General Posts, Non Reviews Science Fiction

Sci-fi, Media, Self-Image, Romance, and Modern Day Nerds

I’ve had a couple of conversations with widely various “nerdy” men over the past few weeks that have gotten me thinking about self image, gatekeeping, romance in sci-fi media (books vs. television) and some things that are tangentially related.

Let’s start with the couple that got me thinking about the fact that there isn’t a lot of actual romance in Science Fiction reading – good old Grayson and Halley in the Frontlines (Marko Kloosseries, which I got tired of reviewing book by book but here’s the quote in book four that got me:

“I am so glad for all of this. You, me, us being here, everything that happened to us since Basic. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, Lankies and all. If we end up a frozen cloud of stardust today, I know that I’ve fucking lived.”

My favorite thing about this couple despite the fact that they started in the most eye rolling proximity romance ever, is that they never played games with each other. At least in my experience military men have the emotional competence of your average stone wall, and seeing as most military sci-fi authors are male, it would understandably make romance in this genre difficult to write.  Either way, I think Grayson and Halley are a great example of how some level of romance can work with these stories.

Let’s surf back through the canon to the beginning (ish) – Frankenstein bored me to literal miserable tears but it was, undoubtedly, a romance of a sort, although not what I’m getting at.  I haven’t read enough Victorian era “sci-fi” to comment on the romances there so let’s fast forward to elsewhere.

Another point to start with here is that even with more women writing in sci-fi these days than before, in the days where many women wrote under male pen names and tried to hide a bit, I would have expected more romance to infiltrate the genre. There is some to be found in young adult sci-fi for sure but that’s not a genre I’m too personally interested in.

That said though, men just… it’s like this with men in sci-fi: picture a treehouse with a GIRLS KEEP OUT SIGN nailed to the door?

AND WHAT DO WE GET OUT OF SCI-FI “ROMANCE” BEING A GENRE NOW? LORD HELP US, erotica haha. Oy, alien erotica is not what I’m getting at either and I’m on not on team “hubba hubba”, but team “no thanks”.


So, we have established that no one wants to read space erotica, or heavy romance in space, but I’m more just talking about healthy relationships. Not to say that women can’t write healthy romance in sci-fi, but, they really don’t. Hello Ms. Octavia Butler, looking at YOU in the Xenogenesis books.

I’m about to embark on a read in October that basically features four dudes on a submarine, which is about where men in the 1800’s were writing sci-fi at.  Another classic sci-fi great, Bradbury, looks at relationships but it’s more in the sense of “how does this function in this society?” Does having reproductive hour at 7pm on Wednesday satisfy marital needs? Yikes, I’m not looking for that either.  He does broadly look at love and the human experience in other stories but I’m looking for specific, healthy, normal examples

Because at the end, I’m going to tie this into modern day romance

Let’s break this line off before it gets weird and touch briefly on how this isn’t necessarily the case in modern day TV and movies – at least on screen, Sci-fi is trying to normalize relationships more.  Look at The Big Bang Theory (2007) – I think a lot of nerds found pieces of themselves in Leonard and Raj, even Sheldon, and guess what? That’s modern day mainstream television featuring the nerdy guy getting the girl! Then girls for the others!


I can’t talk about romance on screen either without briefing on the Treks – I read in a Rodenberry biography (no I can’t quote where) that he wanted the characters in TOS and TNG to stay single so that (to paraphrase) they can use alien relationships and pursuits as more storyline fodder, although in DS9 and onwards relationships onscreen became a lot more prominent.  To this day, Trek is working to normalize relationships between different cultures and all other kinds of kinds.

Star Wars is the other huge franchise that everyone wants to talk about – hello yes romance there too, forgetting all the brother and sister stuff but later movies? Yes! I don’t watch a lot of sci-fi on television these days but the point is, between Star Trek, Star Wars, and the Big Bang Theory, modern day nerdy men should have observed some healthy relationships onscreen at some point.

So … let me draw this back into literature before bringing it to a close with my thoughts on romance and modern day nerds.

So back at the end of August I was out with my best friend, and every year I feel like we have the same discussion. Yes, our families are fine as far as we know, yes, we are off to DragonCon soon, Yes, we’re both still single.  This year, the conversation got a little deeper after a few alcohols and I heard an echo of the lament that a lot of “modern day nerds” feel – it’s really freaking hard to relate to people sometimes and be ourselves.

Which started my thoughts in this article – what fuels the modern day nerd’s lack of confidence? Where is the obliviousness still coming from? Is it because of the lack of healthy relationships in the media that they consume? Is it that old treehouse mentality that girls have cooties? Opposite sex anxiety? Most females featured in sci-fi have killer body suits and boobs, so where are the women writers in sci-fi here, and are the men not reading it?

That said though, most of the really, really nerdy sci-fi booktubers and bloggers that I’m friends with are married with kids, so this is a very moot point for many people but there are a sect of us that are pretty single still.  I’d like to hear from people on both sides regarding this!

Let’s look at a chat I had with an author/friend the other night. To paraphrase, we were on discord discussing … uh… let’s say Twitter crushes, close enough.

Me: How dense are male nerds?

Friend: We’re dumb as hell. Not even an argument.

Me: I would argue dense, but y’all are far from dumb, haha fair enough?

Friend: Fair enough. There’s a whole lot of self-image stuff tied up in that obliviousness too, especially for nerds

That’s interesting, because although I think it was said jokingly, I had another male (probable nerd) refer to himself as “not a photogenic lot” recently and the kid is not that bad looking at all. So, anyway, that feeds back into the chat I had with my real life friend about our self image issues, inability to meet people, and lack of confidence – where is it all coming from for this little subsect of nerdism?

From a woman’s perspective, I mean do you know how many men have told me my website is stupid? My library is a waste of money? Even at work I take shit when I roll my sleeves up and be myself, and let’s not even talk about the rodeo/horse world.  I dunno what those dudes do in their down time but 95% of the time it’s not reading 😂 The last date I went on was with a self proclaimed “nerd” back in February and it was like having someone mansplain Walden to me (UM… I’m not stupid but I felt stupid) and whew I’ve been afraid to try since.  Let’s just say that in the subsect of failed dating experiences, “nerds” are up there on my list for a litany of reasons.

So …. Do we need healthy relationships in sci-fi media to help some of us along a little bit? Would it help? Is there a link between literature, onscreen media, and modern day relationships? Is it the feeling of being left behind by a rapidly changing culture?

Tell me all your thoughts, and if you read this emotional vomit, thank you 😂

General Posts, Non Reviews

Sunday Funday: 10 cool things in the library that aren’t books

I don’t know why I’m even awake this afternoon but the upside is that I’m getting some cleaning done!

So I’m damp dusting my shelves and picking up random objects thinking “oh, that’s cool”, or “I remember this!” And of course I know what’s on my shelves but at the same time, it’s fun to look back, and therein came this post idea.

So here we go on a dreary Sunday: 10 cool things in my library that aren’t books, in no specific order

1)The chandelier – it casts whimsical leaf patterns everywhere and I love it. Seeing this photo, it needs to be wiped down but I’m terrified of spiders 🤔  IMG_20220904_150439106

2) This mug, because it was a gift after a year long series and litverse buddy read that I tend to look back on as a good experience IMG_20220904_151416774_HDR

3. This manuscript because it was my first, bound or unbound. The publicist is actually a friend of a friend (discovered incidentally because apparently the publishing industry is a small place) and we all got a kick out of the mutual connections. Regardless, I appreciated having a manuscript of something IMG_20220904_151329715

4. These prints because I love Beth Revis both as an author and a person and getting a surprise letter from her was beyond amazing.  Our pandemic chats and heart warrior cheers will be one of my best memories when I’m long gone as a blogger 🙃


5) That time I bought all my flooring supplies and the guy at the loading area plunked this ridiculous fake crow on top of my truck and said happy Halloween 😂 we named it Kaz obviously 


6. This hand painted dragon statue from Hunter aka ALPHA FOUR (Far Forest Scrolls), I don’t remember how we originally got into touch but years later, this dragon is considered a prized possession!  I do hope we can do that Brunch interview some day when things get better ❤️


7. This skull candle from a local artist friend who runs The Smell of Fear candles! How cool is that? I was eyeballing them forever and am glad to finally have one!



8. This Jane Austen teacup candle, I can’t get over the actual antique tea cup and the mint smell. Hollow Ever After was my first rep company and this was a parting gift after a wonderful 2 ish years of partnership!


9. The chess pieces! Just all of them. It was a great marketing idea to try to collect them all while shelflovecrate was still in business


10) This set from …. Erk… Crete? As my only shelf space, the library shares a few knickknacks too 😂

There you have it! To anyone reading, what cool things are on your shelves?

General Posts, Non Reviews

Summer Bookish Housekeeping & Fall “Vibes”

That’s a fancy title for “here is everything bookish that isn’t going to make it into another post”!

What you’ll find here:

  1. Another thank you
  2. An update on sponsored content & moral dilemmas
  3. My book haul for the summer
  4. Plans for September
  5. The new addition to my library (best garage sale find ever)

1) First off thank you to everyone who sent messages, commented, or otherwise reached out regarding my Four Years In post.  I thought no one would read past the first paragraph since my views on non-bookish posts tend to be much lower, but thank you anyway.  I’ve got 2000 monthly views and at least six friends and I appreciate every single one of you.

2) I stopped doing my reading trend posts because nothing has changed. This summer consisted of mostly adult SFF reading now that I have severed influencer ties with Wednesday Books and won’t be doing more sponsored content from them. I feel so much better, I have always been a stubborn mule about some things and I’m not going to keep featuring books with certain content that I don’t believe should be advertised towards children as young as 13.

Thank you to my friend Nathaniel over at HecticReadingLife (on Instagram) for giving me the confidence to say NO, as well as validating every single post on subject matter.

It’s hard to say no to something I worked that hard for, and am grateful for being a constantly featured influencer and reviewer voice but that’s life and learning and it’s the right decision for me!


3. My book haul for the summer! I’m reading my shelves, donating, and not really buying books, so it’s a pretty small haul. I birthday treated myself to a signed Indigo edition of EOTV that cost more than the rest of my yearly reading purchases combined — yikes! Left is the haul for $15, not bad, right is one of the shelves at the best little used bookshop ever.

I also want to take two seconds and talk about Indigo – the SFF collection was mind blowing! The mood was really great too. There were young folks sitting there reading and no one was bugging them, so many people browsing, and I got a coffee with some kid who also thought Sanderson is super pretentious! Montreal was a fun trip but I’m not going to do a bookish travels post like I have before

4) Plans for September – I requested no ARCs for this fall and am going to dig into the SPSFC2 pile for the most part, as well as just reading whatever I want.  It took a bit to extricate myself from the web of influencer expectations that has been dictating my reading for so many years.  I’ve hardly been posting on insta recently too. Followers and connections aren’t the same thing and I’ve made more ‘friends’ on twitter and discord in six months than I have in four years on Insta, so that’s something.

5) Look what I found! The guy was selling all these wonderfully framed posters for $10 in an estate sale. Most of them were Star Wars related but I found a solid Trekkie poster. Wall mounting it is another story so it’s sitting on my overflow shelf for now looking amaaaaazing

6) I saved this for last but I think by now everyone knows that I’m working on a project. It started as a silly idea but now that my friend is in on it and interested in illustrating and offering thoughts, maybe getting his story out there, I’m frantically outlining so he can start working should he decide to.  He’s in his 30s with DMD and has been following my page and talking books with me for a while now, and this started after I read a few of his more recently cryptic posts and said “maybe write a book”? Well, that was cute, because here we are writing something of probably the length of 50 pages tops but it is what it is and I’m happy to put my name on whatever results.

If it ends up taking place in space that’s cool too because I can’t figure out how far in the future to place this for the technology to make sense and “in space” solves everything.

I’m really hoping that he bites and finds some validation in the project because whether or not there is an audience, writing can be therapeutic and I know what that screaming into the void feeling is like on some level.  It’s 2022 and medicine still fails people in so many incomprehensible ways, constantly pounding home a lesson I learned so long ago that, to paraphrase,  God always wins.  There are tons of people out there that I think could get something out of our pair of feuding ranchers who are hurtling towards vision loss and inevitable death.  Gloomy as fuck but it’s morbidly satisfying to just throw all your failures onto the page for the universe to do what it will with, which is a lesson that he taught me.  The punchline is going to be “TEARS OR YOUR MONEY BACK!”

Anyway – that’s my Summer Recap and Fall Vibes update! To end on happy thoughts, it’s finally apple season and my trees look amazing! It looks like most of the seasonal garden will be ready soon too.  My favorite part of this time of year is baking, canning, cool weather coming, and soon to be spooky season! Remember that time of year where everyone on instagram is ready to throttle my skeleton? OH yes, it’s nearly here!

General Posts, Non Reviews Science Fiction

All Things SPSFC2 Round 1 & The Slush Pile!

2022 is going by at dizzying speed and the initial stages of the SPSFC (SPSFC2) are underway!

Our fearless leader of team At Boundary’s Edge has posted a few articles to meet the judges and see the books we were allocated in round one! His blog is easy to navigate so definitely go check it out and stay up to date with things from there!

Here is the link for the whole competition. 300 (ish) books, 10 teams, many judges, all reading a whole lot of self published sci-fi over the course of the next few months. It’s a little intimidating but after years of following SPFBO it’s cool to be participating in this!

The team formula for round one is to read about the first 20% of each of our allocated books, and then take a vote on whether or not we would read the whole book.

Easy enough! The problem for me is keeping track of my thoughts on so many books! Therein lies the real point of this post – a few thoughts on each of the books I am reading in this round.

What I’ll do is show the title and link to the book, then add a few of MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS on each one after reading the first 20%. Again – MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS – which in no way shape or form reflect the thoughts of the team or anyone else! Check back here for my progress through our 28 book slushpile!

**p.s. I’ll probably make a new post after 5-10 books**

Here we go! #1 is Arkhangelsk by Elizabeth H. Bonesteel. At 439 pages this is a colony based novel with a different form of first contact.  I was interested but found the first 20% lacking in development.  Ideas are constantly introduced without background, and I needed just a little more info to have my attention snared.  My favorite aspects were having an older MC and a possible medical mystery. It just didn’t get off the ground fast enough for a yes vote from me.

Book #2, Between Mountain and Sea: Paradisi Chronicles, by Louisa Locke, carries a bit of a fascinating concept in that it’s part of an open world science fiction universe, where multiple authors have written novels about different families and people within the world, genre or style be darned. It presents as a soft sci-fi slice of life type read, for a Young adult audience.

At 270 pages, it features a teenage girl on a settled planet that’s now a few generations in.  I think the point is that she doesn’t agree with her parent’s choices for her and is going to find her own way (come of age) throughout the book.

I have to say, as a OneReadingNurse Medical Disclaimer© that there is enough irrational fear regarding lasik surgery already and the character’s surgical complication does not work medically or logically.  The whole thing wasn’t presented in a way that made sense and could be mis-informative to readers that may need treatment and already be fearful.  Also there was no other evidence of her being visually impaired.

As much as I LOVE the study on language and the pronunciation gallery, and I know there’s a soft historical character based sci-fi loving audience out there for this, I’ve got to say No 

Book #3 is my first YES! Black Table by Anttimatti Pennanen is a shorter one at 238 pages that seems packed full of fun. I love these nerdy men and their friendship. There is a Bill and Ted vibe to this humorous sci-fi adventure that shouts out so many pop culture references from Star Trek to Armageddon.

Despite the actually most inaccurate resuscitation attempt ever (please just ask a paramedic or medical professional before writing these scenes, we are happy to help 😂) I am immensely enjoying this one so far.

#4 – Alphabetical order gets a bit fuzzy here since I don’t recognize words like A/An/The. I went with The Ceph: Reborn for my next slush pile read

I LOVED the opening, with the introduction of the Ceph through the first few billions of years that they colonized the planet. The descriptions of the world ships, the idea in general, the synopsis, and humanoid octopus characters? I was on board all the way. Don’t mind me, I can get through the info dump, no problem. Poehler also put an obvious ton of time into his appendix, glossary, history etc for the end content, which I liked reading.

Then we get to the current day (2018) and it turned into the first person points of view of an octopus and a squid. I got super confused reading first person from underwater creatures for so long. I was interested in finding out what happens once the humans got involved (I gave it 120 pages and found only hints of human detection) but at the end of the day, am going to say …. Cripe I am really up in the air and a week later I am still thinking about this book

Moving on, Book #5 is The Cult Shadow by Peter Lamb! Despite a beautiful cover and interesting synopsis, I struggled with the writing itself and could not become engaged with the story at all.

#6 in the pile is Dangerous Thoughts by James L. Steele! I was getting flashbacks of reading Quozl by Alan Dean Foster here, mostly because there is a LOT of sex on everyone’s mind and some rather … Uh… Furry encounters.  It’s a bit of a personal preference but this was too much for me with the emphasis on casual encounters that started a little ways in. The plot was a bit muddy as well despite the fact that it’s interesting to have so many different species interacting as animal characters. I would personally say no here as well 

#7 is the last book I’m going to add to this post, as going in quarters seems logical and will somewhat align with what another group member is doing. The seventh book is Data Mine by Lou Lovino. At 209 pages this is one that reads rather quickly, about using biometric tattoos to monitor people of global interest such as politicians.  It’s a great idea for a techno-thriller, although it jumped around a lot and I found myself being thrown out more than drawn in by the short, alternate POV chapters. Also with the slightly stilted dialogue I am voting to not pass it forward. That said though, I think this one has a readership if you love political thrillers with a twinge of cyberpunk

Thanks for following my SPSFC journey so far! The second round of news and slush pile reads to be posted early this coming week!

General Posts, Non Reviews Science Fiction

(A Day Late) Top 5 Favorite Sci-fi Doggos

National Dog Day was yesterday, 8/26, so consider this a one day late “Top Five Friday” type of post!

I was thinking of a couple different topics to write about until I have more review content, and everyone loves dogs right?

Here are the top 5 I can think of easily, ready go!

1) Snuff!


I am 90% sure that A Night in the Lonesome October is considered sci-fi. If you haven’t read it, Snuff is Jack the Ripper’s dog and the narrator of the story which takes place over the evenings of a particular October. It’s a wild book

2. George


This is another kind of wild series of sci-fi books where a man is taken captive in order to be sold as an exotic pet to some aliens.  He is captured along with a dog named George who can talk after being enhanced by the aliens so they could sell him for a higher price.   All sorts of adventures happen in a pretty limited environment and George is a good boy!

3. Porthos

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I’m pretty sure I remember Porthos in the novels too so I’m counting this one.  What a freaking little cutie. Enterprise gets a bit of a bad rap but hey, I enjoyed it anyway. 

4. Seymour


Definitely not in a book, but Futurama is directly responsible for being the most amazing cartoon in existence and I won’t even lie about how many real life tears this episode caused! From Jurassic Bark, poor Seymour waited a very, very long time for Fry to come back 😭😭😭😭😭😭

5) Dennis


Hollow Kingdom was one of the first advanced reading copies I got when I started doing this for more than fun, and, I think that’s why Dennis sticks out in my mind.  In a post apocalyptic world where the animals are the only ones alive, S.T. the crow and Dennis the hound have to rescue the other animals and figure out how to save the day. Dennis got the short end of the stick is this one but he was another very good boy!

I have to give an honorable mention to literally every dog Patrick Stewart has ever rescued. This man does so much for the pitbull image and I’ll always respect him the most for that! If you didn’t know that the dog in the show (the featured post image) is portrayed by a real foster dog, now you do!


General Posts, Non Reviews

One Year Older, Four Years In (My Brain Hurts)

Alright friends, I’m getting a record smashing number of views on the blog this month so if your eyes are on this, thank you! Two thousand visits in August so far – I can’t even fathom that! I find it hilarious because I was fairly well convinced that absolutely no one reads my silly book thoughts and random posts. The craziest thing is that most of the views are coming from search engines? I would have bet it was Twitter but whoever is searching for books and clicking my links, again thank you!

Well, now the joke is on you because my brain hurts and I am going to incoherently rant about a bunch of random things

My four year Booksta-versary is coming up and I can’t believe that I’ve been talking about books publicly for four years now. I’ve only gotten consistent on my domain here in the past year or two as I’ve been moving away from Insta. I can’t believe 8k people follow me there but it’s not meant for people who really just want to read and review. I’m finding myself more at home on Twitter as far as sharing book updates. I am not, and have never been in this for anyone’s drama. I just wanted to talk about books and find the like minded people that I knew were out there somewhere. They just don’t happen to be here.

I started book blogging .. wow, yes, four years ago now. My first post was 8/31/18, right after my main, and then second show horse got irreparably injured within months of each other. I went from having everything to just about nothing, REAL quick, and I’m pretty sure the indie community here saved my sanity when I had no where to put energy and frustration into, and discovered Bookstagram. So again – thank you for that.

To zoom in on the present: My birthday is a weird time of year for me now, seeing as it’s been right amid some of our worst Covid spikes in the hospital and around this time last year my ex left, followed by my long time renter who had become a friend, followed by my old dog who finally passed on, like hell, August sucked last year. I don’t blame him one bit for leaving and it was a huge adjustment (and relief)? this year to just do everything by myself. It required cutting down my work load to be manageable by one person with a full-time job, and left me with the knowledge that one person isn’t meant to do everything. That said, hell here I am! Early 30s and no ties that can’t be replanted elsewhere, I’m dying to keep downsizing and see the world a little bit again.

That said, *dance* ChiCon is coming!! I can only go for two days but I’m sooooooo freaking excited!

Anyway, yes I’m winding this down and back to the point, it’s been hard for me to sit down and finish a book. I think I have four started right now and I’ve got too many thoughts pinballing around to focus on reading.

My current reads are The Stardust Thief (very good), The Blacktongue Thief on audio (brilliant, bloody brilliant), and I’m slowly picking away at R.E. Palmer’s second book Age of Shadows when I read on the Kindle. I think I finally gave up trying to finish book give of the Wheel of Time.

Last thing to mention is the interview series – I am trying to bring the Sunday Brunch Series back on a regular basis but I always get swamped with requests and quickly overwhelmed. I say no and people get offended, and I don’t have time for that negativity in my life. I am trying though – there are a few dates lined up and I’d like to continue my one true pet project

So – thankfully I don’t think anyone is reading this far and I have used this space to vent my thoughts. I don’t know what the next year will bring and maybe I’ll still be here at the end of year 5!

General Posts, Non Reviews Science Fiction

Happy Birthday Ray Bradbury – A Sci-fi Book Tag

Hi everyone! Ray Bradbury was one of my earliest science fiction favorites and we nearly share a birthday, so I thought of using some of his book titles to form a book tag!

If anyone else decides to do this, please link back to this post so I can see it and hopefully share your answers!

The Illustrated Man – A Sci-fi character you would love to cosplay ?

Fahrenheit 451 – A sci-fi book that you think everyone should read?

A Medicine for Melancholy – your comfort read or a scifi book that made you happy?

The Martian Chronicles – Your favorite sci-fi involving first contact or aliens in general

Death Has Lost It’s Charm For Me – A Sci-fi book that makes you nostalgic

Dandelion Wine – a food or drink you were inspired to try because a character loved it

There Will Come Soft Rains – A Sci-fi that either helped you through or made you hopeful in a rough time

One Timeless Spring – A Sci-fi you wish you could read again for the first time?

Something Wicked This Way Comes – your best-loved sci-fi villain?

Bradbury Speaks – A Sci-fi Author that you would like to sit down and talk to?

Where Robot Mice & Robot Men Run Round In Robot Town – with nothing else considered, your favorite title of a sci-fi book?

From the Dust Returned – A sci-fi character you would bring back from the afterlife?

Kaleidoscope – your favorite sci-fi book that has been adapted into something else?

The Love Affair – your absolute favorite sci-fi book of all time ❤️

Share your answers, tell all your friends, I can’t wait to see if anyone does this!

Here are my answers:

The Illustrated Man – A Sci-fi character you would love to cosplay ?

My go-to is nurse Chapel since I wear her insignia and everyone “gets it” easily!

Fahrenheit 451 – A sci-fi book that you think everyone should read?

Ape and Essence by Aldous Huxley

A Medicine for Melancholy – your comfort read or a scifi book that made you happy?

The third Red Rising book, Morning Star, made me happy because they had families at the end and I had the weirdest warm fuzzy sense of resolution seeing Sevro and Darrow as fathers despite all the terrible things that had happened.

Also Murderbot because f*cking Murderbot, everyone loves Murderbot and I do too

The Martian Chronicles – Your favorite sci-fi involving first contact or aliens in general

The Sirens of Titan by Vonnegut, or, since I’m trying not to say the same author twice … I really like the Marko Kloos series I’m reading called Frontlines.  Technically Ender’s Game fits here too.

Death Has Lost It’s Charm For Me – A Sci-fi book that makes you nostalgic

The Foundation series by Asimov – I have so many ancient beat up paperbacks of classic scifi books but I think my Foundation series is truly falling apart. Finally bought new editions this year 

Dandelion Wine – a food or drink you were inspired to try because a character loved it

This is stupidly classic but definitely Earl Grey tea. My parents always drank Red Rose (orange pekoe) and I wanted to try Earl Grey because, you know, Picard

There Will Come Soft Rains – A Sci-fi that either helped you through or made you hopeful in a rough time?

This is where I say The Martian Chronicles – Bradbury really helped me get my head on straight as a kid after my uncle died and I fell back into the stories of humans, humor, hope. I started watching a lot more Star Trek after that too

One Timeless Spring – A Sci-fi you wish you could read again for the first time?

Oh….. My word this is a lot harder than I thought it would be.  Neuromancer by William Gibson.  Also recently an indie author, TA Bruno really got me with his Song of Kamaria trilogy and I would love to read it for the first time again. 

Something Wicked This Way Comes – your best-loved sci-fi villains?

I always thought the Daleks in Dr Who were like, absolutely terrible, but I want to nod to a few YA sci-fi reads here too and say Marissa Meyer’s Cinder villain Queen Levana, AIDEN (“Am I Not Merciful”) from Illuminae, 

And, I’m trying not to circle back to Star Trek multiple times but I can’t not mention Gul Dukat when I think of sci-fi villains, Mark Alaimo stole every spotlight he was given 

Bradbury Speaks – A Sci-fi Author that you would like to sit down and talk to?

Not traditionally seen as sci-fi but, Kurt Vonnegut

Where Robot Mice & Robot Men Run Round In Robot Town – with nothing else considered, your favorite title of a sci-fi book?

Honestly this tag is swimming in my favorite titles, Bradbury by far had the best titles out there and I’ll die on that hill 🤣

From the Dust Returned – A sci-fi character you would bring back from the afterlife?

OY….  To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, anyone that died in that book did so horribly. I’d bring Kira back even though she’s not technically dead.

Also Worf’s first wife in the next generation, so he wouldn’t have had to marry Dax, Jadzia could have courted Bashir, who might not have been so damn dark and hopeless as a result, and everyone would be slightly better off. That would have ruined a lot of good material though //////sigh

Kaleidoscope – your favorite sci-fi book that has been adapted into something else?

…. going super basic here and saying The Martian by Andy Weir, I loved that movie

The Love Affair – your absolute favorite sci-fi book of all time ❤️

I’m hung up on this question because I have never tried to qualify my sci-fi reading before. I want to say The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton because medical hard sci-fi stuff ruins me and he was the first!

Fantasy General Posts, Non Reviews

The Summer Tree Week 4 Readalong & Wrap up!

Yayyy we did it, this is the finish line! The week four questions are hosted by Bookforager over at , who has my favorite website layout ever, it’s so easy to find things!

Anyway! I have so many thoughts on the ending and the book in general.  It was awesome to read along with such an awesome group of bloggers too. I learned a lot about the fantasy genre in general from reading everyone else’s thoughts and am super glad to have been able to participate!

1. Paul is now the Lord of the Summer Tree. What do you think this means/ will mean?

I think it means I’m an idiot for thinking he would end up dead and buried after the three days! I have NO IDEA what this means.  My best guess is that he is some kind of Avatar for Mörnir and was either granted special knowledge or will otherwise be afforded some respect by the court if nothing else

2. Each of our grad students has found a role to play in Fionavar, most questionably Jennifer. She asks herself “what was her sin, what had she done” to deserve the terrible TERRIBLE punishment she receives at the hands of Maugrim and his creatures. What are your thoughts and feelings on Jennifer’s plight, and how have you made sense of it within the scope of the story so far?

Yeah like WTF, are they all just going to teleport back to Toronto after this? That *WAS* the ending, no?  I am going to be that person and say that overall, GGK isolated my feelings about the characters by making them all caricatures.  Aileron – the most valiant prince. Diarmuid – the biggest scoundrel.  Maugrim – omg most evil dude ever right down to the burning eyes and hooded face.

What happened to Jen? Honestly I just figured GGK was continuing to go for “the WORST THING EVER” and he concocted something that would even have George RR Martin golf clapping.

In the greater context beyond shock value, I would be a little annoyed by Silvercloak if he had forseen that and was alluding to it when he first met Jen

3. What did you make of the many events in the throne room, from the assassination attempt to the showdown for the crown?

This felt like a stage drama to me! I think it was probably one of Diarmuid’s most serious lines in the entire book, when he acknowledged that both were trying, or at least willing, to assassinate him.  I am not sure how he ended up yielding the crown so easily either, I wanted a lot more prince vs prince drama.

I was also surprised that the Black Rose (or whatever she went by) was interested in potentially murdering him.  I would have thought she would be gunning for marriage or another political alliance, not sneaking in. DID SHE FORGET THAT IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO?  He acknowledged that “plucking a flower” was probably in poor taste, but at the same time, IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO

4. There’s been a surfeit of signs, a plethora of portents in this week’s reading. Now is the time to air your opinions on such things as flying unicorns, getting lost in the woods, the Cave of the Sleepers, magical Horns and unearthed Cauldrons

This is probably my most serious conversation topic – I think it’s a good example of some things that GGK did really well, and some that he did really badly.  The cauldron, for example, made me realize that there’s more than one super evil destroyer of things with more than one goal here.  That whole story line needed more to flesh itself out but I’m sure we will be revisiting it later on.

Which horn came first, RJ or GGK?  I like magical horns.  Kristin Britain did one too.   TOP 5 MAGICAL HORNS, THERE’S ANOTHER ONE!

I think you can never go wrong with a flying unicorn, I absolutely adore pegasus and unicorns and any other kind of sentient equine whatsoever.  I do feel a post coming on my TOP 5 SENTIENT EQUINES IN FANTASY! The last one mentioned – being lost in the woods – I think that was one of the most magical scenes and I was so worried for the boys! Those woods had a mind of their own and truly it was a good thing that the powers that be were eventually distracted by Paul

5. The Dwarves did it, in the darkness, with the Cauldron of Khath Meigol! What do you make of this last-minute revelation? And care to make any predictions on future developments?

Well …. we finally got Matt’s story. I was hoping for Matt’s real name, because there’s no way it’s Matt. I loved the bit of dwarf lore but it seems like he will have to go back, maybe with Silvercloak, and right some past wrongs.

Seriously though just when you thought the court couldn’t get any more dramatic…

6. Finally, reaction shots on Maugrim the Unraveller – go!

I was picturing Skeletor from He-Man, honestly, and laughing.  Like animate the eyes red and go. I know I know I know I’m terrible but I literally had this entire book playing out in my head as a He-Man style animated cartoon and I just thought it was funny, that’s the best I can do for you guys

Overall – I swear I’m not trying to undermine anyone’s true and undying love for this book but while entertained and fascinated, I didn’t take the story itself very seriously.  I enjoyed the themes and applying them to a broader context within fantasy literature more than the story itself

What I really want to see though is how GGK grows and moves on from the first book – did he hear criticism about the characters and flesh them out more? Do we see how they were affected by events back in Toronto and they return to Fionavar for round two because – hey, your destiny is calling about it’s extended warranty?

I can’t wait to find out!

Fantasy General Posts, Non Reviews

The Summer Tree Read along – week three!

Turn back now for spoilers through chapter 12, up to the start of chapter 13!

Overall I found these chapters both more interesting and readable, although GGK truly and officially lost me as far as caring about any of the characters lol.

I take that back, I care deeply for Ysanne’s cat

Week three’s questions provided by @queenzucchini at !!

1. We’ve seen some extreme behaviour – we learn that Galadan wants to unravel the world because it witnessed his rejection. Ysanne’s sacrifice takes her out of the Tapestry entirely. What were your reactions to these and other character motivations?

I think I am the outlier here but I feel like GGK is just hyper exaggerating every trope out there.  Boo-hoo someone rejects you, time to destroy everything! What pride! What egocentrism! Delusion of reference! Lolol I can’t

Ysanne’s made sense, I think she needed to unravel herself in order to kick Kim’s seerism to the next level. I don’t quite understand how or why but the sacrifice to the dagger felt necessary.

2. And speaking of sacrifice, Paul has spent his final night on the Summer Tree and all his defences have been stripped. How are you feeling towards Paul now and what do you think might happen to him next? Rereaders – do you remember your first reactions to this?

Paul honestly pissed me off, although he’s not the only character I have read recently (The Latecomer) that derailed mentally and checked out after a fatal car accident.  He seemed to have control issues prior to the accident too.  What I really want to know is how long he and Rachel were separated before she hooked up with and then got engaged to the other dude, I mean she was taunting Paul so badly like “hey you’re suffocating but THIS dude cries after sex”

Ooook Rachel, calm down.  Anyway, I have a pet peeve over casually suicidal characters (thank VE Schwab and Fredrik Backman for that one) and honestly – Paul got his wish, ok let’s move on.

The way this question reads makes me think that Paul isn’t actually dead. /facepalm. What I would hope happens next is that someone cuts him down and buries him.

3. Alongside (or because of?) Paul’s time on the Summer Tree, some cosmic forces seem to be moving in Fionavar again. Last week we talked about prophecy, but how do you feel about the role of deities and mythology in the book?

This is by the far the only part I am interested in at this point, plus the conflict that I’m sure will develop between the two princes.

I loved the whole sequence where the goddess answered the gauntlet in the sky with the blood moon.  I also enjoyed the little hint that the bad guy has been free for a while now and just finally decided to declare war! The cosmic forces are moving and I am here for it

4. We have (officially) met the banished prince Aileron! Impressions? And does his presence and return to court give us any further insight into the politics of Brennin?

I can’t wait until the Prince actually returns to court and confronts all the people in power, including Diarmuid. All we know right now is that Silvercloak supports him and Ysanne must have foreseen something that warranted keeping him closeby. Politics are sure about to get a lot more complicated!

I thought he was a spy when we first met him, the true identity was a bit of a surprise. I liked the entire cat vs. Prince scene and it seems like Kim is heading towards becoming a seeress queen 😂 her ability to banter came out of nowhere

5. At last, Dave has returned to grace the pages! His absence has caused much speculation, but how do you feel about him now that we know what he’s been up to?

Well he definitely wasn’t hiding in a broom closet, I guessed wrong! It seemed at first like Dave would be the least likely to acclimate and embrace the experience, but he seems like he has handled it the best of all of them. Chill, meld in with a hunter tribe, make some friends, sleep around a bit, and body slam a mythical evil creature. Wield a giant axe? Sure why not.

Dave is by far the most surprising of any of the characters so far, he must have been the one who secretly needed a little magic in his life

6. Dave’s time with the Dalrei gives us a great deal of insight into a previously unseen culture within Fionavar, so it’s time for a world-building check in! Anything standing out?

The deities and the description of the big mountain are standing out the most right now. I think I like the Dave storyline the most of any of them right now, although having more mythology revealed is interesting too. The Dalrei became the best developed group in the book though which makes me think they will be important going forward.

7. And as always, any other thoughts?

I think GGK lost me with the dream sequence feel of chapter 9. Thankfully he reined in the purple prose after that and went back to just telling the story, which I am now more or less invested and interested in. Add in a cult and a sibling rivalry, also possibly? A dragon? And I’m down for anything

Excited to see how it wraps up next week!

Fantasy General Posts, Non Reviews

Wyrd & Wonder Read-A-Long: The Summer Tree (week two)

I was going to keep adding all the questions to the same post but ack, my life is way too complicated as it is and a new post is easier! That said, these posts are exclusively for the readalong so turn back now to avoid spoilers!

The questions for week two, chapters roughly 6-8 , of the readalong are provided by Nils and some of the fine folks over at !

Here was week 1

1) There was a little confusion last week on whether chapter six was supposed to be included, so let’s explore this one first. We discussed the Pervy Prince last week – would you like to weigh in on his antics across the border?

I firmly believe that it takes two to tango.  If the princess was down for a roll in the hay, and it seemed like she was, fine and so be it. It’s probably an advantageous political match if nothing else

I have more pressing questions like – how did they know about each other if the worlds are kept apart so much that no one has visited in 1000 years? How the hell are the physical letters even getting across, it’s not like carrier pigeons would know where to go… Someone explain this to me lol

2)We’re a sizable step into the story now, so how are we all finding the pacing?

The pacing is definitely getting quicker and the story more interesting. What threw me off is the chapter lengths and how they went from like 10 pages on average to 40 or 50 each. I found that jarring.

3) Loren continues his mysterious antics, have your opinions about him shifted at all? Or is there a certain other mage you’re now more concerned about?

I am worried about ALL the mages! It seems like each one has their own individual agenda and I’m wondering which one (or for who) Ysanne’s helper is working for.

Loren almost rode his horse to death, and for what? What is his game? Metran actually had me cracking up because both old men are pretending to be a lot more creaky and senile than they are. I wondered if Ailell and Metran are onto each other in the way that “it takes a faker to know one”

4) Between the children’s game and Kim’s dream, not to mention Ysanne’s mutterings to herself, prophecy is a key element weaving through this story. What are your reactions to the various foretellings thus far?

The children’s game freaked me out a bit, I am super curious to know what The Longest Road is! I also am curious as to why Jaelle could sense a prophecy or power being fulfilled but not discern it’s meaning.  If I were her I think I would have struck a peace with Ysanne to find out what had occurred.

I love all the prophecy though, it’ll be fun to see how much is fulfilled and where it all fits into “the tapestry”

5) Let’s address the massive sacrificial magical tree in the room – would you have offered yourself in Paul’s shoes?

Absolutely not, 100% absolutely not.  I’m not overtly Catholic but suicide is a huge no-no.  I don’t even see any good reason why Paul wants to die so badly, I get that his ex died but whatever else he is grieving for needs to be addressed because right now I just consider him depressed and mentally unbalanced

6) There were two pretty major battles this week. The lios alfar were slaughtered by Galadan, and Paul witnessed a truly moving fight between Galadan and his mysterious canine protector. What were your reactions?

The first fight mentioned was interesting because it brought out the Galadan / Matram storyline, and seems to be sucking the entire kingdom into war.

That said, the fight between the canines was a lot more moving. Paul has to hang on for 3 days and nights to fulfill the prophecy and The Companion bought him the time to do so.

Why doesn’t Galadan want the sacrifice fulfilled, what is coming? What happens to him when Mörnir comes?

7) There’s still no sign of Dave! First time readers – any theories? Revisitors, do you recall if you had any opinions on this before?

I think Dave is hiding in a linen closet and watching everything, waiting for the time to jump out and save everyone.  Either that or he is joined up with the king’s other son (who I think we briefly met at the end of chapter 7), because wouldn’t that be ironic

Any other thoughts this week?

I think it’s a good read still but these longer chapters are hard for my attention span.  I also wish that GGK would stop throwing random names and items and events out with explanations.  It’s a lot to keep track of and with more questions than answers I am so afraid I’m going to miss something important