the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘California

I finished Kage Baker’s Sky Coyote yesterday, and immediately started reading Mendoza in Hollywood. I’ve been reading a ton in the mornings.  And at lunchtime. And at night. At this rate, I’m going to be done with this series in two weeks.  I’m thinking of rereading Kaoru Mori’s Bride’s Story next,  we recently got volume eleven.  Each volume of that takes me about two hours to read, so I can draw it out to . . . eleven days?  Eleven days of gorgeous artwork, I think I can handle that.

How are your bookshelves organized?  Mine are by “height”. All the mass market  paperbacks together, so I can stack more MMPs on top of them. All the hardbacks together, all the “tall” books together.  My Baker’s are a mish-mash of every type of format – hard  back, mass market paper back “tall” paperback, an odd-size ARC from Tachyon, I even have one or two hard back special editions from Sub Press. What I’m getting at is that they’re all different sizes, so are somehow scattered throughout this house.  Nothing is more entertaining that watching me tear bookshelves apart looking for specific books!

 

Ok,  so here we go, with random thoughts on Sky Coyote:

 

Sky Coyote is feel-good humor, feel-good pop culture references, it’s got characters I want to hang out with all day long.  This book feels like I’m watching Back to the Future.  it feels really low stakes.   I may just come back and reread this,  when later books in the series get super heavy.

 

I love Joseph.  This isn’t his first rodeo, which is  good thing,  but he’s also compartmentalized everything in his mind to justify his actions, which is not a good thing.  Being around people who remind him of home, he needed that.  I’m happy he got that, I wish he’d had more time with the Chumash.  Everytime I read this book again, that’s more time he gets to spend with them, right?

 

I was howling with laughter at Puluy and Awhay’s dialog, they talk like Valley Girls!

 

I love living mythology, and that’s what this book is. You can read Sky Coyote as a stand alone, so if you like mythology, if you like humor,  get this book.  Everyone knows it’s ok for mythology stories to be  made up,  and everyone knows it’s ok to feel like those stories aren’t made up.

 

Do we get more of Joseph thinking about Budu? I hope so.  I think so?  Budu and his kind were designed to kill humans who were killing other humans. But what happens when soldiers like Budu aren’t needed anymore.  Hmmm . . . . suddenly seeing Will McIntosh’s Defenders as a companion book to The Company.

 

The performance the Kantap puts on!  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, oh are you in for a treat!  When they do the “comedy act” of Sky Coyote and his, well, um,  I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe!

 

Omg, the scene with the Looney Tunes cartoons!  I was crying-laughing!   Actually, because me, I was crying-laughing for like the last 50 pages of this book.  They were happy tears.

 

The year 2355.  You can’t outrun it, you can’t avoid it.  You are rushing towards it, inevitably, relentlessly, and one day per day.

 

Because I have vague memories of what’s coming in books 3 – 6,  I can’t stop thinking about Mendoza and Nicholas.

 

We watched the movie Rocketman, the other day.  Freakin’ excellent movie!  It’s very Baz Luhrmann!  I lost track of all the costume changes and started getting a kick out of the dozens and dozens of glasses.  If you like musical biopics, this is well worth your two hours.

 

And I swear I saw Nicholas Harpole in Rocketman. You can’t tell from this picture, but he is tall and very lanky, and usually wears severe dark suits.  and that voice! and those eyes!  No wonder Elton thought this guy loved him, how could anyone think otherwise?

 

I spent the afternoon today binge watching Star Trek: Discovery season 2.

 

I freakin’ love Tilly.  You’re either going to love her or hate her, and it took me a few episodes in season one to warm up to her,  but I wish they would just call Discovery the Tilly & Stamets show.

 

isn’t she adorable?

 

More non-sequiturs in a few days, ok?

california bonesCalifornia Bones by Greg Van Eekhout

Published 2014

where I got it: borrowed ARC from My Bookish Ways

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Writing a magic system readers will resonate with is a tricky thing. Some readers like them to work like, well, magic, with hands twirling or fingers snapping, other readers need something a little more meaty. I’m a meaty girl, and I go crazy for a magic system that’s complicated, expensive*, and intimately connected to the physical body of the magician. I want there to be some chemistry, some science to the whole thing. For lack of a better term, I want the magic to feel plausible.  That said, it took less than one chapter for me to completely buy into and fall in love with the magic system in Greg Van Eekhout’s California Bones.

 

*And by expensive, I don’t mean money. I mean if you screw it up, you’re probably going to die. So don’t screw it up.

 

This is a magic system that is based on ingesting the bones, tissues, and fossils of the thing whose properties you want to use.  And where else to find the fossils of ancient magical creatures, like mammoths, griffins, mastodons, eocorns, krakens and basilisks but southern California’s La Brea Tar Pits? Ingest the ancient residues of these creatures, and take into yourself the powers of long life, fire, invisibility and other powers.

 

This is the magic of ancient bones. This is osteomancy.  And excuse my language, but it is fucking brilliant.

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I’ve already tortured you with my #idiottourist photos of the beach and of (zomg!) Borderlands books. We wandered around the Mission district of San Fransisco and then went to JapanTown where we went to what might be the coolest Sushi restaurant in the country.  TwoDudes, I’m counting on you to give us more info on JapanTown!

Arrrr, this creative sign down the street from Borderlands cracked me up. Sorry to hear about the store tho.

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I’m not sure if this was graffiti that had guerrilla artwork over it, or what, but it made me smile. Yes, this is a super crappy attempt at a panorama.

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And then we went to JapanTown! This is an indoor shopping mall/mecca of all things Japanese. There was plenty of kawaii, j-pop, Ghibli, kite-painters, Japanese bookstores, Japanese food, drink, and clothing, and all sorts of amazing things (including some kitch).

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A quick break in Hugo nom’d reviews for this short commercial break. Warning: this post includes way too many pictures. it might take a while to load, but there’s good stuff at the bottom for you.

Not sure if I mentioned it, but I’m in California for work for most of July.  For those of you keeping score, I’m an hour south of Sacramento. low humidity? it never rains? This mid-west girl is in heaven!  We’re setting up new locations and training new associates, and i have never worked so hard in my entire life.

What did I do my first free weekend? Go to San Francisco, of course! A very good friend from high school lives here now, so he gave me the tour.  First stop, lunch at a Ramen shop in San Mateo, where residential rents are easily more than I make in a month. I am obsessed with Ramen, and this was the most amazing bowl of Ramen I’ve ever had in my entire life.

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Can’t you just smell that divine porky broth? Miso Ramen is heaven in a bowl.

Next stop, THE BEACH!  I’d never been in the Pacific Ocean before. . .

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About 10 minutes after this photo was taken, fog began rolling in. . . .

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Vintage SF badge

You probably know Frank Herbert from his masterpiece, Dune. or perhaps you are more familiar with his son, Brian Herbert, who has been involved with continuing  the series. But Frank Herbert did so much more more than just epic space opera involving secretive sisterhoods and sandworms.  Many of his stand alone  novels took place in the present (which would have been the 1960’s and 70’s) and could be easily be considered mainstream suspense novels.  When I’m at the used bookstore, if I see a copy of a Herbert I don’t own, I grab it, and rarely have I been disappointed.   In my mind, Frank Herbert is a little like George R. R. Martin – sure, their famous series blow my mind every time, but I’m missing out on the bigger picture if I don’t read their other works too.

SantarogaThe Santaroga Barrier, by Frank Herbert

written in 1968

where I got it: bought used

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Something very strange is happening in a valley in Southern California. Or perhaps, it’s nothing strange at all, just a close knit, old fashioned community famous for its cheese production.  Doctor Gilbert Dasein of the Psychology department of the University of California has been sent to the Santaroga Valley.  It is true that he’s hoping to patch things up with his ex-girlfriend Jenny, a resident of Santaroga, but Dasein has another mission, one which killed the last two men who took it on. He’s being paid to do market research and find out what exactly is going on there. Why won’t the Santarogans allow national businesses to build in their valley? Why don’t they have a single reported case of mental illness? Why doesn’t anyone ever leave the valley for good? Are they innocent survivalists? is it a cult? is it something more?

It’s not that Santaroga doesn’t like outsiders, it’s that they don’t need them. They produce plenty of their famous cheese, and they also produce everything else their residents need, from furniture and wine, to independently sourced auto parts and canned food. Most Santarogan-made products never leave the valley, and all residents work together to make everyone has enough, newlyweds have houses, and that everyone is taken care of. And everyone sure gets excited when a wheel of Jaspers Cheese is brought out.

The good news is that Gilbert does find Jenny, and they do patch things up to the point where she’d like to get married as soon as possible. But the more time Gilbert spends in the valley, the more he wants to leave and take Jenny with him. Santaroga is an odd place, to say the least. Salespeople are brutally honest about what’s wrong with the used cars in the lot. No one ever seems frustrated or depressed or angry, words between Santarogans are never misunderstood, and the smell of the famous Jaspers cheese is everywhere. And children? There’s not a single child to be seen in the valley.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.