Category Archives: Reviews

Book, film, TV and other arts reviews.

Recent Review Snippet – A Feast of Sorrows, by @AngelaSlatter

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Posted on October 20, 2016 by

Stubby-RocketI haven’t been writing a lot of reviews for lately, but recently I have done a couple, and the newest of these is up now. It’s for Angela Slatter’s first US collection, A Feast of Sorrows, and here’s a bit of what I had to say.

In A Feast of Sorrows, the magic of well-made things is a motif that runs throughout its various tales. The work—baking, sewing, candlemaking, all by talented artisans—has its echo here in the real world in Slatter’s finely wrought paragraphs, and the measured unfolding of each story. There is a sense of the exquisite in the writing here, of plots laid down like pearls on a string.

Here’s the cover–isn’t it beautiful?

Busted glasses, a nice review, the Year’s Best TOC and London in the movies

Posted on December 14, 2015 by

75BF92B5-A575-465E-A05F-C801455ED08DFirst, a question, about your favorite movie set in present-day London. What is it?

My incredible reward for virtue Sunday morning–virtue being that I hauled my ass out the door at nine to go have what turned out to be an exceptionally, yea unfairly robust and demanding hot yoga session–was that when I opened my locker and tried to put my glasses back on, they snapped in my hand.

(Actually, my true reward for virtue is that the incomparable Andrew at 312 Optical assured me that they were still under warranty, and that he would urge the folks who make them to send out the part post-haste so he could fix them. And he had checked all this before I got there, because he follows me on social media.)

I do have back-up glasses, but the lenses are very different. I’m looking at a week or more of underperforming and feeling eyestrainy. And, possibly, being offline a lot. Which is the whole reason I’m telling you this.)

Other nice things that happened this weekend included this fantastic review of A Daughter of No Nation in The Toronto Star, by Marissa Stapely:

The appeal of this series lies in Dellamonica’s thoughtful, penetrating writing … and the effortless way Dellamonica weaves sexually diverse characters into the narrative without making it feel like they’re fulfilling a quota. The overarching sense of social responsibility is refreshing, too. Sophie questions her new world as all young people should: she does not simply let life happen to her, but instead seeks to understand and improve her surroundings.

And Kelly’s posting the TOC for the Gardner Dozois anthology The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Third Annual Collection, which will include her debut story, “The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill.”

Blessings, so many blessings. There were fish tacos, and hugs from our favorite baker, some funny posts from an artist friend who’s trying to clean out one of her piles of multimedia supplies, the first few chapters of The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World by David Jaher, chocolate olive-oil cake from Forno Cultura, roasted parsnips and a rewatch of Thor: The Dark World.

Most of all, there was talk of London, London, OMG, London, where Kelly and I will be going, for the first time, in a mere 95 days. Part of the reason for rewatching The Dark World (not that one needs a reason) is that it’s one of the few movies we own that’s set in London now. As opposed to London in the 1900s, 1800s, 1700s, Doctorwhohundreds, etc. The only other one may be Love Actually. Hence my initial question. Because I’m not entirely sure I’m up to rewatching Luther.

Scattered telewitterings with a strong chance of historicals

Posted on August 11, 2015 by


So. what have all of you been watching this summer?

I often feel as though all the people I know are taking in a mighty pile of supercool media stuff I didn’t get to in a timely fashion. Sense8 and Daredevil were recent exceptions–I caught those more or less as everyone else did, and enjoyed them both. (Though I did kvetch a little about DD, I know).

I’ve seen Ant-Man, Mr. Holmes, Far from the Madding Crowd and Mad Max: Fury Road, which seems a pretty good haul of big screen stuff. I skipped Jurassic World, Fantastic Four, and all the actual cartoons involving minions and feels.

Lately the viewing at Chez Dua has been historical stuff: the excellent World War I nurse series, The Crimson Field, and a champagne-bubbly murder of the week thing from Australia, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. There’s also been a documentary called Life on the Reef about, naturally, the Great Barrier Reef. And, as a brush-up on general knowledge and cultural literacy, and an antidote to the wholly Euro-centric readings of history I absorbed as a tad, Crash Course World History, ten manic minutes of John Green delivering the goods on ye olde life and times.

Finally, Kelly and I are slowly closing in on the very end of Parks and Recreation.

The Lesser Dead, by Christopher Buehlman

Posted on November 4, 2014 by

bookzombieSo, everyone, what are you reading these days?

Christopher Buehlman’s The Lesser Dead has been out for about a month now, and if you like your horror horrible (as opposed to romantic, edgy, or cuddlesome) I cannot recommend it enough. Here’s my review at, in which I try to say more than “oohh, oooh, squee, squee!”

This week I am reading fourteen student novel openings and a book that won’t be out until 2015. Sneak peeks are one of the perks of the job, and I’m looking forward to telling you about this one closer to its release date.

Book Smugglers Review of Child, plus vacation…

Posted on September 2, 2014 by

imageThea of Book Smugglers says this about Child of a Hidden Sea:

Sophie is sympathetic and genuine, and her motivation to learn more about her origins and her family comes across as wholly believable. Her insecurities when compared to her siblings – her fierce half-sister Verena, and her genius adopted brother Bram – only enhance Sophie’s sympathetic nature, as she struggles with her own feelings of inadequacy and confidence.

I’ll be taking next week off to see a bunch of films at the Toronto International Film Festival (Kahil Gibran’s The Prophet, This is My Land, Luna, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch, Charlie’s Country, the Imitation Game, and Behavior, in case you’re wondering) and hang out with my lovely and wonderful cousins. So, you know–I’ll be online less. Write me if you  need me.

Which isn’t to say I won’t tweet a little about the movies, or any especially good food that comes my way. Because in the world of Instagram, my vacation is your vacation. Or something.

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