Sunday Sum-Up, 07/07/2019

I headed to my little hometown for a couple of days this week for Independence Day. My parents, my twelve-year-old nephew, and I went out for ice cream on Wednesday and then headed out to watch the town’s fireworks show after dark. Because my hometown is fairly small (about 5,600 people) and because it’s a farming community, we watched the show from the parking lot of a business that sells center pivot irrigation equipment. Other years, we have watched the show from a cornfield. That’s rural Nebraska for you. We party in cornfields and underneath center pivots. #SmallTownLife

For a small town, they have a good fireworks display.

What I Finished Reading Last Week:

Storm Warning is one of my favorite of Mercedes Lackey’s books. Yes, I know Lackey’s books have flaws. The characters are often too good to be true, plots can be kind of a mess, and the pacing is often wonky, but Karal is one of my favorite characters and Storm Warning is a bit of a comfort read for me. It follows Karal, secretary to the Karsite envoy to Valdemar– the first in centuries thanks to drastic changes that have taken place in the heart of Karse, Valdemar’s bitterest enemy for centuries. I’ll have a review up later as part of #ReadingValdemar with Melanie @ Grab the Lapels and Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku. I’ve enjoyed this reading project so far, but I’m super happy to get to the Mage Storms trilogy– my favorite– at last.

Marvel 1602 is a story where some of Marvel’s most popular characters– Doctor Strange, Nick Fury, Daredevil, Charles Xavier, and others– exist in Europe in 1602. Many of the ‘witchbreeds’ live in England, where Queen Elizabeth tentatively accepts them as long as they work for her. But elsewhere in Europe, they face persecution and death at the hands of the Inquisition. I found this story to be fascinating, though it would have helped to have had a better understanding of the Marvel comic books. Most of my knowledge comes from the Marvel movies, which obviously gloss over a lot of characters and stories.

Storm of Locusts is the second of Rebecca Roanhorse’s Sixth World books. I think it’s better than the first, but it could just be that I’m more familiar with the world that Roanhorse has built. Or it could be that Maggie has grown as a character. Or both. Regardless. In Storm of Locusts, Maggie finds herself the guardian of a teenaged Diné girl with strange clan powers. She has no time to adjust to the change before the Goodacre twins show up with the news that Kai Arviso– her only friend who has been avoiding her since the events of the last book– and the twins’ younger brother Caleb have been kidnapped by a cult leader looking to bring about the end of the world. The Goodacres think Kai is a true believer, but as Maggie trails him outside of Diné lands, she discovers that the truth is far more complicated than they thought.

What I’m Currently Reading:

Bring up the Bodies is rushing to its inevitable finale, and it’s utterly fascinating. History has largely exonerated Anne Boleyn of the charges of adultery and incest, but it’s easy to see how the Tudor court could get wrapped up in the accusations against Anne. Matnel’s portrayal of Cromwell during this particular point in history is masterful. It’s nearly impossible to tell if he, Cromwell, believes that Anne is an adultress, or if he is simply doing Henry VIII’s bidding and finding men he can level charges against in his bid to get rid of Anne. I love his portrayal of Jane Seymour. There is a cleverness in her that nearly everyone around her overlooks because she is quiet and retiring, but Cromwell sees it and uses it to their mutual advantage. I’ll be happy to finish this one, but then I’ll have to wait until 2020 for the third book in the trilogy, The Mirror and the Light.

I remember that all the adults I ever knew were watching the television miniseries of Lonesome Dove when I was eight or nine. Partly because it was (apparently) very good, and partly, I think, because modern pop culture largely overlooks the Midwest and the grunginess of cowboy culture. Because I still remember how upset my aunt was when a particular character died, I’ve been a bit spoiled for the story for the last twenty years, but I have enjoyed the book so far. It captures the essence of a hot, dusty Texas cattle town where everyone’s prospects are abysmal, and everyone has come to accept this, though it doesn’t mean they’ve given up on life. The characters are already endearing, and I know I’m going to be upset when that one particular character dies.

Gods of Jade and Shadow is the ARC I have that is due the soonest. I am enjoying it so far, though the writing and tone read more like YA books, and not the adult fantasy it’s billed out. The prose is a bit simplistic, though that is not a detriment in this case. Garcia’s story is engaging and Casiopea Tun is a charismatic young woman, but the prose gives this a younger feeling that Garcia may have been aiming for.

What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:

Lyric Poems will fulfill the Poetry entry for July in my 2019 Reading Challenge. I do like the Romantic era poets, and Keats is one of the most tragic poets of a tragic era in art.

How could I wait until August to read the next book in my favorite Mercedes Lackey trilogy? I just picked up this book from the library today, and I’m having to restrain myself from starting until I finish Gods of Jade and Shadow.

I’m reading Dune as part of the Dune Tube read along. I’ve read Dune many times, but I haven’t really read the rest of Herbert’s Dune Chronicles. For Dune Tube, the goal is to read all the books in the original Dune series, one each month, until we’re finished. I picked up the beautiful new trade paperback editions of the rest of the books, but for some reason, that edition of the first one, Dune, is taller than the others. Why? I just kept my current, minimalist design mass market paperback. It’s so think, though, that I don’t think the book is going to last long as such a chunky paperback.

What I’ve Been Watching:

Nothing, really. Again. A few more episodes of The Great British Baking Show, plenty of BookTube (I’ve been letting it run through videos of my favorite BookTubers while I do other things), and Jeopardy! (while I was at my parents’ house). Still no plans to watch anything on Netflix despite all the great things I have on my queue.

6 thoughts on “Sunday Sum-Up, 07/07/2019

  1. When I visited Goodreads after finishing The Snow Queen, I saw that everyone said it was like Vinge did her own version of Dune, which I’ve never read. So, I asked my husband for a synopsis, and what he described sounded nothing like The Snow Queen to me. Thoughts?

  2. I can see surface level similarities between the synopsis of The Snow Queen and Dune, but the actual stories are really nothing alike. There are politics and a substance that extends human life, sure, but the nuts and bolts of the two stories are different.

  3. Lovely shots of the fireworks! Ice cream is always a good idea too. A friend of mine highly recommends Dune so I look forward to hearing your thoughts on that next time (when you start)

  4. Whew, okay, it’s not just me then. I think people are eager to compare stories in ways that don’t hold up. When I was preparing to read Mechanica, a steampunk Cinderella re-telling, everyone said it was just like Cinder. But Mechanica had magic and engineering, whereas Cinder had a cyborg. I’m not sure what the reason is for the tendency to say someone else has already trod there before. I mean, we’ve all trod there — it’s the details that make the difference.

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