Top Ten Books/Movies To Read/Watch To Get In The Halloween Spirit

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 2

This week's Top Ten Tuesday (a meme by The Broke and The Bookish) is pulling double duty by including my picks for scary books/movies/TV for Horror October.  

Books/Movies/TV To Get In The Halloween Spirit 


I don't read much straight up horror, but I do tend to read post apocalyptic / disaster books at times and have a few I'd recommend for anyone looking for something scary this week: 

1. Justin Cronin's The Passage: This book had me so engrossed/terrified on my first read that at one unfortunate point my poor cat Sophie jumped up next to me in bed, and I scared us both by jumping out of bed and screaming (because that'd keep the creepy vampires away, right?). The next in the series (The Twelve) is just as good, but I am still trying to get over the fact that they moved the publication date for the final book in the trilogy to 2015. 

2. M. R. Carey's Girl with All the Gifts: My full review can be found here. I think this different take on a post-apocalyptic world could be perfect for Halloween. 

3. Max Brook's World War Z: If you haven't seen the abomination that is the movie by the same name, don't. But read this book. WWZ contains interview-type stories from survivors of the world's zombie war, and is really fantastically poignant at times (so, not all scares). 

4. Stephen King & Peter Straub's The Talisman: I read this novel earlier in the year as it has tie-ins to the Dark Tower, but it is definitely something that can be read alone. It follows a cross country (and cross dimension) journey of a boy, Jack, for a mysterious item to help heal his mom. Jack's journey was depressing and distressing and horrifying at times, but I found the ending really superb, and this time of year would be perfect for reading it. The sequel (Black House) is on my to-read list. 

5. Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects: I think that Flynn's great talent is crafting thrillers with disturbing but well crafted female characters who are not the victims. I actually liked Sharp Objects one more so than Gone Girl, but either is a good choice for creep factor.


Maybe it is because I am just so easy to scare, but I am not much on the horror / gore movie thing. Unless it is funny/wittty, and then sure! Here are my picks for scary movies:

6. The Cabin in the Woods: You think you know what is going to happen in this movie, but you don't. I'm planning on watching this one again this week while getting ready for Halloween. 

7. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil: Hillbillies and chainsaws and college kids... in not your usual combination for horror. Lots of gore, but hilarity. 

8. Shaun of the Dead: This was my introduction to Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and probably the one zombie movie I can actually watch more than once. 

TV Episodes

I watch old shows. By that I mean I'm very rarely caught up with the latest season of anything, but I do usually catch up at the end (if I haven't been spoiled by everyone else). I've watched some of the Walking Dead and American Horror Story (and you guessed it -- both gave me nightmares), but here are some scary selections from a few of my favorite shows that you might not immediately attribute with horror. 

9. Doctor Who: S1 Ep 9 The Empty Child. S3  Ep 10 Blink. S4 Ep 8/9 Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead. S4 Ep 10 Midnight
I love Doctor Who for all it's goof, but these are a few of my favorite scary episodes. If you have time for only one, watch Blink. And then try and not notice all the angel statues everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

10. Supernatural: S1 Ep 5 Bloody Mary. S3 Ep 2 The Kids Are Alright. S4 Ep 11 Family Remains
I am such a wimp that I spent much of the first season watching this show with a pillow in my lap to hide behind at moments. These three episodes scared me more than most. 

Have any favorite books, movies, or tv shows that you recommend for Halloween scares? Leave them in the comments below!

Sunday Short: Lavie Tidhar's Selfies

Sunday, October 26, 2014 0

With Halloween coming up and as part of Oh The Book's Horror October, I am highlighting an awesome scary Sunday Short this week - Selfies by Lavie Tidhar, published in 

From, Illustration by Greg Ruth
In this short, we read snippets of life captured in selfies by a teenage girl (Ellie) found dead in her neighborhood playground. We learn that Ellie bought a used cell phone from a weird shop in the mall, and she almost immediately starts to experience weird stuff, like the reflection of herself in the mirror smiling back when she isn't.

I loved the blending of modern tech with the mythos of camera obscura / ikiryo. If you want something scary (but not too scary) and quick to read for Halloween, I recommend this short. (And if you want to think twice the next time you get ready to take that selfie, this is probably also a story for you.) It had a cinematic quality, to me; as some of the comments pointed out on the story page -- this could make a great scary movie.

Rating: 4/5

Favorite line: 
#73 Dinner with Mum and Dad and Noah. We’re all smiling. Noah has his arm around me and he’s grinning stupidly into the camera and so am I. I’m feeling like there’s a fire inside me, burning from the inside out, like light falling on a negative, and it’s reaching everywhere, it’s touching everything with light.
Starting next week and for the whole month of November, I am going to be highlighting recent Sci-Fi short stories for Sci-Fi November, starting with Seanan McGuire's Each to Each. Have a favorite sci-fi story published recently online? Leave it in the comments below!

Change of plans

Thursday, October 23, 2014 0
More review posts coming soon, I promise! My family has been struck with sickness this week, and work has been busier than ever... so my blogging (and more sadly, my reading) plans have been tossed out the window.

In the meantime, look for another Sunday Short (scary style for Horror October) this weekend!

Now, back to reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I Want To Start Reading

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 0

Welcome to another post for the weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week, they post a new Top Ten list, and then bloggers respond with their answers. Without further ado, this week's list (in no particular order)! 

Series I Want to Start Reading

Science Fiction and Fantasy are genres full of awesome series. Awesome long, epic series. I have a special love for series; they give you the time to really get to know a set of characters and world better. There are so many great series coming out this year and next, but since I have an epic to-read list, this week I am listing out already-out series I want to delve into sometime in the next year.

My fantasy picks:

1. Jim Butcher's Dresden Files: I am hoping to tackle this series at the beginning of next year. As in, I already have books 1-6 on my Kindle, waiting. (What? Nobody else watches the Amazon daily deal every single day for books on sale?)
2. Diana Gabaldon's Outlander: Multiple people have recommended the TV show to me, but I am planning on reading the books (or at least first book) first. But time-traveling and men in kilts? Who is not going to love a story like that?
3. Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive: My husband has read both of the first two books in this series, and keeps telling me that I must. I do like Sanderson's impressive world-building, so I am looking forward to getting into this saga at some point.
4. Catherynne M. Valente's Fairyland series: I haven't read anything by Valente, but I am hoping to change that soon. An Alice in Wonderland-like story seems like a great deal of fun to me!
5. N.K. Jemisin's Dreamblood series: I loved Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy series (non-traditional fantasy for the win!), so I am looking forward to delving into the series sometime soon.

My science-fiction picks (three of which I am hoping to start next month for Sci-Fi November, ambitious me!)

6. Lois McMaster Bujold's The Vorkosigan Saga - I loved Bujold's fantasy / romance series, and I am looking forward to this award winning / beloved sci-fi space opera.
7 + 8. Ian Bank's Culture Series + Dan Simmon's Hyperion Cantos:  For a sci-fi fan, my reading history with space opera is pretty sparse. I am hoping to get into these two sci-fi epics soon. Very soon. (Next month, soon.)
9. Daniel H. Wilson's Robopocalypse: I saw Wilson speak at a panel at Comic Con and put his series on my to-read list afterwards. I have a thing for post-apolocalyptic worlds, and I'm looking forward to a fresh robot-fueled take.
10. Mira Grant's Newsflesh: Did I mention that I have a thing for post-apocalyptic worlds? :) I don't know why I haven't read this series yet, multiple people have recommended it, but I plan to start it soon. 

Sunday Short: Ruthanna Emrys' The Litany of Earth

Sunday, October 19, 2014 2
This week's Sunday Short is Ruthanna Emrys' novella - The Litany of Earth, published in 

Art by Allen Williams, published via
The protagonist of Litany of Earth is Aphra Marsh, a woman from Innsmouth. Out of fear of her religion and magic, Marsh (with the rest of her family and town) are kidnapped, imprisoned, and tortured by the government. We meet Aphra as she is living in San Francisco and working in a bookstore. At this bookstore, she is approached by a government agent asking for help in investigating a neo-Aeonism cult that may be harming others. 

The story drifts between moving scenes of Aphra explaining her religion and magic to Charlie (her boss), remembering her childhood, and interacting with members of the cult. In my opinion, Emrys crafts a story here that delves into Lovecraftian mythos while also calling out the racism intrinsic in the original works. There is no horror (as Lovecraft is known for), but an intrinsic sense of wonder and bewilderment of the greater unknown in our existence.

It is a complicated but beautiful story, and I for one am hoping that there may be more Aphra Marsh in the future. 

Some favorite lines of mine: 
"The power that can be found in magic is less than what you get from a gun, or a badge, or a bomb.. What magic is for is understanding. Knowledge. And it won’t work until you know how little that gets you.

"What our religion tells us is that the gods created life to try and make meaning. It’s ultimately hopeless, and even gods die, but the effort is real. Will always have been real, even when everything is over and no one remembers."
Rating: 4.5/5 

Next week, the Sunday Short will be a modern spooky story from - Lavie Tidhar's Selfies. Read and then try to take a selfie. I dare you! 

Soundtrack Saturday: Jake

Saturday, October 18, 2014 0

And here we are -- the last of the Soundtrack Saturdays, as originally created by The Hardcover Lover. You can catch my playlists for the other main characters of Stephen King's Dark Tower series - Roland, Eddie, and Susannah - in my previous installments.

This week, I'll also post my review on the final installment in the series - The Dark Tower. And then I'll probably just continue thinking about this series. Because it is so good. Luckily there are still graphic novels to read and movies/tv show rumors to hope for.

This week, my playlist is devoted to Jake Chambers, the boy who lived (after dying seriously too many times). So relax, and press play to listen along to the playlist I compiled.

1. Pinback  - Good to Sea: Jake of The Gunsinger is so fraking accepting. The lines 'Go then, there are other worlds than these' rival the opening lines. Children can accept so much, and it breaks your heart.

It seems to me to be a sign / I don't believe in such and yet
It seems to me to keep one eye on the situation's best.

2. The Black Keys - Fever: This song reminded me of Jake going crazy in The Wastelands. The desperation to get back.

Fever 'cause I'm breaking / Fever got me aching
Fever, why won't you explain? / Break it down again.

3. Feist - I Feel It All: Having a child gunslinger? It was more than a little creepy at first. And then I knew Jake was going to break my heart.

I'll be the one to hold a gun / I know more than I knew before. 
I didn't rest, I didn't stop / Did we fight, did we talk? 

4. Florence + The Machine - Dog Days Are Over: Listening to this song, I can see Jake running with Oy (Oy! I loved you so!) and Benny through the fields near Calla Bryn Sturgis. He was the kid he was always supposed to be there.

The dog days are over / the dog days are done
The horses are coming / So you better run.

5. Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man: Jake is in many ways the opposite of this song. He is brave and full hearted. When Roland slips and Jake steps in in the final book, I needed a few hours to recover from the hurt. (Damn you Stephen King. I have feels!)

Tremble for yourself, my man
You know that you have seen this all before.

But it was not your fault but mine / And it was your heart on the line
I really f-ed it up this time, Didn't I, my dear?

6. Of Monsters and Men - King and Lionheart: Jake's relationship with Roland, the redemption of it for both characters... it was one of the best parts of the series to me. (Sniffle. Feels.)

Taking over this town, they should worry
But these problems aside I think I taught you well.
That we won't run, and we won't run, and we won't run.

But you're a king and I'm a lion-heart.

7. Mumford & Songs - Sigh No More: I think Jake's take away message was really the unconditional love and respect he showed Roland (because, honestly, I am not sure I could have loved Roland the way he did). I am not sure if Roland fully understood it, at the end, which is definitely a tragedy in itself.

Love that will not betray you, dismay or enslave you
It will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be.

Have you read the Dark Tower series? Do you have any suggestions for songs that reflect Jake or the other characters in the epic? Leave them in the comments below! 

Top Ten Tuesday: Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 0

Welcome to another post for the weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week, they post a new Top Ten list, and then bloggers respond with their answers. Without further ado, this week's list (in no particular order)! 

Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

This week's list was tough for me to compile (and thus, only 5 books long -- apologies!), which is probably the result of reading too many dystopias / apolocalpytic books. Just because I love a book and a world doesn't mean I want to live in it! But worlds I do love include:

1. Pern. As a child, Anne McCaffery's books and world captivated me. The whole premise of being imprinted on an awesome dragon to save the world? Sign me up!

2. Steampunk Victorian London ala Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate. I loved the way Carriger's books melded my favorite parts of steampunk (all the cool inventions!) and urban fantasy and the Victorian age.

3. Hogwarts. Who doesn't want to be a witch or wizard educated at the secret school of wizarding?

4. Eretz. I have only read the first book in Lanini Taylor's trilogy (I know -- bad reader, bad reader!), but I loved the world she created in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone with chimera and seraphim.

5. Ringworld's Earth. Larry Niven created a book with snippets of an interesting future Earth and vast spread of humanity's knowledge of space and neighboring species. I would love to live in a time like this. I wouldn't even mind living on the mysterious Ringworld with uncertain creators or purpose.

Anyone have a favorite world from a book they'd love to visit? Comment below!

I am taking a break on posting this week as I prepare for a family vacation (Maui -- be jealous!), catch up on some bookclub reading, plus prepare some content for Sci-Fi November. As a result, there will not be a post this Thursday like usual, but check back this weekend for another Soundtrack Saturday and Sunday Short! 

Sunday Short: Polenth Blake's Never the Same

Sunday, October 12, 2014 0
This week's short is from Strange Horizon -- Polenth Blake's Never the Same.

Martin Pasco, Strange Horizons
In this story, you get snippets of a building world-wide mystery with a dose sibling rivalry from the perspective of an unnamed psychopath. In fact, he/she is the world's only known psychopath, but it is a world is not our own. A group of scientists is trying to terraform this world unsuccessfully, and the narrator's sister is running for president of the world, while the narrator suspects that their brother is doing nefarious things to jeopardize the world's progress (most of which get blamed on the narrator).

First off, I'll admit that this story was not the easiest for me to get through. I am not entirely sure why, but I think it might have been the combined result of shifting time-frame, no character names, and weird gender conventions -- some of which I realize was probably the result of the unreliable narrator.

I did find the world Blake created here interesting, with the central mystery of why the terraforming wasn't succeeding in addition to the growing sibling tension alluring enough to push through to the finish. The narrator had some great lines about what it truly means to be a psychopath, too.

Overall, I'd recommend this short story to someone who likes mind twisty sci-fi and is willing to put in the effort to read. I was ultmately satisfied with the ending
, but I'll admit it took me reading this story a few times to understand it (and I think that may have been a few too many times).

Rating: 3/5

Favorite line:
...others liked to suggest I wasn't truly human. That made us even. But that wasn't the main point. Everyone is an object, including me. The idea of self is a delusion to keep fear at bay. I don't feel fear, so I don't need the delusion. 
What's important is objects can be unique. They need care and they can be hard to replace. When I care about an object, I'll look after it. When I don't, I'm indifferent to it. People murder because they care too much, not because they don't.

Next Sunday's short will be Ruthanna Emrys' The Litany of Earth, published via I posed the question in the Sword and Laser goodreads group a few weeks ago for everyone's favorite short stories this year, and this one was definitely a favorite of many -- so I am excited to read it! Per "The Litany of Earth is a dark fantasy story inspired by the Lovecraft mythos." What better way to start the Horror October fortnight than Lovecraft, right? I hope you will read along! 

Soundtrack Saturday: Dark Tower's Susannah

Saturday, October 11, 2014 0

This Saturday, I am again participating in Soundtrack Saturday, a meme created by the blogger The Hardcover Lover. Each week, I have been posting the playlist for one character from Stephen King's epic Dark Tower series.

This week's character is Susannah, Odetta, Detta... the woman of many personalities. Honestly, as a reader, it took me awhile to come to terms with her. But by the end, I loved her (even Detta) just as much as Roland, Eddie, Jake, and Oy. We meet Odetta/Detta in Drawing of the Three, and learn that she lost her legs (and some of her sanity) at the hand of another man.

It is Saturday morning, so hit the play button and listen in on songs that remind of Susannah.

Susannah Dean

1. Imagine Dragons - Demons: There are probably better (more profanity filled) songs to describe Detta, but I think by the end of the series I realize she was really just trying to help protect Susannah in the only way she could. Enjoy mahfahs

I wanna hide the truth / I wanna shelter you
But with the beast inside / there's nowhere we can hide

2. The Lumineers - Ho Hey: With each new member, the ka-tet opens up for each member and makes them family. I was unsure how it'd work with Susannah after seeing how well Eddie & Roland work together, but work it did.

So show me family
All the blood that I would bleed

I belong with you, you belong with me...

3. Lorde - Team: The most memorable image of Susannah I have from the series is when she is slinging plates with the Sisters of Oriza. I can see the opening of this song playing while we watch her rise on her knees and kick ass

Wait 'til you're announced / We've not yet lost all our graces
The hounds will stay in chains / Look upon Your Greatness and she'll send the call out.

4.  Mumford & Sons - Awake My Soul: When Susannah realizes that she is still battling an unknown personality (that takes over her body), the fear she feels is palpable. She had thought that was over with Odetta and Detta.  

I struggle to find any truth in your lies
And now my heart stumbles on things I don't know
My weakness I feel I must finally show.

In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die.

5. The Submarines - 1940: To me, this song fits with Susannah & Mia's weird relationship in Song of Susannah.

Somethings wrong when you regret / Things that haven't happened yet.
But it's a glorious day when morning comes / Without the feeling of alarm.

So rise, and shine
Now's the time to be alive
To stay awake with me a while and smile.

6. James Blunt - Bonfire Heart: Susannah is the heart of the ka-tet. I didn't realize it until they were separated, but she is the one to greet them all with 'sugar' and hugs. (Also, I just LOVE this song.)

Your mouth is a revolver / Firing bullets in the sky
Your love is like a soldier / Loyal 'til you die

Days like these lead to / Nights like these lead to
Love like ours.
You light the spark in my bonfire heart.

7. Ellie Goulding - How Long Will I Love You: Guys, I swear I am not going to spoil anything. But this song reminds me of when Something happens in the final book and Susannah has all the feels. (Damn you, Stephen King! All the feels!)

How long will I love you?
As long as stars are above you
And longer, if I can.

Next week, we'll wrap up the ka-tet playlists with Jake Chambers. Have any thoughts on songs that fit Susannah better? Leave them in the comments below! 

Battle of the Books: Weird West

Thursday, October 9, 2014 0

Welcome to another edition of my monthly feature, Battle of the BooksEach month, I will read and review two books that take a spin at a similar topic/subgenre in speculative fiction, be it broad or narrow in scope. There will be two posts a month -- one to introduce the topic and books, and another with my reviews and verdict.

This month's books are both considered Weird Westerns. Also sometimes called flintlock fantasy, books in this subgenre combine a wild western setting with fantasy, horror, or sci-fi.

Why this somewhat obscure subgenre with a horrible history in Hollywood, you ask? If you have been reading my blog, you know that I recently finished Stephen King's Dark Tower series, which has elements of westerns, sci-fi, and fantasy. And that I am still recovering from That Ending. I need a couple good gunslingers in my literary life.


So do yourself a favor, get this song on (I'll wait), and scroll down to catch a glimpse the books in this month's duel. 

For this to be a fair fight, I am going to take books from two well known fantasy authors who each happened to have written a standalone western recently - Joe Abercrombie's Red Country and Brandon Sanderson's Alloy of Law. Both are books also set in the respective author's already established epic fantasy worlds (Abercrombie's First Law & Sanderson's Mistborn). 

Red Country follows Shy South and her stepfather Lamb as they chase after her siblings' kidnappers in the wild Far Country. Everyone on the frontier seems to have a bloody past worth forgetting. I'll admit, I love the jacket blurb, too: They burned her home. They stole her brother and sister. But vengeance is following. Shy South does not seem like the type to be trifled with. 

Set 300 years after the original Mistborn trilogy (of which I'll admit I've only read the first, eep), The Alloy of Law is set in a city on the "verge of modernity", with railroads, electricity, and beginnings of skyscrapers. The story follows Waxillium Ladrian, a man who can use both allomancy and feruchemy, as he returns from the Roughs to assume the head role of a noble house. But is the city really safer than the wild country?

Have you read Red Country, The Alloy of Law or another Weird Western? Have any suggestions for fans of the sub-genre? 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 0

Welcome to another post for the weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week, they post a new Top Ten list, and then bloggers respond with their answers. Without further ado, this week's list (in no particular order)! 

Ten Books for Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels

I think the best stories always end up being about the people rather than the event, which is to say character-driven. - Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.
Ah, the character driven novel. Sometimes you just want to delve deep into the psyche of someone else, am I right? I am a big fan of character driven works and will usually choose them over the more plot driven action novel types. Ten novels I'd recommend from speculative fiction are: 

My fantasy picks: 

1. Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb (my review here): Or pretty much anything else written by Hobb. She has a way with character development -- creating people with real flaws and hang ups and usually making tragic things happen to them. But it is so good that you will forgive her the heartache.
2. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: Rothfuss's first published fantasy was popular for a reason -- he creates unique characters that truly drive the story.
3. A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin: As long as you don't mind your favorite characters dying (seriously, no one is safe), the Song of Ice and Fire series is full of wonderfully interesting characters (and very detailed descriptions of the feasts too -- don't read while on a diet, trust me). 
4. The Gunslinger by Stephen King (my review here): King introduces two iconic figures in this book with the opening lines: The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. The rest of the novel gives you the complicated character that is Roland.
5. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson: This book follows Ursula Todd, who sadly dies before she can draw her first breath. And then again, on that same night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to die in early childhood. And then again... you get the picture. Atkinson crafts a wonderful story (which should probably not be read by new parents, take my word for it) that illustrates much of what happens in Europe in the early 20th century while also creating a deep interesting character in Ursula.

And my science fiction picks:

6. The City & The City by China Meiville: If you want to learn whole new vocabularies, Meiville is your author. In this novel, you follow Inspector tyador Borlu as he investigates a murder. His investigation takes him into the neighboring city which is literally right next to him (but not). It is twisty sci-fi and a police procedural all wrapped into one. 
7. The Dispossessed by Ursula K Le Guin: This novel introduced me to the depth of social and political discussion that sci-fi can have. It starts at Anarres, a utopia where there are no laws, no own possessions, and follows Shevek, a brilliant physicist who believes his theories could unite societies all over the universe.
8. Dawn by Octavia Butler: I finished Butler's Xenogenesis series this summer; I am hoping to get a review out on it sometime next month. Dawn, the first in the series, follows Lilith who wakes up in the custody of the Oankali, a race of aliens that has saved humanity from utter destruction, healed our planet, and are now wanting to repopulate the planet -- for a trade. Lilith is a very interesting character with some very weird choices to make.
9. Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan: This novel follows Takeshi Kovacs as he investigates a murder in a society where consciousness can be now downloaded into a new body. Part ruthless killer, part man of principle, Kovacs is definitely an interesting character, but this book does have some coarse language and adult content -- so beware for that.
10. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie: Will I ever stop recommending this book? Probably not. Breq has to be one of the most interesting characters developed in a sci-fi novel that I have read in a long long time. If you haven't read this one, please do yourself a favor and read it! Read it!

Sunday Short: Sarah Pinsker's No Lonely Seafarer

Sunday, October 5, 2014 0
This week's Sunday Short is Sarah Pinsker's No Lonely Seafarer, published in Lightspeed magazine.

This short takes place in a town by the sea called Dog's Bay, where all sailors have been grounded and tensions are running high. A group of sirens have taken up residence at the headland of the bay, and no sailors have been able to pass or leave the town.

Our young protagonist, Alex, is approached and asked for help by the captain of a boat who has a new plan to pass the sirens by. Alex is 13 years old and intersexed. All previous attempts to pass the sirens have failed (grown men and women have thrown themselves into the sea upon hearing the sirens). What will happen when Alex faces the sirens?

The story's narration was clear and straightforward, and I enjoyed Alex's viewpoint on the overall problem the town faced. The dynamics of a non-traditional character in the small town were also interesting, and I love diversity of viewpoints in my fantasy. Overall, No Lonely Seafarer was a solid short story that captivated me for the time that I was reading it, but it probably wont be one I think about much again.

Favorite line:
Their two voices? I lived that story every day. They sang that no life could be hid from their dreaming, so I offered mine as proof. I thought maybe they had never heard a creature such as I was...
Rating: 4/5

Next week's short will be Polenth Blake's Never the Same, published in Strange Horizon. Any thoughts on this week's short or future short stories you'd like to see featured? Please them in the comments below!

Soundtrack Saturday: Dark Tower's Eddie

Saturday, October 4, 2014 2

This Saturday & for the month of October, I am participating in Soundtrack Saturday, a meme created by the blogger The Hardcover Lover (with a few changes). I started last week, with a soundtrack devote to Roland. As noted last week, I am creating character-specific playlists from my most recent (and still ongoing) obsession, the Dark Tower.

This week, I am featuring a playlist for Eddie Dean. When we first meet Eddie in Drawing of the Three, he is 20-something heroin addict with an attachment to his older brother (and also addict) Henry.

I love Eddie mostly for his wise cracks / humor and you-got-to-be-kidding-me attitude toward Roland for much of the series. He grows to understand the strange things Roland spouts (ka, gunslinger instincts), but I appreciate that he serves as a character for us, the reader, to lose our disbelief with.

Once again - I compiled my playlist into Spotify -- so hit play to listen along!

Eddie Dean

1. Priory - Weekend: Eddie had unhealthy family relationships. The subplot early in the series of Eddie working through those toxic relationships was one of my favorite.

Tonight I might just lose my way / But I'll never get down hearted
Good friends keep enemies at bay / Forget that I was ever your whipping boy

2.  Fitz and The Tantrums - Out of My League: I loved that Eddie just refused to believe Roland. Because I am pretty sure I would do the same. (I am not sure I'd have Eddie's guts to have a gunfight naked, though.) 

All the things I believe / You were just the right kind
Yeah, you are more than just a dream

3. Passenger - Let Her Go: Eddie misses our world, even when it was crappy to him in so many ways. I get it, and I wish more characters that get sent into weird challenging situations missed home a little more. Our world does rock, I mean, we have astin!

Only know you've been high when you're feeling low
Only hate the road when you're missin' home

Maybe one day you'll understand why / Everything you touch surely dies.

4. Florence + The Machine - Cosmic Love: When Susannah goes missing, Eddie almost loses it. (Well, all the characters almost lose it.) His devotion to Susannah really came through for me then.

I took the stars from our eyes, and then I made a map
And knew that somehow I could find my way back.
Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too
So I stayed in the darkness with you. 

5. Mumford & Sons - Feel the Tide: For me one of my vivid scenes involving Eddie was when the ka-tet were all reunited after spending most of a book in two separate groups. When Eddie and Susannah reunited -- so good. (Damn you, Stephen King. I've got feels again.) 

But you and I now / We can be alright
Just hold on to what we know is true

6. Panama Wedding - All of The People: When Eddie and the others realize they are characters and the whole third wall is blown? Are we all just character's in some other world's book, at the whim of someone else's storytelling? Whoa, right?

All of the people / all of the people take
take it away / you know maybe you just made me believe.

7. J Roddy Walston And The Business - Take It As It Comes: Eddie dismisses Roland early on as crazy (and his concepts as ka-ka). But eventually, he accepts that he is a gunslinger and has an important unreplaceable role in the ka-tet. 

You gotta take it as it comes
You gotta make your final run. 
Well, I got no place to go. 
I got no other life I know. 
I put the bullet in the gun. 
You gotta take it as it comes.

Do you have any songs for Eddie? Have you started the Dark Tower series yet? (No? Why not?!? ;) ) Next week, I'll post a playlist for Susannah.

Robin Hobb's Fool's Assassin

Thursday, October 2, 2014 2
Disclaimer: I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This book made me realize I need to read a lot more Hobb. Like everything she has ever written. If you haven't read her Farseer Trilogy yet, please do yourself a favor and read it next. And then everything else. Believe me, it is such good fantasy!

Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb

In Fool's Assassin, we are re-introduced to Fitz, also known as FitzChivalry Farseer - bastard of the Farseer line and royal assassin. Fitz is living out middle-age under the assumed name Tom Badgerlock with his beloved Molly as holder for the manor house at Withywoods.

Robin Hobb has a way with beautiful prose and wonderful character development. Some may find an issue with the plot pacing, as it is slower than a lot of fantasy written these days, but I found it perfect. Know that you are in for a deliciously leisurely paced read, and you will be rewarded. 

Hobb's depictment of Fitz and Molly's middle age relationship was something special. We see a couple that respects one another, occasionally fights with one another, and ultimately loves one another in both word and action. Truthfully, I think there are not enough stories of character's in their happy ever-afters of relationships. 

I also enjoyed Hobb's depiction of Fitz in new parenthood. As a relatively new parent myself, you are quick to realize that you can never be perfect. And if you think you are doing everything right... you are probably doing something very wrong. :) I appreciated that Fitz isn't perfect, and, like any new parent, he is constantly having to adapt to new challenges as his child grows. Bee's perspective, as alien and strange as it was at times, quickly became something I looked forward to within the story.

Overall, my only complaint (and one I expressed quite loudly to my husband a few nights ago upon finishing the book), is that this book ends on such a cliffhanger. It was so good (with so many things happening all at once), and then it was done. I don't want to wait for what happens next. But I will. Because I know it will be good.

Rating: 4.5/5

Favorite lines (there are so many, it was hard to choose just a few!!!): 
Time is an unkind teacher, delivering lessons that we learn far too late for them to be useful. Years after I could have benefited from them, the insights come to me. 
As dye soaks fibres, drawn into them to change their colour forever, so does a memory, stinging or sweet, change the fibre of a man’s character.
There are endings. There are beginnings. Sometimes they coincide, with the ending of one thing marking the beginning of another. But sometimes there is simply a long space after an ending, a time when it seems everything has ended and nothing else can ever begin. 
How often does a man know, without question, that he has done well? I do not think it happens often in anyone's life, and it becomes even rarer once one has a child. 
Have you read Fool's Assassin? Any thoughts on how to survive a year without know what happens next? Leave them in the comments below!  
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