Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Barren by Peter V. Brett

Pros: fast paced, realistic relationships

Cons: homophobic world which may be distressing for some to read

Selia Square’s time as speaker of Tibbet’s Brook hasn’t always been easy, and as the demons start to swarm mistakes from her past threaten to destroy the Brook.

This is a demon cycle novella set around the time of the events in the novel The Core. You’ll be lost if you haven’t read the novels.

I liked Selia, though I’ll admit that the large age gap between her and her lover did give me pause. The novella is strongly focused on her sexuality and how being a lesbian goes against the religious and moral codes of the peoples of the Brook. Though it has a happy ending, some readers may find the negative language and how an earlier affair ends distressing. The author creates his own terms so there are no slurs, but it’s still a world that doesn’t accept gay couples.

The interpersonal relationships were handled realistically. Grudges festered, past events haunted the present, the youth didn’t care much about what happened before they were born. The town and its borroughs felt real and lived in.

It’s a quick read that fleshes in what happened in Arlen’s home village after he gave them the fighting wards and helps his father redeem himself.

Friday, 30 September 2022

Shout-Out: TimeLock by Howard & Peter Berk

With crime rampant in the near future, the President authorizes a controversial program: TimeLock, a cellular acceleration process that instantly ages prisoners the total number of years of their sentence. In other words-three strikes and you're old . . . very old.

Despite ongoing public outcries, two years later the program is up and running and crime is already on the decline. But what happens if you're innocent?

Falsely convicted of murder, 23-year-old Morgan Eberly is sentenced to be aged 40 years in a TimeLock capsule. When a riot interrupts his processing, Morgan--now 43 years old--manages to escape.

With powerful forces on his trail, Morgan enlists the help of Janine Price, the FBI agent who arrested him. Together, they investigate the murders of ex-prisoners who were transformed by TimeLock and soon discover why Morgan is certain to be next.

Can Morgan and Janine unlock the truth about TimeLock before it's too late?

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Vacation’s End

I’m back! I’m using the word ‘vacation’ a bit loosely. It was a very busy trip with little time to relax. I was away for 5 weeks doing a whirlwind tour of France, trying to photograph as many cathedrals (and a lot of other old buildings) as I could. I hit 42 cities in 36 days and walked so much my feet still hurt. Whew. It’s good to be back. I’ve spent the past 2 weeks trying to get back up to speed. Over the next while I’ll be going through the 20,000+ photos I took. I’ll post a small album here of interesting pieces of sculpture and stained glass.

I’d hoped to do some reading so I would have content to post when I returned, but things didn't work out that way. I did watch some TV shows, one of which I will be posting about. So I've scrambled a bit to finish some books. I’m hoping to get back to posting 1-2 times a week.

I’m also hoping to update the cathedral information pages I used on the trip so I can post a few of those to Archive.org. One of the reasons I took the trip was so I could add information to the pages and fix any errors before I posted them (I’m sure there will still be errors, there’s always something you miss, but hopefully there will be fewer errors).

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Shout-Out: The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen

"A uniquely charming mixture of whimsy and the macabre that completely won me over. If you ever wished for an adult romance that felt like Howl's Moving Castle, THIS IS THAT BOOK."
—Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient

Hart is a marshal, tasked with patrolling the strange and magical wilds of Tanria. It’s an unforgiving job, and Hart’s got nothing but time to ponder his loneliness.

Mercy never has a moment to herself. She’s been single-handedly keeping Birdsall & Son Undertakers afloat in defiance of sullen jerks like Hart, who seems to have a gift for showing up right when her patience is thinnest.

After yet another exasperating run-in with Mercy, Hart finds himself penning a letter addressed simply to “A Friend”. Much to his surprise, an anonymous letter comes back in return, and a tentative friendship is born.

If only Hart knew he’s been baring his soul to the person who infuriates him most—Mercy. As the dangers from Tanria grow closer, so do the unlikely correspondents. But can their blossoming romance survive the fated discovery that their pen pals are their worst nightmares—each other?

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Blog Vacation

I'll be taking a month or so off for a blog vacation. I've got a few time consuming projects I've been working on and want to focus on those exclusively for a bit. I will be back with new content mid-September.

Friday, 12 August 2022

Shout-Out: Sanctuary by Andi C. Buchanan

Morgan’s home is a sanctuary for ghosts.

The once-grand, now dilapidated old house they live in has become a refuge for their found family—Morgan's partner Araminta, an artist with excellent dress sense; Theo, a ten-year-old with an excess of energy; quiet telekinesthetic pensioner Denny—as well as the ghosts who live alongside them. All people who once needed sanctuary for their queer, neurodivergent selves.

Now they offer that safety to the dead as well as the living.

When a collection of ghosts trapped in old bottles are delivered to their door, something from the past is unleashed. A man who once collected ghosts - a man who should have died centuries before - suddenly has the house under his control. Morgan must trust their own abilities, and their hard-won sense of self, to save their home, their family, and the woman they love.

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Not a Review: From Age to Age by Edward Foley

This isn't a proper review because I only had time to read select chapters of interest.

When I did my degree in medieval studies I learned about languages, manuscripts, church architecture, drama, literature and philosophy. It shocks me now that not one professor suggested learning about Catholicism and how the church's liturgy affected architecture, etc. The first inkling I had that I'd missed something massively important was during my graduation mass (the first time I attended mass), and so many things suddenly clicked. Recently I've been trying to plug that gap in my knowledge and came across From Age to Age: How Christians Have Celebrated the Eucharist.

The book has an introduction followed by 7 chapters: 
1. Emerging Christianity: The First Century
2. The Domestic Church: 100-313
3. The Rise of the Roman Church: 313-750
4. Frankish Domination: 750-1073
5. The Prelude to Reform: 1073-1517
6. Revolt, Reform and Rigidity: 1517-1903
7. The Return to Change: 1903 and Beyond
The book concludes with a glossary and bibliography.

Within each chapter the author subdivides the information into categories for architecture, music, books, and vessels for administering the Eucharist.

The book explained terms I've seen for years without properly understanding them (for specific books and liturgical vessels in particular), as well as giving some indications as to how the space in a church was used over time (the development of the choir, the slow exclusion of the congregation from singing/participating).

If you don't know the difference between a missal and a breviary, or what a pyx is, this is an easy to read primer that covers the whole of Catholicism. It doesn't go into a lot of detail, but it gives a good foundation.