Book Review: You’re Never Weird on the Internet

First, the disclosure. I kind of love Felicia Day. And by kind of, I mean she’s on my list (which I should absolutely laminate). I’ll admit to not adoring her character on Buffy, but Dr. Horrible? Yes. And then she’s awesome on the internet (as well as weird) and then Supernatural and also Gamer Woman!

So, when I saw she had a book out, I pre-ordered, as you do. I was prepared to be underwhelmed (*cough* Eleanor Roosevelt *cough*), but found myself caught up in it.

And you guys! It turns out we’re the exact same person!

  1. She was a violin prodigy who went to college (despite not having gone to high school) on a full scholarship for said instrument (at age 16). I have a violin and can play a scale as well as “Twinkle, Twinkle.” Sure, that doesn’t sound like much, but I just picked up the violin this week. Is it my fault that my parents were underachievers in pushing the violin? No. I’m sure I’ll be a prodigy in no time.
  2. She is besties with Joss Whedon. One time, I sat Joss Whedon-adjacent in a bar in Santa Monica! (14 Below on Santa Monica Blvd. Holla Dr. Marcy!)
  3. She has been thisclose to James Marsters

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SO HAVE I!

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I obviously enjoyed this ever so much more than Felicia Day. AND I’m vaguely red-headish in this! TWINSIES!

  1. She has acting and writing credits on IMDB! I do…not. BUT, I have published and I was on television once.
  2. She has pretty severe social anxiety and me too! (Wait, that’s not as exciting.)
  3. She has been super close to Nathan Fillion and I have fantasized about that very thing!

Seriously, though – this book was well-written, witty, and made me remember why I need to take care of myself, even if I’m not a fancy pants bigshot Gamer Geek who is forced to go to Comic Con. She was able to mix the weird and the wit and the scary shit all together for a fantastic book full of coffee-cup quotables.

I’m not going to put them all in here, because you need to go read the book, but the one that I pulled out that meant the most during my first read was:

My weirdness turned into my greatest strength in life. It’s why I’m who I am today.

This is what took me until I was approximately 37 to embrace (Ugh – Felicia Day is two entire years younger than me) and is something I struggle with a lot. Embracing the weird is harder than I would’ve thought when I spent so many years trying so very hard to fit in with the disparate groups of people that I desperately wanted to accept me and be friends with me.

I feel like I’m finally at a point where I don’t try to hide my weird, whether that weird is my collection of unicorn shirts, my deep and abiding love of all things Whovian, my insatiable appetite for fantasy and paranormal, or my desire to propose to any and all Excel wizards (mmm…pivot tables).

Even though our stories are vastly, vastly different it was so very relatable (even if Wil Wheaton has never called me…yet).

So buy it. Read it. LOOOOOOVE it.

 

Book Review: Magic Shifts

I have been reading this series for a very long time. A very long time. If it ever ends, I will be devastated. Not so devastated that I will hunt down the authors and lock them in my writers’ dungeon retreat (besides, that’s already occupied by a certain Ms. Hunter), but I will be miffed; irked; annoyed; nettled; vexed; et cetera.

I reviewed the fifth in the series in 2011. (That was so many years ago!) We are now on full-length novel #8.

LINK!

LINK!

I half-listened; half read this book. I can do nothing else but get to the finish line as fast as possible when it comes to Kate and Curran.

It. Was. Brilliant. I keep expecting them to dive off the deep end and get cheesy weird. (Ahem. Riley & Quinn; Cat & Bones; et cetera.) So far, we’ve been lucky. I love the tension (sexual and otherwise) between Kate and Curran. I love the weird relationship between Kate and her dad. I love how the supporting characters (George!) don’t let their ‘rents pull asshole shit. I love how Kate is raising Julie. But mostly, I love how Kate and Curran are both strong and don’t take shit from each other.

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Things I didn’t like: Lack o’ Derek and Andrea (I know Andrea’s gestating, but she’s a motherfucking werehyena – don’t tell me she couldn’t kick ass). I need more Jim and Dali. I adore Saiman and need a hell of a lot more of him. I think he’s lonely.

A girl can dream – and Saiman and Loki are related

The story was a good one. It built on the existing mythology of Kate and her tower-obsessed daddy, mentioned her arch-nemesis Hugh (I need an arch-nemesis), and it also had newish characters come to the forefront (George and Eduardo) and explored a complementary but new mythology.

I don’t want to spoil things. My PSM hasn’t finished it yet, and I’m doing my best not to harass her too much. (LIES! I’ve basically told her that sleep is not an option until she’s at least finished chapter 14.)

 

As soon as I got to the part where the big bad was identified, I knew what I needed to drink with this.

It’s not whiskey.

 

Introducing the Djinn and Djuice

I went with gin for the obvious verbal pun (also because a couple of weeks ago, Cat tweeted “more gin less djinn” and that’s my new life motto) and the juice is pomegranate because of its origination in the Middle East. If you can find it, go with Persian Lime juice.

Ingredients

  • 1 part Persian lime juice (or any old lime juice if your grocery store isn’t fancy)
  • 3 parts gin (I used Tanquerey, which is an excellent mixing gin)
  • 6 parts 100% pomegranate juice
  • pomegranate seeds

 

Instructions

Combine gin, pom juice & lime juice in a shaker full of ice. Rub three times (or shake, if you’re that kind of girl).

Strain into martini glass. Add pom seeds. (I can’t rim my drinks. I leave all the rimming for Cat. She’s the true expert.)

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Drink. Enjoy. Thank me later. (So good.)

 

Getting It Done

2015 has been kind of a banner year for me.

I’ve crossed (or will cross) five whole things off my life list (and it’s only August!)

20. Learn to fence – I started fencing lessons last week and it is my favorite thing ever (except at the end of each class when I worry that my hand will never recover and I won’t be able to grip anything ever again). I am going to buy my own sword (I need a tiny, child-sized one because I have small hands.)

This is why I'm not a concert pianist; not enough reach.

I don’t actually smell like cabbage. I hope.

 

30. Receive money for writing. It wasn’t a lot of money, but it was actual money.

Fighting Dragons, published 4/13/15

41. Stay in the penthouse suite of a luxury hotel – On May 29 (i.e. the architect’s birthday), I booked us a penthouse suite at the Benson. It was super fun. We got dressed up and drank champagne and then had the concierge make us reservations for dinner. Then we raided the mini bar, because why not?

the birthday boy the champagne the giver of penthouses the view

44. Take dance lessons. I signed up with my friend Jamie to do a 10 week beginning ballet class. And we did it! (Well, I did nine weeks and would’ve done only two weeks if Jamie hadn’t been in the class, too. The ballet was followed by wine, and I still wouldn’t have motivated myself to go after the first couple classes.)

Yes, I wore chainmail tights to ballet. I am that level of badass.

Yes, I wore chainmail tights to ballet. I am that level of badass.

50. Wear a bikini in public – I don’t know if my back yard is public per se, but I’m not hiding back there and plenty of people have seen me in said bikini. Plus I instagrammed that shit and shared with the world, so it is out there!

the bikini

52. Travel (alone) for fun somewhere I’ve never been before. – I’m going to New Orleans w/o my family in September. I’m not going alone alone; I’m meeting a friend there, but it almost counts, I think. (This will also help me check another state off my list – I’ve never been to Louisiana!)

Soon, I will have my own pictures. CANNOT wait.

 

So – a great year, you might say. Productive! Trying new things! There is only one thing missing. (Well, a lot of things, obviously, but one can’t get through an entire life list in a year.)

28. Publish a novel. In fact, I’m not even close because I am not actually doing much editing. Mostly due to extreme fear. Like I can’t even get it edited enough to send to my PSM who will probably not laugh at me and mock me, even if it does suck.

This is what my PSM looks like in my head. Total fucking badass.

She addressed this a bit today on her blog (and I just picked up the profanity-laced self help book she recommended). And then I made her pinky swear with me that we would exchange books on October 1, so help us Kvasir and Brigid.

 

Goddess of inspiration, battle, and the forge

God of creativity and mead; and fancy headgear, apparently

 

 

Lunaediesodekatriaphobia

Not nearly as widely feared as Friday of the same date, although I’m not sure why. The dreaded Monday combined with triskaidekaphobia should make Monday the 13th a day to stay home and hide under your bed.

Since it’s not a thing (can we make it a thing?), I came to work anyway. Today is my second Monday at my new job. Surprisingly, I have managed to get through almost seven entire business days with only one tiny urge to stab.

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I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m only doing one job now or the new medication I’m on, but I’ve not had a single panic attack in 13 (there’s that number again!) days.

The one thing the new medication is doing that is bad is that it is preventing me from my favorite stress management pastime.

dash of gin

Of course, since my new medication is anti-anxiety medication, I shouldn’t need to relax via gin. Gin tastes better than pills, though.

Instead, I am yoga-ing. I’ve done more yoga in the past 13 days than in the first six months of the year. Maybe Bianca the Yoga Butt has a chance of showing up in time for Festivus after all!

I’ve also managed to spend hours and hours working on the landscaping and the project that I started last fall might actually be done by the end of the summer! (I just need to buy some rocks.)

(This image is 100% for my PSM because I’m hoping she’ll snort tea out of her nose.)

The rest of my time being spent suppressing my urge to sell my child. Whose idea was three anyway? He is currently refusing to answer to anything but Captain Barnacles (FYI, I’m Kwazii, a brash, one-eyed pirate cat; and the architect is Tweak, who either smokes a lot of meth or is the ship’s mechanic. Based on the speed with which she invents new stuff, maybe a bit of both.)

Based on the number of children who are not sold to carnies in before their fourth birthdays, I can only assume that this, too, shall pass. But I swear to Freya if he doesn’t shape up soon, I’m running away from home.

I go to work and deal with adults who may or may not be ass-candles. These adults have full frontal lobe development and should understand consequences of bad behavior and still behave badly. All that, and I can keep my temper.

Ten minutes alone with a miniature human with very little real empathy, a desire to push every boundary, limited knowledge of passage of time and consequences and I’m ready to take him over my knee. How does the tiny one push every button I have?

 

I am holding on to the hope that Captain Barnacles will soon regain his agreeable personality and I’ll be able to remove the old priest and the young priest from my speed dial.

In the meantime, I’m spending the rest of the day hiding in my bed.

Book Review- Elizabeth Hunter’s “The Scarlet Deep”

Before I get deep (heh) into the sandwich metaphor-free review of Ms. Hunter’s latest Elemental World Novel, I need to do a little disclosure.

  1. I received an advanced copy of this book a couple of weeks ago for the express purpose of reviewing it on my blog (and elsewhere)
  2. Elizabeth drinks gin and is awesome and nice and funny and I am totally planning on colluding with my PSM to kidnap her so she can take up residence in the (fully stocked with Hendricks) writer’s dungeon drinking a martini with her someday and not giggling like an idiot.

I love the writing style of Elizabeth Hunter. I don’t remember why I picked up my first book of hers (The Scribe), but I know who influenced me (Cat). After devouring the first two Irin Chronicles, I wolfed down (heh) the first two Cambio Springs novels (mmm…Alex) and then plunged into the much larger (in terms of time commitment) Elemental World.

I am feeling fairly confident at this point that I’ve read everything Elizabeth’s published. I have enjoyed everything I’ve read. This is not insignificant. There are other favorite authors who have published things I just can’t quite get into.
I do have favorites, though. I’ll not rank them, but I will admit that anything that involves an appearance from a certain Hawaiian-shirted vampire is going to always come out on top.

Not that one, but I suddenly feel compelled to write some cross-over erotic fan fic.

Synopsis:
On the waves of the North Atlantic, a poison spreads, sapping the life from humans and striking madness into immortals.

Patrick Murphy, the immortal leader of Dublin, has been trying to stem the tide of Elixir washing into his territory, but nothing seems to stop the vampire drug. While others in the immortal world work to cure the creeping insanity that Elixir threatens, Murphy has been invited to London to join a summit of leaders hoping to discover who is shipping the drug. If Murphy and his allies can cut off the supply, they might be able to halt the spread long enough for a treatment to be found for the humans and vampires infected.

Anne O’Dea, Murphy’s former lover, retreated from public life over one hundred years ago to help immortals in need… and to heal her own broken heart. Though powerful connections keep her insulated from the violence of vampire politics, even Anne is starting to feel the effects of Elixir on her isolated world. The human blood supply has been tainted, and with Anne’s unique needs, even those closest to her might be in danger. Not just from infection, but Anne’s escalating bloodlust.

When Anne and Murphy are both called to London, they’re forced to confront a connection as immortal as they are. As they search for a traitor among allies, they must also come to terms with their past. Behind the safe facade of politics, old hungers still burn, even as an ancient power threatens the fate of the Elemental World.

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The Review

Anne & Murphy: I really liked them and the dynamic they had. It’s refreshing to read about immortals who are BOTH old instead of the old and wise vamp with the freshly turned human (which is fine, but I always wonder why no one can find anyone their own age).  I thought their chemistry was well developed and it was easy to believe they had a long, simmering history even though we missed the early days.

saucy!

“If I tell you that most of the rumors are likely true and that he was impressively adventurous for a man of his time, would you stop feeling guilty?”

 


Patrick: “I do miss the bite of your tongue, Dr. O’Dea. Miss a lot about your tongue, in fact.”

There’s something powerful that appeals to the romantic in me about an immortal connection that has survived harsh words and a century apart only to burn even hotter when the spark is re-ignited.

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Ms. Hunter’s world building is amazing and every time I read something of hers I have no doubt that this is how it really is. There are powerful vampires controlling the major cities of the world, manipulating them, each other, and us humans in an intricate dance that is equal parts protective and exploitative. I half expect to stumble across the leader of Portland when I’m lost after dark (and would like to inquire as to where I might stumble across him and if he’s a wee bit nicer than the erstwhile leaders of Rome and southern France).


Murphy and Anne were brilliantly written. I felt their pain at their long separation; a pain that flared tempers and made a reunion both harder (a long grudge is harder to give up) and more desirable (who doesn’t want the other half of their soul back?).

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“I tried to forget you, Anne. Not because I didn’t love you, but because I loved you so damn much. It didn’t matter. None of it mattered.”

But Ms. Hunter writes more than romance – she writes mystery and this was a well-crafted one. Even when the identification of the big bad (to use the parlance of my second favorite vampire hunter) seemed iron-clad, I was still unsure if I was being led down the garden path by a red herring (if I can’t have sandwich metaphors, I’m going to throw everything else into a blender to see what pops out). My hesitation to believe in the seeming inevitability of the bad-guy unmasking (“I would’ve gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids vampires!”) was partially due to the fear that Elizabeth was going to hurt my feels even more and partially due to my stubborn refusal to believe she really wanted to hurt my feels this much.

I’m not delving into spoiler territory, but I will tell you that I said angry words about the author in question. Also a tissue or two at the end might not go amiss if you’re the type to cry when fictional characters you like have bad things happen.

In Summary
GAH! BUY IT! Read it now! I mean, I received it as an ARC, but I totally just bought it too because why not?