Archive for May, 2014


Tin Star by Cecil CastellucciThe Science Fiction Writers of America has a successful Reading Series program in the Northwest. Now they’re starting another one here in Southern California. I believe today’s program at Mysterious Galaxy was the first one for this region. The visiting authors were Nalo Hopkinson, Vernor Vinge, and Cecil Castellucci.

Sister Mine by Nalo HopkinsonIt was an interesting program. Cecil Castellucci, a new author to me, read from her newest young adult science fiction novel, Tin Star. Nalo Hopkinson, who just won the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction read an excerpt from Sister Mine, which was published last year. Verner Vinge read a short story he had had published in the journal Nature around 2000 or so. The three voices are very distinctively different and made for fascinating reading and listening. There was a question and answer session, too, then a book signing by all three preeminent authors.

At one point someone asked what they do when they run into writer’s block. A few ideas were tossed out; they all agreed, though, that sometimes it’s best to walk away and do something else. I compare that to realizing an answer while taking a shower. Nalo Hopkinson had the best description I’ve heard for resting your mind like that:

“the brain goes walk about”

Book Review: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Posted May 29, 2014 By Jandy

Jake Eppin11/22/63 by Stephen Kingg is an English teacher at the high school in Lisbon Falls, Maine. It’s the end of the school year when he gets a phone call from the owner of his favorite local burger diner. Al Templeton tells Jake an impossible story. He has a portal in the back of his kitchen where he leaves 2011 and steps into 1958. He has Jake test it. Jake finds himself in Lisbon Falls 53 years earlier than it was a few minutes ago.

When Jake returns to the restaurant Al presents him with an amazing suggestion. Al is dying of lung cancer. He wants Jake to take his place – and save President Kennedy in Dallas in 1963. Jake is floored. Al says the past can be changed. Jake wants to try it on one of his GED students. The man had been injured as a child. Jake wants to stop the person responsible for the injury. After a successful trial, Jake seriously considers Al’s dream.


A Motor-Flight Through France by Edith WhartonA road trip in France – that’s a vacation. Edith Wharton cataloged three of her trips, writing magazine articles about her trip for the Atlantic – over 100 years ago. When I learned about this book I had to read it. My sister and I took a road trip around France last autumn. It was marvelous. I knew Wharton’s trips would be different than ours, but I still wanted to read her adventures. A Motor-Flight Through France is a mixed read.

Wharton’s descriptions were imaginative and insightful. I would look at a cathedral and see a beautiful building. She would look at one and compare the architecture styles, the impact on the village, the view of the approach, the differences in interiors, etc. In the early 20th century (1905 – 1908 or so) there weren’t freeways although there were some major roadways. Wharton and her companions traveled through the countryside and small towns. She appreciated the approaches to the towns versus the view seen from the roadside as they drove in from their different routes.



Otherwise Engaged by Amanda QuickAmity Doncaster is a world traveler in an age where women never travel alone. She is returning to her ship on Caribbean island when a man calls out from an alley. He was mugged and is dying. He asks her to take an envelope back to his uncle in London. Amity promises, then helps Benedict Stanbridge back to the ship. Without any help, he would die. Amity is able to use the medical training her father taught her to stitch him up and nurse him back to help. By the time they reach New York City, he is healed and takes back the envelope. While she returns to London, he takes a cross country trip to California before he returns to London.

When Amity is back, she and her supposed relationship with Benedict are the focus of Society’s gossip. She returns to her sister’s home after one party and is kidnapped by the Bridegroom, a serial killer. He accuses her of being a filthy harlot who lured Benedict then abandoned him. She has a specially designed fan and is able to escape – the only woman who has gotten away from the Bridegroom.


Book Review: Tangle of Need by Nalini Singh

Posted May 22, 2014 By Jandy

Tangle of Need by Nalini SinghParanormal RomanceRomantic SuspenseParanormal RomanceAfter a failed relationship, Adria comes home to live with the SnowDancer changeling clan and her family. She stayed with the less dominant changeling man for years before finally giving up on him. Now she feels like a failure. She needs her family and her pack. She is a strong dominant wolf changeling. She doubts she’ll be able to trust another man to care for her and stay with her.

Riaz returns to California and the pack. He had been in Europe as the SnowDancer representative and ambassador with changeling packs and businesses there. While he was there he found the woman who is his mate. But she is happily married to another man. Riaz returns home to SnowDancer, broken hearted. He knows that his feelings will fade over time but it’s still too new. He can’t consider another relationship yet because it still feels like a betrayal to a woman who has a life with another man.



Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster BujoldAs a clone, Mark Vorkosigan looks like his “brother” Miles. He pretends to be Miles’ alternate identity, Admiral Naismith, to take a troop of mercenaries to Jackson Whole, one of the most corrupt planets in the galaxy. It’s the only planet where cloning is allowed – and where he grew up until he was taken to become a weapon to kill Miles’ (and his) father. Fortunately, he has been released from that vendetta. Now he has to learn who he is. In the meantime, he has decided to release some of the clones. He knows they are only alive long enough to donate their bodies for rich peoples’ brain implants. So Mark boards one of Miles’ Dendarii fleet ships, calls in a troop, and takes off for Jackson Whole.

Things don’t go quite as well as Mark hopes. By the time he is on Jackson Whole, Miles and the rest of the Dendarii troop is right behind them. When Mark’s group comes under fire in the escape, Miles and more troops arrive to help them get out. In the escape, Miles is killed. They quickly prepare his body and put him in a cryochamber. Most of the Denarii troops get out of Jackson Whole with almost all of the clones Mark rescued. Miles’ cryochamber doesn’t, though. It disappeared in all the confusion.



Nature Girl by Carl HiaasenIt’s Florida. It’s satire. It’s Carl Hiassen. Prepare to be offended.

Honey Santana is tired of telemarketers calling her at dinner time. Boyd Shreve gets annoyed and calls her a skank. He gets fired. Honey doesn’t know this and decides to teach him a lesson. Her son Fry watches her warily. When Honey goes off her medicine she becomes a one woman Don Quixote, trying to fix the wrongs of the world. Honey starts acting casually suspicious. He begins to be concerned but knows he can’t tell his mother what to do. If she says she’s fine, he can’t say anything.

It’s Sammy Tigertail’s first day on his job as an airboat pilot near Dismal Key in Florida. A tourist from Wisconsin comes looking for a “real Indian” and wants a tour. While they are out in the swamp the man dies from a heart attack. Since they are on Seminole controlled land, his uncle advises Sammy to take the body off to state property instead. Sammy misunderstands and dumps the body in a swamp off the reservation, anchoring it down so it won’t be found. Then he takes off to hide away in the 10,000 islands in the Everglade swampy area.


Duh! Headlines

Posted May 19, 2014 By Jandy

Article title in a medical journal:

Pain Is Associated with Recurrent Falls in Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Are we supposed to be surprised?

Underrated Fantasy Series

Posted May 15, 2014 By Jandy

A Reddit Member put up a poll for readers’ choice of underrated fantasy novels/series. The list is long. I looked it over, kept lookCurse of the Mistwraith by Janny Wurtsing, and found only a handful of ones that I’ve read. I haven’t heard of about 3/4 of the authors, and even more of the series. Check out the list:

R/Fantasy’s Official Underrated and Underread fantasy results thread!

Of the top five series listed, I’ve read one novel, the first of Janny Wurts War of Light and Dark series, Curse of the Mistwraith. I found it excellent, but never got back to the others in the series.

Check this list out, especially if you like the fantasy genre.

(Part of the reason I added this post was so I could find the link later to try something new, as if I don’t have enough to read…)

San Diego Fires

Posted May 15, 2014 By Jandy

My friends know I live in the San Diego area. Yesterday we had nine fires break out in the county. The one within a few miles of my daughter’s family was put out quickly. Unfortunately, my folks are between two of the large ones. They’re fine, but can’t get out due to road blocks unless they are officially evacuated. Here’s a picture Mom took from their place around 8 PM yesterday:

San Marcos Fire May, 2014


As of now, we’re all safe, but there are many in the area who aren’t. Property damage will be high, but there haven’t been any deaths or injuries that I’ve heard, thank goodness.


The Whole Enchilada by Diane Mott DavidsonI’ve added a new book review for Diane Mott Davidson’s The Whole Enchilada. Enjoy.

There are also neIn the Chameleon's Shadow by Mark Hummelw reviews for T. Jefferson Parker’s The Renegades, Julie Garwood’s The Bride, and Nalini Singh’s Kiss of Snow. Plus I read and reviewed The Xeno Solution by Nelson Erlick – an excellent medical thriller about cloning and genetics.

Molly sent along a review for In the Chameleon’s Shadow by Mark Hummel.