Éirinn go Brách

28 May

On Saturday, what was once unthinkable happened. A mainly Catholic nation legalized gay marriage by popular vote.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe the right to love is a basic, inalienable human right which should not be granted or denied at the whim of the majority.

However, it often is, indeed, denied. Minorities of all types are often ground beneath majorities’ heel–ignored, hidden, punished, their very right to even exist denied. (Egypt, I’m looking at you.)

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After the Night, by Linda Howard

27 May

After the NightAs some of you know, I took a very quick trip home last week. While the occasion was my mother’s 80th birthday, the lion’s share of preparation and actual effort was for my sister.

In order to maximize the benefits of these efforts, we keep a spreadsheet as a Google document. That way, should she manage to find a title on the “books to get” list she can mark it off, and I won’t be carting duplicates to her. In the same manner, I will mark off those books she requests as I get them.

Unfortunately, she hasn’t done the best job at this so far. Not only did I take her one duplicate on this trip–despite begging her since February to double check the list–but I found seven other duplicated books, from previous shipments, that she had sneaked to my mother’s house.

After some swearing (out of range of the parental unit), I grabbed them and tossed them in my bag. Good thing I did, because while my flight down there was on a new plane, the trip back was on a relic that didn’t have outlets to charge my phone. All those books? Yeah, out of reach.

But there it was, a dog eared print copy of one of my favorite Linda Howard books, coming to my rescue.

Now you get my thoughts.

Please note: there’s an attempted suicide, subtle sexual coercion, and some generalized Southern asshattery in the novel

After the Night, by Linda Howard

There are a couple of things you may want to take into account as you read this review.

The first is that I am a fan of Ms Howard. I have read everything she wrote up to 2008, and I still own all of those books, save five: All That Glitters, An Independent Wife, To Die For, Drop Dead Gorgeous and Raintree: Inferno. The first two are her debut and sophomore efforts, both released in 1982. The next two are the Blair Mallory novels, which a) are narrated in first person, and b) I hated, with the passion of a thousand suns. The last one I just couldn’t get into.

I also own, but haven’t finished reading, Burn, which she released in 2009. I may also have Ice, and perhaps even Veil of Night, but there was something about Burn that put me off trying any of Ms Howard’s newer work.¹

The second is that this novel was, if not my very first, one of the first Linda Howard books I ever read, back in 1997. As such, it holds a special place in my heart. I can see some of its problems, but I know I’m blind to others. This is very much a book of its time; it was published in 1995, likely written the year before that. Not only are faxes essential for business, there are no cell phones. Hell, not even car phones are mentioned! You may correctly assume that some of the gender and social issues in the book follow pattern.

I cannot even begin to fathom how a reader would react to this book today.

Here’s the blurb, from the print copy in question:
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I’m back!

26 May

Didja miss me?

Yes, I know it was not even six full days, but still!

First things first: thanks for all the good wishes; my mother had a great time (and so did I, petty annoyances aside).

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Heart of Obsidian, by Nalini Singh

25 May

Heart of ObsidianSo much for posting one Psy/Changeling review every Monday–I still aim to catch up before Shards of Hope comes out on June 2nd, or at least on the day.

(Wish me luck, pretty please?)

For anyone who is a fan of the series but hasn’t yet read all the previous books: you really don’t want to read this book before you’ve read everything that comes before.

Hell, you don’t want to read this review before you’ve read everything that’s come before.

If you are new to the series, you may enjoy the romance aspect better than you would in some of the previous books, because this novel is more focused on the couple.

However, a lot of the world building will be more than a bit cryptic, and some of the interstitial stuff may seem utterly extraneous (it’s not). This is, after all, the twelfth full-length novel set in the Psy/Changeling world (never mind the novellas and short stories).

Finally, there is violence, in the past and yet on the page, in the form of flashbacks, towards the heroine; some of it is just mentioned in passing, some of it is described with some detail. If those are triggers for you, you may want to think twice before reading this one.

Heart of Obsidian, by Nalini Singh

When this book was released two years ago, the anticipation was immense. Fans knew that this novel was finally going to answer a number of questions that had been building for almost the entirety of the series–most notably, the identity of the Ghost.

The secrecy around the book was so tight, even the blurb didn’t answer any questions or, really, provide any real information about the story between the covers (which some fans took as a personal insult, something that makes me smirk to this day):
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