at work.

I get up at 4:45 AM MTRF, and sleep in until 5:45 on W.

He gets up at 5:00 on W to run, and sleeps in until 6:30 MTRF.

I go to bed by 10.

He's up for two more hours after that; after all, he's not up at the ass-crack of dawn.

Yesterday the nanny observed that the big fish (the Grouch) was gone. When had it died? Well, he'd euthanized it on Wednesday night after I'd gone to bed. What did he do with the body? I had to call him to find out, beset by a creeping fear that it was wrapped in a plastic bag in our freezer or something.

"Masano helped me dig the hole to bury it," he said impatiently (he was at work).

I will put my head down and push through the next 2 weeks, but after that?

Something has got to give, because DAMMNIT, if you can't trust that your wife will help you bury the bodies, there's something very wrong with the relationship.
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And we're off today for Ohio and Pennsylvania.

I expect to have limited to no internet for the next 10 days.

If something life-changing and monumental happens and you wish to share it with me, please drop me an email. I probably will not try to catch up on 10 days of friends' posts.

Be safe, be smart, and don't do anything I wouldn't do.
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