Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"Mind of My Mind (Patternmaster #2)" by Octavia E. Butler


Sci-Fi Summer Reading Challenge Pick

Though this is part of the Patternmaster series, due to the way the series was written, each book can essentially be read as a standalone. However, I recommend reading Wild Seed first, as it lends greater depth to this story. There aren't spoilers in this review.

Mary, one of the children Doro selectively bred to have strange supernatural powers, has come of age in this volume of the series, bringing about a time of change for these super-humans. Though Anyanwu was a strong heroine, she had preconceptions about how things should be that were a bit old fashioned- Mary has a new kind of thinking that is potentially dangerous to the way of life Doro has instilled in all of them.

Instead of the few characters that Wild Seed featured, Mind of My Mind has a fairly large cast. Each of these many characters are given unique attributes that make them essential to the plot- even creating the plot themselves at points. Though Doro looms large, Mary becomes a dynamic force in her own right: manipulating other people to accept her new ways (some of which she can't control). I love the version of the cover I chose for my review because of the way it portrays Mary- she looks apathetic, but inside the storm of her power rages.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'For 4,000 years, an immortal has spread the seeds of a master race, using the downtrodden as his private breeding stock. But now a young ghetto telepath has found a way to awaken--and rule--her superhuman kind, igniting a psychic battle as she challenges her creator for her right to free her people.'

Though the way the summary and I describe the book may give the impression that this book is plot-heavy, it really isn't. True, all of Miss Butler's books seem deceptively simple when you read them, and then grow more complex as you brood on their ideas, but there isn't a whole lot of action going on in this book- think of the action less as a battle and more as a game of chess. I think that's why it always takes me so long to review these books- I don't want to sound ignorant, but at the same time I can see subtext in this book that I'm likely not entirely aware of.

Because this is such a cerebral book (as I attempted to describe above), it also makes it difficult to fully review without resulting in spoiling parts of it. In Wild Seed, from the beginning it's clear that Doro manipulates things in ways that do not always result in good situations for the women and men at his command, and that also happens in this book. Part of why Mary grows to be so dynamic is the fact that she sees how poorly Doro treats his people at times, and she wants that to change.

Mind of My Mind is a supernatural war within. There are some action scenes, but most of this book consists of Doro and Mary playing games with each other that don't always result in violence. If you have difficulty concentrating, this is a book to skip until you have full brain capacity at your disposal- I picked up on a few of the breadcrumbs thrown my way, but I am still left pondering what this book might mean for the next book in the series. I recommend Mind of My Mind to those who enjoy science fiction that lingers with you after it's read.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for an excellent follow up to Wild Seed!


Content: Ages 18+ for adultery, domestic violence, a racial slur, sexual content, and a battle of the super humans.


Page Count: 224 pages

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Fortnightly Update #17: A Conversation and a Sci-fi Spree


In case you don't follow me on Twitter (where I randomly rant), I was interviewed by La La in the Library for her Saturday Evening Conversations post- it's full of interesting facts like how I've been writing a book for 12 years... and I just realized that I've been writing one book for over half my life. I'm fairly obsessive about writing.

Recent Acquisitions (or the Piling of the-Piles):

the-pile Additions:

None! (Though I have another Better World Books shipment en route- I need something to cheer me up).

the-invisible-pile Additions:

None!

Currently Reading:


I've picked up several books (and even books with short stories), but this is the only one that's held my attention for more than a few pages. And the reason why it's held my attention? The heroine may be having incestuous thoughts about her brother, who is currently sharing her body due to magical meddling reasons. Hmm...


Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) by Ilona Andrews 
Expected publication: September 20th
This is much less controversial- Kate and Curran are simply the perfect couple. That's all I have to say about this one so far.

Finished These Books (My Sci-fi Spree):


Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam #1) by Margaret Atwood
I was a bit disappointed with this one, but given I had a depressed mood starting it and that it is a semi-depressing book, it wasn't the best book for me to read in the first place. It reminded me a lot of The Heart Goes Last. I think my favorite of Atwood's will always be Cat's Eye (which isn't sci-fi dystopic at all).


Though this one was cute, it didn't quite strike me as much as Carriger's previous series about Pru's parents, The Parasol Protectorate. I wish this one had more going for it other than being a light steampunk romp with a pinch of romance, but it doesn't.


Tuf Voyaging by George R.R. Martin
This was the most enjoyable book I've read in the past few weeks- it's set in space and it has plenty of cats, along with other mysterious critters. Tuf's wisecracks kept me smiling even though the past few weeks have been tough for me physically and mentally. It's also the only book I've fully reviewed thus far.


A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke
Imagine this- you're vacationing on the moon when disaster hits, and your cruiser/tourist bus has been buried beneath the moondust (a mercury-like substance they theorized covered the moon prior to man setting foot on the surface). Though I found the premise intriguing, I didn't relate to the characters, and therefore, I didn't care much what happened, or how it happened. This is a good read, but would be more appreciated by people fascinated with the technical elements (even though I found many of those questionable as well, but again, this was published in 1961).

In the Blogosphere:

Val @ Innocent Smiley does a guest post at The Fox's Hideaway about Shattering Stigmas on mental illness and her Chinese heritage.

Kritika @ Snowflakes and Spider Silk is planning a new series of posts on Bookish Eats. Sounds yummy!

Erin @ The Paperback Stash reviews Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life by Peter Ackroyd. Her review intrigued me so much it went straight to my want-to-read list.

If you're in need of a smile, stop by Michelle @ True Book Addict's Cat Thursday - Olympics! post. George currently holds the best napping record in our house.

In My Life:


I'm still walking as though my legs will go out at any minute. Since I noticed my walking has steadily degraded, I saw my doctor, who sent me for an MRI of my brain. I learned I'll be likely waiting until October for a neurologist appointment, so I'm hoping they find something definitive on the MRI so I could possibly be helped now, instead of later. I went in for the MRI Thursday, but my doctor's office was closed on Friday, so I figured I would have to wait for the results. Then she called on Friday, leaving a vague message. We called her back, and of course she wasn't there.

I'm frustrated with my healthcare at this point, because I am now using a walker instead of a cane most of the day just for safety reasons. I usually exercise on our stationary bike, but though I used to be able to have it on the third resistance level and pedal 5 miles, I'm now using no resistance and I can barely pedal one mile. As a person who previously enjoyed being outside and going for walks, these symptoms have not been easy to deal with. It's been at least 27 days since I last walked semi-normally, and I feel like I've been living out a bad dream ever since then.

Is anyone else on a specific genre-reading spree? Which hobby have you persevered with the longest (I'm fairly sure mine is writing)?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tsuki Appreciation Day


On this day 8 years ago, I adopted a shih-tzu mix named Tsuki from a poor excuse of an animal shelter in Montana. At the time, I was 16 years old, but I wanted a lap dog that would function as a standalone bed warmer, as my room in MT was poorly insulated. When I saw Tsuki stuffed into a 5X5ft cage with five other more rambunctious dogs, it was clear he needed a better place to live. The tag described him as "Zuki, Shih-tzu cross, 7-10 years old". Once I paid his adoption fee and brought him outside, he jumped into our van. Clearly he didn't want to be brought back.

A while later we took him to the veterinarian to get him a check-up, learning at that time that the dog I'd adopted was Tsuki, not Zuki, and 15 years old, not 10 years old. He also was underweight to the point the vet had began to chew me out, not understanding the situation until I said I'd adopted him from a notable, "no-kill" shelter in our city. If Tsuki hadn't been adopted within the month, he would've died of neglect- his ears were dirty to the brink of infection, and his teeth needed cleaned, despite the fact the people at the shelter told me he had had his teeth cleaned already.

Tsuki settled quite easily into our household, despite the fact that we already had a dog (Jewels, my first baby) and a cat (Tiger, my brother's cat, who didn't quite prepare me for the wrecking ball who is George). For the first week I "owned" him, he would not let me out of his sight, and didn't bark. One day, I carelessly left a room without giving him advance notice, and from then on, he barked whenever he felt like it (which wasn't frequently), and often for no reason at all. He had some separation anxiety, which led to a great escape from our dog run- he escaped, then leapt into a neighbor's car, who promptly brought him back to a shelter (but not the same one). Tsuki spent two nights of hard time, due to said shelter being closed the next day. His release fee cost us more than his adoption fee had in the first place.

Due to my vet's office having been involved in his care beforehand, I eventually learned why Tsuki ended up in the hellish "no kill" shelter to begin with- his owner died, leaving five shih-tzus behind. A groomer at the vet's office was taking care of them and almost found them a home, but then his owner's next of kin decided it would be a good idea to take them all to this "no kill" shelter. The groomer, was forced to pay $300 for two of the shih-tzus she felt were least likely to find a home, despite the fact that the shelter hadn't done any vet work for the dogs yet and they were elderly like Tsuki. There was also an explanation for Tsuki's odd tendency to jump in anyone's car- his former owner used to take all his shih-tzus for car rides for fun.

Tsuki and Torrie
Unfortunately, due to his age, Tsuki died almost three years after we adopted freed him. He was a month shy of 18 years old, and the oldest dog we've ever had. He outlived Jewels, my first dog, despite the fact that she was younger, and broke in a new young whippersnapper for us, Torrie. I will never regret adopting Tsuki, despite his short time with us- he was alternately the most loving and stubborn pet I have ever owned. He also had the semi-magical power of bringing smiles to people's faces- he was cute, but also kinda ugly (his front legs resembled seal flippers, and he had a benign chest tumor we referred to as his "airbag"), but despite having a darn cute Dorkie now, Tsuki was a dog who made people wave at him with a smile.

The purpose of Tsuki Appreciation Day is:


-To celebrate past pets in our lives.

-To celebrate elderly pets in our lives.

-To bring attention to the fact that senior dogs make great pets... and sadly, they seldom attract much attention in shelters.

-To inform the general public that even "no kill" shelters can be cruel to their animals- the only way to know shelters aren't cruel for sure is to investigate them thoroughly yourself before donating and/or adopting.

Which elderly and/or former pets made a lasting impression on you? Would you consider adopting a senior pet?

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