Archive for October, 2011

27th October
2011
written by Steph

We don't feature a lot of sci-fi or fantasy novels on this site, which is kind of weird because Tony is something of a sci-fi aficionado. I, on the other hand, don't care for the genre very much. I don't know why, because I like science and I like fiction, but put the two together and it's like they repulse one another (or at least me!) and I want nothing to do with what you're offering. I have no idea why this is, because I like Fantasy well enough, so flights of fancy obviously don't bother me. But if your book involves outerspace or aliens, I will likely give it a wide berth. I do not, however, have an official stance regarding time travel: sometimes I like it (e.g., Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban) and other times, I hate it (e.g. The Time Traveler's Wife... though to be fair, the time travel was perhaps the thing I disliked least about that book!). So although I did not read and review Thomas Mullen's The Revisionists, Tony did, and I have to admit it actually sounds kind of cool. And since it seems to fall into the nebulous "speculative fiction" genre which, as Margaret Atwood informed us, is NOT the same thing as science fiction, nary a spaceship or alien is in sight! Huzzah! The Revisionists is one of those books that had a lot of pre-pub buzz, but I've not read many reviews of it since it's release, so if you were one of those people who was intrigued by the premise of one man being tasked to travel through time to ensure that the events of world history as we know them to have occurred (even the bad ones) do in fact happen the way they are supposed to, all so that we can one day reach a utopian future, then you'll want to check out Tony's review. Heck, this one sounds good enough that even if it had a laser or two, I would probably still read it! For a more in-depth review from someone who has actually read the book, check out Tony's review at BookPage here!
19th October
2011
written by Steph

Quick question for you: are you one of those drivers who loves to rubberneck? You know the kind of driver I mean – the one who slows to a crawl whenever a traffic accident occurs, rolling by at 15 mph so that you can get a good look at the crash in all its faded glory. Don’t even bother denying that you don’t do it, because I’ve been stuck in enough traffic due to people needing to gawk at fender benders to know that the human tendency to stop and stare at tragedy is hard to resist. If you’re worried this is about to escalate into a judgmental diatribe about bad drivers, fear not! Rather, all this talk of ogling wrecks is merely a prelude to discussing Lauren Grodstein’s A Friend of the Family, which is kind of like literary ode to the trainwrecks of life. Note, that there aren’t any actual trains or vehicular accidents that occur in this novel, but so much shit goes down in it that it is certainly the metaphorical equivalent! The back cover of A Friend of the Family is rather opaque but alluring in its description of the novel, and I do think this is one of those novels where its best to let Grodstein do the storytelling rather than me sharing it secondhand. All I really knew going into this book was that it involves two families (the Dizinoffs and the Sterns) who used to be quite close but ultimately grew apart when a scandal involving the Stern’s eldest daughter takes place. Flashforward a decade or so and the Dizinoffs are struggling with their own set of problems… problems that come to a head when fallen daughter, Laura Stern, reemerges and reenters the picture, not at all afraid to cause some problems and with her sights set on the Dizinoff’s only son. (more…)
12th October
2011
written by Steph

*only you're not at all surprised, are you? As we saw from my recent post regarding our newly acquired bookshelf meant to deal with our overwhelming TBR book situation, clearly the last thing I needed was to buy more books… so you know that that’s exactly what I went out and did! It’s a sickness I tell you! And McKay’s is no help since I trade in most of my books there once I’ve read them, so the cycle is never-ending. Based on our instore credit, this haul cost a whopping $2.20, so while my shelves might not thank me, I promise you my book buying habit isn’t sending my family to the poorhouse. Full rationalization of my haul after the jump… (more…)
10th October
2011
written by Steph

I’m just going to come right out and say it: I have not been having good luck with book tours of late. I am eternally grateful to TLC tours for turning me onto some really enjoyable reads, but lately I feel like I’ve been striking out with the books I’ve been covering for them. Sometimes it’s clear that a book is good but you aren’t the right reader for it, or maybe you just aren’t in the right mindframe for it (always one of the drawbacks of scheduled reading!)… I want to think that’s what happened with My God, What Have We Done?, Susan V. Weiss’s debut novel, because if I’m being honest, I did not really enjoy this book very much at all. So much so that I only read the first 50 pages in earnest before switching to skim-read mode for another 30 pages or so just to see if things would improve, and then finally I threw in the towel. The premise of the book was not uninteresting in theory: through parallel storylines Weiss tells the tale of newlyweds, Pauline and Clifford, who have decided to vacation in New Mexico, largely due to Pauline’s crush on Oppenheimer, inventor of the atomic bomb. Interspersed with P&C’s story is that of the great man himself, Oppenheimer, fifty years earlier, toiling tirelessly amongst a group of dedicated scientists to create the ultimate weapon. For the romantic or the naïve, the correlations between a marriage and the atom bomb may not be readily apparent, but with a little imagination or some life experience, I think astute readers can see how analogies between the two can be drawn! I personally thought the notion of setting the two references up as a means of comparison was rather clever, if a tad on the nose. It’s no secret that I really enjoy novels that feature interleaved (and seemingly disparate) storylines if done well, so my curiosity was certainly piqued.  I also admit that I was intrigued by the fact that MGWHWD? was published by Fomite Press, an indie publisher that I’d never even heard of before and as Trish pointed out to me her query email, it’s kind of interesting to see what these small imprints decide to pick up. (more…)