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Review: Selene by Lilith Saintcrow

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 28-08-2008


Selene Selene by Lilith Saint­crow

My review

I was just as annoyed with this lit­tle 5-​​chapter novella as I was by the bit that was in an anthol­ogy—Hot­ter Than Hell, maybe? We get a good idea of who Selene is, a glimpse of Niko­lai, and lot of Selene being an utterly ungrate­ful bitch to him, hot sex, and NO res­o­lu­tion in the plot. None. At. All. Blah.

Edited: I’m informed that this isn’t just a novella, and that it is still being released. So I’ll wait and review the whole thing when it’s done, if it is inter­est­ing enough to read. What I said so far is absolutely true — Selene is a bitch and Niko­lai is inex­plic­a­bly devoted to her — but that seems to be part of Saintcrow’s for­mula. Maybe there will be more plot soon.

Protect Your Dogs and Boycott Four Paws Products Ltd.

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Announcement, Critters, News | Posted on 27-08-2008


First, if you dog has a Pim­ple Ball With Bell (what an icky name!), take it back wher­ever you bought it and ask them to refund your money for the dan­ger­ous thing, and take the rest off the shelves.

After read­ing about the injuries at least four dogs have expe­ri­enced due to the absolute refusal of Four Paws Prod­ucts Ltd. to mod­ify or recall their prod­uct after being informed of these prob­lems. One dog had to be euthanized.

The com­pany and its insurer (I wish I knew their name) have been irre­spon­si­ble, at the very least.

Please talk to pet stores in your area about remov­ing the “pim­ple ball with bell” from their shelves. Warn other dog own­ers about the prob­lem. Con­sider talk­ing to your vet, so he or she can do the same.

Con­sider writ­ing to Four Paws, as well. E-​​mail isn’t nearly as effec­tive as a mailed or faxed let­ter, or even a (polite!) phone call.

I didn’t find the name of any exec­u­tives on their web site, but will add that after I try call­ing tomor­row. Here’s the mail and phone infor­ma­tion:
50 Wire­less Blvd.
Haup­pauge, NY 11788
Phone: (631) 434‑1100
Fax: (631) 434‑1183

Their par­ent com­pany is Cen­tral Gar­den & Pet Com­pany. The pres­i­dent of the “Pet Group” is James V. Heim
Pres­i­dent of Pet Group
1340 Treat Boule­vard, Suite 600
Wal­nut Creek, Cal­li­for­nia 94597
Phone: (925) 948‑4000

I haven’t found a fax num­ber. Yet.

Review: The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 26-08-2008


The Iron Hunt The Iron Hunt by Mar­jorie M. Liu

My review

rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars
The Iron Hunt is a beau­ti­fully writ­ten book with some inter­est­ing twists on estab­lished fan­tasy memes. To some extent, I felt that I’d come in to the world on book 2 or 3, but as far as I know (and from what Ama­zon says) this is the first book of the Hunter Kiss series. There was a bit of Buffy and a lit­tle Witch­blade, with other ele­ments I’m sure I’m overlooking.

For once, it’s good to see a novel in which an estab­lished cou­ple has a seemingly-​​healthy rela­tion­ship. Max­ine and Grant have very dif­fer­ent skills, but they work together well. That said, this is not a romance, so some of Liu’s read­ers may not enjoy it.

Edited to add: I just learned that there is, in fact, a pre­quel to this book in Wild Thing (an anthol­ogy), which I hadn’t heard of before. I’ll cer­tainly be look­ing for it.

Next up: The Down Home Zom­bie Bluesby new-​​to-​​me-​​author Lin­nea Sinclair

View all my reviews.

Review: The Watcher Series by Lilith Saintcrow

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 25-08-2008


Mindhealer (Watcher, Book 5) Mind­healer by Lilith Saint­crow

My review

rat­ing: 3 of 5 stars
I’m actu­ally review­ing all five of the Watcher books. They’re quite short—novella length, really—and very much inter­re­lated (espe­cially the first four). I read all of them in about a day and a half, despite doing other things. I do advise tak­ing them all in row, which is the equiv­a­lent of read­ing one “nor­mal” novel.

Dark Watcher opens in San­ti­ago City (aka Saint City), with a quar­tet of witches. Mind­healer is the only book that takes place out­side of San­ti­ago City, which seems to be the pri­mary set­ting for all of Saintcrow’s nov­els (from what I’ve read in their descriptions).

Theodora, earth witch and healer, runs the Caul­dron, an occult book and sup­ply store. Mari­amne Niege (water witch, prog­nos­ti­ca­tor) and Elise Nichol­son (fire witch) work for her in addi­tion to being, respec­tively, a grad­u­ate stu­dent and a musi­cian. Suzanne (air witch, I don’t believe we ever learn her last name) is Elise’s fos­ter mother and their teacher, some­thing of a high priest­ess to the lit­tle group.

The four women know that they’re psy­chic and that “mag­ick” is real. They don’t know that they are “Light­bringers,” that there are groups and crea­tures in the world that hunt them, or that a group called Cir­cle Light­fall trains and sends out “Watch­ers” to pro­tect (and recruit) Light­bringers in order to coun­ter­bal­ance the dark­ness in the world.

Watch­ers are for­merly wicked men with some psy­chic tal­ents who have been given a chance to redeem them­selves. They are bonded with a tanak, a dark sym­biote that gives them super­nat­ural speed, strength, heal­ing power, and longevity. The tanak also makes it pos­si­ble for them to sense dark­ness, but it causes the Watch­ers to expe­ri­ence pain when­ever they’re around Lightbringers.

The catch is that for every Watcher, there is one Witch whose pres­ence and touch will be intensely plea­sur­able instead of tor­tur­ous. The hope of find­ing that one witch is what keeps each Watcher going, fight­ing and sur­viv­ing hor­rific wounds for one chance at happiness.

The use of the tired soul­mate meme (though that spe­cific word is never used) is annoy­ing, and it detracts from what is oth­er­wise a fairly orig­i­nal con­cept. The fact that there are only male Watch­ers, though there are a few (mostly queer) male light­bringers, is a big­ger dis­ap­point­ment. The rea­son­ing given is that women do not have the vicious­ness to kill with­out hes­i­ta­tion. That’s sim­plis­tic, at best. Male light­bringers are also painted as weaker than females, and that, in com­bi­na­tion with the pedestal upon which Watch­ers place Light­bringers, unbal­ances the novels.

Theodora is the main sub­ject of the first book. Mari­amne is the focus of Storm Watcher. Fire Watcher, of course, is pri­mar­ily about Elise. We meet a new air witch, Anya Har­ris, in Cloud Watcher. And finally, Mind­healer is about Caro Rob­bins, whose brother plays a small part in Fire Watcher.

The books should cer­tainly be clas­si­fied as romances first, although they do have very strong para­nor­mal themes. Every book fol­lows the clas­sic romance novel for­mula. The fact that I kept read­ing despite my dis­like of romances is a tes­ta­ment to Saintcrow’s talent.

I sus­pect that the author either is pagan, or is very famil­iar with pagan prac­tices. The rit­u­als in each novel are nicely done, and I wouldn’t be sur­prised to hear peo­ple using some of the invo­ca­tions used in Circle.

I do have to pro­pose the Watcher drink­ing game. Take a shot every time there’s any men­tion of treat­ing a Watcher “dread­fully,” and every time a Watcher moans about how unwor­thy he is to be in the pres­ence of a Light­bringer. You’ll be past notic­ing any for­mu­lae in no time!

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Review: Night Child by Jes Battis

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 24-08-2008


Night Child Night Child by Jes Bat­tis

My review

rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book, and hope Bat­tis returns to this world. His prose is lyri­cal, engaging—a major depar­ture from most of the urban fan­tasy genre. There were a few lit­tle con­sis­tency blips that made me think that the book had been edited with less care than it deserved, but they didn’t detract seri­ously from the plot.

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Review: In Legend Born by Laura Resnick

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 23-08-2008


In Legend Born (Chronicles of Sirkara, Book 1) In Leg­end Born by Laura Resnick

My review

rat­ing: 3 of 5 stars
Well-​​written high fan­tasy, but hon­estly, it just went on too long. So far, every­body has lost some­one impor­tant. Any­body who loves any­one seems to be doomed. Betray­als are every­where, and that’s some­thing I find pro­foundly dis­turb­ing.

The book did end on a note of hope, and I want to know what hap­pens next. I just don’t know if I want it enough to slog through (at least) two more vol­umes.

View all my reviews.

Please Think About Sam

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family | Posted on 22-08-2008


His father died last night. He didn’t want any kind of funeral. We’re going to see his mom.

That A/​C thing

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Home | Posted on 21-08-2008


Appar­ently the fil­ter for the unit is miss­ing, and the coils need to be cleaned. There’s no obvi­ous sign of mold/​mildew, but Sam says that fresh air is com­ing into the bed­room via the unit, and our neigh­bors on that side have been burn­ing some­thing in their back yard.

I found the web site for the man­u­fac­turer, and of course the man­ual for our model isn’t there. The self-​​service sec­tion of the site does men­tion that the coils need to be cleaned, but doesn’t say how to do it. I sus­pect that it involves coil cleaner and a hose. Coil cleaner seems to come with a/​c ser­vice peo­ple. I’ll have to ask my father if we can get some and use it safely.

Sam remem­bers a fil­ter, but hasn’t seen it since we moved here, so we may have to order a new one from the com­pany. Of course, their not-​​helpful site doesn’t have any infor­ma­tion about parts, either. So I sent them an e-​​mail, and hope that they’ll reply.

They asked me to do a review about my expe­ri­ence with their site. That was prob­a­bly a mis­take on my site, but I did it. Their rat­ings may have just plummeted.

Now the girl and I need to get to work get­ting the house ready for our Dragon*Con guest next week. I hope the “guest room” isn’t too hot for him! Maybe I should put up a Freecy­cle post look­ing for another win­dow unit?

I’m Allergic to Our Bedroom

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Health, Home, Reading | Posted on 20-08-2008


More specif­i­cally (I hope), some­thing in it. Not Sam, hap­pily, but every time I go in there, I’m all stuffed up within a few minutes.

We keep that room closed and have a win­dow a/​c unit in there, because the house a/​c just doesn’t keep up so well.1 I’m won­der­ing if there’s some­thing about the air not cir­cu­lat­ing to the rest of the house that’s caus­ing dust to set­tle in there?

The cat is sel­dom allowed in the room at all, and we don’t have any other pets. There aren’t any plants in the room.

We haven’t been using the air clean­ers, because I can only get their fil­ters by mail-​​order and just didn’t get around to get­ting new ones. I guess I need to order them and see if that helps.


In nicer news, the girl and I went to the nice library today. I had gone through my “to-​​read” shelf at Good Reads and requested a bunch of books. More of them than I expected came through all at one time, where­upon I learned that they allow a max­i­mum of 75 books to be checked out at once. Whoops! I had to put two back.

I have plenty to read now, though!

1 We had to put a unit in Katie’s room, too – it really wasn’t fac­tored in to the ton­nage on the a/​c unit when some­one fin­ished a for­mer garage, and it doesn’t have enough ducts. Now we need one for the guest room.

McCain Blogger Flubs His Roll

Posted by Cyn | Posted in politics, RPGs | Posted on 19-08-2008


If you’re a gamer, you’ve prob­a­bly heard the hoorah by now. Michael Gold­farb, a blog­ger on McCain’s offi­cial cam­paign site added a lame anti-​​gamer slur to his rinse-​​and-​​repeat “but he was a POW!” bull­shit. Sam (and many oth­ers) responded to the twit (who keeps com­ments dis­abled on his blog – afraid of a lit­tle com­men­tary, Gold­farb?). This isn’t the first time McCain’s peo­ple have attacked their oppo­nents with com­ments about D&D, either, as some of the folks on Boing Boing have pointed out.

Gold­farb was respond­ing to a post on the Daily Kos that called McCain on his pla­gia­rism dur­ing a media event this week­end. The DK blog­ger has a nice response.

Gold­farb has sup­pos­edly apol­o­gized, but oddly enough, his “apol­ogy” isn’t posted on his blog, or any­where else on McCain’s site as far as I can tell. If he isn’t man enough to make the apol­ogy in the same venue in which he posted the attack, that says a lot about him and the entire McCain cam­paign.1

1 None of it is sur­pris­ing to me, but it is still telling.