Archive: November 2017

Book Review: Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep #1) by Mira Grant (2017)

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

No one does mermaids like Mira Grant.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley.)

Did you really think we were the apex predators of the world?

“You still chasing mermaids, Vic?” he asked.
“I’ve never been chasing mermaids,” she said. “I’ve only ever been chasing Anne.”

I’m a huge Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire fan, and her mermaid stories are among my favorites. (Zombies are grrrrrrate, but no one does mermaids quite like Mira Grant.) When I saw the prequel to Into the Drowning Deep, a novella called Rolling in the Deep, I snatched it up…but, being a mere 123 pages long, it just left me wanting more: more science (fiction), more killer mermaids, more heart-stopping suspense, more blood and gore and viscera. Somewhere in between a short story and a full-length book, it lacked the crisp concision of the former and the delicious, drawn out horror of the latter.

Enter: Into the Drowning Deep, which is exactly what I was craving. Pro tip: read Rolling in the Deep as if it was a prologue to Into the Drowning Deep. It’ll feel so much more satisfying that way.

In 2015, the Atargatis set off on a scientific expedition to the Mariana Trench. Ostensibly, their mission was to find evidence of mermaids. Really, though, they were there to film a mockumentary on behalf of their employer, an entertainment network called Imagine (think: SyFy). The hoax quickly turned into a bloodbath when they discovered what they were/weren’t looking for.

The Atargatis was found six weeks later, floating several hundred miles off course, completely devoid of human occupants. The only clue as to what became of her two hundred crew and passengers was a smashed up control room and shaky film footage showing what looked like – but couldn’t possibly be – a mermaid attack.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2017-11-13

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

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Monday, November 13th, 2017

tweets for 2017-11-11

Sunday, November 12th, 2017
  • RT @hspaulds: From the book All The Rage by Courtney Summers, which I’ve been thinking about a lot today https://t.co/bKS6jAuic7 ->
  • RT @Freeyourmindkid: So George Takei pretty much admitted that he committed sexual assault when he went on the Howard Stern Show.

    :-/

    ht… ->

  • RT @Cool_Mintz: There was a written plan for that little boy and they didn't follow it, someone has to go to jail https://t.co/TttYUa2cIg ->
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  • RT @Mary_Trujillo: His name was Jason Pero, he was in the 8th grade. He was a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. He wa… ->
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Saturday, November 11th, 2017

Zucchini Bread With Dried Blueberries

Friday, November 10th, 2017

2017-11-06 - Zucchini Bread with Blueberries - 0003 [flickr]

So this is a little off-season for me, but I last week I inexplicably found myself craving zucchini bread like mad. (“Inexplicable” because it’s been at least two years since I’ve last eaten the stuff. Why here? Why now? Why me?) I also wanted to try it with Mags who, if you remember, is one fussy-ass eater who is partial to sweet breads, among other things.

Since I have ten pounds (give or take) of dried blueberries hanging out in my pantry, I decided to experiment with blueberry zucchini bread. Spoiler alert: it is predictably delicious, though I did find myself wondering about other variations: zucchini blueberry lemon, perhaps? Or maybe lavender blueberry floats your boat? Two words: blueberry peach. Okay, so they’re all a little summery, but when it snows on Halloween for the first time since you relocated to the Midwest, a taste of summer is most definitely in order.

Anyway, point is, this recipe makes two loaves, so feel free to try out your own rad combos. Blueberry and cinnamon, fwiw? Totally a winner.

Thanks go out, yet again, to Gourmet Nuts & Dried Fruit for the delicious dried blueberries.

2017-09-17 - Gourmet Nuts Blueberries - 0001 [flickr]

2017-09-17 - Gourmet Nuts Blueberries - 0005 [flickr]

2017-09-27 - berry Oatmeal - 0003 [flickr]

They’re also wonderful in oatmeal, and the dogs love to snack on them, too!

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2017-11-09

Friday, November 10th, 2017

tweets for 2017-11-08

Thursday, November 9th, 2017
  • RT @ChrisMurphyCT: SHORT THREAD: 1/1 Yesterday's Virginia election shows that gun policy is just as big a driver of Democratic turnout as R… ->
  • With a proud sexual predator in the White House, how do we combat the sexual harassment culture in politics and media? #MeTooTownhall ->
  • RT @ChrisLu44: Repudiation of Trumpian politics: The two Asian American candidates targeted in this mailer both won election tonight to the… ->
  • RT @RaquelWillis_: So proud of movement auntie, Andrea Jenkins, who became the first openly trans woman of color elected to the city counci… ->
  • RT @natemcdermott: Democrat Chris Hurst, a former TV news anchor whose girlfriend was murdered on live TV in 2015, won his race for Virgini… ->
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tweets for 2017-11-07

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017
  • RT @JessicaPost: Flipping 14 seats from red to blue in VA is the biggest Democratic pick-up since 1899. ->
  • RT @frantakeery: this deaf cat getting excited every time she realizes her owner is home makes me so happy 🐱💓 https://t.co/4LZEbXPRHw ->
  • RT @mcclure111: Anyway, the lesson from tonight is that if there's a man who keeps misgendering you, the proper way to respond is to defeat… ->
  • RT @dodo: When this shark got tangled in a net, these divers came to his rescue and saved his life. So he made sure to thank them in the SW… ->
  • RT @AriBerman: 1st black woman elected mayor of Charlotte
    1st trans state legislator elected in VA
    2nd black Lt Gov elected in VA since R… ->
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Mini-Review: The Daily Question: My Five-Year Spiritual Journal by Waterbrook (2017)

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

A little more secular than expected.

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Blogging for Books.)

– 3.5 stars –

A journal subtitled “My Five-Year Spiritual Journal” isn’t something I’d normally pick up, being an atheist and all. And probably this same quality also means I’m not the best person to review The Daily Question. So, grain of salt and all that jazz.

Two out of three of the sample questions on Blogging for Books seemed secular enough, so I decided to give it a try. And while there are some overtly religious (read: Christian) prompts – “How does Jesus love people through you?”; “How has God tangibly shown love to you this week?”; “What in Scripture are you grappling with these days?” – most are much more general and applicable to people of all faiths (or none). In fact, it feels a lot like another five-year, guided journal I reviewed called Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal … just with a few Christian-themed questions sprinkled in here and there.

In fact, many of the same issues I had with Q&A a Day are applicable here, too: the dimensions of the journal are small, just a tick over 4″x6″. But it’s very thick (1 1/4″), which makes writing anything below the top third of the page very difficult (your hand just kind of falls off the cliff edge to flop around awkwardly). Each page provides space for five answers – one a year over five years – which is cool. But the lines are very cramped and don’t leave a whole lot of room for elaboration. A more generously sized journal would be so much nicer, don’t you think?

I do like the design of the cover – it’s hardcover, with a rich and soothing texture to it – and the bookmark ribbon is a nice touch. The prompts are engaging and varied, though devoutly religious users may desire more Biblically-inspired items. I counted this as a positive but, as I said, grain of salt.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2017-11-06

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

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Monday, November 6th, 2017

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Sunday, November 5th, 2017

tweets for 2017-11-03

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

Book Review: peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva (2017)

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

poems that bristle and bite

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley.)

mami does not understand why you like holes
in your shoes, in your tights, in your gloves.
what did you want to seep through, brown girl
with bangs? a song not written about you?
really, you were being a seamstress
just like your abuela in the living room making
skirts out of curtains, just making adjustments,
just making holes in places your new skin
was supposed to be.

(“Ode to Brown Girls With Bangs”)

i don’t know if i feel in love
feel beautiful
or just feel
maybe we all need some rest

(“Self-Portrait With Historical Moments”)

I was so excited about this book that I did something I rarely do – namely, brave Adobe Digital Editions to read an ARC. (It is forever crashing my machine, okay.) Lately I’ve been digging poetry more and more and, between the book’s stunning cover and the rave early reviews, I just knew I’d love peluda. And I did! I mean, I do!

Growing up, I always felt weird and awkward and hairy – hairier than most of the other girls around me, anyway, the popular ones in particular. Okay, so maybe I’m one of the white girls Lozada-Oliva writes about in “Yosra Strings Off My Mustache Two Days After the Election in a Harvard Square Bathroom” –

the ones who don’t shave
for political reasons, the ones who took
an entire election cycle to grow
out a tuft of armpit hair

– which is to say my Italian-German self is only “hairy” when held up to modern beauty standards, e.g., not terribly hairy at all. Maybe I can’t really relate. Even so. I adored all of the twenty-one poems that make up peluda just the same.

Over on her Facebook page, Lozada-Oliva describes peluda as “my yellow chapbook about my hairy latina feels,” which seems as apt a description as any. Lozada-Oliva tackles such weighty topics as beauty, assimilation, racist microaggressions, sex, shame, depression/metal health stigma, alienation, George Zimmerman, and, yes, body hair: clumps and heads and volumes and rivers of hair. Melissa’s Guatemalan immigrant mother Josefina was/is a beautician, so her schooling started early. Her words radiate with ferocity and hunger and wit that doesn’t cut so much as claw and devour.

There’s so much to love here, but one piece really stands out: “Wolf Girl Suite,” which is really a story told in five acts. With all the elements of a feminist horror flick, I am aching to see this one adapted for the screen. Coming to a theater near you, Halloween 2021?

“Ode to Brown Girls With Bangs,” “You Use Your Hands So Much When You Talk,” “You Know How to Say Arroz con Polla but Not What You Are,” “What If My Last Name Got a Bikini Wax, Too,” and “We Play Would You Rather at the Galentine’s Day Party” are other favorites too. But they’re all pretty great.

fyi, there are a number of videos of Melissa Lozada-Oliva’s spoken word poetry up on YouTube, and it’s even more powerful in person. Lozada-Oliva’s delivery is sometimes surprisingly funny, with a dark sense of humor that isn’t always – plainly? – evident in written form (at least not to me, anyhow). Here are just two that grabbed me by the amygdala and refuse to let go.

 

Table of Contents

Origin Regimen
Maybe She’s Born With It, Maybe She Got Up Early
Ode to Brown Girls With Bangs
Lip / Stain / Must / Ache
I’m Sorry, I Thought You Were Your Mother
You Use Your Hands So Much When You Talk
AKA What Would Jessica Jones Do?
You Know How to Say Arroz con Polla but Not What You Are
My Hair Stays on Your Pillow Like a Question Mark
What If My Last Name Got a Bikini Wax, Too
The Women in My Family Are Bitches
I Shave My Sister’s Back Before Prom
We Play Would You Rather at the Galentine’s Day Party
Wolf Girl Suite
It’s Funny the Things That Stick With You
Mami Says Have You Been Crying
Self-Portrait With Historical Moments
Light Brown Noise
I’m So Ready
House Call
Yosra Strings Off My Mustache Two Days After the Election in a Harvard Square Bathroom

 

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

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Friday, November 3rd, 2017

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Thursday, November 2nd, 2017