How is a boy going to succeed in a world of dragon-racing dominated by women and girls? When Jixin finally becomes a dragon physician to the wonderful dragon breeds, his world begins to change.
I pestered Joyce for a way to buy this book. And so I have a copy (bought, not gifted or anything) and somehow forgot to review it (in my head I thought I had done it, fail).
But now unto the book, it is a really cute story set in a world I really liked and found interesting. For starters the useful people here are women. Men are the ones “relegated” to certain tasks because they aren’t that good for the tasks women do. It was interesting to see this “change” of roles so drastically but not into a “polar opposites of how they tend to be in our world”.
And we have Jixin’s story, but he is also taken by the daughter of the owner of the racing house he works in. This brings him into the opportunity of fulfilling his drea of becoming a dragon physician like his mother (there seems to be a space for the story of her mother here, but this is the first book, and I do want to know that story).
There is also the story of the racing houses, and then the troubles and “adventure” that ensues as he accepts some interesting proposals from the daughter of the racing house.
I found the racing houses and dragon lore fun and wanted to know more. And there was also a lot of questions regarding what being LGBTQ+ means, and how to consider and react to it, but also the questions it brings.
I haven’t read many books that ask this kind of questions and I was pleased by having them posed the way they were here, as they are part of the story and make part of the plot, but they are also not a detractor of it or to say it is “driving” an agenda. It just is.
All in all, I enjoyed it, wish it was a series and there were more, and I would be even happier it was illustrated or had some illustrations (that cover is super cute and so galactic lovely!).
I would suggest you check Joyce’s books out, she has some more on dragons and werewolves (not together if I remember correctly), so there’s something for everyone.
As many of you know (and for those that don’t) I went to YALC this year. All the times I’ve been at YALC, I’ve done cosplays, so this year was no different. Though I did bring in two new cosplays (Previously I have done Hermione, Death from Book of Life and of course Moon dress).
Friday’s cosplay was as Cat Noir from Miraculous Ladybug (a cartoon for children, you can find it on Netflix, and this is no promo as I don’t even have Netflix but I do like the cartoon).
Saturday was Knit Anele aka Moon dress (because it is iconic and everyone recognises it). This was the costume that gave me the most problems as the corset shifted (yes it is a corset) and I couldn’t sit, so after lunch I took it off (it is designed to be used with or without it, but obviously it is more stunning with it).
And finally, on Sunday I dressed up as Menolly (with blue hair) from Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey. This was a very interesting cosplay because I got a lot of children asking for pictures (also some teenagers and adults), but no one really knew who I was dressed up as(I think the exception would be Steph from GeekyClean). My favourite part was that when I said who I was, there were two very distinct reactions “oh yes, of course” (on the older side of the scale or those that do a lot of SFF and not just YA) or blank faces of “no idea”. One person even asked me to write down the book and author so they could look it up. The dragon(firelizard) has now been baptised as “Pern” in honor of the planet where he comes from. Oh and yes, I wasn’t “holding” him, attached him to my shoulder with the help of Josie Jaffrey and my friends.
Now to the part about the books! This is my haul:
From left to right:
Brought 23 books. All except Lauren James’ book got signed (I mean puppy needed her, good priorities there).
Bought 17 books. Some for the wedding favours pile. The new edition of After the Fire (to complete my collection), and some early copies of books plus books that caught my eye. I behaved much better this year and didn’t go on a crazy buying spree.
7 Books that were free or swapped. I did bring about 10 for the book swap so this didn’t go too bad (and only one of those was from the book swap directly). Some publishers did a “buy a book get one free” so some of those are in this pile.
And I won 10 books/proofs. Wilder Girls, Chinglish and Kingdom of Souls were high priority and I was so pleased to win them. Sanctuary was “fated”. The first person who drew won, so I went next thinkign that the odds of me winning the other prize were too small (they were), and yet still won.
I won’t talk about every single book here as I will review them at some point. But I tried to only enter those I would read (or a friend was eagerly wanting) and I also didn’t go too crazy on freebies and ended up with a small stack of them rather than a crazy amount.
I have read most of the samplers and started my list of “preorders” that are to come next (for those that follow the preorder spreadsheet, I had paused it on the buildup to YALC so I wouldn’t shoot myself in the foot and buy doubles, but it will continue in the next few weeks).
As per usual, things could be better, but they were better than last year (I am being positive and small improvements are better than no improvement). The biggest issue is lack of suitable chairs to sit for those of us who struggle sitting on the floor (I have been working wiht my physio to help me cope with this better but by Sunday I really really would’ve loved having a chair as I was struggling). And it isn’t a thing that is particularly hard to fix either.
I was also super glad to make new friends, and put faces to names and to have the chance to chat with people (I kinda want to tag everyone but I am also afraid I’d forget someone and I just don’t want to forget anyone!). You know who you are since we talked.
For me this YALC was better and easier because I made myself enjoy it more and go less into a rush and manic hype. And it was about friendships old and new. Community was interesting to see.
My biggest wish would be that people in general are more polite and considerate of others. There was a lot of madly crushing people despite asking not to. (And becauseof this I made an extra effort to not push on people and to not be too close to them in the queues, giving them space to be).
I finish with that YALC sign picture and our squad which keeps growing!
I got this gorgeous colourful book from my birthday elf box (we do a birthday box like a secret santa) Tracey, and I was really happy.
This is the paperback version as there is a hardback one, but I am a paperback human through and through. The book is big and colourful and full of imagination.
It is like the perfect imagination box inside, and with a story about a little girl who prefers to doodle than do her homework or pay attention in class (I was the kind of person who needed to doodle to pay attention or she just couldn’t concentrate). And then she meets a new girl at school and she seems to like her drawings. But maybe it isn’t all good…
It has a creepy/scary element in it but it reminded me a little of the Book of Kells style of artwork (it isn’t the same I know) and type of story. Highly recommended as a story book and just to enjoy the artwork.
I am at YALC this weekend so hopefully if you are around you can find me (bright blue hair, cosplaying each day).
My short tip list is to:
Be kind. Your attittude will help you get the help you need.
Hydrate. It is hot and you are excited and you forget. A few of us “veterans” are well prepared, so reach out to us.
Eat. Snacks are the very least but there’s places to eat or bring your own food (again, find veterans who can help if in a pinch).
Do a recon of the area. I sometimes go a bit crazy and do everything the first day. Depending on which days you’re going, try to make it last as long as you’re there.
Don’t rush. Yes, there’s a lot to see and do, but you’ll enjoy it more if you take it easy rather than rushing around.
Sunday near closing time is when crazy offers happen (stock is too small to take home, etc). If the risk is not too big for you, it may be worth waiting. I snagged some wonderful deals on Sunday that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Authors sometimes walk the area and will happily chat to you and sign books (not all of them, be polite when you approach them and don’t expect them to be at your beck and call, they’re humans too). So don’t over fret.
Divide and conquer. If you’ve got friends (or made queue friends) who can help you queue or get a ticket or something, ask. Most of us are a friendly bunch and diviing bits and asking for your highest priority and helping others get theirs is win win.
I could go on and on but there are other helpful guides around, so I’ll leave it there. I will be posting a selfie or some kind of picture of my costume each day so you can find me (I am very bad at names, so I forget, even if I recognise your face don’t take this badly). Be aware that at social gatherings I go on overdrive and I am talkative and overly extroverted (my Mexican side shows up). I am not trying to be annoying.
Informal review, because today’s my birthday. And I thought I’d review the earliest birthday gift I received this year, by a lovely twitter peep who granted me a birthday wish.
Skyward was fun to read, and it went by very quickly from a chirpy kinda thing to a more dramatic one. I did enjoy a lot the way humans adapt to the low gravity environment (I mean, there’s a lot of other things that wouldn’t work but not going into the nitty gritty, this is a comic).
There are many creaive ways of “moving” and of staying “grounded” rather than being blow away by a movement that would propel you out of the atmosphere. I guess the best way of describing it is having the same atronaut “space” feel but all here on Earth without the “oxygen tank and protection from stuff” problems real space has.
I enjoyed it a lot and it was a good thing to read on a day I was feeling sad and a bit in too much pain (I don’t talk to much about pain, but that’s a journey too long to say here). So thank you very much! I can’t wait to get the next volume!
As for my birthday baloon day, it’s going to just another day. Work, then I treated myself to an aerial sling class, then a haircut/dye.
What do I want from this next year? I want to strengthen my body slowly, to cope better with the causes of my pain (I can only manage it, not fix it). Do more art, I haven’t done much art this last year as I changed jobs and then planned a wedding (it takes SO much of your time). I also want another critter…
I wrote this poem three years ago. I can’t remember what made me write it, but I was annoyed at people insisting that being x religion or born in y country meant you were less human or didn’t know your own mind, so I ende up trying to sort through those feelings in this poem.
you who shout “indoctrination” at others people’s beliefs, beliefs you don’t like or agree with, beliefs you don’t even understand or know about.
we don’t choose which country we’re born into, nor how rich or poor our family is, we don’t choose what religion, culture and customs will reign the home we’re brought up into.
We don’t decide how much love or hate will surround us and define who we are from the day we’re brought into this world.
You shout “indoctrination”, but tell me… if you were exactly in their situation, wouldn’t you be who they are?
It is easy to say “no I wouldn’t”, when you haven’t experienced anything like it. And in a way, you are indoctrinated too.
the habits of your parents help define yours, and maybe it wasn’t a conscious decision, but you are shaped by the rules and beliefs that defined your family and your life.
Most countries define themselves by rules and “values”, religions do too, culture does too (even inside countries). Isn’t that in it’s own way, being indoctrinated?
Weren’t you brought up to love your country, to feel proud of it and the achievements? Weren’t you brought up to believe in good and bad (regardless of what you define as good or bad)?
So don’t shout indoctrination, just because you don’t like someone. Because you might be John, but if you had been born in a different setting, could be Juan or Ian or maybe Yahya.
I just discovered this over on A Reading Brit and had to do it. Gaming is a huge part of me (as is reading) so this was a perfect tag to try out.
1. What is your all-time favourite video game?
I don’t like favourite questions. I can’t pick one. My favourite video game for “it is a work of art” is defnitely Child of Light. My favourite “I spent my childhood on this” is Jazz Jack Rabbit 2, Duke Nukem 2 and Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego? (yes, I have aged myself, haven’t I? I played all of them on Windows PCs…). My favourite “comfort game (think comfort blanket but game)” is Bioshock series and Alice Madness Returns.
2. What is your current favourite video game?
Still difficult to choose. “I am too tired to do anything but don’t want to sleep yet” is Let’s Go Eevee. Mindless open world wandering is Skyrim and Dragon Age. I love Dishonored series and adore Prey (the Bethesda new one, not the old one). I also love Fire Emblem series as a comfort game.
3. What is your favourite video game genre?
Semi open world first person shooters (?). Think Fallout 3, New Vegas, 4 and 76 (but not Multiplayer I suck at multiplayer) Or Bioshock series, or Horizon Zero Dawn, or Prey or anything Bethesda brings out. Strategy RPG (Fire Emblem only, Final Fantasy drives me nuts somehow despite being initially very similar). and a little of JRPG (Child of Light)
4. How long have you been playing video games?
Very young. My dad was computer crazy (at a time you could build a PC from a weekly magazine…) and he would let us play games. I remember playing Chip’s Challenge. And Mine sweeper and Pinball…
5. What’s the first game you ever played?
Apparently I replied early to this question. Probably Chip’s, or Carmen San Diego.
6. What game have you clocked the most hours into?
Bioshock series and Fallout series.
7. What’s your longest gaming session?
Not sure. I used to game longer during a difficult time in my life, most of the day. But now I play less and divide hours more.
8. Who is your favourite game developer?
Bethesda, specifically Arkane. And I loved Ken Levine and American McGee as game masterminds
9. Who is your favourite hero character from a game?
Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn. She’s such a personality. I also have a soft spot for Link who keeps getting called Zelda 😛
10. Who is your favourite villain?
The Typhon. (Prey)
11. Who is your most hated character of any game?
I am not entirely sure. I really hated Fontaine from Bioshock series. But do you mean playable character or Ai character? Those are harder to choose which one I hate… I love/hate any Assasin’s Creed main character (but the first two were the worst) because they would easily fall down and commit suicide or break cover with a tiny movement from the controller. It drove me mad.
12. What gaming systems do you own?
PC (custom). PS4, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS Lite, DS and 3DS, Switch, Wii (old one). I also play on my phone.
13. What was your first game system?
Not counting PC. The first I played was Atari, then Nintendo 64. First owned was Nintendo DS Lite. (I always had friends/neighbours who had a console and we would play at theirs, until I got older).
14. What’s your favourite gaming system and why?
I love PC as it usually has all games I want and I can just plug a controller or play with keyboard-mouse, and enjoy PS4 a lot (it is my main gaming console at the moment). Recently the Switch has been winning me over with how portable and versatile it is.
15. Do you prefer to play male characters or female characters?
If given the choice I usually choose female. But if the game has a male character only I don’t mind. For example, Dishonored only lets you play Corvo (male), but Dishonored 2 let’s you play him or Emily (female). I have played both, and prefer Emily mostly because she has new powers that differ over Corvo’s.
16. Do you follow walkthroughs, or do you play through on your own?
I try to play on my own, but if I have spent ages trying to figure something out and I just can’t crack it, then I will look that part up. I like walkthroughs mostly for the “trophies” part (I am a sucker for trophies/achievements, I will replay games until I get as many as I can without being too frustrated by it).
17. Have you ever been to a gaming convention?
No. I would love to attend E3 but it is too far.
18. What game are you most excited to come out in the future?
19. What’s your best memory of a video game?
One of my favourite things is that I went off videogames for a little bit and my little sister found American McGee’s Alice (the first Alice game he did) and she convinced me to play. I was SO bad at it. But she would coach me through it. And when Alice Madness Returns came out I was in the US so I bought it for her. In my head it was her game. I moved away and ended up playing it and beating it before her, which was a shock to me, but a fun memory because it felt like beating the master.
20. What’s your worst memory of a video game?
I do not want to remember those. But funny worst are the glitches that happen in some games 😛
21. Which video game character do you see yourself as, or if
you had to be represented by a video game character, who would it be?
I would probably be a female Morgan (Prey). I would love to say I am an Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn), but I am more Elisabeth Sobeck (don’t google if you intend to play this game, it is a spoiler to find out who she is) than Aloy.
I haven’t done a lot of commissions or design work recently (my full time job has kept me very busy, but I cannot complain, I enjoy it a lot). But when the girls contacted me about designing a pin for them, I said yes (I didn’t know what they wanted or anything except a pin, but I said yes).
This isn’t my first work for Book Box Club. I have desgined items for the before. But this is my first enamel pin design and it was very interesting to work on it.
I went overboard with my design. Of course. My take was, to celebrate Book Box Club and the fact you’ve been supporting them, I might as well do a “fun” take on some of the books we have had from them. Can you name them all?
My over the board pin had to be simplified, so I took the fun writings away. (It was then modified a bit more to fit the final one).
Then there was the backing card. I have a Book Box Club shelf on one of my bookcases, so I went with that because I wanted to make a backing card that was complimentary to the pin.
Of course some changes had to be made, as the “texture” was getting lost and it was too dark, but once again, can you name all the books in it?