Thursday, February 27, 2014

What do you know about dragons? Here's your dragon sorta-quiz!

Jacquie Rogers and I are presenting our Dragons Along the Silk Road and Beyond workshop again, this time to the Futuristic Fantasy & Paranormal online chapter of RWA! It's currently scheduled for March 3 to 16. If you're interested in the sorta-quiz, check it out here:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book log 5

Storm of Swords, book 3, George RR Martin (Game of Thrones, Song of Ice and Fire): Binge viewing and binge reading have a lot in common, but in my case, if I'm binge viewing, say, Homeland, I can doze off and when I wake up, I have the option of a) asking my husband what happened, or b) go back to where I fell asleep. And if I wasn't particularly tired, consider if I want to consider the binge viewing, because maybe I've lost interest (or maybe it's time to actually do something else). If I'm binge reading, the latter is not an option. When I binge read the Dune series, many years ago, I managed to read the entire series up to that point in a long weekend, and discovered that was a REAL mistake, because I overdosed on Dune things. I wanted everyone and everything in that series to die a terrible death. I have never gone back to read another one of those books. It's been decades, and the idea of doing so makes me shudder.

In this latest Westeros installment -- binge reading is definitely a somewhat more solitary endeavor -- the story becomes ever more complex, we see more terrible deaths (logical ones, as opposed to my reaction to reading too much Dune), and we finally see the Lannister brothers together. Sad, so sad. I've referred to the books and their interweaving stories as a soap opera, and while using that characterization may be less than favorable for some people, for me it's a positive one. The characters and what happens to them are real enough (for their time and place) that a horrifying event is truly horrifying, a bittersweet meet evokes a sad smile, and when someone dies, you find yourself wondering about what will happen because of it. So SoS worked just fine for me. But it's going to be a while before I can pick the next volume in the series, and that's a good thing, because truly, I have to digest what I just read. Also, I need a break from Westeros.

Reunited in Danger, Joya Fields: I hadn't read a romantic suspense novel in a while, so I picked this one, and I'm glad I did. The story, one of old love, an attack out of nowhere on an old man, an adoption ring gone awry, and human trafficking, kept me interested and entertained. And it was a great way to take a break from Westeros, let me tell you! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Book log 4

Clash of Crows (book 2, Song of Ice and Fire, Game of Thrones)
Continuing the massiveness of George RR Martin's Game of Thrones series, I had a couple of deadlines to take care of, so I ended up reading this book only as end-of-evening reading material. The amount of detail continues to astound me, and the way Martin manages to include enough soap opera-like detail to these books, just in case you get tired of the violence and gore (of which there is plenty). I haven't seen the HBO series except as part of an On-Demand special thing, so part of the first season. Is this series (both book and TV) the reason incest seemed to be a hot topic (so to speak) all of a sudden? Anyway, despite its size, intriguing enough to get me to read it, and look forward to book 3.

Coming up: Storm of Swords, book 3, George RR Martin (Game of Thrones); Reunited in Danger, Joya Fields

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book log 3

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee
Yes, that's the numeral "8." The author chose it herself, apparently, because she didn't have a middle name. 

Interesting book, about Chinese cuisine, and in particular the fortune cookie, around the world and the US. Lee, a former New York Times reporter, got to wander from place to place around the world trying out Chinese and Chinese-influenced cuisine (well, the deal was a little more complicated than that, but that's what it came down to). And actually, the writing did wander, but as Bob Soron said when I commented about that, he didn't mind it in the form of a memoir. But this wasn't a memoir. I'm picky that way! Once I got away from the analytical, though, it was a fun read.

If your supervisor told you to try out Chinese restaurants around the world, looking for the best Chinese food, how fast would you be out of there? Pretty darn fast, I'd say. Lee traversed the world, judging and munching, keeping an eye out in particular for the origin and the translations of the famous General Tso's chicken (not surprisingly, virtually unknown in China itself -- the chicken, that is, not the general, since the dude is a major historical figure there). Despite the actual title, the actual hunt for the fortune cookie origins sort of wandered off. Its true origins are uncertain, but it looks as if the Japanese actually came up with it, though the Chinese made it famous. 

Three things I wanted to eat again after reading this book: General Tso's chicken, fortune cookies, and (believe it or not) chow mein!

Coming up: Clash of Crows, book 2 of George RR Martin's Game of Thrones