jencat: (brain)

but I kinda broke my no new books rule.  I really only went into Waterstones to browse, cos I left work a little early, but then they had imports of Soulless, and since I only read about it last night, it kinda seemed a little seredipitous perhaps... Also, they had Catching Fire, the Hunger Games sequel (little confusing, cos I think the next Jo Graham book is also same title?) so obviously I had to take them home with me.  They did look at me pleadingly and everything...

Very strange, my brain is also in writing mode (such a rare occurrence, *swoon*) so I spent half of last night reading up on volcanic ash because, er, I need a pseudo-scientific explanation for something I think will sound cool.  And this  might be one of the most haunting, atmospheric pictures ever - daylight in Montserrat after the eruption.
jencat: (Default)

Really not doing my Farscape re-watch justice today.. just hit the last ep of season one now and I'm only really half-watching *sigh*  Getting impatient for the leather-wearing and the major shipping to kick off properly now, although I'd forgotten how much fun Nerve and Hidden Memory are 'Scape rambling )

But hey, I've had a lot more time than I expected this week, due to some random lurgylurgy lurgy lurgy )

Happier things.. I'm still loving Pride & Prejudice & Zombies... zombies rawk! )

Tonight was also supposed to be about making battenburn style cupcakes for dessert birthday party tomorrow... the black food dye didn't turn out so badly, but I have a monstrous pink thing to re-make tomorrow, oh dear..!
jencat: (Default)
Heh.  I've been running around like a mad thing trying to find A Madness of Angels in various branches of Waterstones for the past week, and failing miserably.  Given that Orbit seem to be actually trying to promote this one, I'm a little confused why it's not, like, being stocked... Given that I then ransacked the Lakeside branch yesterday (where the website assured me there were several copies in stock) and had no luck in the genre section... Kinda tearing my hair out.

Then I finally find it in the 'general fiction' section - seriously? This is published by Orbit, their big title out this month (not shipping particularly quickly from Amazon, either), and SFX's book of the month.  And it gets shelved somewhere no-one will be looking for it.  No displays, in the wrong category (if you're going to compare something to Neverwhere, at least make sure it's shelved in the vicinity).

If I were Kate Griffin, I would be seriously pissed about the sales I'm missing right now, at the biggest book shop chain in the country.  We genre-bunnies don't tend to ransack the Gen Fic shelves for the latest Orbit titles, as we're kinda expecting it to be on the SFF shelf.

But hey.  While I was ransacking the horror section, I did happen to see import copies of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  Dude.

What's not to love about a literal mash-up of actual chunks of P&P interspersed with rocking undead action?! A zombie plague has been raging in England for the last 50 years, so all the Bennet sisters are Shaolin trained kung-fu masters expert in despatching the undead with lady-like daggers, and Lizzie is literally about to behead Darcy the first time she hears him insult her at the ball.  When Mrs Bennet started quoting the Day of the Dead schtick about hell being full up, I was kinda cackling.  I do keep waiting for the joke to wear thin, but mostly having an absolute blast in the meantime...

It does kinda occur to me that I know a lot of people that love Austen, and a lot of people that like zombies, but not a whole lotta folk who would find the two combined as ridiculously entertaining as I do.  Go figure.

But, genius stuff.

Also: I found a copy of the Hummingbird Bakery book, after several weeks of hunting, so there were Easter sugar cookies in vast, vast quantities today. Plus pizza, and Guinness. Bit sick now...
jencat: (Default)

... but hey, I get to rock up to work a teeny bit later tomorrow, so it's totally rational, to my mind.

It was kinda getting to the point where there's a ridiculously long list of stuff I wanted to write about, so may as well make a start while i'm not remotely sleepy *yawn*

Ok, so I take back most of my Taylor Swift bitching from a couple weeks ago - I bought the album on impulse (not totally unexpected since I do own her first one already) and it has a certain earworm quality that's been stuck in my head ever since.  Go figure... No, the lyrics of Love Story still make absolutely no sense (wft is it supposed to be about?! Read more... )

Hmmm.. segues, segues... reincarnation! Totally the main plot point in [ profile] jo_graham 's Hand of Isis.  Read more... )Sometimes the interwebs blow my mind.

(stuff that also blows my mind: .  Really very fab.)

Gah.  As I'm still getting sniffly even thinking about Patrick Ness's The Knife of Never Letting Go, I won't go on about it right now.  But it's horrific, and perfect, and it staggers me that all the best, 'grown up' SF books seem to be stuck somewhere over in YA at the moment.  This book... ack. I had to stuff it away in my bag all of a sudden on the bus this morning and take several deep breaths, as I reached a bit that would have had me sobbing like a baby had I not been sitting on a crowded bus at the time.  Then I spent the whole day alternately raging at it, and psyching myself up to carry on reading later.
I think I'm loving it kinda fiercely right now.
And, yay for my perfect timing, book 2 comes out in six weeks...
(Also, Manchee is one of the best fictional dogs ever.  And the most uncute but heartbreakingly real fictional dog since, ooh, Dean Spanley.  Which also made me cry.  I'm thinking maybe I should give Marley &Me a miss, as I was sobbing just reading an interview about it last week, ho hum...)

Also: the picture of Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson on the front page of the tabloids today is just breaking my heart as well... The most unstaged, genuinely happy photo you could ask for. And it wasn't the best adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale, but I have such a soft spot for her playing Offred.
It's officially the first day of spring now, according to Google, and the news recently has felt a little too full of death for comfort.

jencat: (Default)
Haha, finally made it to the gym today!! Not that I've found several hundred excuses not to go for the past few weekends, but, ahem...

Otherwise today was mostly catching The Secret of Moonacre - minus any of the usual references to JK Rowling that adorn the cover of The Little White Horse.  Probably because it's barely recognisable as an adaptation, but there you go... I mainly went to ogle the production design and steal costume ideas for my victoriana wannabe, for which it served its purpose nicely.  Edwardian/Victoriana Steampunk gone mad? yes please!  And Natasha McElhone being kooky with birdsnest hair?  Fabulous stuff.

Shame somebody went mad in the editing suite and hacked out any notion of a logical plot or character development (yes, it would help greatly if the audience knew who the hell Robin was.  Just saying.)

Should it bug me so much that they based the costume design for the 'baddies' on Clockwork Orange?  I'm not sure, but they even had the voices sound 'Droogish' and it felt a little.. creepy for a kid's film - especially when they were pushing young girls around.  Ack.
Plus, y'know, Tim Curry wearing what is indupitably a gimp mask all the way through.  I rest my case...

Following on from which, there still isn't a DVD release for the 1989 adaptation of Joan Aiken's The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.  And now I'm really hoping my copy of the book hasn't rotted away from being in storage for several years... it kinda shaped my reading tastes way back when, methinks.

jencat: (Default)

I think my brain has quit buzzing enough now. I think.  It's been one of those days and the off switch seems to be stuck.  Maybe the glass of (f*cking) Merlot helped, but not so much. Should sleep, really, I guess.

Weekend I stumbled across Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games accidentally - I don't usually keep an eye on the YA new releases, and the cover makes this look very YA - and it was one of those books that your hand automatically strays back to pick up when you should be doing other things.  Exceedingly cool, in other words.

What should be a kinda blah, overly familiar setting (post-apocalytic States, televised 'games' to the death) instead kicks you right in the gut because it's happening, believably, to characters that you care about.  Ok, so it's backwoods survivalism meets Battle Royale meets Big Brother (the original and the TV show!) but nothing would keep you from turning those pages just to make sure nothing terrible is about to happen.  Except, several terrible things happen, and keep happening, and like the characters, you just have to get through it.

Still stuck in my head several days later, and sequels to come, apparently.  All good stuff.

Last week's book was Devon Monk's Magic to the Bone, which was also pretty good, and far better than this week's (Jeanne C Stein's The Becoming).  I'm curious, at the moment, why the YA books are feeling more... emotionally mature than the adult genre stuff - lacking all the lashings of sex (although Hunger Games certainly doesn't lack gore, or death).  Yep, I read too much urban fantasy, but it's time consuming trying to find stuff that doesn't want to tip over into the abyss of 'paranormal romance'.  I guess it's easiest to categorise Patricia Brigg's Alpha and Omega as romance, out of all the ones I enjoyed, purely because it felt like a character study, but seriously, not all about the sex'n'death.

Magic to the Bone had a nice harshness to it - in the vein of Ilona Andrews or Kim Harrison - despite the odd use of a reset button, which I think I can forgive, just about.  Not sure how sucked in I'm gonna be for the inevitable sequels just yet...

There's a tiresome sense of irresponsibility to the more vamp romance end of the genre that keeps winding me up at the moment - the slightly more downbeat ending of Halfway to the Grave made me want to read the sequel, which immediately cancelled that out.  I know everybody and their cat has a Spike fetish in this genre, but it's all getting a bit old now (The Becoming actually manages to pwn its Spike fetish by wondering whether James Marsters was actually a vamp. Revolutionary.) .  Halfway to the Grave has a worrying habit of reading like Buffy fanfic every time its love interest appears (the hair! the cod English accent! make it stop!).

I keep thinking I should switch to actual non-genre stuff occasionally before i get too jaded with the current bunch of UF - there is very little I'll read in epic fantasy these days, especially after JV Jones apparently decided to pad Sword from Red Ice to numbingly dull length and make me hate the characters, dammit. All it does is make me write nasty reviews, and nobody likes that.  Also weird, because UF didn't really used to exist, and all I've ever really wanted to write were variations on epic fantasy.  Standalone epic fantasy, no less.  Which nobody writes, and nobody reads (and why I invariably end up having a head/desk moment about halfway through book two of whatever trilogy I'm attempting to read. We have an attention span/padding problem, methinks.).  Ok, one of mine probably wants to have a sequel, but the rest.. ack.  Oh hell, I don't really even want to write epic, I want to write (and read) epic domestic fantasy. It's not even a genre.  I'm screwed.

Give me a couple more books like Chalice  or Black Ships this year though, and I'll be a reasonably happy bunny.

jencat: (through the door)

Heh.  I think I can just about justify the inordinate amount of money I've spent on books recently as, er, I've actually been reading them for once, rather than using them as pretty shelf decorations (although, the amount of storage space I have left is currently in the minuses, so Something Must Be Done).

Just finished The Graveyard Book, which was fabulousness, of course.  Neil Gaiman rocks, etc, etc, and the end had me distinctly welling up.  Was I imagining the part where it started to sound a little JK Rowling-ish perhaps? Not a criticism, just trying to work out why it felt so familiar...  Anyhoo.  Loved Silas (can we have a sequel where he's fighting crime with Miss Lupescu perhaps, pretty please?) and it was sad and dark and prickly and adorable.

Really wish I could say the same for Daisies,  but lordy they've kinda lost the plot on that one.  I dozed off watching the Bad Habits ep last night and it just compounded that nasty sinking feeling I've had since the  new season began. Read more... )

True Blood continues in its own insane Southern way, with as much bedhopping as it can cram into an hour, and Sookie's great funeral speechspoilery true blood )

This week was also big on post-apocalyptic urban fantasy, whoo!  I finally read Magic Burns, and was suitably impressed, and then Working for the Devil, which just about pulls off the 'chucking everything at the wall and seeing what sticks' school of worldbuilding.  It was dark and dense, and nicely immersive. The Amazon review for the second book contained the immortal line that Dante's love life was her excuse 'to drink coffee and be uncivil', which made me chuckle, even if it's not entirely true. 

Ack. SFX arrived today, with a big story on how BBC3 want the series of Being Human to be 'lighter and funnier'.  Then they went and recast Marshall and Annie cos they wanted 'younger'.  I'm not sorry to be rid of Adrian Lester hamming it up, but the other guys were pretty damn good... Who's betting we'll never see the original pilot ever again, dammit.  It's not like 90% of all Uk genre output isn't aimed at kids anyhoo (not sure i can stomach Philip Glenister being American in Demon, the 'van helsing jr' buffy wannabe that ITV are making).

Well, so far I've been surprisingly... not hating Merlin.  Even if i keep comparing it to the rather cool Sam Neil miniseries with All Star Cast.  It's daft, and anachronistic in every way you can think of, but it's nicely produced (and very pretty) fluff. It's got Giles being a kickass king! And Morgana's apparently been raiding Inara's wardrobe from Firefly! Sadly, Michelle Ryan still can't act, so I don't see why they were mentioning her bit part  as Nimueh so much, it's getting embarrassing.

The only other thing that really bugs me is Gwen/Guinevere... The character's great as a person, and the actress is perfectly good, but the character isn't Guinevere by any interpretation (and it's nothing to do with her ethnicity).  She's a blacksmith's daughter, works as a servant, and has precisely zero chemistry with Arthur (although I think they start chucking Lancelot into the mix this week)... Even if they do a reversal later on, it's not going to work - Guinevere needs to be valuable politically in her own right.  And she just does not work as Merlin's plucky sidekick.  Much as I hate all things Arthurian, there's certain things they should really stick to.

Ah, well.  I finally found a download of the Karine Polwart track I love, the one I can never remember the name of.  It starts with 'six rain-ridden summers' and then has all the whisky and crashing trucks... what more do you need in a folk song?

jencat: (through the door)

...and tv.  Definitely tv.

Although this week was mostly a total book binge, really.  An urban fantasy book binge because, hell, when do I buy anything non-genre these days, after all.

Although, book number one was Winterstrike. And it was actually rather fabulous (and yay, SFX actually loved it too, shock horror!).  The end didn't matter, after all that, as it was first in a trilogy, so it all held together better than Banner of Souls.  Minor, minor quibble that yep, Essegui and Hestia's narrations sounded so similar after a while it was only by the location that you could really tell them apart, but hell, pretty minor.  Anything that has a version of La Malcontenta as its first chapter can pretty much do no wrong.

Next up was The Sweet Scent of Blood, which gets an automatic extra star from me for being set in London... And another one for the goblins' flashing trainers :o) Did love those little guys...

spoilery Sweet Scent of Blood ramblings... )

Next up was Embrace The Night... which leads me onto a whole "hell, I'm actually totallly shallow" epiphany,  I think, mainly from the last Carrie Vaughn Kitty book.


spoilery Kitty Takes a Holiday stuff... )

Which brings me back to Karen Chance, who hasn't done that at all, and I'm actually enjoying them more with each installment.  Except for the way she absolutely has to shoehorn some random vamp!sex in there somewhere, for purely metaphysical spell reasons, obviously... But lordy, her vampires are fairly dull and geis or no, can Cassie please stop drooling over half the male characters.


Embrace The Night )

And the tv... sooo much good tv! 

Prison Break is still keeping me hooked (yep, it's mad, but I care!) and even if Sarah Connor had a bit of a dip this week, I'm pretty sure it's only a temporary thing.  Waiting for Daisies to come back still, but oh my god, I finally found True Blood today and I spent most of the first two eps with a big daft grin on my face... lordy that was good!

Talk about Southern Gothic...! It was so deep in the backwoods I was having flashbacks to The Gift... And Anna Paquin finally remembered how to do the accent, all those years after massacring Rogue (I almost kinda forgave her, after this). She was good, too; all fey and off kilter (little bit like Anna Friel in Daisies, maybe) Also slightly amusing that two of the leads (Paquin and Ryan Kwanten) are  Aussie/NZ...

I think I've been waiting for someone to finally do a proper tv take on vamps so long, I just hadn't realised it.. And there it all is.  The sex and the death and it just about washed the taste of Moonlight away at last, thank god (nope, can't remember why I watched it either now).


True Blood )

I might have to go watch it again now... Except the last ep of Dexter starts in a bit, and I so want to see Lila get thoroughly squished!


jencat: (dory)
Ignoring the hacking cough I still have, real life was the usual shade of blah this week - except for my friend finally  having a gorgeous baby girl, just a couple of days after I finished knitting the Baby Blanket of Doom, phew - but lordy, other than that, it was kinda time for all my obsessions to kick off...

No, I really shouldn't wander into book shops without supervision (or without my credit card) but then I saw that Liz William's
Winterstrike was finally out and all my budgeting kinda went out the window... 

So... I was about as happy as someone who's just seen a whole book based on her favourite
short story, basically, and it's so damn cool! The ending won't work, cos, hell, much as I love the bulk of the books, I've never read a Liz Williams book that had a decent ending, but hey, I'll take any time I can get in post apocalyptic Italianate matriarchal far future Mars, thanks all the same..

And then Sarah Connor  started again, and it was frickin' fabulous... (OMG, Shirley Manson! singing!)

And then I really got surprised and managed to forgive Prison Break for having the third season.  This would be the third season that I refused to watch any of, after the whole Sarah debacle...

prison break squeeee )
*sigh* happy now
jencat: (hello)
Heh.  So as MovieCon and all the exclusive Twilight footage, yada yada, was actually this weekend already, I finally read Twilight Sunday night, which has been sitting in a bag since I bought it six weeks ago, and then kinda sat up late finishing New Moon last night, and stopped off at the station Smiths to buy Eclipse, which had been sitting right next to the other two on Monday.. And the buggers had sold out!!   

As there's a seriously sickening lack of book shops in this bit of town (yeah, central London, shocking) my sugar reading binge has been cut off short as of this morning.  I was marooned, Without Book, all lunchtime.... And all tonight... and, well, til the last two arrive from, where I was forced to order them from as soon as I got to work this morning.  Gah.

Oh lordy, I'm still not entirely sure why I feel so totally compelled to read them, but it's something approaching the compulsion that makes me eat a dozen krispy kremes in quick succession when nobody's around to see...

It's something like the bastard tweeny child of my Favourite Book Ever, Sunshine,  and a bit of Buffy, and a lot of po-faced moping around, and then about 78 per cent Sparkle.  The Sparkle cracks me up, and then makes me want to hide under a pillow for even managing to read the damn thing with a straight face.  New Moon was a lot less Sparkle, sadly, but I'm ready to forgive...

What I shouldn't have done, obviously, was watch the trailer for the film tonight. Absolutely. Freaking. Awful.

I'm having Blood & Chocolate flashbacks, that's how awful.  Where's the snark?! Where's the frickin' voice?

Why the, er, obsession with James? I'm not sure a five minute appearance in the book exactly deserves half the trailer being devoted to him?! (And I so very much did not get the impression from the book that there were baseball shirts involved in the game scene in any way shape or form.  Because they look exceedingly stupid in the trailer.) And what the hell is going on with Edward's hair? It must have its own postcode at this point...

Have to go sleep now... the disappointment is seriously exhausting :o (

Heh.  Also, MovieCon.... will be politely confiscating everyone's phones as we go in.  This is, er.. new. And slightly paranoid.
jencat: (through the door)
Ack.  I can't believe I'm sitting here with a frickin' LKH fansite open so I can check the Anita Blake timeline.  The sacrifices I make to write these reviews, honestly...

As I've managed all of two paragraphs over the entire day, onto more interesting stuff: the hysterically funny article in the paper today about how Steven Moffatt turned down Spielberg and half a million quid so that he could take over Dr Who instead...

They got the half a mill figure by figuring that he had a million contracted to write two Tin Tin flicks, and dropped out after the first one - it's pretty clear Moff had absolutely no intention of confirming their little speculation game, as they left his nice, calm, reasoned and non-sensational version of events right to the end of the article (illustrated by big pic of DT and Alex Kingston from Silence in the Library, natch).

Apparently (according to Moff) Spielberg's a fan too! Which I can totally see.  The absolute best bit was the whole 'hollywood executives have been baffled by his decision', quoting an 'unnamed industry source' along the lines of 'what is this doctor show? Nobody's ever heard of it! It all sounds rather silly!'. *dies laughing*

You betcha.  Only 240 million viewers around the world, apparently... (and Iran? They watch it in Iran? Did not know that.)

Whew. That was a long week.  Just read Black Ships... well, devoured it, more like.  I skipped breakfast Wednesday to finish it, kinda thing.  What can I say, the cover art gives me goosebumps and the narrative more than lives up to it (thank you, Orbit! You do publish decent new stuff occasionally...).  Hell, it made me want to read the Aeniad! 

And SFX's review was mealy-mouthed and missed the point entirely, yet again.  I'd take a wild guess and say it was a typical blokey review except that, on doing a little digging, the reviewer was female. Ho hum. 

What can I say... it's a very small genre, the domestic fantasy epic.  It's ridiculously female-oriented, and yet not girly, as such. It doesn't rely on your heroine going out kicking ass and taking names, and it's not a subgenre of Romance.  It's first person narrative, gorgeous language and a specific kind of cadence.  Like I said, very small genre.  On my shelves, off the top of my head, I think only Tanith Lee's A Heroine of the World and Sarah Micklem's Firethorn would fit.  I'd want to add a couple of Joanna Harris', like Chocolat  and Holy Fools but I'm not sure they're quite fantasy enough.  

The SFX review complains about never being able to see the battles as Gull is left behind.. well, dare I say it, duh.  The battles are what the Aeniad is about.  Staying behind and waiting it out is what Black Ships is about.  If you can't see the strength in that, then I guess this little mini-genre really isn't your kinda thing...


jencat: (Default)
Jennifer Howell

July 2015

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