04 Feb
“My Sweet Vidalia” by Deborah Mantella

“My Sweet Vidalia” by Deborah Mantella

My Sweet Vidalia by Deborah Mantella is the story of a young woman in the 1950s American South who overcomes considerable hardship and discovers her own inner strength.  Vidalia gets pregnant while in high school and has a shotgun wedding.  Unfortunately, her new husband is a terrible person and abuses her to the point that she miscarries her pregnancy.  The spirit of the daughter that Vidalia never had narrates the story, providing comfort to Vidalia when it seems like she’s alone in the world. Leo Tolstoy opened Anna Karenina with the line, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”  While I wish that there was more happiness in this novel, I was struck by the depth of the stories of each of the characters and families that touch Vidalia’s life.  The town in which she lives is inhabited by many broken families, each of […]

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03 Feb
January 2016: A Month in Review

January 2016: A Month in Review

It’s time for my first Month in Review post of 2016! During January, I read and reviewed the following books: I’m a little bit behind in terms of keeping up with my yearly reading goal, but there’s still lots of time to catch up!  I’m in the middle of a bunch of books right now.  Here are some of the things I’m currently reading or that you can expect to see a review for soon: Mort by Terry Pratchett My Sweet Vidalia by Deborah Mantella Blood Passage by Heather Demetrios Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier The Prince by Tiffany Reisz The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan …and looking at that list, it’s obvious that I’m reading a lot of books at one time!  I’m taking my New Year’s goal of reading what I want to read when I want to read it very seriously, even if it means I’m not […]

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02 Feb
New Acquisitions, Pyr Edition

New Acquisitions, Pyr Edition

New Acquisitions is a feature where I talk about books that I have purchased or received for review consideration.  All descriptions are from Goodreads. I’ve been reading a lot of books published by Pyr lately, and based on the wonderful books on my shelf, that trend is likely to continue!  Gold Throne in Shadow and Masks and Shadows are from the publisher.  And I bought myself Sword of the Bright Lady, because the series looks awesome. Sword of the Bright Lady by M.C. Planck Christopher Sinclair goes out for a walk on a mild Arizona evening and never comes back. He stumbles into a freezing winter under an impossible night sky, where magic is real — but bought at a terrible price. A misplaced act of decency lands him in a brawl with an arrogant nobleman and puts him under a death sentence. In desperation he agrees to be drafted into an eternal war, […]

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26 Jan
New Acquisitions: 1/26/16

New Acquisitions: 1/26/16

New Acquisitions is a feature where I talk about books that I have purchased or received for review consideration.  All descriptions are from Goodreads. My Sweet Vidalia by Deborah Mantella I received this book as part of an upcoming TLC book tour.  The premise seems interesting and unusual. On July 4, 1955, in rural Georgia, an act of violence threatens the life of Vidalia Lee Kandal’s pre-born daughter. Despite the direst of circumstances, the spirit of the lost child refuses to leave her ill-equipped young mother’s side. For as long as she is needed―through troubled pregnancies, through poverty, through spousal abuse and agonizing betrayals―Cieli Mae, the determined spirit child, narrates their journey. Serving as a safe place and sounding board for Vidalia’s innermost thoughts and confusions, lending a strength to her momma’s emerging voice, Cieli Mae provides her own special brand of comfort and encouragement, all the while honoring the restrictions […]

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24 Jan
“On the Matter of the Red Hand” by J.M. Guillen

“On the Matter of the Red Hand” by J.M. Guillen

Over the past few months, I’ve been raving about a series called The Paean of Sundered Dreams, which spans a multitude of genres and tells the story of a Lovecraftian apocalypse as it impacts different worlds within a shared universe.  And within The Paean of Sundered Dreams there are a number of mini-series (micro-series? mini-series sounds too made-for-tv, which is the wrong vibe entirely).  On the Matter of the Red Hand is the first book in the Judicar’s Oath micro-series, and is an expansion upon an earlier novella bearing the same title. On the Matter of the Red Hand is set in Teredon, a world has already undergone its apocalypse. “Once the stars drifted and the world withered, everything changed. Gloaming storms raged across the sky, leaving only the dead and the mad in their wake.  Entire nations fell as tides of depravity assaulted our lands, and darkened abominations awoke in the twilit shadows.” […]

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21 Jan
“Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell

“Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell

I first heard of Rainbow Rowell back in 2014 at Book Expo.  I went to a party at the Housing Works Bookstore, and Rowell was there discussing her latest novel, Landline.  Everyone was raving about her work, but since I don’t read much contemporary fiction, I didn’t really give it a deep look.  Clearly, that was a mistake, because a friend recently loaned me her copy of Fangirl, and I can’t stop talking about it.  It was fantastic! Fangirl is about a teenager leaving home and going to college.  Cath and her twin sister Wren always got through hard times in their lives by writing Simon Snow slash fanfiction together (for those of you not in the know, slash is basically what happens when you write erotic fanfiction where you imagine that Harry has had a thing for Draco Malfoy the whole time).  But when they move away to school, Wren pretty much […]

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19 Jan
New Acquisitons: Holiday Edition

New Acquisitons: Holiday Edition

New Acquisitions is a feature where I talk about books I’ve purchased or received for review.  All descriptions are from Goodreads. Here is a snippet of a post-holiday conversation you would have heard if you were a fly on the wall in my apartment: Mike: So what did you get for Christmas? Me:  I got the dick. Mike:  *stares incredulously and looks confused* Me:  Philip K. Dick.  I have the maturity of a 10-year-old. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick It’s America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some 20 years earlier the United States lost a war, and is now occupied jointly by Nazi Germany and Japan. This harrowing, Hugo Award-winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as […]

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17 Jan
“The Queen is Dead” by Kate Locke

“The Queen is Dead” by Kate Locke

The Queen is Dead is the second novel in Kate Locke’s The Immortal Empire trilogy, an urban fantasy series that reimagines the Victorian era, but with lots of undead and otherwise plagued creatures.  The protagonist, Xandra Vardan, is having a hard time dealing with the fact that she’s the queen of the goblins.  Until recently, she didn’t even know that she was a goblin, and was only familiar with stereotypes about goblins snatching children.  But as Xandra found out in the previous book, she was the product of genetic experimentation, which makes her a somewhat unusual David Bowie type of goblin who can go outdoors, survive in sunlight, and hide her fangs when in polite company. When Xandra’s brother Val disappears, she knows that something is very wrong.  She suspects that Val has been taken for his blood, and that because Xandra and her sister both had unusual qualities, that he will too.  Xandra’s […]

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10 Jan
Revisiting My 2015 New Year’s Blogging Resolutions, and Setting Goals for 2016

Revisiting My 2015 New Year’s Blogging Resolutions, and Setting Goals for 2016

At the beginning of 2015, I made a post with some blogging resolutions to start the New Year.  As 2015 begins, I’d like to revisit that list and see how I did. I will try to find a balance between blogging regularly and getting burned out. During 2015, I tried not to stress about how often I was blogging.  There were periods of the year where I blogged more regularly than others, and there were times that I ignored posts like my Month in Review or New Acquisitions features.  I didn’t have any major hiatuses (with the exception of the one caused by laptop keyboard failure), and blogging remained something that I did out of fun rather than obligation. I will interact more with other bloggers. I’m still not reading other blogs as much as I want to, and that’s something I’ll continue to work on in 2016.  When I […]

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10 Jan
Best Books Read in 2015

Best Books Read in 2015

Happy (belated) New Year!  As 2016 begins, I thought I’d take a few minutes to reflect on some of the books that I enjoyed most in 2015.  These aren’t necessarily books that were released in 2015, but rather ones that I read over the course of the year.  In no particular order, here were some of my favorites: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson These days, most of what I read is sci-fi and fantasy, so it may come as a surprise that one of my favorites of the year was something completely outside of my usual genres.  Furiously Happy is the story of the author’s struggle with depression.  It’s also hilarious, and had me laughing out loud the entire time I was reading it.  Lawson is such a positive and optimistic person no matter what she’s going through, and I found her attitude inspirational. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo A […]

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