Category Archives: magic

tell it slant

In the Forest of Forgetting by Theodora Goss 2007 (284 pgs)

Magical realism at it’s best: witches, flying cities, talking bears and all of it oh-so-real-seeming. Enjoyable author, with an old-world flavor updated by modern fantasy sensibilites.

surely you must be mythtaken

The Ant King and Other Storiesby Benjamin Rosenbaum 2008 (228 pgs)

Wonderful magical stories ranging from the title story featuring a modern day Orpheus and Eurydice wandering through ant tunnels that are possibly hidden in a video game, to the strangest Austen story you’ve ever seen set in a cottage on a precancerous mole, a manor carved into a rotten molar, and the perilous journey in between. My favorite was Start the Clock, where a gang of 9 year olds (who’ve been 9 for 25 years after a virus freezes everyone at the age they were) shop for real estate in Pirateland. But every one of the stories was fun.

visions of ghostlings dance in my head

Touch the Dark by Karen Chance 2006 (307 pgs)

Mediocre vamp novel with a clairvoyant heroine gaining increasing power over the spirit world. The writing is a bit obtuse and meandering. And the author has an annoying tendency to make a vamp out of every historical figure she can think of- throwing Cleopatra, Rasputin, and Jack the Ripper in the same room.

it ain’t easy being a wizard

Small Favor  by Jim Butcher The Dresden Files # 10  (423 pgs) 2008

Dresden owes the Queen of Fairy a favor, and she’s calling in her marker. The deed appears simple enough- return a kidnapped man safely. But little in Harry’s world is ever as easy as it seems.

Cue the murderous hobgoblins, evil fallen angels, and increasingly deadly creatures who inspired the “billy goats gruff” fable. And they’re all out to get Harry.

bits and pieces

Partial reads:

The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down  by Colin Woodward (383 pgs/read 150) 2007

What I love about this book, is that it doesn’t veer into hyperbole or romantic notions about pirates.  Life among the sailors of the day was nothing like the glamorous or romantic ideals we have, it was bleak and brutal and often short.  Woodward sticks to the facts, drawing from historical documents and using direct quotes only rather than made-up dialogue.  Truly informative, well laid out, and constantly interesting.  The included documents (maps, ship silhouettes and relative sizes,  values of everything from a galley to a barrel of ships biscuits to an adult slave) are informative and intriguing.

Why I stopped: came up due before I had a chance to finish.  Ordered it a second time but I’d lost the urgency.

Magic for Beginners  by Kelly Link (272 pgs/read 100ish) 2005

Quirky, captivating short stories.  In one story, a family find their new home becoming haunted piece by piece.  First a clock, then a pair of pants, then a bathroom.  In another story, two young men man an all-night convience store near a chasm full of zombies.  Link can make the most bizarre occurrances seem natural.

Stopped?: Fun, but I kept never getting back to it.

Inventing Beauty: A History of the Innovations That Have Made Us Beautiful  by Teresa Riordan (307 pgs/read 150ish) 2004

A lot more interesting than you’d think & fun to skim.  The illustrations (everything from the first patent of a mascara applicator to bustles through the ages) are fascinating. 

Stopped?: waaaay overdue, every time I pick it up to return I get hooked again.  Dangerous!  I’ve got to get rid of it.

Mirabilis  by Susann Cokal (389 pgs/read 30) 2001

Bizarre story of the village outcast who begins performing miracles. 

Stopped?: somewhat interesting, but not enough to make me invest in it.

The Rough Guide to Blogging  by Jonathan Yang (200pg/read 100ish) 2006

Fairly helpful.  Walks you through blogs from step one.  Well laid out; I’d recommend it to anyone interested in blogs.

Stopped?: read everything applicable.

win one for the ripper

Broken  by Kelley Armstrong (480 pgs) 2006 (Women of the Otherworld #6)

This latest entry returns the focus to Elena, the werewolf who began the series.  She takes a seemingly simple job stealing a letter supposedly written by Jack the Ripper.  Things turn quickly when a drop of blood opens a portal.  A couple of murdering zombies fall out, as well as various plagues from the Ripper’s time.  It’s up to Elena and her pack to piece things back together and close the portal before the rest of hell breaks loose.

ghost of a chance

Haunted  by Kelley Armstrong (495 pgs) 2005 (Women of the Otherworld #5)

Deceased Eve (mother of Savannah the teenage witch) has been hanging out in the afterworld waiting for her chance to get back in the game.  The Fates who run the place charge her with bringing down a serially reincarnating serial killer.