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Books for the week of 8/25-9/03

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I read 4 books over the week, it being a holiday and all,  and I want to start out with the one that made the most of an impression, both good and bad.

Yes, I made it that big to show how finger bitingly, mind numbingly horrific this cover art is.  Where to start…well, his hair is brassy, like he used Miss Clairol then went in the pool a lot, he’s wearing LEATHER PANTS, DO YOU SEE THAT?!  His skin has a green cast to it that just screams hepatitis to me, and he seems to be holding something like a barrel or a bag of groceries that was horrible photoshopped out, like this.  It’s pretty obviously to me they also photoshopped some muffin top off those leather pants, but who can blame the model for pouring over a pair of used pants from Melissa Etheridge.  They obviously just posed some model and slapped him in front of a vaguely medieval backdrop, and then were like…”Oh, let’s make it more magical…let’s use a free floral brush and slap some red and green marks on his arm, like he’s being slowly eaten by Christmas tinsel.”  Explains the look of agony on his face, no?

Whew, ok I got THAT out.  So you might wonder, “Wow, Felicia is being pretty brutal here on this book” and I would answer, “Because I’m so mad for the author BECAUSE IT’S REALLY GOOD!”

I passed by this book several times because the cover art is so embarrassing.  I got it only because I was collecting for a trashy fantasy weekend.  The crazy part is I loved the writing so much, and I know that the right audience will not pick it up because of the cover, and that makes me angry because it deserves to be read.

I mean, there isn’t even much romance in this book.   The main characters are both MEN.  One of the main characters is gay, so maybe the marketers thought men would be put off because of that and so marketed only to women, but a girl looking for a story about a hunky guy and an innocent magical girl would be VERY disappointed here.    I liked this book a lot because it was character driven above all, a welcome relief to some of the more plot-heavy books I’ve been reading lately.  I have some issues with things in the book, like how the magic system really works and why some really great secondary characters disappear halfway through the book, but since this is a series, I will forgive that because I can’t wait to get the next one and see how they re-enter the picture.  I appreciated the simplicity of the story and really liked the way the world and the characters were drawn without cliches of the genre jumping out into my face.  There’s a reserve and beauty to the prose which I couldn’t stop reading.  Anyway, I would definitely recommend this as a great first novel of the author, and I will be going to get #2 and #3 today.   Just, turn the cover over at checkout 🙂

I also read the next two books in the Briar King series, the Charnal Prince and the Blood Knight.  Plot heavy is an understatement here, and I found myself definitely skimming through a few character’s chapters to get to other character’s chapters, but I still really like this series because it embraces all the requisites of a big epic like we’d expect, and then throws some twists into the plot that surprise you.  The third book is not NEARLY as good as the first two, and I dunno about this trend of turning the trilogy into a quadrogy or whatever it’s called.  Both these series I’m talking about now are 4 parters, and I’m wondering if that’s not just a creation of the publisher to squeeze out another book, rather than a requirement of the series’ story needs.  The Blood Knight certainly lacks the drive and progression the first two do, but I am eager to read the fourth in the series, out next year, to see how he wraps things up.

I read the Bourne Identity book, just to get out of the genre, and found myself yawning to death.  Seeing the movie definitely ruined reading this book for me, and I dropped it halfway through to play Gameboy.

Last is by Stephanie Meyers.  I saw these books featured at the bookstore and picked one up because they are HUGE bestsellers.  I saw that it was Young Adult, but some of my favorite books are classified as such, so I gave it a try.

Sigh.

If you are 12-18(maybe), you will LOVE this book.  I wanted to smash my head open with it.  High school as a venue in general does not interest me, and this book is about a 17 year old girl who’s “clumsy” and feels like an “outsider” who falls in love with the INCREDIBLY good looking vampiric 17 year old who everyone lusts after.  All I can say is that it gets about as racy as overwhelming passion during a kiss and then “No, no…you’re too delicate.”  ugggggh, just get it on!  I got pretty tired of the vampire guy treating our hero like she had tissue paper for skin, and yet she seemed to LOVE it.    It’s perfectly aimed for its audience, but for adults who like the genre, I would definitely think their patience would be tried as much as mine was.  I wanted way more to happen than shopping for prom dresses and lying to her father.

  • the dood

    Hi Felicia. I recommended Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing a while ago. Seeing your inclination toward fantasy novels, and your dissatisfaction when they turn out to be not very intelligently written, I think you might enjoy Jasper Fford’s Thursday Next books. The first is The Eyre Affair. The books are smart, funny, suspenseful mash-ups of science fiction, fantasy and detective fiction, with a strong female lead and lots of sly and not-so-sly literary references for folks who dig the lit. I’m halfway through the third book in the series, and they are getting better and better.

  • Yes yes, I have the newest one of those on my bedside table, they are so witty and fantastic! It’s a series that makes me want to go read more classics because I know I’m not getting all the “in” references I could. Thanks so much for that suggestion, because everyone should know about it!

  • Paul

    Have you tried any of Jim Butcher’s stuff, Felicia? His Dresden Files series is a fun mix of detective, fantasy and folklore. The Codex Alera series is straight fantasy. Neither are great literature (and DF took a few books to really get going, at least for me), but they’re fun and perfect travel/laziness reading.

  • Joe

    Haha, obviously that cover art is just to put the author’s credit across the model’s butt.

    Ah, we loves the cheese.

  • Frigid

    ::taps fingers patiently awaiting Felicia written fiction::

    Muahahaha

  • first time here, an entertaining blog … but really i want to know…what game did you play instead of reading the rest of the bourne book?

    if you’re wondered i actually did debate a while about going back and capitalizing… a long while.

  • Guy, thanks for contemplating the capitalization. I assure you that you won’t be penalized 🙂 I played a little Brain Game, and after I did really crappy on that, moved to Puzzle Quest. I’m up to level 16 and realizing I should have picked a different class. Only the fighter had a redhead option though. Oh well, live and learn! I want to buy a few more games, so if you have any DS suggestions, throw them at me. And Welcome!

  • And Guy, I’m gonna assume you’re a guy, unless stated otherwise. 😉 I have a very bad track record when it comes to that, as Frigid and Courtney can attest.

  • ah, i’m glad the name is a quick reference for you, i am indeed a guy. i’m also glad you aren’t offended by the sparse use of the shift key … once i was IMing someone and i didn’t capitalize anything in my message …and i was blamed for being a part of the downfall slash death of our society … and i think she also mentioned my frequent and inaccurate use of ellipsis.. . she might have been prone to exaggeration when i think back on it …

    ohh yeah, puzzle quest is amazing! it would be better if the computer wasn’t a blatant dirty cheater … and nothing you can do about it nor is there way to relieve your frustrations … i guess you could try to vent to game … but you are then just a person yelling at a rectangular block of plastic … being judged by people around you…

    hmm, suggestions? that’s stressful. i like to help people out because I’m a DS nut, but i hate to think i could recommend a game someone might not enjoy. but i’ll take on the heavy burden and suggest picross if you haven’t played it, its magically addictive. also, if you know anyone who plays a DS, i’m sure you’ve heard you should play trauma center because … invasive surgery has never been more fun.

    wow, this is really long… i’m sorry. i just have a lot of free time this week. i’ll disappear now, keep up the blog!

  • Courtney

    Reminds me of what happened to a friend of mine when he played a female character on WoW. He got hit on maybe once every few days as he leveled. His typical response is “I have a penis” which usually shuts them up.

    One guy upon hearing that response, said “What? Like in you right now?” A few of us were watching at the time and we just stood in awe at that response.

    My friend retired that character after that.

  • Jeff

    Wow. The cover for Monette’s book is…it just seems too embarrassing to want to read anywhere in public. lol.

    It is a shame if the author’s writing is as good as you say.

  • courtney that’s hilarious! i think the funniest part is that in my mind that guy was really proud he said that… gave someone a high-five…or possibly high-fived himself.

    ahhh, yeah people in WoW are crazy bold when it comes to hitting on female characters, god forbid they hear a woman on vent. which is always super creepy to me because i think every woman i’ve ever heard on ventrillo sounds like she’s 12.

    hmm, should i not have focused on courtney comment? this is no social club! i should keep my focus more felicia-centric … that doesn’t seem to flow, i wanted to write like fel-centric, pronounced like phil …? Actually I’m pretty sure my comments should be about books…

  • LOLOL omg, that’s the best thing I’ve ever heard Courtney. I’m like, laughing so hard right now. I wish I had been there in person.

    Guy, I have Trauma for my Wii and it’s really addictive, but I dunno if I want it for both. I’ll pick up Picross this week, although my gameboy has gone missing in a very anxiety-creating way.

    And don’t worry about posting off-topic or towards other ppl’s comments. Actually this is a social club, LOL. When I have time the next few weeks I’m gonna create forums so we can have real conversations because most of what other people post is more interesting than my blog entries.
    Oh well, I can’t help it if the people who read here are so awesome they need their own forum 😉

  • Dustin

    That’s funny you guys mentioned Wii. I just bought one before my school started….and then 3 days later, canceled my WoW account. I’m finding the Wii so much fun I can’t put the little Wiimote down. I’ll probably go back to WoW one day, but right now school and Wii is most important 😀

  • Is the Wii “that” fantastic? I tried to get one when they first came out … but failed. I had a Wii in my hands a few weeks ago, but decided to get a 360 instead, people give me this “Are you stupid?” look every time I tell them that…

  • Samantha

    I wish I had a Wii. I’m not even a gamer, but I LOVE it. I used to hang out with someone that had one (and this was when they were hard to get… wait, are they still hard to get?), and I loved it. Even the WiiGames are cool; I am such an awesome cow racer.

  • Jeff

    Heh. Guy, Courtney: I was going to make a post in response to Courtney’s comment too, but I stopped short given that I got distracted and thought it would derail too much from the original topic. 😛

    It doesn’t take long to figure out that the general rule in WOW is to assume that everybody’s male (think that’s true 90% of the time…lol). And I try to avoid what seems to be the standard reaction, in say, vent where a female talks on vent and people are like “Who’s that?” in with non-so-subtle curiosity in the gender. I always find that pretty funny.

    Felicia: Forums would be great, though I imagine an extra organizational nightmare to the blog/website/social networking accounts? 😛

  • Jeff, I played EQ for like 5, 6 years and went with your theory, I never assumed anyone was a woman ever, I deny women played EQ. My best friend’s finance’ use to sit right next to me and play. Till this day I still doubt she was actually a woman …

    But WoW is definitely different, a CRAZY amount of woman play this game. I would say there is a good 50/50 chance a female character is female.

    Ah, vent hilarity. There use to be a person in my guild who was like a 14 year boy, he was frequent victim of the “who’s that?” treatment.

  • Ben

    X-mas hand tatoo’s are freakin me out. (Stop the madness!)

  • Edgar

    I have a Wii sitting in my living room… as well as a 360… I too enjoy ellipses too much.

    Anyway, back to my point, so I have these awesome console systems, yet I am on my computer reading the blog while I fish in Silmyr Lake of Terokkar Forest in the Outlands… Fishing’s finally at 310 and rising.

    That’s WoW by the way… Mostly doing it to help the guild (not the Youtube show Felicia’s on). Oh and I’m on vent.

  • Had anyone seen that the guy on the cover have a kind of “Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire” look!?

    Anyway, I don’t know if you can read in french (doubt it, but we never know!), but if you do, I have to send you a book of a local author near here, I’m sure you’d like it… 😉

    Fantasy + Leather things + Vampires + Sexiness of characters… 😉

  • Le Lapin blanc (the white wolf?) I know just enough French to be frustrated when I watch a French subtitled movie, but thanks for the offer. I would love to be fluent in another language, but I recently took a foray into Chinese, just to be impressive really, and 6 months later I can’t say much besides Ni Hao and a few other sentences about food that will never be useful in social situations 🙂 The retention just isn’t there like it is with the romance languages, so I think I’m turning to Spanish.

    It’s funny everyone talks about how few girls there are in WOW, because we had tons in our raid group. And when I played Puzzle Pirates, I swear it was always a majority of women playing that game. I think once hair customization comes in the next expansion…more ladies! It’s all about the hair and clothes! 🙂

  • The White Rabbit! 😉 You know, Alice in Wonderland… 😉 That’s sad for the book, sadly I don’t think it’s being translated, but I might check it out with the author, she knows it best 😉 I’m personnally totally into languages… But dead ones! I’m taking latin courses, I’m planning on Copt (old egyptian written with old greek characters), Italian and probably Irish Gaelic 😉 (Yeah, I’m crazy, I know it).

    And for girl and gaming (and clothes), three words: Final Fantasy X-2 🙂

  • Thad

    Man, Felicia. You can read four books in one week. I am still trying to finish an old Doctor Who Book from Back in the 80’s. I know slow reader here. Well I work three days a week so I try to find time to finish it.

  • Greg

    This is a little off topic, but is anyone here a Calvin & Hobbes fan? I recently bought The Complete Calvin & Hobbes box set, and I have to say it was worth every cent.

  • How much time do u spend reading books? And aren’t there any doctors or psychiatrists concerned about you getting immerse in world of one person’s imagination without being able to even talk to anyone else, no improving of eye-muscle coordination, no strategy or resourses planing, no nothing but plain ol’ reading?

    So from where i sit it looks like you just jumped off one bush with thorns just to land onto another one with thorns but of a different kind only for the satisfaction of someone’s “she is a game addict, she needs to get treated or blah blah blah” paranoa.

    Oh and if you feel like playing WOW again, but not so much as before just to socialize :), come over at “Moon guard” and meet Gozdak, level 39 worrior almost ready to jump into the 40-49 braket and whoop some Alinace (demon and beast as well) arse again. or play against him just to get “Gozdak blows a kiss to Codex”.

    When shall we expect the “episode numero tres”?

  • Oh sh!t there is tress out there. I just wonder how long before it hits the Youtube charts.

  • It might be slow because the 8-9 hours of butt time sitting and alerting blogs and what-not cannot happen until tomorrow because I’m unexpectedly working all day today, ack! Oh well!

  • Jeff

    Guy, Felicia: Is it really something like 50/50? Sure, I think I do think it has a lot more mass appeal than EQ, but it certainly has to be a higher male:female ratio than, say, Puzzle Pirates.

    I know a couple of females that seem to be some variation of wives, girlfriends, and genuine female gamers (my girlfriend is of the genuine female gamer type, heh), but certainly not in the same proportion as the high school guy playing with his friends, college and post-graduate males playing while in school in their 20s, or retired grandfathers. Maybe more like 75/25? 😛

  • Courtney

    Here’s a fascinating study on the breakdown of WoW by classes, with a sample size of about 1,000. Someone did this for their PhD project.

    http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/001367.php
    http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/001367.php?page=2

    If you look at their archives, you’ll find other interesting topics that relates to MMO and not WoW specifically:
    http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/arch_issue.php

    Felicia, since you’re examining gaming issues and relationships, I highly recommend this site. If I had an afternoon free, I might just read all those articles.

  • Peter

    Hey Felicia! i dont know where to post this but i just came across that Guild thing on youtube and i knew i recognized you! from those commercials! i have to say, your a really cute redhead, there are so few gorgeus redheads these days. If you lived by me boy i would love to take you out sometime. no im not some nerdy lookin computer geek, lol. i hardly go on, but i just found your website and had to say something. not that its my buisness, but do you you have a boyfriend? just curious. Anyway, good luck with your career, i hope you become very famous one day. I know you probably wont answer my post, but if you ever want to see a picture of me, just email me at bownish33@yahoo.com wow i must sound like a creep, lol, but i had to say something to you!

  • Peter, thanks for stopping by! I do have a boyfriend, but thanks for the offer 🙂

    And Courtney, I just saw your links to that site, really cool stuff! I should post that on the forums for more in depth discussion.

  • “A lush novel, where bad tattoos run rampant, and decadent magic tears the shirts from men with long flowing hair in leather pants.”

    🙂

  • Oh, while I was making fun of that cover I forgot to post what I came here to post. I don’t know if you have time to listen to podcasts, but there’s a whole bunch of amateur audio fiction at http://www.variantfrequencies.com. I know, its a shameless plug, but I have one on there called Sacrifice. As an avid reader I’d be curious to know what you think. Also, I think you’d really enjoy the Failed Cities Monologues by Matt Wallace.

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