Tag Archives: Candy Apple Red

Books Reviewed 2015

Here is  housekeeping post, collecting all the books reviewed here in 2015.

Looking back at this list, I see that this year saw Terry Pratchette’s last book (a wrenching experience), and new novels by old favorites Stross, Perry, Macguire, Holt, Gaiman, among others. I also read older but still good histories by Goodwin and Graeber. I read several books about banking, Papal and otherwise, and overlapping works about Italy, fictional and (supposedly) real.

Over the year, I reviewed a sampling of important books about contemporary digital life, including cryptocurrency, the “sharing economy”, social media, and “mind change”.   These works covered a spectrum from enthusiasm to dark worry, giving us much to think about. There are many more I did not have time or energy for. (I will say more on this topic in another post)

Throughout 2015 I continued my ongoing investigation of the question, “what is coworking?”, including reviews of two recent (self published) books about coworking by practitioners. (More on coworking in another post.)

Shall I name some “Best Books” out of my list? Why not?

Fiction:

There were so many to pick from. I mean, with Neil Gaiman in the list, how can I choose? But let me mention two that are especially memorable

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente
Very imaginative and well written, and, for once, not so horribly dark. This book lodged in my memory more than others that are probably equally good.

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
Published a few years ago, but I didn’t read it until this year. A wonderful, intricate story. The flight of the parrot is still in my memory.

Nonfiction:

There were many important works about digital life, and I shall try to comment on them in another post. But three books that really hit me are:

Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber
From several years ago, but I didn’t read it until this year. Highly influential on the ‘occupy’ and other left-ish thinking. This is an astonishingly good book, and long form anthropology, to boot. Wow!

Reimagination Station: Creating a Game-Changing In-Home Coworking Space by Lori Kane
An exlectic little self-published book about “home coworking”, which I didn’t know was a thing. Kane walked the walk, and made me think in new ways about community and coworking.

Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs
Unexpected amounts of fun reading this short book. It does an old, graying nerd no end of good to see that at least some of the kids are OK. Really, really, OK.

List of books reviewed in 2015

Fiction

A Darkling Sea by James L. Cambias
After Alice by Gregory Maguire
Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
Bats of the Republic by Zachary Thomas Dodson
Book of Numbers by Joshua Cohen
Chasing the Phoenix by Michael Swanwick
Candy Apple Red by Nancy Bush
Chicks and Balances edited by Esther Friesner and John Helfers
Corsair by James L. Cambias
Count to a Trillion by John C. Wright
Diaspora by Greg Egan
Distress by Greg Egan
Electric Blue by Nancy Bush
Forty Thieves by Thomas Perry
Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong
Get In Trouble by Kelly Link
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
Koko the Mighty by Kieran Shea
Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald
Mort(e) by Robert Repino
Numero Zero by Umberto Eco
Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente
Rebirths of Tao by Wesley Chu
Redeployment by Phil Klay
Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
Shark Skin Suite by Tim Dorsey
String of Beads by Thomas Perry
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross
The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume Nine ed. by Jonathan Strahan
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff
The First Bad Man by Miranda July
The Fortress in Orion by Mike Resnick
The Future Falls by Tanya Huff
The Good, the Bad, and The Smug by Tom Holt
The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray
The Relic Master by Christopher Buckley
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett
The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu
The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone
The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
The Wild Ways by Tanya Huff
Time Salvager by Wesley Chu
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
Ultraviolet by Nancy Bush
We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler
Witches Be Crazy by Logan J. Hunder
Zer0es by Chuck Wendig

Non Fiction

Arrival of the Fittest by Andreas Wagner
Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols
Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber
Digital Gold by Nathaniel Popper
Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs
God’s Bankers by Gerald Posner
LaFayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell
Let’s Be Less Stupid by Patricia Marx
Live Right and Find Happiness by Dave Barry
Merchants in the Temple by Gianluigi Nuzzi
Mind Change by Susan Greenfield
Mindsharing by Lior Zoref
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
No More Sink Full of Mugs by Tony Bacigalupo
Not Impossible by Mick Ebeling
Pax Technica by Phillip N. Howard
Peers, Inc by Robin Chase
Reimagination Station: Creating a Game-Changing In-Home Coworking Space by Lori Kane
Speculative Everything by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Age of Cryptocurrency by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey
The Art of Forgery by Noah Charney
The Next Species by Michael Tennesen
The Reputation Economy by Michael Fertik and David C. Thompson
The Social Labs Revolution by Zaid Hassan
The Ugly Renaissance by Alexander Lee
Twentyfirst Century Robot by Brian David Johnson
Women of Will:  Following the Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays by Tina Packer

 

Book Reviews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Housekeeping: Books Reviewed in First Quarter 2015

These are the books reviewed here in the past quarter.

Non Fiction

Arrival of the Fittest by Andreas Wagner
Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols
Live Right and Find Happiness by Dave Barry
Not Impossible by Mick Ebeling
The Age of Cryptocurrency by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey
The Reputation Economy by Michael Fertik and David C. Thompson
The Social Labs Revolution by Zaid Hassan
The Ugly Renaissance by Alexander Lee

Fiction

Candy Apple Red by Nancy Bush
Electric Blue by Nancy Bush
Get In Trouble by Kelly Link
Mort(e) by Robert Repino
Redeployment by Phil Klay
Shark Skin Suite by Tim Dorsey
String of Beads by Thomas Perry
The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff
The First Bad Man by Miranda July
The Fortress in Orion by Mike Resnick
The Future Falls by Tanya Huff
The Wild Ways by Tanya Huff
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
Ultraviolet by Nancy Bush
We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler

 

January Fiction Roundup, Two Threepacks

A six pack of popular fiction by and about women.

I can tell that these books are written by and for women.

In the Bush trilogy, about every other page there is a detailed description of what someone is wearing. Entirely lost on me, of course. As are the drooly descriptions of the pretty male characters. In the Huff books, the male characters are very pretty and the objects of lust as well.

The Bush books have considerable autobiographical elements. Huff’s probably do, too, though there are parts I certainly hope are not from her life.


 

Candy Apple Red (2005) by Nancy Bush
Electric Blue (2006) by Nancy Bush
Ultraviolet (2007) by Nancy Bush
http://www.janekellymysteries.com/

This is nicely written, if  not particularly difficult crime fiction.  (Did I say I need fiction to be difficult?  I did not.)

In Candy Apple Red we meet Jane Kelly is kind of adrift and not sure where she wants to go, out of school, between jobs and guys, but sort of happy where she is (in Portland OR). Maybe she wants to move up from process server to “information specialist”, i.e., private detective. But maybe not.

Events draw her into a complex case (as well as adopting a pug dog), involving a wealthy, not especially functional family, with a number of dark secrets that have to be unraveled. Naturally, romance, friendship, and family add to the messy situation, leaving Jane to wonder if this is really what she is cut out to do.

Spoiler alert: sequels!

In Electric Blue, Jane is training for a license to become a real PI, while working with friend and mentor Dwayne Durbin. This is mostly grunt work, records searches and other research.

Until she gets called into the affairs of the rich, highly dysfunctional Purcell family.

The dark tangle of secrets harks to the old San Francisco noir, with murder and madness and menace just under the surface.  And like classic noir, the PI has a messy and conflicted love life, such as it is.

For someone who is not yet a real PI, Jane sure acts like one.

And when will she straighten out her own life?

Ultraviolet continues the story, as Jane becomes quite a bit more skilled at investigations, and we see how a female PI can be quite effective in unraveling stories. Not so much muscle, way more getting people to tell you things. And it even sometimes helps to have your mother along.

This case involves a murder of the father of the bride, with an obvious suspect who hires Jane to clear her. The family is quite messed up, and no one seems to tell the truth about anything.

Will she ever get to end of this tangle mass of deception?

And how will she unravel her own confused life?


 

 

 

The Enchantment Emporium (2009) by Tanya Huff
The Wild Ways (2011) by Tanya Huff
The Future Falls (2013) by Tanya Huff
http://andpuff.livejournal.com/

 

 

Huff is a prolific and excellent writer, who I haven’t read very much.

These three books are about the very interesting Gale family. Evidently, the Gales are a large family endowed with powerful Earth magic. They are not to be messed with. Actually, they will mess with you if you aren’t nice. You really don’t want the Aunties on your case. And if they want something from you, they will get it—“things work out” for the Gales.

 

The Gales are a serious “auntocracy”, as Bertie Wooster termed it. (If you haven’t read all the Wooster books, bookmark this page and go to your public library and read them now. All of them. I’ll wait here.)

 

In the Enchantment Emporium, Alysha Gale moves to Calgary to take over her Grandmother’s store.

The residents all tell her it’s great, and “things are happening in Calgary”.  The question is, what exactly is happening? And what happened to Gran, anyway? And why are there dragons flying about? This can’t be good.

Not that Gale girls shrink from being in the middle of a supernatural irruption.

 

Many things indeed are happening in Calgary, confusing and dangerous things.. But things usually work out for the Gales.   And who says Alie is an ordinary Gale girl?

 

In Wild Ways, we see how things work out. Alysha establishes a new Gale family establishment in Calgary, complete with various cousins and other Gales.

 

Cousin Charlie (for Charlotte), very close friend of Allie, but still a Wild One; is on the road with a band, but base at Allie’s house.

 

Then she is called/forced to go to join a band in Nova Scotia, where something’s going on with an oil company wanting to drill off a nature preserve, local music festivals, supernatural irruptions—and apparently Gran is involved up to her teeth.

 

It’s up to Charlie, along with cousin Jack, to see that things work out, and to discover her own path through the Wild Ways. Young Jack (who has a very unique ancestry) must grow up and discover his path, too.

 

In The Future Falls, it is clear that “Charlie and Jack” are very, very “complicated”, in the Facebookian way. Worse, he is far too young/she is far too old to “get together”, according to the Gale family rules.  And family is everything.

 

Meanwhile, a large asteroid is coming in, and conventional human technology will not be able to deflect it. The Gales normally don’t worry about anything outside the family, and, in any case, are rooted in the Earth (which apparently extends to the top of the atmosphere).

 

But it is a very stupid solar system indeed that drops a big rock on Allie’s children, let alone the Aunties. Fer goodness sake, they’ll probably roll back time and “fix” the universe so Rocks Do Not Fall On The Gales.

 

We expect the Gales to fix it, but it is far from obvious how.


 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Bush, Nancy, Candy Apple Red, New York, Kensington Publishing, 2005.
  2. Bush, Nancy, Electric Blue, New York, Kensington Books, 2006.
  3. Bush, Nancy, Ultraviolet, New York, Kensington Publishing Company, 2007.
  4. Huff, Tanya, The Wild Ways, New York, Daw, 2011.
  5. Huff, Tanya, The Wild Ways, New York, Daw Books, 2013.
  6. Huff, Tanya, The Enchantment Emporium, New York, Daw Books, 2009.