on tweets, and reviews, and books, and cool non-English covers

Seriously, how cool is this cover? It’s for the German edition of Jonathan L. Howard’s “The Fear Institute”, an absolutely brilliant book that had its paperback edition released today. (Go buy it!) One of the best parts of the BookGeeks gigs is the chance to read some books I might have missed out on otherwise, and I’ve got to say that Howard’s Johannes Cabal series is seriously, seriously good.

We’ve reviewed them all at BookGeeks (or uh, really *I* have reviewed them all at BookGeeks), and, truly, they are just brilliant fun and each book is better than the last as Johannes swipes, mocks, and strides his way towards his goals. Often leaving others lying prone in his wake, and always with the sort of rejoinder that makes you feel as if he has never, ever, had that moment where you think of a come back hours after an event. Trust me, Cabal gets them in on time, and then dances on the supine bodies of his competitors, left face up so they can watch Cabal win.

All of this, I hope, is making you want to read the books (which, really, GO!), but the bonus on top of the bonus that is finding the books is that occasionally you get things happening like authors retweeting a link to your review. And, wow, that *always* feels weird, bizarre, and just….well, weird. I think I intellectually understand that other people might read the reviews, but emotionally (although I seriously hope that people will believe me and buy the books!) I feel like I am mostly just enjoying the chance to write about something I love. And then I realize people read them.

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yay for pretty bay mares

So this is not the world’s most recent picture, something made at least a little obvious by the fact that both the little mare and I are only wearing a minimal number of layers–unlike last week, where I refused to leave the house without at least four, and she graduated to the sort of layering that would make a wedding cake proud. She has also learned that I have very cold hands in the winter, and this reality prompts a hilarious facial expression whenever I touch her: very much on the order of “Uh, no, that’s not cool, why would you do that to me? That’s mean! Stop touching me with the cold things!” Mostly I laugh at her and shove my freezing cold hands in between two of her rugs so as not to drive her too crazy with the cold. That response to the icicles that are my hands is, quite possibly, the only thing she and my husband will ever have in common. Not that he would even admit that.

We’re at the point where it’s possible to really see some changes (again, sorry about the not recent picture!), she’s really grown “out” a lot and lost her whippet-like racehorse build. She’d also gone bum-high again, which I hope will even out and give us at least one more inch (I would like her to be a *tiny* bit taller!).  It’s already starting to even out, and as I hopped off yesterday I swear it took longer to hit the ground. (This could be wishful thinking). I feel I should also mention that she had spent nearly a week only working on the walker as the arena and her field were iced over. She’d been out that morning in the now mostly defrosted field (and impressed everyone with her ability to buck), but, seriously, I took a four year old on a walk hack on the road after a week off and…nothing happened. It was only twenty minutes, but she’s starting to relax a bit into the rein as well (plus, there were no terrifying allotment people–I’m not sure what she thinks they will do if she takes her eyes off them, but I’m certain it involves eating pretty bay mares.)

Although it can sometimes be frustrating to wait to go out and “do the fun stuff” (ahem, cross country)–I’m really enjoying working with a baby again. There is something about making sure it all goes quietly and smoothly that appeals to me, plus, of course baby shenanigans are fun (there is a lot of time spent investigating the bag I use for a grooming kit because it, once, a few weeks ago, had a carrot in it). I’m really looking forward to this summer. The plan is to take her out and about for little things and get her going and then give her the winter between 4 and 5 off to grow a bit more (hopefully!).

Right now, we’re doing a lot of stretching and flexing to help her get a bit more wiggly in herself. She came to me quite “tight” with racing muscles, and it’s been a bit of a process to convince her that she is safe enough, really, to relax and shift her focus from what is going on around her to the work we are doing. She is absolutely stellar, and her walk, especially, has gotten huuuuuuuge, but we still have those moments where she pretzels herself to look at something (usually behind us, on a diagonal, and below the horizon, just to complicate matters). Yesterday, though, as we walked out for our last lap up and down the lane, she took the rein forward of her own accord and started really stretching out and down. So yay for babies, especially pretty bay mares.

P.C. Hodgell, she’s back, thank goodness (also, so’s the blog)

Of course, the over-the-top typical of Baen Books cover is still there (One of the more hilarious aspects of the covers vs the story is how often it is integral to the plot that Jame is mistaken for her twin brother, or just a boy in general, which is clearly impossible if she…had the assets of the girl on the cover).

I have, as always, written a proper review of it over at BookGeeks, but I can’t resist being gleeful over here as well.  I can (vividly) remember a time when I would repeatedly buy extra copies of “God Stalk” and “Dark of the Moon” because they were the only Kencyrath novels available, and how, when the gorgeous Meisha Merlin editions came out (and were super expensive), I seriously considered selling my warmest coat (not a small thing in Minnesota) in order to afford them (it made sense at the time, college can do that to you). Eventually I decided that frostbite would make it difficult to turn pages, and I waited a bit for more reasonably priced versions…and waited, and waited.  But Hodgell has finally hooked up with Baen, and the last few years have seen Jame’s story spiral out from its beginnings in Tai-Tastigon to encompass the wider world of Rathillien.

I won’t go into any of the details of the plot (except to say, of course, that it is loads of fun and everyone should read the books…), but it does make me think about how certain books end up more a part of everyday life than others. I’m sure a lot depends on when you read them, but this series in particular (and “anything written by Connie Willis”) has ended up being one of those series that feels like it punctuates my life. And I absolutely love that new books in the series are coming out at a regular pace, and that Baen has such incredible ebook policies, so I can own many copies of them both on the bookshelf and on the computer. Continue reading