Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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April 2008: Book Reviews

#18


Read this as an audiobook from audible.com. This was a great third book in the Curse of Chalion series. It’s set outside of Chalion, and in a different area of magic (spirit animals and ancient, ancient old-king-sacrifice ritual, rather than demons and saints). I like this series for many reasons, not the least of which is the Bujold embraces older heroes. i love that she gives us middle-aged men and women to identify with and connect to.

#19


The first, I think, of her books. It’s nothing you couldn’t glean from her blog, but it’s packaged together very nicely into a great little volume that, not coincidentally, fits inside a knitting project bag. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee doesn’t write “how to knit” books, but rather books about “how to live, with knitting.” Um… a bit like Erma Bombeck… for knitters. But also for creative people in general.

#20

More “how to live… with knitting.” This one is more general, and less of personal essay. However, it’s really clear that she’s drawing from the same experiences she drew on for Yarn Harlot. I listened to this one on audiobook. Her audiobooks are read by her, and it’s great to hear her almost-laughing when she reads a particularly humorous or self-deprecating story.

#21


A medical officer flying in a solo space ship has adventures as he travels between planets to solve health crises and issues.

I read this on my eBookwise device, having downloaded/converted it from the Baen Books free library. It was…. okay. It was repetitive, though I don’t think it was supposed to be. It was simply that this book is a compilation of short stories published by Leinster over the course of many years, and unfortunately, he repeats little details that he seems to think are necessary to understand his setting.

#22

I’ve been meaning to read this because, despite appearing in every possible regard an Autumn, one of my friends a few years ago took one look at me and told me I should be wearing more blue/fuscia shades, because I was, in fact, a Spring. If you’re wondering, the difference there is between wearing colors that have yellow in them (greens, reds, oranges, browns, teals), vs. colors that have blue in them (blues, greens, purples, fuscia, etc.) After reading Color Me Beautiful, and doing the exercises suggested… I still have no f’ing clue. I look good in brown. I look good in blue and fuscia. And understand, I do not personally obsess over fashion and clothes. But if I’m going to invest $90 of yarn and 80 hours of my knitting time into making a sweater, I’d like for it to look absolutely terrific on me. To muddle matters further, the website for Color Me Beautiful (which is now expanded into products, of course) has a 2-question “what season are you?” quiz that basically asks you what your hair color is, and then tells you what your season is based on that. Which is… hilarious. Because about half the book is dedicated to the fact that your hair color isn’t the only indicator of your season (if it were, 90% of black girls would be Winters, and that’s just not the case).

#23

My grandmother read this and recommended it to me in 2006. I listened to the audiobook. It’s the story of a long, gruelling walk from Siberia to India, to escape a Soviet work camp in 1941. It’s autobiographical. It’s…. fascinating. I found it hard to believe, mainly because the physical challenge would have been well beyond them, and yet it wasn’t. They made it, albeit with some losses on the way.

#24


The unconventional daughter of an unconventional marquess goes to London to snare a husband (one in particular, in fact). Hijinx ensue.

I received this as part of a raffle prize at an RWA chapter meeting earlier this year. It was charming and fun. James blends her Shakespearian background with her novels, which results in a well-researched historical. Also, I love love love the crazy-family in a romance novel, and this one had crazy-family in absolute abundance.

#25

A talking cat and pack of rats infiltrate a town and uncover the big, evil secret there. I listened to the audiobook for this one as well. It is absolutely wonderful. I suppose it’s set in Discworld, but it’s not in Ankhe-Morpork, and you really only get the slightest nod to the Discworld-ness of it, through side references and the presence of the Watch. It’s not a children’s story, despite the presence of talking animals. It is, however, appropriate for older kids (I would say ages 10 and up, just because of the violence). And it has Pratchett’s wonderful, biting humor. The audiobook is additionally marvelous because the reader gives accents to the townsfolk and to some of the rats.

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