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2017 Reading Challenge

Jill Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.

Book Review: Ensnared by Rita Stradling

OK – I posted this already, but am reminding you about it because it is released today and deserves attention!!

“People always have such a hard time believing that robots could do bad things.”

She pulled back to whisper, “Because they’re machines, like toasters. I work on them for a living. They can malfunction, but they’re not going to hatch up some elaborate extortion plot, that’s what humans do.”

“…You think they’re toasters, and maybe they are. But my father gave those tools the ability to form their own personalities and think for themselves. If you give a toaster a choice, it might choose to be a torture device. People just assume that we can control robots and they’re safe, but they’re not even safe when we can control them.”

What a marvelous, dark and clever addition to the fairy tale-retelling genre – and to female-protagonist sci-fi… Continue reading Book Review: Ensnared by Rita Stradling

Book Review: The Wilhelm Conspiracy by Charles Veley

I love Sherlock Holmes stories – the originals, obviously, and many of the newer additions to the genre. Whenever I see a new title pop up, I race to check it out – Holmes has become so much a part of the popular imagination that there are new titles nearly every week it seems… I had purchase the first book in this particular series (The Last Moriarty) a while back and had it on my kindle but somehow it got buried and I forgot about it. Then I saw this, a sequel, available on NetGalley. I requested it, then hurried to read the earlier story (since I’m obsessed with reading series books in order) so I could get to it. TLM was interesting – well plotted, if a bit overly done at times – and while it wasn’t my favorite of the newer Holmes books, I did enjoy the addition of Lucy James enough to want to check out this one.

Disappointment doesn’t even begin to cover it, unfortunately. Continue reading Book Review: The Wilhelm Conspiracy by Charles Veley

Book Review: Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things by Amy Dickinson

What a lovely memoir – and very different than I anticipated… It started as I thought it would:“Ask Amy” comes home to her small hometown after years living in various large cities. It’s a type of memoir I particularly relate to, since I have traveled a similar path. Unlike Amy, I did not have a child before I came back home (and I was a bit younger); like her, I found myself falling in love with someone from “home” and finding myself with an insta-family as a result. I really enjoyed sharing her struggles to find her way – and her place – in her old world made new. I’ve lived much of what she describes, and it was both comforting and informative to see it from the outside, particularly in the hands of someone gifted with the ability to write about herself without falling into the trap of self-absorption (or self-pity). The book was fun and funny and full of foibles – exactly like real life.

Then the sad bits hit. Continue reading Book Review: Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things by Amy Dickinson

Book Review: Nemesis by Brendan Reichs

h poor Min fighting for her life – literally. And losing – also literally. But it’s not the first time. For either the fight OR the loss…

What a great and original concept – it’s about seven different types of stories, packed full of enough action and drama to please even the most easily distracted… It’s technically a YA book, because it has a YA protagonist. But it could easily be “general” fiction because there are so many issues in here that are relevant to a broader population. It’s also technically a thriller, an apocalypse story, an analysis of family dynamics, a little Lord of the Flies, and… Like I said – there’s a LOT going on here. And all of it is quite good.
Continue reading Book Review: Nemesis by Brendan Reichs

Book Review: The Magnificent Flying Baron Estate by Eric Bower

I am usually quite the fan of middle grade and young adult books. First, because I enjoy fantasy, and so many of them have fantastic elements. But second, and more importantly, because when writing for children, authors cannot fall back on as many tropes in order to generate action/interest. The graphic violence and sexual explicitness that so many adult authors rely on to (they think) make their stories pop or speed up the pacing, aren’t present in books aimed at younger readers. Which means that the authors who write for younger audiences can’t rely on props to aid their flagging stories – they need to write cleaner, stronger stories that have action without gratuitous “help” from the crutches of sex and violence.

I said usually.

Unfortunately, this is an instance where the exception proves the rule. Continue reading Book Review: The Magnificent Flying Baron Estate by Eric Bower



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