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Showing posts from March, 2017

Weekend reads and more snow?

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It seems unlikely that March will go out like a lamb as we're facing some windy, wet days ahead of us!

I wish I'd be snuggled in for long stretches of reading, but the toddler has stopped napping (nooooooooooooooooooooo!) so I'll be playing (and undoubtedly reading!) with him.

Among my many reads at the moment (I'm doing the start-a-bunch-and-see-what-sticks browse/read thing right now) is Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys. It's inspired by/set in Lovecraft's world of watery sea gods and I'm deeply excited.

What are you reading this weekend?

Book Review: The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

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First line: On a warm December day in 1884, the Temptation was leaving Hawaii, as well as the nineteenth century, and her destination was entirely in my hands.

I had been on pins and needles for this book after inhaling (and loving) the previous novel, The Girl From Everywhere (which also made my top ten of 2016). I'm really wrestling over whether this book was as good as the first one -- or better -- and it's given me a serious book hangover.

I'm not sure I can really recap the story without getting into the weeds, and I really don't want to give away anything crucial. Our heroine, Nix, and her father, Slate, have the ability to travel through time, and to any place, if given a map of said time/place. 

Picking up immediately where The Girl From Everywhere ended, this book dives into the now what? of the Nix's life and abilities. They've got a new crew member who has just learned about Nix and her father Slate and their incredible ability to sail through time;…

Weekend reads and, I don't know, shortbread?

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I'm starting a bunch of books this weekend because why not?

Among them are Amberlough, a gay spy thriller that's allegedly "Le Carre meets Cabaret" (uhm, yum!); and two Lovecraftian-inspired novels, The Night Ocean, about a man obsessed with Lovecraft; and Winter Tide, a novel that takes place in the world of monsters Lovecraft imagined. I'm super excited about all three and have been for a while.

(I'm also showing off the utterly deeeevine raisin-and-carraway seed shortbread my wife made in honor of St. Patrick's Day.)

Otherwise, stuff has been happening, and also, not much. Current political climate sucks, and I'm divided over liking the snow storm(s) and kind of wanting spring here.

What are you reading this weekend?

Book Review: Bleaker House by Nell Stevens

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First line: This is a landscape an art-therapy patient might paint to represent depression: grey sky and a sweep of featureless peat rising out of the sea.

Pretty much the moment I laid eyes on the cover of this book, I knew I wanted to read it. And then when I learned the premise -- a memoir of a novelist who spent three months on an isolated island in the Falklands wrestling with her novel -- I knew I seriously had to read it.

Upon finishing her MFA, Nell Stevens learns that there's funding to support her traveling anywhere in the world so she may work on her writing for three months. Craving time alone, Stevens settles on Bleaker Island, part of the Falklands. Her memoir shifts between her time on Bleaker, her time before Bleaker, snippets of her novel in progress as well as other fiction, and other ephemera (like her travel proposal, with snarky annotations).

Her narrative style is just lovely, quotable sentence after quotable sentence (you can read a long excerpt of the hila…

Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

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First line: Ove is fifty-nine.

This was a read for my book club, which is the only reason I started and finished this book as it unfortunately got under my skin from the first page. (Not totally true, I guess; I did actually tear up a little at the end, and it was a truly sentimental read, but that annoyed me, too.)

The story felt predictable from the start: Ove, an older man (more on that later), is a curmudgeon. He's from a generation that believes in a kind of standard in work and life, and the humor of the story comes from his disconnect with what life is like now. Backman alternates between Ove now and Ove growing up (my favorite bits), so we can see why this cranky old man is the way he is. Along the way, his charming neighbors jolly him into a kind of happiness. The end.

My biggest complaint -- after the predictability of the story -- is Ove's curmudgeon-ly-ness. I work with many who are 59 years old, and even the grouchiest of them are nothing like Ove. It was hard for…

Book Review: Ruler of the Night by David Morrell

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First line: On Thursday evening, 22 March 1855, a frowning gentleman studied a two-page document that lay on his substantial desk.

This is the last book in Morrell's historical fiction trilogy about British writer Thomas De Quincy, and his daughter Emily. I loved both earlier novels (Murder as a Fine Art and Inspector of the Dead) and this final book was a perfect conclusion.

Morrell explores the first murder on a steam train, an event that I hadn't really considered but obviously, there's a first for everything. And this is a pretty juicy first to explore. Morrell takes many of the real life details of the murder and weaves it into a larger, complicated plot full of peers and the made-their-fortunes-from-trade comer-uppers. The country is gripped in a panic that railway travel isn't safe, and there's pressure on De Quincy and the police to figure things out -- without revealing too many secrets of the rich and powerful.

As with the previous two novels, I was reall…