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Showing posts from January, 2016

The Goblin Emperor is such a treat!

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The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Goblin Emperor is a delightfully refreshing fantasy novel replete with rich world building and a unique backdrop of gender and racial division that paints a poignant image of our own world’s challenges. Maia, the protagonist of mixed Elven and Goblin descent, becomes emperor when his father - who never communicates with him - and brothers are assassinated. Maia’s life is clearly in peril, the more so because he comes to court unacquainted with the political movers and shakers.

Rather than give spoilers I will concentrate on what I found rewarding about the story. First, Maia is a wonderful character with whom the reader becomes enchanted. It’s not the cute ear movement or his trustworthy nature (he is not naive because his cousin has been cruel to him since his mother died, guaranteeing that he knows everyone despises him for his goblin nature). No, the best part of Maia is his heart and faith in getting good outcomes …

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson is a wonderful tale!

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The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Absolutely delightful. This is a story about Joel, the son of a deceased chalk maker whose mother is a cleaning lady in an expensive famous school. Part of the school is also dedicated to teaching Rithmatists, magicians who can animate chalk figures. Joel wants to be a rithmatist more than anything, but his one chance for induction into their exclusive community was thwarted by circumstances beyond his control. Even so, he is a gifted student, a genius in fact, with many talents and more challenges. This is his story.

I love the characters, especially Fitch, Joel, his mother, and Melody. I like the setting - seems like an impending disaster between the Rithmatist haves and the commoner have-nots until you realize that being a Rithmatist may not be so wonderful. The plot is snake-like and the story ends in a great cliffhanger that makes you want more. Clearly Sanderson will return here.

Aside from the characters and the plot, th…

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

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The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Dark Is Rising, the second novel of The Dark Is Rising Sequence, a set of five novels of speculative fiction and fantasy published from 1965 to 1977, is a lot more sinister than the first novel of the series: Over Sea, Under Stone. The setting is Christmastime in the English countryside some 50 years ago where Will Stanton is turning 11 years old. Will learns on his birthday that he is an Old One, one of the magical beings that are able to step through Time and alter the universe in a myriad of ways. He also learns about the great moral war between the forces of Light and Dark, which are first presented in the earlier novel.

In Over Sea, Under Stone, the forces of Dark are somewhat bungling, overbearing adults who manage to become threatening during the course of the novel despite their shortcomings. Eight years later, Susan Cooper’s villains are a lot nastier, and the stakes are higher. Merriman returns from the first boo…

Over Sea Under Stone by Susan Cooper

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Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The first novel in the Dark Is Rising sequence, a five book seiries published from 1965 to 1977, is perhaps the story most directed to younger audiences. The principal characters in the story are Simon, Jane, and Barney Drew. Their family is visiting a fishing village in Cornwall called Trewissick where they are meeting their great-uncle Merriman Lyon, renowned for his puzzling behavior and reputation for outlandish explorations. They are lodged at Grey House, and while exploring they find an old drawing, which they later decide is a treasure map. Barney, who is obsessed with Arthurian tales, discovers a relationship between the map and those old legends. Much of the novel deals with the mystery of how the map is solved.

Meanwhile, they also stumble into a war between two opposed powers: the Dark and the Light. The Dark is a widespread network of evil agents who are trying to destroy order in the universe, replacing it with…

Is she coming first even if she is cumming first?

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She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman by Ian Kerner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's been a while since I've read a non-fiction book about sexuality (the last was the excellent Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex), and because it is an area of intense interest where actual breakthroughs are few, I thought I'd give Kerner's book a chance. I'm embarrassed to admit that I believe I'd read it before and forgotten, so take my comments with that in mind.

The overwhelming theme of the book is that a woman's pleasure is the most important aspect of sex, for it rewards both partners. This is not a revolutionary idea in 2015, nor in 2004 when the book was published, but the proportion of informed lovers to bedroom clods seems to change only slowly - much to the detriment of women everywhere. Part of this is our society that teaches about sex in the wrong way and, as Kerner points out, a lot of misconceptions are spread from pornogr…