Joyce Linehan & Joe Pernice: Pernice to Me

I’m probably over-thinking my reaction to this book. Joe Pernice, if you don’t know the name, has one of the most honeyed voices in all of indie rock and a heaping helping of songwriting skill, displayed for the past several years/records in his band Pernice Brothers. Joyce Linehan is Pernice’s partner in Ashmont Records. ThisContinue reading “Joyce Linehan & Joe Pernice: Pernice to Me”

J.F. Lewis: Revamped

Revamped is, like its predecessor Staked, a fantasy thriller very much in the mode of Hamilton’s Anita Blake series: jockeying for dominance between various supernatural entities is the prime mover of the plot, which features a lot of sex and violence, the latter even more copious and explicit than the former. Lewis continues to exploitContinue reading “J.F. Lewis: Revamped”

L. Jagi Lamplighter: Prospero Lost

Prospero Lost is one of the most original contemporary fantasies I’ve read in years from outside the slipstream camp. Its central conceit is that Shakespeare’s The Tempest was loosely based on fact. Prospero, Miranda (and later additions to the clan) are near-immortal beings secretly responsible for imposing order on elemental magical forces, thus making modernContinue reading “L. Jagi Lamplighter: Prospero Lost”

Justine Larbalestier, Liar

Larbalestier’s new book is hard to talk about while avoiding spoilers. But I had one good reason to buy this book that has nothing to with the contents: although its narrator, Micah, is a young woman who is half-black and wears her hair short, the original US cover design featured a long-haired white woman, mostlyContinue reading “Justine Larbalestier, Liar”

D.H. Lawrence: D.H. Lawrence and Italy

A double entry in my books-I-wouldn’t-expect-myself-to-read endeavor: a Lawrence (whom I’ve never read, more or less deliberately) and a travel book. Three travel books, sort of — this omnibus edition comprises “Twilight in Italy,” “Sea and Sardinia,” and “Etruscan Places.” I’ve always suspected I would find Lawrence an annoying writer, and I do. He’s fiercelyContinue reading “D.H. Lawrence: D.H. Lawrence and Italy”

Justine Larbalestier: How to Ditch Your Fairy

How to Ditch Your Fairy is a grass-is-greener fable that uses the device of magical entities to examine the unfairness of innate talents. The fairies of the title give the humans to whom they’re bound powers that drastically exaggerate normal traits. Physical attraction, for example, becomes compelling attention from literally everyone of the opposite sexContinue reading “Justine Larbalestier: How to Ditch Your Fairy”

Margo Lanagan: Red Spikes

Several of Lanagan’s spooky short stories start with deceptively simple, even prosaic, sentences, like “I arrived in moonlight; it wasn’t hard to find the way,” and “‘Well, at least it’s a fine night,’ said Mum.” But these innocuous openings give little away. In what era is the story set? Does it take place in worldContinue reading “Margo Lanagan: Red Spikes”

Justine Larbalestier: Magic’s Child

My expectations for Magic’s Child were very high, and they weren’t quite met. The first novel in the series, Magic or Madness, introduced a remarkably fresh conception of magic in the modern-day world, (as well as exploring the author’s own experiences with transcontinental transitions in a fantastic context). The sequel Magic Lessons deepened and extendedContinue reading “Justine Larbalestier: Magic’s Child”

Laurie Lindeen: Petal Pusher

Laurie Lindeen’s rags-to-well,rags chronicle of her band Zuzu’s Petals reminded strongly of Tommy Womack’s excellent and thematically similar Cheese Chronicles, with the added fillip that Laurie hooks up with someone Much More Famous midway through the band’s career arc. Almost all of the book is written in the present tense. Lindeen is sometimes deliberately cageyContinue reading “Laurie Lindeen: Petal Pusher”