City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett comes out May 2nd, and if you’re not reading it by May 3rd I’m going to scowl at you SO HARD.

This book is a kind of James Bond fantasy but with emotionally impactful action and a whole lot of depth. Nothing wrong with pure escapism, of course, but this isn’t it.

You know what? Fine. Just read it for the outstanding action sequences. It works on that level better than pretty much anything else out there.

City of Miracles is the final book in The Divine Cities trilogy, and closes things out very nicely. It departs in tone from the previous two books, but not in a bad way. In fact, the change is very welcome and we get a nice endcap to Shara and Mulagesh’s stories. It’s a better end to the trilogy than we probably deserve. Every book in The Divine Cities series is fantastic and that’s pretty damn impressive.

Plus, I mean, it’s Sigrud. This is a book all about Sigrud, and it’s a book worthy of him.

So.

*watches you until you click the ‘buy’ button*

 

7 Things to Know About Belize

Sunrise in Belize
Sunrise on Ambergris Caye

I had no idea what I was getting into when we picked Belize as our next family vacation spot. How was I to know that it involved chumming the ocean and then throwing my wife and kid out to swim with the sharks? Was there some way to predict the 100F temperatures in the jungle?

Well, yeah, okay, maybe.

*grumbles*

We chose Belize because it was safe and it met one very important criteria. The ticket prices happened to be exactly the right amount to spend the vouchers we got from Delta last year. That meant free flights, and free flights are THE BEST FLIGHTS.

Even if there isn’t great legroom sometimes.

Don’t tell the internet, but I’m about to express an opinion.

Belize was BY FAR the best vacation I’ve ever taken my family on.

The food was excellent. The people were AMAZING and FRIENDLY. The jungle was SO NOISY! My kids didn’t complain about the long flights, or bumpy roads, or crazy hot temps (ok, they complained a little about the temp, but not too bad.) In all, Belize was a powerful experience and I hope to replicate it with future travel.

Here are seven things you might want to know if you decide to visit Belize:

  1. Visit the jungle THEN the ocean. My policy is always to go from lesser accommodations to luxurious. Ambergris Caye isn’t the fanciest place you’ll ever go, but the temps are far more reasonable and there’s AC.
  2. BUT DEFINITELY VISIT THE JUNGLE. Caracol is an impressive Mayan pyramid, and they let you climb all the way to the top. It’s fantastic, and it’s the tallest man-made structure in Belize. The food at Table Rock was all local and excellent, and I would for sure recommend canoeing on the rivers and swimming under the waterfalls at Rio on Pools.
  3. You can just order ‘a beer’. Anywhere. They all drink Belikin beer, which is a perfect beer for the hot weather.
  4. If a tour guide offers you a ‘Belizean Massage’ don’t worry, it’s not a weird sex thing. They’re just talking about Belize’s TERRIBLE ROADS. There’s a special technique they use to drive on the pitted gravel. It involves swerving back and forth to try to hit the least horrible sections of dirt.
  5. In San Pedro, FOR SURE rent a golf cart at least once. It’s all the fun of driving in a third world country, but it’s a golf cart, so what the hell. Way less stress. Also, driving the 45 minutes north to the Secret Beach (not really a secret) is a great way to get a Belizean massage.
  6. Get ready to hear about some Guatemalan politics. All of our tour guides had some strong opinions on Guatemala. Based on their opinions and the armed escort we had to get to Caracol, which is on the border, I’d say it’s probably a pretty important topic.
  7. Rice and Beans is not the same thing as Beans and Rice. Yeah, the ingredients are similar, but beans and rice is made with the parts separate. Maybe some chicken. Rice and beans is made with everything mixed together. It’s all good, though.

On the way home, Delta was still recovering from the massive storms that scrambled Atlanta on the 5th. But we made it! In reasonable time, even. To compensate us for the mild inconvenience of a crazy travel day, Delta gave us $200 more dollars each. Now we just need to figure out where to go with that money.

Pictures:

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

The Collapsing Empire by John ScalziThe Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi is the story of a vast interstellar civilization as it slowly learns of a coming change. Big change. After a thousand years of stability, change can be… jarring.

If you’re into grand space opera sci-fi or if you read every single thing John Scalzi produces, then you’re going to read this anyway, and I probably don’t have a lot to say to you. Read it. Enjoy it. It’s worth your time.

But the rest of you. You OTHER people who like OTHER things. Is there something here for you? Well, let’s see.


Read more “The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi”

7 Considerations for the Early Spring Landscape

When the weather warms, as it does, sometimes we like to venture out into the mushy remains of our early spring landscape.

Burrs in the early spring landscape
Every time I see these I sing the Hamilton soundtrack now

*gets mauled by squirrels*

SO! Sometimes when the weather gets nice, we like to look at the spring landscape from the safety of our homes, WHERE THERE ARE NO STARVING SQUIRRELS. We can at least look out there and see what shame the melting snow has revealed.

Here are some tips for managing the Spring landscape. Follow at your own risk. Read more “7 Considerations for the Early Spring Landscape”

Dr. Potter’s Medicine Show by Eric Scott Fischl

Dr. Potter's Medicine ShowDr. Potter’s Medicine Show by Eric Scott Fischl is the kind of story you should read while chugging cheap whiskey straight from the bottle and cussing up a storm. It’s an intense ride full of alchemy, death, and violence.

Sometimes it’s nice to read a book with villains who are easy to hate. This book fills the need and then some. With truly evil-but-in-interesting-ways antagonists and deeply flawed protagonists, it tends to get a touch dark, but don’t worry! Just when you think it’s dark, it’ll Read more “Dr. Potter’s Medicine Show by Eric Scott Fischl”

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale
The Bear and the Nightingale

There should be more books like The Bear and the Nightingale. Lots of them. It is beautiful, and a joy to read.

Maybe I’m just a sucker for fantasies packed full of myths and legends. Maybe the Russian origins of this folklore charmed me. Read more “The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden”

Return from ConFusion

Had Detroit style pizza at ConFusion
See, it’s square

This past weekend was ConFusion, which somehow lured me into those strange lands around Detroit. I had a great time and met so many fantastic authors and fans. Here are a few post-con thoughts: Read more “Return from ConFusion”