This week, I got to go to a scotch seminar/tasting put on by Laphroaig. It was tremendously fun, and I learned a lot besides; the brewery had flown their master distiller in to speak about how the scotches are made and aged, and their "American Ambassador" was on hand to discuss the drinks themselves, and the history of the distillery. Scotch is still a bit to expensive a habit for me to do more than dabble in (the ticket was a birthday present), but it was a wonderful experience nevertheless.
Now then! Let's get on to the (mini-)reviewing, below the break.
My Domestic Equestria, by Pascoite
Zero-ish spoiler summary: The author's (nonfiction) stories of playing ponies with his four year old son.
A few thoughts: This was a treat to read. Pascoite faithfully recounts the sometimes-rambling, sometimes-nonsensical, always-entertaining whimsy of a young child, sprinkling it with just the right amount of self-awareness and commentary in the narration. What emerges is a series of glimpses into the author's life and loves, which is at once self-depreciating, refreshingly honest, and heartwarming to the core.
Recommendation: I highly recommend this to virtually anyone. Heck, I'd even recommend it to non-ponyfans; the appeal here isn't ponies (though obviously, knowing the characters helps place a lot of the games and commentary), but the chance to take a glimpse into someone else's life, told with sincerity and skill in equal measure.
Warmongering, by BronyWriter
Zero-ish spoiler summary: A Diamond Dog king threatens to invade Equestria, with predictably disastrous results.
A few thoughts: There's one really great idea here: that Princess Celestia has the ability to vanquish pretty much foe she wishes by crushing them with the sun, but that she's unwilling to cause massive casualties in order to "win" a war... and that the leaders of other nations know this, and are willing to exploit this. Unfortunately, the main story barely touches on this in favor of mocking the idiocy of the Diamond Dog king for his continuing belligerence and inability to think through the consequences of his words/actions, and the second chapter (which, as an aside, is introduced with an Author's Note stating: "A rough draft chapter... I banged it out in about an hour," which doesn't sit well with me at all) deals with it a bit more directly, but buries it in a circular conversation without ever really exploring the larger idea.
Recommendation: This is quite competently written (at least, the first chapter is), and anyone looking for surface-level humor won't be disappointed. It will probably disappoint anyone who hates wasted opportunities, though, or who's looking for more than the obvious joke.
Twilight Attends Parliament, by Anonymoose
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Twilight gets to attend parliament for the first time in Celestia's company. Turns out it's not all it's cracked up to be.
A few thoughts: As with Warmongering, this story mostly goes for the obvious joke: Twilight thought parliament wouldn't be boring, but it is. There's one really nice bit of humor in here, where an ill-timed exclamation on Twilight's part has some unfortunate results (which are brought up again and again, and bear the repetition well). However, the rest is just "the obvious joke," and the troll-ending left a sour taste in my mouth; I don't much care for throwing away a decent story for a non-sequitur bit of non-humor.
Recommendation: If you really like this kind of story, go for it. But between the sorely lacking ending and the fact that there's so little to this besides the one joke you know about coming in, there's not a lot to recommend this one.