tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/01: Hammers on Bone -- Cassandra Khaw
"You're the only one who can help." "What makes you say that?" "Because you're a monster too." [loc. 47]

It is not immediately obvious that the office of John Persons, PI, is in Croydon. This is because he speaks, and narrates, in typical gumshoe noir: his client has a look that could 'carve Harlem sunsets', and Persons would 'tip a trilby to his folks'.

His client is a ten-year-old boy, Abel, who wants Mr Persons to kill his stepfather before the stepfather kills Abel or his little brother James.

Mr Persons does not balk, or throw up spurious legal arguments. This is because, contrary to appearances, Mr Persons is not actually a hardbitten PI from a Golden Age detective novel.slight spoilers? )

Nu Who Rewatchathon: Tooth and Claw

Feb. 26th, 2017 02:49 pm
nostalgia: (omg ten)
[personal profile] nostalgia
YO. REWATCHATHONING. IT TOOK ALMOST LITERALLY A YEAR FROM THE PREVIOUS EPISODE.

now featuring SCOTLAND )


NEXT TIEM: SARAH JANE SMITH!!!

2016 Books

Feb. 25th, 2017 09:57 am
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
Finally finished last year's reviews!


76 books (my review numbering went haywire sometime in November), 55 by women.

My favourites:
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street -- Natasha Pulley
Exit, Pursed by a Bear -- Greer Gilman
Europe in Autumn and the rest -- Dave Hutchinson
Kingfisher -- Patricia McKillip
Glorious Angels -- Justina Robson
Golden Hill -- Francis Spufford
Raven Boys and the rest -- Maggie Stiefvater

All reviewed here -- find 'em via the read16 tag.

Onward into 2017!

I'm going to give Goodreads a go this year -- me on Goodreads -- review content will still be posted here and to my official book blog, and I'll still be using LibraryThing to track everything.

The Blood is the Life for 25-02-2017

Feb. 25th, 2017 10:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

2016/81: The Three -- Sarah Lotz

Feb. 25th, 2017 09:54 am
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2016/81: The Three -- Sarah Lotz
He also expressed concern that Jess could be an alien being, but I assured him that aliens don’t exist and he was more than likely dealing with a bad energy influx.[loc. 4863]


On a single December day, four planes crash in different parts of the world, resulting in the deaths of over a thousand people. There are just three survivors -- all children aged around six -- and The Three takes the form of a collection of interviews, news cuttings and transcripts of the coverage of those children (Bobby Small, Hiro Yanagida and Jessica Craddock) after the crash. somewhat spoilery )
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2016/80: Golden Hill -- Francis Spufford
It had been his study to fit whatever part of the honeycomb housed him. But here – though it would suit him now... to fall in with the merchants’ preferences, whatever they might be, or at least not to flout them too scornfully – he must study not to fit. He must remain the mercurial, the unreckonable stranger.[loc. 619]


New York, 1746: the mysterious Mr Smith arrives from London, with a bill of exchange for a thousand pounds and a smiling disinclination to reveal anything whatsoever about himself, his purposes, or the purchases he hopes to make.non-spoilery )
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2016/79: More Than This --Patrick Ness
Isn’t dying once enough? he thinks. Am I going to have to keep doing it? But then he thinks, No. Because you can die before you’re dead, too.[loc. 1132]


The book opens with a detailed description of Seth's death, drowning in an ice-cold sea. Then he wakes up, and is, as far as he can tell, in Hell.

It looks a lot like England, where he grew up.slightly spoilery )
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2016/78: The Age of Miracles -- Karen Thompson Walker
After the slowing, every action required a little more force than it used to. The physics had changed. Take, for example, the slightly increased drag of a hand on a knife or a finger on a trigger. From then on, we all had a little more time to decide what not to do. And who knows how fast a second-guess can travel? Who has ever measured the exact speed of regret?[loc. 525]


The Earth's rotation slows, making days longer: ecological and sociological disaster ensue, as crops fail, the magnetosphere thins, and the US Government decrees that America will run on 'clock time' -- meaning that noon might be the middle of the dark hours.

This is not the plot, though: this is the background. non-spoilery )
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2016/77: Company of Liars -- Karen Maitland
Once, half-submerged in a sodden field, we saw the statue of St Florian, his millstone tied around his neck. Since their saint was unable to protect them from the rains, the parishioners had stripped his statue of his scarlet cloak and golden halo, beaten him and cast him out to face the elements. Many of the cottagers were no longer begging God for mercy, they were angry with him. They felt betrayed...[loc. 2898]


Set in 1348, just after the Black Death has reached England: 'Camelot', a hawker of relics, decides to head north to avoid the plague. Camelot is joined by Cygnus, a swan-winged story-teller; Zophiel, a travelling magician with a wagonful of heavy boxes; Venetian musician Rodrigo and his pupil Jofre; painter Osmond and his wife Adela, who is expecting their first child; Pleasance, a midwife; and a strange white-haired child, Narigorm, who reads runes and is given to doom-laden pronouncements.

As Doctor House says, 'everybody lies'. All of these travellers are lying, concealing their individual, desperately important, secretsvery mildly spoilery )

The Blood is the Life for 21-02-2017

Feb. 21st, 2017 10:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2016/76: Rebel of the Sands -- Alwyn Hamilton
"How long had it been since you’d seen a First Being before the Buraqi came into town? Magic and metal don’t mix well. We’re killing it. But it’s fighting back." [loc. 993]


Amani Al’Hiza is sixteen, good with a gun, and being lined up as her uncle's next bride. She is unenthusiastic about the idea, and disguises herself as a boy to enter a sharpshooting contest. The prize money will be enough to help her escape Deadshot (a backwater, deadend desert town which has accreted around a munitions factory) and make for the city, where she believes a better life can be had. slightly spoilery )
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2016/75: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet -- David Mitchell

"Doctor, do you believe in the Soul’s existence?"
Marinus prepares, the clerk expects, an erudite and arcane reply.
"Yes."
"Then where . . ." Jacob indicates the pious, profane skeleton ". . . is it?"
"The soul is a verb," he impales a lit candle on a spike, "not a noun."[loc. 3042]

not significantly spoilery )

Smooch update the second!

Feb. 18th, 2017 09:32 pm
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
[personal profile] naamah_darling
He's not in a perfect environment -- I am frequently out of commission and can't do everything flawlessly, and while my 70% is good enough for everyone else on most days, it's not enough for Smooch.  And, honestly, I don't think it would be even if I was perfect.  As time has worn on, it's become obvious that he's got genuine deep-seated mental health problems.
 
I've been where he is, with an uncontrolled anxiety disorder, and I see so much of myself in him, in the way he reacts to things, the things that upset him.  It's so shockingly similar.  And I personally, even with amazing social support, even given an ideal environment, still require and always will require medication to manage my bipolar and my anxiety.  I would never, ever deny myself that tool.  I can't deny it to him, if he needs it, just because I feel guilty for not being able to help him enough.  That's selfish and cruel, and ridiculous.
 
I keep thinking of how cats' brains are so much like ours, how their thought processes are so similar, and I have seen that time and again with Smooch.  More than any other cat I've had, he's quite human.  More than that, he and I are quite alike.  I had no way of knowing this when I adopted him, but it's true.  The vet said he was lucky he got me in particular.  I think he could have gotten luckier -- someone with more money, with fewer "off" days -- but I do see that I am in a unique position to understand where he's coming from, so I'm trying to make that work for us.
 
I love him so, so much.  Even when he's being a bully and a piss goblin.  He doesn't WANT to do these things, I can SEE and FEEL that he doesn't, he just has no other tools in his tool kit, and the urge is overwhelming to him.  He HAS to chase.  He HAS to mark.  He HAS to pick a fight.  He HAS to enforce the rules on the others.

And he hates it.

When I get up to pick him up and take him away from one of the other cats he's been harassing, I can feel how he is tense all through his forequarters, and hear him breathing so hard and so rough.  And when I doctored his ear after Raleigh gave him a (well-deserved, small but bloody) scratch, he made a very human grunt of pain, but didn't shy away from ME or fight ME.  He lets me doctor his eye when it hurts him so much from the ocular herpes, and he never bites or scratches.  

For pity's sake, a few hours ago, I asked him to follow me into the kitchen so I could clean his face and eye, medicate his eye, and pill him.  He followed me, purring, even though he KNEW that's what was going to happen and he hates all that.  He came with me to the fridge to get his eye medicine and looked inside, like he always does. He squirmed a little but behaved himself for the gross/ouchy part.  His reward?  One nasty cat treat with a pill inside it.  He was happy with just that.  Didn't fuss or fight at all.  He is a good cat.

He is a fundamentally gentle cat, driven to distraction by an unchecked mental issue.  He has had such a hard time, he has been so unhappy, and it has been breaking my heart.
 
So I am trying hard not to see the meds as a failure, but as a success -- recognizing when a tool is needed, and using it.
 
He took his first does of his new medication yesterday and slept and slept and slept.  I gave him his second dose a few hours ago, and he is sleeping again.  But he can be roused, his ears twitch if I play with them, he still bats at my fingers to play and still pushes me away if he doesn't want to be held and purrs if he does, so he's perfectly fine.  He's not even feeling unwell, just sleepy.  Hopefully he will continue to do well and the somnolence will retreat.
 
We have other meds we can try, if this fails.  And if that fails, I will investigate overhauling south rooms of the house so he can live solo, and see if we can afford that.  It wouldn't take much, just a new door and some different flooring.  Rehoming him responsibly but remaining involved in his care and responsible for his vet care through that third party is the very last thing I want to do, but I am pretty confident it won't come to that if we can just find a medication that works for him.
 
Etrigan, by the way, is doing VERY well.  He's pushy and plays rough, but he's also a very friendly, charismatic cat and visibly WANTS to be on good terms with the others.  There is no aggression in him or mean-spiritedness, he just doesn't understand he's not a tiny kitten anymore and cannot play the way a tiny kitten plays.  He is also an oaf and doesn't always understand when he is making the others uncomfortable.  If I tell him to lay off and provide him an alternative activity, he always chooses not to re-engage.  He and Raleigh now "kiss" when they walk past each other, investigate things together, and I often catch them briefly grooming each others' ears and shoulders . . . before one of them gently baps the other.  They play chase . . . and take turns starting it.  It still often ends in one of them forgetting his strength, so we have to call it off, but it's not on purpose, and is still a huge difference from where it was at the beginning.
 
The other cats, Sid and Harley, are very shy and remain in the master bed/bath combo because Smooch is so overbearing and harassing, but if we can get that under control we can work on getting them all to play nice.  Or at least ignore each other.

I want this to work out.  I never intended to wind up with FIVE CATS but telling my GF to rehome hers is just as much a non-option as rehoming mine just because new boys came along.  I love them ALL. I strive to treat them all with the same care, barring insulting Etrigan with much greater frequency.

But if I'm honest, I especially love my smelly cryptid man.

2016/74: Medicus -- Ruth Downie

Feb. 18th, 2017 08:11 pm
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2016/74: Medicus -- Ruth Downie
Ruso closed his eyes briefly and dreamed of a world where women stayed quietly at home and sewed things and understood the value of Modesty and Obedience–not to mention Not Turning Up Dead Under Suspicious Circumstances. When he opened them again, he was still in Britannia.[loc. 2317]


Gaius Petreius Ruso has family obligations, debts, an ex-wife about whom he's still bitter, and a new posting as an army doctor at the fort of Deva, in north-west Britannia.

He's hoping that his move to Britain will signal a change in his fortune: and so it does, though perhaps not quite in the way he hopes. not very spoilery )

The Blood is the Life for 17-02-2017

Feb. 17th, 2017 10:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Smooch update!

Feb. 16th, 2017 03:50 pm
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
[personal profile] naamah_darling
 He saw the vet today and she was wonderful.
 
He's got a scrip for amitryptiline and some blood serum treatment (!) for a painful herpes lesion in his eye.  I do not at this time need assistance with that, but I did pay off three other small human-related medical bills this month, so towards the end of the month I may need help with food.  I'll keep you posted on that.

We are hopeful, not necessarily optimistic.  If this fails, there are other meds.  If meds fail, there are a couple of other possibilities I will look into before I look into rehoming him.

Because let's be honest, rehoming an adult cat with health issues who is liable to develop more as he ages, and who has behavior issues and is not guaranteed to get along with other pets?  That will be a nightmare.  Even if I could do it, I would worry every day that he wasn't getting what he needed.

Thank you for your encouragement.  It made asking for the meds easier.  It wasn't a heartbreaking decision or anything, but it is a thing I feel a little apprehension over because . . . well . . . his dear little body is so small, and his problems are so big, and medication is so strong.

I pitched it at her as "I am in no way wanting to rehome him because of his behavior issues, I'd be wanting to rehome him because he is clearly miserable, and if I can't fix that, I need to get him in a place where he is safe."  Because while it is true that when I catch him peeing on things out of vengeance, I get very angry and frustrated, I am primarily concerned with his happiness.

The vet said he's lucky he has me.  In particular.

I don't feel like I deserve that.  I don't.

I love him so much.  I just want him to be better, and not be sad and angry all the time.

The Blood is the Life for 14-02-2017

Feb. 14th, 2017 10:00 am
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