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Archive for November, 2013

Grils Who Read

It’s the last day of NaBloPoMo! I did it! So enjoy this video in celebration.

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Round and Round They Go…

This is How Huge Door-stopper Fantasy Novels Get Made

It’s a book binding miracle! But seriously, I think it would be really neat to visit a bindery some day. Yes, I realize I may have just outed myself as a giant nerd, but you probably should have picked up on that before now.

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Giving Thanks

I am thankful for many things, but one thing that is very high on my list is that I live in a place that has so many independent bookstores. In the past year, I have visited and bought from all of these stores:

That’s ten bookstores–almost enough for me to visit one every month! And there are lots of other bookstores I haven’t visited this year (DreamHaven, Micawber’s, Big Brain Comics, Once Upon A Crime, etc), and of course the chains like Barnes & Noble and Half Price Books.

So what I’m saying is, I don’t want for easy access to books. And for that, I’m very very thankful.

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A Final Reckoning

I don’t usually write negative reviews. My philosophy is life is too short, there are too many books, I’m not a professional reviewer, blablabla.

For this book, however, I am willing to make an exception.

First, some background. I recently attended a webinar at which Severn House was a featured publisher, and this was one of their upcoming titles that they mentioned. Obviously, in a presentation like that, a publisher is going to be positive about their books. They aren’t going to talk about the books that they feel are going to under-perform that season, or mention the titles that they hope will fail miserably in all markets. It’s a kind of marketing, but it’s also a chance for them to highlight midlist titles and authors that aren’t getting The Big Marketing Push but that would probably do well in libraries. So if there’s a title or an author in a webinar that sounds interesting but that I’m not familiar with, my next step is to find professional reviews of it so that I can get a more unbiased idea about the book, and maybe also see whether it might be worth my time to read it.

And this is where things started to go poorly. Booklist gives it a starred review, as does Publishers Weekly. Kirkus doesn’t, but they’re notoriously picky, so whatever, that’s not an automatic strike against a book.

Booklist:

Compelling, suspenseful, gruesome, and frightening, this page-turner is only slightly disappointing in that it will be obvious to mystery buffs whodunit; only Chantal seems oblivious until it’s almost too late.

Publishers Weekly:

The hideous and long-buried truth will catch most readers by surprise.

Kirkus:

Moody (Loose Ends, 2013, etc.) knows how to build suspense, but it’s hard not to keep yelling “don’t go there” at the drippy heroine in this overwrought thriller.

OBVIOUS??? So obvious that when THE OBVIOUS MURDERER OF OBVIOUSNESS showed the first sign of OBVIOUSLY BEING THE MURDERER I said to myself, “oh, that can’t possibly be who the murderer is, IT’S TOO OBVIOUS, it must be a red herring.” Nope, no herrings, red or otherwise. Catch readers BY SURPRISE??? Only if they’ve never ever read a mystery before and are incapable of picking up clues THE SIZE OF BOULDERS dropped with all the subtlety of anvils in a Warner Bros. cartoon. I MEAN COME ON. Overwrought, though, that one is spot-on.

So to sum up, Susan Moody is not a good Mary Stewart replacement, and I am prone to CAPS LOCK OF RAGE when professional review journals fail me, and the book itself is not worth your time.

A Final Reckoning

Source: ebook borrowed from library

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‘Tis the Season

It’s almost that time of year again, Festive Winter Gift Giving Season! So here are two book-related gift lists, one from a blog I read and the other from Buzzfeed (yes, yes, I know, but it has some good things on it):

  • Gift Guide 2013, Volume 1
  • 20 Thoughtful Gifts for the Bookwork in Your Life
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    Plantagenets

    Earlier this year I read The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones. It was 500+ pages of super awesomeness, and I can’t wait for the second volume to come out. Agincourt! The War of the Roses! Yes!

    But mostly what I learned in talking about this book is that most Americans have no idea who the Plantagenets are, but they have heard of King Richard and King John, because of Robin Hood. But there’s so much more to the Plantagenets than that!

    So to start at the beginning: 1066 Quiz

    Then there’s the war between Matilda (also called Maude) and Stephen after William Ætheling, grandson of William the Conqueror, died; eventually Matilda’s son Henry became king. he was famous, you might have heard of him? He married Eleanor of Aquitaine and was the father of Richard and John (and several other children). King Richard led some crusades, and King John signed the Magna Carta. On a side note, I’ve seen one of the original versions. Henry III did a lot of building projects, and his son Edward I fought wars in Wales and Scotland (that would be Edward Long Shanks in “Braveheart”). Edward II was ousted in a coup, and Edward III got down to the business of starting the Hundred Years War, ably assisted by his son, The Black Prince. Richard II became king when he was only 10 years old, had rebellions to deal with, and was eventually deposed as well. And that’s where the first book ends.

    So there you go. 500 pages and approximately 280 years summed up in a paragraph. You should maybe consider reading the book if you want more details. Because honestly? The obsession with the Tudors? The Plantagenets did it all first, and they usually did it better.

    Dan Jones

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    Cuddle Bugs

    The one place Lush Puppy and New Puppy cuddle is the sofa. They will snuggle together for hours (or until something catches New Puppy’s attention and she bounces off to investigate), but only on the sofa. Preferably the living room sofa–apparently the basement sofa isn’t as comfortable.

    couch potatoes

    The only downside is that there isn’t always room for a person, let alone two, when they take up residence.

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