February Reading Log

Stasis 1.1 Beta & Stasis 1.2 Beta – EW Osborne

I’ve read some of the things Osborne has written under a pen name, and liked them. And this one is involving an apocalypse. Only, it’s starting at the beginning: people suddenly fly into a rage, and don’t stop until they’ve killed someone. Once someone is dead, they go int a catatonic state, and are harmless. Creepy, but harmless.

Stasis 1.1 and 1.2 cover the beginnings of this apocalypse, following several characters as they begin to find out things aren’t what they seem. Kristine is an intrepid reporter who’s dying to crack a big story. Christopher has a secret related to the “Seed” a sort of dreamscape mapping implant that most people have. Randall is trying to convert people for the end of the world as he sees it. Penelope is trying to find out the medical cause for it, while her co worker is becoming obsessed with the problem.

Just enough there to encourage you, and make you want more.

Poorcraft: The Funnybook Fundamentals of Living Well on Less – C. Spike Trotman Poorcraft: Wish You Were Here – Ryan Estrada

I backed these on Kickstarter years ago, as I loved the idea of a comci book style guide to living better with less money. I got them, stuffed them in a bookshelf, and there they sat. Until this month. My computer nook flooded thanks to heavy rain, and these were in the pile of books I needed to rescue. So I decided to read them.

The book on living well on less was well done. I think it’s aimed more at those in their late teens or early 20s than those of us in our mid to late thirties. It focuses on finding ways to live better without spending lots of money. Finding a room in a big house might be cheaper than an apartment on your own. Get to know what’s within walking distance and how the public transit works, and you might be able to do away with your car and it’s assorted costs.

All of it is great, IF you can change where you live, and move about a city. It really is advice for people who are young, single, and able to move about. For me, I can’t move from where I am, and there’s no public transportation (I live rurally), so I can’t do away with my car, or rent a room in a large house.

One thing that really shines about this one though is the recipes section. It shows how to outfit a kitchen for cooking without spending a lot of money, AND it provides a bunch of interesting recipes. It’s not ramen noodles and boxed mac and cheese, but a series of useful recipes, including a vegetarian section. I want to try a bunch of them out.

The vacation book I really didn’t like. It’s really only good for young singles that was to travel super cheap. It’s recommended that you pack only a backpack, book a hotel when you get there, and use public transit only. Yes, you do pay more for extra bags, hotels that advertise, and taking a shuttle or taxi from the airport. Sometimes it’s just easier. I would rather not land in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language, and hope I’ll find a place to stay.

Glass Kiln Casting with Colour de Verre – Jayne Persico

I’d wanted this book for a while, and I was able to pick it up at a discount on Amazon. I love glass casting with Colour de Verre molds, and have several of them. I hoped the book would suggest some projects that I could create.

No, not really.

The book isn’t bad, but it’s also not great. It’s only 80 pages, and published through a small press, which explains why it’s fairly expensive. One of the things I was disappointed by is most of the first 20 pages is filler. Priming the molds, knowing your kiln, programming a digital kiln, and playing with frit are things that anyone planning on using molds in glass work should know. That takes up almost ¼ of the book.

The projects aren’t bad, once you get there. About every other project you get a 2 page spread of variations on the projects that have come before. It’s nice to see the variations so you can get ideas of the different ways to apply the glass pieces once you’re done.

The Chemist – Stephenie Meyer

I heard Stephenie Meyer had a new book out, and since I like torturing myself, I got it on CD from the library to listen at work. It was surpringly not that bad.

The Chemist is a handle used by a woman who used to be a biochemist who tortured people for information. Before the book begins, her mentor believed they were being monitored, teaching The Chemist how prepare to run and disappear. At the beginning of the book, she’s visiting a public library several hundred miles from her house to check her email. She gets an email she’s sure is a trap, and that sets her down a path of destruction and revenge.

In typical Meyer fashion, the book is too long. With a good editor, it could have been pretty interesting, but the way it is, it’s too long and the pacing is uneven. Lots of shit happens, then nothing for a while. Then a bunch more, then nothing. The epilogue was actually pretty funny, and I enjoyed it, but it didn’t make up for a totally average book.

Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas

Caelena is a skilled assassin who’s been sentenced to life in the salt mines. Found a year after beinf there, she’s offered a deal by the crown prince: compete in a tournament his father has had set up for a King’s Champion, or rot in the mines. Wisely, she chooses to compete. Even a year in the salt mines hasn’t dulled her skills too badly, and as the tournament progresses Caelena finds things aren’t as stright forward as they seem. What do a ghost, a princess of a recently conquered kingdom, and random killings in the palace have to do with the tournament, and the King’s need for a champion?

Really an enjoyable book, and I plan on reading the rest of the series if I can get them from the library. It’s a good fantasy setting, where the King believes in taking over his neighbors and outlawing religion. The relationships Caelana forms with the princess, the crown prince, and the captain of the guard are interesting, and I want to see them develop further.

Seed – Lisa Heathfield

This book is chilling. Pearl is 15 and knows only Seed, the religious cult and farm she’s grown up on. At the open, she’s received her period, but has no idea what is it. She thinks she’s dying. Elizabeth, a woman in the cult, assures her that Mother Nature has given her a blessing, and now she is woman. She trades her trousers for a skirt, and then Elizabeth locks her in a hole in the ground overnight, so that Mother Nature can bless her womb to carry healthy babies.

The fuck?

It goes downhill from there. Seed is all Pearl has ever known, and she’s only been educated in what Papa S deems correct information. When someone from the Outside mentions people have walked on the moon, she doesn’t believe him.

Seed gets shaken up with the arrival of Linda, and her children Sofie and Ellis. They’re from the Outside, and while Linda and Sofie assimilate into Seed, Ellis sparks feeling in Pearl that she doesn’t understand. Seed starts to unravel as time goes on. Pearl learns from Ellis that no, honey is not full of eggs that will hatch and cause bees to fly out of your mouth if you eat it without special drops. No, not everyone on the outside is bad, and Mother Nature has not caused most of the surrounding lands to flood with the intention of leaving only Seed untouched.

Once the cult really falls apart, the ending comes in a hurry, and it was totally unexpected. There’s more than one twist, which leaves an unsettling ending. Seriously fucked up, and worth reading.