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Showing posts from January, 2021

Book Review: In the Garden of Spite by Camilla Bruce

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This is how curses are made: someone does something to another, and traps that person in a web with threads so fine they can hardly be seen. There is no escaping that web. I have to walk carefully in the stacks when I'm looking to be scared: I love gothic creepiness and I adore a good ghost story but I can't really tolerate gore or anything that is too realistic. True crime is way too much for me. In this historical novel imagining the life of 19th century serial killer Belle Gunness, Camilla Bruce manages to make a liar out of me. In the Garden of Spite by Camilla Bruce Berkley, 2012 Digital review copy via NetGalley The key to this novel's almost shameful deliciousness is in Bruce's careful humanizing of Belle Gunness. Born Brynhild in a rural village in Norway, her life is marked by violence, lack of care, and cruelty. One atrocious act causes Brynhild to wrest revenge, and for a moment, I was almost with her. But as Brynhild becomes Belle, and then Bella, things gr

Podcast Review: Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest

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My now six-year-old is a devoted podcast fan; and happily, there is some amazing stuff out there for kids and families.  A new favorite is the Pinna original podcast, Grimm Grimmer Grimmest . Narrated by author Adam Gidwitz, each episode is of one of the Grimm Brothers' classic tales with a full cast and sound effects.  Unabridged Kid is pretty imaginative and hasn't been exposed to much 'scary' stuff, but he's been begging for scary things, so this podcast has been perfect, especially as Gidwitz ranks each story by Grimm (weird), Grimmer (weird, maybe gross), and Grimmest (weird, gross, maybe creepy).  Additionally, interspersed in the retelling is the reaction from a group of child listeners, which cuts through some of the scariness of the stories and gives everyone some breathing room. But it isn't just the fabulous production values and wonderful storytelling that makes this a win for our household; it's also that Gidwitz actually addresses the problema

Best Reads of 2020

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In a year of erratic, inconsistent reading, I was lucky that most of what I read was pretty much awesome. Books had to compete against a great deal of stress, anxiety, and distraction -- and these eight reads really captured me this year.  You'll see most provided deep escapism -- romances were the genre of the year, no question -- but others stretched me and educated me. Some of my Best Reads in 2020 Tessa Dare, The Wallflower Wager I think Tessa Dare might be the author of the year for me: I read thirteen of her books, and three of them at least twice, if not three times this year. This one I probably read about five times, to be honest, because it was sexy and fun and deliciously escapist.  Tessa Dare, A Week to Be Wicked The second book in Dare's Spindle Cove series, this was my very favorite of the five books. I loved both characters, I loved their romance, and I especially loved the resolution to their conflict. It helps that I love the entire Spindle Cove universe, and

January literary "diet" from Claire Armitstead

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Claire Armitstead shares 31-days of literary tidbits in The Guardian , and I'm making a point of engaging with each day.  I'm going to try to share quick reflections on my Insta , and if anything catches you, I'd love to talk about it. I'm excited about the wide range of options: poetry one day, a film another; even music! I doubt I'll watch the films as sitting down to watch an entire movie is almost impossible these days but everything else should be doable. After a year of reading 'catch-as-catch-can', making time to pause and read each day is very welcome!