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18 Oct, 2017

Disrobed

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Disrobed Disrobed: How Clothing Predicts Economic Cycles, Saves Lives, and Determines the Future by Syl Tang
on October 16th 2017
Genres: Nonfiction
Published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Format: Hardcover
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher

We may not often think of our clothes as having a function beyond covering our naked bodies and keeping us a little safer from the elements. But to discount the enormous influence of clothing on anything from economic cycles to the future of water scarcity is to ignore the greater meaning of the garments we put on our backs. Disrobed vividly considers the role that clothing plays in everything from natural disasters to climate change to terrorism to geopolitics to agribusiness. Chapter by chapter, Tang takes the reader on an unusual journey, telling stories and asking questions that most consumers have never considered about their clothing. Why do banker's wives sell off their clothes and how does that presage a recession? How is clothing linked to ethanol and starvation on the African continent? Could RFID in clothing save the lives of millions of people in earthquakes around the world?
This book takes an everyday item and considers it in a way that readers may not have previously thought possible. It tackles topics relevant to today, everything from fakes in the museums to farm-to-table eating, and answers questions about how we can anticipate and change our world in areas as far-reaching as the environment, politics, and the clash of civilizations occurring between countries. Much like other pop economics books have done before, the stories are easily retold in water-cooler style, allowing them to be thoughtfully considered, argued, and discussed.

Goodreads

 


 
 This is a pop-economics book examining the impact of clothing on various aspects of life now and in the future.  The author is a futurist who uses clothing to help predict future trends.
 
How does that work?  For example, the rate of rich women reselling designer clothing goes up as they start to have financial concerns.  This shows up before some other indicators of impending recessions.  Likewise, the number of bankers wearing their “lucky clothing” increases with financial instability.
 
I thought this book was strongest in its first few chapters.  These discuss superstitious clothing trends, how museums fall for buying fakes, and predictors of recession.  In the later chapters on environmental impacts of clothing I felt that the ideas needed more development.  Yes, there are major problems with disposable clothing and its impact on water and agriculture.  But this book just seemed to rush to skim over the surface of many ideas instead of taking the time to develop a few ideas fully.  The ideas are intriguing but the discussion felt half-hearted and left me wanting more details and nuance.
 
This book would be best for people who have never considered these issues before.  It can serve as an introduction to the topics surrounding clothing and the economy and environment.  It may spur deeper research into the subject and a search for books that dive deeper into the cause and effect of the topics presented here.

About Syl Tang

Syl Tang is CEO and founder of the 19-year old HipGuide Inc. A futurist, her focus is how and why we consume, with an eye towards world events such as natural disasters, geo-political clashes, and pandemics. She has written hundreds of articles on the confluence of world events and soft goods for the Financial Times, predicting and documenting trends such as the Apple watch and other smart wearables, lab-made diamonds, the Department of Defense’s funding of Afghan jewelry companies, the effects of global warming on South Sea pearls, and the unsolved murder of tanzanite speculator Campbell Bridges.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Books Set in North America
  • POC authors
17 Oct, 2017

Top Ten Foodie Reads

/ posted in: Reading

I was so excited when I saw that Top Ten Tuesday was going to be about food! 

Why? Because of this –

I run a link up for book reviews on this very topic!  The link goes up on the first of each month.  You can find it on the sidebar and here is the link for October.  If you posted this week you are welcome to link up your post for a chance to win another foodie book in our monthly drawing.  Your links also go to our Pinterest page (great for finding more foodie book ideas) and get tweeted.

Whenever I talk about Foodies Read people are always confused.  What do I mean “books about food?”  Obviously, I love, love, love this topic but here are some of my favorite books to recommend.

There are Foodie Fiction Books for every genre.

Contemporary

Gretchen Lin, adrift at the age of thirty, leaves her floundering marriage in San Francisco to move back to her childhood home in Singapore and immediately finds herself face-to-face with the twin headaches she’s avoided her entire adult life: her mother’s drinking problem and the machinations of her father’s artisanal soy sauce business.

Soy Sauce for Beginners reveals the triumphs and sacrifices that shape one woman’s search for a place to call home, and the unexpected art and tradition behind the brewing of a much-used but unsung condiment. The result is a foodie love story that will give readers a hearty appreciation for family loyalty and fresh starts.


Historical
 

A routine interview between a reporter and an elderly baker brings out memories of darker times: her life in Germany during that last bleak year of WWII. As their lives become more intertwined, all are forced to confront the uncomfortable truths of the past and seek out the courage to forgive.


Chick Lit

“When Ellie Hall lands her dream job running the little teashop in the beautiful but crumbling Claverham Castle, it’s the perfect escape from her humdrum job in the city. Life is definitely on the rise as Ellie replaces spreadsheets for scones, and continues her Nanna’s brilliant baking legacy.

When Lord Henry, the stick-in-the-mud owner, threatens to burst her baking bubble with his old-fashioned ways, Ellie wonders if she might have bitten off more than she can chew. But cupcake by cupcake she wins the locals over, including teashop stalwart, Doris, and Ellie’s showstopping bakes look set to go down in castle history!

Now all that’s missing in Ellie’s life is a slice of romance – can Joe, the brooding estate manager, be the one to put the cherry on the top of Ellie’s dream?”

British foodie chick lit is my kryptonite.  I read all of it I find.


Urban Fantasy

In New York, eating out can be hell.

Everyone loves a well-catered event, and the supernatural community is no different, but where do demons go to satisfy their culinary cravings?

Welcome to Sin du Jour – where devils on horseback are the clients, not the dish.”

Need more ideas or different genres?  Just ask and if I don’t have a suggestion, I’m sure one of our link up regulars will!  For example, I’m not a cozy mystery fan but there are thousands of foodie mysteries out there. 

I love reading Foodie Nonfiction.

There are so many topics to learn about.  Here are some of my favorites.

Issues Books

The Omnivor’s Dilemma is considered a classic in the genre.  If you want to know what a lot of the issues are when considering the politics of food, start here.

Today, buffeted by one food fad after another, America is suffering from what can only be described as a national eating disorder. Will it be fast food tonight, or something organic? Or perhaps something we grew ourselves? The question of what to have for dinner has confronted us since man first discovered fire. But, as Michael Pollan explains in this revolutionary book, how we answer it now, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, may determine our survival as a species. Packed with profound surprises, The Omnivore’ s Dilemma is changing the way Americans think about the politics, perils, and pleasures of eating.

The Third Plate looks at environmental sustainability of food.

“Barber explores the evolution of American food from the ‘first plate,’ or industrially-produced, meat-heavy dishes, to the ‘second plate’ of grass-fed meat and organic greens, and says that both of these approaches are ultimately neither sustainable nor healthy. Instead, Barber proposes Americans should move to the ‘third plate,’ a cuisine rooted in seasonal productivity, natural livestock rhythms, whole-grains, and small portions of free-range meat.”


Books About Ingredients

Pick any ingredient you can think of and there is a book about it.  They are fascinating.  Banana is my favorite in this genre mostly because people think it is terribly odd that I read a book about bananas.

To most people, a banana is a banana: a simple yellow fruit. Americans eat more bananas than apples and oranges combined. In others parts of the world, bananas are what keep millions of people alive. But for all its ubiquity, the banana is surprisingly mysterious; nobody knows how bananas evolved or exactly where they originated. Rich cultural lore surrounds the fruit: In ancient translations of the Bible, the ‘apple’ consumed by Eve is actually a banana (it makes sense, doesn’t it?). Entire Central American nations have been said to rise and fall over the banana.

But the biggest mystery about the banana today is whether it will survive. A seedless fruit with a unique reproductive system, every banana is a genetic duplicate of the next, and therefore susceptible to the same blights. Today’s yellow banana, the Cavendish, is increasingly threatened by such a blight — and there’s no cure in sight.”


Memoirs

 

When Lucie Amundsen had a rare night out with her husband, she never imagined what he’d tell her over dinner—that his dream was to quit his office job (with benefits!) and start a commercial-scale pasture-raised egg farm. His entire agricultural experience consisted of raising five backyard hens, none of whom had yet laid a single egg.

There are memoirs from chefs and farmers and home cooks and restaurant reviewers and people who just really love food.  Take your pick!


Cookbooks

Some cookbooks are just fun to read.  Afro-Vegan gives song pairings for every recipe and occasionally gives BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS for recipes.

This is a huge book.  Each recipe is headed by a story about the author and her husband cooking at their inn in the Ozarks.  This is the only cookbook I’ve ever read that has a gut-punching plot twist in the middle.


Tell me your favorite foodie books!  Link up your posts.  Check out the reviews we have this month.  (Some people even cook meals to go with their book reviews so you get recipes too!.) 

16 Oct, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Reading

 

Finished This Week

 

What Am I Reading?

 

While the Grohl family had always been musical-the family sang together on long car trips, harmonizing to Motown and David Bowie-Virginia never expected her son to become a musician, let alone a rock star. But when she saw him perform in front of thousands of screaming fans for the first time, she knew that rock stardom was meant to be for her son. And as Virginia watched her son’s star rise, she often wondered about the other mothers who raised sons and daughters who became rock stars. Were they as surprised as she was about their children’s fame? Did they worry about their children’s livelihood and wellbeing in an industry fraught with drugs and other dangers? Did they encourage their children’s passions despite the odds against success, or attempt to dissuade them from their grandiose dreams? Do they remind their kids to pack a warm coat when they go on tour?

 

What Am I Listening To?

 

I’m in the middle of this one.

 

 

 

 



 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Oct, 2017

The Third Plate

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading The Third Plate The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food by Dan Barber
on May 20th 2014
Pages: 496
Genres: Nonfiction
Published by Penguin Press
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Barber explores the evolution of American food from the 'first plate,' or industrially-produced, meat-heavy dishes, to the 'second plate' of grass-fed meat and organic greens, and says that both of these approaches are ultimately neither sustainable nor healthy. Instead, Barber proposes Americans should move to the 'third plate,' a cuisine rooted in seasonal productivity, natural livestock rhythms, whole-grains, and small portions of free-range meat

Goodreads

This is the kind of book that I absolutely love.  It is a detailed look at ways of growing food with environmental sustainability in mind.  It gave me warm fuzzies every time I picked it up.

The author runs a restaurant on a farm in New York.  You would think that would be great for the environment but he starts to realize that they plant want he wants to use instead of him using what it is best for the farm to grow.  For example, there are cover crops that are ground to help fix nitrogen or add other nutrients to the soil that are just plowed under because they don’t have a commercial use.  Why shouldn’t he try to use those crops because it is part of what his farm needs to grow to survive instead of forcing the farm to grow the few things that he wants?

He visits a community of organic farmers in a small town in New York.  They are doing extensive work on their soils by using crop rotation.  They grew from one family doing this work who spread the word around the town.  I loved this part.  There is something about reading about building healthy soil that thrills me every time.  I accept that I might be weird.

Then he visits the area of Spain famous for jamon iberico.  This is a ham made from free-range pigs that ate a lot of acorns.  There is a farmer here who is trying to do the same thing with geese to make fois gras without force feeding his ducks.  Also in Spain he visits a fish farm next to a national park that is helping to rebuild an estuary to house their fish.  Birds use the area as a stop over in migration.  The fish farmers consider losing fish to avian predation a sign of a healthy farm ecosystem. 

These were stories were interesting to me but I kept thinking about how unnecessary they are.  If you really want to get into environmentally healthy eating, why eat meat at all?

At the end the book went back to plants and I was so happy.  It discusses heirloom vegetable raising versus breeding for better varieties.  So much of the plant breeding going on is for durability.  Flavor isn’t considered.  This section covers some people who are trying to fix that.

This book reminded me a lot of Omnivore’s Dilemma, especially the section on Joel Saladin.  If you loved that book, you’ll love this one. 

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Backlist Books
  • Books Set in Europe
  • Books Set in North America
12 Oct, 2017

The Fire By Night

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading The Fire By Night The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo
on January 17th 2017
Pages: 336
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Published by William Morrow
Format: Paperback
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher

A powerful and evocative debut novel about two American military nurses during World War II that illuminates the unsung heroism of women who risked their lives in the fight—a riveting saga of friendship, valor, sacrifice, and survival combining the grit and selflessness of Band of Brothers with the emotional resonance of The Nightingale.
In war-torn France, Jo McMahon, an Italian-Irish girl from the tenements of Brooklyn, tends to six seriously wounded soldiers in a makeshift medical unit. Enemy bombs have destroyed her hospital convoy, and now Jo singlehandedly struggles to keep her patients and herself alive in a cramped and freezing tent close to German troops. There is a growing tenderness between her and one of her patients, a Scottish officer, but Jo’s heart is seared by the pain of all she has lost and seen. Nearing her breaking point, she fights to hold on to joyful memories of the past, to the times she shared with her best friend, Kay, whom she met in nursing school.
Half a world away in the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a squalid Japanese POW camp in Manila, one of thousands of Allied men, women, and children whose fates rest in the hands of a sadistic enemy. Far from the familiar safety of the small Pennsylvania coal town of her childhood, Kay clings to memories of her happy days posted in Hawaii, and the handsome flyer who swept her off her feet in the weeks before Pearl Harbor. Surrounded by cruelty and death, Kay battles to maintain her sanity and save lives as best she can . . . and live to see her beloved friend Jo once more.
When the conflict at last comes to an end, Jo and Kay discover that to achieve their own peace, they must find their place—and the hope of love—in a world that’s forever changed. With rich, superbly researched detail, Teresa Messineo’s thrilling novel brings to life the pain and uncertainty of war and the sustaining power of love and friendship, and illuminates the lives of the women who risked everything to save others during a horrifying time.

Goodreads
Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Fire By Night tells the story of Jo and Kay, nurses who met while in training.  Kay finished her training first and got the cushy assignment to Hawaii at the little known base of Pearl Harbor.  Jo was so jealous.

Now, a few years later, Jo is in a field hospital in Europe.  Their position is about to be overrun and they are trying to evacuate.  She is left behind with the most difficult to transport patients to wait for the last truck to get to her.  Suddenly she finds that they aren’t coming back for her and the Germans are only a few miles away.

Kay is in the Philippines in an underground bunker that is about to fall to the Japanese.  After they are taken, the nurses are kept in a prisoner-of-war camp and used as propaganda while enduring starvation and disease. 

The author uses these stories to highlight the role of women in wars.  They were considered to not be real soldiers because in theory they didn’t get near the front lines.  They made difficult choices to stay with wounded soldiers even when it jeopardized their own safety.  They were disrespected when they came home because they were “only nurses.”

This book doesn’t hold back on the details of what these women went through.  The fear of being left behind and the horrors of being captured are described in detail. 

The ending of the book is not as strong as the rest.  There is a bit of romance tacked on that I didn’t think fit with the rest of the book.

I would recommend this book for people interested in World War II stories and stories about women’s history. 


 
Tuesday, October 3rd: Girl Who Reads

Wednesday, October 4th: 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Thursday, October 5th: Musings of a Bookish Kitty

Friday, October 6th: West Metro Mommy

Monday, October 9th: BookNAround

Tuesday, October 10th: Peppermint PhD

Wednesday, October 11th: Life By Kristen

Thursday, October 12th: Based on a True Story

Friday, October 13th: Literary Quicksand

Monday, October 16th: Into the Hall of Books

Tuesday, October 17th: Sara the Introvert

Wednesday, October 18th: Books and Bindings

Thursday, October 19th: Jathan & Heather

Friday, October 20th: ML’s Red House Reviews

 

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Books Set in Asia
  • Books Set in Europe
11 Oct, 2017

Oakland Arcana: Awakening

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Oakland Arcana:  Awakening Oakland Arcana: Awakening by Renae Jones
on October 2, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Owned

The world is complicated. Power is currency, lives are cheap.   Hephzibah Euphrasia Joséphine d'Albret hates her name. She hates the life she comes from, the fourth daughter of a legendary family—and, perilously, the one with negligible magical potential. And that suits her fine. Fleeing the Authority allows her to choose her own path: software engineer and startup founder. Finally, Zizi’s found a life she loves. One that doesn’t care about the magic she doesn’t have. Unfortunately for her, Zizi is all Oakland has. With misfit allies and lethal enemies around every corner, an encyclopedic understanding of magic theory, and serious amounts of snark, can this Sorceress possibly survive the summer?

Goodreads

Zizi is used to being considered a failure.  She’s the powerless youngest daughter of a powerful Sorceress.  Sorceresses bond with cities and use their power to protect them.  Zizi was trained for the role since birth just like her sisters.  But she never was able to do much magic and she left that world behind.  At least she did until that night a year ago with too much tequila when she bonded with the city of Oakland.

I heard about this book on Twitter.  I was in as soon as I heard the author’s description of Oakland (and all the cities) as distinct sentient beings.

This book was great.  Zizi hasn’t told anyone that she is bonded to Oakland.  She knows that is going to bring down all kinds of bureaucratic nightmares down on her.  No one suspects it because Oakland as been unbonded for thirty years.  But now there are all kinds of weird things going on in Oakland and Zizi needs help.  She needs an Arcana.

Arcanas are the groups of magical helpers that surround Sorceresses.  Zizi doesn’t want one.  Most Sorceresses use their power to bond their Arcana to them.  They can compel their people to do what they want.  The main way they do this is through Earth magic and sex.  Zizi wants nothing to do with this and starts to assemble a team that wants out of the old ways of doing things too.

The characters in this book are fresh takes on many of the common types seen in urban fantasy books.  The vampires are truly vicious but also do a lot of their business at Taco Tuesday/Cowboy Karaoke Night.  (“Don’t do Dolly if you can’t stick the landing” might now be my favorite mixed metaphor ever.)  There is a kraken in a lake raising an orphaned capricorn even though the baby is a vegetarian and the kraken is disturbed by that.  There is a weretiger pack in Chinatown.

The book starts with Zizi having been the secret Sorceress for a year.  Sometimes it can feel like maybe you missed a previous book when she refers to events in the past but this is the first one.  I loved the combination of sassiness and smarts that Zizi has.  She’s very smart and took her magical training seriously growing up so she has the theoretical knowledge she needs even if she doesn’t have the power that would help get everything done.  She’s very funny.  I found myself highlighting a lot of lines in the e-book.  I liked the idea of a sex-positive bisexual heroine who is adamant that she is not going to use sex to get things done.

I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes in the future.

My only criticism is that there are a few typos, grammatical errors, and misspelled words in the book but I loved this book so much that I’m forgiving that.

About Renae Jones

Renae Jones is driven by an epic, multipart goal

  1. Invent the most fascinating characters she can.
  2. Put those characters in awe-inspiring science fiction or fantasy setting.
  3. Fit those characters together like we’re playing personality Tetris.
  4. And follow them through a complicated adventure of near-death experiences and self-discovery.

Bonus points if those characters are quirky, weird, cranky, neurotic, sassy or have anger management issues. 

Beyond writing, she also loves her dog, over-ambitious home improvement projects, painting, doing weird things to her hair, and data analytics.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Books Set in North America
  • LBGTQ authors/characters
09 Oct, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Reading

 

Finished This Week

 

What Am I Reading?

I heard about this one because I saw someone’s retweet of the author’s post on Twitter.  She had me at the city of Oakland being a sentient magical being that needed to be protected.

Hephzibah Euphrasia Joséphine d’Albret hates her name. She hates the life she comes from, the fourth daughter of a legendary family—and, perilously, the one with negligible magical potential. And that suits her fine. Fleeing the Authority allows her to choose her own path: software engineer and startup founder. Finally, Zizi’s found a life she loves. One that doesn’t care about the magic she doesn’t have.

Zizi never wants her life to change. She loves her job, loves her freedom, loves her city, whatever its problems… and Oakland has problems. Mythological creatures are loose in the streets, predators and monsters feed recklessly. Criminals are bolder, disasters more frequent. Protected humans are coming up drained of blood—and if the Authority gets irritated enough, it’ll be her vampire best friend they kill for it.”

 

What Am I Listening To?

When American mom Lenora Chu moved to China with her little boy, she faced a tough decision. China produced some of the world’s top academic achievers, and just down the street from her home in Shanghai was THE school, as far as elite Chinese were concerned. Should Lenora entrust her rambunctious young son to the system?

So began Rainey’s immersion in one of the most radical school systems on the planet. Almost immediately, the three-year-old began to develop surprising powers of concentration, became proficient in early math, and learned to obey his teachers’ every command. Yet Lenora also noticed disturbing new behaviors: Where he used to scribble and explore, Rainey grew obsessed with staying inside the lines. He became fearful of authority figures, and also developed a habit of obeisance outside of school. “If you want me to do it, I’ll do it,” he told a stranger who’d asked whether he liked to sing.

What was happening behind closed classroom doors? Driven by parental anxiety, Lenora embarked on a journalistic mission to discover: What price do the Chinese pay to produce their “smart” kids? How hard should the rest of us work to stay ahead of the global curve? And, ultimately, is China’s school system one the West should emulate?”

 

New To Me This Week

 

This was my Kindle First selection for October.

In the tradition of Schindler’s List comes a thrilling novel based on the heroic true story of Fritz Kolbe, a widowed civil servant in Adolf Hitler’s foreign ministry. Recognizing that millions of lives are at stake, Kolbe uses his position to pass information to the Americans—risking himself and the people he holds most dear—and embarks on a dangerous double life as the Allies’ most important spy.

 

 

 

Blair Braverman fell in love with the North at an early age: by the time she was 19, she had left her home in California, moved to Norway to learn how to drive sled dogs, and worked as a tour guide on a glacier in Alaska. Determined to make a life for herself in the North, she slowly developed the strength and resilience the landscape demanded of her.”

I follow her on Twitter for her sled dog pictures.  Her book is on sale now for $1.99 so I grabbed it.  I think I’m going to save this one for Nonfiction November.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

05 Oct, 2017

Some of the Things I Haven’t Told You

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading by Anna Yates, Bernard Scudder, Laura Gallego García, Lindsey Davis, Vivian Shaw, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books, Hachette UK, William Morrow
Format: Hardcover, Paperback
Source: Library

I’ve been reading.  I’ve been reading a lot.  But, I haven’t been writing reviews.  Honestly, I got a bit bored with them and I know they aren’t favorites.  It is especially hard when the book is entertaining but nothing mind-blowing.  How many ways can you can up with to say, “It was good.  I enjoyed it enough to read the whole thing. That is all.”

The thing is that I did enjoy these books.  Most of them I haven’t heard much about so they need to get some exposure.  I should stop slacking and write up some reviews.

So here are some books that I haven’t told you about from August.  Seriously, August, people.  Slacking.


Some of the Things I Haven’t Told You Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw
on July 25th 2017
Pages: 400
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary
Published by Hachette UK

Meet Greta Helsing, doctor to the undead.
After inheriting a highly specialised, and highly peculiar, medical practice, Dr Helsing spends her days treating London's undead for a host of ills: vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta's dreamed of since childhood.
But when a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human undead and alike, Greta must use all her unusual skills to keep her supernatural clients - and the rest of London - safe.

Goodreads


This is a great idea.  A lot of the monsters from old horror stories are here.  Dr. Helsing is trying to keep a practice afloat while having to keep her patients a secret.

I had a hard time remembering at points that this is a contemporary story.  It kept feeling like it was a Victorian to me and then there would be modern technology.

It was well done.  There are sequels planned and I will definitely read them.


Some of the Things I Haven’t Told You The Third Nero (Flavia Albia #5) by Lindsey Davis
on July 11, 2017
Pages: 321
Series: Flavia Albia #5
Setting: Italy

In 90 A.D., following the Saturninus revolt in Germany, the Emperor Domitian has become more paranoid about traitors and dissenters around him. This leads to several senators and even provincial governors facing charges and being executed for supposed crimes of conspiracy and insulting the emperor. Wanting to root out all the supports of Saturninus from the Senate, one of Domitian’s men offers to hire Flavia Alba to do some intelligence work.
Flavia Alba, daughter and chip off the old block of Marcus Didius Falco, would rather avoid any and all court intrigue, thank you very much. But she’s in a bit of a bind. Her wedding is fast approaching, her fiancé is still recovering―slowly―from being hit by a lightning bolt, and she’s the sole support of their household. So with more than a few reservations, she agrees to “investigate.”

Goodreads


I’ve loved everything I’ve read by this author, which is over 20 books now.  This one seemed to have a lot of historical backstory that needed to be explained in order to understand the significance of The Third (Fake) Nero.  It wasn’t as well woven into the story as she usually does.  It felt like a bit of slog to get through all that in order to get to the story.

That said, I continue to love this series and its take on everyday life in Ancient Rome.


  Some of the Things I Haven’t Told You My Soul to Take (Þóra Guðmundsdóttir, #2) by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Bernard Scudder, Anna Yates
on April 28th 2009
Pages: 352
Published by William Morrow

“Top notch crime fiction.”
Boston Globe
 
American readers first met Icelandic lawyer and investigator Thóra Gudmundsdóttir in Last Rituals. In My Soul to Take, internationally acclaimed author Yrsa Sigurdardóttir plunges her intrepid heroine into even graver peril, in a riveting thriller set against the harsh landscape of Smila’s Sense of Snow territory. A darkly witty and continually surprising suspense tale that places Yrsa Sigurdardóttir firmly in the ranks of Sue Grafton, Tess Gerritsen, Faye Kellerman and other top mystery writers, My Soul to Take is ingenious Scandinavian noir on a par with the works of Henning Mankell and Arnaldur Indridason. Stieg Larsson (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) fans should also take note.

Goodreads

The heroine of this book is a lawyer who did a land purchase deal for a client who wanted to build a spa.  Now he is claiming that the place is haunted and wants to sue the sellers.  The lawyer heads to the spa for a weekend to try to calm him down and gets mixed up in the mystery of what happened on the land years before.

This book was good.  It was the first Icelandic noir book I’ve read.  I read it for Women in Translation month.  I enjoyed the historical aspects of the story more than the present.  The lawyer was a bit too much of the pushy, “let’s hide things from the police” kind of mystery heroine for my liking.


Some of the Things I Haven’t Told You The Valley of the Wolves (Crónicas de la Torre, #1) by Laura Gallego García
on April 1st 2006
Pages: 336
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books
Setting: Spain

Dana attends a school of magic with only one other student. She has a great love only she can see. And only she can unravel these mysteries and become mistress of the Valley of the Wolves.
Ever since Dana was a little girl, Kai has been her best friend and constant companion--even though she's the only one who can see him. Then the mysterious Maestro comes to her farm and offers her the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to study sorcery in the Valley of the Wolves. And Dana knows she must go, for the Maestro can see Kai too....

Goodreads


This was another Women in Translation month read for me.  This book reads like a fairy tale.  There is a boy that only the girl can see.  Is he real or not? 

A magician comes and takes her away because he says that she will be a great magic user someday.  He trains her in his castle that is surrounded by vicious wolves who come out at night.  After years of training she realizes that she may not be able to leave if she doesn’t figure out the secrets of the castle and the valley.

This book is all about growing up and seeing your life and the people in it for what they really are.  It is a quick read with lots of fun fantasy and magical elements. 

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Books Set in Europe
04 Oct, 2017

Adult Books are not All Miserable Marriages

/ posted in: Book DiscussionReading

I don’t watch many booktube videos but I do like Francina Simone’s videos. I tend to share her viewpoints more than I identify with other YA-focused booktubers I’ve seen. I feel a little differently than her about this subject though.

Her premise is that there is a new genre of YA/New Adult/Something Else developing to fit the sensibilities of all the adults reading YA. It is focused on action packed plots but not necessarily about 15-17 year olds like traditional YA.

I was confused. It seemed like she was describing most urban fantasy/mystery/sci-fi books that are considered adult fiction. Why is that considered new?

Here’s the comment I wrote on that video.

“What I’m getting from the comments here is that most people think adult books equals literary fiction by white authors. Yeah, that bores me too but there is so much more out there if you do some research. People get so upset when others reject reading YA out of hand but they are doing the same generalization and dismissal of adult books. I recommend looking at genre novels and books by POC authors for some great reads with the same type of feel as what you are looking for. Terry Pratchett, Nnedi Okorafor, Daniel Jose Older, etc all wrote both YA and adult books that are radically different. If you like the YA they wrote try the adult books, I find they are so much deeper and more complex.”

I have never understood why some book people are so radically opposed to reading adult fiction.  Maybe this is the issue.  If you think adult fiction is all white ladies sitting home and brooding over their sad marriages, I’m not surprised that you’d avoid it.

People also get really mad when you point out that YA tends to be simplistic.  Understand that simplistic isn’t necessarily bad.  But when you read authors who have written for a YA audience and an adult audience you can see what I mean by that.

I love both of these books but there is a world of difference in the writing style and detail between the YA Akata Witch and the adult Lagoon.

Want action, excitement, and an overall great story written for adult audiences? 

Try these books to start.

Karen MemoryKaren Memory by Elizabeth Bear

“Set in the late 19th century—when the city we now call Seattle Underground was the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, begging sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, and who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.”

This book is fun.  The prostitutes are a diverse bunch who aren’t going to stand for one of their own being terrorized.


The Aeronaut's Windlass (The Cinder Spires, #1)The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

All you need to know about this one is that there are both airships and talking cats. Talking cats, people!

 

 

 


Discount Armageddon (InCryptid, #1)Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

“Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night… The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity—and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she’d rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right? It would be, if it weren’t for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family’s old enemies, the Covenant of St. George.”


Borderline (The Arcadia Project, #1)Borderline by Mishell Baker

“A year ago, Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she’s sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales.

For her first assignment, Millie is tasked with tracking down a missing movie star who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court.”


The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The patched-up ship has seen better days, but it offers her everything she could possibly want: a spot to call home, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and some distance from her past.

And nothing could be further from what she’s known than the crew of the Wayfarer.

From Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the chatty engineers who keep the ship running, to the noble captain Ashby, life aboard is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. That is until the crew is offered the job of a lifetime tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet. Sure, they’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years, but risking her life wasn’t part of the job description.


Rebel Mechanics (Rebel Mechanics, #1)Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

“A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing.”

It is a love story and a spy story and it has magic!

03 Oct, 2017

The Blood of Patriots

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading The Blood of Patriots The Blood of Patriots: How I Took Down an Anti-Government Militia with Beer, Bounty Hunting, and Badassery by Bill Fulton, Jeanne Devon
on September 19th 2017
Pages: 300
Narrator: Bill Fulton
Length: 9:20
Genres: Nonfiction, Personal Memoirs
Published by BenBella Books
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Setting: Alaska

For Bill Fulton, being a soldier was his identity. He was called to protect and serve. So when the Army wanted to send him to Alaska, he went—they had never steered him wrong, after all.
After an involuntary medical discharge, Fulton was adrift until he started a military surplus store in Anchorage, where he also took on fugitive recovery missions. He was back on his feet, working with other badasses and misfits he considered brothers. He took pride in his business, with a wife and daughters at home. His life was happy and full.
But when a customer revealed he planned to attack a military recruiting station, Fulton had to make a choice: turn a blind eye and hope for the best or risk his safety, his reputation, and his business by establishing contact with his customers’ arch nemesis: the FBI.
He chose the latter, and his life changed forever.

Goodreads

The beginning of this book sounded familiar to me – like really, really familiar.  Like the author, all my husband ever wanted to do was be a soldier until he was physically unable to do it any more.  He was also in Alaska for a while.  Their stories were so similar that I made him start listening to the audiobook too.  He totally identified. 

After the Army is where their paths diverged.  The author opened a bouncing service that grew into a military surplus store and then a bounty hunting group while giving jobs to veterans who were having a hard time readjusting to civilian life.  All of it came crashing down after he decided to help the FBI expose a militia in Fairbanks that had a plan to kill judges and their families.  No good deed goes unpunished.

This book alternates between being really funny and being extremely horrifying. 

It helps you get into the mindset of people who are convinced that the government is coming after them.  There are people who think that hit squads have been sent after them so they have booby trapped their houses.  None of them tend to be important enough for anyone to take notice of until they lay out their plans to “defend themselves” in paramilitary style.  Even worse are those who are going to strike first before the government comes for them.

One of the most frustrating parts for me to read was when the author was being vilified by the left-leaning journalists he admired because of a run-in with an unidentified journalist while he was working security.  Later when it became known that he was an FBI informant the media got his story all wrong again.  He couldn’t defend himself either time.  It has to be frustrating to be being talked about on TV when people have the basic facts and motivations for your actions wrong and make no attempt to talk to you and find out the facts.  Hopefully, this book helps set the record straight.

Things I had confirmed while reading this book:

  • Living in Alaska isn’t for me
  • There are some really paranoid people out there and they have guns
  • Veterans need a welcoming, nonjudgmental space like his store became
  • Make sure you have your facts right before condemning people

This is a book that I would recommend for everyone.  The topics discussed are important and aren’t covered enough. 

Bill Fulton narrates his own story.  He does a good job for an author-narrator. 

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Audiobooks
  • Books Set in North America
02 Oct, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Reading

 

Finished This Week

I finished up this audiobook this week.  I didn’t finish any other books at all.

What Am I Reading?

“Barber explores the evolution of American food from the ‘first plate,’ or industrially-produced, meat-heavy dishes, to the ‘second plate’ of grass-fed meat and organic greens, and says that both of these approaches are ultimately neither sustainable nor healthy. Instead, Barber proposes Americans should move to the ‘third plate,’ a cuisine rooted in seasonal productivity, natural livestock rhythms, whole-grains, and small portions of free-range meat.

There isn’t really anything new here for me but I’m loving this book.  It is a very peaceful and relaxing read for me.

 

 

What Am I Listening To?

 

Zoe is a video game developer whose ex-boyfriend published a crazed blog post cobbled together from private information, half-truths, and outright fictions, along with a rallying cry to the online hordes to go after her. The hordes answered in the form of a so-called movement known as #gamergate–they hacked her accounts, stole nude photos of her, harassed her family, friends and colleagues, and threatened to rape and murder her. But instead of shrinking into silence as the online mobs wanted her to, she has raised her voice and speaks out against this vicious online culture and for making the internet a safer place for everyone.”

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

01 Oct, 2017

October 2017 Foodies Read

/ posted in: Reading

Welcome to October’s Foodies Read!

We had 15 posts linked up in August.  The winner of the giveaway for the month is Eliot’s Eats for her vintage cookbook review.

Here are the books that she will be able to choose from. Click the picture to go to the Goodreads summary.

Fiction

Nonfiction


New This Month

  • I’ve been shopping!  I ordered a whole bunch of new books to give out as prizes each month.  Stay tuned for the new selection.
  • On October 17, Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and The Bookish is all about Food Books.  This is a big link-up so hopefully we’ll see some new people finding out that they love books about food.
  • Looking for new cookbooks?  Here’s a list of some coming out this fall.
  • For the cozy mystery lovers, here is a list of new books in October.  There are quite a few foodie ones.

 

 

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30 Sep, 2017

September 2017 Wrap Up

/ posted in: Reading

 This was a weird reading month for me.  I’d binge for a few days and then not pick up anything for a while. 

I read 14 books this month.

Fiction

 Nonfiction

The books were:

  • Set in England, India, the United States, Turkmenistan, Canada, and an imaginary Caribbean Island
  • 3 audiobooks and 1 graphic novel

The authors were:

  •  11 unique female authors and 4 male authors
  •  1 South Asian woman, 3 white men, 5 white women, 1 Latina, 1 Japanese woman, 1 African- American woman, and 1 African-American man

Reading All Around the World challenge from Howling Frog Books

  • Read a nonfiction book about the country – or
  • Read fiction written by a native of the country or someone living for a long time in the country.

After doing so well last month, I didn’t add anything this month.

 

 


29 Sep, 2017

Victoria and Abdul

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Victoria and Abdul Victoria And Abdul: The True Story Of The Queens' Closest Confidant by Shrabani Basu
on April 1st 2010
Pages: 223
Narrator: Elizabeth Jasicki
Length: 11:09
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Nonfiction
Published by History Press (SC)
Format: Audiobook
Source: Playster
Setting: England

The tall, handsome Abdul Karim was just twenty-four years old when he arrived in England from Agra to wait at tables during Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. An assistant clerk at Agra Central Jail, he suddenly found himself a personal attendant to the Empress of India herself. Within a year, he was established as a powerful figure at court, becoming the queen's teacher, or Munshi, and instructing her in Urdu and Indian affairs. Devastated by the death of John Brown, her Scottish gillie, the queen had at last found his replacement. But her intense and controversial relationship with the Munshi led to a near-revolt in the royal household. Victoria & Abdul examines how a young Indian Muslim came to play a central role at the heart of the Empire, and his influence over the queen at a time when independence movements in the sub-continent were growing in force. Yet, at its heart, it is a tender love story between an ordinary Indian and his elderly queen, a relationship that survived the best attempts to destroy it.

Goodreads

The central mystery in this story is Who Was Abdul Karim?  Was he a selfless aide and friend to Queen Victoria or was he an enterprising, self-promoting, dangerous con man like the people around her believed?  I think the answer is somewhere in the middle.

There is no question that he was a devoted servant of the Queen.  He gave her Urdu lessons every day for years.  He helped her answer her correspondence.  He did influence her to be very concerned about Muslims in India.  He also liked the trappings that came along with high status in the Royal Household.  He insisted on not being treated as just one of the nameless servants.  He would storm out of public events if he felt he was being slighted.  He would get newspapers to write articles about him.  He did suggest to the Queen that she give him and his family more and more honors.

This book did a wonderful job of getting into the mind of Queen Victoria through her writings.  You understand where she was coming from.  She loved Karim and his family.  She was hurt by her family’s and staff’s hatred of him.

I don’t think the book did as good of a job figuring out what was going on in Karim’s mind.  There are letters from him but he still felt like an enigma at the end of the book.  He was in a hard position.  There were several Indian servants but he was the only one in the closest inner circle to the Queen.  The Royal Family and the household were both incredibly racist and classist.  They hated him not only for being Indian but for not being an upper-class Indian.  How dare he assume he was their equal?

Put in that situation I can’t fault him for looking out for himself and his family.  The Queen was elderly and he knew that he would be dealt with harshly after her death.  He had to provide for his family while he could.  Did he push too hard?  Maybe.  It doesn’t excuse how he was treated though.

This is an infuriating read.  The racism is so overt.  Many letters from high British officials are included that just drip with disdain.

My only complaint about this book is that it is perhaps too detailed.  There are so many letters cited that they started to all run together.  But, I’d rather get too much information than not enough.

The narrator did a great job with all the voices required in this book – male, female, English, Indian, and Scottish.

There is a movie version of this book out now.  I’m interested to see what angle they take on this story.  Is it going to be a feel-good “Queen Victoria had a friend!” or is going to dive into the hatred from the people around her?  I’ll do a compare and contrast post after I get to see the movie.

 

About Shrabani Basu

Shrabani Basu graduated in History from St Stephen’s College, Delhi and completed her Masters from Delhi University. In 1983, she began her career as a trainee journalist in the bustling offices of The Times of India in Bombay.

Since 1987, Basu has been the London correspondent of Ananda Bazar Patrika group –writing for “Sunday, Ananda Bazar Patrika, “and “The Telegraph.”

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Audiobooks
  • Backlist Books
  • Books Set in Europe
  • POC authors
27 Sep, 2017

The Joy of the Underappreciated Book

/ posted in: Book DiscussionReading

Do the books you read tend to be popular or unpopular?

I never thought about this until I found out how to check how many ratings a book had on Goodreads.  Then I realized how truly obscure my reading choices were.

Here’s how you can look at your Goodreads account.  Choose Settings at the top right of your Read page.  Select “num ratings.”

 Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 9.24.08 AM

The “Num Ratings” column will show up between Average Ratings and Date Published. Click on it to get your books arranged by rating numbers. Click on it again to get it starting with the lowest number.

I learned about this for a Top Ten Tuesday that wanted us to see what books we had read with less than 2000 ratings?  2000? I have close to 50 books under 100 ratings.

So why should you care?

These can be the undiscovered gems that are so much fun to promote.  If you inspire one person to read and rate a book it can make a huge difference to the author. 

There are some really great books here too.  I’ve realized that some of my absolute favorite authors are in this low number of ratings categories.  I thought they were famous because their books are so good.

Here are some favorites I’ve read recently and their way too low numbers of ratings.

Lydia San Andres – 15 and 16 ratings

These are historical romances that take place in the early 1900s on an imaginary Caribbean island. 

A Summer for Scandal – When Emilia Cruz agreed to accompany her sister to a boating party, she had no idea that the darling of the literary world would be in assistance—or that he would take such pleasure in disparaging the deliciously sinful serial she writes under a pseudonym. No one save her sister knows she’s the author and to be found out would mean certain scandal.

The Infamous Miss Rodriguez – Graciela Rodriguez is determined to break her engagement to Ciudad Real’s most eligible bachelor—even if it means ruining her reputation.  Vicente Aguirre has been hired by Graciela’s aunt to keep her wayward niece from damaging the family name along with her future. When her charms prove irresistible, will he fall for the infamous Miss Rodriguez?


 

“Famed Broadway producer Milo Short may be eighty-eight but that doesn’t stop him from going to the office every day. So when he steps out of his Upper West Side brownstone on one exceptionally hot morning, he’s not expecting to see the impossible: a woman from his life sixty years ago, cherry red lips, bright red hat, winking at him on a New York sidewalk, looking just as beautiful as she did back in 1934.

The sight causes him to suffer a stroke. And when he comes to, the renowned lyricist discovers he has lost the ability to communicate. Milo believes he must unravel his complicated history with Vivian Adair in order to win back his words. But he needs help—in the form of his granddaughter Eleanor—failed journalist and family misfit.”

Only 89 ratings?  This book deserves more than that.


Taylor Cipriano had everything figured out, back when she lived with her single mother in Miami. Now, she’s moved upstate for her junior year to live with her mom’s boyfriend and her soon-to-be-stepsister and is trying to figure out who she is out of the shadow of her best friend. When she meets Theo—quirky, cute, sensitive Theo—he seems like a great match…except he has a girlfriend. Josey, icy and oh-so-intimidating.

But Theo and Josey aren’t like anyone Taylor’s met before; Josey grew up in a polyamorous family, and the two of them have a history of letting a third person in to their relationship. It’s nothing Taylor’s ever considered before…but she really likes Theo.”

132 ratings.  This book was my first by this author and so far I’ve loved everything I’ve read of hers.


This series by M.C.A. Hogarth is so cute and sweet. 

Mindtouch  (252 ratings) – Seersana University is worlds-renowned for its xenopsychology program, producing the Alliance’s finest therapists, psychiatric nurses and alien researchers. When Jahir, one of the rare and reclusive Eldritch espers, arrives on campus, he’s unprepared for the challenges of a vast and multicultural society… but fortunately, second-year student Vasiht’h is willing to take him under his wing. Will the two win past their troubles and doubts and see the potential for a once-in-a-lifetime partnership?

Mindline (178 ratings) – At the advice of Vasiht’h, his first and truest friend, Jahir Seni Galare has accepted one of the most coveted residencies in xenotherapy, even though doing so has severed him from all the relationships he’s fostered since leaving his cloistered homeworld. But not all the simulations at school have prepared him for the reality of being an esper in a hospital large enough to serve the winter capital of the entire Alliance, and it’s not long before he’s questioning the wisdom of having left the university for the tumult of one of the largest port cities in the known worlds.”

Dreamhearth (50 ratings) – Jahir and Vasiht’h have earned their licenses as xenotherapists at last, and they have their hearts set on starting their practice in one of the Alliance’s most exciting and cosmopolitan destinations: a sector starbase. But dream therapy is a revolutionary treatment modality, and as esper practictioners they will have to work hard to win the trust of their community. Not only that, but they have a deadline: if they can’t prove themselves an asset to the starbase within six months, they’ll have to leave!


 

This book is fairly new so hopefully it will get more than 22 ratings.

News media brought the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”–the famous swirling gyre of plastic pollution in the ocean–into the public consciousness. But when Marcus Eriksen cofounded the 5 Gyres Institute with his wife, Anna Cummins, and set out to study the world’s oceans with hundreds of volunteers, they discovered a “plastic smog” of microscopic debris that permeates our oceans globally, defying simple clean-up efforts. What’s more, these microplastics and their toxic chemistry have seeped into the food chain, threatening marine life and humans alike.

Far from being a gloomy treatise on an environmental catastrophe, though, Junk Raft tells the exciting story of Eriksen and his team’s fight to solve the problem of plastic pollution. A scientist, activist, and inveterate adventurer, Eriksen is drawn to the sea by a desire to right an environmental injustice. Against long odds and common sense, he and his co-navigator, Joel Paschal, construct a “junk raft” made of plastic trash and set themselves adrift from Los Angeles to Hawaii, with no motor or support vessel, confronting perilous cyclones, food shortages, and a fast decaying raft.”


What underrated books do you love?

25 Sep, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Reading

 

Finished This Week

What Am I Reading?

 

 

A powerful and evocative debut novel about two American military nurses during World War II that illuminates the unsung heroism of women who risked their lives in the fight—a riveting saga of friendship, valor, sacrifice, and survival combining the grit and selflessness of Band of Brothers with the emotional resonance of The Nightingale.

 

New Books for Me This Week

Michele’s lack of focus in life hasn’t bothered her, until the day she finds herself with mounting credit card debt, unable to afford her rent, and without a job. While her meddling family questions how she can end up in this predicament, at the age of 29, and single to boot, Michele doesn’t want to admit the truth. All she wants to do is sew.

What Am I Listening To?

 

For Bill Fulton, being a soldier was his identity. He was called to protect and serve. So when the Army wanted to send him to Alaska, he went—they had never steered him wrong, after all.

After an involuntary medical discharge, Fulton was adrift until he started a military surplus store in Anchorage, where he also took on fugitive recovery missions. He was back on his feet, working with other badasses and misfits he considered brothers. He took pride in his business, with a wife and daughters at home. His life was happy and full.

But when a customer revealed he planned to attack a military recruiting station, Fulton had to make a choice: turn a blind eye and hope for the best or risk his safety, his reputation, and his business by establishing contact with his customers’ arch nemesis: the FBI.

He chose the latter, and his life changed forever.”

Loving this book.  I made my husband start to listen and he is very into it too.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19 Sep, 2017

Backlist Love

/ posted in: Book DiscussionReading

I love backlist books.

How do I define backlist?

  • Published more than one year before I read it

I looked at the books I have read so far this year.  On the day I did my count, I had read 156 books so far.  Of those books:

  • 34 were published in 2017
  • 10 were published in 2016 and less than a year before I read them
  • That’s only 28% of the books I read being new this year.  Honestly, that’s more than I would have thought.

Of those 44 recently published books:

  • 11 were nonfiction – I guess I like my facts fresh.
  • 10 were new books in series I like so I was looking for them

I’m always amazed at people who can write lists like “Top Books I’m Looking Forward To This Fall.”  I never have any idea what books are coming out.  There are still thousands in the library I haven’t read.

Reasons Why You Should Read More Backlist Books

 

1. Be Different!

Who wants to read the 42nd review of the newest hyped book?

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” –Haruki Murakami

 

2. Let people know what amazing books are already out there

“My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.” –Abraham Lincoln

 

They may have missed it when it came out. This is especially true in the vast worlds of adult and genre fiction where most of the time there isn’t the hype that seems to exist in YA.

3. Save money, go to the library!

Did you see the 156 books by September stat above? There is no way I can afford to buy all those books. I wouldn’t want to anyway. Where would I keep them? I’m a library person.

What is the oldest non-classic book that you have read this year? 

Mine was The Cost of Sugar from 1987.

The Cost of SugarThe Cost of Sugar by Cynthia Mc Leod

I’ve also read some great books from 1994 and 1992.

I used to have a problem reading books that were written as contemporary novels years before I read them. If the technology or geopolitical references were out of date, I got frustrated. Then I realized that I could just think of them as very realistic historical fiction novels!

So go forth and find those forgotten gems!

18 Sep, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Reading

 

Finished This Week

What Am I Reading?

After having a purpose in my reading for the last few months with challenges, I found myself sort of drifting when trying to decide what to read.  I knew I was going to finish The Forest Lover on the road trip to the beach yesterday and needed something else to start.

 

I’ve had this book on my shelf for a long time.  I got it through a swap.  I’ve never read any of her books so I decided to give it a try. 

 

New Books for Me This Week

 

 

Thousands of them have lived underground. They’ve lived there so long, there are only legends about people living anywhere else. Such a life requires rules. Strict rules. There are things that must not be discussed. Like going outside. Never mention you might like going outside.

Or you’ll get what you wish for.“

This was recommended by a coworker and it was free on the Kindle app.

 

What Am I Listening To?

 

 

 

I’m still listening to this one.  I’m not sure if I’ll be done before the movie comes out next weekend.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 Sep, 2017

Book vs TV – Queen Sugar

/ posted in: Reading

Queen SugarQueen Sugar by Natalie Baszile

Queen Sugar is the story of a black single mother school teacher in California who inherits a sugar cane farm in Louisiana that her father mysteriously bought.  She heads to the farm with her teen daughter in tow to see what is going on.

Queen Sugar, the TV show, keeps character names and places but otherwise totally changes the story.  Now, normally, I’d be on the front lines with my pitchfork sharpened for this kind of book disrespect but I love this show.  It made changes that have allowed the show to look at many aspects of African-American life.  I’m not going to lie though.  I had to keep telling myself it was ok to change the book through the first episode and then I was hooked.

queen-sugar-season-2

Differences

Charley – Instead of a barely scraping-by school teacher, Charley is the powerful manager-wife of an NBA superstar.  When he is caught up in a sex scandal at the same time as her father’s death, she heads to Louisiana to hide.

Micah – Charley’s teen daughter is now a son who has been sheltered from the realities of life as a black man by his parents’ wealth and fame.

Ralph Angel – He is the villain of the book.  I growled when he came on screen the first time.  He’s Charley’s brother and is much more nuanced on the show.  He is an ex-con raising his young son, Blue.

Nova – Charley’s older sister didn’t exist in the book.  I love her.  She’s a journalist-activist who practices traditional religion.

Aunt Vi – She is sort of a combination of a few characters in the book.  In the TV show she is holding the family together.

Hollywood – He’s changed the most.  In the book he was a poor Cajun handyman.  In the TV show he is black and is dating Aunt Vi.

Remy – Charley’s Cajun boyfriend in the book.  Now he’s a black farmer who is helping with her business.


The show has a whole lot more feelings than I generally like.  I don’t generally watch shows with a lot of angst.  But this one has me coming back. 

Has anyone else read the book and watched the show?  How have you dealt with all the changes?

13 Sep, 2017

#TheReadingQuest Wrap Up

/ posted in: Reading

I loved doing The Reading Quest.  I used a lot of TBR books that I may have ignored for longer to fill in a lot of board.

reading-quest-board1

I started out as a mage.

One Word Title Stained +20 XP +20 HP
Book with Magic Valley of the Wolves +10 +24
Mythology Bride of the Water God +10 +9
Different World An Heir of Thorns and Steel +20 +35
First in Series Aya of Yop City +10 +5

Then I moved on to be a Knight.

Verb  Unmasking Miss Appleby  +10 Xp +36 HP
Weapon Give a Girl a Knife +10 EX +30 HP
Red  Nerd Do Well +10 XP +35 HP
TV/Movie Blue is the Warmest Color +10 XP +15 XP

After that came Rogue.

Banned      
Face  Remember the Ladies +10 XP +32
Small Press      
<500 Ratings      

Side Quests

2 authors  All American Boys +20 XP +31 HP
Multiplayer      
Grind House of Spies +10 +51
Time Warp My Soul to Take +10 XP +35 HP
Open World  An Extraordinary Union +20 XP +26 HP
Respawn      
Expansion  Resisting Miss Merryweather +10 XP +15 HP
Mini-Game  Bride’s Story 2  +10 XP +8 HP
Animal Companion The Rabbi’s Cat +5 EX  +7 Hp

I am sad that so many of these books were translated from another language but I never made it to Bard to check that box.


I totaled all my points with bonus and social media etc. and had 300 XP and 414 Health Points.  That made me a level 6. 

This was a lot of fun.  I’m looking forward to the next game she puts out.

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