Month: May 2014

Buddy Review (Part 1): The Vintner’s Luck

Posted May 14, 2014 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Not-A-Review / 0 Comments

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The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth KnoxWelcome to my and Memory’s first ever buddy review! I’ve been very lucky in that I got to do a buddy review with Memory Scarlett, who is a good friend and an awesome person. We’ve both read and loved The Vintner’s Luck by Elizabeth Knox and we decided it would be a lot of fun to do a buddy review of a reread. It was, indeed, a lot of fun as you’re about to see. We rambled quite a bit and we split our buddy review (or squeefest; mostly it’s a squeefest) into two. This is the first part. You can read the second part over on Memory’s blog here. (Don’t worry. I’ll link it again at the bottom, so you don’t have to scroll all the way up for it.)

So let’s start by telling you what The Vintner’s Luck is about. No, wait. Let’s start with this important notice: If you haven’t read the book before, Memory and I will be spoiling the heck out of you in our review. HERE BE SPOILERS. For they are crunchy and tasty with a pinch of salt and rosemary. You have been warned.

And now. What the book is about. I’ll nab the Amazon description for you all to peruse.

Burgundy, 1808. One night Sobran Jodeau, a young vintner, meets an angel in his vineyard: a physically gorgeous creature with huge wings that smell of snow, a sense of humour and an inquiring mind. They meet again every year on the midsummer anniversary of the date. Village life goes on, meanwhile, with its affairs and mysteries, marriages and murders, and the vintages keep improving – though the horror of the Napoleonic wars and into the middle of the century, as science marches on, viticulture changes, and gliders fly like angels.

And there you are. That’s what the book is about. That’s also what the book is not about, but we’ll get to that in due time. Also, notice that bit about the murders? WE SPOIL THE WHODUNNIT ASPECT. Just so you, you know, know. In case you didn’t want to know and didn’t care about any of the rest.

I should also introduce Memory to you! But I’ll let Memory introduce herself:

Hello, Lynn’s readers! I’m Memory, a writer, reader, and watcher of trashy television (and/or movies where lots of stuff blows up). Lynn was one of the first people I met when I jumped into the blogosphere in late 2008, and she’s introduced me to a fair few wonderful books over the years–including THE VINTNER’S LUCK. I’m so glad I got to read it again alongside her!

Note that I’ve formatted the buddy review a little differently from the interviews I’ve done, but that’s mostly because Memory and I rambled a lot and this hopefully gives visual-oriented people a bit more of a visual clue on who’s talking when. I hope you’ll all have as much fun reading our buddy review as we had in writing it!

!!! REMEMBER! HERE BE SPOILERS! THIS IS YOUR LAST SPOILER WARNING! !!!

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Once upon a Time Update!

Posted May 13, 2014 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Banner for the Once upon a Time challenge by Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings.Since I keep on forgetting to set up mentions for the Once upon a Time challenge in the posts that relate to said challenge, I thought I’d put together a slightly-past-the-mid-point round-up of posts as well as some hints on what to expect popping up over the remainder of the challenge.

My introduction post! As I said there, I’ve signed up for Quest the First, which means reading a grand total of five books fitting into fantasy, fairy tales, folktales and mythology categories. And because I am me, I went ahead and tripled the count up to 15 books within the period. I have… no idea how well I’m doing. Let’s go and find out!

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Retellings and I

Posted May 9, 2014 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 6 Comments

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Thoughts. The text 'rambling thoughts' underneath a burning lantern. For rambles, thoughts, and not-essays.

A while ago (as I post this; not so much as I write this) I discussed some of my favourite fairytales. This time around, as I hinted at then, I’d like to discuss some of my favourite retellings as well as spend some time nattering about some of my own attempts. That’ll be interesting. For this post I’ll make things a little broader in that I don’t want to rely solely on retellings of Western European fairytales. For one this allows me to include Tam Lin retellings, which are some of my favourites. (I have a Theory about Tam Lin retellings. One day I will reassemble my collection, reread them all and natter about this theory. Maybe. We’ll see. But so far I have yet to read a retelling that failed to live up to the Theory.)

I feel a little odd naming these as my favourite retellings, actually, since by and large I often haven’t read these books more than once yet. I just fell in love with them when I did and I am filled with squeefulness that has me pass these suggestions on to everyone I can when the topic comes up. This post is still written in honour of Once upon a Time season. I hope everyone’s been having a great challenge! We’re… about halfway through when I’m posting this, I think? Time sure does fly! :O

Because this is a two-part post, I shall be using subheadings to divide the two. Fun times!

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Fairytales and I

Posted May 4, 2014 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 2 Comments

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Thoughts. The text 'rambling thoughts' underneath a burning lantern. For rambles, thoughts, and not-essays.

Like many, I grew up on fairytales. Inspired by a guest post on Tales of the Marvellous and because it’s Once upon a Time season, I thought I’d ramble on about fairytales and my relationship to them. I may, or may not, at some point make a list of favourite fairytale retellings. For the purpose of this post, I’ll stick to what are canonically considered Western European fairytales. A large part of the reason for that is that, though I grew up with some exposure to non-Western European tales (fairytale, folktale, mythology or otherwise) it wasn’t a lot and my favourites are all going to be Western European.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that, growing up, I was surrounded by many of the most well-known fairytales: Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc. They’re stories that have endured and continue to endure for a reason. Some of that is that they’re good at what they do. They take a couple of fairytale elements and do them well. Unlike some other tales which gather up a mishmash and do them badly. Some of that is that they’re so well-known. Some of that is that they’re genuinely more coherent and possess more character than some of the others without needing too much adaptation to be suitable to small children. Jorinde and Joringel is lovely tale on its own, but it’s a bit sparse on motivation even for a fairytale and it’s not particularly memorable compared to some of the others out there. The Juniper Tree is one of the more detailed fairytales, but whichever way you twist it it’s a gruesome tale. It remains a story about a stepmother who beheads her stepson, makes her daughter think she did it, chops the dead boy up for supper, and then gets murdered by the dead-boy-turned-bird by having her head bashed in. There isn’t much you can sanitise and keep the plot intact. Sleeping Beauty is fairly easily sanitised and turned into a chaste kiss without touching much of the rest of the story at all. Rapunzel gets a little more complex. The story I grew up with took out the suggestion that she and the prince have had sex, but left in the kids she’s given birth to in the end. As a child I just rolled with it. As an adult, I kind of want to explore what happened to Rapunzel because she sure wasn’t pregnant when she parted from her prince. Perhaps one day I will.

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Monthly Goals April/May 2014

Posted May 1, 2014 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Goals / 0 Comments

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Monthly Goals. The text 'monthly goals' underneath a scroll with a key on it. A look back at my goals of the month.
And so I have survived April with its decision to throw yet more stuff on me that I really didn’t need right now. April and I did not reach an agreement on this.

I Want to Read:
– The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner
– Winds of Change edited by Elizabeth Fitzgerald
– The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint

I Want to Write:
– as many chapters of A Promise Broken as I can manage with a minimum of about 6. (That’s roughly 18,000 words.)

This is the point where I sob, laugh, blink and generally feel lots of emotions because I have Winds of Change down as a March read in my files and I barely managed to finish a single chapter of A Promise Broken, but I did manage a decent chunk of reading thanks to the Readathon. It is safe to say my April was about as good as my March and sucked in terms of stuff I got done. Thank you, orthodontist and everyone else demanding I do stuff I have no energy for. I REALLY APPRECIATE WHAT YOU’VE DONE TO MY MONTHS. /sarcasm

May, sadly, is shaping up to be even more of the same. This wouldn’t be so bad if I had more control over at least some of it. But I don’t and worrying at it doesn’t do me a whole lot of good, so let’s focus on positive things and look at goals for me to accomplish in May instead.

I Want to Read:
– Even the Wingless by M.C.A. Hogarth
– Heart of Stone by C.E. Murphy
– Long Hidden Title by various authors

I Want to Write:
– at minimum 1 chapter of A Promise Broken
– rework at minimum one scene from the Space Ghosts tale

We’ll see how this all goes. I’m also working on a few smaller projects I’m being fairly hush-hush about since I don’t quite know what I’ll be doing with them yet. It’s all very exciting, though. I’ll be updating people as I have actual news to report. For now I’m in “Wait for other people to get back to me” territory. This month, I’m deliberately setting my goals low, which annoys me more than anything else, but I’m faced with several very long days throughout May and several organisational issues that I’ll need to sort. I have decided that I absolutely loathe the organisational approach that plans appointments of an “We will severely penalise you if you don’t make this appointment and no you can’t reschedule it” without checking whether I’m actually available at that date and time. *snarl* Thankfully I managed to avoid it conflicting with my job. It’ll be a tough week and an emotionally tough month, but I’ll live. It’d just be nice if I could live and get stuff done.
Anyway! So we’ll see how it all goes. Despite how it probably sounds, I’m actually excited about starting May. There’s always a chance that it won’t be as bad as I’m fearing and will actually be kind of awesome. It could be! Those smaller projects could bring some big awesome into the month. April ended on the Crossed Genres kickstarter being fully funded and May will see the release of Tesla Effect, which I’m excited about. Setting my goals low will also mean that I’m less likely to be disappointed by not reaching them at the end of the month. (And strangely, less annoyed with myself.)
So… Bring on May! I’ll do my best to make it a great month anyway! That’s all I can do after all. ^_^
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