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So it took about a month for me to read Ysabeau Wilce's Flora's Fury. Not because it was boring or bad or anything like that, but family circumstances just eat into my brain's ability to read, plus the whole sleep thing...Anyway, a great addition to the previous two books: Flora Segunda and Flora's Dare. Flora's now an assistant to her mother in the army and is sent on a mission. Flora's personal mission is to try to find Tiny Doom aka Azota. Lo and behold, adventures happen! Of course. We get to see a pirate haven (Catalina island?) and a far-off outpost in the desert (Tucson?) in this alternate California land. For a bit of background, Flora lives in a San Francisco analog, Califa which has been taken over by Aztec-analogs ("birdies"). The amazing heroes of the previous generation, which include her parents, are either reduced, mad, or dead.

I find the worldbuilding quite exciting. It's a pretty complicated alternate reality (flayed priests, crazy fashions) with very intriguing characters all around. There's definitely room for a sequel, as many questions are answered from previous books, but issues still remain. I don't want to get into the plot any more for fear of spoiling it. Check out Flora Segunda if you'd like a fun, exciting young adult fantasy series.

Big Questions is a massive door-stopper of a graphic novel by Anders Nilsen. The main story is about a flock of finches who have to deal with big changes in their environment. Some are all about the next meal but others ponder 'big questions.' Many of the questions are brought on by an unexploded bomb that's dropped in the area, followed in a few days by a crashed fighter jet. It's cool seeing these birds trying to figure out what's happening and what to do. Artwork is minimal and it's impossible to tell the birds apart, but Nilsen normally has a bird say, "hi, so-and-so" when a new bird flies into a scene. It's ambitious and different.

melita66: (icebert)
It's been pretty slow the last few weeks. I went to the World Fantasy Convention in San Diego the week before last. I got some nice books in the book bag (publishers donate books for publicity reasons), traded some with a friend who went with me, and put on the 'free' table everything that I was sure I wouldn't read. I was also careful in the dealer's room and only bought 2 books (1 a gift).

I went to several panel sessions (crystal ceiling, worlds of Islam, some young adult sessions, the year in review). Several sessions where I hoped for some good recommendations hardly had any so that was a bust. I follow enough blogs now that I had at least heard of almost everything mentioned in the year-in-review session which definitely helped when writing down suggested books and authors!

I went to several readings. Sharon Shinn who has a new series starting next year. I had a problem with some timeline issues in the excerpt she read. Main character is a shapeshifter and its stated that as he's gotten older, he spends more time in nonhuman (animal) form to the point that he's only in human form for a few days a month. He shows up at main character's house after an absence of a few weeks. Based on her statement that she had to go to work for two days, it was probably on a Wednesday. She asks him about weekend plans, and he announces that they have to visit his sister on Sunday. Um, we're already getting past a few days there. The funnest was Ysabeau Wilce's. The first Flora book is coming out next spring! Hooray! Hip hip hooray! She had pictures of the cover, and chocolates. Really yummy chocolates. I also attended Alaya Dawn Johnson's reading. She had been recommended at either last years WFC or this year's worldcon so I thought I would see whether I would look up her stuff after the reading. I've done that before with unknown-to-me authors, but usually decided not to buy anything. This time the series did sound intriguing and I have the first book ordered.

I'm impatient enough now (due to a personal issue) that I actually asked a neighbor to be quiet. She was typing on a laptop most of the session--fine, maybe she's blogging--but then would quit to hold long (minutes long) whispered discussion with her neighbor. Worked okay when panelists were speaking, but once audience members started commenting, it was very difficult to hear them. She was quite surprised, quieted down for the rest of the session and apologized when we broke up. Thank you, unknown colleague!

Another session, the moderator brought in statements from what she called 'ghost panelists'. I understand the reasoning. She prepared well, and asked for statements from some well-known names in field. However, I thought it short-changed the panelists because she insisted on reading the statements verbatim. Briefly summarizing them would have left more time for the other panelists and audience members to comment. Sessions were only 55 minutes long (before the lost of the first minute or two for everyone to settle down).

I didn't have any problems with the convention hotel/site except trying to make my around the first day. It is a confusing layout. I think there were originally some two story room blocks. Later, hotel tower blocks, more restaurants, and the convention center buildings were added. Everything's a bit shoe-horned in, and that makes it difficult to get around. People with mobility issues were having a difficult time. I'd noticed one blatant problem. Readings were on the second floor of the conventions center. The women's bathroom had two stalled. The 'handicapped' stall was the same size as a regular stall, but had a rail installed. The stall door opened inwards! I could hardly maneuver enough to get the door shut.

Had some very good food. The hotel restaurants were fine. But, Boudin's, here's looking at you! Yum, yum. And, I was able to hit Boston Market on the way home and had yummy leftovers for several days. Nom nom, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, nom nom.

On the reading side, I was waiting for some books to arrive so I re-read Sharon Lee and Steve Miller: Plan B, I Dare, and Ghost Ship.

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November 2016

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