's CBR8 Review No:0

Thank You, Ellepkay!

A Week to be Wicked, Talking as Fast as I Can by Tessa Dare, Lauren Graham (Buy on amazon.com)

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I have a soft spot for the community here at Cannonball Read, and it gives me great pleasure to organize our book exchange each year. Pairing up just the right people is a fun challenge. The most awkward part? Sending my own name to someone. It doesn’t stop me though, since I love giving and receiving books. This year Ellepkay nailed it (I have always been very lucky with my gifters!). Not only did I receive a very sweet card (one is on its way to you!) but I also got Tessa Dare’s A Week to Be Wicked  and Lauren Graham’s Talking as Fast as I Can as well as some chocolate. I never post what I receive until I’ve sent – I can happily report my box is now off to its recipient  and should hopefully be there this weekend. I hope to see lots more book pictures as we continue through December.

's CBR8 Review No:48

Book 1 of the trilogy that I read book 3 of

Alice in Deadland by Mainak Dhar (Buy on amazon.com)

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OK, so Amazon doesn’t seem to have just book 1 of this trilogy as an option, so my link above is to the whole trilogy.  As I said in my Book 3 review, I already read book 1 a while ago, and then got stalled on book 2, and never made it to book 3.  So… I just read book 1 again.  I remember liking it, and I liked it again.  You have to take some things into consideration to enjoy the book though.  I really don’t mean this in a mean way, but you can tell with some of the writing that this was translated into English, or that the writer is not a native speaker.  Some of it just doesn’t flow well.  For me, that’s not a big deal, because the story is cool.  Also, there are a few things that happen that might not actually make sense. […]

's CBR8 Review No:43

Mentally casting the film in my head.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (Buy on amazon.com)

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There’s something deeply satisfying about finishing the first in a book series and loving it. A lot of smart people whose opinions I respect love the Gentleman Bastards series. Still, I am a persnickety reader and started it with some trepidation after a much needed bread from all the horror and true crime I’d been reading for the month of October. Lies of Locke Lamora does not disappoint. It’s good enough to be a stand alone novel but still leaves potential for more stories (of which there are) without any infuriating cliffhangers. Locke Lamora and his small but loyal gang call themselves the Gentleman Bastards. The rest of the thieving community, which is huge in the city of Camorr, believes them to be low level second story men. In fact, they are talented con men who pull of complicated scams on the cities rich and powerful nobles. Life is good […]

's CBR8 Review No:0

Narfna, you’re my book lobster. Thanks for knowing exactly what I needed today.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (Buy on amazon.com)

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I just got home (from book shopping, naturally) and found a lovely package from Narfna waiting for me. So amazing that she just KNEW I had finished The Wise Man’s Fear just last night and was in need of a new fantasy to keep me busy. Also, how gorgeous is that Catherynne Valente book? Can’t wait to read it. And Night Shift!!!! Amazing. Thanks so much. Your choices were perfect. Cannonball book exchange truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

's CBR8 Review No:93

Went downhill, but I don’t regret finishing

The Study Series #1-3 by Maria V. Snyder (Buy on amazon.com)

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The Study series is three books: one that’s great, one that’s decent, and one that kind of lost its way. Those descriptions are in book order. I’ll get more into the issues where it’s appropriate as I’m discussing each book, but I can vaguely say, without spoilers, that the problems are those that pop up frequently in fantasy novels, where there is a lot of questing back and forth chasing after MacGuffins. While stuff does happen in the literal sense on these journeys, in retrospect, they tend to blend together and form a murky, incoherent recollection of much of the plot and whether or not that was time well-spent. But let me get back to the good, because overall I did like the series well enough that I think I am going to eventually continue on with the spin-off novels. There will be spoilers in the discussion of the sequel […]

's CBR8 Review No:25

When you didn’t hate the book, but can’t think of the title: a meh-ish review.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (Buy on amazon.com)

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This was the last book of the book club I started in my local area. Aaaaand I read it over a month ago, so my memory is fuzzy, so this review isn’t going to be one for the record books. The book was recommended to me by a few folks, plus it was set it Italy, where I had just returned from a trip, so it seemed like a no brainer to tackle it next. All in all, I found it serviceable, but I just didn’t love it. Beautiful Ruins is a non-linear story about love, loss, secrecy, and social pressures. The story begins in a small coastal village in Italy in the 1960s. An American actress arrives, and everything changes. The story flashes forward to present day, where the assistant to a Hollywood bigshot producer is deciding whether to give up her dream of making good movies, and she […]

's CBR8 Review No:27

“Get that parasol out of your mouth, dear, you’re going to need it…”

Unmentionable by Therese Oneill (Buy on amazon.com)

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Jenny Lawson, our beloved Bloggess, mentioned this book. It sounded really awesome, so I had to check it out. It’s a look at what life was like for a woman back in Victorian times. It has quotes from medical journals and books of the time, as well as illustrations, all with hilarious commentary. Basically, it was a dirty, dirty time, and having a uterus made you crazy sick, or just crazy, unless you filled it with your husband’s babies. There are chapters on grooming, diet, courtship, marriage, and that terrible old disease: hysteria. I cannot recommend this highly enough, it was a treat. You can read my full review here.

's CBR8 Review No:26

“But hey man, we’ve all got something. We’re all weird and damaged in our own way. You’re not the only one…”

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven (Buy on amazon.com)

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From the author of my hysterical sobbing jag of 2015 (Or as it was sold under, All the Bright Things) comes the sweet, romantic story of Libby and Jack. Libby was once the world’s fattest teen. Now, years later she has lost half of her weight and is about to return to regular school. Jack passes himself off as a normal guy, but has realized that he has prosopagnosia, which means that he can’t recognize faces. Even his immediate family and friends are complete blanks. The resulting book gets kind of touchy feely and there’s some difficult issues stuff, but it’s honestly a lot better than it sounds. I didn’t cry as much as with Niven’s last book, but I did cry. You can read my full review here.

's CBR8 Review No:25

“No matter how catastrophic the rumor, people will always adjust and find it dull in hindsight. Or they forget about it altogether…”

These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas (Buy on amazon.com)

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Save This one is sort of similar to The Dark Days Club, in that they are both set in the Regency era, and both involve supernatural elements. These Vicious Masks is closer to the X-Men, as it involves humans with special powers. Evelyn is the only one who can save her sister, Rose, after she is kidnapped and taken away to London. She encounters a city full of people with abilities. You can read my full review here.

's CBR8 Review No:19

He really is, though…

Tim Kaine is Your Nice Dad by Sara Benincasa (Buy on amazon.com)

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Warning – this post is political in nature, and a little bit of my … ahem… anger? Disappointment? Total confusion about the state of our country?… leaked through, which is to be expected, I think, given the nature of the book, and of our country right now.  If you’re not ready to read stuff about people being disappointed about how things could have gone, or if you’re on Team Trump, I just want to give you a heads up: this is not for you, and that’s OK.  We’re all still kicking cancer ass together. (And I deleted what could only be an inflaming commentary here, so really, this is the best I can manage right now… mostly not pissed off, and trying to warn you ahead of time.) This parody about perpetual nice guy – and should be preparing to be Vice President right now, oops sorry totally not having […]

's CBR8 Review No:78

“I am angry. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change.”

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Buy on amazon.com)

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Raise your hand if you have been called a feminist as a derisive term. Raise your hand if you have ever had to explain to someone that feminism is, in fact, not the hatred of men or the wishing to take something away from them but rather believing in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. Raise both your hands if you’ve experienced that from someone younger than you. My hands are raised. I am, on the best of days, probably a lazy feminist. It has taken me a long time to reckon with the idea that the concept of equality, and not pressuring any gender into socialized expectations, is apparently radical. I just didn’t fully understand that I had to be out proselytizing the good word about feminism. That’s where my privilege shows. Ms. Adichie, in her 50 page book-let, lays out for her audience (and it is […]

's CBR8 Review No:51

Another Delight

The Sirens Sang of Murder by Sarah Caudwell (Buy on amazon.com)

Sarah Caudwell’s legal mysteries are just delightful. This is the third one I’ve reviewed this year, and I’ve been moving very slowly through the series because I wanted to savor it. Now I only have one left. The Sirens Sang of Murder, like the other two Professor Hilary Tamar mysteries before it, revolves around a group of young barristers in England who like to spend most of their free time either sitting around drinking, or going out on dates. In between they practice law and get caught up in ridiculous murder plots. In this one, young barrister Michael Cantrip is sent off to the Channel Islands to help settle some obscure tax-law case. Soon two of the parties to the case are dead, and another, a glamorous French accountant named Gabrielle, has asked him to serve as a sort of bodyguard. Honestly–the plot matters so little. I understood about 20% […]