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So, I Read This Book Today

Editing, Proofreading, Reviewing and Other Stuff

Month

November 2013

Review: Another Fine Myth by Robert Asprin

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The Audio Edition is available here!

As a culture, we are always looking for the next best thing. Computers, cars, you name it. And, of course, books. Everything from urban fantasy to suspense, young adult to horror. Sometimes, though, what is New isn’t what we really need. Instead, what is Old is new again, or rather, it should be!

I just listened to Another Fine Myth by Robert Asprin, and narrated by Noah Michael Levine.  First printed in 1978, I found the series way back then, and have the whole collection in paper. Recently, however, the books have come out on Audible.com and, of course, I have to buy them all again. How can I help it? Noah Michael Levine does an amazing job of narrating! His voice and cadence are absolutely perfect for the reading. His grasp of accents is amazing, and he really brings the characters to life. I spent all night last night in my workroom, working on holiday gifts, and though I got really tired about 4AM, I couldn’t tear myself away. There is a sample reading on Audible, check it out and you will love it too!

Why SHOULDN’T Robert Lynn Asprin’s Skeeve be the next Harry Potter?!  It’s all there. Witches, Demons, and Wizards, Oh, My! And the Myth series is FUNNY. Like, burst out laughing on the airplane funny. And the voices by Noah take the laugh-out-loud character to a whole new level of laughter. Though Robert is now gone from us, his collaboration with Jody Lynn Nye means that the wonder of the tale lives on, and it is well worth the journey of discovery!

Skeeve, the main character of the series, is an apprentice wizard. He doesn’t really care all that much about being an apprentice wizard, of course. He was previously a thief, who got busted by the Wizard he was trying to rob. Instead of turning him into a frog, or something just as icky, the Wizard makes Skeeve an apprentice wizard. What are ya gonna do?

During the summoning of the Demon Aahz, an Assassin comes to call – and that is when things get rather messy. When the Wizard is killed, Skeeve is stuck now with the Demon Aahz, summoned from his own world, and none too happy about it. What follows? Well, you will just have to read the book to find out! Or rather, I would actually listen to it. You will NOT be disappointed if you like funny, well paced, creative and wonderful story lines.

Enjoy!!!! Highly Recommended

The Returns Take A Tour of Dumaine Street!

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M. K. Clinton’s Stars Cruising Dumaine Street on Thanksgiving!

M. K. Clinton’s wonderful hubby, Skipper, took this shot of the stars of The Returns and Showstoppers cruising Dumaine Street today! The breeze, of course, has Bentleys ears blowing in the wind. 

How Cute are they???

It’s Thanksgiving – Give of Yourself This Holiday Season

family in car
Photo courtesy of MikeMalloy.com
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native
Poster courtesy of Ann’s Journals Collection.
All Rights Reserved
Click for website.

Thanksgiving. The celebration of the survival of the first group of White colonists to live through their arrival on the new continent, soon to be called “America.” The Native population helped them to survive, teaching food gathering, how to build shelters, and how to survive the harsh Eastern climate.

Hence began the genocide of whole cultures, the slaughter of women and children, and the modern day environmental disasters of the White invaders.

But be that here nor there, Thanksgiving is now a celebration of family, friends, and community. Though in this day and age, there is way too much hunger in this land of plenty. Job loss; home loss; women and children living in cars and on the streets. The pressures on the American people are crushing. Hunger is out of control, and the systems that provide food and shelter for those in need are being squeezed tighter and tighter to pay for military costs and the greed of the top 1% of the country – those who caused this nightmare in the first place.

So, before you sit down with family and friends, you should consider doing your part to help. Call in a donation to your local shelter or soup kitchen. Better yet, grab up the turkey and stuffing and carry it with you, and your friends and family, and volunteer. The needy will be fed, and you might be surprised at just how wonderful it makes you, and those you love, feel.

Happy Thanksgiving.

richmenneed
Photo courtesy of Armchair Patriots.
Via Pinterest.com
Click for original photo.
table
Photo courtesy of cookturkey.net
Found on Pinterest.com
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Review: Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar – A short by Neil Gaiman

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A short story, read by the author.

This was the first opportunity that I have had to read Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar, which first appeared in Gaiman’s anthology Smoke and Mirrors. The story was first published 1998 in The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy, which I never knew existed – but now I definitely have to get on their mailing list!

A wet and miserable Ben Lassiter, a young and naive American, is taking a walking tour of the British coastline, following the instructions of a tour book – a tour book apparently written by a woman who “would probably not recognize the British coastline if it were to dance through her bedroom at the head of a marching band singing “I’m the British Coastline!” in a loud and cheerful voice while accompanying itself on the kazoo.”

When forced to take refuge from the rain, Ben wanders into a pub, the name of which is The Book Of Dead Names. Here meeting the very peculiar Seth and Wilf, Ben learns more than he may have wanted to know about Lovecraft, life, death and unspeakable horror.

Read by the author, this is a tiny gem of a story, paying homage to H.P. Lovecraft and displaying Gaiman’s quirky Brit sense of humour in all it’s glory. I picked it up on Audible.com as a freebie that is no longer available, but the short did just what it was supposed to do – it whetted my appetite for something from Gaiman that is just that little bit different than his norm, and ascertained my purchase of Smoke and Mirrors.
I have already purchased The Ocean at the End of the Lane and will be listening to that, and reviewing, as soon as I get caught up on my other work.

I began my love of Gaiman, as I would imagine many did, with American Gods. I read it in paperback back then, but I just purchased the Tenth Anniversary Edition narrated by a full cast of amazing narrators. I loved the George Guidall edition, but the new, Tenth Anniversary Edition is theater – the theater of the absurd and wonderful. Don’t get me wrong – Guidall is one of my all-time favorite narrators, but it will be worth it to read this one as well.

If you picked up this wonderful story, good on ya’. If now, you should really pick up Smoke and Mirrors just as I did. Hey, it’s Gaiman, it’s gotta be incredible!

 

Review: Hard to Handle by Jessica Lemmon

“I loved you,” Sadie said, her eyes wide and earnest. “And you blew it.” That said, she tugged the shirt to her waist, flopped onto one side and pulled the covers over her head.
-Sadie

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Sweet, light read

Sadie is a nice girl. Sweet, kind, loving, and apparently sexy as hell in a curvy short-girl way. Having lost her father to a motorcycle accident when quite young, she now works as a motorcycle parts saleswoman and loves her job, as it brings her closer to the memory of her lost father.

Sadie has had it hard in other areas too. Engaged to marry, she is dumped by her fiancée on the eve of her wedding – for her own sister. Then, the guy she met who seems to really ‘get her’ and she gets him, calls her from several states away to drop her like a hot potato. Henceforth, Sadie determines, she is going to forget the getting serious thing and just do first dates.

Which is fine – until Aiden, the guy who got her, comes back into her life determined to make up for his mistakes. But Sadie isn’t having any of that!

This is one book where I actually really liked the male lead. He is, of course, a hunk. But more than that, he is a truly nice, kind, considerate, loving guy. Oh, don’t hold the dumping her by phone as a bad sign. I was pretty much ready to chuck the book across the room and do something else when I read that – but his reason was the sweetest, most compassionate one I could ever imagine.

Sadie and Aiden have had a tough time all the way around. The fun part is watching how two broken souls find their way back from their pain.

This light read was reviewed for Net Galley. Recommended for a light, romantic read with likable characters.

Review: The Shadowy Horses – Susanna Kearsley – Highly Recommended

In the last fifteen years or so, the women’s novel has turned into the Amtrak of American literature; crashing through the gates at Aristotle, jumping the tracks at Horace, ignoring the flashing red lights at Boileau, and scooping up Alexander Pope in the cowcatcher. The rules are down and it’s every stylist for herself in this best of all Tupperware parties, where plot and characterization have been replaced by the kind of non-stop chatter that enabled the French Foreign Legion to meet its enlistment quota for a hundred and fifty years. In the unlikely event that future scholars will bother to give our era a cultural tag, it will be called the Age of Women’s Litter.  –  Florence King
shadowy horsesHonestly, Ms. King’s words have been a mantra for me more often than not these days. In this era of “50 Shades of Gag Me With A Spoon” I have been not only distressed, but horrified by the state of literature written by women. Not all women, of course. I have read, and reviewed, several books by women authors which are exceptional. However, the exceptional has been overshadowed by the inane and senseless. It is heart breaking.
Then, just when I despaired, something wonderful happened. I listened to The Shadowy Horses. Written by Susanna Kearsley, and narrated by Sally Armstrong, this book should be on every bestseller list in existence. If you haven’t read it, I highly, Highly recommended the audio edition. Sally Armstrong has a beautiful, lyrical voice which turns the smooth prose of Kearsley into pure poetry.
Kearsley’s story is set in Scotland as is well described in the blurb for the book and in other reviews. The story follows archeologists at a dig at Rose Hill, or, in old Latin, “Rouges Hill” a name which will come clear as the story unfolds. The voice of the book is beautifully paced, and draws you into the world of both modern and ancient Scotland, introducing the people both gently and with true understanding. Some are good, some not so much, but the people and the land are, above all, truly well written and make you feel that you are actually being drawn into the story.
This is a beautifully designed tale. The main storyline concerns an ancient mystery – what really happened to the Legio Nona Hispana, the 9th Spanish Legion of the Roman Empire. The last testified activity of the Ninth in Britain was reported during the rebuilding in stone of the legionary fortress at York, or Eboracum in 108 AD. After that, the 9th disappeared into the mists of history. Did they simply disappear in Britain about 117 AD? Were they slaughtered during the war with the Parthenian Empire much later on? The only known fact is that they were nonexistent during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. What truly happened to these thousands of strong, well trained Roman Legionnaires?
Kearsley builds on the stories and the mystery of the infamous 9th, following the theory of Miles Russell of Bournemouth University who has theorized that, “by far the most plausible answer to the question ‘what happened to the Ninth’ is that they fought and died in Britain, disappearing in the late 110s or early 120s when the province was in disarray”.  And Britain was, indeed, in disarray. For all the control and training of the Romans, Britain was not easily taken or controlled. Did the “savage” tribes of Britain really destroy a formerly invincible army?
While this may sound at first as if this is a dry text, it is very far from being so. Verity Grey has traveled from London to the village of Eyemouth, Scotland at the behest of her great friend and mentor Peter, an aging archeologist who has long searched for the vaunted 9th Legion. There, things become very strange, as she meets Robbie, a child with the “Second Sight” a psychic ability which has for centuries been believed to be inherited through family lines in Scotland and other countries with rich cultural histories. Robbie is a main character in the storyline, introducing Verity and the other archeologists to “The Sentinel” a ghostly figure wandering the lands of Rose Hill, who speaks the Latin, wears the clothing, and carries the arms of the Roman Legions. A lost and lonely figure who has great secrets and great heartache, secrets and pain which have apparently kept him tied to these lands for thousands of years. For why else would a wraith stalk these hills for centuries on end? Kearsley does a beautiful job with Robbie’s abilities – they are not overdone or unbelievable, but rather handled with a deft touch, much in line with how Second Sight is actually understood in Scotland. (For more info on Second Sight see The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 13, Number 3, pp 351-372, 1999, or online at: Second Sight and Family History:Pedigree and Segregation Analysis by Shari A. Cohn  http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_13_3_cohn.pdf)
While others seem to have reviewed this as a “romance” this is absolutely not how I understood this beautifully written novel. Yes, there is a bit of romance, boy gets girl stuff. But that is such a small portion of the overall tale. This is a tale of mysteries, of history and culture and beautiful, beautiful words. Of an ancient land and ancient peoples, brought into the modern day through the use of story and theory woven into a ghostly tale of the horrors of a brutal time in history. Of love of family, the bonds of friendship in times of war, and the length one man will go through to protect and honor his friend and his family, though death take all.
This is, again, a beautiful and fascinating story for many reasons. I have visited that area of Scotland, and would do so again – only if I were to go back, it would be very hard to drag me away again. The history of the British Isles is rich and varied, brutal and savage, and deep as any Scottish Loch. And it calls to my heart and soul, a siren song of longing which I am loath to deny. I would wish you to know the beauty of those lands and its stories . . .
Highly recommended.

A Challenge for Reviewers of E.L. James

Reason sits firm and holds the reins, and she will not let the feelings burst away and hurry her to wild chasms. The passions may rage furiously, like true heathens, as they are; and the desires may imagine all sorts of vain things: but judgment shall still have the last word in every argument, and the casting vote in every decision.
– Charlotte Bronte

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Nobel Laureate Gertrude Stein.
(© Hulton-Deutsch Collection / Corbis)
All Rights Reserved

We are not people with no discriminating taste when it comes to literature.” – Pamelia A. in a 5-Star Review for “50 Shades of Grey”

jury
Click for
A Jury Of Her Peers

Like some other reviewers, what I find terribly depressing is that this is a runaway bestseller and the movie rights are expected to sell for up to $5 million. There are so many highly talented writers in the genre… and erotica is so much more erotic when the author has a command of the language and can make you care about the characters. For examples, check out the “Beauty” trilogy written by Anne Rice under the pen name A.N. Roquelaure, or any stories by Donna George Storey or Rachel Kramer Bussel. – D.S. From LA in a 1-Star Review for “50 Shades of Grey”

I challenge reviewers of “50 Shades of Grey” to read and review a minimum of THREE books from writers who are listed in
A Jury of Her Peers: American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx” by Elaine Showalter. This is an exceptional overview of true women’s literature. Stories of and by women with strength, intelligence, knowledge, and heart. Women who offer truly discriminating taste in literature. Only three, as there are three installments in James.

If you don’t wish to purchase her book, you may find a simple list of Women Nobel Laureates in Literature at: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/nob…

Once you have read and reviewed three of these books, I encourage you to go back and read “50 Shades” again. Then, post another review of E.L. James in light of your three chosen Nobel Laureate books.

Reviews should be posted here in this group. They may, of course, be posted to other sites, including Amazon.

Reviews to be submitted by APRIL 1, 2014. That is a book a month, certainly achievable if you are interested in this challenge.

A poll will be posted in order to choose your favorite “hate it” and “still love it” reviews. Prizes will be awarded!

And for those who really only read erotica, you can choose books by the authors suggested by D.S. From LA if you have read this post here on my website!
Are YOU sure enough of your literary assessment of James’ work to meet my challenge?

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Let’s get NAKED! Naked Vegas, that is!

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Claire Sinclair, Playgirl of the Year, goes Googie!
Photo courtesy of http://www.syfy.com
All Rights Reserved.

I am hooked. Naked Vegas is on my “must record” list! As a long-time fan of Face Off I as tickled to see the start of Naked Vegas. Well, not at first – I actually didn’t know what to think when I saw the name of the show on SyFy Channel. Huh? Are we going to be seeing orgies or something? LOL!

 Instead, it is Red, Heather, and Weiser from the company Naked Vegas in Las Vegas, NV. The art of these incredible artists will, literally, blow you over. These people turn human canvases into amazing works of art. Everything from Med Students to the Playmate of the Year Claire Sinclair (now THAT is a real woman, curves and all!) become creatures of stupendous beauty. Yes, these are naked humans. So what? The ‘nasty bits’ are covered, whether with tape over nipples or teeny tiny bikinis over ‘boy parts’ within a few moments, you don’t even see the “body.” Instead, you see the stunning work which went into the actual art. And the models themselves are amazing…. Standing there for hours on end, they become a canvas for amazing works of art that may stand out, or may fade into the background in astounding ways.

I first noticed body painting during the first season of Face Off, another SyFy channel extravaganza. Coming into it late (my television watching tends to depend on shows that I cared enough to record on my DVR) I was blown away at the amazing abilities of the artists who specialize in the art of Movie Magic. Staring three of the greats of movie makeup, McKenzie Westmore, Ve Niell, Glenn Hetrick, groups of contests vie for the title of Face Off Champion. Normally, I hate this type of show, but Face Off blew me away, and keeps me panting for more!

Face Off - Season 5
Left to right: Glenn Hetrick, Ve Neill, Neville Page
Judges on Face Off
Photo property of Syfy.com
All Rights Reserved
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Rayce Bird’s take on Tim Burton. It was one of my favorite makeups ever shown on Face Off. The cellist who keeps her love alive as she plays . . . touching, gorgeous, and amazing!
Photo credit: Brett-Patrick Jenkins
All photos property of http://www.syfy.com
All rights reserved
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My first body painting show – on Face Off!
Photo credit: Brett-Patrick Jenkins
Photo courtesy of http://www.syfy.com
All rights reserved
laura
Photo credit: Brett-Patrick Jenkins
Photo courtesy of http://www.syfy.com
All rights reserved

Tonight, I also got the great pleasure of watching Face Off: Naked And Painted. All I can say is, WOW! I may not have known all that much about body painting before that first episode of body painting, but now? I am totally, totally hooked!

If you get the chance, and you love art, you have to check out these two series. I will always be glad I did!

_______________________

All photos are property of The SyFy Channel, http://www.syfy.com. All rights are reserved by SyFy and are used only in an effort to encourage others to watch two television shows which I greatly enjoy! Thank you to the SyFy Channel for providing these photos from http://www.syfy.com.

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