Thursday, May 30, 2013

New Review Posted 30 May 2013

A new review...LAKE ON THE MOUNTAIN is a gay Canadian noir thriller. Now there's a sentence you don't see too often. Check out my praise for it at Shelf Inflicted, here:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

New Review of a title close to my what-passes-for-a-heart 23 May 2013

I got a review in a new-to-me and really cool blog:
My newly calm spirit has mused aloud about the beauty of A DIFFERENT KIND OF LUXURY, and the charm of its contents, at The Small Press Book Review.

Some books are perfect marriages of form and content. This is one. It's simply lovely and quite a luxe little item all by itself.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fair Warning: Nothing nice to say about this book

THE IRON LANCE (The Celtic Crusades #1) is just too overtly pro-christian to please me. Even when I was trying to be a christian. It's not a fun read.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tornado victims need help

Heartbreaking video of Moore, Oklahoma. If anyone can spare some money, the American Red Cross needs all the help it can get:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

New Review Posted 19 May 2013

BLOOD OF THE PRODIGAL is the first in a series of mysteries set in the Ohio Amish country. I think it's well worth your time to investigate. If you get hooked, there are seven more to keep you reading.

Look in the Mystery Series tab. Plume did a terrific job making the book look good.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Last Hoorah for Sookie Stackhouse (in book form)

I can't help but sigh a bit sadly: reviewed Dead Ever After, the last Sookie Stackhouse novel, at my group blog.

It's sad to say so long after twelve years.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New Review Posted on 14 May 2013


Can only muster three stars for this perfectly competent if pretty unexciting read. Just...~meh~

Sunday, May 12, 2013

New Sookie Reviews 12 May 2013

Books 10, 11, and 12 reviewed 13, the series finale (sob), early next week...oh how I will miss Sookie's fresh adventures!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sookie Week #9 posted

It's DEAD AND GONE, a dark and chilling entry in the light and funny series...but a heckuva good read. My review is in the SOOKIE STACKHOUSE page-tab.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It's Still Sookie Stackhouse Week

It's Sookie Stackhouse week, so I reviewed books 6, 7, and 8 in the 13-book series

Some are better than others, for sure.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's a Sookie Stackhouse kind of day

I've posted my reviews of the first five Sookie Stackhouse novels in their own special category, in honor of the last novel appearing today.

Will feel weird, not knowing there's another fix on the way....

Sunday, May 5, 2013

New Review Posted on 5 May 2013

LET'S BRING BACK: The Lost Language Edition in Books About Books

An exquisitely beautiful object, and a fun browser's book. I think I appreciate it as much for its loveliness as for its contents. Part of a series of "lest we forget"-themed nostalgia browses, all of which I must now own!

Friday, May 3, 2013

New Review Posted on 3 May 2013

PUBLISHED & PERISHED in Books About Books

Such a terrific thing, this kind of browse-at-leisure book...a freshener, a palate cleanser, when other books are flagging or disappointing. This book of appreciation pieces by writers for their dead comrades is a pleasure. Something about honoring a fallen friend brings out the most eloquent in a writer.

New Review Posted 3 May 2013

SACRED GAMES in Thriller & True Crime

What a shame it is that this mammoth effort won't sell in the millions here...length and foreign setting work against it. That's very much too bad. Long it is, but there's an ebook version to ease wrist strain; foreign setting and exotic-to-Americans names, well yes. But folks, India is only going to become more a part of our privileged world. It's inevitable. They already speak English, too, so no need to get tutoring in Mandarin.

Wonderful story, exciting plot, involving characters. What more does a thriller need? Give it a whirl!

Thursday, May 2, 2013


New review posted on Shelf Inflicted!

I loved WHO FEARS DEATH by Nnedi Okorafor in spite of myself. She's a sorceress! I swear I will step on her foot if we ever meet. Post-apocalyptic Africa plus gorgeous sentence-crafting equals excellent reading. Don't miss out.

Read it here: Shelf Inflicted

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Reviewing Reflections 1 May 2013

Reviewing a book is a weird thing to do, when you think about it. Who cares what I, or anyone else, thinks about a writer's blood, sweat, and tears, her/is endless hours of toil and enormous investment of emotional energy? Shouldn't it speak for itself?

Yes. It should, and it does. Reviewing a book isn't, or shouldn't need to be, interpreting the author's work, it's appreciating the author's entire process of creation. And by appreciate, I mean "recognize the full worth of" not necessarily "be grateful for."

I recognize the full worth of books that I don't like by writing reviews of them. Even a scathing, nasty personal attack is an appreciation of the full worth of a book. All the time, all the effort that Author poured into the book has elicited from me a response that was strong enough to impel me to write it down and tell people about it. That is a giant achievement.

I read a lot. I don't review the huge majority of what I read. Some of the books are abandoned before the Pearl Rule point (Nancy Pearl's statement of the rule of 50: Before you're 50 years old, read 50 pages of a book to make a fair judgment; after age 50, subtract your age from 100 and read that many pages to be fair to the book). It seems unnecessary and unhelpful for me to review those. Most often I abandon books because they're ~meh~.

And that is a horrible thing to say about anyone's blood, sweat, and tears. Far, far better to hate something than to uncare about it, after all that work.

But back to my main idea: Why should you care what I think about a book? Well, maybe we're friends, and you know enough about me to think I might know a little about this reading fad. Maybe you're looking to pick holes in my ideas about a pet book of yours that we disagree about. Maybe you're not too sure what a particular book will offer you is worth the investment of your eyeblinks, and seek a range of opinions about it.

But more often than not, people read reviews because reading, that most solitary of pursuits, is actually very social. You're reading a book that puts you in a one-on-one contact, and a very intimate one, with an author. You're more aware of that author's thoughts about the story than you are about your mate/marital partner/child/parent's ideas about anything at all. A book is a deep, prolonged conversation between yourself and a stranger. It's legitimized cheating for those in relationships.

And then there's the wider community of readers. Other people (ideally a lot of them) are reading this book too! They're having their own illicit trysts with the author's brain! Isn't it at least a little bit intriguing to wonder what it is that they're getting from this sharing? If you're hating the experience of reading a book, and everyone else adores it, don't you at least wonder if there's another kindred soul out there feeling no love for the beloved?

And that's where reviews and reviewers come in. A lot of people don't like reviews that tell them the story of the book, some for fear of spoilers and some for sheer irritation at having to read inept synopses. (I'm the latter...spoilers make me no nevermind.) Some people want the story told them so they have a context for the response that is a review. It's that response, the personal reaction of a specific reader, that is so interesting to me, and to many who read reviews.

I write the sort of reviews I like to read: Tell me *why* you personally responded to this book, what it called up for you, what missing pieces it gave you in the puzzle of life; or tell me why it failed you, what the author set you up to expect and didn't give you.

Even when, as is so often the case, I disagree with a person's take on a book, it's very interesting to me to know what it is. I get value from hearing opinions I don't share. I've re-evaluated books I thought I didn't like because I've read ideas about them that made me question my response. I've changed my mind about a fair few, too.

That's why I care about book reviews. I can't possibly read everything I already own before I die. With the time I have, I want to be part of a community conversation about the books of our lives, listening to the responses and reactions to these uniquely intimate experiences that define reading.

That's what I hope you're getting out of reading book reviews, too. A perspective not your own on an experience uniquely your own. How cool is that, to have available to you at any time and from any imaginable point of view?