It’s Friday so it must be book review day (occasionally, anyway). Oh, and bead picture day. But more about that later.
Here are the books:
1. “Bedlam’s Edge” – Mercedes Lackey, et al. I used to really like this series when I was younger, but I think I’ve outgrown it. It’s very “teen” reading to me now. I know – I’m older than dirt. Still, I thought it would be interesting to read an anthology set in that universe and see what other writers have made of it. I think if you’re not a fan of the “Bedlam” or “SERRated Edge” series, it’s probably not worth bothering with. If you are a fan, the stories are okay. Not fabulous, but not bad either. There’s an interesting note at the back that gives the history behind the genesis of the series that long-time fans will appreciate.
2. “Light My Fire” – Katie McAlister. Yes, it’s romance and yes, my usual bitching about the over-the-top sex scenes applies. Oh, and also, the heroine is dumb as a box of rocks (of course) and yet there’s so much funny, crazy stuff going on and the dialogue is so snappy and humorous, that I’ve become a big fan of this series. The exchanges between Aisling and her demon-dog, Jim, are worth the purchase price alone.
3. “The Smoke Thief” – Shana Abe. Great background and interesting set up completely ruined by typical romance-genre crap (i.e. the high-handed jerk of a hero to whom the formerly smart, but now completely helpless heroine is hopelessly attracted despite hating, no wait, loving, no wait, hating his guts). Too bad. It had promise.
4. “Blood Bound” – Patricia Briggs. I will read ANYTHING that Briggs writes. She knows how to spin a good yarn and this second installment in the series is a significant improvement over the first book (which was good, don’t get me wrong, but this one is better). I really like the way she’s infused the getting-really-overdone-and-tired urban vampire/werewolf story with the Coyote mythology. She’s perfectly captured the contrariness and inclination to trickery that is the epitome of that particular archetype. Don’t know about Coyote the Trickster? May I suggest Google?
5. “My Big, Fat, Supernatural Wedding” – Edited by P.N. Elrod. I’ve been really disappointed in anthologies lately. Seems like ever since MZB died, no one’s been doing a very good job with them. This book was a terrific exception. For one thing, there isn’t a clunker of a story in the entire bunch and that’s VERY rare. For another, the quality of authors who contributed is much higher than usual. Normally, you might get 1-2 big names and the rest are unknowns (and after you read their stories, you realize WHY they are still unknowns). But this book gives us P.N. Elrod herself, Jim Butcher (yay, a Dresden story to tide me over until “White Knight” comes out), Charlaine Harris, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Rachel Caine, L.A. Banks (whose regular books I think are crap, but they’re very popular and her story in this book is actually quite good). This was definitely a lot of fun to read.
6. “Blood and Iron” – Elizabeth Bear. Get ready to Google again, big time. Because if you don’t have a very thorough knowledge of Celtic mythology, the Arthurian cycle, the Sidhe, the ballad of “Tam Lin” and various other bits of fantastical and arcane knowledge, you are going to be hopelessly lost in this book. Heck, I know all that stuff like the back of my hand and even I was scratching my head at times going “huh?” Some of the dialogue exchanges, in particular, were beyond obscure. On the other hand, I suppose that is to be expected when dealing with the Daoine Sidhe – in fact it’s one of their claims to fame. Despite the confusion, though, this was an excellent book. I loved the kelpie (one of those things you’ll need to Google if you don’t know what it is) and its relationship with Elaine. I thought the werewolves (do they have to be in EVERY single story now?) and the Prometheans seemed extraneous to the story which should have focused more closely on Elaine.
Okay, on to the bead pictures. I hit a local show a couple of weeks ago and picked up some new and unusual trinkets. I got a great deal on these faceted cubic zirconia briolettes:
Look at those colors! Let me assure you they are even prettier in real life. I already have designs planned for them and can’t wait to get the time to sit down and get going on them.
Then, I ran into a fused glass artist that I had last seen at the L.A. Gift Show. My friend Laura and I bought quite a bit of stuff from him and I guess he remembered me because he gave me a super deal on these small pendants and even threw in a freebie – the pretty green/blue/purple square in the center.
By the way, the scan on these sucks. They look very dull and grayed-out. In real life, they are brilliant with color and sparkle.
Then I hit a couple of my favorite metal vendors. Got a mess o’ heart sterling silver heart charms for a design I’ve been planning for a long time. Oh, he had some fleur-de-lis charms, too, so I got some of those for my mom as it’s the symbol of her sorority – Kappa Kappa Gamma. She’s wanted me to make something for her forever and now I have the materials.
Also got these pretty hammered components in both sterling silver and gold. I just got a few to try out, but if they work out the way I hope, I’ll be getting a lot more.
Lastly, here’s a picture of the most unique thing I found at the show (which is saying a lot because I’ve been to so many of them that virtually NOTHING is new any more):
Aren’t these treated copper beads and clasps SO pretty? I especially like the swallows – VERY So Cal.
Everyone have a great weekend. It is supposed to be sunny and warm and in the upper 80’s here all weekend so I am going to the beach. In March. Woohoo!