Why would you apologize for what you read for pleasure? Every book read for pleasure should be celebrated. And novels that celebrate love, commitment, relationships, making relationships work -- why isn't that something to be respected? - Nora Roberts
I Tweet not, neither do I Like.
Here we may criticize the book, but never the one who reads it.
Proud supporter of the Oxford comma, and any other comma I can wedge into a sentence.
Authors: You are welcome to comment here, on the review of your book or any other post.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
I found the novel mildly disappointing, and I don't think I even reviewed it. It suffered greatly - for me - from over-promotion. I think if I were to read it again, and I suppose I will now, I would approach it as high-grade fanfic rather than the latest mystery novel by an author I admire very much. I think the change in approach would allow me to enjoy the book more.
In any event, heads up. I looked at some of the sneak peeks on YouTube, and while I see that I will have to watch with the remote in my hand in order to mute Lydia's shrieking and Mother Bennet's presence in general, it looked like a decent way to spend a couple of hours.
YMMV, of course.
link to PBS webpage: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/programs/series/death-comes-pemberley-s1/
Friday, October 24, 2014
As Sunita has said so eloquently (as always), some of us are re-evaluating our role as cogs in the publishing machine.
Because you can't serve two masters.
[At any rate, not in any of the erotica I've read to date, which is admittedly not a lot.]
My own experience with ARCs was largely not positive. Yes, I read some good books, and read them before they were published, and read them without paying for them. After awhile, I figured out (slow study, me, and reviewing even then not the focus of my life) that I got more books to read if I gave favorable reviews. (This is speaking generally, and not reflective of the behavior of all publishing companies.) Well, that's uncomfortable, isn't it? If I call La Nora, for example, on serious continuity problems in an In Death book, does that mean that I won't get an ARC for the next In Death book? And what's with the pressure to post reviews on Amazon?
Some people post only 4 and 5 star or A and B reviews. There's nothing wrong with that, but if I read a book that made my toes curl with poor formatting, impossible grammar, or absurd plotting, I feel duty bound to tell the world about my opinion. Books are expensive, and the time it takes to read one can never be recaptured. So you'll find plenty of F, fail, stupid, WTF, and DNF reviews here. Not because I'm mean, which I can be, but because I'm honest. To a fault, sometimes.
Oddly enough, I hear from people more often than I would have thought that they bought a book based on a negative review here, because things I found troublesome (forced consent, for example) are catnip to them. So there you are.
I enjoy author contact here. So far nobody has crossed a line. I've had authors comment to correct an error in my review - always appreciated, since I crank these things out early in the morning before coffee or shower. Sometimes they've suggested other books they think I might like, their books or others. They've offered recipes. They've prayed for my husband's health. Some have contacted me privately by email. Not one of them (so far) has been abusive, although a couple have been annoyed. Well, hell, I get annoyed, too. We'll be annoyed together. The next time you're in my city, email me and I'll meet you at Starbucks and we'll pound it out over coffee. If you can learn to live with the fact that I wouldn't know literary analysis if it rose up and bit me in the butt, maybe I can learn to live with the fact that you don't know the difference between "their" and "they're".
So there we are. I'll be posting my very own true Halloween story this weekend. But no book reviews until next week. Mine is a small voice, but I will not be silenced.
For more, take a look at the Dear Author blog, or read Sunita's very eloquent soul searching and boundary setting at her blog, which for now is still available to all to read, at http://vacuousminx.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/blog-blackouts-and-minor-adjustments-to-vm/#more-5689
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Christmas in The Duke's Arms, novellas by Grace Burrowes, Carolyn Jewel, Miranda Neville, Shana Galen (Regency novellas)
Edited for correction 1109 10/22/14.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Lady of Ashes, by Christine Trent (Victorian, historical fiction, mystery-thriller) (long, get a cup of coffee)
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Monday, October 13, 2014
ETA: If you haven't read any of Ms. Clarke's work, you really should. They are reasonably priced and they are gems. My heart broke and then was repaired in All I Want For Christmas. I cringed (in a good way) and chuckled my way through Twelve Days, and you simply must read the Oil Tycoon - turns several well-known tropes on their heads. Others of her works are also highly satisfying but I just can't come up with the titles off the top of my slightly-depressed and tired head. Oh: Table For One - really well-done short story.
Friday, September 26, 2014
- A young Englishman refuses to help the adolescent daughter of a French noble family escape from France right before the Terror hits. She manages to elude Mme. Guillotine. Years later, she has an opportunity to exact the revenge fantasy that has kept her alive when she is positioned by circumstance to be able to poison him. (She fails to kill him, however, so we get a revenge/counter-revenge plot going.) [A Rose at Midnight, Anne Stuart]
- A very young half-English, half-French nobleman, raised in England, is caught in France on vacation as the Napoleonic war with England starts. Compelled to fight against his homeland, he becomes an interrogator of English soldiers caught behind enemy lines. The war over, he returns to his only family, an elderly aunt, in England and tries to rebuild a life despite being cut by the Ton and repeatedly challenged to duels by the surviving English soldiers, and despite his own feelings of guilt and his PTSD symptoms. Only his aunt's commoner companion sees and understands his pain. [The Traitor, Grace Burrowes] [ I know, I know, but I can't seem to quit her - I love her voice and this is really pretty well done except for the ending.]
- (early Victorian) Jilted by a young baron and drowning in her father's gambling debts, with her father no longer physically or mentally able to help her, a young woman lives as a man, and runs a printing press her father won. One of the things her press turns out is a weekly gossip rag that features, on its front page, the dissolute goings-on of the baron. Until he confronts the owner of the press and recognizes her as his old love. More in anger than in sorrow, he buys the press so he can control the output, and her. (Good luck with that, bud.) [Lord Gray's List, Maggie Robinson]
- (Regency) Poor relation, not well-treated, has learned to disappear into the wallpaper and to control her emotions and reactions completely. While secretly engaged to a cousin, she meets a nobleman who had to take control of the properties when he was only 15, and he is also consequently a master of self-control. When they are caught sharing a spontaneous kiss, they are forced to marry. What's going to happen with two people this controlled? [A Marriage of Inconvenience, Susanna Fraser]
- (Regency) Young woman, not pretty, is left penniless when her father dies unexpectedly. All she has is the deed to a castle, which she finds in ruins. Also inhabiting the castle is a wounded, disfigured, mostly blind nobleman who says he owns the place. They decide to live there together - chastely - until she can read through the mountain of correspondence he's been neglecting to see who owns the castle. (The thing I liked best about this book is the way it sends up, gently and lovingly, rabid fans of Star Trek, Star Wars - any group of rabid fans who dress up and act in character.) [Romancing the Duke: Castles Ever After, Tessa Dare]
ETA: Titles and authors of the books.]
Sunday, September 21, 2014
I hate those Captcha things. Half the time I can't read them. My only other choice appears to be to require people to sign in to a Google or Open Access account, and I don't like that choice any better.
I'm assuming that when they can't get in, or at least can't get in so much, they'll go rattle someone else's doorknob. I have an account at WordPress but have never gotten around to moving my stuff there. I understand it's pretty complicated and I'm not up for complicated just now. :-)
Saturday, August 30, 2014
I am retiring in September. I'm well past normal American retirement age and with Mr. Bat's very shaky health, well, I just want to spend some time with him before our time runs out. I worked oncology for many years, and it's true when they say that no person who is dying has ever said that they wish they had spent more time at work. The regrets that people express are almost always personal: letting a friendship fade away, holding a grudge for 40 years, that kind of thing.
There hasn't been an announcement at work yet that I'm leaving, but that place has a grapevine like you wouldn't believe, and so some people have stopped by to cry and hug and - you know the routine. I finally went out and got a box of the good Kleenex to have on my desk because the cheap stuff shreds.
Most people are suggesting that I join at least one social media ... thing ... as a way to keep in touch. I am probably the only person there who doesn't have a Facebook page. I work with a truly exceptional bunch of people, very diverse, very talented, very funny, very dedicated to doing a superb job every day. I'd like to stay in touch with most of them, a little bit, short of going to lunch with them, if that makes any sense. I can count three people I'll want to lunch with or see socially otherwise, but for the rest, casually staying in touch is enough for them and for me.
It was also suggested as a fast way to let everyone know when/if Mr. Bat's health changes suddenly. (I usually just send out a blast text for that.)
Facebook, then? Or Twitter? Some other thing I don't even know the name of?
Should I include my birth name (last name) or will that cause thousands of people I knew in 1966 to want to have coffee?
Is it better to simply get everyone's email address (I have this fantasy in which I catch up with all my emails from the past year ...) and let it go at that?
Can I sign up as Mean Fat Old Bat or do I have to sign up as Real First Name/Real Maiden Name/Real Last Name? My real name is quite common. Not quite Jane Smith but not far from it.
Do I absolutely have to give them my correct date of birth? What about identity theft?
I thought I'd hang out on Facebook for awhile and see what's there, but the personal pages - ones not associated with some business - seem to be set to private or at least to members-only. So I haven't learned much.
I don't want this to take over my life. I just want to know if someone is in the hospital and if Meghan had a boy or a girl, and have a way to wish Laurie a happy 50th birthday.
Thanks for taking Granny by the hand. I wish I had a grandchild here to help me, but I don't and that's the way it goes. Your input would be most appreciated!