look closely at all make-for-fun raisinlions

Hi! You may know me as [livejournal.com profile] woodburner. Or hey, you may not. Anyway, this is a mostly open journal - subscribe/unsubscribe at will, no need to ask permission. :)
branewurms: (Utena - secret of the Rose Bride)
Uh... BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, I guess? Also I'm just reposting my review, idk guys, I am dying of TOO MUCH TO DO. (Not that I have all that much to do. I just tend to discombobulate into a scattered mess at the least hint of frustration.)

Witch EyesWitch Eyes by Scott Tracey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3 1/2 stars. Really fun YA paranormal with a touch of romance. Follows fairly standard patterns (except for, y'know, the whole pairing being two dudes thing, which is unfortunately scarce in YA).

Although the structure and story-beats are pretty straightforward for the genre, there are some pretty distinctive and original flares, I think. I, at least, haven't seen this sort of almost abstract and impressionistic approach to magic in a paranormal before. Pacing's a bit uneven, and I think Braden suffers from excessive bouts of too-stupid-to-live seemingly just for the sake of conflict, but this is fresh and fun enough that I'd recommend it for anyone who enjoys paranormal YA.

Oh, and btw - this is clearly the start of a series, and while there is a solid conclusion to this book, it leaves a lot hanging, too. I don't see that as either a good or a bad thing, but y'know, seems like a good thing to note.

View all my reviews

Basically I agree with most of what Rachel said - it's nothing extrodinary except in that the central couple are gay dudes. It was, otoh, a fun read, and I look forward to the next book.


  • Oct. 16th, 2011 at 2:24 PM
branewurms: (Fringe - STRAWBERRY FLAVORED DEATH)

And this post is going to be... a pimp post, but FRINGE COMING LATER, SWEARS.

[livejournal.com profile] pseudonymeter has a for-sale post up to raise direly needed funds - pretty hand made books! Custom book jewelry! Pretty bookmarks! Good for X-mas present ideas! etc. Go check it out!

Oh, and I almost forgot: [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija has a great idea for "permanent floating YA diversity book clubs" - and is running one here for October/November. The book for Oct/Nov is Witch Eyes! I already read it a few weeks ago, and will be reposting my review from goodreads here on my blog. (Hopefully I can find more to talk about too?! I'm not that great at finding in-depth things to say about books...)

Ridiculouser and Ridiculouser

  • Sep. 16th, 2011 at 3:54 PM
branewurms: (Mushishi - what)
Apparently the person who wrote the #YesGayYA rebuttal was not the agent in question, just another agent from the agency. Yeah, that clarifies things so much. :|d

Cleolinda wrote an excellent roundup of the whole mess over here.

K Tempest Bradford also has an interesting post here.
branewurms: (Pandora Hearts - NO)
Rachel Manija Brown ([livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija) and Sherwood Smith ([livejournal.com profile] sartorias) come forward to reveal that they were offered representation for their co-written post-apocalyptic YA novel by an agent at a major agency - on the condition that they make their gay character straight. Here is the article on Genreville at Publisher's Weekly, and here is the article on [personal profile] rachelmanija's blog.

They are asking any authors who have had a similar experience to come forward over on the Genreville post (pseudonymously if neccesary) and tell their stories. (Chillingly, the very first comment to that post is an author revealing that they were not asked to erase the icky gay cooties - their editor just did it for them, without mentioning it to the author at all.)

They're also asking editors and agents who are open to gay characters and other minority characters to explicitly advertise as such. They're asking readers to fight with their wallets - to buy YA books featuring queer characters, to request their libraries carry YA books featuring queer characters, and so on. Here is a list of known YA SFF books with major queer characters as a handy reference, complete with annotations and links to Amazon.

(And, because intersectionality is important: Known YA SFF with POC main characters, author surnames A-L, and author surnames M-Z.)

Please reblog and retweet. (Twitter hashtag: #YesGayYA)

This shit isn't going to stop until the writers and the consumers stand up and say that this is unacceptable. It won't stop until we send the clear message that we, the readers, do want to read these books, that we will buy them and request them at our libraries - that they are by no means "unmarketable," and that we know that flimsy excuse for what it is: a flimsy excuse.

Mr. Fox, by Helen Oyeyemi

  • Aug. 7th, 2011 at 10:18 PM
branewurms: (Utena - secret of the Rose Bride)
Okay guys, I have like a bajilionity book quote reviews unquote since the last time I did a book post, but I'm going to post this one separately because it deserves special attention! And by that I mean I want you all to go read it and then COME BACK AND TALK TO MEEEE omg I want to babble senselessly about this book with people so bad. :(

(It's not out in the US yet. I was so excited to get the new Oyeyemi that I ordered it from Europe on Abebooks, errrr. But if you're in the US and want to wait until late September, here it is on Amazon!)

Mr. Fox's frame story takes place in the 1930s. It's about this jerk, St John Fox, who's a writer with a propensity for killing off all his heroines in ridiculously gruesome ways. His long-absent muse, Mary Foxe, shows up to berate him for being such an asshole - he's a killer, she says, and she doesn't want him like this. He protests! He's not an asshole! It's not like he's actually killing these fine ladies! It's all just games, don't you understand, it's not like it means anything! So Mary challenges him to another game: they each take turns ensnaring each other in stories - stories that ignore the constraints of time and location and reality - where they play the main characters. Through this game Mary hopes to teach him a lesson. Eventually, Mr. Fox's wife, Daphne, gets involved, thinking he's having some kind of affair.

You guys, THIS BOOK. It's really great. It was also very familiar to me on this uncanny, semi-subconscious level - like, YES, I recognize this, these things, they're in my head too! It has been many years since a book touched me on such a personal level. I think the only book that's ever been more eerily familiar to me than this was The Etched City. (...Although I hasten to add that the two books are not particularly alike at all. I do think there's a good chance that if you like one, you'd like the other, considering they're both from the weirder side of the tracks, and they're both very good.)

Helpful note: It helps to be familiar with Bluebeard/Fitcher's Bird/Mister Fox/other fairy tales following the Bluebeard motif going into this book. Also, Reynardine.

My quote review unquote from goodreads:

Mr. FoxMr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't know, I don't know, I don't knowwwww. The more deeply a book touches me, the less I know how to say anything about it. My reaction to this book is kind of like how I feel when I look at the moon; I'm full of all these senseless impulses, I want to eat it, I want to breathe it. It should be cool and bright in my mouth. Every word is luminous and strange and wonderful. I want everyone in the world to read it and love it like I do and talk about it so I can consume all their thoughts, too.

I know this tells you absolutely nothing about what this book was about. How am I supposed to convince people to read it? I just don't even know how to talk about it. It was a novel, and it was also a collection of short stories, and it was about a lot of things like love and creativity and muses and Bluebeard and the nastiness (and laziness) of the tradition of killing off heroines for dramatic impact. It was also wonderful, and you should all read it and talk about it so I can eat your thoughts.

Incidentally I almost wish I had waited for the US hardcover to come out and gotten that edition, because although the Picador edition is made of what looks and feels like high-quality materials, it's designed somewhat poorly so you have to almost wrestle the book open and pin it down to read it, and now there's all this wear on my copy when I'm usually really gentle on books. I don't really mind when this happens with a really cheap paperback, but this wasn't cheap. But if I had waited, I wouldn't have been able to read it for another whole two months, and that would have been TERRIBLE. What if I died tomorrow? Then I would have lived my whole life never having read this book. Horrors!

View all my reviews


  • Jul. 5th, 2011 at 11:15 PM
branewurms: (Half World)
O hai! Back from (unintentional) hiatus (again)!

O all-knowing f-list/circle, can anyone tell me if the recent edition of Dragon Sword and Wind Child released by Viz Media contains illustrations? And if these illustrations are in both the paperback and hardback version? (I ask the 2nd question b/c I noticed that the cover image for the hardback on Amazon mentions "illustrations by Miho [unreadable]," but the paperback version conspicuously does not.) Also, if there are illustrations, how many?

(I'm trying to decide whether to buy the book, see, since I've already read it from the library - but the library's edition is from 1993 and has a kinda meh cover and no illustrations, and if the Viz edition has illustrations I'd like to see them.)

((I would have just asked Viz Media, but their contact page only has a snail mail address wtf Viz Media it is 2011 and I am looking at your website ON THE INTERNET.))


  • Jun. 15th, 2011 at 6:42 AM
branewurms: (Mushishi - what)
So the other day I dreamed that I engaged in an epic battle with Ray effing Bradbury to save my friends.

He had kidnapped them! With magic! Because they had read his books, he managed to put them under some magical hypnosis and compel them to crawl down this twisty, narrow tunnel into his UNDERGROUND LAIR. ...Which was a cozy library where he was just chillin' in a wheelchair by the fireplace with a comfy blanket over his legs.

So anyway, I crawled down after them and challenged Mr. Bradbury! And okay, so the battle wasn't really all that epic, it was more a low-key sort of magical battle of wills thing, utterly lacking in fireballs and lightning bolts, BUT IT WAS STILL AWESOME. And I beat him!

So then, as we took our leave, we stole a bunch of his books - his books, the ones he had written - each taking an armful. My two friends crawled out before me, and Mr. Bradbury called after me, saying, "You know, I'm just going to get a hold over them again if they keep reading my books!"

Well, I thought this was kind of presumptuous of him, and I didn't want him to get too full of himself, so I said, "How do you know we're planning to read them?"

"What else are you going to do with them?!" he laughed.

He had me there. Annoyed, I muttered, "Yeah, yeah, whatever," and crawled out. (Perhaps I should have told him we were going to burn them. Give him a nice apoplexy!)

Once out on the street again, my two friends and I got into a car. The friend sitting in the seat next to me opened up a book and started reading. I reached over and slammed it shut. "You idiot!" I said. "At least wait until we've got some distance between him and us, or he'll just have you right back down there!"

"Oh, right..." she said vacantly, as if she'd been so intent on reading that that thought had never even occurred to her.

I head-wheeled, realizing that this was going to be a never-ending problem.

Conclusion: Take care when reading Ray Bradbury, for he is an evil mastermind who will take over your brain.
branewurms: (Tokyo Dogs - FFFFFFFFFF)
This time in our regularly scheduled idiocy re: YA fiction, we get bonus erasure of... well, PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE LIVING OVER HERE IN REALITY LAND.

"Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity. Why is this considered a good idea?"

Oh my GOD, shut your FUCKING MOUTH. Sorry if that's too "coarse" for you, but that's really all the response this article deserves, and I am way too enraged to clearly enumerate all the ways in which you are dangerously and harmfully wrong. (A choice quote that pretty much sums up this whole article: "If books show us the world, teen fiction can be like a hall of fun-house mirrors, constantly reflecting back hideously distorted portrayals of what life is." Because as we all know, nobody in real life ever experiences anything truly awful. To suggest otherwise is distorting the truth, y'all.)

I was actually thinking of this exact attitude recently wrt the skirt clutching and fluttering over the ~inappropriate~ material in Holly Black's Modern Faerie Tale series, and in the reviews for a load of different YA books I was browsing. Basically what the argument comes down to is this: if you're a teen in a bad situation, if you're being abused, molested, or neglected; if you're poor and living in slums or trailer parks or on the streets with bums and addicts; if you're depressed, self-harming, if you have an eating disorder or any other serious mental illness; if you've made bad choices, if you're dealing with addictions and consequences and pain and misery; even if you're just an average kid who curses a lot and smokes pot and drinks and parties and has sex and sometimes acts like an obnoxious asshole - if you are any of these things, you aren't real. You don't get to have your own narrative. You don't get to be a hero, you don't get to have adventures. Heroes are good clean Christian folk, whitebread, middle class, and would never have the audacity to come face to face with the "ugly" parts of life, either by choice or otherwise. We don't want to hear about you of all people, we don't want to have to see you, read about you, think about you. You're just trash.

In our fiction, our proper fiction, you do not exist.

...Welp, I guess I did have something to say about that article, after all.

eta: Maureen Johnson apparently started a twitter hashtag in response: #YASaves

eta #2: THE SIDEBAR. I had not even fucking NOTICED the sidebar. A recommended reading list... divided into books that are "for young men" and "for young women." I CAN'T. I SERIOUSLY JUST CANNOT DEAL. MY FACE IS ON FIREEEEEE.


branewurms: (Skip Beat - eternal fangirl)
So it's time for another THINGS WHAT I HAVE READ post. I've been keeping more notes on what I'm reading since joining Goodreads. Somehow it feels more laid back there, like there's less pressure to write a "real" review. (...Oh, and if you missed my post before, here I am on Goodreads.)

I'm copying these from Goodreads - they're more glorified notes and reaction shots than proper reviews. (In some cases, not even glorified.)

Spoiler: I REALLY, REALLY LIKED MECHANIQUE, Y'ALL. LIKE, REALLY. YOU SHOULD ALL GO READ IT RIGHT. NOW. Incidentally, you should also go stalk Genevieve Valetine's blog ([livejournal.com profile] glvalentine), because her bad movie reviews are absolutely hysterical.

Notes on Mechanique, Huntress, The Ogre Downstairs, The Merlin Conspiracy, Red Glove, Pay the Piper, Steam Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories (ALSO TOTALLY AWESOME BTW), Teeth: Vampire Tales, Akata Witch, and Moonshine. Any spoilers are whited out. )

o.m.g. SHUT UP.

  • Apr. 28th, 2011 at 8:15 PM
branewurms: (Pandora Hearts - NO)
And now I take a brief break from my unending bout of SEVERE UNRELENTING ANXIETY to mention that if you are complaining about how the biology in Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan doesn't make sense, YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT, GOOD SIR OR MADAM, AND YOU ARE MISSING IT SO HARD. Why are you even here? Go read something boring.

(I don't even understand this. Do people complain about, I don't know, tales of medieval knights, because the dragon couldn't possibly fly with wings that size?)

i don't even

  • Apr. 13th, 2011 at 12:17 AM
branewurms: (Default)



So anyway, more shit happened with the Wicked Pretty Things anthology. Including a press release in Publisher's Weekly from the president of Running Press (who is openly gay, which to my mind makes it even worse) that attempts to paint Jessica Verday as a troublemaker and whines that they're being cyber-bullied. No really, what a douchebag. [personal profile] cleolinda has been reporting on the situation and has a convenient recap of the events. Suffice it to say that the anthology has now been canceled due to the number of authors pulling out. Way to serve as an example of how NOT to do damage control, guys. Seriously, what the hell, I don't even.

*burrows back into hole*

Deathless, and also wtf publishing industry

  • Mar. 29th, 2011 at 11:38 AM
branewurms: (Default)
Deathless is out!

(ALL THE BOOKS are coming out right about now. Have I mentioned my frustration at this? COME ON PUBLISHERS, I'm out of gift card $$$ and I have almost none of my own! CAN'T YOU SPREAD OUT THE AWESOME A LITTLE???)

This is Cat Valente's Koschei the Deathless book, and it looks badass, and she is also doing a Deathless prize package giveaway to promote it. One of these days, I will win one of these things! ONE OF THESE DAYS.


Via inkstone, your regular dose of publishing WTF: Jessica Verday pulls her story from the upcoming Wicked Pretty Things anthology because she was told her story, which featured a G-rated romance between two boys, would be unacceptable to the publishers due to the gay content.

That's not even the WTF part. The editor Trisha Telep's response is the WTF part:

Oh dear. Might as well give you my two cents. Not that it really matters but... Don't take it out on the publishers, the decision was mine totally. These teen anthologies I do are light on the sex and light on the language. I assumed they'd be light on alternative sexuality, as well. Turns out I was wrong! Just after I had the kerfuffle with jessica, I was told that the publishers would have loved the story to appear in the book! Oh dear. My rashness will be the death of me. It's a great story. Hope jessica publishes it online. (By the way: if you want to see a you tube video of me wrestling a gay man in Glasgow, and losing, please let me know).

I... wrestling... gay man... WHAT? I just. WHAT???????? I would be more offended than I am, but I'm too busy boggling at the surreality of it.

In an update, Verday reveals that the publishers apologized for any offense caused and asked if she would consider having it appear in the anthology again, but since Telep is still in place as the editor Verday quite understandably refused. Also, while I somewhat understand the publishers' decision from a business standpoint (though I certainly don't approve), I'm not exactly pleased w/their doublespeak, either. Which is it? Is it all a "misunderstanding" and you "stand behind" Telep "100%"? Or do you have "no direct association" with her? You can't distance yourself from someone's grody bigotry while still endorsing them, people.

Anyway, since this happened a load of authors have pulled out of this anthology and others Telep is involved with (and at least one author refuses to have anything to do w/the publishers so long as Telep is working for them).

My advice to Trisha Telep: APOLOGIZE. Profusely. Unequivocally. Immediately. Not this offensive non-apology bullshit quoted above, but a real apology. And if you still don't see why what you did and said was bigoted and wrong, educate yourself, and do it in a hurry.

RIP Diana Wynne Jones

  • Mar. 27th, 2011 at 3:38 PM
branewurms: (Strange Birds)
In non-Fringe news, most of you have probably heard by now, but Diana Wynne Jones has passed away. SO SAD ABOUT THIS. ;_______; I read Howl's Moving Castle several years ago, but I only discovered how awesome the rest of her books are last year. Which is a crying shame - I should have read these as a kid, I would have loved them. (Not that I don't love them just as much now, I just wish I'd gotten to experience them as a kid, too.)

Her books are magical and hilarious and they make the world seem a little roomier, and if you haven't read any of them you should go out and do so right away.

"What I don't understand is why when people say 'the real world' they always mean something depressing by it." - Diana Wynne Jones


Ebook giveaway

  • Mar. 18th, 2011 at 9:31 PM
branewurms: (Fringe - the one with the gun)
Two ebook giveaways from Nightshade:

God's War

Of Blood and Honey

Don't know anything about either of them, but they look like they could potentially be interesting, and hey, free! They're epubs - no DRM, so should be easy to convert into whatever format you need w/Calibre or whatever. (Already got my copy of Blood and Honey and converted it to mobi, works fine on my Kindle.)


Mar. 8th, 2011

  • 9:20 PM
branewurms: (Avatar: Legend of Korra)
- So this morning I totally dreamed that [livejournal.com profile] bb_shousetsu was a host club in addition to a BL mag. There was a decorative golden cage (JUST DECORATIVE OKAY) with a pretty boy space case (seriously, he was not even in Earth's orbit) lounging inside on cushions. There were dead-tree versions of the mag stacked up around the outside of the cage, and he was browsing through one of them with a confused and intensely focused expression.

I just. Don't even know, okay.


omg. *_*

- So like, it's International Women's Day or something. Badass.

@tinytempest: For #internationalwomensday, rec some stories & novels by or about women that showcase how awesome women are. #femalefictionrec

Seeing as I could list approximately ELEVENTY BAJILLION titles that I think EVERYONE SHOULD READ NO REALLY GDI READ IT NOW, and that would be counterproductive since everyone would be all, tl;dr, I'm going to make a list of the very first 15 that pop into my head to avoid the crushing guilt of leaving out some eminently worthy book.

...Needless to say, my list will pretty much be SFF only. B/c I uh. Rarely read anything else?

In no particular order:

The Orphan's Tales, Catherynne Valente

Midnight Robber, Nalo Hopkinson

The Etched City, KJ Bishop

Steam Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, by various authors, ed. by JoSelle Vanderhooft

Leviathan series, Scott Westerfeld

Half World, Hiromi Goto

Redemption in Indigo, Karen Lord

Bayou (graphic novel series), Jeremy Love

Skip Beat (manga series), Yoshiki Nakamura

Ooku (manga series), Fumi Yoshinaga

The Shadow Speaker, Nnedi Okorafor

White is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi

The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner

The Intuitionist, Colson Whitehead

Liar, Justine Larbalestier

The Alchemy of Stone, Ekaterina Sedia

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, NK Jemisin

...wait that was 17. And gdi I am already thinking of others. I didn't even include anything more than 15 years old! TOO MUCH AWESOME EVERYWHERE, CAN'T KEEP UP.

(Oh, and uh, it goes w/o saying some of the above has triggery content. Anyone wants warnings for something, feel free to ask, but be forewarned that I'm horrible at remembering specific instances of such things.)



  • Mar. 5th, 2011 at 8:48 PM
branewurms: (Utena - secret of the Rose Bride)
Guys, I just want to read some gay/lesbian sff that primarily consists of KISSING and SHENANIGANS. Why does this not seem to exist? I keep checking out gay books here and there and... they're not scratching the itch. None of them. I mean, some of them are pretty good! And I am all for a good story that happens to have gay main characters! But. I really, really want to read about some silly shenanigans and kissing, you guys. Silly shenanigans and kissing between two dudes or two ladies. (eta: Or you know, more than two dudes or two ladies. OT3s ftw.)

Hilarious madcap misadventures! Crossdressing spies! Dashing thieves! Jaded detectives! Mad scientists and magicians! Explosions! Airships! Swordfights! Gunfights! Pirates! Ninjas! Mind-exploding sexual tension! Snarky OTPs! Conversations held entirely in subtext! KISSING, FOR GOD'S SAKE, KISSING!


Does... does anyone know if this exists? T___T

(Smut completely welcome but optional. What I am really craving is the CHEMISTRY. And, uh, kissing. And shenanigans. I mean, basically what I am saying is I like smut but I don't want smut that gets in the way of SHENANIGANS and SNARKING and EXPLOSIONS and doesn't allow for the whole mind blowing sexual tension bit because that's what I'm really after here.)

book giveaway!

  • Feb. 28th, 2011 at 5:18 PM
branewurms: (Default)
Cindy Pon is doing a Huntress and Akata Witch giveaway! Click here to enter.

I've been eagerly awaiting both of these books, so. *_*

(Huntress: Asian fantasy w/lesbian romance YA by Malinda Lo, Akata Witch: Nigerian-American fantasy children's/YA by Nnedi Okorafor, for those of you that haven't heard about them.)

*drags self in the door*

  • Oct. 18th, 2010 at 4:32 PM
branewurms: (Half World)
Yeah, uh, hi. I'm not dead!

- I did have things to say about that awful female character flowchart, but there are just too many things and I don't have the capacity to say them coherently and everyone else already did anyway, but yeah. That happened.

- I have approximately a jillion emails and the like that I owe people and right now that seems so beyond me I can't even. Augh.

- On a brighter note, Malinda Lo just revealed the cover for her upcoming second book, Huntress. OMG EXCITING.

- Also, apparently sales of Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix have gone up significantly. Since it has been pulled out of bookstores, this is quite a feat. YAY! (I'd link or post the screencap of the tweet, but I waited too long and can't find it anymore, alas. [personal profile] inkstone posted a screencap here!)

Diana Wynne Jones recs?

  • Sep. 11th, 2010 at 11:03 PM
branewurms: (Half World)
What's your favorite Diana Wynne Jones book (leaving aside Howl's Moving Castle, the only one I've read)? Do I need to read her series in order or are they the kinds of series where each can be read as stand-alones?

ETA: Also, has anyone read any of the Weetzie Bat (Francesca Lia Block) books? I can't figure whether they look stupid or intriguing and I've never seen anyone talking about them.